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Location: Olympia, WA
Joined: 04/25/2005
Posts: 69
Minimum Elk Cartridge

I was very shocked to see back on the first page of this thread, that somebody wrote a .243 with a 100 grain bullet at 250 yards as being the minimum. Its a proven fact that it takes a minimum 1500 ft./lbs. kinetic energy at the target, to take an elk. A .270 with a 150 grain bullet at 200 yards, barely produces 1500ft./lbs. of kinectic energy. Now, if you have been around elk as much as I have, you probably have developed that same great amount of respect for these magnificant animals, and you know just how hard they are to kill. So a .243 with a 100 grain bullet at 250 yards is not only flat out stupid, in my mind it is a slap in the face to the elk. Now I have seen elk taken with a .243, but these elk were stalked and shot within 25 yards.

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Location: Missouri/Arkansas
Joined: 08/21/2003
Posts: 890
Minimum Elk Cartridge

''A .270 with a 150 grain bullet at 200 yards, barely produces 1500ft./lbs. of kinectic energy.''

That depends on the bullet and the load.

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Location: Olympia, WA
Joined: 04/25/2005
Posts: 69
Minimum Elk Cartridge

Well, what I ment by barely is it produces 1587 ft lbs of kinetic energy, at least that is what I have in one of my tables for average factory loaded .270 ammunition with 150grain bullets. The .270 is a great round for elk , and I know a lot of old timers that swear by it. In my opinion Elk cartridges start with the .270 and end with the .375 h&h mag. I guess the most important component in picking the right cartridge for elk is to pick the biggest caliber that you can shoot comfortably.

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Location: Utah
Joined: 03/03/2005
Posts: 369
Minimum Elk Cartridge

Not sure where you got your info from, but most factory ammo out there is in the 1,900 - 2,000 range for energy at 200 yards.

* Here's some 200 yard energy data for the 270 Win with 24" barrel from Winchester's 2005 Catalog - p. 10:

130-gr. Power Point Plus = 1,993
130-gr. Ballistic Silvertip CT = 1,978
140-gr. AccuBond CT = 2,038
140-gr. Fail Safe = 1,843
150-gr. Power Point Plus = 1,959
150-gr. Partition Gold CT = 2,030

* From Federal's 2005 Catalog - p. 8, 270 Win 200 yard energy figures with 24" barrel:

130-gr. Sierra Game King BTSP = 1,980
130-gr. Nosler Ballistic Tip = 1,990
130-gr. Barnes Triple Shock X-Bullet = 1,980
130-gr. Nosler Partition = 1,965
130-gr. Nosler Solid Base = 1,955
140-gr. Nosler AccuBond = 2,060
140-gr. Trophy Bonded Bear Claw = 1,905
140-gr. High Energy Trophy Bonded Bear Claw = 2,145
150-gr. Sierra Game King BTSP = 2,040
150-gr. Nosler Partition = 2,020

* From Remington's 2005 Catalog p. 79 - 80, 270 Win 200 yard energy figures with 24" barrel:

130-gr. AccuTip Boat Tail = 2,009
130-gr. Swift Scirocco Bonded = 1,991
130-gr. Core Lokt Pointed Soft Point = 1,818
130-gr. Bronze Point = 1,890
140-gr. Core Lokt Bonded = 1,826
140-gr. Swift A-Frame Pointed Soft Point = 1,782
150-gr. Core Lokt Soft Point Round Nose = 1,587

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Location: Utah
Joined: 03/03/2005
Posts: 369
Minimum Elk Cartridge

Hunt4Elk85:

Was your 1,587 ft. lbs of energy figure from Remington's 2005 Catalog ; I.E. 150-gr. Core Lokt Soft Point Round Nose = 1,587 at 200 yards?

If so, the round nosed Core Lokt is a good short range projectile, but it loses velocity in a hurry with its' low BC of only .261. Many of the loads in my above post have BC's in the high 400's to 500 and this is why they have a lot more retained downrange energy at 200 yards.

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Joined: 07/03/2015
Posts: 1
What?? The 25-06 hasn't been mentioned...

Having over 100 posts, this is one of the most profound questions in all of hunting because hunting elk is expensive and rare.  It is considered by many to be the greatest game in North America, so having the right tool for the job is important.  

Since an elk weighs between 500-700 lbs, selecting a gun with enough power is important.  Based on an elk hunting guides website, they recommended to have at least 1500 ft lbs of energy on target for elk, and it's better to have over 2000 ft lbs.  For most hunters, this gun is probably in the safe, and that is the 30-06.  With a 180 gr bullet from a 30-06, you can feel fairly confident from within 200 yds that you will dispatch it properly.   If you have a 270, 150 gr bullets, that will work too.  I believe the round was engineered for Elk in mind and they easily get you to the 2000 ft lb level with a well selected bullet.

For the minimum, maybe for a lesser sized person, my wife's 25-06 with a 120 gr bullet would work.  From with 100-200 that 25-06 has over 1500 ft lbs and from within 100 ydis, over 2000 ft lbs.  It's certainly not perfect, but with a well designed bullet, matched with a distance I am certainly capable of shooting from, I like my chances With a 25-06.

other nice options include:  7mm-08, 308, and 7mm RM.

 

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Joined: 06/02/2012
Posts: 29
30-06? Nope!

why is everybody so obsessed with the 30-06? Ohh the sheeple at work. When the 308. Is clearly a better option. 

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Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4364
308

jtaylorc wrote:

why is everybody so obsessed with the 30-06? Ohh the sheeple at work. When the 308. Is clearly a better option. 

While the 308 is a fine round it will fall off very quickly when you go to bullets above 170 grains where the 06 will still be performing quite well up to a 220 grain bullet.  Also try and find a factory loaded round for the 308 above 170 grains. 

They are both fine rounds that will and do take elk every year so argueing about which one is really the better one is pointless.

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Location: Montana, USA
Joined: 11/15/2007
Posts: 358
Minimum elk cartridge

Its been quite a while since I posted or even read this thread.  I just read the last 2 pages, and I see that the never ending debate continues...

jtaylorc wrote:

why is everybody so obsessed with the 30-06? Ohh the sheeple at work. When the 308. Is clearly a better option. 

That statement sounds like what a Range Sergeant told us in basic training when he was trying to "teach" us to shoot our M-14 rifles.  Some factory .308 ammunition may equal or exceed some factory .30-06 ammunition because being a newer cartridge, for newer guns, the .308 can be loaded to higher pressures that may not be safe in some 100 year old .30-06 rifles.

For a modern strong action rifle, a handloader can load any bullet 100-200 fps faster than that same bullet can be shot out of a .308.  That would make the .30-06 flatter shooting and producing more energy than the .308 -- at any range.

The .30-06 can out perform the .308 Win just like the .300 Win mag will out perform the .30-06, and the .300 Weatherby will out perform the .300 Winchester, and...

"why is everybody so obsessed with the 30-06?"  Well, this sheeple killed 8 of his first 10 elk with a .30-06.  The one reason that I quit killing elk with a .30-06 was that a friend showed me a .30 Gibbs case and I thought that it looked so cool that I had my .30-06 re-chambered to .30 Gibbs.  Yes, I might have gained a few hundred fps in velocity with 180 grain Nosler Partitions with the .30 Gibbs, but I think that the next 20 elk that that rifle killed would have been just as dead if I had left it a .30-06.  I mainly liked the name ".30 Gibbs" and the look of the Gibbs cartridge cases.

I will not argue that the .308 is not adequate for elk.  Years ago, I bought my ex-wife a .308 for her to hunt elk, mule deer, and antelope with.  I currently have a .308 rifle in my safe, but I doubt that I will ever take it elk hunting.  It would be my 3rd or 4th choice rifle behind my .300 Weatherby, my 7mm Rem mag, and probably behind my .270 Win.

As for the minimum of 1500 foot-pounds of energy for elk, that's probably as good a number as any for that argument.  However, I will maintain that bullet placement is far more important than bullet diameter or bullet energy.

 

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Joined: 06/02/2012
Posts: 29
Nobody is talking about

Nobody is talking about copper ammunition either? hornday GMX or Barnes TTSX, 100% weight retention, that slug will go as far through the animal as velocity allows.

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