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Minimum Elk Cartridge

I think the minimum question is tuffer to answer than one might think. I know of men who could grab onto a 243 caliber and bring home their elk. It kind of depends on the experience of the hunter and his or her marksmanship as well as skills in the high country.

I have hunted elk with a .270 caliber, 30-06, 300 H&H, 300 Win mag, 338/06, 338 Win mag and the 375 H&H. and by the way, been successful using all the above calibers. I have found that the type of bullet one uses is more important than the caliber of most hunters that are going elk hunting.

My favorite over the years in open country has been the 300 Win mag, but in the black timber the 338 mag rules. Any of the above calibers are 300 yard elk takers (if the hunter hits his mark in the vital area with a good bullet)and some you can stretch to 400 plus if you have a mind and the skill to hit the mark.

[ This Message was edited by: Quick-Sand on 2003-07-04 18:48 ]

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Minimum Elk Cartridge

Welcome Quick-Sand, I agree with you on the 243 point. It can be done, although as was mentioned above it probably isn't the best choice.

Just out of curiosity why do you prefer the 338 in the timber as opposed to the 300 on the flats?

Location: Utah
Joined: 02/24/2003
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Minimum Elk Cartridge

I've said it before but I'll say again anyway. 80+% of the general public have no opinion about hunting but they determine the future of it. We have to become more and more responsible in our choices in everything we do including what we post on these boards. Recommending a .243 for elk to people that may have never hunted an elk before is not a good idea.

Congrats to some of you old timers who use the 30-30's and the .243's and never had an elk leave its tracks in 100 years of hunting. But with better "elk" equipment available lets recommend something that is much more efficient for those with less experience. The result will be less wounded animals and we will look more humane to the general public, who DO determine the future of hunting. Its no longer an option, its a necessity to care about the political aspect of hunting.

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Minimum Elk Cartridge

I personaly wouldnt use anything less than a 308.

Location: Western states
Joined: 03/10/2004
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Minimum Elk Cartridge

Real world elk hunting,if someone ask's me what caliber to use for elk, I tell them the largest caliber they can shoot very well!

You can kill elk with a rock if you hit him hard anuff. Whats the point? You can kill elk with about any caliber out there but that dosen't make it a die in the fur all around elk caliber.

Yes I have taken elk with 243win,6mm Rem 257rob over the years but they are not elk calibers.

I know a guy here in Idaho that took a 373 inch B.C. bull this past fall with a 87gr hornady bullet in a 25-06Rem, took him five shots to do it and yes he did kill it, but that dosen't make the 25-06 an elk caliber.

The best you could do with a 25-06 is with 120gr loads and yes a good hunter and good shot could bring home elk very year but it not an elk caliber.

A real world elk caliber can start with the 264 win, 270win with heavey for caliber bullets as a min.

Then go up from there, 7mags 160-175gr, 30-06 165-180gr and the 300mags 180-200gr,the 338mag and 35 whelen even the 358 win with 225 gr bullets. I have even used the 375 H&H mag with 300gr loads on elk.

Now days I use a 300 Rem SAUM and a 300wsm with 165-180gr loads, and thats all I'am going to say about that. Outlaw

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Location: Northern California
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Minimum Elk Cartridge

Ok, this is the last time I’ll bring it up… I promise (kind of). The .270 is very, very deadly because it offers almost 30-06 power with awesome sectional density to it’s bullets. Rather be hunting – a 150 grain .308 inch bullet has about the same SD as a 130 grain .277 bullet. A 180 grain 30 cal bullet has approximately the same SD as a 150 grain .270 round. Why is that important? That means the bullet’s have similar penetration characteristics.

Have you noticed how .223s blow stuff up? That’s because they’re 55 grain bullets are really high steppin’ when they hit the grapefruit or woodchuck. Stuff goes flying. Here’s a point to make about the .270 (and 6.5x55 for that matter, but I won’t bore you with ‘foreign’ cals this time out..). The quotient between the velocity and the SD make it so that these bullets are still going really fast with lot’s of explosive power after they have passed through the outside of the animal. So, when a .270 caliber bullet get’s to the vitals (to me that means heart/lung area – about 12-16 inches at most) it is still hauling a lot of a$$. It is more explosive (in my opinion) than larger bullets traveling at lesser velocities.

That is the reason for the success of the 100 grain .243 bullet combonation (an SD of .242) and the 130 grain .270 bullet (an SD of .242….).

I have shot two Elk with my .270 – both in the heart – at 207 yards per rangefinder and around 75 yards. The 75 yard animal was shot using a 150 grain Nosler Partition driven by 59 grains of IMR 7828. It jumped about ten feet, ran a few feet and fell. The 207 yard shot was made with factory 150 grain supreme ammunition. That bull weighed over 800 pounds. It fell before I could chamber another round and did not move again.

Anyway, stories show up all over the place regarding the .270 and elk – ‘A guy I was hunting with put 9 boxes of ammo into an Elks vitals at 25 yards and we had to track it for two weeks through Canada and… so buy a 500 nitro express...” Elk are very tough. Tougher than Moose although they weigh less. I have to say I cannot be convinced that the heart (vital!) or lungs (vital!) of any Elkcould stand up to an exploding .277 grain bullet traveling at a mile per second.

Location: Utah
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Minimum Elk Cartridge

Quote:


On 2004-03-12 13:21, EJ65 wrote:
Rather be hunting – a 150 grain .308 inch bullet has about the same SD as a 130 grain .277 bullet.

That may be true but you are forgetting one major thing. A 150 grain bullet going at a high velocity has a tendancy to break apart upon impact with a very solid object. You need at least a 175gr or 180gr bullet that holds together. Shooting an elk in the shoulder blade ain't shootin grapefruits or woodchucks. You don't have to agree with me, thats just what years of first hand and second hand knowledge tells me.

The ONLY reason I don't like the 270 for elk is the max factory load is 150gr, which is a reliable deer bullet but not a reliable elk bullet. Like has been said a dozen or so times. They have killed plenty of elk but I've seen more wounded elk lost and long tracking jobs from the 270 than any other cartridge. Seen it from just about all cartridges but the 270 far and away leads that category in my neck of the woods.

A reliable elk bullet must have certain characteristics. This is my opinion of the 270.

1 - Enough energy. .270 pass
2 - Big enough caliber. .270 pass
3 - Quality bullet construction. .270 loaded with something like a Nosler Partition, Barnes X, Grand Slam, etc., etc. pass
4 - The bullet must be heavy enough to stay together (relatively high weight retention) while impacting heavy bone and muscle. .270 max 150 gr factory load IMO FAIL

[ This Message was edited by: rather_be_huntin on 2004-03-12 15:44 ]

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Minimum Elk Cartridge

Quote:


On 2004-03-12 13:21, EJ65 wrote:
I have to say I cannot be convinced that the heart (vital!) or lungs (vital!) of any Elkcould stand up to an exploding .277 grain bullet traveling at a mile per second.

A mile per second?......you sure about that?

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Minimum Elk Cartridge

A mile per second is 5280 feet per second, or 3600 miles an hour. As I recall, a 150 grain 270 bullet doesn't even clock 3000 feet per second. Even a 100 grain bullet from a 270 Weatherby Magnum doesn't get anywhere near that speed.

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Minimum Elk Cartridge

I have shot two Elk with my .270 – both in the heart – at 207 yards per rangefinder and around 75 yards.

Nobody (in there right mind) will argue that a 270 isn't deadly with a perfect shot (or near perfect shot), it is, just like a machete slipped between the ribs is deadly, but that isn't the point.

The point is, that in a non-optimal situation (a shoot in the rump, the shoulder, clip a lung, etc) does the 270 @ 150 grain have what it takes? Some say yes, some say no. Frankly I don't even care anymore. :smile:

By the way, as I think everybody knows, if you shoot it in the gut and it decides to go for a trot, it doesn't matter a hill of beans what you hit with, because your going on a hike. That is why shooting skill is more important than what your shooting.

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