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Location: Wisconsin
Joined: 12/08/2003
Posts: 134
Minimum Elk Cartridge

That's true, Bitmasher. One other thing...I'd add is that I happen to think that if I'm going on a hunt, I want all the shot opportunities I can get. While I can cleanly kill an elk with a .260 Rem, I may be reduced in the shots I can take as compared to a 300 Win mag. I would try to avoid a direct shoulder shot with the .260, but the .300 wouldn't really have a problem with that. Or maybe something's out there just a bit further than the .260 can handle...sometimes, having a slight edge in performance can be the difference between eating tag soup or elk stew. The more you reduce the round's energy, the less options you'll have in the field, and the more picky the shot has to be. Yes, I agree that the vitals have to be hit, but there's lots of different ways to get to the vitals...head on, quartering, etc.

Location: Utah
Joined: 02/24/2003
Posts: 596
Minimum Elk Cartridge

Good points bitmahser. I never ask what can my rifle do in a perfect case scenario. IE no wind, can use my rangefinder, level shot, etc. Because if we were discussing what the minimum elk cartridge is that's capable of killing an elk, my answer would be a .22 LR at 25 yds from a bench rest while the elk is sedated.

I always ask myself and give advice on what a rifle can do in the worst case scenario. Being a skilled shooter is as important in hunting as knowing that elk live in mountains and not on the beach. However hunting isn't bench shooting. Its making range errors, slight wind, elk are not stationary, uphill and downhill shots, rifle shake, etc. Sure someone could argue that they know thier rifles' limitations and they hunt within those limitations but often times you have a "shooting" handicap you don't even realize exists. Range is a prefect example of that. Wind is another and sometimes you think you have a level shot but its up or downhill. The effect of an uphill shot is the same effect a hill has on the speed and power of your vehicle. It alters the ballistics. Sometimes that alteration can be measured in more than a couple of inches.

IMO a rifle-bullet combination should ONLY be considered on the game you are hunting if it can be counted on to RELIABLY penetrate the bone and muscle of that game.

[ This Message was edited by: rather_be_huntin on 2004-03-15 11:19 ]

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Location: Northern California
Joined: 02/09/2004
Posts: 21
Minimum Elk Cartridge

I have heard many people say the .270 isn’t all that great for Elk, but under 250 it seems to be quite good in fact. I just hear all these stories about .270 shot Elk taking 10 rounds in the wheelhouse and running off and I don’t buy it. I will agree that if you just want to shoot in the general direction of the vital zone of an animal you need a bigger caliber. It’s funny, I didn’t like the .270 until my shooting became fairly good. Here’s my real point in all this – If you have good shooting discipline you don’t need to shoot bigger rounds. Don’t shoot through bushes; don’t shoot at ranges you are not 100% sure of; don’t shoot offhand at 200 yards if you can’t always hit a dinner plate that way; don’t shoot quartering away at an animal because it’s “the last day of my hunt.” Shoot correctly. Worry about calibers after you get to that point. It’s fun to bolt off a 10 second 5 shot group at the range from the off-hand position and see the“magnum men” marvel at my 4 inch groups. It’s fun to hit running jacks at 75 yards that way too (with my “ladies rifle” - .270). Shoot some rolling clay pidgins with your .22 a couple of times a week and shoot offhand at the range and I’ll bet you the animals you shoot at will mysteriously become a little more mortal. I think the 30-06 is a perfect Elk entry rifle. Were I a guide, I’d suggest that all my clients use at least that. I would impose the same shooting restrictions I impose on myself with my .270 though. I think a lot of guides allow marginal shooters to take marginal shots so that they can get the client an animal at any means. Good thing I don’t need any friends around here… Hey, I’m not such a bad guy, though, I swear! I have a 1 year old who things I a wise 38 year old…. Good luck shooting by the way.

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Joined: 12/28/2003
Posts: 8
Minimum Elk Cartridge

Greetings all ... new here and just wanted to comment on this one. Lets say for the sake of argument you had to choose one of the follwing to hunt elk with (and yes, you have to choose one of these): a .270 handloaded with a 150gr Nosler partition bullet or a 300 win mag loaded with a 168gr nosler custom competition bullet? I think anyone with any sense would choose the .270 loaded with the partition. Basically what I am getting at is bullet selection is at least as important, if not more important, that caliber selection. Any bullet that hits an elks shoulder and breaks apart was not intended to be used to shoot an elk (or at least the bullet failed). Bullet weight and speed have less to do with a bullets ability to stay together than its design and intended use. I would put a .270 with a wise bullet selection way, way ahead of a .338 with a poor bullet selection.

[ This Message was edited by: swilk on 2004-03-16 06:30 ]

Location: Utah
Joined: 02/24/2003
Posts: 596
Minimum Elk Cartridge

Can't argue with you there SWILK. I mentioned the same thing about bullet selection also in one of my earlier posts. Welcome to the board.

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Location: Missouri/Arkansas
Joined: 08/21/2003
Posts: 891
Minimum Elk Cartridge

That's a very good point, EJ65, people that can shoot well are often the ones that favor 270s, 280s, and 308s over the larger magnums. A lot of the big bore guys wouldn't admit it, but odds are that they would shoot a lot better with a 270 than with the cannons they seem to prefer. A .416 Remington Magnum is hardly idiot-proof. Besides, when an elk shows up at a checking station and it's only got three legs, this doesn't paint a very flattering portrait of the hunter. Plus, three-legged elk don't make good full-body mounts.

bitmasher's picture
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Moderator
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2973
Minimum Elk Cartridge

Hey EJ,

Good thing I don’t need any friends around here… Hey, I’m not such a bad guy, though, I swear!

Most everybodies ok around here. You just stepped in a do-do pile with the 270/elk stuff...

I have a 1 year old who things I a wise 38 year old….

That's great, I hope when they are 13 they feel the same way. Wink

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Location: Wisconsin
Joined: 12/08/2003
Posts: 134
Minimum Elk Cartridge

Yeah, EJ. Everyone has an opinion, that's the whole purpose of the forum. Doesn't mean that there's any dislike going around. It can be an enlightening experience, seeing what others think and feel.

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Joined: 02/23/2004
Posts: 7
Minimum Elk Cartridge

Well i decided to go with a 7mm mag for my elk hunting trip and for some other deer hunting i have and will be doing. I dont consider it to be a real big bore gun as it really isnt that much bigger than the the 270. I enjoy shooting it and it doesnt kick like a mule either. I am a firm believer in making one shot count as i am a T/C encore user. I shoot a lot at long distances and contiunually shoot clays through out the year just to keep the edge. If you are not shooting your chosen weapon regularly i dont think you have any reason to be trying iffy shots on game animals. Just my 2cents. i will shut up now.

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Location: Missouri/Arkansas
Joined: 08/21/2003
Posts: 891
Minimum Elk Cartridge

Well, in caliber its not much bigger than a 270. It's a lot more powerful though. The closest match, performance-wise is the 300 Win. Mag.

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