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Location: Idaho
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What caliber do you use for elk? Me, I've switched to a 243

A lot of good conversation about elk and guns ... here's my twist: if you are going to use the .243 like an arrow ... well-placed shot behind the shoulder, catching both lungs and maybe heart, and then out the other side, plus deliver some shock on the way thru ... the 243 would be like a 30-06 125 gr, 150 gr, and so on and so on. After the appropriate amount of time - probably not long - you follow your animal into the thicket to where he or she has died, and there you have it.

But if you have to `put the animal down' - e.g., deliver as much energy (e.g. destruction) as possible into as much muscle and bone as possible, at the probability of losing meat, but the better likelihood of getting (or not losing) the thing - then the 243 is going to be much different than the bigger stuff.

Part of hunting is learned beforehand ... the other in doing.

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Location: Missouri/Arkansas
Joined: 08/21/2003
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What caliber do you use for elk? Me, I've switched to a 243

A 243 shooting a 100 grain bullet is not even remotely similar to a 30-06 shooting a 125 grain bullet.

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Location: Idaho
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Posts: 1068
What caliber do you use for elk? Me, I've switched to a 243

... here's my point: early elk starts our here in 6 days. I would like a head shot at less than 50 yards. (It's an antlerless hunt.) Any caliber will do (for that first shot). But if something goes even sligthtly wrong - let's say I miss the brain by an inch or two, and take off the jaw ... yikes, heaven forbid, yuck, ugly situation, hope-it-doesn't-happen ... I need resources to put the animal DOWN, ASAP. For elk and I want a single gun / bullet good for both (first, and potentially, second, shots). Let's see how it plays out.

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Location: Missouri/Arkansas
Joined: 08/21/2003
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What caliber do you use for elk? Me, I've switched to a 243

Point taken. What I meant was from where you said a 243 was like a 125 grain 30-06. A 125 grain 30-06 is practically a hollow point. A 90-100 grain 243 bullet behaves similarly to a 130 or 140 grain 270 Winchester bullet. Ideal for game such as deer, mountain goat, pronghorn, black bear, plus all your basic varmint shooting. You are correct about it not being an elk cartridge. It was not created for that purpose.

On the other hand, the 270 Winchester, 30-06, 7mm Magnum, 300 Magnum, or 338 Magnum are suitable and practical elk cartridges.

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Location: Idaho
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Posts: 1068
What caliber do you use for elk? Me, I've switched to a 243

I'm with you ... I love this forum. It's great to glean from so many. Gulp - then it's time to go out in the field and see what works, and what doesn't.

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Location: Utah
Joined: 03/03/2005
Posts: 383
Sectional Densities of 243 Win, 270 Win, and 30-06 Spring

Concerning Sectional Densities (SD's):

243 Win
80-gr. .243 Cal. = .194
90-gr. .243 Cal. = .218
100-gr. .243 Cal. = .242

270 Win
130-gr. .277 Cal. = .242
140-gr. .277 Cal. = .261
150-gr. .277 Cal. = .279

30-06 Springfield
150-gr. .308 Cal. = .226
165-gr. .308 Cal. = .248
180-gr. .308 Cal. = .271

The OAL of a bullet needs to be so long as to provide a sufficient wound channel through deep penetration. *** Small caliber holes and short fat bullets both come-up short in this area.

Conversely, long, heavy for caliber bullets may not expand enough to enlarge the wound channel, so a happy medium is needed - with adequate penetration coming ahead of expansion.

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Location: Missouri/Arkansas
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What caliber do you use for elk? Me, I've switched to a 243

I've seen how a 243 shooting Remington Accu-Tip bullets works on deer, so no-one but no-one is going to tell me it's a marginal choice. But like for elk, I wouldn't want to use any .243 caliber round, including the 240 Weatherby. 270 minimum, period. Those who use 257's and 264 caliber rounds, they'll work, but I wouldn't pick them. Except maybe the 264 Win. Mag.

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
What caliber do you use for elk? Me, I've switched to a 243

I'm going to wander out there with my Win Feather 30-06 with 180 grain bullet. I like the way it's shooting right now.

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Location: Colorado
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What caliber do you use for elk? Me, I've switched to a 243

The 243 could be used like an arrow, so could a 22-250 or 223 for that matter. I don't doubt that people **could** kill an elk at that range and even consistently.

The point is why even bother take the risk? The recoil of a 270 or 30-06 is not that great and even if it is too great, options like muzzle brakes and recoil pads are available to make the pain more manageable. Besides who feels it when their hunting? Presumably any pain associated with a cartridge is related to the practicing before the hunt, rather than the hunt itself.

One could argue that a hunter is probably taking less of a risk by practicing with a 243 then shoots a 30-06 only when hunting as opposed to a hunter that practices and hunts elk with a 243 only.

If one wanted to go the two gun route, mixing and matching ammo one could pick a 243 load that is ballistically similar to a 30-06 (similar in trajectory, but not energy). To further this point, it is even possible with NEF and TC rifles to shoot the exact same gun with just a barrel change, removing the need to even own two guns....

There are a lot options available to a person, rather than going all the way to a 243 on elk to hunt if recoil is an issue.

Location: Utah
Joined: 02/24/2003
Posts: 596
What caliber do you use for elk? Me, I've switched to a 243

I gotta admit I've always hated the recoil argument for using a 243 on elk. I could go on and on probably be a little more politically correct but let's just say it how it is. If you're not tough enough to use the proper tools then you shouldn't be elk hunting. If you want to play football, you gotta take a hit. You don't ask the others players to go easy on you. There are lots of options to reduce recoil. I've seen 15 year old petit girls shoot elk with a properly set-up 30-06 so it can be done. If you simply can't "handle" the re-coil of an elk cartridge maybe that sort of hunting just isn't for you. Kind of like hunting sheep. You have to be able to hike up to the highest rockiest peaks and that's just not for everyone.

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