rons first elk with a 338 bolt action

Discussion in 'tales of the hunt' started by Grumpy, Mar 20, 2019.

  1. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    my late hunting partner had very successfully used his browning BLR in caliber 358 win for several decades,
    and he used the same speer 250 grain bullet over the the same 44 grains of IMR 4064 ,
    and a 215 fed primer for the whole time ,
    as that load had consistently given him under 1" at 100 yards groups of a bench rest.
    now Ron had never taken any Elk I remember at a range greater than about 225 yards and having his BLR sighted in at 3.5: high at 100 yards ,
    he was dead on at 200 yards and about 10" low at 300 yards,
    certainly fully adequate, and well proven.
    BUT I had almost always used a 340 weatherby , on my opening day hunts,
    that 340 wby was pushing a 250 grain bullet to about 2850 fps,
    its hardly the easiest rifle to back pack into remote areas,
    the rifle weighted more, (especially as it had a harris bi-pod ) it was longer and less easily handled ,
    but at least in my mind it was damn near ideal.
    and having demonstrated its reach on several occasions
    "RON was impressed, even if he would only reluctantly admit it"
    Ron always referred to it as ( your #$%^ cannon) but It none the less irked him,
    that I could consistently shoot noticeably tighter groups in the field,
    where he was hard pressed too shoot a consistent 3" hundred yard group from a sitting position at 100 yards,
    and yes its not a fair contest, a weatherby bolt action with a bi-pod and a 3.5x -10x Leopold, vs his browning BLR , with a 2x- 7x,
    so after about 20 years of hunting very successfully with his BLR ,
    he found a close out sale at a local store selling a savage 338 win mag with a stainless barrel and camo stock, that look rather similar to this picture, for a very attractive low price.
    lacking better judgement, about spending money , on something new ,
    when we already have a damn good rifle,
    like most of us do,on occasion ,

    he purchased the rifle and we got it sighted in, with handload's
    I know I have done that,on many occasions.
    (purchased a new rifle I really did not need)

    we had found a stiff load of IMR 4350, and a hornady 225 grain bullet produced under 1" three shot groups in his savage.
    that year we decided to hunt the deep creek canyon,
    we found a small aspen grove on a lower ridge overlooking a natural choke point to game travel,
    in the upper canyon and were seated there about 40 yards apart watching slightly different areas of the canyon.
    as dawn came up on opening morning we could see far down the canyon ,
    we could see using our binoculars, orange vested hunters ,
    starting up the canyon at well over 2000 yards down the canyon,
    this was very common as we had learned long ago,and it was one reason we selected the location on opening day.
    Even though it mandated that a couple hours hike in the predawn,
    into this area, was almost sure to be productive for that and other reasons.
    at just past dawn Ron saw his first legal 4 point per side bull elk,
    and since this was public land it was in his mind a no-brainer,
    to shoot if the opportunity was presented at a reasonable range.
    Ron waited until the bull got to within about 120 yards,
    Due to the elks location vs his view,
    he had to shoot leaning over a aspen branch,
    and he got off two rather rapid shots, and right there decided he missed his lever action.
    the ELK continued to run up canyon, past RON,
    it obviously had no idea where Ron or the shots had come from.
    Ron was very excited, he swore he had "drilled that elks heart"
    but as the elk had not dropped , RON,
    had rushed to the edge of the bench/ledge to watch the elk run,
    before it made an additional 30 more yards it was down.
    I don,t know what Ron was thinking,
    but he jumped off about a 12-13 foot ledge,holding his rifle,
    and ran down a rather steep,incline to reach his elk,
    (he was lucky not to be injured with that stunt)
    I remember telling him... you know if you break a leg down in these canyons ,
    the only way to get you out is the same way we get the elk out...
    in several smaller sections , in 70lb-80 lb loads
    the grade was so steep that once we hooked up a block and tackle to hoist the elk on an aspen tree,
    simply starting to lift the elk its body slid down slope, considerably,
    we got it up and dressed out and quartered, and spent the next two days transporting the meat.
    much of the fun stops once the rifle shot echos die off.
    and walking out of that canyon with 60-80 lbs in a back pack,
    on several trips that packing the meat out requires,can be a challenge,
    especially if your my age.(and that was 20 years ago)
    after that hunt, the 338 savage got little use in Rons hands in rough terrain.
    he regarded it as his mule deer only rifle ,
    as in his mind its sole advantage was significantly flatter trajectory,
    than his BLR ,as its demonstrated lethality, on elk,
    was in his experience no better than his BLR.
    now to be fair Rons accuracy was not really great,
    he had hit the liver (probably shot #2)
    after the bullet raked through the hip and paunch,
    with one shot ,
    and punched through both lungs, a bit further back than ideal,
    the bullet entering high and exiting low on the exit side,
    (probably the first shot)with the other shot,
    hits were easily 15" apart,
    but on a running elk at about 120 plus yards,
    while excited and shot, made , leaning on an aspen,
    with a rifle, and load used,
    ( he was not really good with it,)
    it proved fully adequate, as both shots punched clean through the elk.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2019
  2. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    I got asked by one of the guys at the range why I was using a 375 H&H and I just replied its worked for over 40 years why would I change?
    I've swapped to my 375 H&H carbine if I was still hunting the thicker timber on many hunts as its a darn sight easier,
    to still hunt with and carry than the weatherby if your hunting areas where your chances of getting a shot exceeding 200 yards is almost non-existent.
    while this is NOT my 375 H&H sako carbine, in the picture posted above,
    My SAKO CARBINE is almost an exact clone except,
    that my stocks about 5 shades darker,
    so its about as dark as walnut gets.
    a great deal of the area I spent decades hunting,
    looks similar to these photos,
    but much of its on a steeper terrain grade,
    and thicker conifer and aspen are common.

    Last edited: Mar 20, 2019
  3. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven Well-Known Member

    Those pictures remind me of our property in the upper Michigan Penninsula.
    That last pic looks like the view out of my blind.

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