starting out looking for a decent hunting rifle for deer/elk

Discussion in 'rifle related' started by grumpyvette, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    was asked by a young friend, whos looking to go on his first ELK hunt....

    "if your starting over, and wanted a new ELK and DEER RIFLE, what would you buy and why?"
    no one here could realistically select , or even make an educated guess at the best rifle for your future hunts, without knowing both the area you intend to hunt and the game you intend to hunt. but I will point out a few facts based on almost 5 decades of hunting mostly deer and elk.
    I've used about all the popular calibers from 270 win with a 150 grain bullet, up through 458 win (with 405 grain hand loads) at one time or another, they all work, but something like a 35 whelen or a 338 win combines both reasonably flat trajectory and the projectile mass to do a damn effective job.
    after watching dozens of elk and deer killed over almost 47 years of making hunting trips, I have come to the conclusion, that most people should worry a lot less about the rifle caliber or whats stamped on the case and spend a lot more time practicing with what ever they carry now,
    and spend much more time and effort finding some local tall building stair cases or bleacher steps to run up while wearing a 50 lb back-pack on a regular basis/

    good optics are critical Id suggest something variable in the 2x7 or 3x9 range in a decent brand name with the 30mm tube and a 40mm- 50mm front lens for great low light transmission in leopold or nikon
    the truth most guys won,t recognize is that many guys are not in good enough physical condition too take the effort , required,
    to find a decent trophy and too look over that next ridge, nor have they practiced enough to consistently,
    and rapidly hit a coke can off hand at 50 yards, let alone a walking deer at 100-300 yards and Id bet better than 90% of game is killed at under 300 yards.
    keep in mind, being in good physical condition, knowing the games habits and anatomy and dogged, persistence, and learning how too shoot rapidly and accurately from field positions will have far far more effect on your success than any change you make in the rifle you carry.

    you can have the best equipment available, but if your not willing to cross enough territory to be in the right place ate the right time, and that generally will not be in sight of camp,your hurting your odds of success.

    now Ive got a wide selection currently so thats hardly a problem, but If I was starting over AS A BRAND NEW ELK & DEER HUNTER,Id be very tempted to select a synthetic stocked BAR in 30/06 sprg ,300 win or 338 win mag caliber, and IM 90% sure the 338 win would get the nod, personally, because I HUNT ELK 90% of the time.!
    but ID strongly suggest the 30/06 sprg for a new guy!
    (why?.. the range power and recoil are all well within the average range most guys can handle , if you step up to something like a 338 win, 340 wby or 375 H&H you get more knock-down/ penetration/range, and power and that effective range can occasionally be useful, but the trade-off is increased ammo cost, and recoil and rifle weight in some cases.
    but remember most game is killed well under 300 yards so a rifle like a 358 win BLR, 450 marlin, or 35 welen, which has a rather limited range compared to a 300 mag or 7mm mag, or even a 30/06, is not the handicap many people would have you believe, thinking back over the last 47 years of hunting I can remember damn few deer or elk that were seen or shot at over 200 yards let alone longer distances.
    I don,t like many bolt guns handling characteristics, I prefer a nice falling block single shot for both looks and handling, personally ,
    but as strictly as a TOOL to kill ELK, the BAR has some advantages. the longer I hunt ELK the more Ive been convinced that a fast and accurately placed shot, the guns intrinsic speed in handling and confidence in your rifle far out weight the small advantage in accuracy the bolt guns provide, and while I have zero problem using a falling block single shot, a semi auto tends to give the newer guys a bit of confidence and the action soaks up a good percentage of the felt recoil.
    When I started hunting I carried a 760 rem in 30/06, on the advice of several experienced mentors, it worked great, but I was under the impression, that I needed a magnum caliber as the first couple elk I shot failed to instantly fall over when hit,
    I upgraded to and I have mostly carried a 340 wby mark V or a sako 375 H&H carbine,
    these did not kill any better but you darn sure got a more noticeable reaction when you hit game! (they became my trusted companions for decades.)
    I have had a remington 7600 in 35 whelen as a shared hunting camp back-up rifle available on many of the trips to hunt elk, and its saved the hunt for several guys over the years when for various reasons their rifle stopped functioning.
    the more experience I got the less I worried about the rifle being used, simply because Ive seen everything from a 257 robert's BLR to a 458 win ruger single shot, used successfully, to kill elk.
    I personally trust, and prefer to carry the .338-.375 caliber rifles , but Ive seen that anything from .257 to .458 works if the guy carrying its knows how to use what he has in his hands.
    I've just seen too many elk and big mule deer killed very dead with a 257 roberts, 6.5mm swedish mauser , or 308 win, to think you need a magnum, or guys using a
    444 marlin, 45/70 or 458 win to think you need the flattest trajectory available

    Ive used about all the common rifle calibers from 257 roberts, 257 wby, up to 458 lott , and pistols from 357mag to 500 S&W, on local deer here in florida at one time or another,
    and buffybr has a point, almost any caliber with a heavy for its bore diameter projectile properly placed is lethal in the hands of a skilled hunter
    animals are far from armor plated even a 357 mag or 10mm will drop an elk with a well placed shot.
    I have total confidence in the rifles I've selected once I know they are correctly sighted in, and while I tend to prefer the 35-45 calibers ,
    you can't ignore physics and a heavy bullet of high sectional density tends to get much better penetration and carries energy well.
    personally I prefer the 340 wby, and 375 H&H for big game, my late hunting partner used nothing but a 358 win BLR and referred to my rifles as cannons.
    one of the guys I hunted with for years used a 257 roberts....we were all successful...
    theres too many guys with a long list of successful kills using other cartridges to think that theres a magic upper or lower limit ,that must be adhered too on the weapons power to get it too work.
    howard hill killed elephants with archery equipment, there have been record size grizzly's killed with a 22lr, eskimos have killed dozens of polar bear and huge walrus with a 243 win.
    find what your comfortable using, use a quality bullet heavy for bore diameter, and learn how to shoot well from field positions and you'll have very few problems.
    you need to be 100% confident in your choice, and know exactly your limitations, yes you do give up some potential range and penetration with some smaller calibers...
    if you use those, just understand you need to get a bit closer and be a bit more precise, with shot placement,
    power does NOT make up for bad shot placement, but it does allow you some extra latitude in making racking angle shots, at longer ranges, that you should not attempt with lesser calibers at longer ranges.
    but I'd also point out that in almost 50 years of hunting , I'd bet 90% of the game Ive shot or seen shot was killed at well under 300 yards. ... ype_id=008

    Id remind anyone looking to purchase an accurate dependable hunting rifle that youll want high quality optics and rock solid scope mounts, the best rifle available will be seriously hampered if its not matched to clear and solidly consistent optics!
    one of the most common failures I've seen over the decades was not related to the basic rifle function (although that did on occasion happen) but much more commonly loose scope mounts or cheap optics that failed to retain zero or fogged.
    for most hunting you don,t need some huge high magnification scope , what you need is decent quality and rock solid dependability.
    the newer LEOPOLD and NIKON 30mm tube size scopes are mostly an excellent value for the price.
    yes theres hundreds of options, but if your looking for a good value Id suggest you want to select one with top quality optics for the price, a 30mm tube and 50mm front lens in a well known respected brand is a good start point for good low light transmission and clear target,vision. something similar to these linked below would provide an excellent match to a deer or elk rifle to be used for precise shot placement with most reasonable caliber elk/deer rifles, set on the lowest setting they allow you to make very rapid and accurate shots, if you have the time to get a solid field position, jack the magnification up as required. - Scope Rings, Bases, Mounting & Accessories&utm_content=519551&cm_mmc=pf_ci_google-_-Optics - Scope Rings, Bases, Mounting & Accessories-_-Weaver-_-519551&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIq6X4zMqA2QIV2brACh0otQ2aEAQYAiABEgIgfPD_BwE
    most modern quality scopes are far better than they used to be, but there are some advantages to buying the larger objective lens and 30mm tube designs.
    if you've ever taken a scope like one these out at dusk too actually compare how clear the details are you can see, you might be amazed at the difference between the scopes similar to these compared to the older 1" tube and smaller lens size scopes, the newer scopes are a quantum leap in quality over the scopes available even 10-15 years ago.
    If you get the chance take out several rifles with different optics , out at dusk and look at fine details on something like a fence at even 150 yards, the difference in the finer detail you can see in less than ideal lighting will astound you!
    (this may not seem that important as most scopes look crystal clear in some well lighted store, but if your still hunting the thick timber at dawn or dusk it makes a world of difference if your trying to figure out if your looking at antlers or branches in the lodge pole timber
    we all find favorites,
    and ever choice is a compromise in rifle weight, flat trajectory, acceptable recoil, useful, bullet mass and potential impact energy and penetration.
    from what Ive seen Id suggest the 270 win with a premium 150 gain bullet, or a 30/06 with a 180 grain makes a dependable choice, if recoils an issue.
    everyone will compromise in some area and find what they are comfortable using.
    if your looking for a reasonable compromise in rifle weight and recoil yet still having a rifle that works rather well on both deer and elk.
    personally I am very willing to carry a bit more rifle weight, and accept a significantly increased level of recoil and I prefer the 340 wby & 375 H&H,
    yes Im very well aware I'm in the minority, but no one I hunt with disputes the results,
    I have total confidence in the rifles based on decades of almost exclusively, one shot kills their objections to owning one are always, centered on ammo and rifle cost,
    on the rifle weight and recoil,
    no one disputes the lethality, trajectory or penetration.
    my rebuttal, is that if 2 extra lbs of rifle weight, or a bit of extra recoil in a rifle you might shoot only a once or couple times on a hunt,
    keeps you from comfortably exploring the next canyon, with some old geezer like me, you probably need to eat better and exercise more often.
    and the cost of the rifle amortized over the 45 plus years is negligible, hand-loading puts the ammo price in a reasonable range.
    Im now 70 years old slower than I was, but more persistent and far more skilled and knowledgeable, it may take me longer, to get in and out of the canyons but I know what I'm doing and where to look, and I can still shoot accurately.
    in my experience youll get about 90% of your shots looking like these, at under 200 yards rather than game standing out in a well lighted field


    WHY? well as a NEW HUNTER Id want a fast handling accurate rifle that would provide a solid hit potential and the ability to provide a fast back-up shot. in spite of the thousands of magazine articles youll read to the contrary, most deer and ELK are shot at UNDER 300 yards and under 150 yards is the average distance.
    I will be the first guy to tell you IVE not needed a second shot in many years but having that option instantly on tap is a good thing in my opinion, ESPECIALLY for a newer ELK hunter.
    Ive hunted with MY 338 BAR,and MY 30/06 sprg and while they are not my favorite rifles they have been extremely effective.
    now I hear the screaming already!
    Im not promoting the SPRAY AND PRAY mentality, but I usually start the new guys off with a slide action, a lever action or a semi-auto and Ive found the semi-auto is by far the best because theres nothing to distract the new guys, theres nothing but release the safety, aim and fire....need a second shot, you don,t do a darn thing, but regain the sight picture and squeeze off the next shot, and that's a big advantage when your hearts beating so fast you can hear it, and your minds running wild, as your shooting your first few ELK.!
    make that first shot count and you will not be concerned with magazine capacity or making a rapid second shot.
    Ive used a 340 wby and 375 H&H on most ELK


    no thats not my rifle but its damn near its clone
    how many of you gentlemen have and use a bi-pod on your rifle?
    Ive used the 13.5" /27" swivel bi-pod for decades on my 340 wby synthetic bolt action, rifle.
    the bi-pod allows you to have a steady rifle rest shot from both a prone or seated position,
    now I'm sure I'm in the minority and many guys will object to the added weight , but I've learned to hunt by glassing and covering a great deal of ground slowly,
    the key here is in carefully selecting the areas hunted and not randomly wandering aimlessly.
    you want to study topographical maps carefully, and have experience, you can look over the options, get into productive areas well before other hunters and set up, before first light, allowing you to benefit from the influx p o hunter pressure as they move through the are disrupting game movement, and increase your odds of success by hunting ,
    natural travel routes and terrain choke points, and not wasting time glassing the areas with lots off easy road access.
    elk and deer learn very quickly that travel, during daylight, near logging roads with vehicle travel access , is not safe.
    if you set up to glass for game on a natural game travel choke point , like a narrow side canyon, that has a creek and cover youll up your odds significantly.
    having a bi-pod on your rifle and a good familiarity with your rifles trajectory sure helps.
    • [​IMG]
    Click image to open expanded view

    HB25CS 25C Model S -13.5-27" Swivel Bipod
    by Harris Engineering

    a weatherby 340 mag, It originally had a wood stock, I swapped to synthetic as soon as they were available,I purchased the synthetic stainless version as soon as they came out also
    both rifles make the trip most years.
    250 grain bullet at 2850 fps , consistently accurate, and I can,t remember needing a second shot on anything in over 38 years
    yeah its a bit heavy, at about 10 lbs with scope, but if an extra couple lbs keeps you from visiting the next canyon your in crappy physical shape,
    I'm 70 and while I'm slower Im just as persistent and a good deal more skilled and knowledgeable than I was when I was 23 and bought the rifle
    and its been on far more successful hunts than many guys will ever make,
    if the targets inside of 500 yards its in serious trouble. Ive yet to see a deer or elk shake off a single hit!
    my late hunting partner considered anyone not equipped, with a browning BLR in caliber 358 win ,
    while hunting elk too be hampered and working under a sever dis-advantage
    I loaded for him for almost 30 years , fed 215 primer, 250 grain speer and 44 grains of IMR 4064
    that carbine accounted for at least 14 elk over 35 years.
    . [​IMG]
    he constantly referred to my 340 wby as a "damn CANNON"
    we were both successful.
    Many of the guys that are not lever action fans, buy bolt or pump actions in caliber 35 whelen, the 35 whelen adds about 200 fps to the same bullets the 358 win shoots,
    ( I doubt any elk or deer knows the difference)several of the guys I hunt elk with think the 7600 35 whelen, is a top choice,
    I've used one and I don,t see a damn thing thats in need of improvement if you hunt the ticker timber areas.
    [​IMG] Whelen&Weight=All&type=Rifle&Source=

    I would have saved a wheelbarrow full of cash if Id stopped buying new rifles trying to find something better.... never did!

    now you better know your games anatomy, because only shots to the vitals will provide quick results, a shot driven thru the arteries over the heart is a sure killer, but remember the bullet must reliably expand and penetrate, the heavier bullets for the caliber tend to work better in my experience, Id suggest use of nothing under 140 grains in a 270 caliber, 165 grains in a 30 cal or under 200 grains in a 338 cal should be considered in my opinion,
    YES you can kill elk with lighter bullets but your more consistent with the better penetration the heavier weight provide because you can,t always pick the range or angles

    don,t get hung up on velocity just get the most accurate load
    yeah, been there many times, back in the 1970s I saw a buddy impressively drop two deer in very rapid succession at about 200 yards with a marlin 444,
    he used 240 grain soft point bullets
    I went out and bought one, it worked ok, it worked better after I found 265 grain hornady bullets,
    but after awhile in the later 1980s I upgraded to a marlin 45/70 , and got into casting 350 grain, bullets and eventually upgraded to a 450 marlin BLR, when they came out with those in about 2000, using 405 grain bullets,
    accuracy and stopping power were marginally better after each upgrade, as group sizes shrunk and bullet weight increases and AS I GAINED MORE EXPERIENCE AND SKILL,
    the results I got improved.(group sizes became more consistent and slightly smaller, with each change)

    now I'm not about to suggest there was anything wrong with any of those calibers, or rifles and,
    I doubt any deer or elk would not have dropped if hit well with any of those rifles.
    certainly all those rifles would shoot under 2" bench rest groups and the BLR is consistently under 1" three shot groups off the bench rest,
    but I don,t know anyone who can keep a consistent 2" or less 100 yard three shot group shooting from a field position,
    so I doubt any deer or elk would notice.
    but I certainly felt each upgrade was worth the money
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2019
  2. 2Loose

    2Loose reliable source of info

    Grumpy you come up with some interesting questions.

    What to advise for a new guy for deer and elk.

    Well, I grew up in Lassen County California, mulie country, with bolt actions, ought six stuff early on, lately and for a quite awhile now the Rem model 700 in 300 win mag. I load, so I can custom load the win mag to light loads or heavy loads. Not much heavy game around here, mostly goat and axis deer. Wild pig too, but that is in the heavy rain forest, and we use dogs and knives for that, no guns. For the goats I like the Nosler 150 grain ballistic tip boat tails with a fairly hot load. I like to hunt at 8,000' to 10,000' elev. along the back side of Haleakala volcano. No cover up there so unless you get lucky and can get close, they are mostly long shots. Deer are recent imports to Maui and I really haven't gotten into hunting them. They are brush residents, and hang a lot near residential developments, and I don't like hunting in those areas.

    I've got a couple of .223 rigs, an AR15 and a Ruger mini-14 Ranch Rifle, both are fun, but I don't hunt with them. In the 60's and early 70's Haleakala crater had a lot of goats, we used to go in as National Park Service deputized volunteers and round up goats on horseback and knock em off, used the AR15 a lot for that, that was mostly close work. The National Park was being fenced off to keep out the pigs and goats, and we were the "clean up" squad to clear out the inside of the park. I've never used a semiauto in the bigger calibers, so can't speak to their abilities.

    Never hunted anything as big as an elk, but I'd think my model 700 300 win mag with the proper loads would work just fine. I'm a one shot kind of guy, if I can't get close enough to know exactly where I'm going to put that shot, I don't squeeze it off. But sometimes there are two or three animals, then......

    One word of advice for a new hunter, practice, practice, practice......
    Get so you know your weapon well, and know where you are putting your shots and can put them there with confidence. I've hunted with guys that like to blow lead all over the mountain, I only hunt with them once.
    And take a certified hunters safety course.

  3. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    I hunted near LIKELY california for several years for mule deer in the warner wilderness so IM familiar with the area (lassen and MODOC)
    BTW the 300 mags with (180,or 190,or 200 grain bullets do a fine job on ELK)

    I always have to smile a bit when I see these threads, if your asked to make a suggestion, regarding selection of any type of equipment,
    its mandatory that the person asking for advise, provide the rather more experienced person(s) he is asking with ALL the perimeters and legal limitations,based
    on the area and terrain being hunted, the game, being hunted, and likely range limitations.
    obviously if the area your hunting is limited to a shot gun, or strait wall cartridge or if theres game department caliber or muzzle energy limits, caliber minimums etc.
    those limits must be stated for the advise to be a reasonable match to the intended usage, and area.
    most of us have several favorites in rifles and calibers, or your recoil tolerance,
    but I could no more select the rifle and caliber that best matches your anticipated needs best,
    than I could anticipate your , choice in a wife.
    yes there are dozens of well, proven combos, most are fully functional in most areas, under most common conditions and ranges.
    and its the skill and confidence and experience of the guy using the rifle that tends to mater more than the rifle or caliber selected, in many cases.
    I hunted with many guys than own and hunt with several different rifles, and two guys Ive hunted with for decades have stuck with two rather different rifles
    (a 358 win BLR and a single shot ruger #1 in 270 win) both have long records of successful hunts

    a few tips
    a decent wide brim hat treated with water repel-ant spray, to keep rain and snow out of your eyes or running down the back of your neck and sun out of your eyes sure helps
    as does having a comfortable light weight back-pack to transport game meat, and a poncho to keep you drier in heavy rain or snow.
    comfortable insulated boots with good ankle support and an aggressive tread are nearly mandatory
    this is a darn good value in a skinning and dressing game knife
    a jacket and or vest that can be stored in your back pack for sudden temp swings helps a great deal

    a decent rifle bi-pod aids accuracy


    heres a quick memory jog list, for hunt day pack
    (remember you might be forced to stay out over night, & weather is unpredictable)
    skinning knife
    compact blade sharpener
    area topo maps
    cell phone
    several lighters
    several mil surplus trioxane heat tabs
    granola bars
    rain poncho
    2 gallon zip lock bags
    small block & tackle hoist & rope(50 ft parachute cord)
    spare ammo
    heavy hoodie jacket
    large plastic tarp
    lip chapstick
    water purification tablets, or filter/pump
    down vest
    pack of wetnaps
    toilet paper
    emergency food
    on your belt
    large knife or light tomahawk, or kukuri
    the cold steel (TRAIL MASTER, or ( KUKRI) are good choices

    anything that could get screwed up if you fall in a creek like medicine, licences, cell phones etc. gets double zip loc bagged
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2019
  4. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    when I started hunting elk, the PETERS, winchester,remington, and federal 220 grain 30/06, ammo, was being used in a slide action remington, or bolt action by almost all the older guys I saw , and was what the older guys used.
    IT killed ELK very dead, not instantly,in most cases, but it was dependable, and a single well placed shot resulted in a dead elk every time!
    BUT being young and "smarter" than the guys who had been hunting for many years,I wanted to slap those elk silly, I JUST KNEW I COULD DO BETTER!so,I bought and still use a 340 WBY loaded with 250 grain bullets,
    and yes it tends to get the ELKs full attention,on bullet impact far more often,
    but the truth is "IT killed ELK very dead, not instantly,in some cases, but it was dependable, and a single well placed shot resulted in a dead elk every time!"
    Over the last 39 years or so Ive seen almost everything from a 257 bob loaded with 100 grain soft points to a 458 win loaded with 405 rem bullets, used on ELK, same deal,IT killed ELK very dead, not instantly,in most cases, but it was dependable, and a single well placed shot resulted in a dead elk every time! yes some things worked better, faster,or at longer ranges or made the job easier, but it still came down to hunter skill and shot placement more than the caliber.

    IF I was going to pick the calibers that worked exceptionally well, Id suggest the 30/06-35 whelen,338 win,300 mags and 375 H&H, but I sure would not stay home if I only owned a 257 roberts, or 6.5mm swedish, or 270 win because it was (TOO SMALL) for ELK
  5. Friar-Tuck

    Friar-Tuck Member

    Likely and Modoc...
    Brother this is a small world... I worked the Modoc line from Klamath Falls
    To Alturas a few times before the U.P.R.R. sold off that branch Line...
    It is a small world after alll... :D
  6. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    Re: starting out looking for a decent hunting rifle for deer

    I have a friend that recently hunted in Washington state for elk, he was new to elk hunting but had hunted deer in Virginia a few times, he was a guest of a local guy and he spent months before the hunt reading up on every facet of elk hunting he could locate, he was convinced he needed a 300 mag rifle after reading dozens of magazine articles.
    well opening day comes around and hes driven several hours with his friend to where they will be hunting, hes borrowed a 300 mag from one of the local guys friends,and hes only shot it the day before at the range and as he gets ready to walk in he finds the scopes fogged up, and the rifles got no iron sites as a back-up, hes basically holding a useless rifle, but luckily, his friend says hes packed a back-up rifle just in case.
    It turns out to be a marlin 45/70 with iron peep sights, he rather reluctantly takes it as theres no real choice, at that point.
    he is assure the rifles dead on at 125 yards so he puts a dozen cartridges in his pocket and walks into the area.
    to make a long story shorter, he drops a fine 4 point elk on the second day with a shoulder shot at about 60-70 yards and gained a great deal of respect for the 45/70, his friend got skunked and never got a shot, and his main impression was that a rifle that can shoot 400 yards may be darn impressive but in the area he hunted 80 yards was one long distance to see anything as it was heavily wooded and steep slopes and he found the marlin a good choice, so much so that he went and bought one. in a carbine/stainless version.
    IM sure he could have done as well with a 270 win,7mm mauser,30/06 , 444 marlin,450 marlin,or a 300 mag,etc. but as most experienced hunters know, within reasonable limits , its more the skill, and luck of the hunter than the caliber he selects, that determines the results ... 1895GS.asp

    viewtopic.php?f=92&t=7403 ... ngton.html

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2018
  7. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    just wanted to add that I recently meet about 5 of the guys I usually hunt ELK with and several more guys who only occasionally hunt with the group on various trips out west for elk,at the range and for coffee, later and we discussed the changes in our equipment choices, over the years, now Id point out that many of the guys in the group are getting older and have many years of experience, now.
    but the trend away from the really big magnums , long barrels, huge 6-18 and 4x12 x scopes and super fast sub 30 calibers is very obvious.
    most of us own several ELK rifles
    the 338/06 and 35 whelen , 358 win , 280 rem and 30/06 are by far the most common calibers we all tend to use now, with a few guys hanging onto the heavier 338 win,375 H&H, or 45/70 and 340 wby.
    many of the guys in the group have sold off rifles as they got older but its rather obvious that the milder 30 caliber-35 calibers and shorter barreled carbines are well regarded, as elk rifles, among the experienced group , and many of us have over 30 plus elk hunts in the past
    but in every case the trend is to lighter and shorter rifles and smaller scopes

    one point all the guys seemed to agree on was that when they first started hunting elk ,looking over the trajectory tables and the loads producing the flattest trajectory were regarded as very important, now most guys just select a premium bullet with a minimum .260 sectional density

    any gun I find to be unwanted gets traded off or given to friends who show any interest in it , in a 1/2 a heart beat
    Ive only rarely regretted giving away, or trading guns to friends, theres been only a few Id like to get back, now years later
    I don,t have a large selection any more but what I do have ,I like a great deal, each has its purpose but as I get older and more experienced Ive found several get used far more frequently, and I seem to have a tendency toward lever and single shot rifles,in the 33-45 calibers
    Ive got a couple browning 78s similar to these pictures, that I think are absolutely outstanding hunting rifles, when you don,t put a huge scope on them

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2018
  8. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    one of the guys I hunt with stopped by to B.S. and he mentioned hes saving up to buy a new savage 6.5mm creedmore rifle to use for long range mule deer hunting,
    he already owns a sako 25/06.
    If he has the cash and wants a new rifle,
    well, Id be the last person to tell him not too, but deal in facts not fantasy

    so I asked him why he would want to spend roughly $1600 on the 6.5 creedmore?
    and he stated it was just so much flatter in trajectory......
    I said really lets do the math
    (I own a 257 wby, ruger falling block #1 ,
    which shoots flatter than a 25/06 but the 25/06 is certainly not a bad rifle, so being in a big rush to grab a 6.5mm seemed to be a waste of cash in this case to me....especially when I know from experience that seeing a deer worth shooting in the field at over 500 yards in most areas is going to be a very rare deal.
    so spending a great deal of cash on a rifle to make 1000 yard shots is very likely to be wasting cash )!/
    Range Velocity Energy Trajectory Come Up (MOA) Come Up (MILS) Wind Drift Wind Drift (MOA) Wind Drift (MILS)
    0 2700 2379.0 -1.5 0.0 0.0 0 0 0
    100 2571 2157.0 5.9 -5.6 -1.6 0 0 0
    200 2445 1951.0 8.0 -3.8 -1.1 0 0 0
    300 2323 1761.0 4.2 -1.3 -0.4 0 0 0
    400 2204 1585.0 -5.9 1.4 0.4 0 0 0
    500 2089 1424.0 -23.3 4.4 1.3 0 0 0
    600 1977 1276.0 -48.6 7.7 2.3 0 0 0
    700 1869 1140.0 -82.9 11.3 3.3 0 0 0
    800 1765 1017.0 -127.1 15.2 4.4 0 0 0
    900 1665 905.0 -182.4 19.4 5.6 0 0 0
    1000 1571 805.0 -250.4 23.9 7.0 0 0 0

    after doing the calcs with the most likely to be used hunting bullets we find the 25/05 has a slightly flatter trajectory and its smaller lighter weight bullet retains a bit less impact energy,
    if as an example we choose 800 yards

    a 6.5mm at 800 yards with a 147 grain bullet
    velocity 1765
    energy 1017.0
    drop-127.1 inches

    25/06 120 grain bullet at 800 yards ,
    velocity 1778 ,
    energy 842.0
    drop-106. inches

    roughly 2 feet more drop at 800 yards for the 6.5mm creedmore

    [​IMG]!/ Remington&Weight=All&type=rifle&Order=Powder&Source=!/standard

    Range Velocity Energy Trajectory Come Up (MOA) Come Up (MILS) Wind Drift Wind Drift (MOA) Wind Drift (MILS)
    0 3170 2677.0 -1.5 0.0 0.0 0 0 0
    100 2968 2348.0 4.2 -4.1 -1.2 0 0 0
    200 2776 2054.0 6.0 -2.9 -0.8 0 0 0
    300 2592 1791.0 3.3 -1.0 -0.3 0 0 0
    400 2416 1555.0 -4.6 1.1 0.3 0 0 0
    500 2246 1344.0 -18.5 3.5 1.0 0 0 0
    600 2083 1156.0 -39.3 6.3 1.8 0 0 0

    I simply suggested he keep his existing 25/06 and save the cost of near $1600 on that potential new rifle as his current rifle is more than adequate
    700 1927 989.0 -68.1 9.3 2.7 0 0 0
    800 1778 842.0 -106.4 12.7 3.7 0 0 0
    900 1639 715.0 -155.6 16.5 4.8 0 0 0
    980 1534 627.0 -204.2 19.9 5.8 0 0 0
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  9. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    I was asked why theres so many different choices in cartridges , being promoted,well, its for several,reasons ,
    but the main factor is that if the manufacturers , did not constantly come out with new products to push as the latest and greatest ever designed,
    it would take only a couple years before anyone interested in owning a firearm could have purchased one or two.
    and the market would be drastically reduced in size.
    my dad had a 10ga ithaca double and a winchester pump 22 lr and never felt the need to buy anything else.
    thats a huge part of the firearms market,
    (always having something, being promoted as NEW,BETTER, to sell new guns)
    from a pragmatic view, I think most of us could reasonably select 6-8 cartridges used for hunting and rifles that handle those 6-8 cartridges and handle almost any hunting on the planet ,
    now you might not pick the same 6-8 that I would,
    but if I was limited to your selection or you were limited to using my choices I doubt you would have any less success, based on the head stamps on the cases. does anyone think they would be forced to stop hunting if these were your only choices in ammo for rifle's /shotguns

    223 rem
    340 wby
    378 wby
    458 lott
    12 ga

    Ive used about all the common rifle calibers from 257 roberts, 257 wby, up to 458 lott , and pistols from 357mag to 500 S&W, on local deer here in florida at one time or another,
    and buffybr has a point, almost any caliber with a heavy for its bore diameter projectile properly placed is lethal in the hands of a skilled hunter
    animals are far from armor plated even a 357 mag or 10mm will drop an elk with a well placed shot.
    I have total confidence in the rifles I've selected once I know they are correctly sighted in, and while I tend to prefer the 35-45 calibers ,
    you can't ignore physics and a heavy bullet of high sectional density tends to get much better penetration and carries energy well.
    personally I prefer the 340 wby, and 375 H&H for big game, my late hunting partner used nothing but a 358 win BLR and referred to my rifles as cannons.
    one of the guys I hunted with for years used a 257 roberts....we were all successful...
    theres too many guys with a long list of successful kills using other cartridges to think that theres a magic upper or lower limit ,that must be adhered too on the weapons power to get it too work.
    howard hill killed elephants with archery equipment, there have been record size grizzly's killed with a 22lr, eskimos have killed dozens of polar bear and huge walrus with a 243 win.
    find what your comfortable using, use a quality bullet heavy for bore diameter, and learn how to shoot well from field positions and you'll have very few problems.
    you need to be 100% confident in your choice, and know exactly your limitations, yes you do give up some potential range and penetration with some smaller calibers...
    if you use those, just understand you need to get a bit closer and be a bit more precise, with shot placement,
    power does NOT make up for bad shot placement, but it does allow you some extra latitude in making racking angle shots, at longer ranges, that you should not attempt with lesser calibers at longer ranges.
    but I'd also point out that in almost 50 years of hunting , I'd bet 90% of the game Ive shot or seen shot was killed at well under 300 yards.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
  10. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    theres a good deal of advertising for the fairly new 6.5mm creed-more , and the 300 mags of varios designs, promoting them as the best and flattest shooting calibers,thats absurd,
    the 338 lapua and 340 wby and several other larger bore .416 rifles have the bullet mass to predictably place hits out well past the range most rifle owners can not even contemplate.
    the 1874 Sharps was the ideal rifle for long-range shooting. Buffalo hunters frequently made killing shots exceeding 500 yards, but Billy Dixon did that range some better in 1874.

    Dixon was a 24-year-old buffalo hunter at a nondescript settlement known as Adobe Walls, the scene of a massive Indian attack 10 years earlier. Now the Comanche, Kiowa, Cheyenne and Arapaho were planning to attack the supply post again. The Indians outnumbered the 28 people at Adobe Walls 30 to 1.

    The attack commenced on June 26 and raged for three days, with an estimated 700 warriors slain and 70 wounded. Frustrated, the Indians gathered on a distant bluff to reconsider their strategy. Seeing one of the warriors silhouetted, Dixon, who had lost his “Big 50″ Sharps in a skirmish, grabbed a friend’s .50-90 Sharps and fired. The warrior toppled from his horse. Their confidence shattered, the Indians grabbed the body and hastily rode away.

    Later, the Army sent a team to verify the distance. It was 1,538 yards–7/8 of a mile. Years later, Dixon admitted it was a lucky shot. But he was also quoted as saying, “I was not without confidence in my marksmanship.”!/standard

    Read more:

    Kyle used the McMillan TAC-338 in Iraq in 2008 when he killed an insurgent who was about to fire on convoy - at a distance of 1.2 miles. The deadly weapon, which packs .338 Lapua Magnum bullets, weighs and costs less than a .50 caliber bullet.Feb 11, 2015

    favorite last words are those of yankee general John Sedgwick. He was berating some of his staff for taking cover from long range CS sharpshooters at Spotsylvania :"Why are you dodging like this? They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance." This was just before he was shot in the head. The range was around 1000 yards
    does anyone remember history,.. a skilled RIFLEMAN, familiar with his modern .338-.416 caliber rifles trajectory can be a huge threat to any target he can see clearly

    we as RIFLEMEN need to acquire the skills and experience and familiarity with our chosen equipment, as RIFLEMEN, YES, the equipment , while the rifles are vastly improved, they are not going to eliminate the need for skilled RIFLEMEN, and the reasonable flat shooting rifles with projectiles designed for long range work the 338 lapua and 340 wby both have the bullet mass and projectiles designed to reach out far further and accurately hit targets, further than most rifle owners can appreciate
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2018
  11. T-Test

    T-Test reliable source of info

    And to think most shooters back then didn't have scopes on their rifles. You can see a man walking clearly a mile away, it is just hard to hit that Small of a target at that distance with everything factored in. If you don't know what those are, you have never shot long distances. And clearly that's why you would use a high caliber bullet with the knock down power to kill with just the shock alone. If you've never seen a 50 caliber bullet, take my word for it, you don't want to get hit by one anywhere on your body. JMHO
  12. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    many guys don,t grasp the idea that the older cartridges like a 30/06 are still a very valid choice for hunting,
    and some guys will tell you that something like a newer 7mm/08 with a lighter weight projectile would be a better choice.
    maybe its having been an engineer for 5 decades (now retired) ,
    but just for giggles lets compare a 7mm-08 vs a 30/06
    using appropriate projectiles, to maximize long range punch!/ mm-08 Remington&Weight=All&type=rifle&Order=Powder&Source= Springfield&Weight=All&type=rifle&Order=Powder&Source=

    30/06 2800 fps 200 grain, .597 drag!/

    7mm-08 2600 fps 160 grain .630 drag!/

    in my opinion the trade off for the lighter projectile weights,
    to gain velocity,is not always an ideal trade,
    youve lost a good deal of impact inertia to gain a bit less drop,
    that the heavier projectiles above,
    and considering most game is shot at under 300 yards,
    its rarely going to be too your advantage under field conditions

    that 7mm-08 at 300 yards traded close to 300 ft lbs of energy retained for less than 1" of flatter trajectory

    even with the 30/06 swapping from a 200 grain to a slightly lighter mass 178 grain lost impact inertial energy in exchange for little in flatter trajectory

    yes the magazine articles seem to promote extreme long range and flat trajectory as the norm and try to push the idea that most game is shot at extreme range, this may be great for magazine, ammo, and rifle sales but it does not reflect reality in my experience,I've hunted several western stated for mule deer and elk for almost 5 decades , I've practiced hitting small targets out at 500 plus yards frequently, but Id think my average mule deer and elk was clearly taken at under 200 yard and very very few over 350 yards.
    not because I can,t shoot ,at those ranges accurately,
    but because most elk and deer, tend too stay in the aspen and conifer so they are not readily visible but because most large antlered elk and deer, tend too stay in the aspen and conifer so they are not readily visible, yeah youll see smaller bucks/bulls and does/cows wander out in meadows , but the game you want is seldom that stupid!!/
    7mm-08 3000 fps 120 grain .365 drag
    30/06 2700 fps 178 grain, .552 drag

    youll rarely find a trade to a significantly lighter weight projectile beneficial, except as a way to reduce recoil.
    as the lower inertial mass almost always results in less retained impact energy and less penetration and a lower ballistic coefficient

    naturally theres a mathematical, trade-off point, where you can,t gain the required velocity, with the pressure curve available,
    you can over do anything, taken to extremes, but a rifle bullet in the .260-.300 sectional density range will generally work well
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
  13. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    the butt stock cartridge sleeve that holds 8-9 cartridges is almost a mandatory accessory like a sling on most rifles in my opinion
    [​IMG][/IMG] [​IMG]
    honestly I can count the number of times I've even seen a legal bull elk that looked like it was worth shooting, on public land, at ranges over 300 yards in the last 46 years on a single hand and still have unused fingers.. In my experience a 338 caliber, 250 grain bullet pushed too just under 2800 fps, from my 340 wby, kills anything I've ever used it on.
    yes in theory I could gain a bit flatter trajectory and a bit more impact energy by boosting velocity with hotter loads... but I don,t see any benefit!
    now I'm not suggesting loading down to lower velocity as a goal,
    but if my most accurate load happens to be 50 fps-100 fps slower than the max listed velocity you can find listed in the manuals,
    I don,t, miss a minutes sleep worrying about the rifles lethality.
    I'd bet he would totally flip out if he knew my back-up rifle was a 20" sako 375 H&H carbine that barely brakes 2450 fps with a 270 grain bullet and that both rifles have a long very successful record of dumping elk!
    while the rifles might seem a bit too powerful in many peoples opinion
    I think most of us tend to select the rifles and calibers we have the most confidence in,
    or have had the best results using.

    I've never regretted using a synthetic stock/stainless weatherby mark V in 340 weatherby,(similar to these two pictures)
    for most of my western hunting
    I've used a sako 375 H&H carbine for the thicker timber
    they all have their strong and weak features, some guys prefer brunettes some blonds, its all a mater of what best matches your idea of perfection,
    I tend to grab the rifle that best matches the terrain and game I intend to hunt , and I've come to prefer and favor the 33-45 calibers personally, but after almost 50 years of hunting big game I've come to realize that the guy holding the tool and his level of experience, and persistence, is by far the most important factor determining the likely success. select about anything with a common deer rifles power level, like a 270 win-308 win and an experienced and knowledgeable and persistent hunter cam make it work rather effectively.


    ID point out that you,ll read a great many magazines that stress the need to have a long range and accurate rifle and that certainly will work, but in 45 plus years of hunting deer and elk I could count the number of larger game I've shot or seen shot at over 300 yards, and not run out of fingers on one hand!
    deer and elk may pose for pictures in national parks , ow in areas that are not hunted extensively, but the experienced game fades into the timber, and remote less traveled areas, once the season starts in most areas.
    If your hunting the canyon and timber your shots tend too be well under 300 yards, most of my kills were well under 200 yards.


    ave to point out a fact that all too many guys either ignore or never considered,
    the projectile does ALL the work and damage! where you hit on the animals anatomy,IS CRITICAL
    rapid lethality depend on where you place the projectile and how much damage is done.
    and how much damage to vital organs and/or skeletal structure,being done,
    should obviously be considered the major factor in potential lethality expected.
    small fast expanding projectiles are devastatingly lethal... IF placed correctly,
    IF THEY destroy the heart/lung area but the deer can still run very fast and
    well for up to 10 seconds or so , and they may not leave much of a blood trail,
    larger more heavily constructed projectiles, like a 180 grain 30 cal, or a 250 grain 358 bullet open slower and in a far more controlled manor ,
    they may not do as much damage to the lungs,initially but they are 100% lethal if shots are well placed.
    and frequently leave a blood trail.
    and they do tend to be much more consistent and reliable at busting skeletal structure,
    provide deep penetration through muscle and they do tend to leave exit wounds more often.
    if you hand-load you can custom fabricate ammo specifically matching your requirements.
    traditional brush cartridges like a 45/70 or 444 marlin can provide exceptional penetration,
    (especially if loaded with heavy for caliber cast bullets,)(these can be depended on to exit deer )
    or be loaded with fast expanding hollow point bullets to give rapid expansion.
    (1) where you place the shot is critical (know the games anatomy)
    (2) use of a heavy for caliber projectile tends to greatly aid deep penetration
    (3)the larger caliber and heavier the projectile, used the more consistent deep penetration
    (4)deep penetration is a plus only if you use it to destroy vital organs,(heart/lungs)
    and critical structure like spine and shoulders, (see #1)
    Ive used or seen guys I know use most common caliber rifles
    if your using anything pushing a premium quality bullet that has a .210 or higher sectional density,
    to over about 2300 fps
    that weights at least 100 grains, and not getting decent results, on deer,
    your issue is related too less than ideal shot placement in most cases!/

    after 47 plus years of hunting I don,t think I've ever seen a place, terrain, a distance,or an animal I could not have taken cleanly with a 308 win, if I could get into a good solid shooting position, with a quality rifle like an M1a ,
    but theres a difference between having the ability to place a shot that will be lethal, and placing a shot that is very likely to be almost always be very rapidly lethal, I've shot several elk with a 30/06, they all dropped inside 50 yards and in under 40 seconds
    I swapped to a 340 wby, similar too this

    expecting the increased power to make much quicker kills,
    it definitely tends to get a much more obvious and pronounced reaction, from game from bullet impact but in my experience its not a huge improvement in lethality, it kills a bit quicker but in both cases a single well placed hits lethal
    provided your careful in selecting the ammo,either cartridge could be used for most medium and larger game , the quality of the projectiles for both bore diameters has improved a great deal over the last 30 years. I've personally killed a couple elk with a 30/06 and seen several killed with a 270 win, I don,t think your going to go wrong with either choice, PROVIDED you select the better quality bullets.
    I don,t think youll see enough difference to tell the two options apart, under typical field conditions.
    (you don,t need use only the ultra -premiums,from custom shops, hornady, speer and nosler ,swift,barnes,and berger all make decent projectiles
    most of the guys I hunt elk with prefer the 150 grain 270 bullets,for everything.
    those that use the 30/06 have found the 165-200 grain weights depending on the game its to be used on.
    Id point out that despite what you might read in magazines the vast majority of deer and elk most of the guys in our hunt club have shot were shot at under 350 yards
    (well under in most cases) Id bet close to 90% were killed at under 200 yards.
    most of us have read through dozens of threads concerning the best rifle, cartridge or bullet selection, most people try to promote or defend their personal favorite's
    few people stop to look at things from the view point of using ballistics and related math or bother to think through realistically the ranges the effect on game, their choices will have.
    most people fail to realize that most game is not that hard to kill given good shot placement and a knowledge of the games anatomy, nor do they consider the fact that far more game,
    is killed at well under 250 yards than at greater ranges.
    theres not a game animal in north America that a 270 win or a 30/06 won,t kill with a single well placed shot, if a fairly heavy well designed bullet is used by a rifleman familiar with the games anatomy.
    that does not necessarily suggest they are ideal, universal choices, simply because their effective use is dependent on getting the ideal or close to ideal shot angles to allow the vitals to be penetrated and destroyed.
    those of us with extensive experience generally tend to have seen enough game shot to appreciate the fact that heavier for bore size projectiles do tend to penetrate deeper.
    theres not a deer or elk on the planet that could survive a well placed shot from a 165-210 grain 30 caliber bullet from a 300 mag from a broad side , heart/lung impact.
    but if your only shots a raking angle through a ham, through the gut and into the heart/lung, vitals its going to require extremely good penetration, and increased inertial mass, and a thick jacket allow that.
    theres a good reason many country's suggest a minimum caliber for large game, larger bore mandate more massive projectiles, and the increased mass and resulting retained inertia energy insure a bit more penetration, on impact.
    most hunters are not as good of shots as they imagine themselves to be under field conditions. you can make a good deal of money betting the average guy can,t hit a coke can at 150 yards on his first shot,
    shooting off hand or even sitting, and theres no bench rests in the field ,, those tight 1" 100 yard groups shot from a bench rest are meaningless ,now add a shot of Adrenalin, when that hunter has seen an exceptional trophy, and hes breathing hard from walking over rolling terrain , and its a damn near sure bet, he won,t hit within 3 inches of his intended point of impact. Given the true conditions, and you have no control over the shot angle, and that game will tend to run away from a threat,leaving you with a less than ideal shot angle, it's frequently an advantage to select a slightly heavier 180 grain-210 grain projectile weight in a 300 mag!/
    yes a bench rest is a great place to sight in your rifle and get it to print a consistent small group, impacting 2"-3" above the cross hairs,aim point,
    at 100 yards and to verify what bullet design potentially produces the best and most consistent groups, once youve found the best ammo, and regulated the rifle to place the shots ,
    where you want them, you should spend the vast majority of your time learning the skills required to approach bench rest accuracy from the rapidly acquired field positions

    heres my 340 wby sighted in at 3" at 100 yards and again at 3.5" at 100 yards
    what rifle or caliber you prefer is less important than having the skill and confidence in its use and experience to accurately and consistently place shots as you intend too from field positions , personally I prefer a 250 grain 338 diameter bullet, but I doubt my results would have changed if Id used a 150 grain 270, win or a 200 grain 300 mag.
    Ive sighted in 3.5" high and you can basically ignore worrying about trajectory issues where I hunt because its been decades since Ive seen an elk under hunt conditions past 300 yards ... t=f630255c

    3" high
    3.5" high



    you simply sight in at 100 yards off the bench on the yellow dot and have all the shots print over the smaller red dot,when you get out in the field, hold where the light green dot is it will produce a fatal wound out a bit past 300 yards, you sure don,t have to use this method or even agree but I can assure you its resulted in a bunch of dead elk
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
  14. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    the thread started with the original post...
    I just spent the morning at the local range, one of the guys I hunt with , recently purchased a nice synthetic stock, savage in caliber 6.5 creed,
    rather similar to this one Ill link too, and he has a Nikon scope mounted
    the rifle is certainly accurate, off the bench, but once he had it well sighted in, I suggested he try a few shots from a sitting position.......if he does not put a great deal more practice time in
    ...well, lets just say, a deer would need to be rather down on his luck, to get hit, past about 200 yards because from what I just saw,
    a 2ft x 2 ft paper cardboard backer was not getting hit very often, let alone the target, once he got off the bench rest
    the equipment's excellent, the equipment's operator skills need serious improvement.
    most guys won,t admit the fact that those 1" or less groups are impressive, but once your forced off the bench rest thats not what the combo of rifle and its operator can produce in the field.
    theres no way you could reasonably dispute the fact that the 6.5mm creed has a bit flatter trajectory,
    but so does a 270 win, all but meaningless when most guys under field conditions could not place shots consistently in a 6" circle at 100 yards on their first shot if their lives depended on the results.
    debating trajectory might seem important, but after decades of hunting and watching myself and others shoot, I think ,
    a great deal more time and effort spent learning your rifles trajectory and learning to shoot well from a quickly acquired field position takes precedent.

    308 wins ammo is cheaper to find much more common ammo, and has a long successful record of successful use.
    the difference in recoil will be minimal , a larger and even marginally heavier projectile will generally produce a more lethal wound on deer and hogs etc. the only advantage the 6.5mm has is marginally flatter trajectory and youll see almost zero advantage under 200 yards
    the 308 win will push a 150 grain bullet about 150 fps faster than a 147 grain creedmoor
    you could reasonably expect less than 3 ft lbs difference in recoil in similar rifles
    Id be surprised if you see any real difference if either choice is used for either hunting or targets at under 200 yards
  15. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    deer are not that difficult to kill but a shot thats 100% lethal is not always going to result in instant immobilization
    you really can see the difference if you use a rifle with decent power, a 270 win with a 150 grain bullet is about the ideal minimum in my experience for ELK, and a 25/06 with a 115-120 grain bullet, on deer works ok.
    a high shoulder/spine shot will instantly drop most deer and elk but destroy a significant amount of meat, a heart/lung shot destroys less meat but almost always
    results in a short run, of 40-100 yards.
    using a moderately fast expanding bullet increase's the immediate ,tissue damage but limits penetration,
    the high shoulder shot with a slower expanding bullet, with good sectional density is a decent option as it allows more angles to be utilized, on ether shot option.
    deer and elk are built to similar designs but an elk is frequently 2-5 times the weight
    most deer fall in the 80 lb-180 lb range , elk can easily exceed 400 lbs-600 lbs


    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
  16. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    proper, shot placement is critical,
    getting in close is very helpful,
    a good knowledge of elk anatomy is mandatory.
    if I was asked to suggest the ideal,
    Id certainly try hard to get in under 300 yards before shooting,
    Id suggest a you try using a 30/06-35 whelen, if recoil is a factor in your accuracy,
    if you can handle some recoil, a 300 mag, 340 wby or 375 H&H or 450 marlin can make a lot of sense.
    good boots, a decent back pack, a rifle with a bi-pod, and great optics are a big help.
    Ive hunted elk for almost 50 years, Ive seen guys successfully drop elk with everything from a 257 Roberts to a 458 win mag.
    one guy I hunt with uses a ruger #1 in 270, and my late hunting partner preferred a BLR in 358 win,
    both guys have a long list of successful hunts.
    what rifle you select is far less important than your skill using it and knowledge of the elk and the area hunted,
    a decent rifle,you already probably own, in a caliber like a 30/06, with a quality 180 grain-210 grain bullet,
    in a , bolt action, slide action, single shot or BLR is fully adequate in experienced hands
    Id say far more hunts fail due to lack of the hunters physical conditioning, lack of proper knowledge of the area hunted,
    or lack of persistence than due to the rifle used

    the best combo Ive found for general use where you don,t know the ranges likely to be encountered,
    is a synthetic stock 340 wby loaded with 250 grain bullets and a decent scope like this
    I doubt Id have done any , better or worse with a ruger falling block in 338 win or 35 whelen
    or a BLR in 30/06
    my 340 wby that looks very similar to this one has been my first choice on most of my elk hunts where ranges might be longer,
    If Im hunting the dark timber a 7600 remington 35 whelen, a sako 375 H&H carbine or a browning BLR in 450 marlin or 358 win all work just fine!

    obviously, theres dozens of equally effective choices,
    and Your experience may differ e from mine,
    but Id suggest you select the largest caliber and heaviest projectile you can consistently use,
    without flinching as a properly placed shot must penetrate to the vitals,
    from less than ideal angles and from what may not be your comfortable range limitations

    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018
  17. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    its the skill and experience of the hunter and his familiarity with his equipment of choice ,far more than the action type that maters,
    between the end of the American civil war (1865) and the end of WWI (1918) the lever action , Henry, Winchester, marlin, were the predominant repeating action, hunting rifle type in AMERICA
    only after WWI did the bolt action start to gain popularity, most people tended to use what they had and money was tight until about the end of WWII, with roughly an 80 years of popularity , head start, the lever action gained a large following.
    if you grew up in the 1940s-70s watching westerns people like john wayne did not use a bolt action.
    most deer hunting in the eastern U.S. and some areas of the west are in forested or timber areas where shots over about 150 yards are not all that common,
    many guys are more comfortable, carrying a carbine or rifle, having a faster second or rapidly accessible repeat fire capability.
    If your hunting timber and potentially making shots on rapidly moving game having a fast second shot may prove helpful, but its that first shot that generally counts.
    most guys can work a lever action , or pump action rifle a bit faster than a bolt action, thus it provides a bit more confidence,
    I personally think its mostly physiological, for several reasons, first , the first shot is almost always the critical shot, and in 50 plus years of hunting ,
    Ive rarely needed a fast or any second shot, second, anyone willing to practice with a quality bolt action will find its more than fast enough under real hunting conditions,
    in fact Ive used a single shot browning 78 and ruger #1 and never had any issues reloading rapidly and getting ready too take potentially a second shot,
    rifles like a browning BLR or remington 7600 do provide access to that rapid repeat shot capability and maintain reasonably consistent accuracy.
    but as previously stated,its the skill and experience of the hunter and his familiarity with his equipment of choice ,far more than the action type that maters,

    when hunting elk this type of timber, and shorter ranges is where I find most of the elk Ive seen and shot,
    and my late hunting partner rarely shot deer or elk at over 120 yards, thats because neither of us even saw elk past 75-120 yards


    my long time hunting partner always used a 358 win BLR and had a very good record
    I preferred a SAKO carbine in 375 H&H, it never had any issues dropping game that I remember,
    but I'm just as happy using a BLR in 450 marlin on recent trips
    and Id feel just as well equipped if I had a ruger #1 in a caliber like 375 H&H or 450 marlin or 35 whelen.[​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
  18. T-Test

    T-Test reliable source of info

    This is all that is needed no matter what you shoot. Even a 22 caliber will bring down an Elk.
  19. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    while thats very true, I have to say that Ive seen elk killed with a large selection of calibers from 257 roberts to 458 win,
    shot placement and projectile selection and a good knowledge of the games anatomy is critical,
    but ID strongly suggest a 270 win or larger caliber is a better match to the job at hand than anything smaller ,
    the 243 win/257 roberts class of cartridge in skilled hands is 100% lethal, but youve reduced the shot angles and ranges a well placed shot,
    can be reasonably expected to be made from.
    simple physics , results in a larger and heavier projectile, impact, having an advantage in potential penetration allowing the vitals to be reached and destroyed.
  20. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    if your only hunting deer , even at extended ranges,
    the 7mm mag with proper ammo, (generally 154-170 grain bullets) in that rifle will certainly be adequate
    I know two people that own remington sendaro rifles , both are very accurate,
    but I'd point out almost every deer or elk anyone, in the hunt club I belong too,
    has shot in the last 5 decades, was killed at under 250 yards,
    most of the guys I've spent decades hunting with, have tried the various 300 mag rifles at one time,
    no one I know has ever found them wanting in lethality or accuracy,
    if they were loaded with a decent projectile,

    and the rifle was properly bedded and sighted in.
    that being stated, the 270 win, and 35 whelen both seem to be a more popular choice's with the older guys I hunt with.
    If you have some spare cash, and want to enhance longer range accuracy, maybe upgraded optics would be an option,

    if you want more power than a 7mm mag ,
    a 300 mag is certainly a good choice,
    but if your looking for more punch,
    ,Id suggest jumping to a 338-340 caliber rifle

Share This Page