theres always been a constant debate on what a good ELK rifle caliber is, example theres a group that feels the 243win, 6mm rem,-257 Roberts , 25/06 ,257 wby,up to about the 270 win, are perfectly acceptable Elk rifles, these lighter and smaller caliber rifles are in skilled and experienced hand's and when used with the correct quality bullets fully up to the job of killing elk, if the shooter realizes the limitations hes dealing with. and theres the group that thinks you'll be far better off with a 378/338 mag 375 H&H-416 Remington,404 , 458 win ETC, these calibers certainly develop the power and penetration required if the correct bullet is selected , but the recoil levels and in a few cases the limited range, due to lower velocity and massive bullet weight, can make them a rifle & caliber choice best left to experienced hunters and best used in thicker timber where ranges will tend to be under 250 yards. but theres few guys that really debate the merits or lack of same of the 7mm and 300 magnums, 325 win 300wby-8mm rem,338 win 340 wby, etc. as those calibers having the necessary clout and range, too be used effectively on ELK, along with the flat trajectory with the better ammo. http://www.petersenshunting.com/gea...y-mag-vs-375-hh-whats-the-best-elk-cartridge/ especially when we look at the ballistics, and pragmatically review the track record of those calibers in actual field use, keep in mind youll rarely get a second shot if you miss the first and youll probably only see one or two legal elk on any hunt, youll be lucky to have the time to make a decent shot, so you better learn to make accurate shots very quickly from field positions. so the debate, seems to really center around the recoil and noise levels, and cost of the rifle and ammo,and weight of the rifle your willing to accept or pay for, or the weight you'll carry,etc. and what someone is willing to accept , in recoil, rifle weight and cost to get the job done effectively. we are all forced too make compromises at some point. few guys want to carry a 9-10 lb rifle, or pay more than about $700-$1500 for a rifle,few guys want the rifle scope to give them eyebrow scars, if the don,t constantly keep the recoil levels in mind before firing,but most guys want a rifle that at least in theory reaches out to 350-500yards , even thought most ELK are shot at under 350 yards and most guys in my experience don,t want to shoot a harder recoiling caliber from the sitting ,kneeling or prone position, making the real hard kickers, not really an option, as a truly useful rifle under all conditions in the field. your choice always involves some compromises. so what are the factors you look for, what are YOU willing to give up and what factors are mandatory in your ELK rifle choice and WHY? ruger makes a darn accurate single shot in 270, 30/06, 338 win,35 whelen, 458 win, and 45/70 that all have excellent reputations in my elk camp. BROWNING BLR lever actions in 358 win, 308 win and 450 marlin have all been used very successfully, as have the remington 7600 slide action in both 30/06 and 35 whelen, and theres several guys using 338 win, and 375 H&H bolt actions now personally I've found the 30/06-to-35 whelen to be about as low in the power band as IM truly comfortable hunting ELK with as I have total confidence in that caliber range with 180 grain-250 grain bullets, and the combos ability to kill ELK, Ive used a 30/06 with 100% success, its 100& lethal, theres zero doubt there, but it does not seem to get an elks attention, on bullet impact nearly as well as the 250 grain 35 whelen has on the several occasions when ,I used the 35 whelen vs the 30/06 , Ive used both so I can compare, and almost all my shots were rather similar mid chest lung shots., usually from under 200 yards. and I feel that the 300-mags, 340 wby and 375 H&H to be about the max practical recoil levels, and rifle weight I'M willing to put up with. the 270 win loaded with a 150 grain speer over 54 grains of IMR 4831 with a fed 215 primer or the 30/06 loaded with a 200 grain speer over 49 grains of ww760 with a fed 215 primer will kill any ELK effectively, keep in mind your whole hunts success may depend on your ability to make one well placed shot and your knowledge of elk anatomy and your field accuracy http://garage.grumpysperformance.co...-a-good-all-around-elk-mule-deer-rifle.12948/ http://www.shootingtimes.com/ammo/ammunition_st_exforelk_200908/ http://www.chuckhawks.com/compared_elk_rifles_field.htm but my favorite calibers are the 338 win 250 grain hornady over 60 grains of ww760 with a fed 215 primer and 35 whelen, loaded with a 250 speer over 54 grains of IMR 4895 with a fed 215 primer or a 375 H&H 300 grain hornady over 77 grains of ww760 with a fed 215 primer any of the five work fine PROVIDED you place your shots well, the three heavier calibers seem to get the job done a bit faster but a single hit in the right place with any of those results in a dead ELK Reply With Quote Ive used either a 35 whelen, 375 H&H, and 340wby on easily 75%-80% or more of MY ELK hunting trips . but thats only MY choice , whats YOURS??