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Elk Hunting
Big Game Hunting topics that dont fit other categories
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1895ss
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 4:39 pm    Post subject: Elk Hunting Reply with quote

What would you consider to be the smallest caliber necessary for Elk hunting and why?
From personal experience, they can be hard to put down.

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Dimitri
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 6:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Elk Hunting Reply with quote

In my personal opinion if I ever go for some Elk hunting I'd go for something with about 1,500ft-lb of energy AT the target and a 270 caliber or higher.

Mind you I never went Elk hunting, just thats the number my hunting instructor told us and I've always read as a guideline. Smile

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Handloader
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Elk Hunting Reply with quote

Probably more important than chambering is bullet selection and acquired skill. My grandsons have killed 6X6 bulls using the 243 Win with Barnes TSX and both got one shot kills. Now, I wouldn't suggest the 243 is the ideal elk rifle, however, for youths of 10 years of age, it has a low enough recoil to place the shot correctly. And, they did.

Hunting skill and bullet construction are more important considerations than simply the chambering of the rifle. John Barsness' article in "Rifle" about his recent African hunting experience is eye opening. Many of the hunters brought magnum and standard rifles and most had relied on standard chamberings for some big, tough African game. Its an interesting article. With today's technologically advanced bullets, the traditional recommendations of cartridge for game has to be revised.

My last bull was taken with a 25-06, 100gr TSX, 180 paces, one shot, one kill. The bullet broke the near side shoulder, penetrated both lungs and exited the off side. Nothing more could be asked. The bull staggered about twenty yards and keeled over.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 10:14 am    Post subject: Re: Elk Hunting Reply with quote

Handloader, I have been on some sites where some people would argue with you and say you need the latest whizz bang magnum and some would say you need at least a .30. I agree with what you are saying about shot placement and bullet construction being more important. I would think though that someone using a smaller caliber, less then .270 for example, would also limit the distance at which they would take a shot at an Elk.

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English Mike
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 3:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Elk Hunting Reply with quote

I'll be using a .300WSM again this year, though I would be perfectly happy using .270Win with a 140gr bullet at sensible ranges.
In Northern Europe, one of the most popular calibers is 6.5x55 Swedish & you have to remember that the European Elk is the same as your Moose.
Shot placement is always more important than caliber IMO.
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Dimitri
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Elk Hunting Reply with quote

Handloader,

You are correct bullet design does play a vital role as you want a good bullet. But in my opinion going to the store and picking up a box of Remington's loaded in Swift Sirocco for example is just what is done, its a hunting round for larger game, you don't go skimp on that and buy cheap so called "Hunting ammo".

And considering that shooting abilities should ALWAYS limit your distance that you are going to take the shot, IE if you know you can't hit a 6" circle at that distance with your hunting rifle with a 100% accuracy rate in that 6" diameter circle you shouldn't take the shot at that range!

So only thing that is left in my eyes is the energy that the rifle will have at the distance your going to take the shot, therefor I mentioned that in my previos reply. Smile

Dimitri

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Handloader
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 7:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Elk Hunting Reply with quote

Dimitri and 1895ss bring to the discussion the matter of distance and accuracy of the shooter. Kudos. I am aware that many that own rifles know not how to shoot them accurately from a standing, kneeling or sitting position.

Regarding distance, in the eight years (nine, this year) of guiding elk hunters, the objective is always to close the distance to allow a sure shot. It is something I do when hunting for myself. A wounding shot on elk will result in far too much hard work to risk the shot in the first place. Hunting isn't snipping; its about the skill to to kill humanely.

I like Dimitri's example of shooting a 6" target. We use paper plates to test our skill levels at various distances, although they are 8" plates.

There is no magic formula for energy that computes to real world killing ability of a bullet, IMO. To kill, the bullet simply must penetrate enough to disrupt or destroy organs and may have to traverse bones and body to do so.

Personally, having taken 18 bull elk and guided many a hunter to their trophies, I hold the opinion that accuracy and proper bullet construction are more critical than cartridge capacity or velocity. FWIW, the majority of bulls I have witnessed have been taken under 100yds. It is flight of fancy to conjure 300+ yard shots under most circumstances and such shooting is usually an admission of lack of skill or patience to get closer. Respect for one's quarry encourages otherwise.
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Dimitri
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 8:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Elk Hunting Reply with quote

Handloader,

The paper plate method is common, myself I use the 6" method mainly because I practice with 5.5" Shoot and See targets, and I count near misses. Embarassed

Dimitri

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skb2706
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:09 am    Post subject: Re: Elk Hunting Reply with quote

Depends on whether your elk hunting involves thousands of dollars, months of planning, miles of transportation and one chance. Or you are relatively local, have plenty of time, know the area and have little more than a license invested.
My opinion
One guy should use a minimum .300 mag of any persuasion.

One guy could get away with anything starting with a 25-06 up...

Both needing correct bullets and plenty of shooting practice.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Elk Hunting Reply with quote

A .243/6mm is the legal mimumum in Colroado. While a .243 Win can work I consider it to be a bit small for most folks - I've seen more elk wounded with .243 Win than all other cartridges put together.

The smallest I generally recommend is a .270 Win with a 140-150g bullet of good construction (Partition or better).

7mm Rem Mags and 160g Grand Slams have worked flawlessly for 25 years.

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ripper007
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 12:52 am    Post subject: Re: Elk Hunting Reply with quote

I have a 30-06 that I have never shot anything with just for the fact that I have only had it for a short time, and have not hunted with it.

before I went out to buy a gun for hunting, I asked a few guys around here what kind of gun they used, and that I was thinking of buying a marlin 30-30.

they all said they used bigger guns than the 30-30 , and told me the that 30-30 was not the good. it was only good for shots for about 100 - 150 yards

knowing that they guys I was asking, was big time hunters . I asked whats the farthest shot they have to take to get a dear or elk. almost every one of them said with in 100 yards.

umm. I went and bought a marlin 30-30 lever action. shot my first dear with it at about 150 yards. hit it around the upper front shoulder. it walked a yards then dropped.

would a 30-30 be good enough for elk hunting ?

I think that accuracy and where you hit a elk would be a big factor .

if you hit a dear in the butt with a 22 , you will probley never find it, hit it in the right spot in the head, it will probley drop right in its tracks.

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Handloader
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 7:23 am    Post subject: Re: Elk Hunting Reply with quote

Commercial 30-30 ammo has thin jackets to assure expansion at moderate velocities. This reduces penetration, often, the type of penetration needed for fulll sized bull elk.

If you handload, Barnes offers some superb 30-30 bullets that are thicker jacketed and will aid the penetration. In loaded commercial, the Hornady LeveRevolution ammo is an improvement over standard ammo.

Shots on elk can be quick, so the matter of bullet placement, always important, could be compromised unless much practice and discipline is needed.

Can a 30-30 kill elk? Sure, but, there are better choices. And, that gives you the opportunity to go get that 06 or 375 or 458 or 500 Nitro.
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SwampFox
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 7:28 am    Post subject: Re: Elk Hunting Reply with quote

Ripper,
If you have a 30-06 you have enough gun for anything in NA. Just select the proper bullet and load for the critter you intend to hunt. For Elk, leave the 30-30 at the house.

Now, go practice with the 06 before you take it hunting the first time. Very Happy
Ed

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powergel
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 3:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Elk Hunting Reply with quote

I might be the odd one out here, your Elk is near on par with our Sambar we usually hunt in thick bush in steep mountainous country and 95% of the shots are quick snaps on running deer so you need a adequate deep penetrating cal. for racking shots from behind, we mainly use cals. in 300WM 338 375H&H 458WM but the min. would be 30.06 with 180gn projjie like the Woodleigh's which is one of the best I've used, actually that's all I use in all my firearms...it's the old saying "use enough gun"
Forgot to add that Sambar are not a herding animal, big stags are loners and they are hard work to get onto.

What sort of terrian you guys hunt Elk in, be interested to know, thanks
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Weinbender
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 11:06 am    Post subject: Re: Elk Hunting Reply with quote

I too agree that shot placement is generally more important,
i say this cause my brother killed a big doe with .22 cal. reason behind that, he got a lucky shot and the 40gr bullet penetrated the does vertebrae and she dropped like a sack of hammers.

i havent done any big game hunting yet, i bought my .300 mag for that reason, mostly we do waterfowl hunting which manitoba is pretty much one of the best places in the world to go for waterfowl hunting.
generally me and my dad would kill on an average of 15 to anywhere up to 40 ducks in a few hours. (dont worry we eat em all!) most of the time we dont miss a lot of shots, id say we have an average of 80-90% accuracy. this is because my dad has a ton of experience from hunting in Russia, Latvia and now here in Canada, i have learned a lot from my dad and i would just add to the shot placement that experience counts for a lot too. shot placement can mean that it was a lucky shot but it can also mean that thats where the hunter wanted to place the bullet.

my summary:
Shot placement-Very essential
Experience- with this comes everything else
big caliber- i like hard kicking and hitting calibers cause they give u a bigger chance that the big piece of meat on 4 legs is gonna drop

Weinbender

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