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Junior elk hunt question...

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by creaky, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. creaky

    creaky Pamwe Chete

    Dec 12, 2007
    The Orion Spur
    My daughter was drawn for the AZ junior elk hunt, which dad is very happy about. However, here is the big question:

    What rifle would you folks recommend? She's 10 years old and not a "big" 10. She is an excellent shot, but only with a .22, so far. It has to put an elk down in a sportsmanlike and humane way with out making her hate shooting/hunting (and me) forever after, because of teeth jarring recoil.

    Ideas? I was thinking .243, but everyone I talk to seems to think it's not enough gun for elk.

    Any opinions would be appreciated.
  2. SlowIsSmoothIsFast


    Aug 25, 2008
    What guns do you have to choose from? Or any one?

    I can't speak for anyone else, but I'd trust myself with a .243 on elk. A 25-06 would be better though with some 120 grain Nosler Partitions. I can't see a little 10 year old holding still for that kind of recoil though. I don't know.

  3. havensal

    havensal Nozzle Jockey CLM

    Aug 14, 2003
    Western, NY
    That's a tough one.

    I have never hunted Elk, but I would assume you would need quite a bit more energy than for deer.

    More energy means more recoil, you can't defeat physics.

    Your best bet is to use a good recoil pad, but that would lengthen the gun. May be too long for a youth.

    I would think a .243 or .308 would do the job. It would have to be a clean shot and I wouldn't go much over 100yds. A heavier bullet would be better, as would a soft point rather than HP. I don't think anything under 180-200gr would be able to clear bone if the shot didn't hit it's mark.

    A .300 Savage would be another option. :wavey:
  4. How close can you get to the elk in that area?

    I started my boys out hunting deer around that age with a Winchester 94 in .44 magnum. They did a fair amount of practice with light hand loads and a few heavier loads just for verifying sight alignment. They don't feel the recoil when they shoot at an animal.

    If most shots would be withing 100 yards the .44 mag would probably work fine. But if you are taking longer shots you'll need something else.
  5. XPLSV


    Jan 14, 2007
    :cool:A few years back, I was faced with the caliber question for my kids. They did get drawn for a youth elk hunt, although my daughter came down sick and I took just my son (two bullets to the vitals at 270 yards on a 525 cow--Dad was proud:cool: ). I had been considering .308, 7mm-08, and .270 Win. Went with the .270 Win.

    They were older than your daughter by a couple of years. In my conversations with the CDW guys running the youth hunts, they have had several youth out there with .243, so I think that may be your best option. I've run my kids through the smaller calibers and moved them upward (like the books says) and it has worked fine for them. My wife refused to start on the .22 when it came to long guns and she had problems. If your daughter attempts to shoot too much gun too soon, she won't be able to put the bullet where it needs to go and the entire "need a bigger caliber" question is moot.

    One of the things I did do with my kids was to have them fire the Remington .270 Win Managed (or was it Reduced?) Recoil rounds, which made the recoil similar to a .243. My daughter used that on her first pronghorn hunt and then we moved her up from there. Moved my son up prior to his first hunt. There may be something out there similar for actual .243 rounds that would help her step up to a full .243 load.
  6. I remember seeing and reading a story of a 14year old shooting her 1st moose with a 6.5 swede. I would think a good 30-30 or 6.5 swede or a 243win would be great. But if she's not big enough to handle the rifle, don't let her shooting it.
  7. Tax Lawyer

    Tax Lawyer Support SCR

    Nov 1, 2008
    For a decent recoil and common caliber, I would think about a .270 winchester. If there is a reduced recoil load for it (see above), that would be the ticket.
  8. creaky

    creaky Pamwe Chete

    Dec 12, 2007
    The Orion Spur
    Thanks to all for taking the time to put some thought into your answers. I went to Murphy's gunshop here in Tucson yesterday and after some jawing with one of the old timers working there, I settled on a Marlin XL-7 in 25-06.

    I had done some shooting with a 25-06 some years back, and remembered what a nice rifle it was.

    It was a tossup in the store between the 243, the 270 and the 25-06. In the end, it came down to the fact that the '06 fit my budget better.

    The old fella thought my daughter would be able to handle it just fine. I didn't feel he was selling a bill of goods as the '06 was the least expensive of the rifles.

    During our conversation, he told me that the largest elk ever taken in AZ was taken with a 243. I wasn't aware of that, but it's interesting info to tell your friends that swear you need a cannon for everything. (I have a few of those friends).

    Anyway, thanks again, and I hope you all approve of my pick!:cool:

  9. Creaky,

    Make sure the stock fits her properly. You'll probably have to shorten it down a bit. If it's a wooden stock make several smaller slices with a band saw, if you drill a couple of 1/4" holes first, then you can align them back up and add them in as she grows.
  10. shot1


    Apr 14, 2009
    East TN
    I would go with a 260 Remington or a 6.5X55 Swede. These have the recoil level of about a 243. I would use a 125 gr Nosler partition or 130 Nosler Accubond bullet. These loooong 6.5 bullets really hold up at distance and the wind does not bother them as much as other calibers and they really go deep and keep mushrooming as they go. Put a Sims recoil pad on the rifle and it will take much of the recoil or better yet put a muzzle brake on the rifle and it will kick like a 22. Get one of the Gentry quite brakes and make sure she uses ear protection before she shoots even in the field hunting.
  11. Also those long skinny 6.5 swede bullet have great penetration. I shot 140grains out of my Mauser SR with open peep sights @ 200 yards and do pretty much good.
  12. shadowhunter


    Oct 5, 2004
    Little girl, big big elk, that is a tough one. Any experienced elk hunter will tell you you need a hot cartridge preferably a 300 magnum or larger to reliably take an elk. It is also hard to get up on an elk, they are sharp, to a degree unpredictable and occasionally dangerous. You need something that will put it down, but not be to hot for daughter. You could kill an elk with all types of inadequate calibers, if it runs off you might not find it.

    I think that a muzzle break is the answer here. You can take about half the recoil out of a high powered rifle with a good muzzle break. You should also consider a good recoil pad. With these two items say on a 308, a 10 year old girl should be able to cope just fine. The 308 is considered to be a little light for elk, but It works nicely. Even with a good muzzle break, and a recoil pad the hotter calibers like 300 win mag would be to much for your little gal. A 308 will put an elk down, and has serious power and range. Good luck, and good hunting.