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Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by marlinfan, Sep 17, 2003.
I've got a Ruger #1 45/70 that has killed several elk. I stoke it with Speer 405grn. slugs over a healthy dose of IMR 3031. This anchors them well and you can "eat right up to the hole."
FWIW let me say that the quickest killing elk calibers I've seen used or have used under a variety of conditions are:
1.) .300 Win./Wthby. mags
2.) 7mm Rem. mag
3.) .270 win.
A .270 or 30/06 is plenty of gun if a guy can shoot and premium BG bullets are used - Nosler Partition/Barnes X bullets are excellent for the purpose.
I think Navy Arms puts out the '92 Winch. replica in 454 Casull.
Where do you hunt elk in such close-only cover?
Out here in the sierras the .270 is a popular elk gun.. I took one two years ago with a Mosin Nagant 91/59 carbine..cheap but effective..
Both of the calibers you mention are excellent choices.
If you ever plan to hunt elsewhere and might need more range then go with the .300. If not then get the 45/70 and drive on!
You're comfortable with the leverguns and a good 45/70 lever Marlin will be alot of fun. Skip the ported models as they are shear Hell on eardrums! Good luck deciding!
Another would be a Savage lever in 358 Win. You might have to reload with a 225 Sierra or Nosler Par. Limited case cap. for a 250 gr bullet. Heavy gun also.
I shoot a 35 Whelen Rem 700 with the lightest contour Shilen and a Lone Wolf 1# stock, tips the scales ready to huntw/3x9 Comp. Leupold right at 7 #. Great after packing around on the Fourth day.
The fact that you've already killed two with your 30-30, makes me thing you were NOT undergunned. But any excuse to get a new rifle is a good one in my book. ;f
It would be hard to find a better cartridge than the 45-70 for your intended purpose. I often carry a 45-70 lever gun in the Bush, I use a 400 Gr. cast with G/C loaded to around 1600 fps you can go much higher on velocity but recoil gets pretty serious. If I were to pick an all around bolt gun I would pass on the 300 Win Mag and go to the 338 Win Mag or the 358 Norma. If you don't handload scratch the 358 Norma .
Have a nice evening, Rabon...
When I was a kid I hunted deer on my grandfather's old ranch with a .30-30. I never felt under gunned and 100 yds. was a long shot. In my late teens the ranch changed hands and I was forced to find other places to hunt, mostly in more open areas where 100-300 yds. was the norm. As you can see the .30-30 was relegated to drawing dust in my gun cabinet.
The lever gun sounds good but the 300 Win Mag is more versatile. I've got a 300 with a 1.5X6 Burris signature scope with a heavy plex. In timber on 1.5 it has a great field of view, is very quick to acquire a sight picture, and is magical at dawn and dusk in its light gathering ability. In the open on 6X I'd feel comfortable shooting out to 400 yds. if the need arose.
You have to be the judge. If I were you I'd buy whatever you feel the most comfortable with. When I got my first bolt gun and learned its capabilities I never looked back.
Alot of guys are suggesting rifles made for open country where the shots will be long. Thats not the kind of hunting you will do in such thickly forested area.
The .30-30 Winchester rifle is fine for the hunting that you have been doing. I have a cousin who has used a .30-30 for deer, black bear, and elk the past thirty five years and he does well with it.
If you feel the need for a larger caliber, then a Marlin .444 or .45-70 will be more than adequate.
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Like he said under 100 yard shots in thick brush, which means large big bore bullets like those you could load in a Marlin Guide Gun in 45/70.
And in addition to a nice hunting/trail gun, great for target practice with LSWCs at 100 and 200 yards. Just have to "get" the trajectory.
A really compact weapon suitable for Elk would be the NEF Handi-Rifle chambered in .45-70 Gov't.
How about the new .450 Marlin?
I got my first ever Elk last year near Meeker on a private ranch but will be hunting public land this year. I used my 300 Weatherby to drop a nice big cow about 70 yds from my location. It was in heavy timber on the side of the mountain but I was at the edge of a large sparsely treed open area about 120 yds across at the widest.
On the same hunt, some hunters from PA were with us and several had 45/70s. Neat guns, but I don't see well enough to use iron sights anymore and a scope on one of those doesn't look right.
I've also hunted with a friend in the Colona area south of Montrose and dropped my deer there at 335 yds (known range on my friend's 40 acre ranchette), with a 7mm Mag I had before the Weatherby.
COUGH 45-70 COUGH
ive got a guide gun most handi compact and powerful rifle that i own
i can go from 305 grain hollows all the way to a 525 grain tungston core i never feel undergunned
just not a long range tack driver
12ga combo package. Remington 870 with a 20" rifled barrel and a 26" bird barrel. After a good scope and mount the package will cost less than $600. Slugs are wicked deadly when it comes to just about any sized game. Then you have a 26" barrel to cover your small game needs as well.
Just got back from Wyoming last week and the Elk hunting conditions were very much like you described. Everyone that got one, including myself, found them in thick timber where you couldn't often see beyond 50 yards let alone line up a clear shot.
I used a .300 Win. Mag and it worked very well however a shorter barreled bruiser like a 45/70 with irons would have been easier to pack around and every bit as effective in my guesstimation. I also got to thinking that a red dot, non magnified scope like and EOTech would have been ideal for the conditions particularly in early morning and late day low light conditions.
Hunting conditions can be confusing in the West to those not from this area. On last year's hunt, one of our party put down a nice 5x6 bull in a brushy area that was so thick we could hardly walk upright through it. However, he took the shot at a laser-measured 435 plus yards. We were on one side of a ridge looking across the valley at the opposite side where all the brush was. We could clearly see (once you knew where to look) the bull and a cow where they were bedded down in the 10 ft tall scrub oak. In fact we had a little party going watching them for over an hour until a mother sow and her two yearling bears came within 20-30 yds of the elk and got them up and moving. The hunter used his 300 Weatherby off a solid rest and nailed the elk cleanly just in back of the front shoulder, right through the lungs/heart area. The bull didn't walk three paces before going down. In the "kids don't do this at home category" a few caveats are in order. First the range was known curtesy of the laser range finder. Second it was a bright sunny day with no wind. Third, the hunter had been shooting at ranges out to 450 yds and knew his ballistics and rifle well. Fourth, there were about a half dozen of us to help get the bull out of the brush - even then it was tough to get it out without breaking off an antler tine.
It was an unusual hunt. We had 12 hunters in the party and between us got nine cows and two bulls (you can have a special drawing antlerless and also buy a bull tag over the counter so some folks got two elk)! A phenominal success rate. It was my first hunt there, but they told me the year before everyone got skunked.
At what point in the elks' deaths were you undergunned? I don't want to stand between you and a new gun, but "undergunned" isn't a reason. If you want more power, try Puma Arms .454 Casull levergun. I really like mine. Marlin makes a .38-55 that will fith the bill quite nicely too if you have an aversion to recoil like I do.
I've been told that .33 caliber cartridges are ideal for elk. Elmer Keith sure felt strongly about them.
For shooting year-round' I think a .45-70 will serve you best. There's more versatility in loads than with most other cartridges.
www.buffalobore.com makes good heavy .45-70 loads, but don't shoot them on guns without a muzzle brake and without hearing protection on. I once saw a photograph of a happy (glowing) teenager who had just shot a HUGE grizzly with a Guide Gun and BB ammo. It works.