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Rifle recommendations for an Elk hunt...

6819 Views 79 Replies 60 Participants Last post by  sourdough44
OK, I figure that I'll ask this on a few different forums and take the nuggets of info I get and throw them in the mix with my thoughts on what I'll need...

I got a sniff of the chance to go on an Elk hunt next year; I'm going to outfit one of my Dr's for his trip, and he said that one of the party is talking about backing out, freeing up a slot for me. First things first, he's looking at getting a .270 for the trip. I think thats a little on the small side, and recommended the .30-06 as the smallest I'd go. Am I accurate in that recommendation? What are ya'lls thoughts on best cartridge for elk under 200yds? Initially, I thought that a .300WSM was the way to go, but the more I've read says that the venerable '06 should be fine, throwing 165gr deep penetrating rounds (partitions or the like) or larger. Of course, if 165gr is enough, what about some stout .308Win loads? I like the shorter action stuff...

Next, I'm thinking that this will be a great opportunity to build a Mauser-based piece for myself, especially if its going to be an '06. Could I do a Mauser in a short mag? Can the actions stand the extra pressure that those stubby little cartridges produce? If they can, how about feeding those fireplugs from the Mauser magazine? Tons of questions...

Anyway, heres my plan (based on an '06 chambering)...Large ring Mauser (we've got an Argentine Mauser at work that has been butchered and is an '06, IIRC), 20" Wilson barrel (makes it a little handier, and there isn't alot of oomph lost in the 2", is there?), laminate stock from Boyd's (with a Hogue pillar bedded as an alternative), and a decent aftermarket trigger with side safety. I'll replace the bolt shroud with a commercial piece to clean it up a little, and I've got to figure out an iron sighting system that will work for me. I really like one I've seen that was done on a Rem 700 that looks like an AR rear, but don't know the best way to make that work; need to do a little more research on that one.

Also, I'm not sure on the optic; do I want a scout system (I have a Savage Scout with a Leupold Scout Scope in .308 and LOVE it), or something more conventional like a low-power Leupold or Trijicon 'dangerous game' type setup? Thoughts?

Thanks!
Byrdman
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only elk i ever took was with a 19" barrelled 06 shooting 180 partitions. most of the locals used 30-30s or 300 savages for elk.
 

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Having lived and hunted in the inter-mountain West for almost 40 years here's what I seen firsthand when it comes to killing elk. A .270, .280, or '06 with good bullets will get the job done neatly and efficiently. A mag will stretch your reach somewhat but most folks don't shoot them well enough to take advantage of what a mag offers.

Right now in my immediate area the younger locals are enamored of the Remington .300 Ultramag. Most will tell you straight up they don't like touching off rounds through their Old Betsy because of the recoil.

I went to school with a kid who regularly killed big bull elk over waterholes by head shooting them with a 22-250. His brother hunted in heavy timber and favored a family hand-me-down pre-64 Winchester .458 with reduced handloads. Neither ideal elk calibers in my book but you can't argue with the results.
 

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I killed my first elk with an /06 and 180 grain Nosler Partitions. Jim Zumbo killed his first 50 bulls...yes FIFTY with a 30/06! Anyone who would argue against the /06 for elk is wacked. Great standard caliber and under 200 yards no elk on the face of the earth would know the difference between a .300 magnum of any flavor and a 30/06.

I since have come to love my .338 Win Mag for larger animals like elk. I've since shot two more elk with the .338 and its the gun I plan on taking to Africa next year for plains game. I find the 210 Nosler Partition a pleasure to shoot in all but the prone position! VERY versatile caliber and doesn't beat you to death.

Magnums buy you more usable range beyond 400 yards. Most people have no business shooting at animals at any distance beyond Max point blank range. I'm comfortable doing it under perfect conditions. But I've worn out several rifle barrels shooting at distances between 300 and 1,000 yards and know my limitations on game. I also have shot my rifles at distances beyond 300 yards ON PAPER extensively.
But I know I'm the exception here.

FWIW, the .270 Winchester is one the top five elk killing calibers used every year for decades running. If all I had to shoot elk with was a .270 WInchester I'd stoke it with some 150 or 160 grain bullets and go hunting. I'd put my money on a rifleman who can shoot a .270 Winchester any day of the week over a guy who has a big magnum he has'nt fired two boxes of ammo through it since he's owned the gun! Any licensed elk guide will tell you the same exact thing!

Bullet placement trumps caliber any day of the week. Focus on how you shoot not what you shoot and you'll make meat!
 

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A friend has taken several elk with a 30-40 Craig. All one shot. All under 100 yards. Heart shot and they drop within 20 yards.
Impressive. Goes to show shot placement is key, 30-40 Krag is only a little more powerful than the 30-30. I own a 1898 30-40, taken one large buck with it, dropped instantly with a lung area shot.

30-30 Ballistic performance
Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
110 gr (7.1 g) FP 2,684 ft/s (818 m/s) 1,760 ft·lbf (2,390 J)
130 gr (8.4 g) FP 2,496 ft/s (761 m/s) 1,799 ft·lbf (2,439 J)
150 gr (9.7 g) FN 2,390 ft/s (730 m/s) 1,903 ft·lbf (2,580 J)
160 gr (10 g) cast LFN 1,616 ft/s (493 m/s) 928 ft·lbf (1,258 J)
170 gr (11 g) FP 2,227 ft/s (679 m/s) 1,873 ft·lbf (2,539 J)

30-40 Krag Ballistic performance
Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
100 gr (6.5 g) SP 2,898 ft/s (883 m/s) 1,865 ft·lbf (2,529 J)
130 gr (8.4 g) HP 2,746 ft/s (837 m/s) 2,177 ft·lbf (2,952 J)
150 gr (9.7 g) Nos Part 2,575 ft/s (785 m/s) 2,209 ft·lbf (2,995 J)
180 gr (12 g) SP 2,276 ft/s (694 m/s) 2,071 ft·lbf (2,808 J)
200 gr (13 g) RN 1,974 ft/s (602 m/s) 1,731 ft·lbf (2,347 J)
 

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3006 is fine, i think the 270 with barnes or other premium bullet would be geat too. I like standard eye relief low power variables fromLeupold , probably old fashoned... The mauser sounds really sweet and nothing is more classic. Keep us up on the progress!
James
 

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I have a cousin who lives in Utah, He has killed more elk than I have seen. He shoots a 270. I shoot a 280 Remington and have killed 4 elk. All one shot kills. For elk I shoot Federal 165 gr. Trophy Bonded Bear Claws.
 

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I just finished a late cow elk hunt yesterday in Northern Wyoming. Folks here use everything. Saw a older woman shoot a cow elk at 329 yards with one round from a .270....she said she has never missed a shot. I was impressed...is was bitterly cold and windy. I shot a cow elk yesterday at 255 yards, also windy and -17 degrees...one shot 30-06 165 grain Nosler trophy grade. Two other folks in my group had .270 and 300 win mag.
My advice would be warm clothes...and practice at 300 yards.
 

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Shot plenty of elk with a .270 but later on moved up to a .300 Win Mag. Probably whacked 75 deer with the .270 and many caribou, sheep, bears and others. I like the 165 in the .30 calibers.
 
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OK, I figure that I'll ask this on a few different forums and take the nuggets of info I get and throw them in the mix with my thoughts on what I'll need...

I got a sniff of the chance to go on an Elk hunt next year; I'm going to outfit one of my Dr's for his trip, and he said that one of the party is talking about backing out, freeing up a slot for me. First things first, he's looking at getting a .270 for the trip. I think thats a little on the small side, and recommended the .30-06 as the smallest I'd go. Am I accurate in that recommendation? What are ya'lls thoughts on best cartridge for elk under 200yds? Initially, I thought that a .300WSM was the way to go, but the more I've read says that the venerable '06 should be fine, throwing 165gr deep penetrating rounds (partitions or the like) or larger. Of course, if 165gr is enough, what about some stout .308Win loads? I like the shorter action stuff...

Next, I'm thinking that this will be a great opportunity to build a Mauser-based piece for myself, especially if its going to be an '06. Could I do a Mauser in a short mag? Can the actions stand the extra pressure that those stubby little cartridges produce? If they can, how about feeding those fireplugs from the Mauser magazine? Tons of questions...

Anyway, heres my plan (based on an '06 chambering)...Large ring Mauser (we've got an Argentine Mauser at work that has been butchered and is an '06, IIRC), 20" Wilson barrel (makes it a little handier, and there isn't alot of oomph lost in the 2", is there?), laminate stock from Boyd's (with a Hogue pillar bedded as an alternative), and a decent aftermarket trigger with side safety. I'll replace the bolt shroud with a commercial piece to clean it up a little, and I've got to figure out an iron sighting system that will work for me. I really like one I've seen that was done on a Rem 700 that looks like an AR rear, but don't know the best way to make that work; need to do a little more research on that one.

Also, I'm not sure on the optic; do I want a scout system (I have a Savage Scout with a Leupold Scout Scope in .308 and LOVE it), or something more conventional like a low-power Leupold or Trijicon 'dangerous game' type setup? Thoughts?

Thanks!
Byrdman
35 Whelen or 338 Winchester.
 

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I was always partial to 180 grain 30-06 ammo on my elk hunts. Took down 5 over the years with that load in the Selway in Idaho. I would think .270 or 300 win mag would be just fine as well.
 
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Great info! Lol, I'm waiting for someone to post a link to howe someone shot an elk 98 years ago with a 22 short.
 
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Great info! Lol, I'm waiting for someone to post a link to howe someone shot an elk 98 years ago with a 22 short.
Or how people respond to 12 year old threads with an OP who has not been on GT for over a yeaer.
 
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