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#5818931 - 07/05/15 09:55 PM What caliber for Elk
bigjoe8565 Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 06/30/08
Posts: 3818
Loc: Mesquite, Tx
I'm saving my money for an Elk hunt next year and a new rifle. I've heard I need anything from a .270 to a.338 Win Mag for the hunt. Any of you guys have real world experience on what caliber would be best?

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#5818946 - 07/05/15 10:02 PM Re: What caliber for Elk [Re: bigjoe8565]
Creekrunner Online   happy
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 10/19/12
Posts: 7158
Loc: Bexar/Gillespie, hunt Terrell
I've carried a .338 the few times I've been. I've killed two bulls with it.

Lots of elk hunters swear by the 7 mag.
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#5818959 - 07/05/15 10:10 PM Re: What caliber for Elk [Re: bigjoe8565]
rifleman Offline
Sparkly Pants

Registered: 11/19/08
Posts: 43776
Loc: Kingwood
Doesn't take much to kill a perfectly broadside bull anything from 270-338 will work. You get into the bigger options when things aren't perfect.

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#5818961 - 07/05/15 10:11 PM Re: What caliber for Elk [Re: bigjoe8565]
Cleric Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 03/11/12
Posts: 2579
Shot placement is key as with all animals...

I went 300 win just to make sure I had enough umph if it's a shot at range. Make sure to get a good quality bullet.

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#5819006 - 07/05/15 10:38 PM Re: What caliber for Elk [Re: bigjoe8565]
Tactical Cowboy Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 08/23/11
Posts: 2844
Loc: Abilene
30-06 so when you come back to Texas you still have a usable rifle.
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#5819018 - 07/05/15 10:43 PM Re: What caliber for Elk [Re: bigjoe8565]
chital_shikari Offline
Minor in training

Registered: 08/03/11
Posts: 11387
Loc: Katy, TX
I'd say 300 mag. For range and power and anything-kill-a-bility.

Really, just be comfortable behind whatever you're shooting. A lot of people use 270s. I was once told of a 223 elk kill. A lot of other people use 7 mags, which has been said before.
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#5819105 - 07/05/15 11:57 PM Re: What caliber for Elk [Re: bigjoe8565]
kmon1 Online   content
junior

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 20282
Loc: Texas
Key with an elk like lots of other big game is make that first shot into the vitals. A poor first shot and it can make for a long tracking job if the animal is recovered at all. Once adrenaline gets going those big critters can get going and go for a ways even if shot with a big caliber like 338Win Mag or larger.

As far as caliber for elk, 270Win and up with good bullets will work fine, be honest with yourself and get one you can shoot well. I would much rather help find an elk shot in the lungs with a 257 Roberts than one shot in the gut with a 338 Win Mag.

A good friend that is an outfitter in Montana hates the 338 Win Mag for elk since almost all the hunters that have shown up with them cannot shoot them accurately. Myself, I have used 300 Wby Mag, 7mmSTW, 350 Remington Mag, 6.5-284 Norma and 257 Wby Mag. All worked well.
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#5819106 - 07/06/15 12:00 AM Re: What caliber for Elk [Re: bigjoe8565]
Cajun Raider Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 07/23/11
Posts: 486
Loc: Texas
7MM got my two bulls.
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#5819118 - 07/06/15 12:20 AM Re: What caliber for Elk [Re: bigjoe8565]
TexFlip Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 08/18/12
Posts: 8631
Loc: Harris County
Kill both of my bulls with a 270 WSM. One at 200 yards the other a little over 300. 129gr TSX.


Edited by TexFlip (07/06/15 12:20 AM)
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#5819124 - 07/06/15 12:41 AM Re: What caliber for Elk [Re: bigjoe8565]
thedoveshooter Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 03/02/10
Posts: 1191
Loc: Tomball, TX
Teddy Roosevelt used Winchesters in various calibers and he said in his book to keep shooting an elk until it fell. BUT, he also had horrible vision, so that explains some things as well. He probably couldn't tell he hit anything until they either fell or disappeared. lol
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#5819163 - 07/06/15 05:45 AM Re: What caliber for Elk [Re: thedoveshooter]
dawaba Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 4200
Loc: Big Eddy Road, Noonday
The world is full of good elk cartridges. Looking back, I took my seven bulls with no fuss or muss with:

7mmRM/160 Nosler PT @160 yds.
.30-06/180 Nosler PT @ 30 yds.
7mmRM/160 Nosler PT @ 40 yds.
.338WM/210 Nosler PT @ 280 yds.
.300WM/165 Nosler AB @ 130 yds. (Roosevelt elk).
.300WM/200 Nosler PT @ 180 yds.
7mmRM/140 Barnes TTSX @ 120 yds. (Tule elk).

Take your choice with any of the above. IMO, the list of adequate elk rounds would begin with the .25-06 (barely adequate) and end with the .338 (bordering on overkill). YMMV.
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#5819166 - 07/06/15 05:53 AM Re: What caliber for Elk [Re: bigjoe8565]
killen Online   content
Bird Dog

Registered: 12/12/09
Posts: 286
Loc: bowie tx
300 ultra good to a 1000 yrds if you are shot placement is everything

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#5819305 - 07/06/15 08:41 AM Re: What caliber for Elk [Re: bigjoe8565]
Precision_Shooter Offline


Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 816
Loc: Crossroads, TX
The right bullet is more important than caliber. You want a bullet that will penetrate deep and expand. Something like a Barnes TTSX or Hornady GMX. With the right bullet anything from .243 up will work. Just know the limitations of range/energy with any round and keep your shots within those limits....
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#5819310 - 07/06/15 08:44 AM Re: What caliber for Elk [Re: bigjoe8565]
SR025 Online   shocked
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 09/01/10
Posts: 5320
Loc: DFW
223
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#5819321 - 07/06/15 08:54 AM Re: What caliber for Elk [Re: bigjoe8565]
Big Fitz Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 12/06/09
Posts: 2007
Loc: McKinney, TX
I think the calibers from 270 up through 338 WM have it covered as mentioned above by some folks with real experience so I will only mention the importance of a very stout bullet built for such a tough animal. Nosler Partitions seem to be the benchmark and in that group would be bonded bullets and solid copper.

I personally don't care much for the solid copper as they don't seem to expand much unless bone is hit. Took my 2nd Elk with a 7mm Rem Mag with Barnes 160gr TSX (Barnes factory ammo)at 370 yds bedded down below and quartering away from me. 1st shot entered the back and exited front side just behind the lungs (no expansion)...Elk did not flinch and stood up and began walking. Guide said shoot again, 2nd hit in left rump going through muscle only (no expansion), 3rd shot through spine at shoulders anchored him. We all thought I totally missed the 1st shot since he did not flinch and only verified the hit when the guides began skinning him.

Don't scrimp on the ammo...very cheap considering the total cost of the hunt. If you don't reload, buy several of the premium and see what shoots best and go with it. Another option is to get with Chad (Dallas Reloads) and he can help with selection of a premium bullet and work up a custom load for your rifle.
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