best rifle caliber?

by Buglemup
(Superior Mt.)

I've been reading what people have been writing about rifle calibers and here is what 16 years of guiding elk has tought me. Use a rifle that fits you correctly, a caliber you are not scared of. Too many hunters think they need to buy the biggest and baddest rifle out there, not true! The biggest thing is use the proper BULLET! Do not use hollow points! Do your homework on bullet performance. You don't have to buy the biggest and baddest bullet (by it's so called reputation). Like I said, I've been guiding elk hunts along time, and the two calibers that seem to require a follow up shot or shots and additional tracking more than others; Is the 270 and 7mm Rem Mag. Let me finish!!! All of which can totally be corrected by using the proper bullet. I shoot a 7mm with factory Remington ammo. 175gr core locks and you can see the concussion when you hit an animal. Also, remember bullet placement is key with any caliber. Line up your vertical crosshair with the front leg centered between top of back and bottom of brisket this is the actual boiler room.

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Aug 16, 2015
Best elk rifle
by: Anonymous

I have hunted for years, been camp flunky and guided. Friends of mine have a guide and outfitting business. Have seen lots of different calibers in camp. The biggest thing is using something you are good with and can put where it counts. Example hunter came to camp with a 338, (recommended by his friend) he missed 2 elk and finally wounded one. We finally found it 2 days latter all bloated up and ruined. He said the scope was off we checked it and was fine. Bottom line was scared of the recoil. Good caliber but not for him. I have taken elk with 3 different calibers, a 3006, 300 weatherby, and a 270. All have done well and did their job. So anything in those calibers are good when shots are placed correctly. That being said I know of a lady outfitter who uses a 6 mm and has since she was a kid. She picks her shots and puts them where they count.

So find a rifle you can handle and shoot well, know your limits, and your rifles, and you will go home with some of the best table fare their is.

Dec 02, 2013
Best elk caliber
by: Mac

Boys, that is a tough one to answer. A 117gr bullet in a 257 robt is better than the same bullet in a 257 wby at 100 yards. So, it really depends. I own many calibers and would hunt elk with a lot of them. On the low end in the right hands and circumstances at the low end 6.5x55,257 Roberts and at the high end 338 win/375 H&H. That leave room for a lot of cartridges. Shoot what you have, just shoot it well. Now, that is about as politically correct as I am capable of.

Dec 01, 2013
Shot placement over Magnum Mania
by: Bill

I've been hunting Elk now for many,many,many years well you get the idea. I also teach Hunters Education now in Texas and orig in Co. the main thing I try to pass on to my students is get something you can shoot well. After that in my opinion it's shot placement!! Too many hunters want to go for a head or neck shot, these are high percentage at long distances. I also don't believe in trying to smash through the shoulder
way too much good meat there. well hope to see ya'll round elk camp.

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elk rifle

by jason
(butte mt)

I have a 30 30 with 170 grain round nose bullet. Will this work to shoot an elk ?

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Jun 15, 2015
Elk rifle
by: Dave, ElkHuntingTips.Net

Any big game rifle will kill an elk if you make good shot placement within range of the gun you are using. A double lunger kills, but you have to be willing to track and search after the shot. Elk are tough and can run a bit with no heart! We kill elk with sharp sticks every year.

Jun 14, 2015
gun caliber
by: Brian

I have a 7mm08 is this enough gun for elk hunting? I will be using a premium bullet when I do go.

Sep 08, 2014
30-30s
by: Passin Thru

I have a30-30 and use it on deer w/150gr but for CO Elk I have a 270 WSM. I am not a fan of hunting Elk with a 30-30 because most shots are over 100 yd and up to 225 in the mountains. You could knock down an Elk but you'd better be close and with a 270WSM the Nosler goes through one side and stops at the skin on the other side if you hit vitals and the animal is dead even if it runs. Having been a marksman in the military I don't get excited about my shots and will wait until a Cow or Bull is broadside. It is a patience and challenge game to test yourself, not just kill something. The other thing is to not jump up and run after your shot animal. Let it go for 20 min. Running around at 9-10K ft can flag you in a hurry anyway and if you hit it you'll have about 4 or more hrs work cutout for you.

Jun 17, 2014
Long time lever.
by: Mark

I started hunting elk with a Marlin 336 30-30 with a four power Redfield "Bear Cub" scope at the age of twelve. Dropped one the first year and another at fourteen. Both were one shot kills at less than seventy-five yards. In those days anything shot over one hundred yards would get you a trip to the woodshed. If you want to hunt with a 30-30 today the best favor you can do yourself is to use Hornady Lever Evolution ammunition. Hornady and Marlin teamed up to provide a much better round for lever guns. I now have full confidence in my 30-30 up to 200 yards. Accuracy and stopping/dropping power are excellent. Good Hunting.

Apr 03, 2014
30-30 is a good choice, not the best, but good
by: Anonymous

30-30 has probably killed more big game than any gun in North America. At 100 yards with or without a scope, they are plenty accurate. If you want to shoot 200 yards, a 4 power scope would help a lot. A 30-30 in capable hands will definitely kill more elk than a 300 Win Ultra Mag shot by some Texan.

Dec 02, 2013
30-30
by: Mac

My Step Dad used a 30-30 to take over 20 elk and mule deer. But, then he was a real hunter who could get in close and never had to shoot over 75-100 yards. Some people think they can shoot and some think they can hunt, most can not. Use what you have but learn to use it right.

Oct 02, 2013
Use caution with a .30/30
by: Pat Cassidy

Jason, I'm sure there have been many Elk killed with a .30/30...and many wounded.
Having said that, I think that if you limit your range to about 100 yards and always aim for the heart (not just the Elk, and not just the chest).
Learn the anatomy of Elk and hit the heart or just above it and your .30/30 will do fine.
You are right in using the 170 grain as the 150 expands too much.
Do some homework and practice with your rifle so you have confidence in both the rifle and yourself.
Depending on what make of rifle you have you may consider putting a low-power scope on it to aid in precise bullet placement.

Now go out and have fun (only shoot an Elk if you want some hard work)!

Oct 02, 2013
Rhetorical Question?
by: Anonymous

"Will it work?" A shotgun with buckshot will work if it is 5 feet away and you head shoot it. However my experience with a 30-30 lever action is not good. Poor balistics, poor accuracy with or without a scope, poor penetration, Slow, etc. etc. I would not attempt it beyond 50 yards. Others may have a diffent opinion.

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Talked to my outfitter about rifles.

by Don
(Highland Village, Texas)

My outiftter says the locals in Wyoming by and large us lighter caliber rifles for Elk.

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Feb 02, 2017
Shooting skill
by: F M Steward

I agree with a lot of the points discussed. One point that has not been made clear is that shooting is a perishable skill and one that must be practiced to be effective with the rifle you use. So good shooting skills should be practiced regularly with the rifle you hunt with in the late summer or fall. Good shooting skills will lead to effective bullet placement and that leads to good kill shots. Most hunters do not shoot enough so pull your rifle out and go to range or woods and get to know your rifle at least 2 x a month

Apr 27, 2016
.270 for Elk
by: Anonymous

I use a .270 with 140 Nosler Partitions and haven't lost an elk yet. When shot broadside, it's usually a complete pass thru. Being a light caliber helps my accuracy.

Mar 29, 2016
Elk rifles
by: Anonymous

Today's hunter is constantly being nurtured by tv shows and technology. They will argue that you need a monster of a magnum caliber for elk and most game. technology And products in the hunting/shooting sports have created a strong industry which is good for facing the anti hunting community. But the industry can also be very deceitful . Products need to be sold hence the industry injects a demand in a hunter's mind that you can hunt a certain game ,only if you have this or that product or rifle/caliber. I have taken,dall sheep,mountain goat,moose , caribou,antelope,mule deer, cleanly with a .308 win.,Whitetail, black bear with 30/30. Remember it's called hunting not shooting.Get closer that's what it's all about. I saw a tv show about a hunter who was happy about taking a griz at approx 500 yds.,with a super cross country rifle. That bear is too majestic to be taken that way,not to mention the possibility of wounding. Standard rifle calibers will continue to take game as long as the hunter is proficient and has self confidence.

Feb 03, 2016
Smaller Caliber Rifles
by: Dave, ElkHuntingTips.Net

Excellent observations! I agree.

Feb 03, 2016
Western big game hunters and lighter calibers
by: LIONHUNTER

It's true that many local western big game hunters use lighter calibers on elk with great success.
Some thoughts to ponder:

Most westerners shoot a lot, and they pack their favorite rifle around with them a big part of the year, shooting varmints and coyotes and such they get a lot of practice. Most of them are good estimating range out in the big country, and they know where to hold. As a big game Outfitters we generally get nervous when we see a client show up in camp with a brand new rifle fashioned in the latest craze from the Gun magazine's latest article. Generally when they don't live around elk they seem to have the idea that they are iron clad and a super long range magnum rifle with a huge scope with ballistic compensating reticles is the only thing that will work. Work they will in the hands of the experts and those that spend a lot of time practicing with them. Unfortunately when we take these hunters out to sight in before the hunt range we generally see some pretty dismal target groups after the first few shots.

Remember a gut shot elk with a 338/378 Weatherby is just that a gut shot elk, and is very likely to run off to die a slow death in some deep nasty canyon.

On the flip side we generally breath a sigh of relief when a hunter shows up with a well used 7 Mag. 30-06,308,270 or even a 25-06 and proclaims he loads his own and shoots that old gun for everything. Not all the time but usually these guys have freezers full of meat year after year. With todays modern improved bullets and propellants it's not hard to find an elk rifle that is friendly, accurate light enough to pack a long ways and effective as long as you don't feel you have to blast away at elk over a quarter mile away.

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