by Chris V.
I guess one can hunt and kill elk with a 243, 308, 06, 7 Mag, 300 Mag and up. I watched a video of a woman shooting and dropping an elk, one shot at some 600 yards with a 243! Another vid shooting an elk with 243 DRT ammo also dropped it on the spot! Recently I've come back to my senses on hunting elk with pea-shooters and feel elk guns start with a 7 Mag, like my favorite 7 WSM for light kick and range. But for elk I choose even bigger. Comparing thirties, 308 Win, 30-06, 300 Mags... well they're all 30 caliber and shoot an elk correctly at 100 yards with any of them and break out your blade. But if I had to pick one of them, it would be the 300 Win Mag. I read the 300 RUM does a real number on elk out yonder, but still I'll pick bigger! Why? Because today good hunting opportunity is rare and can be expensive. Seasons short and regulations limiting and competition fierce. When I pull the trigger on an elk, I want it to go down on the spot. A friend once made a perfect lung shot on a smaller bull elk with his 06. It ran off into the brush dead on its feet, then came a shot from some other hunter and my friend found his elk 100 yards away with a tag on it! Today
My friend hunts elk with a 375 Ruger. I've hunted Washington, Montana, Alaska, Canada, Europe and Africa. One thing clearly stands out. Hit game correctly with a big caliber bullet and they go down quicker. Bullets are another subject and they do matter. I've shot big game beyond 500 yards, but my furthest elk was at 175 yards. Hit him in the lungs with a 250 NP out of my 338 Winchester. The bullet made a loud smack and the bull dropped like a sack of potatoes! For elk I favor the 338 and 375. Those calibers mean business. Depending on range the 9.3X62 hits hard too. Currently my favorite elk gun is a blued and synthetic stocked Mossberg Patriot in 338 Winchester. It's lightweight, inexpensive, tough and accurate. Its 22 inch factory fluted barrel is a perfect match for 338 Winchester ballistics and in my opinion this rifle has been overlooked. I've owned custom rifles, but today view the gun as a tool and concentrate more on the hunt. This gun shoots MOA and I would comfortably shoot an elk out to 400 yards, but expect most shots under 100. My Merkel 9.3X62 out to 300 yards and if longer shots were expected the 338 RUM, which may be the best all-round cartridge for elk near and far. My elk pick is the 338 Win Mag. Should I get really serious about elk hunting, a 338 RUM is in my sights.