Semi auto for elk ?


February 28, 2009, 08:43 PM
It seems to me that the norm out there for elk hunting is the bolt action rifle...However I pose this question...Is that the sporting press speaking or are there alot of hunters that may use a 7400 or a BAR for taking elk. I only ask because I am on the hunt for an elk rifle and a person advised to think about a BAR in a magnum caliber. Your thoughts are welcomed.

If you enjoyed reading about "Semi auto for elk ?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
February 28, 2009, 10:05 PM
I dont hunt elk, but I would think the BAR would do just fine. I would love to have one too,

February 28, 2009, 10:17 PM
I have an original Belgium made bar in 30-06 and have used it extensively for bear and deer. It rivals many bolt actions in accuracy out to 300 yards plus. It would be hard to imagine an elk that wouldn't go down to a good hit with a 150 gr or 180gr. They make 200 gr if you want more, and I have taken 400+ lb black bears with one shot instant kills with it with 147 gr.

February 28, 2009, 11:31 PM
all my elk hunting has been done w/ bolts. don't see why an autoloader wouldn't work just fine, assuming weight and balance are up to snuff, and the accuracy is there.

February 28, 2009, 11:33 PM
Mines a -06 Stalker, it was the lightest BAR that they offered at the time. It does dampen recoil a good bit, other than that I don't see the advantage of a semi-auto for elk. I can work a bolt fast enough if a second shot is needed.

I agree with modwerdna that an -06 is plenty even for big elk. Who suggested a magnum and why?

The gun is on the heavy side for a fast handling do-it-all gun. Now if the gun were as light as the newer .308 Shortrac then the fast second shot would be good for hog hunting as they travel in groups and even a rushed, imperfect shot on a running hog is ok since they do so much damage.

I like semi-autos and own a half dozen but they don't help a hunting gun much. I tend to use bolt guns for hunting. Now if we had hogs in this area I might carry a semi more often.

I wouldn't buy any version of a 7400 including the new 750, the BAR is a very sweet shooting rifle

February 28, 2009, 11:53 PM
Back in 1958 my father went on an elk trip to central Idaho. He met a forest service ranger, who mentioned that elk and deer often freeze at the sound of a rifle shot, but run when they hear the metallic sound of a bolt action. He showed Dad his Remington 740 Woodsmaster in 30-06. He claimed to make easy follow-up shots on deer and elk without spooking them.

Fast forward to 1988, my dad retired but arthritis set into his hands and fingers. He tried both bolt and lever action rifles but couldn't operate either. So we bought him a 7400 Deluxe. On hunting trips for the next 17 years I loaded the magazine for him and inserted it in the receiver with the bolt locked open. He could close the bolt and flick the safety on and off as he wished. He got his deer and elk with it. Once in 2002 I borrowed it, and I got a deer. I would expect that you can be just as successful with an autoloader, if that's the rifle you want. It's a personal choice.

March 1, 2009, 12:01 AM
I would do that with a 7400 easy, in 30.06 or 308.

March 1, 2009, 12:02 AM
I just read a story somewhere about an elk in New Mexico being taken with a 10mm glock so if I can find that I will post it here. Its semi auto and took an elk.

March 1, 2009, 12:24 AM
I think a BAR would be just fine for elk, assuming you shoot it well. It's quite a fine rifle.

I just read a story somewhere about an elk in New Mexico being taken with a 10mm glock so if I can find that I will post it here. Its semi auto and took an elk.
Sounds like a doing of Uncle Ted, does it not? :D

March 1, 2009, 12:25 AM
One of the guys I have elk hunted with for over 15 years packs a BAR 300wm and has killed his share of elk with it no problem. I have killed a lot of elk with a 30-06 and a few with a 300 wm and they are both just fine the only dif is the 300 carries a little more energy a little farther but I have never noticed a diffrance.

The other dozen or so guys I have elk hunted with for years ALL use bolt actions most of wich are 300wm 7mm 30-06 338wm

March 1, 2009, 03:43 AM
I love the 30-06. But I only have it in a bolt. I would use my FNAR in .308.

Kind of Blued
March 1, 2009, 03:48 AM
You trade off light weight and a bit of accuracy for a semi-automatic action which isn't necessary.

That being said, many guys have semi-autos that are plenty of gun for an elk and they can shoot them with enough accuracy to put the bullet right where they want it.

I'd prefer a bolt, but I have to admit, I do dream of taking an Elk with an M1 or an M1A some day.

March 1, 2009, 05:25 AM
Most elk hunting is off hand shooting not bench shooting so anyone that can tell a diff from a self loader vs a bolt gun on group size is a fibber. I see a heck of a lot or .30 mag and 7mm mags out there too in the FN BAR.

March 1, 2009, 07:30 AM
I worked in a gun shop part time for a couple of years. Had two guys that bought identical BAR's for a trip to Alaska. Both froze up in the cold/snow and they had to use the guides rifle. I remember because I took them back on trade.

Also, I had a very good friend that guided in Colorado. He had a 740 in 30-06. He thought the quick follow up and reduced recoil would be a good idea. Heavy wet snow locked his rifle up also. He was banging the bolt handle against a rock trying to get it freed up. Sold his also.

After seeing these, I sold my 7400 in .35 Whelen. Very moderate recoil considering the power, and plenty accurate.

If you get one, I'd strongly suggest taking as much care as possible to keep moisture out of the action.

March 1, 2009, 08:23 AM
and my 30-06 1903-a3 bolt action Springfield froze up like a rock in 25 degree below zero weather too and my bar did not, because of wrong oil for the conditions, It is not a snow shovel, any rifle will lock up if you let it fill with wet snow and then freeze. The Springfield had some military grade oil left on the firing pin and it could not strike the primer. The bar I had completely stripped of any lubricant and only used a light spray of wd40.

Hostile Amish
March 1, 2009, 08:44 AM
Bar 30-06

March 1, 2009, 08:58 AM
It is not the action: semi auto or bolt that matters it is the calibre for the most part. IMO a 7 mag or 300 mag is bestfor elk, however many have been taken with 30-06.
That said bolt actions are for the most part more accurate than semi autos and there may be problems with semi autos locking up due to snow or ice. I would use either a 7 mag weatherby or a 300 weatherby both are in my collection. I use the 7 mag a lot on whitetails in the SE. However the BAR is IMO the finest semi on the market I plan to get one when I see a left hand model in 7 ag or 30-06 at a good price.

March 1, 2009, 12:42 PM
I don't think there's any reason not to hunt elk with a semi-auto if that's what you already have or if you can only afford one gun, but I don't see any other good reason to do it since you only take one elk at a time and fast followups generally aren't necessary.

A good semi-auto will typically cost you twice as much as a good bolt action and it generally won't be as accurate, as reliable or as lightweight. It probably will be available in less than 1/3 as many chamberings too.

Now if you just like semi-autos and want to get one for that reason, well that trumps all of the above.

March 1, 2009, 12:51 PM
The hunting rifle that was handed down to me by my grandfather is a Remington Woodsmaster 740 semi-auto in 30-06 - it's taken dozens of deer and some elk over it's life time.

I prefer my scoped bolt-action 30-06 for deer/elk but the semi-auto is plenty capable - I put peep sights on it since I think the semi-auto is better suited for close range work.

March 1, 2009, 12:57 PM
An AR10 variant would be just fine. As would a Saiga in .308 and don't they make one in .30-06?

March 1, 2009, 01:12 PM
Had two guys that bought identical BAR's for a trip to Alaska. Both froze up in the cold/snow and they had to use the guides rifle.

Well if they used the proper lubricant they would have not had a problem. Unfortunately most hunters are just plain stupid when it comes to the mechanics and proper maintenance of a rifle. If your rifle or shotgun is doused in light weight oil you better believe it is going to freeze up in subzero temps.

March 1, 2009, 01:21 PM
You trade off light weight and a bit of accuracy for a semi-automatic action which isn't necessary.

Browning BAR Safari .30-06 weight: 7 3/8 lb

Remington 700 SPS or BDL in '06 weight: 7 3/8 lb


I have hunted with a BAR Safari in '06 for years. I wouldn't hesitate to hunt elk with the rifle. I don't personally believe there is any need to go to a magnum round for game in the contiguous 48 states. Just adds unneeded cost and recoil in my opinion.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
March 1, 2009, 01:47 PM
You bet; if you can hit well with it, and don't mind a tad extra weight (*usually*), go for it. But also, make sure a semi is allowed in the state you are going to hunt in. 98% chance you won't need that very quick 2nd shot, but then there's that 2% chance that you would....

March 1, 2009, 02:20 PM
In Northern New Mexico my great grandfather used a 30-40 Krag on elk, grandfather a 3006, uncle a .308. They accounted for many elk. I guess any 30 cal or better used in at a reasonable range that you can hit the vitals. My first chioce is my bolt action 3006 but one day I will use my new FNAR in .308.

March 1, 2009, 02:59 PM
Dunno how you feel about Chuck Hawks, but FWIW he gives the safari grade BAR Mk. II a "D+" grade for elk hunting: see Elk Rifles Compared (

On the other hand, he also says that it is an "accurate and reliable rifle. This is one autoloader that literally shoots as well as a bolt action" (

March 1, 2009, 04:44 PM
I have seen Remingon 742 and a Springfield M1A in elk camp. Don't know anyone that used a BAR but some people like them. Keep your action dry lubed and the water/snow ice out of it you should be fine. My dad's Remington 760 pump gun froze up on him once, it can happen with any rifle.

March 1, 2009, 04:55 PM
You don't want to know what I really think about him.

March 1, 2009, 05:48 PM
There is nothing wrong with using a quality, accurate semi for elk. Every hunter that I personally know uses a bolt action rifle. At the large private range where I shoot, I have only ever seen a few guys with semis getting ready for elk season. The bolt action is truly the most popular rifle in my part of the west.

However, you should go with the rifle you like and feel most confident in shooting. One other aspect to consider is that western hunting is hard on guns. You spend a lot of time walking, climbing, scrambling, sliding down or across slopes, etc. The wind blows a lot. It can be very cold or unseasonably warm. In short, your rifle gets a workout. At the end of the day, my gun looks like it has been in a battle. If your semi always works in bad conditions, especially with dirt blown into it by the wind, you are good to go. The bolt action will work, for sure.

March 1, 2009, 07:01 PM
Dunno how you feel about Chuck Hawks, but FWIW he gives the safari grade BAR Mk. II a "D+" grade for elk hunting

He does the same thing that a lot of people do, he wails about how heavy and long the BAR is.

Yet, it weighs exactly the same as a Remmy 700 bolt action, and is the same length.

Some people EXPECT the semi auto to be bulky and heavy, so it is to them. Sort of kills the idea of a 'fair' evaluation huh?

I guess I don't understand sentences like:

In summation, the Safari Grade BAR is akward to carry in the hand, on horseback, or even in a hunting vehicle. However, when the action starts it is admittedly very hard to beat.

That doesn't really make sense. Truth is the weight and length of the BAR are the same as the most popular bolt action, the Rem 700, and pretty much the same as the other bolt actions reviewed.

Rem 700 .30-06 7 3/8 lbs 42.5 inch overall length
BAR Safari 7 3/8 lbs 43 inch overall length
Wthby Vanguard 7 3/4 lbs 44.5 inch overall length (Vanguard Deluxe)

I guess Browning didn't pay enough for the review......but that's why I stopped reading gun writers :)

March 1, 2009, 07:14 PM
I've used a BAR in 30-06, works just fine. I would also feel comfortable using my BAR in .270 or the HK SLB in 30-06.

March 1, 2009, 08:25 PM
On occasion I will get tired of wait and ambush hunting and try a bit of slow jump hunting. My Bar if my first choice. It's fast and comfortable, accurate, awesome single stage hair trigger pull, and with a Bushnell 3x9 wide angle I might as well look and think the bullet there. Heavy and awkward? What the heck is he talking about?!! If your that lame enough to complain about the weight of a bar will you complain about your day pack? or water canteen? Gosh where has hunting gone too? We are concerned if our rifle weighs a few more ounces. Want to talk about heavy, My dad loved hunting with his garrand, or his g-43 -- both weighed about 14 lbs, now that's heavy,. I know, I want to have a pencil barreled sporter bolt action in 1000 super nitro express freight train magnum launching a 700 grain bullet at 5000 fps that weighs only 6 pounds and wonder why I can't hit the broad side of a barn with it due to recoil-phobia or why they don't die with a shot square in the stomach.

If you enjoyed reading about "Semi auto for elk ?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!