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308 Bullet for Elk

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by tikka-guy, Apr 17, 2011.

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  1. tikka-guy

    tikka-guy Member

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    Hello everyone!

    I will be going elk hunting for the first time ever in October. I'm very excited for the trip... but I have a question regarding bullet weight and type.

    I will be taking a .308. It isn't possible for me to get a new rifle just for this trip, so a more powerful cartridge is out of the question. A friend who is going on this trip with me shoots a .308 also, so we are looking for a bullet appropriate for elk. We're hoping to find one that shoots well out of both our rifles. We both use 150 gr for whitetail.

    For elk, I'm thinking we'll want to step up to at least a 165 gr. Should we look around for some 180s, or will a 165 suffice? What's the preferred .308 bullet weight for elk?

    I imagine a bullet that holds together a little better and offers deeper penetration might be better as well. I use Hornady SSTs for whitetail... do these expand too much? What are some other options?

    I know a .308 isn't the most powerful cartridge in the world, but it's certainly capable of taking an elk. I'd like to put in some time before we go and choose the best load for our rifles. Thanks!
     
  2. pwrstrkd

    pwrstrkd Member

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    I would choose the federal premuim 180 grain nosler partitions. Should do the trick, keep shot under 250 yards if possible. 165 grains might have a better bc, but would rather have the 180 for elk.
     
  3. Craigman

    Craigman Member

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    I've never hunted elk myself, but I would feel most confident with a Barnes TSX for 165gn or if I were dead set on 180, again....Barnes, or Nosler Accubond, or Hornady Interbond.
     
  4. tikka-guy

    tikka-guy Member

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    Is there a significant advantage to the partitions vs the SSTs? The federal premium loaded with Partitions is very expensive. I'm more than happy to spend the money on them, but only if it's worth it, and would hate to spend that much to find out neither of our rifles likes the stuff.

    So my normal go-to for whitetail is Hornady SSTs ... is the consensus that these may expand a bit too quickly for the larger game?
     
  5. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    The Nosler Partition Jacket is all I use on elk. Of course my .35 Brown-Whelen is strictly a handloading proposition. I always bring a backup rifle with me -- a pre-64 Winchester Model 70 in .30-06, loaded with 180 grain Nosler Partition Jackets.

    Now other bullets may be just as good -- I've never used them on elk, though, so I don't know. I do know a Nosler Partition Jacket (fired from Bigfoot Wallace, my .35 B-W) will break a shoulder, penetrate through the boiler room and break the other shoulder on the way out -- and disappear down-range, because that's exactly what happened with one elk I shot.

    You can't beat performance like that.
     
  6. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    Partitions, Accubonds, and TSXs are the kings of penatration. 180gr is better IMHO for thick bodied game. 165s will do the trick though. SSTs are about the perfect deer bullet, but a little soft for deep penatration, remember they were designed for "shock" kills. SST=Super SHOCK Tip, designed for very rapid expansion and max energy dumping. While they will work they would not be my first choice. Just my $0.02. The 308 is plenty for elk, 30-30s have been used very sucessfuly for well over a century now, and the 308 tops it for energy and momentum at all ranges. It is all a matter of shot placement no matter if you are using a 243win or a 375H&H.
     
  7. SentinelStrategic

    SentinelStrategic Member

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    165gr or 180gr will work very well. I would look into Hornady 165gr GMX Superformance or 165gr Interbond Superformance, as I'm a big fan of bonded bullets. But it'll ultimately come down to whatever happens to shoot best out of your rifle.
    If you happen to reload, I would also recommend looking into Berger Hunting VLDs in 168gr or 175gr if you will be making longer shots.
     
  8. tikka-guy

    tikka-guy Member

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    I found some Black Hills-loaded accubonds online. Black Hills is good stuff, right? Who else loads the accubonds?

    Who loads the TSXs? I haven't seen any of those.
     
  9. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    Winchester loads the Accubonds I think. I don't keep up with it too much though since I roll my own, and don't hunt with factory ammo.
     
  10. tikka-guy

    tikka-guy Member

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    Indeed they do!

    My friend and I were hoping to get together to shoot this weekend. We have a box of 165 SSTs, so if they shoot well then maybe I'll look into getting some GMXs since the SSTs might be a little fragile for elk. I'm going to try and find a box of 180 gr accubonds or partitions before this weekend as well. I'm thinking they'll be tough to find around here, but we'll see.

    Are there any online stores that don't charge an arm and a leg for shipping?
     
  11. IdahoLT1

    IdahoLT1 Member

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    The SST's would work if they didnt come in contact with the shoulder. But since theres a good chance you'll hit the shoulder, it would be wise to use a thicker jacketed bullet, if not a bonded bullet.
     
  12. 1stmarine

    1stmarine Member

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    BARNES TSX and TTSX never fail....

    [​IMG]
     
  13. bgtusker

    bgtusker Member

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    Some on-line stores to look at....Cheap as dirt...Bud's gun shop ...Discount shooters supply. Saw Federal Premium Nosler Partition .308 180gr. for $25,box of 20. Need to step up, get the best for a big 700lb. big boned elk. These bullets upon impact , the front section usually blows up causing massive internal damage and the copper peels back along side of the rear half of the bullet which stays in tact , GREAT penetration, small exit wound unless of course you blow up bone. Keep your shots under 250 yards, go to the range, shoot a couple groups of 180gr before you go. Good luck
     
  14. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    I will be developing a TSX load for our giant feral hog population in a few weeks, there is no doubt about it, the TSX and TTSX are top shelf killers especaly in high speed smalller caliber rifles where excessive fragmentation would normaly be an issue. I'll take those over GMX anyday due to the bladed configuration, ultra slow motion through ballistic gel shows how wicked that really is. :what:
     
  15. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

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    if you have a gander mountain nearby,call the gunshop and see if they still have the saturday buy one,second box half off special going on.saves on shipping costs
     
  16. cavemanforester

    cavemanforester Member

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    Dont shoot elk with SST's

    I have killed elk with SST's, Partitions. Interbonds, and Trophy Bonded bullets in 165 grain with a 30-06. SST is too thin skinned, and the company will tell you so. The elk I shot with the SST didnt go far, but the bullet didnt penetrate and a second shot was required. Good old Nosler Partition is as good as it gets. Interbond hits hard as well. Trophy bonded didnt seem to expand as much, but did the job very well. I have some acubonds for my 6.5, but havent shot anything with it yet.
     
  17. cavemanforester

    cavemanforester Member

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    PS I'm not dissing SST's, that is my deer bullit.
     
  18. BikerRN

    BikerRN member

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    I'm of the opinion that 180 grain Nosler Partition or 165 grain Barnes Triple Shock will both work well out to 300 Yards.

    Bear in mind, I'm no ballistician. I actually favor the Barnes bullet, but that's just me. The Nosler Partiction has more energy at longer ranges however. It's the technology of the Barnes' bullets that has me leaning towards it.

    BikerRN
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2011
  19. ZeroJunk

    ZeroJunk Member

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    I don't claim to be right, but I have always preferred the slightly better trajectory of the 165 in .308 thinking that it is plenty for elk in either Nosler Partition or Barnes. I have killed them DRT with 150's.
     
  20. 1stmarine

    1stmarine Member

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    So much discussion about a simple bullet.
    These are all well proven bullets over the years...
    -Barnes TSX and now TTSX with close to match grade ballistic coeficients.
    -Nosler Partition. Awesome bullets too.
    -Sierra Gameking. I use for softer/smaller game.
    -180gr Corelockt low bc but great at closer range. Lots of game has fallen to this one inexpensively in rural America.

    I have not tried but heard great reports from my buddies on these.
    -Swift Sirocco II
    -Hornady SST and GMX.
    -Nosler E-tip.

    I am now working now in an accuracy on the e-tip but in 6mmx45 though.
    Whatever you choose stick to one or two good bullets and work your loads and get to know them well. If you reload there is nothing more fun than that. I mostly use Varget for all my hunting loads.

    Cheers,
    E.
     
  21. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    Nothing on earth wrong with a heavy corelock bullet, many an experenced hunter swear by them, they are in the middle of the expansion/penatration scale, plenty deep enough for genral elk use with 180gr.
     
  22. Coltdriver

    Coltdriver Member

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    +1 on what 1stmarine said.

    Do not feel under gunned with a .308! My grandfather only used a .270 and none of em ever ran away.

    I was at Kiowa Creek a year ago and a fellow had dropped a very large cow with a 130 grain Barnes from a 6.5X55.

    I personally like the way Nosler's shoot. For my .308 I prefer the 165 grain rounds and a little more fps than the heavier bullets. Elk aint made of steel.
     
  23. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    Elk get their tougher than steel reputation form guys poking at them from cross canyon hitting them in the leg then losing their blood trail after following them for a spell. Stick any decent bullet into the goods and they die. My go to .308 bullet of a .308 Win for elk is the 168Gr TSX. They will punch all the way through a broadside elk at most any reasonable hunting range (300 yards and under).

    Several years ago I killed a big old cow with my .30-06 using a 180gr TSX MV of about 2750 FPS. I smacked her almost straight up (About a 60 deg slope) from me at 232 yards. I hit her just behind the shoulder and the bullet blew through her off shoulder breaking the top of the humorus exiting and headed off towards Wyoming. You really can't ask for better performance on elk out of a .308 caliber bullet. I highly recommend Barnes TSX or TTSX when using a .308 caliber on elk.

    Most of the other bullets mentioned work just fine too but don't go with SST or other light skinned fast expander they simply limit your shot options to severely. And the way I hunt I make a a lot of snap shots in timber so I require some penetration form my chosen set up.

    [​IMG]
    The elk I shot in 06 described above with my .30-06. That is the exit wound you are seeing in the picture.
    [​IMG]
    My daughter with the same rifle, her rifle now, with her first elk in 2011.
     
  24. tikka-guy

    tikka-guy Member

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    Thanks all! This thread has been very helpful.

    I'm confident in my .308, but I also realize that bullet selection in that caliber may be a little bit more important than in some of the other calibers. I didn't think I'd have a chance to go elk hunting anytime soon, and I'm not sure how soon until I'll be able to go again, so I wanted to make the most of this opportunity. I've never hunted anything larger than mule deer, so I figured a little extra bullet research was in order.

    H&H, your pictures are getting me even more pumped to go. October can't get here fast enough :D

    I've been (admittedly slowly) setting up to reload. Maybe I should use this trip as an extra push to get things set up and start loading. Do the reloaders here think that's a reasonable goal?
     
  25. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    It's never to early. Especially if you are new at reloading. There is a learning curve.
     
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