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7mm vs 30 cal elk hunting debate

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Kachok, May 22, 2013.

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  1. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    I have run across this several times in my reading, there appears to be a considerable number of elk hunters that swear the 7mm and 270 cal rifles are MORE effective on elk then the 300 and 338 magnums, I have never hunted elk so I cannot speak from experience on this topic other then to say that does not make sense from a terminal ballistics standpoint, I have never heard a rational explanation for this phenomenon so I has hoping someone would help me out here. Had I only heard this from some weekend hunters I would disregard it as typical caliber worship but having heard this from professional hunters (not all of them of course) has me scratching my head.
     
  2. 45shooter

    45shooter Member

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    I've seen many times where the guy shooting the "smaller" guns kill better than the guy shooting the "big" gun. It's usually due to a lot of guys not being able to handle the recoil/muzzle blast of the big gun so they don't shoot so accurately. Above everything else, you must be able to place your bullet on the target for a good kill.
     
  3. yzguy87

    yzguy87 Member

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    ^^^ What he said! As long as you have a caliber that will do the trick theres no point in carrying some 300+ super ultra magnum that you can't shoot a pie plate with. If it were me, I'd probably take a 30-06 just bc im not a recoil junkie and it can get the jobe done of I do my part.
     
  4. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    I doubt "More" effective is correct, as effective might be true. They can only be so dead and .27 and up at 150 gr and going north of 2500-2600 fps will do the job well out to an adequate range.
     
  5. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    In reality there isn't enough difference to matter. On paper a 7mm magnum is a better long range round than a .30 caliber though. The most efficient bullet weights in 7mm are right around 160 gr. To get the same BC in a .30 caliber you have to shoot a 200-210 gr bullet.

    A 160 gr bullet leaving a 7 mag at 3000 fps will have more energy at long range than a 180 gr bullet @ 3000 fps from a 300 mag because of the much more aerodynamic bullets. Better penetration too. The trajectories out to 400 yards is almost identical. The 300's have a slight edge in energy at ranges under 400 yards, but beyond that the 7's are flatter shooting and have more energy. The 7's have less recoil and there is no advantage in an extra .024" in bullet diameter. Either have more than enough energy out past 500 yards though. It is really about the shooter more than either round.

    If you shoot the 200+ gr bullets from a 300, and if you can shoot them fast enough, they will offer some energy advantage. The 300's are going to have an advantage at closer range on game larger than elk. I'd rather have a 300 loaded with 220-250 gr bullets than a 7 mag loaded with 175's if brown bear are on the agenda. But for elk, I'd have to give a slight edge for the 7's, especially at distance.
     
  6. Don McDowell

    Don McDowell Member

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    In the 50 or so elk I've shot, and the well over a hundred I've seen shot, the most disappointing "kills" were from a spike bull I shot with a 7 rem mag, that didn't even shrug when hit but ran on down the hill about 200 yds and piled up, and a cow elk I watched as a hunter put a 270 gr bullet from a 375 ouchnouch thru her rib cage on a quartering angle at 219 yds. She hung her head and wandered about 200 yds with the rest of the herd and collapsed. Had she not of been in the open we may not of found her as there was no blood on either the entrance or the exit holes..
    Going elk hunting from a far away place, bring the rifle you have the most experience and confidence in(provided it's legal cartridge), it'll kill bigger elk further, than some shiny new thing you have not had a chance to really get to know.
     
  7. natman

    natman Member

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    Shoot the biggest gun you can hit with.
     
  8. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Eh. That sounds true, but I doubt it. I recall I hit my target when I fired a .458 Magnum, but it wouldn't be a very good choice for most elk. So...no. Likewise, the .338 Lapua my fiance was driving tacks with at the SHOT Show. Overkill and too heavy for her (or almost anyone) to carry while hunting.

    So, enough gun, but there can indeed be too much. Choose appropriately.

    John
     
  9. Boxhead

    Boxhead Member

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    If placed properly with a stout bullet you will not see a difference in performance from the 270 Win to the 338 Win Mag on elk, at least in my experience.
     
  10. Mobuck

    Mobuck member

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    In my limited experience, I found that elk seem to "notice" the strike of the 30 cal and up bullets more than with the 7mm. A couple of elk I shot with a 7mm Rem mag just stood there like I'd missed and then either toppled over or trotted off a ways. The ones hit with the 300 Win mag showed definite signs they'd took a solid hit although one big bull hit by a bullet that failed to penetrate as expected did hold position for maybe 30 seconds before laying down. As long as your shots won't be over 300 yards, I'd prefer a 30/06 to a 7 mag. I had a 338/06 built because I wanted the bigger bullet w/o the recoil of the 338 Win mag.
     
  11. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Member

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    The issue isn't that those *cartridges* are more effective on elk, it's that the *hunters* are more effective when *using* those cartridges. It's more important to hit the elk, than what you hit them with.

    I have seen this myself. One elk hunt I was on, a man fired off an entire magazine from his son's .300 wondermagnum at a cow. She ran off with the herd, unhit. We watched the bullet strikes, it was ridiculous how it was hitting all over the place, but not hitting the cow.

    The next day, he was carrying *trusty rusty*, his field worn pre-64 Winchester Model 70 in .270 Winchester. The next cow he saw, one shot through the heart and it was a done deal, except for getting her into the truck. She seemed to *notice* the hit - took another step and nosedived.

    A young slip of a girl I know hunted elk with her dad last October. She hit a cow through one lung with a .243 Winchester - it was one of those poor shot angles everybody's always telling people are the reason not to use whatever *too small* cartridge they are thinking of using. Well, that cow *did* run off and over the hill.

    She piled up on the other side of it, pretty as you please.

    That doesn't mean I think everybody should just fuggitaboutit and use the smallest thing, but I do think that you should use something you shoot well, first and foremost.

    I'll say it again: It doesn't matter much what you're shooting, if you don't hit the elk, and it doesn't matter much what you're shooting, as long as you do hit it.

    My daughter and I will be elk hunting this fall. She will be using a .243. I will be using a .270. Neither of us is really interested in a heavier rifle.

    Kachok, you like the 6.5 class of cartridges. If you ever do try elk hunting, I honestly hope you use one, because as familiar as you are with them, I think you will be most effective with one.
     
  12. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    I am honestly quite familiar with several calibers .224, .243, 6.5mm, .277, 7mm, and 308. I just prefer my 6.5mms they just strike a perfect balance, that and my 6.5x55 is scary accurate. I know full well what my 6.5 can do and would not hesitate to hunt any non-dangerous game with it, that said I am a really good shot with my 30-06 too :)
     
  13. axxxel

    axxxel Member

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    Sometimes having a larger cartridge helps if you're aiming for the lungs but hit the shoulder. Where I hunt most game is taken with the 6,5*55. Kills moose just fine. Lung shots and shoulder/lung shots are the most common.
     
  14. adelbridge

    adelbridge Member

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    150 grains is 150 grains be it .277, .284 or .300
    Skinnier bullets cheat the wind better
    A cheaply constructed .300 that doesn't open up wont be anywhere near as effective as a .277 that expands 75% and retains 95% weight.
     
  15. tahunua001

    tahunua001 Member

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    anyone that says that a 180gr bullet from a 7mm rem mag is most effective against elk has never seen a 180gr fired from a 300 weatherby magnum or a 420gr cast/gas checked bullet from a 45/70. all are more than capable of killing elk and all have their strengths but there will never be a definitive answer to this debate. it's like AK VS AR, 1911 VS glock, or mauser vs springfield. there are just way too many people on either side that wont back down.

    I've seen elk killed with all 3 of the aforementioned calibers and I would personally say that the 180gr from the 300 did the most damage though the 45/70 had the greatest expansion and weight retention(only lost 2grs if you can believe it) and the 7mm still killed the elk deader than a doornail.
     
  16. Lloyd Smale

    Lloyd Smale Member

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    I agree. Ill never say a 7 mag isnt enough gun for the job but the .30s have allways seemed to put a bit more smack on animals.
     
  17. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Member

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    Everybody has an opioion. Even guys who have taken Elk. If the cal used does the job, then it`s a keeper.
    More like is bigger .............better?
     
  18. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    If the elk hunting community is like the deer hunting community east of the Appalachians..., here we find guys who are bad shots, who try to make up for poor shooting by increasing the caliber and load of their chosen cartridge, instead going to the range and finding an accurate load in the rifle.

    I have heard supposed "experts" say that where they hunt whitetails nothing less than a .338 Win will do the trick, and a .30-06 is not enough.

    Really?

    LD
     
  19. tahunua001

    tahunua001 Member

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    I've also had people claim that my caliber of choice is not even going to have the energy to bounce off the 450 LB deer in my area.... our deer rarely break 250..
     
  20. Resist Evil

    Resist Evil Member

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    The most effective caliber does its job with shot placement. Three of us have hunted together for 10-12 years now. One uses the 300 Win Mag handloaded 180gr, the other uses the .30-06 handloaded 180gr, and I use the 7mm Rem Mag 160gr factory Nosler Partition as loaded by Federal. For the elk we've taken, shot placement determined how much effective damage was done. Once we are dressing the animal, there seems no difference in damage between our three calibers.

    I chose the 7mm Rem Mag for my hunting rifle caliber primarily for its relatively flat trajectory and energy retention over the distances I would take a shot.
     
  21. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    In .30-06, I have found the 220 RN loads from Winchester (discontinued) and Federal to be EXREMELY effective on elk. No need to go smaller.
     
  22. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    ROTFLOL! I had to stop using full powered 30-06 on deer because the damage was so excessive it was just a waste of meat! Ever seen a 9.5" exit wound?!? Anyone that thinks the 06 is under gunned for a deer needs to put the gun mags down and try hunting for a change, because in my neck of the woods it is a wasteful overkill at full stroke.
    Never shot an elk before, but I would not think twice about doing so with my full power 165-200gr SGK/Partition/Deep Curl/Hot Core handloads.
     
  23. BADUNAME2

    BADUNAME2 Member

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    These discussions always strike me funny. Of course, coming from a slug state, I've always been envious of guys who get to use high powered flat shooting rifles, you know, like .30-30s. :p

    Sent from my C771 using Tapatalk 2
     
  24. Resist Evil

    Resist Evil Member

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    Yeah, but in your state, deer are the size of big dogs, aren't they?

    [​IMG]

    :neener::neener::neener:
     
  25. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    Nope, the size of small dogs LOL
    True story, I almost hit a deer driving a few months back, she darted in front of me and I slammed on breaks, she was so small I could not see her back over the top of my hood (very close) that would be bad enough if I were driving my big truck, but I was driving my gas sipping little Mazda 3!! Coastal deer are bite sized, our avarage deer last year was probably 90lbs and the smallest one was no more then 40lbs! Now we still do see some decent sized ones, we saw a 12 pointer on the way to the hunting camp that had to weigh north of 220lbs easy, would not mind the 06 on something that sized of course I have every bit as much confidence in the Swede on the larger deer and it does not make such a mess of the smaller ones.
     
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