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Elk gun

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Wedge, Nov 21, 2008.

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  1. Wedge

    Wedge Member

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    Yes..I know...this has been discussed to death.

    Anyways, I handload, my friend's and I are discussing an Elk hunt in a couple years in Wyoming.

    I have a Mosin Nagant M44 and a Garand. Obviously not Elk hunting rigs.

    debate is:

    Go with a .30-06 rifle, already set up for reloading. Probably perfectly adequate.

    Go with a 7mm rem mag, ammo cost not an issue, very popular cartridge and super flat. Can always download if I wanted to use the gun for smaller game (deer, pigs). Are the ballistics that superior to a .30-06?

    Go with a 300 Win Mag. Again, reloaded ammo so cost not an issue. Now starting to get where downloaded for smaller game is a problem. Are the ballistics that superior to a .30-06?

    .338 Win Mag. Not sure how far this can be downloaded. If I went this route, I'd probably just buy a .243 for smaller game.

    Opinions? Would like to hear real world examples from owners of these calibers.
     
  2. Pipe Burn

    Pipe Burn Member

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    Well how far are you going to be shooting? In western Oregon the typical shot is less than 200 meters. My .300 Savage will suffice in this range. Your M44 and Garand will do the job. In Wyoming I would bet that the shots could potetially be much longer in parts of the state. If you handload, I might go with .338 Winchester. The shell holder is the same as .30-06. You just need different dies. The caliber should do the job out at the longer ranges. Of course you can't go wrong with .300 Win mag.
     
  3. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    My co-worker successfully uses a .300 Weatherby Mag.
     
  4. Pilot

    Pilot Member

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    Calibers like .30-06, .308 and 7MM-08 are all fine for Elk. Unless you really want to shoot very long distances, over 300 yards, thatis. Personally, I use 7MM-08 and it has been fine. Most of my shots are under 250 yards though.
     
  5. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Member

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    30/06 is plenty enough gun for elk. You might get awfully tired toting around a Garand though. I hunt with a sporter A303 30/06 and a Ruger#1 300 Win Mag. The 30/06 will do just as good as the 300 in my opinion up to 300-400yrds.
     
  6. Harve Curry

    Harve Curry Member

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    I was just looking at a 30-338 Weatherby, quite a cartridge and accurate. I don't know if I'd like the recoil though.
     
  7. Wedge

    Wedge Member

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    Not using the Garand. Can't use heavy bullets and no optics on it. I can see well enough for a "hit" at a few hundred yards, but a "hit" is different from an 8"x8"

    The Mosin is a good 100 yard gun, that's it.

    Neither of those are being used for the hunt...shouldn't have mentioned them. Just in there to let you know that I'm used to shooting .30 Cal type firearms.

    Elk gun will be a new platform and new glass.

    Shots will be up to 400 yards.
     
  8. Shawnee

    Shawnee member

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    Considering picking the rifle model first since you'll carry the rifle a lot more than shoot it. Then pick a good caliber in that rifle. The Remington model Seven comes in 7mm/08.

    Good luck !
    :cool:
     
  9. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    The shellholder for the .338 Mag is not the same as for the .30-06. The .338 Mag headsize is .532" and the .30-06 headsize is .473".

    I recommend looking at your elk rifle as a system. Things like the scope, the recoil level and the overall weight are important. Both the M-N and the Garand are hard to scope properly and weight too much for mountain hunting.

    I like the .30-06. It and the 7mm Mag are low-recoil rounds compared to the .300 WM and the .338 WM.

    All-in-all, my first pick for elk would be the .30-06 and second choice would be 7mm Rem Mag. I would use heavier premium bullets (170 grains for 7mm, 180 grains for .30-06.)
     
  10. MD_Willington

    MD_Willington Member

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    So what did all the GI's coming home use for Elk?

    They didn't use those whizz-bang magnums or super shorts...

    A Finn MN is a tack driver..
    1903 works
    M1 works
    Russian MN works
    8mm Mauser works
    SMLE works <- my uncle and grandfather both took Elk and deer with a SMLE sporter.

    7.5 Swiss seems pretty good too, 7.5x55 in 165gr BTSP, Norma 180 gr work.
     
  11. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    A scope is critical. Let me illustrate by what happened this morning. I was hunting white tails, and saw two does -- though 7X50 binoculars. In the deep woods and low light of early dawn, they were invisable to the naked eye, but I could have taken them with my scoped M70.

    There was a buck (I think -- I just got a glimpse of him and am not sure if what I saw was antlers or ears.) I'll see if I can find him another day -- but I'll need a scope to take him.
     
  12. Wedge

    Wedge Member

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    Thanks Vern, those were my thoughts as well. That is exactly the reason I will NOT be using a milsurp. Heavy, difficult to scope, terrible trigger, etc. Plus I would rather gouge out my eyes than sporterize a milsurp...

    I was working from caliber first then platform. Probably end up being a Savage topped with Nikon/Leupold/Burris in a 3x9 magnification.

    7mm Mag looks attractive as it is very flat shooting and .30-06 is attractive because I am already set up for reloading (Have dies and brass, but in reality those are very small costs compared to everything else).

    The .300 WM and .338 WM are absolute beasts, and will require a heavier gun to make shooting enjoyable. Not sure what people have done for downloading them. Easier to download a big gun than push the envelope on a smaller one.

    Leaning towards .30-06 or 7mm Mag.

    edit to add: Just read your (Vern's) comment on a scope and I agree 100%. Other than the brush hunting I did with a slug gun, I would not go hunting without a scope. My eyes aren't good enough, this isn't paper, and I need to hit an 8x8 area every time.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2008
  13. gvnwst

    gvnwst Member

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    I personally like the 7mm mag, but that is for LR shooting. On the other hand, someone i know just shot 2 deer with one shot out of his 30-06! Went through the lungs of one, and hit the spine of the other. One ran a few yards, the lung shot was DRT. With this in mind, i have no clue. You are set up for -06, but the mag will give you a excuse to get more equipment!:D
     
  14. Water-Man

    Water-Man Member

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    The 7mm mag. will out-perform the .30-06 for your application.
     
  15. Ratshooter

    Ratshooter Member

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    I think it was Townsen Whelen who said "A 30-06 is never a mistake".

    If your set up to reload for it thats what I would get. If you scrounge brass from the shooting range I think you will get 50 30-06 cases for every 7 mag case you see.

    The trajectory difference between the two is not that much using similar weight bullets. At least not until you get past 400 yards.

    I haven't shot many elk but I get the impression its more like hunting really big whitetails. They seem to favor lots of cover. Mine have all been close range shots, the longest 80 yards. I used an 8mm Mauser on that shot and the elk went 40 yards and was dead.
     
  16. ZeBool

    ZeBool Member

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    And the .300 Weatherby Mag will out perform both 7mm and .30-06 without being overkill. I would feel fine with any of those three.
     
  17. CYANIDEGENOCIDE

    CYANIDEGENOCIDE Member

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    I don't understand why 7mm is supposedly so flat shooting, I realize the 7mm has slighty better sectional density than a 30.06 but looking at midway's site

    winchester power point
    7mm 175 gr @ 2860
    30.06 180 gr @ 2700

    winchester power point
    7mm 150 gr @ 3090
    30.06 150 gr @ 2920

    I just don't see a night and day difference, and i doubt the animal you shoot will either. My vote is .30-06 in 180-220 gr but I don't think the garand runs well at these pressures garand gurus chime in please.
     
  18. skinewmexico

    skinewmexico Member

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    Whatever you choose, just remember - elk were hunted almost to extinction with 30-30s and less powerful rifles. A magnum is no substitute for shot placement and hunting ability, despite what the gun ads say.
     
  19. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Yep, although elk hunting conditions are different nowadays. A good .30-06 or 7mm Mag with a good (not BIG, but good) scope is ideal.
     
  20. Wedge

    Wedge Member

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    I'm not using a garand for hunting!
     
  21. Ringtail

    Ringtail Member

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    I had to think about this awhile before I posted. If the question is "which of the 4 cartridges is the best for elk?" the answer is simple; the .338 because it shoots a larger diameter, heavier bullet. I am assuming you are planning to hunt a big bull amd not a cow. Many people will say "I've killed plenty of Elk with a .270 (or some other smaller rifle)"'. However this does not answer the question "which is best?" This only answers the question "what will work most of the time under favorable circumstances?"

    The question of what is the best elk rifle for you is more difficult to answer. Generally, I think you should carry the biggest rifle you can shoot accurately, and only you can decide what that rifle might be. For me the best rifle is the .30-06. I have shot .338s and have decided that I won't make the commitment to master the recoil, so I accept the limitations imposed by a lesser rifle. If possible shoot several rifles of different calibers from field positions. Choose the most powerful one you can master from prone, sitting and standing. And please consider the nature of elk, and the country they live in before you decide to take a long range shot. Elk are easy to wound and once they are charged up with adrenaline they can carry off a lot of lead for a very long distance in a short period of time.

    Be a hunter, not just a shooter.
     
  22. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Let me add, if you hunt elk where I hunt elk (Eagle County, Colorado), you don't want to follow that wounded elk where he will go. And you don't want to have to pack out several hundred pounds of elk from the spot where you finally find him.
     
  23. Coal Dragger

    Coal Dragger Member

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    Any of the cartridges listed will perform well on elk. If you can put up with the recoil the .338 Winchester will be the more capable round on an elk. With just about any 250 grain bullet you can launch out of a .338 you have a projectile with enough weight/energy to penetrate deeply into the animal from even less than ideal shot angles. Not that you shouldn't try to get the ideal broadside lung/heart shot when you can, but elk as mentioned stick pretty close to cover when they can and often present a quartering angle shot.

    Now with all that said I don't really enjoy shooting .338's all that much from sporter weight rifles. I will freely admit that if I were to buy one I would go with a rifle offering a generous recoil pad on a fairly wide butt. I would also look for a medium contour to medium heavy contour barrel to help soak up a little recoil. In other words a rifle that won't be a real pleasure to carry. The other option would be to buy a rifle with a detachable muzzle break. Practice, load development, and sight in can be achieved with minimal pounding, then you can take the break off to hunt with (so you don't deafen yourself and your friends).
     
  24. tblt

    tblt member

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    I would use a 300 win mag
    I have a 7 mm mag but I hunt deer and hogs using 140 gr ballistic tip bullet.I would use it for elk if I went elk hunting but would go with around 165 gr bullet,If I was buying a gun for elk it would be a 300 win or a 338
     
  25. Leanwolf

    Leanwolf Member

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    I've hunted and killed elk in Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. I've used .338 Win. Mag., .30-06, and .280 Rem.

    I say....... Get a good .30-06 bolt action rifle and equip it with -- as Mr. Humphrey said -- a quality 'scope.

    Fixed power?? 6x.

    Variable?? 1 1/2x5, 2x7, 2x8, 3x9 (but no more powerful.)


    Practice and practice some more from various shooting positions.

    I favor Nosler Partition bullets, but there are plenty of good ones out there, today.

    (BTW, my cousin who has lived out here in the West since 1964, has killed 22 bull elk with his pre-'64 Winchester 70 Featherweight in .308 Win. Never lost one, either. He is an excellent marksman.)

    FWIW.

    L.W.
     
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