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Elk rifles

Old 12-05-2020, 05:58 AM
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Default Elk rifles

I read constantly about how the newer cartridges are the hot lick for elk hunting but I just do not see them in camp yet. Most of the fellows that I hunt with are very experienced (not necessarily older fellows) and I see 300 WM, 30-06, 7 RM, and occasionally 280 or 270 rifles in their hands. There is a fair following for the 338 WM if the country we are hunting is rough with deep canyons. A couple of the local boys carry rifles chambered in 257 Roberts but the traveling hunters go for something more powerful.

A few of the fellows are going to dial-your-distance scopes but there are still a good many that sight in 2.5" high at 100 yards and do not touch the scope afterwards. Long distance shooting is not encouraged, or tolerated, in most places I have been.

Stainless actions and barrels with good quality synthetic stocks seem to be almost universal in camp anymore amongst the traveling hunters. I think most of the local fellows tend to use blued steel and wooden stocks.

What are you guys seeing?
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Old 12-05-2020, 06:20 AM
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Well I'm not an elk hunter. (as much as I'd like to be) living in PA. I've gone on a few elk hunts as well as a moose hunt. As for me and my friend, when we go after these critters, it is our opinion that you don't need more than an accurate 30-06 with a good quality 180 grain bullet. Now I wouldn't snub my nose at someone using a 300 WM or WSM or a 338 WM but I do believe, and this is my opinion only, that any chambering below 30 cal shouldn't be used for elk. Yes I know, I know there are have been many and elk shot and killed with a .270, 7mm, 257 etc. But these should only be used by hunters who are willing to only take shots at broadside animals at moderate ranges.
As for rifle/stocks I couldn't care less what is used. I have both and more and more I'm leaning toward the black or camo synthetic with stainless steel barrel and action. Why, because I just like how easy they are to maintain. Now don't get me wrong, I'm a sucker for a pretty grained walnut stock with high gloss blued steel too.
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Old 12-05-2020, 09:45 AM
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the skill and experience of the guy holding the rifle and his knowledge and acceptance of the rifle's limitations and knowledge of game anatomy is the deciding factor.
having faith in the rifle you carry and the skill to use it quickly and with consistent accuracy is critical not the head stamp.
Id strongly suggest you use a rifle that can put a minimum of 150 grains of bullet weight and about a minimum of 1500 ft lbs at impact energy on the target at the ranges your likely to hunt.
my partner for 35 years used a 358 win BLR with zero problems, he used speer 250 grain bullets,
I never saw him take a shot over 250 yards
one of the older guys in camp used a 257 roberts , winchester bolt action,
with 100 grain speer bullets he collected several elk in that same 35 years but he was smart and never took shots over about 200 yards,
any 270-30/06 with a decent high quality bullet , and proper shot placement will work,
now thats certainly not suggesting some choices are not significantly better than others.
over 4 decades, it became all too obvious that elk are not bullet proof and a well placed shot is lethal,
and caliber is not as critical as you might imagine. the critical part is that finding an elk and making that single precise shot placement

I used a 340 wby with a 250 grain bullet or a 375 H&H with a 270 grain bullet on most hunts, I never had any problems dropping game either.
I have the skills to make longer range shots but rarely exceed 300 yards , simply because where I hunt shot range over 200 yards were and are rare
most of the old geezers I hunt with have decades of field experience and the 30/06, 308 win, 338 win,358 win, 35 whelen and 450 marlin are all rather popular


heres a link to a ballistic calculator
http://www.shooterscalculator.com/ba...tory-chart.php

Last edited by hardcastonly; 12-05-2020 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 12-05-2020, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Big Uncle View Post

Stainless actions and barrels with good quality synthetic stocks seem to be almost universal in camp anymore amongst the traveling hunters. I think most of the local fellows tend to use blued steel and wooden stocks.

What are you guys seeing?
I'd say part of this may be because an elk hunt out west for a lot of us is a big deal, a dream trip, maybe even a trip of a lifetime. It's the kind of event you might buy a new rifle for, especially if you are from the eastern woodlands and shoot a 30-30 lever action every deer season.

I'd be thinking along those lines if the budget permitted, though my very plain, wood and blued steel 30-06 Savage would do just fine.

Last edited by Father Forkhorn; 12-05-2020 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 12-05-2020, 11:29 AM
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I took my PA elk after 17 years of making application with a 30-06 150grn bullet at 155 yards, one shot in the crease of the shoulder, she stumbled then fell about 2 minutes later no more than 3 feet from where I hit her. i was planning to use my 45-70 but I short stroked it at a target shoot set up by the outfitter the day before the season opened so he and his guides could see how well we shoot. I was sick. My guide was a good friend and he lent me his rifle.
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Old 12-05-2020, 12:45 PM
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Good boots are more important than fancy rifles and expensive scopes for most elk hunting.
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Old 12-05-2020, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by big uncle View Post
good boots are more important than fancy rifles and expensive scopes for most elk hunting.
you wear boots!?!?
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Old 12-05-2020, 03:26 PM
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I think a lot of hunters are more than happy with the rifles they have and know what they can do, and as such, just don;'t buy into the hype of all the new and so called greatest calibers being offered, same can be said with a lot of older hunters are not into the crazy about huge scoops and long range shooting at animals, when they most likely killed a ton of things all at close ranges with basic calibers
them new rifle calibers are just not needed for most or wanted
its more about being the cool kid IMO, yes some calibers are nice and all, but its not like there doing anything the older calibers tried and proven DON"T do!

anyone that wants a new rifle and caliber, have at it, nothing wrong with it, but I don;t think any NEW caliber is that attractive to make older hunters rush out and buy them!
gun collectors and guys that just like to shoot alot or often, are the one's IMO< that are buying the new rifles, some of it due to marketing hype and wanting that cool kid status again, and some , just cause they LIKE to shoot!

most hunting camps I visit at, all still have most guys with same old rifles they always had!
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Old 12-05-2020, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by bronko22000 View Post
Well I'm not an elk hunter. (as much as I'd like to be) living in PA. I've gone on a few elk hunts as well as a moose hunt. As for me and my friend, when we go after these critters, it is our opinion that you don't need more than an accurate 30-06 with a good quality 180 grain bullet. Now I wouldn't snub my nose at someone using a 300 WM or WSM or a 338 WM but I do believe, and this is my opinion only, that any chambering below 30 cal shouldn't be used for elk. Yes I know, I know there are have been many and elk shot and killed with a .270, 7mm, 257 etc. But these should only be used by hunters who are willing to only take shots at broadside animals at moderate ranges.
As for rifle/stocks I couldn't care less what is used. I have both and more and more I'm leaning toward the black or camo synthetic with stainless steel barrel and action. Why, because I just like how easy they are to maintain. Now don't get me wrong, I'm a sucker for a pretty grained walnut stock with high gloss blued steel too.
I'm with you here too on stainless and synthetic stocks being lower maintenance and worries, I am also big on gun coatings, which just add an even better layer of protection from wear and tear issue's and up keep
getting older I think I got lazier on cleaning habits , I'm also a big fan of smaller lighter rifles/shotguns now than I used to be too!
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