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Elk calibers

Discussion in 'Northwest Hunting' started by shooter, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. shooter

    shooter Ridgefield Member

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    I'm looking to pick up an elk rifle, but I haven't decided on a caliber yet. I'm looking for opinions on what caliber you prefer. Last season was my first year hunting elk, and I hunted west of the cascades....where the brush is obviously a little denser. I would like to venture east to more open country, but at this point I need a rifle best suited for elk in the Cascades.
    Thanks
    Shooter
     
  2. tjwong

    tjwong PDX Member

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    I use a Remington 700 BDL in 7mm Rem Mag. It has been my work horse for years with consistant kills at various ranges.
     
  3. sbwool63

    sbwool63 Clark County, WA Member

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    i dont know much about hunting elk with a modern firearm. the last 3 years ive gone out with a .50 cal muzzleloader and/or a .54 cal
     
  4. shooter

    shooter Ridgefield Member

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    My hunting partner and I have talked about going muzzleloader instead of rifle. I was shocked to see the number of rifle hunters that are out during the modern rifle season. A little scary to me since I grew up hunting private land for Whitetails (in the midwest). I have taken a couple of nice Whitetails with a .45 flintlock...and by bow. It's just a little harder to get started muzzloading for elk when your relatively new to the area and all of your hunting buddies do the rifle season.
     
  5. sbwool63

    sbwool63 Clark County, WA Member

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    yea it can be fure sure, my father and i had a friend to help us out, but four corners above carson is a great start!
     
  6. shooter

    shooter Ridgefield Member

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    Thanks for the tip! The regs are a little confusing compared to where I grew up. Back home season is either open or closed - statewide. Here the state is divided into a multitude of sections, each one having it's own special regulations and season dates. I need a cheatsheet to make sense of it all.
     
  7. dragonsden73

    dragonsden73 Salem, Oregun Active Member

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    Taken Elk at @ 150 yards and 200 yards, 270 and 300 WBY mag respectively. 270 probably a flatter shooter, but hit it with a 300 WBY and it ain't goin nowhere but down.
     
  8. Trick

    Trick St Helens Active Member

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    Choose a rifle and caliber that you feel comfortable with and practice, practice and practice some more. Use a quality factory round designed for your game or reload quality components with elk in mind.

    More so then anything is shot placement. Stay within your comfort range and the effective range of your weapon. A general rule of thumb is that the bullet energy should be at 1500 ft/lb or greater.

    You don't need a shoulder cannon unless you are shooting long range and have practiced long range shooting countless times prior.

    Just my general opinion.
     
  9. gunluvver

    gunluvver Hillsboro, OR Member

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    Unless you can afford a rifle for every type of game, I'd get one all around rifle and learn to shoot it. A 30/06 can be loaded with 110 gr. to 220 gr. bullets for anything in North America. The same, but with lighter bullets, can be said for .270, 7mm Mauser, and .308. 8mm Mauser can be handloaded to 30/06 specs, US factory ammo is downloaded on purpose because there are still some Commission 88 rifles with .318 bores still floating around. Whatever you pick, learning to shoot it and be comfortable with it is what brings the meat home. Many hunters pull out their .458 Weatherby Magnum the week before the big hunting trip, put 3 rounds through it because that's all their shoulder can handle, take shots while hunting at 400 yards so they don't have to cross to the next ridge, and come home with nothing. So pick a rifle that is comfortable to shoot, accurate in your hands, and something you have confidence in.
     
  10. shooter

    shooter Ridgefield Member

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    Thanks for all of the good advice. I have done a fair amount of bow hunting and muzzleloading, so I prefer to take closer shots as opposed to long ones.
    A couple more questions...
    1. It seems like short mags are somewhat 'popular' right now. Is there any pro/con to shooting a short mag vs. a standard round?
    2. I have a very limited amount of knowledge on reloading (only a few experiences reloading shotgun shells), how difficult and expensive is it to get into loading rifle and handgun cartridges? What is a good resource to help me get started?
    Thanks!
     
  11. shooter

    shooter Ridgefield Member

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    Strike that second question. I see there is a new thread under the reloading forum...."where to get started". Good timing!
     
  12. gunluvver

    gunluvver Hillsboro, OR Member

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    While the short magnums are popular right now, other calibers will be popular forever, so ammo/components will be available anywhere.
     
  13. SDR

    SDR Clackamas County, Oregon Silver Vendor Silver Vendor

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    If you are looking for a close range rifle, Say 200Yrds or less,A pleasant shooter...45/70 is a awesome choice,You will need to learn trajectory...I do not reload and off the shelf stuff is OK,But a 45/70 really shines with the good stuff. I use Buffalo Bore Ammo,It is the best in my opinion.

    Speaking of the cascades,That is a great place to hunt,Plenty of animals....But you have to scout it and know your area well ...You have to hunt,Not road hunt it....It is tough country to hunt,But the easier it is to hunt,The more people will be in that area....I love road hunters and trail walkers,About the third day they have shoved the animals into my little hidy holes...

    Knowing your weapon,Knowing your query,Knowing your hunting area is a must to be successful every year...Anyone can luck into a Elk or a nice Deer now and then,But meat in the freezer every year is all about knowing what your doing...

    My wife and I bring home Elk and Deer every year,It is not that we are the best hunters as much as we hunt the same tough areas every year for Deer,Elk and Turkey and we learn the animals from scouting for turkey to hunting the Elk...I take a GPS out with me on all outing even though I know these areas so incredibly well....I mark all Deer,Elk sign in my GPS every time I come across it,Then when I get home I transfer it to a map,The same map for twelve years. I use a different color for the different animals I'm marking down the sign for.....Over the years I can see the patterns develop on the map and the different areas they go for the different seasons....You will find the bedding areas,The feeding ridges and the escape routs and the routs for food,bed and water....Always mark the remote alpine meadows and north facing shelves as they will surly hold animals when the hunting pressure is heavy...
    After a while you will not have to rely on luck and It will not be a matter of if you fill your tag,But when you fill your tag.
     
  14. shooter

    shooter Ridgefield Member

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    Very true gunluvver....I've never been one to get caught up in the 'hype'.

    SDR- lots of great advice. I'd have to say that when it comes to hunting I typically get a little nuts. Meaning, I will travel further, scout harder, and go the extra mile...or miles to make my hunt a successful one. I love your idea of marking and plotting sign on a master map that allows you to better understand your quarry. One can see why you manage to take animals year in and year out. Also nice to get some advice about the Elk's tendancy when under pressure. I am trying my best to educate myself on an animal that I am not familiar with, but that is information that you don't often see in literature.

    Thanks guys!
     
  15. Panther556

    Panther556 Mid Valley New Member

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    .300 Win Mag FTW!!!! With 180 grain pills.
     
  16. hntn&fshn

    hntn&fshn Boring Member

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    There are so many good calibers for elk I wouldn't even know where to start. For me (as a hand loader) it boils down to two "types" of hunting. Open country and dense cover country. For the first, I'd go with either 300 Win Mag or 338 Win Mag. For the latter I'd go with the 45-70. My 45-70GS is my favorite rifle. I just love carrying it. It is set up with a custom ghost ring rear and front Fire Sight so it is good for about 100 yards. I use +P hand loads with 405gr Last Cast bullets - What ever gets hit with this will drop even if the shot is not perfect.
     
  17. orduckhunter

    orduckhunter Springfield, OR Member

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    my all around favorite rifle is in 300 Win Mag
    I load 165 gr Barnes TSX, and this give me pretty flat trajectory and good knock down power
    I've used it from pigs, to pronghorn, to deer (both muleys and blacktail), to bear, to elk
    I love shooting it, and have never yet been disappointed with it
    (and factory ammo is pretty easy to find - if you find yourself in a remote area, they'll probably carry 270, 06, 7mm and 300WM ammo)
     
  18. Panther556

    Panther556 Mid Valley New Member

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    **** you can Almost buy .300WM ammo at 7-11.:bluelaugh:


    I havent experimented too much with different ammo in my Model 70 .300 WM, The second load I tried shot a 1/2" 5 shot group. I figured I wouldnt mess with it after that. Believe it or not the stuff my gun likes is some of the cheaper stuff on the market. Federal Fusion 180 gr. :nuts:.
     
  19. markw76

    markw76 Portland/Moscow on the Willamette Member

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    Open country I'd say 7mmRM 1st choice, then other relatively flat shooters from there. I don't shoot a 7, but a buddy does, and it slightly outperforms my 300WM at distance. We've been hunting very steep, largely roadless coast range where the most common shots are ridge to ridge 400+ yards. He can make those, I don't shoot that good and look for something closer, and unless they've been through thinning or clearcutting, it's pretty dense. I've just about decided a .30-06 is about all I personally need. I may sell the 300 and get a 7mm-08 instead.
     
  20. SDR

    SDR Clackamas County, Oregon Silver Vendor Silver Vendor

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    I disagree on a 7Mag out shooting a 300Win...If a 7Mag is shooting a good horse power load and a 160 Grn bullet and the 300 is shooting a 190 Grn bullet then the 7Mag will be flatter shooting @ 400 Yrds...You compare a 175 Grn 7Mag to a 180 Gran 300 and the 300 will out do it and have more energy...
    I use a Browning A-Bolt in a 300Win,I have taken a few Elk @ around 500Yrds,But I know this rifle like it is a part of my arm,I shoot it a lot ...
    A friend of mine use to shoot a 7Mag and did ok at a distance,But up close and personal he seemed to shoot too many times,As if the animal was not getting hit...Get the hide off and yep it was hit...The bullet was just so fast and on the small side that the animal did not feel the energy....We raised the bullet weight and slowed it down and it worked better @ close range,But it petered out early on long range shots...He bought a 300 Win and put the 7Mag to bed...
    It is a Chevy/Ford thing :thumbup:...Some Ford Luvin 7Mag shooting guy will come back with Oh No #@#%&* on a 300 Win :confused:....The one's who know shoot 300Win...:laugh: