Hunting deer/elk What do I really need? (and need to know)

bbbass

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For elk go with 7mm rem mag or 300 win mag. The 7 will be a bit better for deer. The smallest most guys go out with that I have known is 30-06 most head out with The first 2 I mentioned.
Gramma killed a big Idaho muley every year with her 32-20 Marlin lever gun. (on left)

ftd-32-20-win.jpg


It's shot placement. IMO beginners should stick to reasonable distances for their shots... a cannon is hardly needed for that. More deer have been killed with the old 30-30 than 7mag or 300, which (edit to add: IIRC) also have a history of bullet failure at high velocity close in shots on deer sized game. As one becomes settled down and more proficient, longer shots can be made but IMO todays' distances are not fair chase and result in too many wounded animals.
 
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bbbass

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Geezless.

OK.... not trying to argue here, but I don't want someone with only a .270 to think they can't elk hunt.

No doubt 300 Win mag etc work great. But if all someone has is a .270 I don't want them to think they have to sell the thing and buy something bigger.

I've taken 4 elk with a .270. Now I use either 30-06 or 7 mag. I didn't stop using 270 because it didn't work, just had more money to burn so I bought more guns.

Put the friggin bullet where it's supposed to go and don't pretend your a Canadian sniper and try to shoot it from half a mile.

It'll kill.
:)

.270 has been used to take every big game animal around the world, including elephant.

It excels in what used to be thought of as distance shooting on mid sized big game such as antelope, deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, etc, without the punishment of a magnum and excess destruction of meat.
 

tkdguy

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Jack O'Connor back in the day swore for the 270 on Elk. Although, I think it is on the weak side myself, 270 with the right bullet and shot placement will take down an elk within most shooting ranges. 270 is a highly accurate and powerful round. I eventually went from 30 06 to 338 because the 300 win mag was too close to the 06. The 338 is most likely to anchor an elk where they stand because I did not want to track one down 20 years ago.
 
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Gramma killed a big Idaho muley every year with her 32-20 Marlin lever gun. (on left)

View attachment 500173


It's shot placement. IMO beginners should stick to reasonable distances for their shots... a cannon is hardly needed for that. More deer have been killed with the old 30-30 than 7mag or 300, which (edit to add: IIRC) also have a history of bullet failure at high velocity close in shots on deer sized game. As one becomes settled down and more proficient, longer shots can be made but IMO todays' distances are not fair chase and result in too many wounded animals.
Didn't aim what I said at deer. What I said was Elk. I have had no issues taking deer with my 7 mag though and in the 23 years i have had and shot the gun I have had 0 malfunctions or failures with off the shelf ammunition. As to the 30-30 taking more animals well it came out in 1895 vs 7 mm mag coming out in 1962 with plenty of competition. But being as far as I know there isn't any record of how many animals are killed with each type of bullet every year so I can't agree with your statement. In fact one could argue by that logic a sharps 50 would be better gun yet since it was used to almost drive the buffalo to extinction. Or something in the 50 cal muzzle loading variety as they predate the sharps. See where I am going here? Both the 300 and the 7 mags are proven larger animal rifles. Yes they can make a mess of deer if you are not careful. But it is a risk I am willing to take. With that said I do perfer my 30-30 for deer but that is because of the open sights, being shorter, and being very great inside the 100 yds I am usually in. When it comes to elk shot placement is key but at the end of the day I would rather have meat on the table than a wounded animal in the woods. The magnum calibers do just that. I have seen them make up for poor shot placement more than once do to the animal being spooked or by someone's adrenaline getting the better of them. I never disputed the lethality of smaller calibers however if you can only buy one gun why not make it cover the most ground?
 

bbbass

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Didn't aim what I said at deer. What I said was Elk. I have had no issues taking deer with my 7 mag though and in the 23 years i have had and shot the gun I have had 0 malfunctions or failures with off the shelf ammunition. As to the 30-30 taking more animals well it came out in 1895 vs 7 mm mag coming out in 1962 with plenty of competition. But being as far as I know there isn't any record of how many animals are killed with each type of bullet every year so I can't agree with your statement. In fact one could argue by that logic a sharps 50 would be better gun yet since it was used to almost drive the buffalo to extinction. Or something in the 50 cal muzzle loading variety as they predate the sharps. See where I am going here? Both the 300 and the 7 mags are proven larger animal rifles. Yes they can make a mess of deer if you are not careful. But it is a risk I am willing to take. With that said I do perfer my 30-30 for deer but that is because of the open sights, being shorter, and being very great inside the 100 yds I am usually in. When it comes to elk shot placement is key but at the end of the day I would rather have meat on the table than a wounded animal in the woods. The magnum calibers do just that. I have seen them make up for poor shot placement more than once do to the animal being spooked or by someone's adrenaline getting the better of them. I never disputed the lethality of smaller calibers however if you can only buy one gun why not make it cover the most ground?
The 7 will be a bit better for deer. The smallest most guys go out with that I have known is 30-06 most head out with The first 2 I mentioned.
Expressing thoughts in writing is an art... see where I got the idea that you were recommending the magnum calibers for deer?

I stand by what I said re: recommending calibers for a beginning deer hunter. If you can only buy one gun, make it a .308 or a 30-06. Magnums are not needed for elk and blow up too much meat on deer... wasting meat or making up for poor shot placement :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:. Poor shot placement is the result of inadequate training, buck fever, poor skills, or rushing the shot, and should never happen. If I had those problems, hunter ethics would require that I reassess what I am doing, make a new plan for better training, or quit hunting. Just my opinion YMMV.

We disagree on this, that's ok with me... the reader can decide.
 

wp4

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I never disputed the lethality of smaller calibers however if you can only buy one gun why not make it cover the most ground?
Because this thread is called "what do I NEED".

If someone already only has a 30-06 or 308 I don't want them to think they can't use it.

Now this nice thread is devolving into a pizzing match about gun size, and the mods will end up deleting all this back and forth drivel.

If someone has a .308 or .270 thats all they need.

Gut shot or butt shot with 338 is no better than gut shot or butt shot with 270 or 308. Shot placement always matters, and is only fair to the animal to shoot it humanely... or they don't have any business hunting.

Next someone will show up swearing you have to use 338 lapua or 338 edge, or 338 RUM.

Go ahead and use what you want, but please don't tell someone new they NEED a magnum.
 
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I stand by what I said re: recommending calibers for a beginning deer hunter. If you can only buy one gun, make it a .308 or a 30-06. Magnums are not needed for elk and blow up too much meat on deer... wasting meat or making up for poor shot placement :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:. Poor shot placement is the result of inadequate training, buck fever, poor skills, or rushing the shot, and should never happen. If I had those problems, hunter ethics would require that I reassess what I am doing, make a new plan for better training, or quit hunting. Just my opinion YMMV.

The more people that hunt ethically the better. I would like to see interest get far beyond where it is now as it cements public land use and gun ownership. When it comes to hunters I have seen all kinds. I have personally had people shoot in my direction on several occasions. I have also witnessed hair hunters drop animals that I had jumped and let go because they were the wrong sex for the area. I have become so disgusted that I have bought a bow and have started to practice with that. So with that said I will respond to you.

I agree that you are focusing on deer. I was focused on elk. And reading is just a mutch of an art as the writing. Interpretation is everything. If you take my original statement in it's entirety then you would have got my intended meaning a 7 mag is better for deer than a 300 win mag is. There are without argument plenty of better deer rounds. And most people I have met don't go after elk with anything smaller than 30-06. Now if you do that is fine. I personally have never met anyone that made perfect shots all the time no matter the training. Life happens. A branch breaks, the animal takes a step right as you pull the trigger, and oh so many more. At that point yes more meat can be wasted but the animal still goes down without running off wounded. If you run mag calibers and your shot placement is good no more meat gets ruined than with any other gun. You are allowed your beliefs as I am allowed mine at the end of the day I doubt either of us will truly persuade people of our thinking but if one new hunter sees the logic of what I say then great if they go your direction so be it. Information is everything and people deserve all sides.
 
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Because this thread is called "what do I NEED".

If someone already only has a 30-06 or 308 I don't want them to think they can't use it.

Now this nice thread is devolving into a pizzing match about gun size, and the mods will end up deleting all this back and forth drivel.

If someone has a .308 or .270 thats all they need.

Gut shot or butt shot with 338 is no better than gut shot or butt shot with 270 or 308. Shot placement always matters, and is only fair to the animal to shoot it humanely... or they don't have any business hunting.

Next someone will show up swearing you have to use 338 lapua or 338 edge, or 338 RUM.

Go ahead and use what you want, but please don't tell someone new they NEED a magnum.
Why does it bother you that I feel that way when it comes to elk hunting? If you are truly worried about the mods then why chime in? I made a simple statement gave an opinion at first. I was called out for having it. I read through and saw plenty of great advice and it is a good thread. There are plenty of other people on the other side on this forum so I gave a different view. It is what I feel should be used. I worked in a place where I had the opportunity to talk with a lot of hunters for the better part of 4 seasons. I saw the animals that were taken and one thing seems to be universally true. Most people are not the marksman they think they are. I have come upon the rotting carcasses of animals one to many times of guys who thought just that. You can use what ever the law allows. That is your right but for the larger game animals I feel a mag is the best option. Why is what YOU FEEL someone new needs more valid than what I feel? So I will leave it at that because you are right about one thing we don't need to do back and forth. So may your hunts go well and may what ever god you serve keep you.
 

wp4

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Why does it bother you that I feel that way when it comes to elk hunting? If you are truly worried about the mods then why chime in? I made a simple statement gave an opinion at first. I was called out for having it. I read through and saw plenty of great advice and it is a good thread. There are plenty of other people on the other side on this forum so I gave a different view. It is what I feel should be used. I worked in a place where I had the opportunity to talk with a lot of hunters for the better part of 4 seasons. I saw the animals that were taken and one thing seems to be universally true. Most people are not the marksman they think they are. I have come upon the rotting carcasses of animals one to many times of guys who thought just that. You can use what ever the law allows. That is your right but for the larger game animals I feel a mag is the best option. Why is what YOU FEEL someone new needs more valid than what I feel? So I will leave it at that because you are right about one thing we don't need to do back and forth. So may your hunts go well and may what ever god you serve keep you.
It ain't about feelings, and your or my feelings about something don't make fact.

The reason why I started replying in this thread is because I saw people (not just you) starting to say a big magnum is needed, and a 30-06 is marginal. That may be true if you want to shoot 1000 yards (which is no longer "hunting" in my understanding of the term), but 300 yards and in it isn't a huge difference as far as terminal performance.

If someone isn't the marksman they think they are, a bigger gun isn't the answer. If anything, a bigger gun will make them a worse shot.

From what I've seen, people with bigger more powerful calibers think that because the cartridge is capable of taking game farther out, that they should try it. Please don't think I'm assuming your one of those people, I'm not.

Again, this thread is about what one needs, and when I see people claim magnums are needed that is complete misinformation. Feelings or no feelings. I don't want a newbie to think they need to go buy a cannon before they've ever tried hunting.


I'm a member of a long range hunting forum because of the wealth of shooting/ reloading info. I like messing around with high BC bullets and such, because I'm a nerd. But I don't think any of that stuff is needed. Nor do I try to shoot something that draws breath from extremely long range.

BTW, good luck to you this year on your hunts! I've been thinking about taking up a bow for the same reasons you stated... if I do, I hope I can ask guys like you what to get.
 
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bbbass

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I was called out for having it
Ok now, I was done but I did not call you out... I disagreed with you!!! Do you really think that you get to put an opinion out and nobody can say anything about it??

Edit: In my second reply, I did give you several "roll eyes". But not for recommending magnums as the best option for beginners! It was in response to your promoting magnums as a way to make up for poor shot placement. I really don't like to see that kind of thinking promulgated into the new hunter community and I will challenge it every time.
 
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thorborg

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My .270 has been all I ever needed for black bear and elk with my cousin using a 6.5 X 55 for the same game.
Getting off the always arguable gun issue, what you really need is a good quality stay sharp knife and a stone you know how to use cus you'll need to sharpen it at least once for something as large as an elk.
I made my own IMGP1107.JPG
But before that, I liked my Antonwinger JR from Soligen Germany my dad gave me. Very good steel!
IMGP1103.JPG
But modern boys need modern toys and there are more than a few out there.
 
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Mossyoak300mag here, as you probably already guessed I use a 300 win mag. I've used about every caliber in between 300 to .270. I've been deer hunting in Northern Kansas for 39 yrs. I've been very blessed and shot far more trophy bucks than my share. The highest scoring 219 nontypical and 168 typical. I don't shoot any deer in the front quarters any where with my 300. It does to much damage to the meat. A 30-06 was my primary deer gun till I lost a massive buck. It wasn't bad shot placement it just wasn't enough gun for that situation so I started using a 7mm mag with great success but started shooting distance so I upped to a rem 700 pss dm 300 win mag. I have never lost a deer with a 300. They usually only go a few feet if that. I once hunted a very nice 8 pter that on the last weekend broke out of draw across a winter wheat field at 1000 yrds away on dead run due to road hunters (my last shot at him) so I put one out over his head to see if I could turn him around and it worked, he came right back across the field across the creek and stopped dead at 420 yrds in the field below me. I dropped him where he stood. Might have been luck but I don't think I would have pulled it off with say an 06. I just love 30 caliber but the 300 is my lady. Best advice I can can give is first hunter's safety, know your rifle inside and out. Select an ammo that fits you for what ever your ate hunting, and stick to that ammo every time you hunt with it. Its best to stay in tune with a .22 or something cost effective and save your larger calibers for what they are intended that way you only shoot one specific brand and bullet weight as possible. Know your surroundings!!! High powers travel great distances. Scout!!! Know where to find a good buck, learn and look for the signs. Be patient, most important!!!! Deer see you long before you see them so stay sitting still no matter what you do or don't see. As soon as you move, boom there he goes like a bolt of lightning. DON'T CHASE THE DEER!!!!!!!!!! LEAVE IT ALONE. When you shoot a deer and its a good hit, it will lay down and die. Give it time. You have to bite the excitement long enough for your kill to expire. You only need watch where it you headed and wait, at least 30 min to 45.Sometimes longer. Trust me you will spend way less time searching for an animal that you may not find and would have died had you given it time. Nothing sucks worse than to loose good meat. Use cover sent. Use coon piss on the bottom of your boots. Glass alot, you never know whats watching you hunt. Just some thoughts from some one who has been blessed with great success. Here's a pic of my kimber 8400 advanced tactical 300win. An sp5 and a HK 45 ct. Back up for this year's hunt. And a couple bucks. Big 8 and the non typical 15 pnt that scored 219.

20201119_205510.jpg 20200104_201608.jpg 20200226_123356.jpg
 
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There is no antidote for buck fever. No matter how long you have hunted or how many you have shot, it can over come the best of hunters. Controlled breathing through your nose is the best thing to do when it happens. This will slow the heart rate down creating less jump in the scope from a pounding heart. The more you pay attention to what you are trying to achieve ( correct shot placement) and less to the the rack on his head the higher your success rate will be. Focusing on the horns on his head will make make the heart pound like a jackhammer. So when its time focus on the objective and getting the meat in the freezer. After the shot then you allow the (oh sh*t look at his rack factor to kick in) and have fun with it. Never take it to seriously cause a true hunter is only as good as the skills he has learned and masterd in outdoors not from books or videos but from experience in the field. So spend the the time, hone your skills and learn from your mistakes. If one hunt doesn't go your way thats ok because there is always another hunt. Learn each and every time you go.
 

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