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smallest elk caliber?

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What would be the smallest caliber rifle you would feel comfortable with, to hunt elk at ranges up to and including 500 yards. The majority of shots taken would be under 300 yards.  I have friends who swear by their .270wins, and others who insist it must be at least a 30.06, and preferably a magnum.  As part of the question, assume you don't reload, and will be using off the shelf ammunition.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 09:39
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The same caliber I use for whitetails... .458 Lott
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 09:42
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I've seen and heard many use 270s to take elk, my elk gun is a 300WM.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 09:47
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Originally posted by Kickboxer Kickboxer wrote:

The same caliber I use for whitetails, and trees, and squirrels, and crickets.......... .458 Lott
added a few for youWink  LOL
 
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 09:54
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Originally posted by SVT_Tactical SVT_Tactical wrote:

Originally posted by Kickboxer Kickboxer wrote:

The same caliber I use for whitetails, and trees, and squirrels, and crickets.......... .458 Lott
added a few for youWink  LOL
 
 
 


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 10:00
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My elk gun is a 30-06, but just because I have one.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 10:02
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Originally posted by Kickboxer Kickboxer wrote:

The same caliber I use for whitetails... .458 Lott


Would that be safe for a charging bull prairie dog? Say, inside 100 yards?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 10:09
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Originally posted by anomad anomad wrote:

Originally posted by Kickboxer Kickboxer wrote:

The same caliber I use for whitetails... .458 Lott


Would that be safe for a charging bull prairie dog? Say, inside 100 yards?
 
No way!  Those toothy little b&stards are tenacious! 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 10:10
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I think he reserves the 20mm for inside 100
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 10:10
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Originally posted by Kickboxer Kickboxer wrote:

The same caliber I use for whitetails... .458 Lott


it's been a few years since i saw a white tail, but i'm guessing this is tongue in cheek.... and you're still having nightmares about the .270win.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 10:11
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no he really does use the Lott for deer
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 10:18
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Originally posted by Dyelynn Dyelynn wrote:

What would be the smallest caliber rifle you would feel comfortable with, to hunt elk at ranges up to and including 500 yards.
 
If all I had was a 7-08, I wouldn't cancel an elk hunting trip or pass up any shots at the biggest bull.  If I was limited to factory ammo only (which I wouldn't subject myself to, but I'll play along), I'd pick fodder capped off with a good controlled expansion 140, such as Federals loads with the 140 TSX, Trophy Bonded, or Partition... whichever shot best in my rifle.
 
In fact, there's nothing in the lower 48 that I'd be hesitant to aim a 7-08 at if forced to... assuming good shot placement and reasonable range, which should be the goal no matter what you're shooting.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 10:51
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I believe 308/30-06 are a good start, thats not to say elk can't be taken with a lesser caliber. Personally I think 300 mags offer the most flexibility especially if shots could be over 300yds.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 10:57
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Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:

Originally posted by Dyelynn Dyelynn wrote:

What would be the smallest caliber rifle you would feel comfortable with, to hunt elk at ranges up to and including 500 yards.
 
If all I had was a 7-08, I wouldn't cancel an elk hunting trip or pass up any shots at the biggest bull.  If I was limited to factory ammo only (which I wouldn't subject myself to, but I'll play along), I'd pick fodder capped off with a good controlled expansion 140, such as Federals loads with the 140 TSX, Trophy Bonded, or Partition... whichever shot best in my rifle.
 
In fact, there's nothing in the lower 48 that I'd be hesitant to aim a 7-08 at if forced to... assuming good shot placement and reasonable range, which should be the goal no matter what you're shooting.


ted, would you say the same about a 308, or are  you among the crowd that touts the 7-08 as an improvement over the original?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 10:58
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Originally posted by lucytuma lucytuma wrote:

I believe 308/30-06 are a good start, thats not to say elk can't be taken with a lesser caliber. Personally I think 300 mags offer the most flexibility especially if shots could be over 300yds.


i've looked at the 300, 270wsm and 7mag's...  i would worry a little about destroying a small black tail with those, which this rifle most likely will also hunt.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 11:16
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Originally posted by Dyelynn Dyelynn wrote:

Originally posted by lucytuma lucytuma wrote:

I believe 308/30-06 are a good start, thats not to say elk can't be taken with a lesser caliber. Personally I think 300 mags offer the most flexibility especially if shots could be over 300yds.


i've looked at the 300, 270wsm and 7mag's...  i would worry a little about destroying a small black tail with those, which this rifle most likely will also hunt.


I use a 7mm most of the time and I'm not destroying blacktails. Like Ted mentioned, it all about shot placement, even with the little guys. Poor shot placement (even with the smaller calibers) can ruin meat, cripple deer, etc. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 11:17
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While destroying meat should be a concern for most hunters, anchoring and humanly taking the animal is the greatest of my concerns.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 11:30
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Originally posted by lucytuma lucytuma wrote:

While destroying meat should be a concern for most hunters, anchoring and humanly taking the animal is the greatest of my concerns.



Absolutely Jeff, that (and ethical shooting) would be part of the "shot placement umbrella" and what I'm trying to say (whether your using a .243 or a 300wm, etc.). As for the meat, well that's how my grandfather survived and raised his children, living off the land (deer, fish, abalone, robbins, quail, etc.); this was passed on to us as we became hunters. We've taken it a step further (sort of like catch and release of fish), we don't just go out there to shot anything. I've passed on deer through out the season looking for the right one and there's been a time or two that I didn't get one the entire season because of this. Another thing and this is just me, with just about every deer you take you should have a nice story to tell. For me it's the experience as well as the hunt.    Thunbs Up 




Edited by mike650 - June/10/2011 at 12:05
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 11:56
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    Excellent  Good on ya,Mike.  Same here,more than yr I've passed and got skunked.
 
   Oh,and when I use my .300 on whitetails around here I use the same load I developed in '85 using the original 150gr Nosler Soild Base.  No meat damage and quick kills.  I'm just shy of having 100 left though. 


Edited by 300S&W - June/10/2011 at 11:58
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 12:01
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 Whistling  that should more than do with what time you got left pappy!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 12:07
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       I'm hopin' so.  Actually I haven't used it that much in the past number of yrs.  This yr I'll be hunting some wide open spaces that I use to hunt so......................... 
 
 


Edited by 300S&W - June/10/2011 at 12:10
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 12:23
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100gr montec from G5 &  my Bear Charger Bow :-). like i have said in other post its shot place meant. Ive known ppl that have used a 22 mag to kill an elk.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 12:23
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Thats Purty country there!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 12:25
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Originally posted by budperm budperm wrote:

Thats Purty country there!


Thunbs Up
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2011 at 12:35
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Just keep in mind that if you take a shot @ 500 yards and it is poorly placed (could be wind, could be the animal moving) with the bullet's diminishing energy it could be a big problem. If the elk got into cover and wasn't wounded fatally, you might not ever find it. Even after a few hours on a warmish day it most of the meat will be worthless. Consider also that you'll need to have a better than average scope and a really good idea of range and ballistics out past 350 yards. Most of these cartridges will be dropping 5, 6, 7+ inches every 25 yards after that. Will you have a good idea of where to hold if the animal is 20 degrees uphill @ 450 yards?

That said, you could use a .270, 7mm-08, .308 or .30-06 reasonably out to 300-350 yards and be pretty certain of a good, clean shot. Beyond that would depend on conditions, ability and knowledge, perhaps offset somewhat by a more powerful cartridge.

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