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NitroXAdministrator
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Your First Elk Hunt: What Rifle Should You Bring?
      #380808 - 01/12/23 01:06 AM


Your First Elk Hunt: What Rifle Should You Bring?
Should you take a rifle you already have or get a new one for the hunt of a lifetime?

https://www.outdoorlife.com/guns/elk-rifle-for-first-hunt/

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DarylS
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Re: Your First Elk Hunt: What Rifle Should You Bring? [Re: NitroX]
      #380815 - 01/12/23 05:32 AM

Interesting. Depends!
If going on an elk hunt I would take one of three rifles I currently have, a 9.3x62, .375/06IMP or my M70 .30/06.
Likely would be my '06 loaded with 180gr. Hornady SST's @ 2,745fps.
I would not shoot an elk with a .357, whether in revolver or rifle.
A .44 rifle would be minimal imho - & that loaded with a 265gr. Hornady FN @ about 1,700fps as far as pistol ctg. go. I'd also go along with a .356 Winchester, 220gr. @ 2,350fps, or even a 250 RN at 2,150fps in a model 94, or same in a
.375 Winchester with 220gr. Hornady @ 1,900fps or higher.
Or - .45/70 M86/71 Pedersoli, .50/95 M1876 - either of those would work fine.
Hate to admit it, but a decent .270 with 130gr. TTSX or 150's would also work just fine.
Of course, so would a bunch of other rounds, if loaded with decent bullets.
7x57, .308, 8m Mauser, 6.5's. Even the 6mm's loaded with Barnes or other premium bullets have been used around here, VERY successfully on elk.
Anything that would work well on moose, will work well on Elk. Bullet placement is of paramount importance. Elk are tougher than moose. 1 lung on am moose and don't push him & he's yours inside 100yards from impact. An Elk can & will go a LONG way with 1 good lung left, pushed or not. More likely to run than a moose.
Just be good with the rifle, so accurate bullet placement is the automatic result.
I think buying a new rifle for a special hunt, is not a good idea. Use one you are familiar with.

--------------------
Daryl


"a gun without hammers is like a Spaniel without ears" King George V


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NitroXAdministrator
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Re: Your First Elk Hunt: What Rifle Should You Bring? [Re: DarylS]
      #380821 - 01/12/23 06:53 AM

I would almost certainly use my Mauser M03 8x68S.

Otherwise my Parker Hale M98 .30-06.

If a .30-06 has worked for 117 years, I don't see why it wouldn't now.

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John aka NitroX

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Govt get out of our lives NOW!
"I love the smell of cordite in the morning."
"A Sharp spear needs no polish"


Edited by NitroX (01/12/23 06:55 AM)


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grandveneur
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Re: Your First Elk Hunt: What Rifle Should You Bring? [Re: NitroX]
      #380822 - 01/12/23 07:50 AM

I don't give any more advice, I just warn that Elk's are very strong, especially during the rut, and can tolerate a lot. I shot my first Elk with my rifle caliber 9,3x64 Brenneke and despite a good shot placement, it did not die immediately.

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DarylS
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Re: Your First Elk Hunt: What Rifle Should You Bring? [Re: grandveneur]
      #380826 - 01/12/23 11:14 AM

If they are worked up, they can take a bit of time to bleed out &/or shut down, that's for sure.

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Daryl


"a gun without hammers is like a Spaniel without ears" King George V


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eagle27
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Re: Your First Elk Hunt: What Rifle Should You Bring? [Re: DarylS]
      #380830 - 01/12/23 01:49 PM

We have American elk here in NZ, we call them wapiti. Quite a few of my father's hunting friends hunted them in earlier days and in their opinion the wapiti were 'soft' compared with our prolific red deer. They dropped them no trouble with their 303's, 7mm's, etc, and this before the magnums came on the scene.
I haven't hunted wapiti myself, my nephew has, but I have certainly shot a lot of red deer and while the red stags are not overly hard to put down, red hinds can be. They seem to have a greater tenacity to life than their male counterparts.

I guess the elk in the States have some natural enemies such as bears and wolves which may make them more tenacious to life? Our wapiti, like all our big game animals, have no natural enemies so perhaps are actually 'softer' in nature.

Our hunters use their normal deer rifles. A friend of mine who was a government deer-culler used a 243 Win which he reckoned put down deer and wapiti nicely but he did go to a 30-06 when he started guiding hunters as he was shooting wounded animals in this scenario where hunters had fluffed shots.


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szihn
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Re: Your First Elk Hunt: What Rifle Should You Bring? [Re: eagle27]
      #380838 - 02/12/23 03:12 AM

My 1st elk hunt was when I was 8. My dad barrowed one of his brothers 30-06s so I could use "the rifle" (the only one we had in those days) a Savage M99 in 300 Sav. We stopped at a gas station along the way and Dad bought some "elk ammo" that were loaded with 180 grain bullets instead of the usual 150s we shot for deer.

There was my Dad, his brother Walt, and 4 men from the shop they all worked at from time to time. I was the only kid on that hunt. It was for both deer and elk, and on that hunt I and Mr. Terry were the only 2 that got elk. Most of the men got deer.

The M99 was too long for me and uncomfortable to use because I was so small then, but I made a good shot and killed a young 5X4 bull moving on a trot going from my left to right. The 300 Savage had it's original iron sights and was as basic as you can get, but it did a fine job. That bullet took the top of the heart out, both lower lungs and exited.
Since that elk I have killed more then I can easily count, and I have come to know beyond question that it's 1st about the skill of the hunter, next about THE BULLET used and 3rd about the cartridge and gun. As a guide in 3 western states I have seen killed about 7-10 times more then I have killed myself.
Any rifle that can reliably put a bullet clear through an elk (including breaking bones,) and give a wound that is in a fairly straight line works fine for killing them. Any bullet that breaks up early and/or has a tendency to curve off line as it pernitrates is a poor choice. I have killed 7 bulls with 44 magnum handguns and many bulls and cows with a 270 Winchester All 1 shot kills. I also have killed 5 with muzzleloaders firing round balls. Again all with 1 shot each. And 1 with a wood arrow. I have a friend that's killed 7 nice bulls with a Marlin M94 carbine in 357 magnum using heavy LBT cast bullets and he's never needed a 2nd shot. I have also had bad luck with 7MM Mags and 300 mags when I tried bullets that broke up on impact, and seen one very long tracking job from a perfect hit with a 338 Mag using an old Nosler Ballistic Tip that took 6-1/2 house to track down.

So these writers may tell you a 338 is perfect and a 357 magnum is far too small, but the real world have shown me this tripe is simply not true. Bullet holes kill things. The bullet is simply a tool to make that hole. If you can place a nice size hole in a fairly straight line through an elk's vitals and out the other side it matters very little what launcher was used to make that hole. From spears, arrows, handgun bullets, round balls from muzzleloaders, and rifles all the way up to 375H&Hs 416s and even the 50 BMG, if the hole is placed in the correct location and the bullet holds together and goes fairly straight through, all guns kill elk.

If the bullet breaks up or turns off course all cartridges can fail.


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DarylS
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Re: Your First Elk Hunt: What Rifle Should You Bring? [Re: NitroX]
      #380845 - 02/12/23 04:28 AM

Quote:

I would almost certainly use my Mauser M03 8x68S.

Otherwise my Parker Hale M98 .30-06.

If a .30-06 has worked for 117 years, I don't see why it wouldn't now.




Either of those will work just fine. As Steve said, use a good bullet in either. The typical 8MM Mauser bullets might be too soft.
My buddy Keith is waiting on an order of 220gr. Sierras, I think, for his 8x68S.
This boat tailed bullet, according to a Google search, is said to be made for the 8mm Rem. Mag and is too "hard" for the 8mm Mauser. Sounds perfect to me.

--------------------
Daryl


"a gun without hammers is like a Spaniel without ears" King George V


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prairie_ghost
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Re: Your First Elk Hunt: What Rifle Should You Bring? [Re: DarylS]
      #380863 - 02/12/23 04:40 PM

+1 what Szihn says. Put a bullet in the right place and you be eating steak.

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NitroXAdministrator
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Re: Your First Elk Hunt: What Rifle Should You Bring? [Re: DarylS]
      #380864 - 02/12/23 05:09 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I would almost certainly use my Mauser M03 8x68S.

Otherwise my Parker Hale M98 .30-06.

If a .30-06 has worked for 117 years, I don't see why it wouldn't now.




Either of those will work just fine. As Steve said, use a good bullet in either. The typical 8MM Mauser bullets might be too soft.
My buddy Keith is waiting on an order of 220gr. Sierras, I think, for his 8x68S.
This boat tailed bullet, according to a Google search, is said to be made for the 8mm Rem. Mag and is too "hard" for the 8mm Mauser. Sounds perfect to me.




I would probably choose a 200 gr, of 2w0 gr Swift Sframe bullet in the 8x68S for wapiti. Same for sambar, eland and a lot of larger African plains game. Same for moose. 220 gr for Grizzly, Brown bear.

I picked up some 250 gr Woodleigh Weldcore RNSPs from Waidmannsheil at the BGRC Nationals shoot. I want to try them on water buffalo. Duplicate the old .330 .328 WR 250 gr loads, famous killers. But movFMJs. A 220 gr Aframr matched to a 220 gr FMJ would be a good option too. Does anyone make 220 gr .323 FMJs?

I like the idea of the 200 gr for longer shots. The 220 gr for heavier animals. But not to use both. The 220 gr is probably better, and the trajectory difference probably minor.

A 160 to 180 gr .323 bullet for lighter medium game. And the 220gr.

In the .30-06 a 180 gr with a decent bullet. In the past I've used Nosler Partitions.

--------------------
John aka NitroX

...
Govt get out of our lives NOW!
"I love the smell of cordite in the morning."
"A Sharp spear needs no polish"


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NitroXAdministrator
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Re: Your First Elk Hunt: What Rifle Should You Bring? [Re: szihn]
      #380865 - 02/12/23 05:36 PM

Quote:

My 1st elk hunt was when I was 8. My dad barrowed one of his brothers 30-06s so I could use "the rifle" (the only one we had in those days) a Savage M99 in 300 Sav. We stopped at a gas station along the way and Dad bought some "elk ammo" that were loaded with 180 grain bullets instead of the usual 150s we shot for deer.

There was my Dad, his brother Walt, and 4 men from the shop they all worked at from time to time. I was the only kid on that hunt. It was for both deer and elk, and on that hunt I and Mr. Terry were the only 2 that got elk. Most of the men got deer.

The M99 was too long for me and uncomfortable to use because I was so small then, but I made a good shot and killed a young 5X4 bull moving on a trot going from my left to right. The 300 Savage had it's original iron sights and was as basic as you can get, but it did a fine job. That bullet took the top of the heart out, both lower lungs and exited.




Thanks for the personal story. A good memory for you.


Quote:

...I have come to know beyond question that it's 1st about the skill of the hunter, next about THE BULLET used and 3rd about the cartridge and gun.




Very true.

--------------------
John aka NitroX

...
Govt get out of our lives NOW!
"I love the smell of cordite in the morning."
"A Sharp spear needs no polish"


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grandveneur
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Re: Your First Elk Hunt: What Rifle Should You Bring? [Re: DarylS]
      #380869 - 02/12/23 07:06 PM

Quote:

If they are worked up, they can take a bit of time to bleed out &/or shut down, that's for sure.




I shot several Elk's with the cartridge 9,3x64 Brenneke and the 19g TUG bullet with varying effects, but even if the deers did not die immediately, they stayed on the place.

The only problem I had by hunting Elk's was with a rifle caliber 300 RUM and a 180gr Scirocco bullet from Swift. Lack of depth penetration of the bullet after a long range shot. I had to look for it, but luckily I found the wounded Elk after many hours of tracking.

Thereafter I switched back to a bigger caliber, the cartridge 340 Weatherby Magnum and the 250gr GK bullet from Sierra, with which I also had very good results.

I also saw how a big Elk was shot with the cartridge 7mm Rem Mag. Despite good shot placements, the deer needed several shots to die.

In older North American hunting papers, the cartridge 338 Winchester Magnum was always referred as the Elk cartridge.


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9.3x57
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Re: Your First Elk Hunt: What Rifle Should You Bring? [Re: szihn]
      #380873 - 03/12/23 01:30 AM

Over the years I've killed elk w/ 6.5x55, .264 Win Mag, 7x57, .30-06, 9.3x57, 9.3x62 and .375 H&H.

They all work. I agree with Szihn's criteria.

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DarylS
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Re: Your First Elk Hunt: What Rifle Should You Bring? [Re: 9.3x57]
      #380879 - 03/12/23 12:24 PM

I have 2 current elk rifles that have not been used for such.
I've a .50/95 Model 76 loaded with 368gr. FN's @ 1,750fps and a .45/70 M86 loaded with 450gr. @ 1,850fps.
I guess either would work just fine.

--------------------
Daryl


"a gun without hammers is like a Spaniel without ears" King George V


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