View Full Version : Which of these two calibers for typical Elk hunting?
December 6, 2004, 12:17 PM
.45-70 gov't or 7mmRemmag?
Then, only after answering that first please, would your answer change if the question is:
.30-'06, .45-70, or 7mmRemMag?
Do long shots typically present themselves in places like Colo. when hunting elk? I'm thinking the 7mag is unneccesary unless long shots present themselves as a possibility (over 175 yards or so). Thanks.
December 6, 2004, 01:54 PM
".45-70 gov't or 7mmRemmag?"
7mmMag (Not my choice, but best of the two.)
".30-'06, .45-70, or 7mmRemMag?"
30-06....personal preference as opposed to 7mmMag
"Do long shots typically present themselves in places like Colo. when hunting elk?"
Far more likely than the "inside 100" rule necessary for that there 45-70.
December 6, 2004, 02:49 PM
Here in Colorado, the 45-70 is about as effective as a brick shot through a slingshot. The rounds drop like a rock past 100 yards. :barf: The 7mm would be much more effective past 200 yards. :) That being said....
I use a 300 Winchester Magnum for elk out here. Most shots are in the 300+ yard range and it packs a wallup! Recoil is fairly stout but you don't notice it in the field. I took a large Mule deer this year at 320 yards and it never moved an inch. You might want to consider the 300 Winchester Short Magnum (WSM), less recoil and virtually identical ballistics. If you are a semi-auto fan, Browning just came out with a lightweight in that round in the BAR Short Action. Personally, I shoot a Ruger Stainless with Allweather stock.
December 6, 2004, 02:49 PM
I'd have to go with 7mm mag. Various factory loads using excellent bullets.
Same could be said for 30-06, but it's ballistically inferior to 7mm mag.
At 300 yards or better i would want all the [retained energy] and a flat trajectory + bullet penetration on large game animals such as elk.
Your choice, i would opt for 300 Winchester mag for elk.
December 6, 2004, 06:17 PM
With Bonded or Barnes X bullets that 7mag will poke through an elk end to end. It also has a good range for deeper shots.
December 6, 2004, 06:27 PM
Funny thing-- When I took my .300 Win Mag elk hunting in southern CO near Pagosa Springs and Durango, I could have done just as well with an accurate .45-70, most of the time. I only once found a long-shot clearing, and there, the shots were ONLY long shots. It all depends on the terrain. In public lands, where pressure is higher, you often have to go farther back into the dark timber, and your shots are shorter.
Many curse the 7mm mag as an elk-wounder. I'm sure that the 7mm mag is a fine elk-killer, so long as you don't get the "I've got a magnum, so all I have to do is hit it in the elk" mentality, and so long as you use a stout bullet that won't blow up. Use good loads with good bullets, and mind your shots, and I imagine it's superb for elk.
But of the three, I'd go with the .30'06 with either a good 165g bullet or a hot 180g load.
December 7, 2004, 01:21 AM
As a rule I don't hunt elk size animals with anything less than a .30 caliber.
I do however agree that a 45-70 might not be versatile enough for CO hunting.
Why not look at a 30-06 or a .300 win mag? These can be loaded from 120 grain that achieves well over 3000 fps to 250 gr at 1900 fps. and it punches a bigger hole with less wind interference.
December 7, 2004, 04:46 AM
You feel the kick when you are sighting it in but when you get shooting at something its like plinking with a 22.
December 7, 2004, 09:10 AM
Yeah, ok, thanks - I was just wondering if the calibers I currently have would cover it, should the occasion arise to go, or would I need to spring for another rifle before such an occasion. Sounds like the 7mag would pretty well do in a pinch, with a good 160/162+ bullet, as would the .30-06 (but that's a strictly iron-sighted rifle), but that springing for a .338 or similar might be wiser. I want to get a .338-06, .35 Whelen, or .338 winmag anyway at some point. Anyone know the cheapest route to obtaining a .338-06? I think that some factory offerings have the Whelen, but what about the big ot six? Is there any new whizbang mag in .338 or .35? (which might be preferable to the belted winmag).
December 7, 2004, 09:59 AM
I personally like the 338 win mag, some over kill here, but thats ok, I want to drop them where I hit them, also this cart is like a 30/06 on steroids, using a 250gr bullets you can reach out and touch something with authority at 300 yards.
I also like the 375 H&H, 300 win mag as well, all good hard hitting carts for large game animals. Recoil is a factor using these carts. they hit hard on both ends. Elk are tough animals to down, Its important to use the right cart when hunting game over 400 pounds, these large bodied animals can take a lot of abuse before expiring, I consider elk in a moose category when I put Caribou and deer in the same category of there own, for them a good old 308 works well. The 308 can absolutely take a elk within its range and proper bullet placement, I just like to go with the over kill when hunting very large game and elk are large game animals. Aim small hit small. RAMbo.
December 7, 2004, 10:41 AM
My dad is a 7mmMag guy and has been since the early seventies. He has taken at least twelve elk at ranges out over 400yards and I do not recall him ever needing a second round.
With that said I am a 300mag guy simply because I like the greater availability of bullets that the .30cal has to offer plus a bit more power at longer ranges.
Still it all comes down to shot placement. Whether you're using a.308 or a .375 it doesn't matter if you don't put the round where it belongs.
December 7, 2004, 01:30 PM
Sounds like the 7mag would pretty well do in a pinch, with a good 160/162+ bullet, as would the .30-06 (but that's a strictly iron-sighted rifle), but that springing for a .338 or similar might be wiser. I want to get a .338-06, .35 Whelen, or .338 winmag anyway at some point. Anyone know the cheapest route to obtaining a .338-06? I think that some factory offerings have the Whelen, but what about the big ot six? Is there any new whizbang mag in .338 or .35? (which might be preferable to the belted winmag).
Just how much do you like your .30-06 in its current configuration? I sent my Springfield with a pitted dark .30-06 bore to E.R. Shaw in PN, and they rebarreled it with a spiffy .358" bore barrel and a .35 Whelen chamber (which is just the '06 blown out to .358"). (http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=84206) Several companies load factory Whelen ammo, but I'm finding that it's actually just as easy if not easier to handload my own and expand '06 brass to .35 Whelen brass as it was to handload for .30-06. I had Shaw put a stainless barrel and new front sight on my Springfield for... I want to say it was $250, but don't quote me.
I feel quite certain that they'd do a .338 bore for you, as well.
I'm in love with my Whelen. With the 225g Sierra spitzers I have loaded in it, I'll take on anything on the continent but coastal brown bear. For them, I'd load up some hot 250g loads. :) (Note: Remington offers a hot Express loading of .35 Whelen with 250g loads that is quite a thumper.)
As you can see, the accuracy's pretty good; fellow THR moderator JShirley fired this 4-shot group rapidly from kneeling at 75 yards with it. Frankly, I'm fine with it for elk out to 200 yards, even with iron sights.
December 7, 2004, 08:41 PM
Well, long path, thanks. Hey, it's OK to thread drift when the originator asks the question that directly causes the drift. OK, I like my gun in 30-'06 too much to change it at all - my only '06 right now is a P17 Enfield, you see, and I don't want to mess it up. Yes the irons would work fine for elk right now with my 35 yo eyes, but maybe not in 15 years - dunno. And it may take almost that long before I can afford a good elk hunt. In any event, I wouldn't even want to scratch the P17, so I'd need another gun in some caliber, 30-06 or otherwise, and since I was already planning a bigger bore gun at some point, looks like I probably ought to stick with the plan to do that, to make sure a large tough elk goes down quickly. Until then, if a cheap hunt drops in my lap, I'll have my 7mag ready to go. So your Springy in .35 Whelen sounds just great, and looks great, too! ('cept for the utter sacrilege of messing up that milsurp, but anyhoo ;) ). JK - you said it had a pitted bore, so I understand... I should maybe just get a charles daly 98 action and have ER Shaw give a barrel for it - that wouldn't be too terribly expensive. Still, I do believe some manufacturers actual offer factory chamberings in .35 whelen, if I'm inclined to go that route over a .338-06, so I'll check into that. And why is it that making up loads of whelen actually easier than plain '06? And that looks like plenty fine accuracy - about 1/3 MOE or better (minute of elk). So who's in the pic - you or Jshirley? Thanks again.
December 8, 2004, 06:55 AM
The 7mm mag will do, but it has really has nothing on the '06. Might be flatter shooting but no big deal. IMHO it comes down to which one shoots better for you?
December 16, 2004, 12:56 AM
I have guided and hunted elk and dont think it really matters. I have seen elk killed with bow, 243, up to 375 h&h. Size is no substitute for accuracy. Fancy an 06 myself . Use what you are comfortabe with!!
December 16, 2004, 02:02 AM
I use a 300 win mag encore with leupold 3x9x40 VXII
December 16, 2004, 11:07 AM
OK, chet, thanks, but if I use a .45-70, would I be SOL on facing a long shot, or in your experience, are most shots for wapiti under 150 yards in the real world?
December 16, 2004, 08:28 PM
And why is it that making up loads of whelen actually easier than plain '06? And that looks like plenty fine accuracy - about 1/3 MOE or better (minute of elk). So who's in the pic - you or Jshirley? Thanks again.That's John. (Who claims that next to me, he's a Hobbit.)
The rifle will give about 1.5" to 2" at 100 yds off the bench. But it really shines in how easily you can attain that accuracy offhand.
Whelen rounds are possibly even easier than '06 rounds because you use regular old '06 brass to load 'em, and when you size 'em, you run the expander taper into the neck to expand it from .308 to .358. This expansion outward actually causes the cases to shorten slightly, which counteracts the slight stretching that most cases encounter when firing. Thus you can often speed up the process of loading by expanding .30-06 cases into .35 Whelen, rather than sizing and then having to trim the same case for the same caliber! Crazy, no? You make a whole new caliber case while loading, and you actually cut out an entire step!
Didn't actually do anything wrong to that old Springfield. It was sporterized in that stock (in walnut finish with way too much monte carlo hump on it) when I got it. It had a terribly pitted bore that wouldn't give me much accuracy. The barrel I replaced because its handle had been welded back on at an odd angle. The receiver had a coupla flat spots where I had struck it with a ball peen hammer to make sure that it hadn't been annealed in the previous gunsmithing. In short, the rifle in NO WAY resembled its original military trim. But it's now a great rifle. :)
December 17, 2004, 11:13 PM
I really dont think that you would be SOL! I have seen the .45-70 hitting accurately out to 250 + yds . You just need to know how much to elevate, these arent the old black powder loads anymore .also take into consideration what time of year you are going hunting .The areas that I hunt in Wyo are open in the middle of Sept so the bulls are bugling hot and heavy meaning that you can really mix it up in close. I am persnally thinking hard about using my .50 cal hawken next year. Your style of hunting should make you think twice though ,if you are just road hunting you might want a super sonic round but if you are willing to get off the road, shots inside of 150 yds are very very common
December 17, 2004, 11:26 PM
You Dont Know How Cool It Is to hear the bugle echo in the dark timber and hear the sticks breaking like rifle shots in close proximity then to see that massive bull looking for you with blood in his eye .The size of his rack doesnt matter at first because they all look like monsters when you see those black antlers swivel then lay back as the King BELLOWS his challenge to you the interloper. sorry got lost for a minute
December 18, 2004, 04:33 PM
I don't think I would choose either of them. There are much better choices available.
December 18, 2004, 09:13 PM
There are much better choices available.
Better? Perhaps. (.300 WinMag with 180g loads, .338WinMag with 225g loads, .35 Whelen with any load over 200g, .350 Rem Mag...)
But "much better"?? I just don't see it. Load the '06 with a good 180g load and watch it drop 'em! Load that .45-70 with a nice 400g load and keep your shots to under 200 and hunt in comfort! Load that 7mm Mag with some reasonable 175g loads at 2750, and drop any elk that ever walked.
I suspect that the bad name that the 7mm Mag has earned among some for Elk stems from the love so many have for lighter bullets at higher velocities, attempting to create a super canyon-crossing laser rifle. When they then snap off a 60 yard shot with it on a bull elk in the black timber, they're shocked that the mega velocity round fails to drop the beast immediately, as it blows up on the shoulder or a rib. :(
The real question should be: Which rifle can you reliably put 5 out of 5 shots into a paper plate from field positions at 100 yards.
It ain't the kitchen-- it's the cook.
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