Any suggestions as to the max distance I should consider with the 308? I know ultimately it is my ability to compensate, but at what distance should I thrust its effectiveness?
Where are you going to hunt elk? I live and hunt elk in Colorado, due to the terrain, it is very rare that I get an opportunity to shoot an elk farther than 100-150 yards away (I have 3 cows and 2 bulls under my belt), elk do not have a curious bone in their bodies.
but to answer your question; take a 168 grain bullet at 2600 fps muzzle velocity, if it were me, I would sight in for a 300 yard zero, this would put the bullet trajectory at:
100 yards +5.4"
200 yards +6.3"
300 yards 0.0
400 yards -14.7"
500 yards -39.5"
An average elk measures about 24" from the bottom of the brisket to the top of the back, this would give you a good scope picture with minimal holdover/under all the way out to 400 yards. All is needed is a decent range estimation and shoot accordingly. As always shot placement is important with any caliber, particularly at longer ranges.
I sight all of my big game hunting rifles in similar to this, (based on ballistics and optical sights)