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Old July 18, 2000, 06:46 AM   #1
Dogger
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Max range 200 yards. Animal presents a clean broadside shot and is stationary, or very slowly ambling along.

What is your minimum choice of caliber for a one shot kill, and what cartridge would you choose?

Thanks.
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Old July 18, 2000, 09:34 AM   #2
Darryl Howland
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Now this is a "loaded" question. From what you are saying, its a near perfect shot.
With the right bullet type and placement, you could take it with anything from a .270 on up.
I use a 300wby mag with 180gr Nosler partition from 300 yards. The longest I've had to walk (not including acorss the valley)
is about 100 yards. My grandfather (the man who got me hunting elk) has taken many of them
with his Remington .270 (170gr).
Oh ya, we do our hunting in the Bear tooth Mountains in Montana (southwest of Billings)
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Old July 18, 2000, 01:41 PM   #3
Paul B.
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Dogger. Under those conditions, most any good centerfire rifle, in the hands of a good shot would work, from a .243 on up.
Me? I think an elk is one tough critter, so I arm myself for an elk hunt, geared for the worst case scenario. Probably a .300 Win. Mag. with 200 gr. Nosler partitions in a good hot but safe handload. Why? In 22 years of elk hunting, I have never run into the picture you presented. Sure would like to though.
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Old July 18, 2000, 05:08 PM   #4
Erik
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The "perfect" shot? A .243 is the minimum.

I'd opt for a .30-06. A .270 would be just fine with me. too. Anything larger, while there is nothing wrong with larger , just is not necessary.
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Old July 18, 2000, 05:35 PM   #5
Glamdring
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What is your minimum choice? My CHOICE would be a 338 Win with 225 grain Nosler partitions.

What would be the minimum gun I would try that shot with? A 308/165 premium bullet [better than nosler partition] or 7-08/7x57 with 160 grain premium bullet.

What is minimum I would recomend for someone who is recoil shy or etc? A 358 Win or 35 Whelan with 225 or 250 grain premium bullet.

You didn't say how big this elk was...or if it was a cow or bull [or spike bull].
Also you asked for choices not objective logic
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Old July 19, 2000, 06:17 AM   #6
Dogger
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Yes, it was a loaded question.

I have a buddy who just relocated back to his old stomping grounds in Colorado. So now I have an excuse, and a cheap place to stay, for a future elk hunt. However, the biggest gun I own is a new Ruger M77 chambered in 7x57mm Mauser with a Leupold 3-9x40 scope. I was hoping someone would mention it in their posts... as I don't want to lay out $700 for another rifle if I don't have to. Federal offers the 175 grain classic round, and a 140 grain Partition in their Premium round. Haven't checked the other manufacturers but I doubt they offer a heavy premium bullet over 140 grains. Hence, I figure I would have to really limit my shots to 200 yards and "easy".
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Old July 19, 2000, 11:58 AM   #7
Glamdring
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Federal offers a 7x57 premium load with a 140 nosler partition. I guess I was thinking handloads.

Factory stuff for the 7x57 is rather poor IMHO. But your not facing a choice here like your question said.

If handloading is not possible, or having someone handload for you. I would get a box or two of both federal loads the partition and the classic and set up your own penetration test. Wet close packed phone books or news papers if you have a lot of papers or dry if you don't have surplus of test medium. Dry is harder on bullets IIRC.

The 140 grain 7mm bullet has a bit better SD than the 130 grain 270 bullet. Actually if you can put the bullet into the lungs without hitting the near shoulder bone/knuckle you should be fine with any non varmint bullet. In that it will kill the animal in a short time. The thing is finding it after you shoot it.

My personal preferance is for bullets that will, or at least should, exit from most reasonable shot angles and that can break bones. I am far from being a bushman when it comes to tracking so I want the tracking job to be as easy as possible [ie exit wound to bleed and break at least one shoulder so animial is both more distinctive to track if prints mixed with others and landing harder, I would think with only three legs, making for a more distinct print].
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Old July 19, 2000, 12:03 PM   #8
Dogger
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I do have a buddy who handloads. What weight/brand of bullet would you recommend? Thanks!

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Old July 19, 2000, 02:00 PM   #9
Paul B.
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Dogger. Probably a 160 gr. Nosler Partition or the 160 Gr. Speer Grand Slam would work well. The late Eleanor O'Connor, wife of Jack O'Connor used the 7x57 on most of the game she shot. She got her biggest elk with the Hornady 154 gr bullet (pre-interlock yet). Finn Aagaard felt the 160 gr. bullet was the best choice for the 7x57 as well.
A Ruger Model 77 can be loaded up quite a bit more than factory, which is drastically underloaded due to many weak rifles from the turn of the century being chambered for the round. I am working with a 150 gr. bullet for my Mod.70 Featherweight right now, and plan to get some 160 gr. bullets in the next week or so. If you want, feel free to E-mail me, and I'll try to help you find a load.
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Old July 19, 2000, 02:35 PM   #10
416Rigby
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Dogger,

Your Ruger in 7x57 is more than ideal for what you have in mind.

As other posters have said, the factory-supplied 140-grainer is marginal on paper, meaning that in an ideal world where only the best tool is used for the job you may want a bit more juice. Now, I have not had any experience with the Federal 175, but I would be optimistic based on their general reputation for quality.

And anyway, I am prepared to stake my reputation on the fact that even the 140-grain factory 7x57 would not give you any trouble in the actual field conditions you have described. Do not forget that the .275 Rigby, one of the most popular hunting rounds through the 1920's, was no other than a 7x57 with a 140-grain bullet.

But if you have access to reloads, you don't even have this problem. Top the case with a nice 160+grain spitzer (from Barnes, Nosler, Hornady or my personal favorite, Hawk) and do not lose any sleep over whether your quarry will perish promptly and humanely.

The late Bob Milek, in one of his last articles, argues passionately for the standard-velocity cartridges such as the 7x57 (one of his pet chamberings) as the ultimate for North America.

Sure, if you want to have a reason to invest in another rifle of larger caliber (a .358, perhaps?), you have all my moral support! In the last 10 years or so, I have found about 40 reasons myself! However, please don't feel undergunned with your 7x57, EVER. Provided that you don't ask it to do the impossible (stopping a pack of grizzlies in thick stuff or potting 'chucks ar 600 yards), you are in very good company with that caliber. In very good company indeed.
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Old July 19, 2000, 03:02 PM   #11
Erik
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A 7x57 Mauser will serve you well. I understand the desire to upgrade, who here doesn't , but it is not necessary for elk hunting in the conditions you have described. Let us know what you decide.
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Old July 20, 2000, 05:59 PM   #12
Dr.Rob
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handloaded sierra 165 gr spitzer boat tail on once fired remmington brass, winchester primers I'll have to look at the powder again.. I'll update this post tomorrow. This load duplicates "fedral premium" 165 loads.. a hell of an elk load.

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Old July 20, 2000, 06:35 PM   #13
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If it were me I would want a 160 grain swift loaded to around 2700 fps [depends on rifle and brrl length might have to settle for ~2600]. Unless the rifle hates it. A 160 Nosler is probably more apt to shoot well in any given rifle.

I do tend towards heaver/tougher bullets [my bias]. A 140 Nosler in the lungs would do the job with no question asked. A lot of it depends on the shooter's judgement and control. Can you pass on a raking from the rear shot ? Can you shoot good enough in the field to place the bullet in the lungs without hitting any bones bigger than ribs?
What do you tend to use for an aiming point in the field? I have hunted with people who "aim" at the middle of the critter [and no I won't hunt with them again]. And with people that try for heart shot. And some like me try to break the shoulder on all game [not just dangerous game]. Part of my reasoning is their are only two types of game I love to hunt Mt game and dangerous [bears and big cats] so I view other hunting as practice for that. YMMV.
Or in other words if you don't shoot for the shoulder like I do you don't need as high a SD or as tough a bullet as I would pick.
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Old July 20, 2000, 07:21 PM   #14
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Has anyone ever used the .30 cal Sierra 165 gr BTHP on large animals such as elk? This is the hollow point with the crimped nose.
Did it work well for you? I'm considering using them for elk this year. (Finally got drawn for a permit)
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Old July 20, 2000, 07:29 PM   #15
Dogger
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In the past I have done most of my hunting with a bow, so of course I avoid contact with bone. I have friends who always shoot (rifle) their eastern deer in the shoulder, and I have friends who always aim just behind the shoulder, opting for the heart/lung shot. They always get into arguments over which is better. I am a big believer in sectional density and moderate recoil, which is why I own a 7x57mm (175 grain) and a 6.5x55mm (160 grain). I think I would prefer the heart lung shot, with the shoulder the second choice - to minimize meat damage. Anchoring the elk with a shot to the shoulder sure seems to make good sense, though. You've got me thinking on this one...
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Old July 20, 2000, 08:20 PM   #16
Steve Smith
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Dogger, no offense, but you shouldn't tailor your rifle needs for the best possible shot, but rather the worst. Texas heart shot (butt shot) at 600 yds. I'm kidding, the Texas heart shot isn't the toughest, but it's funny (all we Coloradans have to pick on Texans). Anyway, make sure you'll kill 'em, because that perfect shot only comes in video games. Range is normally 300 yds. or less...sometimes much less. We typically use 7mm Mags, 300 Mags, and I use a 338 Mag, but I think I'll go with a 7mm Mag soon.
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Old July 20, 2000, 08:45 PM   #17
Ron Ankeny
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Dogger:

The last three elk I killed were with a bow. The most recent was at 18 yards broadside, looking the other way. Still, when I hunt with a rifle, I use a .30 caliber magnum with premium bullets.

Your 7x57 with a good bullet will work just fine as long as you exercise the same discipline you exercise with your bow. If the shot isn't right, just don't take it. Unfortunately, many hunters can't exercise that type of strict discipline and they arm themselves with such nonsense as the .338 Ultra Mag for critters like mule deer. Who was it that said, "Use just enough gun..."?
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Old July 21, 2000, 10:18 AM   #18
Glamdring
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Dogger:
In the past I have done most of my hunting with a bow, so of course I avoid contact with bone. I have friends who always shoot (rifle) their eastern deer in the shoulder, and I have friends who always aim just behind the shoulder, opting for the heart/lung shot. They always get into arguments over which is better. I am a big believer in sectional density and moderate recoil, which is why I own a 7x57mm (175 grain) and a 6.5x55mm (160 grain). I think I would prefer the heart lung shot, with the shoulder the second choice - to minimize meat damage. Anchoring the elk with a shot to the shoulder sure seems to make good sense, though. You've got me thinking on this one...[/quote]

Well if your a bow hunter you know what your doing. And your probably a lot better at tracking than I.
As to shot placement I don't think there is a perfect answer. And if your a meat hunter then the heart/lung shot makes sense. Heck if your a pure meat hunter the head shot makes sense.
I like the 7x57 and 6.55x55 a lot myself. I have a Model 38 in 6.55x55. Federal makes a 140 grain Trophy bonded bearclaw load for the 6.5x55. And the 140 grain 6.5 slug has just a hair better SD than the 160 grain 7mm.

Those premium loads from federal are expensive though. You could PAY your buddy to load 160 grain swifts or noslers for the 7X57 for less than what those factory loads cost [IIRC the 6.5 load is ~$40.00 for box of 20].

Good luck. I would like to know what you decide and how your hunt goes.
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Old July 21, 2000, 10:56 AM   #19
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Old July 21, 2000, 10:56 AM   #20
C.R.Sam
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Dogger...with your obvious stalking, sniping and general woodsmanship skills; I would think that what you have is just fine. My personal choice for shot placement would be neck. Only game I have had to track was a shoulder, heart, lung hit with a .30 cal 220gr that expanded well. Buck went bout a hundred yards. Hope to see an Arizona Elk fall to 45-70 single shot at under 75yds this fall.

May your freezer be stocked with good Elk.

Sam, follow me, I know a shortcut
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Old July 21, 2000, 12:21 PM   #21
Dogger
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Shudder! I made a rifle hunt for deer last year with a 30-30 sporting an inexpensive scope. In practice I could get groups no tighter than 3-4 inches at 100 yards. I attempted a neck shot at 50-60 yards in a woodsy portion of forest chock full of waitaminute vines. I rushed the shot and wounded the deer. Stalked/drove the deer into another hunter who blasted away and apparently did not hit it. Deer disappeared for good. Hours later I lost the trail and went home very discouraged and pi**ed at myself for taking a shot I should have passed on. I am sure that the 30-30 cartridge (170 grain Remington) was up to the task but I was not. This bad experience led to my recent purchase of the Ruger 7x57 and the Leopold 3-9x40 for this year. I don't think I will be attempting any neck shots in the near future. Too many bad memories.

Geez. 300 yard shots on elk. I need to find a good range to practice. Local ranges only go to 100 yards. I don't think I would attempt anything beyond 200 yards with the 7x57 for the near future. My bowhunting eyeballs are calibrated to 25 yards. As an aside, my local buddies swear by the Remington 700 BDL in 30-06. But, my wife would kill me if I put another $700 into a rifle/scope any time soon.
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Old July 21, 2000, 03:12 PM   #22
Paul B.
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Bottom Gun. On the 165 gr. Sierra BTHP for elk. In one word, DON'T! I loaded some of these up in a 30-06 for deer. A good hot load that was quite accurate. Anyway, I shot at a coyote at about 200 to 250 yards that was running up the canyonside. I hit him. As coyote hides were bringing as much as $100 or sometimes more, I climbed up that hillside to get the skin. What I found was a two piece coyote. I mean just that. The head and forequarters were about ten feet from the hindquarters. I decided then and there, that the bullet was too fragile for deer at top 30-06 velocities. I certainly would not use one on elk. A 165 gr. bullet I have had excellent results with in the .308 Win. is the 165 gr. Speer SPFB. The penetration I got on one Mule Deer at about 250 yards was excellent, hitting the animal in the chest front on, and ending up lodged against the left hind leg bone.
Even so, in .30 caliber, I think I would much prefer a strong 180 gr. bullet for elk.
I don't like boattail bullets either. They do have a tendency to shed their core much more rapidly than flat based bullets.
JMHO based on my experience.
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Old July 21, 2000, 06:12 PM   #23
Bottom Gun
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Paul B:

Thanks for the info. I’ll pick up some 180 grainers instead of using these 165’s. I have time to work up a load before the season starts.

I’ve used the Sierra 165 BTHP on deer before and the bullets have always exited the animal, but I haven’t used them on anything larger. I load them in 30/06 at approx 2800 fps.
Since I have never recovered one, I don’t know if they shed the core or not but they may.
I like the boat tail because they’re easier to load and because they are supposedly easier on the barrel and retain a bit more energy downrange than the flat base.

I haven’t been bullet shopping in a while since I normally buy in quantity. I understand there are several good new bullets on the market now. Can someone recommend a good 180 gr for large animals?

Thanks!

Bottom Gun
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Old July 21, 2000, 06:55 PM   #24
Glamdring
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If you like the 165 grain bullets you could use a Nosler Partition or Swift A Frame for Elk. They are both partitions but the swift is a tougher bullet and will usually retain more bullet mass.

Nosler or Swift 180's would work fine also. Just be sure if you go Nosler you have the Partition [with a lead tip] and NOT the Ballistic Tip [with plastic tip] for Elk.

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Old July 22, 2000, 12:36 AM   #25
Rocky Road
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Dogger,
if you were to make a habit of elk hunting, you'd probably want more rifle. For a one-off trip, unless you just want an excuse to get another rifle, your 7 x 57 should serve you quite well, using the heavier, premium bullets suggested by those with lots of experience with the cartridge. Remember, the old elephant hunters harvested LOTS of ivory using 6.5 and 7 mm rifles with the old, long, strongly constructed bullets.


Bottom Gun,
I must respectfully disagree with PaulB about the Sierra 165 BTHP in .30-06. I feel it is plenty for what you want to do. Would more be better? Perhaps, but if you can shoot the '06 well, you'll do much better with it, or even a .308, than with a .338 mag that romps you around so much you're nervous with it.

I've used the 165 BTHP extensively. I took it elk HUNTING, but never shot one with it. I use 58.0 gr IMR 4350 powder, a top load, for right at 2700 fps. I've killed quite a few deer, including one quite large West Texas white tail, with it. Largest animal I took with it was a large Western Colorado black bear. One shot, 150 yards, hit the near shoulder and angled to rear of the chest, where it stopped on the skin. The bullet separated, but at the far end of the trip, because lead and jacket were within two inches of each other.

The Sierra 180 Game King spitzer boat tail is a great bullet, too, but don't sell the 165 BTHP short.

Best regards,
RR

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