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Old October 9, 2006, 09:08 PM   #1
TJ Freak
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.243 for Elk

If you HAD to use a .243 for Elk what round would you use. It would have to be a store bought cartridge.
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Old October 9, 2006, 09:17 PM   #2
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Now, I love my .243. But it has its limits, and elk definitely lie outside those limits. Answer is, none. Elk are for bigger cartridges.

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Old October 9, 2006, 09:21 PM   #3
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Lets not play games , be an ethical hunter and use an appropriate cartridge. We cannot always depend on a perfect broadside shot and perfect shot placement . You should be looking for a 270 or bigger.
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Old October 9, 2006, 09:25 PM   #4
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I agree with the others. There is no situation where you have to use a .243 on Elk.

Sorry, but if .243 is all you have, and you can't afford to buy something more powerful (I agree with .270 and above), then you can't afford to hunt elk.

You should be able to find a used savage or Remington 710 for ~$350 or less.
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Old October 9, 2006, 09:40 PM   #5
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I don't agree with the others. I personally use something a little bigger but I knowm a LOT of people that ues .243, .257 Robts and similar cartridges for elk. Most people, including the posters above are aassuming that the only shots to take are body shots. Personally, I almost NEVER take a body shot. I'm not a horn-hunter, I don't like tracking after dark and I don't like ruining my heart. I rarely take anything but a head or upper neck shot. If you know your gun and know how to shoot, you should have absolutely no problem taking head shots out to 250 yards or so. That said, I did kill my elk last year at a hair over 400 yards and I did take a body shot.
If you know your limitations and that of the cartridge, most anything will work fine. To answer your question, if I were to use a .243, I would use any decent premium 100 grain hunting bullet like a Nosler Partition or a Winchester Accubond.
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Old October 9, 2006, 09:48 PM   #6
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I have a little tack-driving .243 that I've used in an off-and-on manner for over thirty years. I've killed some 20 deer with it; almost all one-shot kills.

But I wouldn't call it an elk rifle, even knowing I could kill an elk with it.

I dunno. I'm just a pessimist about Mr. Murphy and his law. I guess if the .243 were my only choice, I'd go with a premium 100-grain bullet. I'd be real picky about "Zen certainty" for a neck or head shot, and probably not much beyond a hundred yards or so. I do know I'd go through a fair amount of practice before taking off to hunt. At least four or five boxes, from all sorts of field positions.

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Old October 9, 2006, 10:20 PM   #7
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I'm with the majority; no .243 on elk. Mind you I have one, its a tack driver, and I wouldn't part with it.

But if we're going to make our .243s into elk guns, where's the excuse to buy a bigger rifle?

Even if I went with the precision headshot approach, I still think .270 would be the minimum.
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Old October 9, 2006, 10:40 PM   #8
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.243 for Elk

Thanks for the input everyone. I am a firm believer in shot placement. I was reading a publication here in WA State and noticed there were a few Elk taken around here and Idaho by mostly women hunters using .243's. I had always thought a larger cartridge was necessary also. My wife has a .243 and really likes it. I think if she were to get serious about a Elk, I may try to talk her into my 7mm mag. I would think the reduced recoil cartridges would be enough to take one.
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Old October 9, 2006, 11:07 PM   #9
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I have both a 6mm Rem (.243 caliber) and a 7mm Rem Mag. I've taken quite a few elk with the 6mm over the years (all of which dropped within 100 yds of where I hit them, most fell right where they stood), so I know the weapon is fully capable. It's the human factor that can be questionable. However, a bad shot with ANY caliber is going to give you a long day of tracking. 7mm with 140 gr. Nosler Partitions is a pretty soft load and wouldn't be a bad step up if you wanted to go that route. It can run roughly the same velocities as the .243 with a 100 gr. Partition, or even a little higher depending how each are loaded. That extra 40 grains can make a pretty big difference. Just bear in mind it's going to still require very good shot placement for a one shot kill.
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Old October 10, 2006, 12:11 AM   #10
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The reason those ladies are taking animals with the .243 is probably the same reason I do: lower recoil. I don't think I'd sit and shoot that rifle all day, but it is pretty easy going on my shoulder. I haven't tried Youngest Son's 30-06; I like the .243 and for Texas deer, it's fine.

But not even with a Moment of Zen would I try to take down an elk with it...unless he was 50 yards in front of me, maybe, broadside.... maybe not then either.

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Old October 10, 2006, 07:45 AM   #11
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I have hunted Elk in Montana for about 20 years.I may get an opportunity to make a head shot.Close,open,no movement,good rest.But ,more likely it's going to be freestanding,in timber,with an Elk that is milling around.Most people do not have the restraint to pass on a marginal shot with too small a caliber,and will cause an animal more suffering than is necessary.To prove a point?Why?Take enough gun.
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Old October 10, 2006, 08:43 AM   #12
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mete
Quote:
You should be looking for a 270 or bigger.
30 caliber, 165 grain or bigger...
Quote:
Lets not play games , be an ethical hunter and use an appropriate cartridge.
For all conceivable situations.
Quote:
We cannot always depend on a perfect broadside shot and perfect shot placement.

We should be clear that a .243 will kill any living thing on earth... IF it is well and appropriately placed...
BUT... when a hunter exceeds his skill level, and/or the limitations of the rifle/cartridge... he is being irresponsible...

The arguments against the .243 are exactly applicable to the 25-06, .27-06 and can even be applied (albeit lightly) to the 30-06 which the majority of AVERAGE hunters should consider the MINIMUM for Elk and Moose etc.

The .270 and down, should be left to the expert marksmen and the very self-disciplined hunters who refuse to take the less than desirable shots.

I really trust the 30-06, 165 grain premium type bullets. (Vital-Shok Accubonds) to perform well in all situations... including irresponsible 400 yard neck/head shots.

Just last year I witnessed a 200 yard head shot that went through behind the spikers eyes... he ran blind for about four hundred yards and died slow...

NOW THAT'S IRRESPONSIBLE... even for Annie Oakley!!

NO the .243 should absolutely NOT be recommended for elk...because elk bulls can reach 500 to 1000 pounds and sometimes bigger!!! They are extremely hearty and often run substantial distances after being well hit...

Hell, if you wanted JUST to kill them, you could use a .22 LR with a head shot at the lofty distance of 100 feet...
but you'd seldom find the carcass before the meat spoiled!

Not every elk is a cow, or yearling bull... or even standing still.
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Old October 10, 2006, 09:11 AM   #13
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As much as I love the .243 for deer I would never consider it for elk.

You may want to consider getting a top quality recoil pad on your 7mm mag, perhaps even having a brake installed or magnaporting to reduce the recoil of it.

A fine animal like an elk deserves a bigger bullet.
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Old October 10, 2006, 01:05 PM   #14
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.243 is a great all round cartridge for deer sized game and below, but I would agree with the others that you should use something a little bigger. If you want a low recoil elk gun I would go with a 7mm/08 or 280 or 270. Even a .308 would work good, but I personally like my 7mm Rem Mag or my 338 Win Mag. .
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Old October 10, 2006, 01:44 PM   #15
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<OT material removed by Art>

If I were going elk hunting, I'd seriously consider carrying a .30-06 with a good 180gr bullet. That's the same thing I'd likely use if I were going moose hunting too.
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Old October 10, 2006, 10:08 PM   #16
TJ Freak
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.243 for Elk

Wow! Thanks for all the input. My wife is a United States Marine. She is a excellent shot. Nevertheless she has agreed to the 7mm Mag . Elk deserve a bigger round...no. She could do it just fine I believe with a .243. I suggested the 7mm Mag with the lower recoil ammo. She said heck no, she'll do it with a 175 gr. Guess I'll just have to get another rifle! Hmmm... guess I need some advise on my next rifle. I'll need it for White Tail Mule Deer and Elk. Any advise?

Thanks
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Old October 10, 2006, 10:10 PM   #17
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30-06 all the way
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Old October 10, 2006, 10:12 PM   #18
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Why not go with a "his and hers"... 7mm is fantastic for both deer and elk.
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Old October 10, 2006, 11:11 PM   #19
UniversalFrost
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I would highly recommend the 280. It is a very good round with a lot less recoil than the 7mm Rem Mag. Or you might be interested in the new 338 Federal round. Otherwise I would go with 30/06 or 308. If you can get her to a gun store that will let her test out a few rifles try the 7mm Rem Mag then the others and see which she likes better. Also a youth stock might fit her better if she is a smaller build. Plus if you get a rem 700 youth you can get a "normal" adult stock for yourself to swap in when you shoot it.
A good lever action (marlin 336) in .35REM would also be a great 100-200yard caliber for elk and deer.
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Old October 10, 2006, 11:17 PM   #20
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I lean toward the 7mm Rem Mag or the 300 Win Mag for elk. I like the 270 win for deer though, and would be hesitant to take it elk hunting.
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Old October 11, 2006, 07:19 AM   #21
Jack O'Conner
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I'm a big fan of moderate recoil cartridges and have proven many times what can be accomplished with a well placed shot. Winchester's .243 was planned from the beginning as a varmint, deer, and antelope cartridge. The advent of Premium bullets has enhanced the lethality of the .243 but it still has its limitations. I'm not convinced the .243 is an elk cartridge.

When we we younger, my brother and I shared a .243 Remington and took many large bodied mulies. Some were taken at long distances of 275 yards and beyond. None got away.

But elk are large animals. Cows average around 550 lbs or so. Bulls commonly weigh 600-800 lbs. Their hides and ribs are much thicker than mule deer. They also have larger organs and the broadside lethal zone is about the size of a basketball. I'm certain that a tough .243 Nosler Partition can penetrate the chest wall and produce a lethal wound. But that 100 grain bullet is not a good choice at all for these large bodied animals. A first time elk hunter should not plan for a 100 yard broadside shot under ideal conditions!

A few years ago, my sister-in-law shot a young bull with her 257 Roberts. It was a good shooting situation and distance was about 175 yards. Her bullet struck squarely in the chest. We chased that bull half the day. During the chase she shot it twice more. Second bullet struck the rear edge of the chest cavity and damaged the diaphram. Her third shot hit a hind quarter and stopped at the pelvis without even cracking this heavy bone structure. The bull finally toppled about 1/4 mile after her thrid shot. Shortly after this hunt, my brother bought her a 7mm-08 and she has taken 4 elk with it and no problems at all. The 7mm-08 features a bullet weighing 40% MORE than the .243 and this is a significant increase!

I'm of the opinion that .243 is not a good choice for the non-resident hunter who has a limited time to hunt. Non-residents should practise for a shot of 225 yards with 30-06 and 180 grain bullets. This combination has toppled many thousands of elk and its success rate can not be ignored.

Lighter cartridges such as 6.5mm Swede, 270, 7mm-08, 308, 30-30, 35 Remington, and 444 Marlin are probably better suited for resident elk hunters who can pass up less-than-ideal shot angles as they have a longer period of time for hunting. Additionally, many resident hunters are not focused on a huge herd bull; they're happy to take a barren cow or young bull for the freezer! A young bull or cow is larger than mule deer but fairly easy to topple with common "deer rifles".
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Old October 11, 2006, 07:47 AM   #22
mikejonestkd
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Glad to hear that she wants a bigger round for elk. look no further than a good bolt rifle in 7mm mag, since that seems to be the caliber of choice for you.


Remington 700, ruger 77, savages, and the browning a bolt are great. It all depends on your taste and wallet. The savage is probably the cheapest and still a great deal for the money.

get good glass ( leupold, burris, Nikon, bushnell 4200, zeiss, swarkoski ) and practice, practice, practice....
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Old October 11, 2006, 08:23 AM   #23
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I know a guy next door in Montana and all he uses - for everything - is the .243. He takes neck shots only and usually harvests an elk. I've never asked what bullet he's using.
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Old October 19, 2006, 01:59 PM   #24
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Moose must be similar to elk, so

Having just returned from a successful moose hunt in Maine, I will offer what is recommended by the state supplied Moose Guide - - for what you may consider its worth!
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Making The Kill: You should make every effort to kill your moose instantly.
This requires use of the proper firearm and the ability to hit vital areas.
To have greatest assurance of making a clean kill, only the larger cartridges
are recommended.
NOT Recommended
.243 or .244 (6mm) .303 Sav. .38-40 Win.
.250 (.250/.3000) .30-30 Win. .32 Win. Spec.
.38-55 Win. .35 Rem. .25-06
.32 Rem. .44 Mag. .351 Win.
.257 Roberts .32-40 Win. .44-40 Win.
.30 Rem.
Recommended
.270 Win. .30-06 Sprfld. .308 Win.
.284 Win. .444 Marlin .280 Rem.
.30-40 Krag. .348 Win. .303 British
.8mm Mauser 7 x 57 mm. .300 Sav.
.358 Win.
As long as the bullet weight is at least 130 grains, the cartridge used is not
as important as good shot placement in making a clean kill. Magnum
cartridges are not needed for moose.
Moose seldom drop in their tracks when shot and may not show any
indications of having been hit. After shooting, it is best to wait a few minutes
before beginning the search, and then do so quietly. Pursued immediately, a
wounded moose may travel a great distance before dying. Follow-up every
shot - and follow the moose for a distance even if you don't find blood at first.
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Old October 19, 2006, 09:31 PM   #25
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sealegs,

Excellent!

And that first line of "recommended cartridges" drives home what we say around here; most New England moose are killed by .308s, .30-06s and .270s. You DON'T need a cannon. Having tasted the results of a successful hunt (and seen it filling the bed of a pickup), I know that the '06 works!

FWIW, I've read that elk are more shock resistant than moose, however. Never met an elk hunter to verify that though.
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