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Old October 21, 2011, 04:12 PM   #1
Wyoredman
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.243 Win on Elk

I have been reading everyone's opinion on elk guns latley and decided to try a real life experiment. Now I normaly use either my 300 win mag with 180 gr sierras or my 270 wsm with 140 gr sierras, but I thought, what the heck, this year I'm going to use my 243 with 100gr factory power points!!

I hunt in an area of Wyoming that is mostly open sage with a few cedar bushes. I finally ran into a herd yesterday morning. After a short stalk, the elk (15 cows & 3 bulls) were begining to bed in some tall sage at 275 yards. I could only see their heads and necks above the brush. Since I have a cow tag, I picked out what I thought was a dry cow, took aim and.....missed!

The elk didn't even act as if they heard the shot! I chambered another round, took aim and Boom! I watched the cow drop in her tracks!

The rest of the herd decided it was time to leave, and man was it cool watching those bulls high tail it out into the prarrie!

When I reached the cow she was dead as a door nail. The 100 gr winchester powerpoint had entered just below her chin and traveled the length of her neck before stoping just underneath the skin near her shoulders.

So I guess my experiment was a bit scewed because I didn't get the chance to shoot the elk in the normal heart/lung area and see the results, but in the end the little .243 did cause one dead elk and one happy elk hunter.

By the way, my buddy was along with his 7 mm mag just incase we needed it on a wounded elk. No need, though! I gonna' eat good this winter!

I can now say that I have killed an elk with a .243 but I think from now on I will go back to my 300 just because I like it better!! Happy hunting!
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Old October 21, 2011, 04:37 PM   #2
JACK308
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with a good shot and bullet thats what happends.People say you can down a GRIZZ with a 308 I rather have a 338 or a 45/70 for that one.
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Old October 21, 2011, 04:56 PM   #3
mete
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Differentiate between 'possible' and 'appropriate' !!!

Elmer Keith said the most common shot at elk he had seen was a going away quartering shot .This requires great penetration to go through the paunch .
If I were a guide I would have as a minimum a 270 with 150 gr premium bullet.
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Old October 21, 2011, 04:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
The 100 gr winchester powerpoint had entered just below her chin
Ummmm ......er ....... just where exactly were you aiming?
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Old October 21, 2011, 05:13 PM   #5
jimbob86
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Quote:
the most common shot at elk he had seen was a going away quartering shot .This requires great penetration to go through the paunch .
I'll pass, having seen what a mess gut shot deer are ...... I'd rather be hungry than relive the experience of the guy on the "Elk Field Dressing Gut Bag Explosion" you tube video..... warning, if you do go searching for that, and don't have a strong stomach, well, I did not link to it for a reason..... you'll have only yourself to blame.
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Old October 21, 2011, 05:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Ummmm ......er ....... just where exactly were you aiming?
Sounds like a frontal head shot, with a slight mis-judgment of distance. (A little more drop than anticipated, or a shaky hunter. ...It happens.)


Congrats, Wyoredman
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Old October 21, 2011, 06:02 PM   #7
Kreyzhorse
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Quote:
Now I normaly use either my 300 win mag with 180 gr sierras or my 270 wsm with 140 gr sierras, but I thought, what the heck, this year I'm going to use my 243 with 100gr factory power points!!
I'd think that is a bit on the light side but congrats on your cow.
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Old October 21, 2011, 09:57 PM   #8
doofus47
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If I had a .243 and a clear shot, I'd take it.
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Old October 21, 2011, 10:26 PM   #9
briandg
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Hmm. You missed. That means that you didn't get the perfect shot placement that every sub bore big game hunter insists that he gets every time.

Every time I hear someone advocating low energy rounds for large game, it always ends in "if you do your part right."

Obviously, you didn't. You missed. You could just as easily have blown off it's chin, shot off a knee, or sent a bullet through any poor location, and left a really deficient wound in an animal that would ahve been at least a quicker death if you had used a bigger bullet.

But, the second time, you did hit. You popped a round right through the central control panel of lungs, heart, blood, spine, nerve center. Good work.

So, what this proves, at least the way I'm seeing it, is that you aren't expert enough to take an elk with a .243, because only people who can "do their part, put the bullet where it has to go," etc, choose whatever cliche you want, should use a 6mm round. You put the bullet in the background, and could just as easily have put it through the lower thigh.

Hitting it right in a lethal zone proves nothing, either. A hit there could be lethal with a good 9 mm round. Could you, with a .243 at nearly 300 yards put a lung shot into an elk and kill it humanely? Dunno. That hasn't been proven.

Your experience on the one hand proves that the .243, given exceptional shooting and a strike in an exceptionally fragile zone, can kill an elk on the spot. The miss proves that you should be hunting with a cartridge that is a little more forgiving of poor shot placement.

Nothing personal. The .243 is still not, IMO, a 300 yard elk round, and should not be used as one even by the best shots on the planet. Failure happens, and missing the lungs and blowing a small hole through the intestines is unforgiveable

Why are so many modern men determined to undergun themselves in a hunt? Would these same men who want to hunt elk with a 223 carry a .32 acp into a gunfight at a biker bar?
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Old October 21, 2011, 10:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Elmer Keith said the most common shot at elk he had seen was a going away quartering shot .This requires great penetration to go through the paunch .
If I were a guide I would have as a minimum a 270 with 150 gr premium bullet.

Elmer keith would have kicked your butt till your head exploded. He and jack o connor had a feud going over the .270 for years, whether or not it should be used for elk. He called it a mouse gun.

But, this was also the same guy who shot at elk with a .45 colt. Talk about going hunting undergunned?

Listening to people argue about guns and right and wrong just makes my head spin. So often there is very little logic involved, and very little science.
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Old October 21, 2011, 10:57 PM   #11
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A more forgiving caliber won't kill an elk any more when you hit it in the chin or thigh. I'm sure most hunters have missed or pulled a shot. I had one bad year where I missed a few times. The 6mm Remington is the gun I took on my first elk hunt. Though I never got an elk, it was a good rifle for the age I was. I was young and recoil shy. Do I hunt with it now? No. However, if my kids need a rifle that won't rock their world for a youth hunt, the 243 and 7mm-08 will be on my list.
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Old October 22, 2011, 12:24 AM   #12
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On this year's Elk hunt, my hunting party ended up carrying some unlikely weapons for much of the hunt. And by "unlikely", I mean: Even more unexpected (and "taboo") than the primary weapons.

Primary weapons:
.270 Winchester (2 hunters)
.358 Winchester (1 hunter)
7.62x54R (2 hunters)


What was actually carried for most of the hunt:
.223 Remington
.30-30 WCF
.44 Mag (handgun)
.357 Mag (handgun)
.22 Hornet

Yes, they are all perfectly legal where we were hunting.
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Old October 22, 2011, 01:01 AM   #13
Wyoredman
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Excellent!

This is the stuff I'm talking about!

And the story is exactly how it went down. I did miss the first shot. All that was presented was the head and neck, looking at me over 5 foot tall sage. The yardage was exactly 278 (rangefinder after the fact) and there was a backup rifle. I do not dispute the fact that the 243 is not a elk rifle, but...

Wasn't it fun! BTW, the bullet never entered the body cavity. Imagine an elk looking head on and putting one right through the adams apple! About 6 inches low when aiming right between the eyes at 275 in the field, not off a bench!

Woried about wounding an animal? Sure, but rember, this is OPEN country where you can see for miles and we did have two (2) guns! Keep it coming, I want to hear all the opinions!

And rest assured, I don't want to hunt elk with a .243 again. As i said before, its back to my 300 from now on.
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Old October 22, 2011, 06:26 AM   #14
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Good shooting. You missed the first shot and followed it up with a good second shot. By the way, "if I do my part" applies to any caliber rifle you're hunting with.
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Old October 22, 2011, 07:06 AM   #15
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In today's world people have gathered this odd opinion that anti tank artillery is needed for anything larger than prairie dogs. I've hunted Elk with my 7mm-08 for several years! Keep this in mind - what you hike in with must leave with you. I would rather not carry any extra weight because those elk weigh enough on their own.

When I hunt in Grizzly country I started taking my .358 Winchester. Still.. it's a rather handy rifle.
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Old October 22, 2011, 07:49 AM   #16
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No you do not have to have 900gr API (armor piercing incendiary) to hunt any big game such as elk, bear, or moose. I think that there is a missconception going around as to what exactly will kill an animal. I think there guidlines out there as such as...http://www.hornady.com/hits/calculator...which will help the AVERAGE hunter make that ETHICAL decision. I recently went through a PME course for the USMC and one of the courses was "ethical decision making", as the name suggests it covered things like how to handle x situation and so forth. There were a myriad of answers and in my opinion were any wrong...NO, because your ethics are going to differ from mine based on so many variables that is impossible to factor. As long as the situation, in this case hunting, is handled within the laws. If you state says you must hunt with 243 cal or higher for elk, deer, bear, goose, ect. then I say as long as you obey the laws then ok. I have my personal opinions about what cartridge is applicabe to what but we all know that a 22lr to the eye of a bear that travels up into the brain will more than likely drop the bear. Bottom line, what is NEEDED and what is RECCOMENDED is up to preference as long as it falls within the goerning bodies (the state) laws. It is up to YOU the HUNTER to know what you and your weapon/cartridge are capable of. It is very easy to self educate via the internet reading as long as you read real articles concerning ballistics and not wikipedia and forums.

Not to say that all forums and wiki links are bad just make sure you get reputable sources.

congratulations on your kill.
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Old October 22, 2011, 08:06 AM   #17
JerryM
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A lot of things CAN be done, but the question is, "Is it wise?"
I had a friend who killed at least one elk with a 6MM Rem. He was convinced that it was adequate.

However, if you ever are hunting elk and/or have a chance at fairly long range under less than perfect conditions the chances of wounding and losing the game with a .243 are high.

Considering the short hunting seasons, number of hunters in the field, availability of game, and the fact that elk are tough critters, why use a .243 by choice?

P.S. Many, many times I have read the statement, "It is not what you hit them with, but where you hit them. You can kill a grizzly with a .222 if you it him right." Some of the great writers like O'Connor have written such stuff, but I noticed none of them ever hunted grizzly with a .222. I wonder why??

Jerry
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Old October 22, 2011, 08:49 AM   #18
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A gut shot is a gut shot. I doesn't matter if it is made by a 22lr or a 338 lapua magnum. The OP cleanly missed the first shot. No harm no foul. The second shot hit the CNS and dropped the animal cleanly. The 243 may not be the ideal elk round but it worked. You also don't need a flinch inducing magnum to kill an either.

So as far as I am concerned the OP used enough gun for the ethical taking of the game he was after. So congrats to the OP on a fine animal.
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Old October 22, 2011, 09:56 AM   #19
RevGeo
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Elmer Keith hunted elk in the black timber of the Selway Bitterroot area of central Idaho where a 100 yards is a long shot.
He talked of driving a bullet through the paunch and also of shooting for the base of the tail to break the spine and disable the animal until he could make a killing shot. Elmer was one of the old school meat hunters of Idaho and Montana. He also loved big bore, low velocity cartridges and advocated nothing under .33 caliber for deer.
Jack O'Connor hunted a lot in the relatively open areas of the Clearwater River drainage (and all over the world, of course) and he shot elk routinely at over 200 yards with a .270 and 130gr bullets.
One of my best friends here in Idaho uses nothing but a .243 for everything and he has no problems, but he is a hell of a hunter and doesn't take the shot unless he is sure he can nail the animal right in the boilerworks.
Not many of us are that calm and collected while aligning the crosshairs or sights on a bull elk.
How you hunt and how well you shoot is much more important than caliber.

George
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Old October 22, 2011, 01:25 PM   #20
FrankenMauser
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryM
Considering the short hunting seasons, number of hunters in the field, availability of game, and the fact that elk are tough critters, why use a .243 by choice?
That really depends on where you're hunting.

Elk season where I hunt means we'll see about 20 hunters over the course of opening day, but at least 15 of them will be on ATVs - just running up and down the main road. By Sunday (opening day is ALWAYS Saturday), half of those hunters have gone home (empty-handed, of course).

By Monday, we are usually the only people left in the "hunting zone", with the next camp about 6-8 miles away. We have all the time in the world, and hundreds (thousands?) of acres to ourselves. With no one else 'pushing' the Elk; when we find them, we're rousing the Elk from their beds.


How 'bout another perspective:
Most Elk hunters here are after cows, for the tasty meat. If you plan to neck/head shoot the animal, why use anything bigger than the .243 Win? It's just a waste of cartridge, if you're just blowing up a head, or shattering the spine. Going for the uber-magnum is likely to just cause flinching, and, in my opinion, is even more likely to result in a poor shot and a wounded animal.

I've seen the "lowly" .270 Winchester pull off the old "Texas Heart Shot", and the "Immobilizer":
Quote:
He talked ... of shooting for the base of the tail to break the spine and disable the animal until he could make a killing shot.
I can tell you from experience, the .243 Win is perfectly capable of the same performance.

Know the animal's anatomy, and choose an appropriate bullet for the job.
Those two concepts apply to ANY cartridge, not just the "little guys".


Whether or not you find it ethical to "break the animal down" with multiple shots, is a completely different subject (since even the uber-magnum shooters often use the tactic). Trying to punch enough holes to immobilize the animal requires no real skill, regardless of the cartridge being used.
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Old October 22, 2011, 05:15 PM   #21
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Quote:
What was actually carried for most of the hunt:
.223 Remington
.30-30 WCF
.44 Mag (handgun)
.357 Mag (handgun)
.22 Hornet
There was a .41 Mag in there as well
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Old October 22, 2011, 05:24 PM   #22
Major Dave (retired)
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All that was presented...looking over 5 foot sage...

So, on a different tack, you could say that you didn't have a safe backdrop, and didn't know if other hunters were downrange when you fired?!

I'm just saying.
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Old October 22, 2011, 09:51 PM   #23
jimbob86
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Quote:
shooting for the base of the tail to break the spine and disable the animal until he could make a killing shot.
I have had the misfortune of helping my 16yo nephew field dress a mule deer that was hit in the "base of the tail" with a .270 WIN from about 100 yards..... what a stinking mess that was. It was not intentional, but if it had been, I'd have made him gut it his ownself.

Quote:
Sounds like a frontal head shot, with a slight mis-judgment of distance. (A little more drop than anticipated, or a shaky hunter. ...It happens.)
.) ....... so he's taking shots at a tiny, bone covered target, when an error in placement of a couple of inches can leave the animal to die slowly ..... he got lucky once...... meh...
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Old October 22, 2011, 10:18 PM   #24
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Interesting report WYOREDMAN. It is indeed an interesting read. The most compelling part is the fact you actually studied the bullet path. So often in these forums, member argue the pro and cons of a particular bullet or caliber, yet few have actually studied the bullet path and results. Your report is missing total length of penatration, weight and photo of recovered bullet, and a detail of bone encountered. While I have never shot much game with a 243, it is nice to here some real life experences. I think you might have stretched the range this caliber was GENERALLY capable of.
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Old October 23, 2011, 08:39 AM   #25
Art Eatman
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I don't know how many threads of this sort I've read through, since late 1998.

Bottom line? Where the shot hits is the primary factor; i.e., skill. Most any centerfire cartridge of somewhere from .30-30 on up will do just fine on the common game animals. Bullet choice seems to be next down the list.
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