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Old May 19, 2012, 10:33 AM   #1
okietex08
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First Elk Hunt

Finally going out for my first Elk hunt this fall in New Mexico mountains. I have a fine .270 but wondering if I need to move up to a bigger caliber and if not whether I should use 150 or 130 gr. bullets. I know Jack would say I am fine, but at not being an expert marksman I just want to be sure. Thoughts?
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Old May 19, 2012, 11:12 AM   #2
taylorce1
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No need to move up in caliber unless you want to just buy a new rifle. Just use a premium 130-150 grain bullet and you'll do fine. If you move up in size don't think you need larger than a .308 or .30-06 to get it done.

My advice is if you shoot the .270 well stick with it.
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Old May 19, 2012, 11:50 AM   #3
uncyboo
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You need to step up to the .280 Rem. Much, much better for Elk.



























JK you're fine with what you have just use premium projectiles.
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Old May 19, 2012, 11:56 AM   #4
WildBill45
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Elk are tough animals, and can go a long way if not shot properly. Your first priority is real rifle shooting, practice off-hand shooting and leave the bench rest for sighting in only. Shoot from one knee, etc. as well. If you can shoot well with a .270, you can shoot well with larger calibers if you are not recoil sensitive. It is of good moral character to dispatch your game as humanely as possible!

I don't know if you live at altitude or not, but that is a major factor in how you may handle physical activity, hence, breath control because you will be huffing and puffing for a few days due to the change in altitude if such applies. The shots are usually longer than most east coast shots, but not always, depending on where you are in the mountains.

The .270 is adequate, with bonded bullets, as I said Elk are big, tough, and a bad angle shot will challenge a .270. The 300 magnums are better, with heavy bullets, 180 or so, and with the extra velocity you won't loose as much energy for those longer shots!

Remember, bonded bullets are for close shots, as cheap bullets can blow up on the shoulder of an elk up close, bonded bullets do not! At longer ranges where the cheaper bullets are going slower, it isn't as much of a problem. A few more bucks spent on quality HUNTING bullets ... practice with the cheap ones ... is worth the price considering what it costs to hunt elk, even if you live there.

Do not expect that target pose ... broadside and smiling ... you will be lucky to just have one standing still; most shots are turning and moving shots, as they usually see, smell, or hear you before you do them!!!
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Last edited by WildBill45; May 19, 2012 at 12:25 PM. Reason: add a sentence or two
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Old May 19, 2012, 12:21 PM   #5
Brian Pfleuger
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Bigger calibers are not compensation for bad shooting.
A bad shot with a 270 is not going to suddenly be a good shot because you used a 338 Lapua.
Use your 270 and hit where you're supposed to hit. People regularly hunt elk with the 243. It's not a gun issue, it's marksmanship.
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Old May 19, 2012, 02:02 PM   #6
VeryOldDog
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More important: get yourself a good guide and limit your distance to 150 yards or less. I have taken elk with a 30-06 and a Ruger Super Redhawk in 480 caliber under 50 yards.

Get a good pair of boots, dress appropriately, get in shape, and have a great time.
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Old May 19, 2012, 02:08 PM   #7
taylorce1
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Quote:
Bigger calibers are not compensation for bad shooting.
A bad shot with a 270 is not going to suddenly be a good shot because you used a 338 Lapua.
Use your 270 and hit where you're supposed to hit. People regularly hunt elk with the 243. It's not a gun issue, it's marksmanship.
+1

I've been on an elk drought as of late, but all that I've killed have fell to a Nosler 150 grain .270 Win or a 180 grain Winchester PP in .30-06. None ran far, maybe 50 yards if you deflate the lungs they can't go very far. Placement of the bullet far outweighs the caliber and charge pusing the bullet. The .270 will do a good job beyond 300 yards on elk and most people don't shoot one that far away unless they are looking for a long shot.

I only know one person who regularly hunts elk with a .243 Win, it gets the job done. I don't recommend it even though it works there are better choices and you have one of them. Another thing to remember is when not to take the shot.
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Old May 19, 2012, 03:15 PM   #8
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Your .270 is a fantastic cartridge for Elk hunting. As Brian stated, caliber size isnt going to matter if it's a poor shot. Also, you are probably used to shooting your gun so you will know how it shoots. Go for the .270
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Old May 19, 2012, 03:47 PM   #9
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I have been hunting elk since I was a very young man and I have used the 270 with great success. I have hunted elk and guided elk hunters for over 35 years. I have never found ANY need to go to a larger caliber.

Not to say I have not killed many of them with bigger guns, but mostly because where I hunt there are also a lot of grizzlies.

So have no fear at all. Your 270 is just fine.
I would agree that a 150 or 160 grain bullet that will hold its weight is best.
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Old May 19, 2012, 04:47 PM   #10
RC20
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270 is just fine for elk. 150 gr for sure, get the right bullet as its a large game animal not a deer. I.e. you want penetration and expansion. Not up anymore on what the best one is.

Get enough of those to sight the gun in and at least 20 for the hunt (take 40, you may need to re-sight if the gun gets knocked around).

If you can shoot it accurately, you are good to 300 yards.

The limitation is in the shooter not the cartridge. Know your limits and stay inside of them and you will do fine.
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Old May 19, 2012, 07:23 PM   #11
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WILDBILL45, speaks volumes. I was an elk guide in my younger years, and have been around when an excess of 100 elk were taken so I do have some experence. The 270 Win can take elk cleanly if proper heavily constructed bullets are used. As Bill said dont expect a television hunting shot. Most are taken at bad angles, longer yardages, and many times in challaging places. Though many times a conventional cup and core bullet has killed elk cleanly, many times they have failed and left an animal wounded to die unrecovered. Good luck.
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Old May 20, 2012, 01:10 AM   #12
doofus47
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I hunt elk. I shoot a 30-06.
If I had a .270, I would feel just as well-equipped.

Placement first.
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Old May 20, 2012, 08:26 AM   #13
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Use a tough bullet that shoots well out of your gun, keep shots under 300 yrds and you will be fine.
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Old May 20, 2012, 09:39 AM   #14
kraigwy
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The 270 Win is a great elk round. Easy to shoot, and comes in a lighter rifle (which for me is a huge benifit when humping the mountains).

I'd go with the 150 gran bullet though. The Berger 150 (VLD) is a nice flat shooting round and gets real nasy when it hits something like the heart lung area of an elk.

If you don't reload just about any good quality 150 grn. factory load will work.

You blow up the lungs and it wont go far.
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Old May 20, 2012, 09:49 AM   #15
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I got two elk in the northern NM mountains last year, and I can only echo the need for a sturdy bullet. My cow took a (too fragile) 7 mm round and made about 400 yards till she finally stayed down. For the bull I used a 308 168 gr TTSX, it made it through the elk lengthwise intact.
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Old May 21, 2012, 08:48 AM   #16
chewie146
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I've killed elk to 350 with a .30-06 with full penetration through both shoulders. With the .270, center-punch the lungs, and you'll be great. I've only taken cow with the .270, but the bullet worked fine.
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Old May 21, 2012, 08:57 AM   #17
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I see people advocationg 150 gr bullets for elk in a .270, but one thing you must check is to see if your gun will shoot 150's. There are MANY .270s out there that won't shoot 150s worth a crap (twist rate is too slow). If that happens to you, you'll have to drop back to a 130 (which is still plently if you buy a good bullet and put it in the right place).
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Old May 21, 2012, 01:20 PM   #18
chewie146
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That's the truth! Mine won't shoot 150s worth a darn. 130's are about .5 MOA or that area.
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Old May 21, 2012, 04:23 PM   #19
AllenJ
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First off I’d like to say congratulations on getting to go on your first elk hunt. I can’t wait to hear about your adventure later on this year. In my opinion you don’t need to buy a new rifle. The 270 Winchester with proper bullets and a well placed shot should take an elk with no problem. My choice on bullet weight would be 150 grain but as stated above if your gun won’t shoot 150’s go with 130 grain. Bullets I have killed elk with and like are Barnes TSX and Nosler Partitions. You state you are not an expert marksman, time to practice and become one. Shoot your rifle as much as you can before going and learn your capabilities with it. Elk are big, tough creatures able to absorb an incredible amount shock and keep going so you are going to have to come up with some limits on how far you are going to be able to shoot from.
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Old May 21, 2012, 07:22 PM   #20
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Practice with what you have. Shot placement is key and trumps and a bad shot with a bigger cartridge everything time.

Congrats on your elk hunt too.
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Old June 26, 2012, 07:52 PM   #21
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My advise is if that's the gun you shoot well with, don't change just prior to the hunt. Elk are tough, took my first one last November, (5x5) in Rifle, Co. I spent many a day at the local range with my 338 WM, using 250 grain Remington ammo. Thing is your gun WILL shoot differently at altitude AND temperature. Don't sight in you gun in the summer when it's 90 degrees and then expect the same performance at 5 degrees.

I missed the first shot at 505 yards, he gave me a second chance and with a solid hit using a 338 win mag he stood there for what seemed like 5 minutes before falling.

Bench rest is crucial to determine what the gun/ammo is doing. After that, you MUST practice field shots, off the backpack, tri-pod, bi-pod, or whatever you expect to shoot from. Also, shoot some after getting your heart rate elevated because when your guides says "LEGAL BULL TAKE A SHOT", you will have an elevated heart rate!

If you have to fly to the hunt it would be a good idea to shoot your gun after getting there to see how your gun made the trip.


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Old June 26, 2012, 10:15 PM   #22
warbirdlover
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BIL is a taxidermist and has taken numerous elk with his .270 and 150 gr noslers.

He borrowed my .300 Win Mag one year and now has one of his own.

Guess both work but one works a little better.
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Old June 26, 2012, 11:05 PM   #23
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The 270 will do you a fine job, If you do yours.Alittle range time with a gun you already know will be better than changing up IMO. Good luck.
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Old June 27, 2012, 12:07 AM   #24
Wyosmith
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I have little to offer over what these gents have told you, but to say I have been an elk hunter and a guide for many many years.
The 270 is a very good round. Use a tough bullet. 150 or 160 are best and most rifles will shoot them well. If you have one that won't and you need to go to a 130 just go to a Barnes X or a Nosler partition and you'll be just fine
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Old July 3, 2012, 10:49 PM   #25
WildBill45
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I lived in elk country for 25 years, and hunted them every year, mostly with rifle, deer with a bow, and muzzleloader for one or the other some years.

Elk are tough and live in tough country. You want a stop, and a stop now ... unless you love packin' from hard to get to areas. If you must use the .270 use the 150 grn. Noslers as a minimum, North Folk would be better.

A 300 H&H, Weatherby, or Winchester with 180 grain top shelf bullets is even better. If you are traveling far, your least expensive part will be top shelf bullets, but a good insurance if you get a bad angle shot, or an up close shot where lightly constructed come apart ... not the far shots, as the cheap bullets have slowed and will stay together better.

Accuracy trumps caliber every time, but a good shot with a bigger gun will get better results, and is more humane to the Elk!
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