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Old September 25, 2013, 06:41 PM   #51
ChasingWhitetail91
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Can't go wrong with an 06. Depending on your range i'd consider the .30-30 too.
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Old September 25, 2013, 07:44 PM   #52
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Thanks Mystro for the good research. It shows there is less than 1 moa difference between that 130 gr Superformance round and the 95 gr Superformance round.

Consider the difference in shooter fatigue. One can usually shoot a couple of boxes of .270 from the bench without becoming overly tired and starting to anticipate the shots.

My experience with both tells me that I can shoot at least twice as many of the .243 before fatigue gets to be a big issue.

So, if target shooting is the principal objective with the occasional deer-busting as a secondary objective, the good old .243 is hard to beat.
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Old September 26, 2013, 09:17 AM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Pfleuger
Hogwash. Plenty of folks use .243Win on elk. Those charts are as valid as "You need 1000 ft/lbs for deer" or "You need 1500 ft/lbs for elk". Numbers picked from somebody's posterior because it puts their Chosen Cartridge in the "Go Zone" and everything lesser is out.
Well, I don't know who's posterior those numbers were picked from, but they do provide a frame of reference for a beginning hunter. It elucidates why a 243 is appropriate while a .204 Ruger is not for deer. That may seem like common sense to everyone here, but what is common sense to one person is not necessarily common sense to another.

You are correct that these number can be dangerous if they are seen as the only thing that matters. Shooting is a skill, a learned skill for most of us, but a skill that should be honed. This skill is more important that ft-lbs.
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Old September 26, 2013, 09:38 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by taylorce1 View Post
What's plenty of folks? I know exactly two hunters that have used the .243 Win on elk. One because that is the only rifle he managed to keep in a divorce, and another because that was the only rifle he had with him in the truck to put down a wounded cow. I've seen the video of the girl that killed an elk with the .243 as well and have even posted it a few times.

Of course a .243 Win will kill an elk, so will a .223, .22 Hornet, and .22 LR. Just because it is capable of killing something doesn't make it a "credible" elk cartridge. Anyone who has spent time in hunting elk will tell you just becasue it can kill it doesn't make it ideal for the job.

I don't have a hard and fast caliber/cartridge rule myself for elk hunting. Nor do I beleive there is a magical formula for how much energy is required to successfully kill big game. I do however feel that anything 6.5mm and up is a good place to start for elk. There are just better bullet options available starting in the 6.5 range and up when it comes to hunting elk.
No offense, but the "so will..." is not a valid argument. It's a logical fallacy called Reductio Ad Absurdum.

Woman and younger hunters use the .243 on elk regularly and on purpose, unless their husbands/fathers are infected with the magnumitis so prevalent today.

Elk are heavy but they're not particularly thick skinned or heavy boned. They're giant deer for crying out loud. A .243 loaded with 80gr Barnes TTSX will penetrate 3+ FEET in a deer. How thick is an elk? Half that, maybe?

"That video" shows an elk killed with a .243 from nearly 700 yards. Considering that's probably 4 times the average shot distance, how could it even be argued that the .243 isn't a reasonable elk gun?

I have a friend who hunts elk almost every year in CO. He only archery hunts and shoots 315gr arrows out of a 47lb draw weight bow. The same magnumitis from the gun world also infects the archery world. He is regularly told that you need a 70lb bow to kill elk. Mind you, that 70lb requirement has never changed even though today's 50lb bows produced the same or more kinetic energy than a 70lb bow from 15 or 20 years ago, not to mention hunters still use recurves, which tend to make less energy (literally) than a modern 30lb bow. His 47lb bow has *never failed* to fully penetrate an elk.... but you "need" a 70lb bow. Yeah right. What you *need* is to make your shot.

It's no different in the gun world. Bullet technologies and cartridge capabilities evolve, the good ole boys opinions don't.

Good shots are what you need. A bad shot with a .243 isn't going to be a good shoot because you swap in a .300mag. Does a uber-magnum add some effective range? Yeah, probably. Out at 700, 800, 1200 yards, yep. How much does that matter to the average hunter, many (most) of which have never shot that far and literally couldn't hit a house at 1,000 yards.

The difference between a .243 and a .300mag or a .270 or 30-06 or, whatever, at 100, 200, 400 yards, is how much energy the tree on the other side of the animal absorbs.
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Old September 26, 2013, 10:12 AM   #55
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Ammo prices should be considered as well. You tend to shoot more if the ammo is readily available and affordable. Prices between the 243,270,308,30-06 are about the same from average to premium grade. You stick with one of the mainstream calibers mentioned and you will save yourself ALOT of money and headaches.
To be honest, I shoot my pre64 Winchester 30-30 for that reason alone. I like to shoot and I can get a box of soft points for a steal. Now when it comes to deer hunting in the brush, the good old 30-30 has nothing to prove and the fact that I shoot it ALOT, that will be what I grab for the gun and run hunts. Dont underestimate the power and potential of the 30-30. It has been killing elk and similar game for over a 100 years. In my neck of the woods, the poor families that HAD to get a few deer a year, always seem to be killing machines armed with a 30-30 lever actions.
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Old September 26, 2013, 03:39 PM   #56
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Brian,

One example of a cow elk being killed by a .243 at long range is not statistical fact. Neither is saying "plenty" of people hunt elk every year with a .243, you have no facts to back up your statements. It is as you say "It's a logical fallacy called Reductio Ad Absurdum."

There is a huge difference between a 150-200 lb. deer and 400 lb. cow elk, let alone a 600+ lb. trophy bull elk. Just like there is a huge difference between the .243 and more suitable elk cartridges. Everything adds up in the end and sure there are trade offs and pro's and con's to each cartridge you choose when hunting.

Even if your 80 grain Barnes bullet offers similar performance when compared to a .270 130 grain on paper, it falls short in reality. Even though it starts faster, it will never make as large of a wound channel, nor will ever start out or arrive with as much energy. This is what I mean by things add up, not one thing makes the .243 a better cartridge for elk. Sure you'll have more recoil with .270 but it is manageable, or you can go to a cartridge like the 7-08 or .260 that will offer less recoil.

Will an 80 grain bullet kill an elk, sure it will kill it. I'm not arguing that fact I'm simply stating on my experiences with elk hunting, I've never met "plenty" of hunters that use the .243 Win. In fact if you would ever spend some time around elk hunters you'd find the use of the .243 very few and far between. Plus the women and children remark is just silly, because if the .243 was a good elk cartridge then even us macho male hunters would be using it.

Now back to that girl shooting an elk at nearly 700 yards. She used a custom precision rifle and ammunition that was built by and was coached/guided by John Burns. If you don't happen to know who John Burns is, he is the guy the put "Best of the West" on the map. Though no longer affiliated with BOW or Greybull Precision, he is a precision rifle shooter and builder, who makes a living selling a product being used at the extremes.

There are tried and true elk cartridges for a reason, they flat out work. Plus for as long as I've been a member on this forum, I can't think of one time I've ever recommended a magnum rifle cartridge being needed for elk. While new bullet technology makes some smaller cartridge more capable, they still aren't the ideal combo for larger deer species such as elk and moose. Used within reason the .243 can and does work, but should never be considered as a first choice when deciding on a cartridge to hunt elk.
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Old September 26, 2013, 04:24 PM   #57
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My saying that plenty of people use the .243 for elk is not a reduction to the absurd. It's true. What would you want? Name and phone numbers? It's funny, because every time I say there are plenty of people hunting elk with the .243, I get no support but I I see people posting the same at random times on the forum. Ah well. It is what it is. People do and it's a decent elk cartridge.

The point about the 700 yard shot isn't whether or not the .243 is a 700 yard elk cartridge. The VAST majority of all shots taken at ALL game animals are under 200 yards. The .243 properly loaded with ANY big game bullet is MORE than sufficient at 200 yards, or 300.

The .243Win doesn't need as much energy as the .270, it doesn't have to leave with as much or arrive with as much, it has to have ENOUGH, and it does. Nobody ever brags about how much energy they put in the tree on the other side.


Beside which, the OP asks for "passable for elk or bear". There's really not much of an argument that the .243 would be "passable" for elk. It is, has been and will continue to be used for elk.

Of the 4 cartridges mentioned in the OP, the .243 is an excellent option. It's extremely common and will never go away. Ammo is common and relatively inexpensive. It can be shot at targets very far away, certainly 1,000 yards with the right bullet. It is an exceptional deer cartridge, black bear are just as dead and it is certainly a "passable" elk cartridge for 99% of the shots that 99% of hunters should reasonably be making.
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Old September 26, 2013, 11:48 PM   #58
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There is a reason that those broad head arrows kill reliably while users of the .243 have an uncomfortable loss rate on the larger deer and elk.

That reason is the size of the wound channel. One needs a larger bullet than what the .243 will sling to routinely bring the largest animals down within about ten seconds.
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Old September 27, 2013, 08:25 AM   #59
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So the difference between an unacceptable cartridge and "Thor's Hammer" is 2 or 3 hundredths of an inch?

What's the basis of your claim of an "uncomfortable loss rate"?
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Old September 27, 2013, 09:43 AM   #60
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I would inerate that While a .243 winchester is capable, that don't make it reliable to adequately take Elk. I also think that a reasonably seasoned rifleman or woman can validly hunt with that caliber.. I also think that it could be argued At Length, that the hunting elk with a small caliber isn't exactly the best thing to attempt. And the reason I think that is, even though a premium bullet is used, the room for error is smaller than say a 30-06 or .270 win, or even Brians favorite a magnumitis rig.
In closing both Taylorce1 and Brian Phleuger have valid points. But I will side with Taylorce1's replies on this thread because he has hunted and taken elk with a lot of various calibers, and he hunts elk yearly and has more experience hunting various large game on this continent...
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Old September 27, 2013, 11:31 AM   #61
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Woman and younger hunters use the .243 on elk regularly and on purpose, unless their husbands/fathers are infected with the magnumitis so prevalent today.

Elk are heavy but they're not particularly thick skinned or heavy boned. They're giant deer for crying out loud. A .243 loaded with 80gr Barnes TTSX will penetrate 3+ FEET in a deer. How thick is an elk? Half that, maybe?

"That video" shows an elk killed with a .243 from nearly 700 yards. Considering that's probably 4 times the average shot distance, how could it even be argued that the .243 isn't a reasonable elk gun?
I agree with about 90% of what brian said. however I would like to point out that in my elk unit 700 yards is only about double the average range for elk, 600 is usually where I draw the line but if I was really desperate for meat and I had my 180 grains of deep curl medication to treat the symptoms of my type 300 weatherby magnumitis, I would probably take the shot. with a 80gr out of a 243, I just do not trust my skills enough. then again my gun hates 80s, the best accuracy round I've found for the 243 has been 100gr federal powershoks and is the only load I have been able to harvest anything with. maybe some tinkering with a 90gr deep curl is in order.

now I will also reiterate what brian said by saying that there are a lot of people that hunt elk with a 243. a lot of them are maligned for doing it. a while back(way back) there was a thread here on TFL of a guy that had killed his elk with a 243 and the entire thread was a bunch of goobers claiming that he was unethical and didn't deserve to hunt even though there was another thread running at the exact same time where an idiot had to double tap a deer with a 300 win mag to drop it and he was lauded for his successful hunt. do I sense a double standard here?
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Old September 27, 2013, 11:46 AM   #62
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I hear the same thing with 223 on whitetail by people that have never hunted with it. How it is unethical, blah,blah,..... I have seen a number of BIG whitetails fall over from a chest shot from a 223. A family member and a very good deer hunter has used a 223 for well over 25 years and I dont think he has ever lost a deer. I believe he was using 55 grain softpoints. I notice there are several manufactures making deer specific bullets for the 223 today.
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Old September 27, 2013, 09:00 PM   #63
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My problem is Brian that you make it sound like the .243 is commonly used to hunt elk. Especially by youth and female hunters who don't have any recoil tolerance, but you admittedly have little to no experience hunting elk. You have to rely on a friend who is a bow hunter and his experience to try and prove your point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Pfleuger
Post #51

Now, lest you think that I have some sort of love affair with the 243, I don't. I don't even own one. I wouldn't own one. It's more than I care to use on varmints and for deer there are cartridges that offer advantages over the 243 with few or no trade-offs, like the 7mm-08. My point is that the 243 is in no way "too small to be a good deer rifle." That premise is utter nonsense.
Which this old post of yours is what I've been trying to say all along there are far better cartridges even for the recoil sensitive than a .243 Win or your current AI when it comes to hunting elk, even with modern mono metal bullets. I did a little research on your old posts to find out exactly what your experience with elk hunting was. I didn't find much, but I found this interesting little excerpt from back when you were known as Peetza. I never found where you said that you'd ever hunted elk only the recent trip to CO where you shot some photographs.

My point is that I've hunted elk now for over 20 years, I've met and been in contact with a few hundred elk hunters over this time. I can tell you honestly that I've only met two people who have used the .243 to take an elk. I mentioned this fact, and I hunt regularly with one of the guys who used the .243 on a cow elk. In my personal experience this would put the hunters who use the .243 on elk to less than 1%.

In Colorado last year there were over 135,000 elk tags sold, approximately 40% went to archery and muzzle loader hunters. This left a little over 80,000 tags for the firearm hunters. So if I were to figure my personal experience in that would mean that less than 800 hunters in the state of Colorado are using a .243 Win. The success rate for all of those tags were around 52% across archery, ML, and firearm seasons so maybe a total of 400 elk would have fallen to the .243 Win.

Is that "plenty" or "a lot" of hunters? No, it is a distinct minority of hunters who use the .243 for elk. I never said the .243 wasn't capable of killing an elk. I said that it wasn't even close to the .270 in performance and that it isn't widely used by "plenty" or "a lot" of hunters, and that there are better choices starting with 6.5mm calibers and up.
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Old September 27, 2013, 09:27 PM   #64
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where did brian say that 243 was used by hunters with no experience? I didn't see that phrase once, perhaps I missed it?

he said it was popular among people with low recoil tolerance, in which case a 243 would serve such a person a lot better than a magnum rifle cartridge where it would be more difficult to get good shot placement. I know some women that have killed more elk than I have deer and I know of some children that could make kill shots that I would never dream of attempting. saying that a round is favored by women and children is not the same as claiming that it's favored by inexperienced people.

of course, there is only one way to gauge what a person's capabilities are against game and that's from their record. some people can hit bullseyes all day long but seem to maim every animal they run across and there are others that can't hit paper at 100 yards to save their lives that kill every animal they have ever shot at on the first try.
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Old September 27, 2013, 09:34 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tahunua001
where did brian say that 243 was used by hunters with no experience? I didn't see that phrase once, perhaps I missed it?
He didn't, Brian admittedly has little or no experience hunting elk. He has only said that he has a friend who regularly hunts CO, but that friend is a bow hunter.
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Old September 27, 2013, 10:17 PM   #66
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.....

It IS kind of amusing listening to a guy for NEW YORK tell a guy from COLORADO what is a good ELK rifle ....... what's the word? That thing New Yorkers are (in)famous for? Chutzpah? That's it!

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Old September 27, 2013, 10:52 PM   #67
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from Brian Pfleuger:
Quote:
So the difference between an unacceptable cartridge and "Thor's Hammer" is 2 or 3 hundredths of an inch?

What's the basis of your claim of an "uncomfortable loss rate"?
That 2 or three hundredths happens to mean the difference between 100 grain bullets and the ability to sling 130+ grain bullets for the 6.5 mm and 270. Even the .270 is not considered a good elk gun by many very experienced hunters unless one is using premium bullets.

The 6.5 caliber, for some reason, has long had an excellent reputation for harvesting elk and moose among European hunters. It is possible that the 160 grain-class commonly used in the European cartridges has something to do with this.
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Old September 28, 2013, 04:59 AM   #68
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The reason the 6.5's work well is they have heavy for caliber bullets. 140 grain spitzer and 160 round nose aren't uncommon. These long bullets give a high sectional density that makes for deep penetration.
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Old September 28, 2013, 08:09 AM   #69
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That would be a opinion not based on facts. They may be experienced with hunting the game itself but ignorant to ballistics and other calibers they have no experience with. That's almost absurd that anyone especial one that is truely knowledgable with game and balistics could question the lethality of the 270 for elk. Jack O'Connor recomended it and he's a hell of ALOT more experienced than anyone could be today. The Alaska fish and game recommends the 270 as does the Montana Guide association for elk. Premium bullets were never a requirement unless premium bullets are soft points.

Quote:
Even the .270 is not considered a good elk gun by many very experienced hunters unless one is using premium bullets.
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Old September 28, 2013, 10:11 AM   #70
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JASmith
Even the .270 is not considered a good elk gun by many very experienced hunters unless one is using premium bullets.

That opinion is one of the silliest I've seen, laughable. I absolutely guarantee that the .270 is one of the most popular elk cartridges of all time.


I'll never understand the opinions on this stuff. Look at the CO Wildlife Division, it's almost schizophrenic. They have an entire article on elk hunting, including chapters on firearms and cartridge selection.

Imagine this:

1)Handguns need 550 ft/lbs at 50 yards to be sufficient for elk.
2)Rifles need 1,500 ft/lbs at impact.

Um... ok

3).243Win is marginal
4).30-30, .35Rem and even .32Win Spec are all perfectly fine.

Uh... what?

Anyhow, I'll take this snippet from Chuck Hawks:

Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.chuckhawks.com/elk_cartridges.htm
Most of the guys who can't shoot don't recover the animals they wound, but some do. It makes me wonder when a guy at a check out station tells me how lousy the .270 (or whatever) is at killing elk and that next year he is going to replace his wimpy .270 with a .300 Magnum. Then I examine his trophy and find a .270 bullet hole in the muscle of the neck that missed the vertebrae, a .270 bullet in the guts, a third .270 in a ham and finally one .300 Magnum bullet in the lungs--put there by his hunting partner. I am no forensic wizard, but I can pretty much figure out what happened.

However, this guy is going to tell 50 people that the .270 is no good for elk. I mean that literally, as market research has shown that the typical bum story is broadcast to about 50 people by word of mouth. If he puts his version of the story on some Internet forum it may reach thousands, which is why I totally ignore Internet forums, bulletin boards and the like.
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Old September 28, 2013, 11:08 AM   #71
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Quote:
Even the .270 is not considered a good elk gun by many very experienced hunters unless one is using premium bullets.
who in God's green earth thinks that? besides people suffering from advanced stage Magnumitis?

270 is recommended by outfitters, guides, and just about anyone that knows that a 30-06 is not the minimum required cartridge for texas poodle deer. I hunt elk with a 300 WTBY mag and if someone handed me a 270 and told me to go get an elk I would have no problem. heck, if I knew I could get close enough I wouldn't hesitate to use my 6.5 jap carbine and that is a helluva lot more anemic than the 270. I only go the magnum route because I like the knowing that my gun will kill an elk well beyond the distance that I can not longer hit the target.
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Old September 28, 2013, 06:56 PM   #72
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I am not sure there is a common caliber I have not hunted with. I usually hunt deer and elk with a .338-06, Pronghorn with a .260 Rem and smaller stuff with .243s, .22-250s and .223s.

When folks ask me what rifle to consider for hunting, it does of course matter how recoil sensitive they are, how much they will practice, do they want to target shoot or compete too, and what will they be hunting.

In following this thread, some are getting into caliber wars instead of answering, but part of that is because there really is not one best all-around caliber. If you were primarily looking at hunting, I would steer you towards something based on the .30-06 parent case. The .30-06 itself, the .270, the .338-06, 35 Whelen are a bit better with larger diameter bullets. But, since you are more interested in target shooting with hunting as a secondary, I think I would steer you towards the .308 parent case. Pros are a shorter action and cheaper brass. I look at long range as starting at 600 yards, but most people think 300-600 is long range, so consider that. Also, in the .308 family, there are differences.

The .243 is the minimum legal in some states for big game. It is fairly flat shooting, low recoil and there are a large variety of bullets including some great varmint bullets. On the downside, the faster you push the bullets, the less barrel life you get. I've seen barrels go south in the 4 to 5k range commonly. If that seems like a lot of rounds, maybe this is a good choice to you. I consider it decent out to 500 yards for varmints and targets, but you should probably stay short of that for big game. A re-barrel is about $300 to $600 depending on quality and profile.

The .260 Rem gets you a bit more horsepower. I have killed deer with mine well past 600 yards. It is accurate and fast in general. With a good optic, 1000 yard target and varmint hits are well within the possibility. Barrel life is improved by about twice over the .243.

The 7mm-08 is another good choice with a wide array of bullets, but not quite the velocity. If I did not use the .260, I would probably go to a 7mm-08 over the .243.

The .308 is perfectly fine for all NA game and is just a bit behind the .30-06 in reality. I will be using one of my match rifles in .308 this year since my son will be using a .308 Encore rifle in .308 for his first deer and elk hunts and i will be carrying all of the ammo for both rifles. There are more reduced velocity and low recoil rounds for the .308 than the other calibers, plus sub-sonics. I started my son off with the .308 training rounds which are one of the main reasons he is starting with .308. I of course have other rounds, but the ability to let him practice cheaper and more often makes the .308 a good idea. There are still some decent varmint bullets for the .308, and overall, it will be one of the cheaper to re-barrel, but barrel life can get into the 15 to 20K if you do your part.

The .338 Federal is probably too much hunting based and not enough target for your criteria. It is a fine caliber for NA game, but varmint bullets are not prevalent and the bullets will be heavier and thus more coin than .30 caliber bullets.
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Old September 28, 2013, 09:41 PM   #73
Revoltella
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Quote:
Mainly looking for flat long range round with minimal drop.
I realize ammo cost is an issue, but you just described .257 Weatherby Magnum.
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Old September 28, 2013, 09:54 PM   #74
JASmith
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There seems to be both confusion and strong opinion regarding wound ballistics for hunting. A 130 grain bullet, the same as a 32 gr bullet, is capable of killing an elk. It is, however, very easy to lose an elk when using a .22 and one can lose even a well-hit animal with a 130 grain bullet of standard construction. This has been proven many times.

The challenge is in how quickly the animal faints on average. There is a correlation between the size of the wound channel and the rate of blood loss.

For example, the .243 Win acts like the "Thor's hammer" mentioned in an earlier post as long as the deer weighs less than 125-150 lbs. As the animal gets larger, however, the amount of blood needed to reduce blood pressure enough to cause fainting in less than about ten seconds gets larger too. So, users of the .243 Win tend to report more lost animals when the weights grow to the 300+ lbs of the largest mule deer. The number gets really large for elk.

Similarly, the 130 gr soft point bullet from the .270 Win does extraordinarily well for all deer, but shows an increased number of lost animals when the quarry is elk.

The story changes when the very heaviest standard .277" bullets are used or one uses premium bullets in the 130 grain class (140 gr for bonded bullets). These bullets do open a wound channel that is deep and wide enough to routinely bring down the larger animals.
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Old September 29, 2013, 07:00 PM   #75
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okay but how about the 7 millimeter,take a look at the 280 Remington ,ballistically it is very much a superior cartridge .It bridges the gap between the 270 Winchester and the 30 O6 Springfield and outperforms both.and with the wide range of projectiles available In. 284 it is a real performer.with that said I'd like to nominate 280 Remington.You can get 7 mm Magnum performance without all the recoil.just my 2 cents.........LOUD

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