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Old October 27, 2013, 03:49 PM   #1
pitbill123
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Elk hunt MT- 308 or 7mm mag??

Hi all- first post so please be patient. I am going on a late season elk hunt in MT- I have numerous rifles ( over 25) but I shoot my 308's and my 7mm's the best. The 308 is a tack drive ( savage precision carbine) and I'm very comfortable shooting it and rarely have a stray shot or flyer with it. It shoots the barnes ttsx 165 gr and nosler custom accubond165 perfectly. The 7mm also shoots great (savage LRH) and shoots 170 federal soft point real nice. I have to admit the recoil of the 7mm is starting to bother this 51 year old and I find myself flinching sometimes, not often, but enough to make me second guess using it on the elk hunt. Is the 308 enough gun for elk at 200-250 yrds with the 165 accubonds or ttsx? I'd hate to screw up and hit an elk and not put him down due to lack of energy. I have no experience with elk but I did go moose hunting last year in Newfoundland ( got a 46 incher with a 338 win mag savage "hog hunter" at 20 yrds -he just flopped over) and I imagine elk are a bit easier to put down. I use the 308 for whitetails and it just knocks them down every time, but will it knock down elk the same way is the question. Thanks for all reply's!!!
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Old October 27, 2013, 04:27 PM   #2
ratshooter
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Cartridges don't kill animals, bullets do. Use a good bullet and your 308 will be just fine. Since it looks like you reload you could also use a lighter bullet in the 7 mag and reduce your recoil some. A lighter weight Barnes triple shock should give you all the penetration you need for elk.

I have only killed two elk. A cow at 40 yards and a 5x5 at 70 yards. So while some may kill them at longer range I sort of thought if you know how to hunt getting close isn't that big of a deal. Your 308 should be good for 250 yard shots.

Oh, and welcome to the forum. There are lots of smart folks here that can give you better advise than I have.
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Old October 27, 2013, 04:43 PM   #3
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That's easy, the 308. Always choose the gun you shoot best.
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Old October 27, 2013, 04:50 PM   #4
pitbill123
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Yeah, I hope I don't need to shoot 250 but I want to be prepared to if I have to. I figure the shots will be fairly long as the landowner/guide is the owner of approx. 12000 acre cattle ranch and from what we heard from him that a large population of elk are year round residents on his ranch. He only takes out 4-6 people a year and he wont even talk to ya if you are not recommended from a past client. He says he'll hunt with my friend and I along the wood edges and get them as they are in the fields. As I've said, I've never hunted elk, so I guess i'm a newbie when it comes to these animals, and as always I over analyze everything and that in turn makes me crazy!!!! anyway, thanks
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Old October 27, 2013, 04:58 PM   #5
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I am a big fan of the 7 Mag, and killed both my elk with that round. However, out to 300 yards, you won't see any difference in effectiveness with your .308. You said it; you shoot it more confidently. FWIW, my elk were at 400...and 20. The long shot flopped over kicking on the spot. The close one, in heavy timber, just kept jogging like he hadn't been touched, but only for 50 yards. You never know with those critters. Hit the vitals with a good bullet, and you'll be eating elk steaks that evening. Enjoy the hunt!
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Old October 27, 2013, 05:23 PM   #6
old roper
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Welcome, Did you ask the rancher (guide) what yardage you would be shooting or what Cal he would recommend? If you haven't hunted elk he be the best source.
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Old October 27, 2013, 05:35 PM   #7
pitbill123
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Land owner said range could be from 15 to 300 yrds..lots of help huh..lol....he didn't think that either cal. was bad ...he uses a .270 himself.
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Old October 27, 2013, 05:48 PM   #8
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Indeed, folks take elk with. 270 all the time. I like it as a long range flat-shooter, which is why I would favor your 7mm mag. But if you are looking at 300 yards or less, and you are that much better with it, then by all means roll with. 308.

I did not know you could stuff a 170 grainer in a 7mm case.
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Old October 27, 2013, 06:37 PM   #9
pitbill123
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actually I was wrong about the 170 gr 7mm mag...it is a 175 gr....my bad , I get confused about the sizes sometimes without looking at my reload notebook.
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Old October 27, 2013, 07:11 PM   #10
jmr40
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To 300 yards either has power to spare for elk. The 308 is about a 400 yard gun before it starts to run out of gas for elk. The 7 mag is good for at least another 100 yards if you anticipate shooting that far, and can make the shot. I'd take the 308.
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Old October 27, 2013, 07:57 PM   #11
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Under 250, I'd say the .308 is good enough. Over 250, I'd suggest going with the 7 mag and 160 grain Nosler Partition(or another premium bullet). I prefer the 300 Win mag over either regardless of range.
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Old October 27, 2013, 08:24 PM   #12
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Either should work; if you are walking, take the lighter gun; if you are riding a horse or vehicle, that becomes moot. I have a 7-08 and a 7mag and while both are excellent, I would take my 7mm mag for elk with one of its two pet loads - both are 160 gr bullets pushing close to 3000. One is a Sierra, the other a Nosler partition
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Old October 27, 2013, 10:12 PM   #13
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So many hunters I know are .270 guys for elk. I favor it myself; of the two choices I would choose the .308. As an aside, my B-I-L and his two sons-in-law had a successful elk hunt in Wyoming last week. My B-I-L favors a 200-gr Combined Technologies ballistic tip in his .338, shot his elk at 210 yards. One S-I-L shot an elk at 150 yds with a 140-gr Berger bullet out of a 6.5 Creedmore. Of interest, the second S-I-L was shooting a Savage 99 chambered in 300 Savage. The range finder said his shot was at 320 yards. He took the shot and got the elk. A little holdover involved. Forget what bullet he used. My B-I-L reloads for all of them. Good luck in MT.
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Old October 28, 2013, 11:14 AM   #14
doofus47
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I say 308.
7mmMag = longer barrel + heavier weight + harder stalking.
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Old October 28, 2013, 07:34 PM   #15
Paul B.
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Well, my pet elk rifle is a custom Mauser in .35 Whelen pushing a 225 gr Barnes TSX to 2710 FPS at the muzzle. I've dropped elk with it from 150 yards to 350 yards.
Due to recent surgery the .35 is staying home this year and my cartridges of choice are the .280 Remington with the 150 gr. Nosler ABLR or the 30-06 with 180 gr. Nosler AB.
However, while I do not have a 7MM Rem. Mag. other than a Ruger #1B, the outfitter I hunt with does not allow the use of single shot rifles. My hunting partner hunts with the 7MM rem mag. and he shoots the 160 gr. Nosler Accubond at the 3000 FPS level. The man can shoot and this last January he dropped his cow elk at 317 yards, laser measured. He'll be using that same combo this coming January when we do our hunt.
I'm a big fan of the .308 but if I were hunting elk, I'd limit my shots to 250 yards or less. Preferably less but that's just me.
Regardless of which one you decide on, good luck on the hunt. I can't think of anything much better tasting than a nice juicy cow elk.
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Old October 28, 2013, 08:58 PM   #16
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I polled the gang in the break room, a bunch of die hard local hunters. They hunt everything from Deer, Mule and whitetail, antelope, elk, Moose, Big Horn sheep, mountain goat, and black bear, oops, sometimes Bison. Most of these guys get way back in there on horses, so rifle weight is only a minor consideration.

The general consensus was under 200yds it won't matter. Over 300yds take a flat shooting magnum. More claimed they use a 30-06, 308 next, 7mag ect. , except for the bowhunters, who act as if they would suffer from using a rifle to shoot any animal.

Myself, I use what I have, 300WBY, maybe more than needed, but it was a very good deal, and very accurate. I also own a 340WBY, but have never hunted with it.

That MT elk won't know or care which one it's shot with. Just shoot well please.
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Old October 31, 2013, 01:49 AM   #17
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Not a thing wrong with the 340WBY for elk as long as you personally dont mind the recoil. Otherwise, I would opt for the 7mm mag given the choice of 308 or the 7mm.
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Old October 31, 2013, 02:37 AM   #18
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Your .308 is more than adequate to 250yds & if it is more comfortable for you to use, you are likely to shoot more accurately.
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Old October 31, 2013, 03:06 AM   #19
.300 Weatherby Mag
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Quote:
I also own a 340WBY, but have never hunted with it.
I'll share a little story from my families' hunting lore..

My grandfather loaned one of his cousins a .340 Weatherby for an Elk hunt.. After the hunt my grandfather asked his cousin what he thought of the rifle.. The response was, "I really hate that piece of crap." When asked why, he said...

"Well... When you shoot the elk with my 7 mag they run down the side of the mountain and die in the creek bottom... When you shoot an elk with that infernal .340 piece of crap, the elk dies on the side of the mountain and you have to climb up there to get him."

My grandfather then said, "So essentially what your are saying is that my rifle kills too well."
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Old October 31, 2013, 09:35 AM   #20
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Your fine with a 308. I did the quick math for it in my calculator and assuming a 10" kill zone, sight in at 100 yards, and that you're shooting that TTSX at 2700fps (fairly modest assumptions) your max point blank range is ~330 yards. Even at 400 yards you're at 1500 ft/lb of energy.

I'd say go with what you're best with. You'll be fine with the 308. Know the kill zone of an elk which is really quite generous. Take a 12" paper plate and practice shooting it at 300 yards. You'll surprise yourself. Even if the shot you get is 400, I'd take it with the 308, just put it on his back bone and touch 'er off!
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Old October 31, 2013, 10:15 AM   #21
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Which one is lighter? There will be some walking involved .
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Old October 31, 2013, 10:21 AM   #22
ntg
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Chewie...the 7mm is a Savage LRH at about 8.6 lbs. The 308 a Savage Precision Carbine at about 8 lbs. Another reason to take the 308 and he said he'd be in the tree line trying to find them in the openings so again the shorter 308 wins the decision.
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Old October 31, 2013, 02:42 PM   #23
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This is an absolute no brainer.....take the .308. I would rather take a .243 I shot lights out for elk than a .300 magnum I flinched on.

The .308 is more than adequate for elk, in fact if I ever go thats what I will be taking. My .35 remington will come along as backup.
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Old November 1, 2013, 06:43 AM   #24
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I use the 308 for whitetails and it just knocks them down every time, but will it knock down elk the same way is the question
A .308 is fine for elk but I wouldn't expect that it will always make the animal "dead right there."

Even with a great shot a critter can and will usually run a bit after the shot.
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Old November 1, 2013, 08:52 AM   #25
ntg
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The OP is using two very able bullets in his 308 suited to the task. If I were him I'd pack the 308 without hesitation.
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