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Old January 7, 2014, 12:47 AM   #26
SansSouci
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MarkCO,

I read and reread your post. I am not sure what to make of it. I think you're trying to convey that OP's .270 will bounce off elk at 400 yards.

Are you conveying that if the guy from Georgia had a larger caliber rifle his bad shooting would have morphed into good shooting?

Here's is what I can write with absolute certainty: if those elk were hit in the their hearts and/or lungs they would have died. Period. End of story. No animal is long for this world sans heart and/or lungs. That is a biological fact. I don't care if it was a .243 Win that destroyed those elk hearts and/or lungs. This is why I am skeptical of your account of elk with thoracic wounds that were -presumptively- later tracked down and killed. If you can put me on reports filed by Colorado DOW officers that killed the elk, I'd appreciate it. Do you know these officers? Or was this hearsay many times over? To me, it lacks credulity. Animals cannot live with destroyed hearts and/or lungs. It just will not happen.

I would much rather see a hunter carrying a rifle that he can shoot rather than a rifle he can't. I learned this when I began hunting: a .243 Win in the boiler room is a whole lot better than an '06 in the guts. The point is a bad shot is a bad shot regardless of cartridge. Here's another bromide I learned many seasons ago: keep an eye on the hunter that owns but one rifle, for he assuredly knows how to use it.

Mark, does caliber make a hunter ethical?

Here's another true story. Before the '12 deer season, I watched a studly dude try to sight in his brand new .300 Win Mag a few days before leaving for Montana. He emptied about a box of cartridges. He had a solid 6" group at a hundred yards, high & left. He told me he couldn't shoot any longer because his shoulder was sore. Because he was using a .300 Win Mag, would you have considered him an ethical hunter?

Here's another fact: I ought to be drawn for a trophy bull elk area this year. I've been applying for over 20 years. This area produces 400+ bulls, and some consider it the best trophy bull unit in the nation. I will hunt with a .270 Win. I know biology. If I put a .270 Win bullet in the right place, an elk is going to die. That is a biological fact. I am not stupid. I will not risk losing a once-in-a-lifetime trophy elk by using an inferior caliber. If you were to put a bullet from a super mag in a poor spot, your animal might die, but you'll probably needle it & won't recover it.

How would you suppose our hunting forefathers managed to kill everything in North America with surplus .303 British, .30-40 Krag, & 7x57 surplus rifles? Were they unethical? What about hunters who had to cope sans super magnums?

Mark, caliber does not make a hunter ethical. Hunting skills -to include-shooting skills- do.

One last point: my personal opinion in that the 7MM Rem Mag is the best long range hunting cartridge ever invented. However, it will not kill any better than a .270 Win. It's all about putting a bullet where it needs to be.
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Old January 7, 2014, 01:02 AM   #27
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OP,

Here's a link that might help you: http://www.eastmans.com/forum/showth...-rifle-caliber
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Old January 7, 2014, 01:59 AM   #28
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your 270 will be fine, what you need to ask yourself is that at a range that requires a large magnum round are you even capable of scoring a hit? I hunt elk with a 300 weatherby mag which unless I'm mistaken is currently the hardest hitting 30 cal currently available. I download my hunting loads to 300 win mag velocities because it kills my shoulder to fire standard velocity ammo. this year I shot my elk in the head and the bullet traveled all the way down the neck and out through the back of the front shoulder, well over 2 feet of solid muscle and bone penetration. you just do not need that kind of energy most of the time.

now, if you are planning on an african hunt I highly suggest 45/70. it is not a particularly strong long range cartridge but it is very versatile. if you handload you can run anything from bird shot to round balls to 600gr slugs. it is common practice on african hunts to hunt with the biggest slowest bullet you can find and a 600gr bullet fired from a 45/70 is about as good as it gets.
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Old January 7, 2014, 06:18 AM   #29
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People can skate around the ethics of shooting proper calibers using all kinds of instances where things either went right or wrong. A lot can be debated on the subject, but it comes down to some basics....use enough caliber to get the job done humanely. The majority of the time, smaller calibers will work just fine, but when a bullet strikes an animal at a slightly wrong angle or hits an unexpected shoulder bone you want enough bullet to penetrate and kill cleanly. Shooting at animals with smaller calibers just to prove it can be done is foolish. A person on this forum was touting the .357 125 gr as a deer killer because it destroyed the liver of his deer......that is very close to a gut shot as far as I am concerned, and often times gut shots run off to die somewhere else. This proves nothing to me about the killing ability of a small caliber. I love the .270, but if the situation calls for more caliber, by all means use it.
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Old January 7, 2014, 09:17 AM   #30
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OP,

Here is a link to a story about a hunter who killed a 390+ bull elk at better than 500 yards using a .257 Wby Mag: http://www.hightopoutfitters.com/for...php?f=22&t=175 There was nothing unethical about this hunter's ability to kill an authentic trophy with a cartridge that some might opine as inferior.

The point of this link is that you might not need to step up from your .270 Winchester. The .257 Wby Mag is an excellent cartridge, but then again, so is the .270 Win.

There is more to choosing a big game rifle than a cursory look at ballistic tables. I prefer bullet momentum to velocity. I prefer to look at impact velocity rather than muzzle velocity. But none of it matters if I'm unable to place a bullet where it needs to be.

99% of the time I won't say a word about what rifle another hunter uses. Many hunters would be quick to dismiss a 120 grain bullet fired from a .257 Wby as ineffective elk medicine. The bull in the photo found at the link didn't think it was ineffective.

Keep in mind that biological science and not emotion controls our sport. If you can destroy an animal's heart and/or lungs, it will die. And it won't go far before dying.

I'll leave you with the following. Forty years ago, when I took up the sport of big game hunting, I bought a Model 700 .270 Win. Later, when I wanted to hunt elk, I bought a 7MM Rem Mag because it was the definitive elk cartridge. I must of been a lot smarter than than I am now. If I were accorded a life do-over, I'd buy only one big game rifle: a good quality .280 Rem & hunt everything with it and never look back. But that is me. You'll have to do what's right for you.
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Old January 7, 2014, 10:18 AM   #31
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IMO, FWIW, a fella with a .270 oughta spend the new-rifle money on ammo and practice shooting from field positions on targets out at 300 or 400 yards.
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Old January 7, 2014, 10:48 AM   #32
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@ SansSouci

I never said a .270 would "bounce" off an elk at 400 yards. That is just silly. The hunter that can properly place a bullet at 400 yards is rare, and with a .270, it does need proper placement at that range. We can all talk about "shooting skill" and placing the shot properly, but when it comes to elk, in the field, stuff changes! I have hunted with guys who have killed literally over a hundred deer, some at very long ranges, and the elk just un-nerved them to no end. Furthermore, the "restraint" goes out the window and the yardages get pushed beyond reasonable. When we are talking elk, and precision and 400 yards, maybe a few hunters in 100 possess the skill, much less the equipment, to place the bullet as precisely as needed to make the elk DRT with a .270 past 300 yards. Wounded deer go 100 yards or so with a fatal, but not DRT hit, the same type of hit on an elk, I have personally tracked for more than 5 miles. They are large and tough. A .223 through a whitetail is probably similar to a .270 through an elk. In my experience, a .270 past about 300 yards, even with a perfect hit, will not reliably anchor elk right there. Based on the terrain and weather in most places in WY, MT and CO, that equates to a long track and in many cases, no filling of the tag. When we look at elk, it is clear that the VAST majority are killed inside 300 yards, and I have no issue with that in general with a .270. There is certainly something to be said about bullets. In my experience, just asking hunters what they are using, the majority are shooting 130 grains in the .270, because it shoots flatter. I'd much rather they use 150s in a well made bullet, but again, this goes to experience and most hunters coming from other states use the same bullets they hunt deer with.

As for the guy from Georgia, yes, I knew the game wardens, and yes, the bullets went into the lungs. Based on the hunters statements and the physical evidence, yes, I do believe that if the elk had been 200 yards or closer, or had he been using more gun, or had he been more experienced, the chances increase significantly that he would have only shot one elk. He stopped at 6 because one finally fell down. Sure they died, but it took a long time, and some covered several miles before they bled out.

If you read some of the accounts of 3rd party journalists that were with people shooting elk and bison in the early 1900s, you will quickly understand that there was a LOT of wounded game unrecovered. But like fishermen whose fish are always bigger, hunters don't write about their failures.

I'll just say this...while you have been waiting 20 years, I have been killing 1 or 2 elk a year and going 3 or 4 times a year for those same 20 years. On an average year, I see 5 or 6 elk shot in person every year. With that experience, it is clear that larger calibers kill elk much more effectively in the DRT fashion that those in the 24 to 27 caliber range. Discount that if you want.

I wish you luck in Northern New Mexico (if that is where you are headed), but the terrain and weather there is nowhere near as rugged as the more northern RM Elk terrain. The guides are phenomenal and they know the area and the elk habits like the back of their hand. Part of their skill is calming the hunter and getting them into a better position so all you really have to do is pull the trigger.

The .257 link, again, a hunter WITH a guide who provided the hunting skill, and a less rugged terrain than CO, WY or MT. One story from a 2007 hunt does not make it right. You all can keep posting stories of elk shot with .243s, 257s, 264s and 270s, but I ask, how many people will post about the elk they shot that they did not recover? NONE, but it happens EVERY day of every rifle season in Colorado. I have several personal friends who are paid guides and their sentiments are fairly close to mine in this area.
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Old January 7, 2014, 11:03 AM   #33
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I shot an 8-point (whitetail) 3 years ago at 385 yards. He was standing in front of my 400-yards targets, so I knew the range rather easily. The bullet (140-grain Hornady BTSP) entered and traversed the chest, but lodged beneath the skin on the far side. At 250 yards or less, I have no doubt the bullet wold have exited, yielding a much better blood trail. I would not hesitate to shoot another at 400 yards, but I realize from experience that the bullet loses a lot of "hmph" at that range. On an elk, it would only be worse.
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Old January 7, 2014, 02:17 PM   #34
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The first hunting rifle i bought is a .308 because I knew i was hunting deer but I also knew i wanted to hunt elk in the future- hell id love a moose hunt. I'm thinking about getting .270 because i have dies and componets to make a couple hundred rounds. Any reason to buy another gun...
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Old January 7, 2014, 06:25 PM   #35
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I've killed a few (4) elk with a .270 Win, will it work past 400 yards? Sure it will, like MarkCO said bullet placement is everything. However, bullet placement is everything as well regardless of the powder column size and projectile diameter. A bad shot on elk regardless of cartridge used will result in a chase and possibly a lost animal.

400+ yard shots are the exception and not the norm, even here in Colorado. The majority of the time you can cut the distance down considerably if you're patient. Though there is no reason not to practice for those shots, and no reason to think the .270 with a properly constructed bullet isn't up to the task.

The cost of buying a new rifle like the Savage Axis, Ruger American, or a Remington 783 and slapping on a cheap $200 scope, will more than cover the cost for an out of state bull tag in Colorado. A $1200-1500 rifle costs about as much as a DIY hunt on public land, gas and meals included coming from TX. All you have to do is ask yourself do I want to invest in a rifle or do I invest in a hunt?

Me I love rifles and I love shooting, as well as hunting. However if I'd spent less money on trying different things and held fast to my .270 I probably wouldn't have needed to work as much to do the hunts I've been able to do. Do I regret buying the rifles? Sometimes I do, but when I can't hunt anymore I'll still get the pleasure of ownership and shooting them at the range.
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Old January 7, 2014, 07:09 PM   #36
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Let me say it a different way.

IF you are a very skilled shooter, and practice, and are patient and know woods craft, and know elk, and use a 150 grain bullet made for big game, I would not consider you ill equipped, nor unethical with a .270 out to maybe 400 yards. If you fit in this group, you won't ask for advice and you would be in the top 5% of hunters. However, I would assert that 50% of hunters "think" that they are in this group.

If you are a new elk hunter with a box of 20 used for sight in through your spankin' new .270 and tell me you plan to shoot a bull elk at 400 yards, you ought not to be allowed to buy a tag.

Most new elk hunters will more closely fit into the second group than the first. When we post "advice" on the internet, people take that advice and use it. Rarely do the authors of such "advice" consider their audience. In this case, I have made an attempt to do so.

The new guy who knows his limitations, and is willing to work on those over the years, sure, a .270 is a great NA cartridge. For those 80 percenters who think they are the 5 percenters, that is where we get wounded and unrecovered animals.
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Old January 8, 2014, 08:56 AM   #37
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I think a 280 Remington would be a good choice
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Old January 8, 2014, 12:20 PM   #38
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Quote:
If you are a new elk hunter with a box of 20 used for sight in through your spankin' new .270 and tell me you plan to shoot a bull elk at 400 yards, you ought not to be allowed to buy a tag.
you know I really hate comments like this. my first kill shot was on a tiny little whitetail doe at 300 yards. it was last light of last day of the season and I was desperate but standing free hand I split her heart into two pieces. the heart of a 90LB whitetail doe at 300 is a hell of a lot smaller than the kill zone of an elk at 400. but apparently I should not have been allowed to buy a tag that year. if experience was the criteria for buying tags then nobody would ever be allowed to purchase because you have to get your experience from somewhere.

growing up in the badlands of montana, my older brother was forced to start hunting in places that required 500 to 600 yard shots on deer. he can make those shots with his eyes closed. I can't but he can and we both started with the same skill level. a good hunter develops his own style over time, not whatever the hunters ed instructor tells him to be and sure as hell not what joe schmoe from the firing line says.

now on the same side of that coin, who are you to assume that a person that is new to hunting is also new to firearms? most people in the military are not gun people, you have to show some level of proficiency with them but they aren't all that into them and sometimes a persona that has never held a gun in their life enlists and thinks that shooting and hunting would be fun. they have proficiency without the experience. you have no idea how long the OP has been shooting and what his skillsets are so before you confiscate his tag I would suggest looking a little deeper into just what he is capable of in the first place.
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Old January 8, 2014, 01:46 PM   #39
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And you underscore my point. Elk are not deer for one. If you knew you could ethically take the shot you did, then you HAD EXPERIENCE! Third, what is preventing anyone from taking their rifle to the range and practicing?

When I have new hunters, I take them to the range usually 3 or 4 times, with 50 rounds of ammo, and they learn shooting, range estimation and some ballistics. When I had my 12 year old out this year, I never let him use a rangefinder, but I had him estimate ranges 20 or 30 times a day, then gave him what I thought and what the rangefinder said. That is experience too. Appleseed is a great way to learn too. Experience has many levels, the person who fires their first round at a game animal can be very experienced, heck more so than a 20 year deer hunter with heads on the wall...but 20 rounds is not experience. Don't read more into my words than what the words say.
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Old January 8, 2014, 04:10 PM   #40
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Why are you guys even arguing about the effectiveness of .270 Win, here?

The OP was seeking input on ANOTHER rifle to back up the .270, not a discussion of its efficacy.


What's going on here, is something like a customer walking into a boat dealership, and asking which cruiser would be best for him. But, the salesmen get into their own argument about the capabilities of the engine in the boat he already owns!
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Old January 8, 2014, 09:44 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankenMauser View Post
Why are you guys even arguing about the effectiveness of .270 Win, here?



The OP was seeking input on ANOTHER rifle to back up the .270, not a discussion of its efficacy.

Thanks FrankenMauser
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Old January 8, 2014, 11:31 PM   #42
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You have a decent long range gun. I would look in to a short range large caliber such as a 444, 45-70 or 450, may be even a 50AK

But thats just me.
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Old January 9, 2014, 11:35 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franken Mauser
Why are you guys even arguing about the effectiveness of .270 Win, here?

The OP was seeking input on ANOTHER rifle to back up the .270, not a discussion of its efficacy.
Because he wrote this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by hopeisnotastrategy
I had originally considered my 270 great for hunting elk, but I'm beginning to rethink that. 200 yards and under I think I'm fine, but I'll be in Montana and Colorado where the shots could be longer so I'm thinking I need an option with more energy at longer ranges.
That is the whole reason the discussion on the .270 Win was started.

In the real world the 7mm RM doesn't offer you anything better than the .270 unless you hand load. The .300 WM is only better than the .270/7mm RM as long as you're using 180 grain bullets or heavier with high BC's, making it a true LR rifle. The .338 WM is really a .30-06 on steroids, same trajectory as a 180 grain 30-06 but with a 250 grain bullet. The .338 WM isn't a true LR rifle, but really shines at 500 yards or less.

The OP is talking possibly about Africa, the .270 will take all the plains game a guy could want to shoot. So none of his choices are any better than his .270. If dangerous game is ever in the future he'd be better off with a 9.3X62, .375 H&H or Ruger than a 7mm RM, .300 Win, or .338 Win. However, none of those are true LR cartridges as well and best used inside of 400 yards.
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Old January 9, 2014, 03:41 PM   #44
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The last line of your second quote is the important bit, there:
"....so I'm thinking I need an option with more energy at longer ranges."

More energy.

Honestly, this sounds like just what he's looking for....
Quote:
...
The .338 WM is really a .30-06 on steroids, same trajectory as a 180 grain 30-06 but with a 250 grain bullet.
...
Similar trajectory, sure (depending on the ballistic coefficients) ... but with more energy.
Even a 225 gr Interbond in .338 WM, fired at the same velocity as a 180 gr Interbond in '06, has 34% more energy at 500 yards and 39% more energy at 750 yards. (A generic 250 gr comes in at 34% / 30%.)
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Old January 9, 2014, 04:27 PM   #45
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Like I said it's on steroids, more energy and larger frontal diameter. There all things I like as well all that being said there are theories about minimums needed to kill efficiently. One thing is for sure, no one has came out with a definitive answer yet on energy and bullet diameter needed to kill game of any size.

As to weather or not the OP needs a .338 Win or not, that's a huge step up in felt recoil from a .270 Win. Which might require a heavier rifle, which isn't fun to carry in the mountains, or some other form of recoil mitigation to allow him to shoot it well might be in order. I'm not saying that the OP can't handle the .338 Win from the start, just that most people have to learn to shoot it well. I still remember going from the .338-06 and .35 Whelen to the .375 Ruger, talk about an eye opener. I've learned to shoot it, and have killed game with it, but I'm still far from proficient with it when comparing it to how well I shoot some of my other rifles.
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Old January 9, 2014, 07:53 PM   #46
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Hi MarkCO,

Thanks for your wishing me success on my hoped-for elk hunt. I hope to be hunting in one of Utah's best elk units. I do have an excellent shot at being drawn. But since it is a random drawing, luck will play a part.

I know that you're aware of the huge, trophy bulls Utah has been producing. Here's an article about the best states for trophy elk, Utah ranking number 1: http://huntingthewest.wordpress.com/...or-trophy-elk/

Now back on point: I have recently become aware of Nosler's new line of Accubond Long Range Bullets. The 175 grain .284 offering looks impressive. I plan to do some testing with it. It does seem to hold substantial advantage over the .270. If it works well for me, I'll take my 7MM Rem Mag.
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Old January 9, 2014, 11:56 PM   #47
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^The author of that article makes some good points, but I think stretching out to a state gets you to Utah while looking at some trophy hot spots takes you elsewhere.

I thought you would be looking here: http://www.jicarillahunt.com/elk_hunting, but there are at least 10 or so other hot spots in the RM region that produce record class bulls.

I've been using the Accubond for a few years now. They work very well.
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Old January 10, 2014, 12:08 AM   #48
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Hi Mark,

The San Carlos Reservation has excellent trophy hunting as well, but the cost is prohibitive.

Arizona has huge mule deer and elk. Drawing a tag in great areas is difficult at best.

I have hunted Utah for decades. I've been keeping a close eye on elk killed in various trophy areas. About ten years ago I almost used my bonus points in an area that has huge trophies. Before I did I learned of better areas that were harder to draw. But I'm glad I waited. The difficult part is drawing a tag. But I ought to have a good chance this year.

I'd rather have a chance at a once-in-a-lifetime trophy that kill a big bull in an area that's easier to draw.

I am going to give Nosler's new Accubond Long Range bullets. Thanks for your advice.
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Old January 10, 2014, 10:02 AM   #49
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Sounds like a plan, and good luck.

Colorado rack sizes have been down the last 5 to 6 years, but they are coming back up. The animals we harvested this year were fatter and healthier than any I have seen. With the drought over and the water more available, 2014 should produce some new records. I can only assume that the same is true of Utah, MT and WY.
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Old January 10, 2014, 08:54 PM   #50
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rifle choices

There is still a drought for prime elk areas of Wyoming. I am praying for snow.


There is no substitute for field practice and woodsmanship, no matter what rifle choice, but I am all for stopping power be it from bullet choice or rifle choice. Elk are extremely tough. I had a bull broadside at 250 yards. I put three into him, a little high but still in the lungs, and he strolled off like it was nothing. My heart sank. He went about 100 yards before he went over, but he made it to some pretty thick brush and timber and I was afraid I wouldn't find him or worse I had just wounded him. I don't want to do that again. That was with a 30-06 with 180 grain bullets. I know people that use a .270 and have had a lot of success, but I vote for as much as you can handle for elk. I have shot a .338 and it makes me flinchy. I am not comfortable using that big yet. You still have to be able to hit something. The others I have no experience with.

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