View Full Version : What Caliber Is Right

October 22, 2007, 09:28 PM
I"ve Been A Bow Hunter All My Life.(58 Yrs) I Now Want To Hunt With A Rifle. I Would Like To Know What Caliber Rife Would Be Most Appropriate For Hunting Elk And Mule Deer. I Would Like The Smallest Caliber Possible Yet Have Enough Power As To Not Worry.


October 22, 2007, 09:30 PM
.270 Winchester would be the smallest caliber I'd use since you mentioned elk. I've used it on elk and wouldn't be afraid to use it again. I like 150 grain Nosler partitions for elk and pretty much any 130 grain soft point will work for deer.

October 22, 2007, 09:37 PM
.270 winchester or .280 remington.

October 22, 2007, 10:00 PM
6.5x55 or up, although I tend to agree with the above recommendations as a better solution for elk.

October 22, 2007, 10:52 PM
.30-06. There has not been anything invented which can do the job better in a wider variety of situations.

October 23, 2007, 01:09 PM
+1 on the -06 as my preference, but I freely admit that is the "love of my life" caliber. Never even dated another caliber....

October 23, 2007, 01:37 PM
If you get comfortable with the rifle and become a sure shot, I would say 257 Roberts would be a good choice. It will bring either of those two critters down pretty easily. Past that, 270 would be a good choice, -06 is versatile, and a little bigger.

I would say given everything you offered on info, 257 or the 270 will suite just fine.


October 23, 2007, 01:38 PM
280,270,06 will do great!

October 23, 2007, 02:04 PM
OK, the caliber I have a crush on is the .257 Roberts, mentioned by Full-choke.

October 23, 2007, 03:13 PM
I don't like the .257 calibers for elk for the simple reason they don't make a heavier than 120 grain loads. Plus I have to make a cut off some where or I'd go all the way down to a .243/6mm caliber with 80 grain bullet because that is the minimum I can hut with legally in Colorado as long has it has 1000 lb of energy at 100 yards.

Geoff Timm
October 23, 2007, 04:48 PM
Elk to mule deer?

Gotta be .30-06. 220 gr for Elk and 150 - 125 gr for deer. No other cartridge has the range of bullet weights easily available.

Who uses .308, but I don't go looking for elk. :D

October 23, 2007, 04:53 PM
Geoff - 220 gr -06 for elk? Back in the day, I know that was the round, but with the performance of premium bullets now, 180 or even 165s will do just fine. Again, that is premium bullets.

Biggest elk I have ever seen killed was killed by a single shot from a .257 Bob.

October 23, 2007, 05:35 PM
Again, that is premium bullets.

BINGO, many cartridges that were unable to take large game decades ago now have a new lease in life due to modern bullet design. Just don't tell that the Scandinavian folk. They've been doing it for the last hundred years with what many here might consider "sub" guns.

October 23, 2007, 05:52 PM
I'd go 270. The ammo is common enough you can find it most places, and its not too expensive. I'm one who tends to err on the small side when it comes to rifles. I personally wouldnt go any bigger than 30-06 unless you've got a trip to Africa in your near future.

Also... If youre a bow hunter, you're used to stalking close and making close range shots, I assume? If so, consider the 30-30! Its got plenty of power for mulies and elk within its range. Its quick to shoot, lightweight, leverguns to me are some of the most comfortable rifles to shoulder and shoot as well. Expect hunting ammo for it to be 2/3 to 1/2 the price of the 270 or 30-06

October 23, 2007, 07:01 PM
First Of All I'd Like To Think Everybody For There Input On What Caliber I Might Use. I Have Access To The 270, 30-30 And The 30-06. I Guess I Will Be Spending Some Time Shooting At A Shooting Range To See What Gun I Can Handle The Best. Again, To Everybody, Thanks For Your Time And Thoughts.


October 24, 2007, 04:57 AM

October 24, 2007, 05:39 AM
LILTIKI said it like a experenced hunter......................

He's going to take 3 guns to the range, all of which are up to the task at hand, and then he is going to do a very reasonable thing.

He's going to "see what gun I can handle the best."

Talk about a sound approach to the question........................!

October 24, 2007, 07:03 AM
If you still love the challenge of bowhunting but not the complexity of it, do what I did and take up handgun hunting. Great challenge and the blood trails are a lot shorter!;)

October 24, 2007, 07:26 PM
If I wanted the lightest-kicking rifle that I'd still feel 100% confident with, I'd take my 7mm-08 loaded with the best premium bonded bullet I could get.

.270 win is almost ballistically identical and is a lot more common in backwoods grocery stores.

October 24, 2007, 10:01 PM
I've talked with a Dad @ work who's twelve-year old took an Elk with a .243.

Can your shoulder stand the recoil of an 30-06 or above?

What caliber allows you keep all shots on a paper plate @ max range e.g.: 10, 150 or 200???

Jack O'Connor love and promoted the .270 Win, based on the 30-06 case,
look at the list from RCBS 30-06 leads the most popular caliber, meaning it will be readily available, 30/30 has been used on Elk but placement and range are critical.
The Swede's use the 6.5X55Mauser on Moose, again its placement.
Tell us more, so we can refine this.

PS, I use nothing but .308Win, not able to try Elk this year but will next.

October 24, 2007, 11:46 PM
a .30-06's recoil is not bad, you can buy bullets anywhere for it, it has a wider selection of bullets than any other caliber AND it will take down ALL North American game animals. need I explain more?

October 25, 2007, 05:39 PM
Could stop a gobblin

October 25, 2007, 06:38 PM
I agree with the .270 win being the least I would use and not have to worry about it being underpowered. It is a great choice for elk and mule deer. Excellent long range performance and it deliveres a lot of energy.
I do however preffer the 30-06 even over the fantastic .270 because it does have that slight edge as it produces similar ballistics but with slightly larger and heavier bullets. And if you can shoot the .270 comfortably you probably wont notice a difference when shooting the 06.

Jack O'Conner
October 25, 2007, 06:49 PM
My wife is very fussy about recoil. But she does real well with a Browning BLR I had re-barreled to 6.5mm Swede. Within 275 yards accuracy and trajectory are about the same as 7mm-08 or 270 . The 140 grain bullet is a deep penetrator and hits harder than charts would suggest.

I'm no fan of recoil either. .308 has been a keeper for me!

Hope this is helpful.


October 25, 2007, 07:11 PM
The 140 grain bullet is a deep penetrator and hits harder than charts would suggest.

A nice, high sectional density will do that on deep chested game.

October 25, 2007, 07:42 PM
.270 Win will work fine for elk with a 150gr or deer with the 130gr. Funny thing, back in the day(1894 or there 'bouts) a lot of elk fell to the little 'ol 30/30 Win. Still, I'd go with an '06 based ctg. (25-06, 270, 280, 30-06, 35 Whelen) and not look back.