View Full Version : Rifle for First time hunter 5'2" 120lbs for Elk

January 6, 2008, 12:31 AM
Can you help me out with suggestions for my wife? First time elk hunting and she is new to shooting. Have started with handguns .22 9mm and .38. Have not moved to rifles yet. I only have a .3006. Need to find something for her. Maybe a .308 that I load light.

January 6, 2008, 12:52 AM
I'd say go with a semi-auto to help soak up the recoil. .308/30-06/.300 would be good choices and many autoloaders come in those calibers. If she takes the time to practice then why not try a muzzleloader in .50 cal. I have shot muzzleloaders from the bench and I dont feel a thing in the recoil department. Granted I was using 100 grains with a 245 grain bullet, but i just can't see why so many people say muzzy's kick more. Iv'e shot a .243 standing up that felt worse than my bench muzzy.

January 6, 2008, 01:01 AM
I would suggest looking for a Remington Model 6 youth in a 7mm-08 or a .243 Win. Ruger makes that short youth rifle too. I would be careful to get her a rifle that physically fits her and at 5'2'' she has a pretty short throw. Either one of these two calibers would be plenty. If money is no object take a look at those M85 Sako's. Fantastic rifles.


January 6, 2008, 01:05 AM
If she is recoil sensitive I have have it on good authority from a few friends who have hunted elk that many of the smaller calibers work fine on them as long as she is careful about shot placement .

I am talking to a friend as I type this that has taken Elk with a 243 , all one shot kills in the 250-300 yard range and his father spent his entire life doing the same with the same gun .

Try a 25-06 , 257 Roberts , 7mm-08 or if she can handle it a 270 .

All three of the first listed will do the job out to 3-350 yards with the correct bullet selection and the 270 even farther .

Back in the 70 and 80's one of Guns n Ammos popular writers Bob Milek said his son used only a 25-06 for all of his big game hunts out west Elk and Mule Deer were always what they were after .

January 6, 2008, 03:39 AM
6.5x55 Swede might fit the bill.

Not many people get introduced to rifles with a high power bolt action.
Having this lady shoot Elk right off the bat requires a pretty steep learning curve. I'd suggest a couple thousand rounds through a .22 first.
Given enough training and she might be fine with your .30-06. Without enough training the "perfect" rifle won't work for her.

Art Eatman
January 6, 2008, 10:52 AM
The fit of the rifle is the most important thing. Next would be to replace an "average" recoil pad with one that's really soft.

Whatever brand's aesthetics please her, within reason as to cost, is a starting point. Stocks can be shortened.

Cartridge? I guess for now I'd recommend a 7mm08. 14- or 150-grain bullet.

Scope? No point in going overboard. A fixed four-power is as good as is NEEDED. And, it holds the total weight down some. (I use 3x9x40 variables, just like a helluva lot of folks, but I don't kid myself that it's more a matter of "I want" rather than "I need".)

And a lot of time with an inexpensive bolt-action .22 rimfire for training/learning/practice.


January 6, 2008, 11:12 AM
Having hunted elk, you must realize that they are almost as big as a horse. I would NOT recommend anything smaller than a .270. A .243 is simply too small for anything but a perfect shot, which can be difficult in the field. Not saying it is impossible, but I wouldn't recommend it. Should be nothing wrong with a 7mm-08. Whichever it is, make sure that you let her in on the decision, she will probably be happier with it.

January 6, 2008, 05:36 PM
I agree with the 7mm-08 on this one since you stated Elk was in the hunt. 140+ grain bullets would be as light as I'd go and I'd use a bullet like the Noserler Partition or other premium bullet for elk. If you are going to load down a .308 for her you might as well have matching .30-06's as you can load that down as well to around .30-30 levels. Plus she can work up to heavier loads as she becomes accustomed to shooting the rifle.

January 6, 2008, 05:45 PM
Silly me I saw this same question on the rifle forum and thought that I'd not replied here.
My longer answer is there.

January 6, 2008, 07:31 PM
I would limit it to two choices of chamberings. 7mm08 and 7x57 Mauser(both proven penetrators with lots of bullet choices.) The 08 if you don't reload and Mauser if you do.
The Remington model 6 or any other youth bolt gun is a good choice or...
TC encore with a short light barrel.(these compensate for short arms)
Add a comp(maybe) and a limbsaver pad.
Start off with some low reciol rounds.
Mount the scope low with leopold bases and rings

January 6, 2008, 08:03 PM
In my very humble opinion, elk are big, wily creatures. I never went with my dad during rifle season, but I shot with a camera on four bow hunts with my best friend and his family of elk archers. They are hard to come by, dangerous on the charge, and I believe they generally require a higher skill level of hunting prowess (including situation awareness and firearm skill) than hunting for mule deer and whitetail.

If my significant other (if I had one) had never been hunting and was new to firearms, I would NOT take her on an elk hunt. I'd start out with deer or even something smaller if it's available in your area. Antelope on the plains of Wyoming might also be a bad first hunt considering the ranges involved and the Pronghorn's general skittishness.

I'd start a novice hunter on small, close-range deer and work up. I wouldn't start out on Bighorn or Dall Sheep, and I certainly wouldn't start out on elk.

For what it's worth. :o

January 6, 2008, 09:04 PM
I never went with my dad during rifle season, but I shot with a camera on four bow hunts with my best friend and his family of elk archers. They are hard to come by, dangerous on the charge, and I believe they generally require a higher skill level of hunting prowess (including situation awareness and firearm skill) than hunting for mule deer and whitetail.

I'd sure love to see that camera footage of a dangerous elk on the charge. I've hunted elk a few years now and I've never seen one charge anything other than another elk during the rut or maybe a predator. They might run you over trying to get away but charge someone? Well I guess anything could happen.:rolleyes:

Why not an elk for the first hunt, they have a larger vital area than a deer or pronghorn. They are not any harder to kill than a deer or a pronghorn if you shoot them in the right spot. Honestly I've never had one go more than 20-30 yards after I've shot one with proper shot placement. Punch them in the boiler room and you will have elk steaks for dinner. There are quite a few hunters out there who cut their teeth on elk. Truthfully I think hunting pronghorn needs a higher degree of firearm skill than hunting elk but that is another story.

If you are doing an elk hunt on your own on public lands then you will need a moderate degree of physical skill. You need to be in pretty decent shape and have plenty of endurance. Even then I've seen some pretty out of shape guys get an elk down, but it almost killed them to haul it out.

The truth is if gga357 gets his wife a rifle with the energy a 7mm-08, 7X57, or .270 delivers and she gets plenty of range time she can get an elk down no problem if they see one. The problems always arise after you get one down and the work begins. I say go for it all the way, and post pictures when your wife gets her elk.

January 7, 2008, 11:23 AM
+1 on .257 Roberts, especially if you reload. As stated, shot placement is key, but that goes for any caliber.

Biggest elk killed that I actually know the person was my hunting buddy's mom killing a monster bull with one shot from a .257 Roberts. That is the sweetest shooting rifle I have ever had the pleasure of shooting.

January 7, 2008, 11:51 AM
I'd be more worried about posting her weight on the internet than recoil....:D

But a .308 should be fine, you can even download a 30-06.

January 7, 2008, 11:53 PM
Once again 7mm-08 with Premium bullets.

January 9, 2008, 04:16 PM
.30-06. No light loads, just teach her to hold it tight and it won't move on her too much. She's married, right? Anyone tough enough to marry is tough enough to handle a .30-06.

January 9, 2008, 06:01 PM
Get her to shoot some long guns first before buying...Got a shotgun? go shoot some skeet. get her used to the idea of recoil. Alot of people assume that women can't handle recoil, when actually the contrary is true. My wife shoots a 7 mm rem mag w/ no fear whatsoever. I'm not saying yours will. See what she can tolerate. if you have friends w/ rifles, try to get them and pull off a few shots. I shot my first deer at age 9 sitting on my dad's lap w/ his 270. I was probably 70lbs soaking wet tops. My suggestion would be a 260, 270, 25-06 (w/ 120 gr.) or 7mm rem mag, or 7mm-08 w/ a 140 gr. BTSP.
You may even consider the new 338 Federal, which is essentially a necked up '06. I shot one last weekend, and loved it. Recoil was suprisingly light. It is not a magnum, so not to be confused w/ the 338 mag.

January 9, 2008, 06:41 PM
The 7x57 is the "traditional" low recoil big game cartridge; a 175 grain bullet at original velocity will do the trick on elk.

For something more modern, a BAR (The sporting Browning, not the military version!) has an action that soaks up quite a bit of recoil; add a soft and thick recoil pad (possibly after shortening the buttstock to fit your wife) and a muzzle brake, and the .30/06 becomes pretty soft shooting.

January 9, 2008, 06:55 PM
two posters have suggested the remington model 6 which is a single shot .22, maybe they mean a model 7 i dunno?