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Old May 25, 2008, 11:09 PM   #6
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Join Date: November 18, 2005
Location: On the Santa Fe Trail
Posts: 7,869
In Colorado the minimum caliber for all big game is the .243/6mm, There is a grain restriction for bullets on elk which IIRC is 90 grains. All rifle cartridges must have a minimum of 1000 ft-lbs of energy at 100 yards to be legal as well. Most States with elk have a similar caliber restrictions, but there are States out there Oregon and Montana again IIRC it is perfectly legal to hunt elk with .22 caliber center fire rifle.

Like I said the .243 isn't an ideal caliber but there is nothing reckless or irresponsible in using one as long as the hunter realizes and works within the calibers limitations. You can't rely on the .243 to break heavy bone or travel end to end on an elk. A properly constructed bullet it will penetrate and take out the lungs or spine as long as you choose your shot wisely and are patient and have a broad side or slightly quartering shot. Again the problem with the .243 is that there are no hunting bullets made heavier than 100 grains that are commercially available.

The parent cartridge of the .243 is the .308 and it is considered marginal on the low end for elk, especially in the hands of someone who doesnt know what they are up against.
W.C., I don't know where you have heard that the .308 is marginal for elk. I think it is a great elk cartridge, loaded with a good 180 grain bullet the largest elk on the planet doesn't stand a chance to a well placed shot by the .308 Win. Where I think the true elk cartridges begin are with the .270 Win and up, I'm perfectly comfortable in using my .270 on any elk out to 300 yards. Plus if the .308 is marginal then so would be the proven elk killer the .30-06.

Plus I'd rather have a first time elk hunter show up with his/her favorite deer rifle in my camp than a new magnum rifle he/she thought they needed for elk. Sure elk are tough and as long as you don't shoot one that has already on the move and has the adrenalin flowing just about any deer caliber rifle will bring an elk down. Some favorites of people I know are the 7mm-08, .257 Roberts, and the .25-06 and they have success rates enough to prove they are not marginal on elk at all.

I'm afraid this will degrade into another "Is the .223 adequate for deer" post.
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