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Old September 6, 2018, 10:32 PM   #26
Wyosmith
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I prefer a good 165 or 180 in 308 and 30-06, but 3 seasons ago the way things worked out (long story) I ended up using my Mossberg MVP 18.5" 308 with hand loaded 150 grain Winchester Power points and I was surprised at how well they retained their weight, I killed a cow, my wife killed a cow and 2 friends killed cows all with that rifle, all with the same ammo and all bullets but 2 exited the elk. One of the bullets I did recover weights 129 grains and one weighed 131. Overall, that was equal to what I expect from Nosler partitions. So I would not tell anyone that you need a heavier bullet in a 308 then a 150. Sure, I would still use a 180 if I was going to go buy some for the elk hunt, but if the bullet will retain all but about 20 grains you would probably be well off with a 150 too.

My first 2 that I always buy are the Nosler Partitions and the Accubonds now that I live in Wyoming. In the Selway Wilderness of Idaho (where I killed many of them,) I might go to the Barnes. If you hunt in dark timber and you know your impact speed will be at 2000FPS or higher the Barnes is maybe the best, but they don't open up much (or any) at impact velocities much below 2000 FPS.
Choose your bullet based on where you hunt.
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Old September 9, 2018, 08:52 AM   #27
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Thanks everybody. I almost missed all these replies because I got no subscription notifications.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyosmith
I prefer a good 165 or 180 in 308 and 30-06, but 3 seasons ago the way things worked out (long story) I ended up using my Mossberg MVP 18.5" 308 with hand loaded 150 grain Winchester Power points and I was surprised at how well they retained their weight, I killed a cow, my wife killed a cow and 2 friends killed cows all with that rifle, all with the same ammo and all bullets but 2 exited the elk. One of the bullets I did recover weights 129 grains and one weighed 131. Overall, that was equal to what I expect from Nosler partitions. So I would not tell anyone that you need a heavier bullet in a 308 then a 150. Sure, I would still use a 180 if I was going to go buy some for the elk hunt, but if the bullet will retain all but about 20 grains you would probably be well off with a 150 too.

My first 2 that I always buy are the Nosler Partitions and the Accubonds now that I live in Wyoming. In the Selway Wilderness of Idaho (where I killed many of them,) I might go to the Barnes. If you hunt in dark timber and you know your impact speed will be at 2000FPS or higher the Barnes is maybe the best, but they don't open up much (or any) at impact velocities much below 2000 FPS.
Choose your bullet based on where you hunt.
Hi Wyosmith, I think I will try the new Remington ammo loaded with Barnes 168 grain slugs. I'm still fine tuning the point of impact at the range.
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Old September 9, 2018, 11:18 AM   #28
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I've heard good about Noslers ammo loaded up with their E-Tip.
Never really trusted Remington's proclaimed velocities. Have found them to be umm, not quite as fast as proclaimed.
Trying to be diplomatic....
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Old September 10, 2018, 06:06 PM   #29
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I got the Remington Barnes combo on paper satisfactorily, but wasn't thrilled with the grouping. I talked to a salesman at Sportsman's Warehouse, asking if he had any opinion on 308 hunting ammo. He suggested I give Federal's 165 grain Fusion ammo a try, so tomorrow morning that's what I will be doing.
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Old September 10, 2018, 07:33 PM   #30
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I would not give a salesperson at Sportsman's Warehouse any more credibility than a run of the mill poster here on TFL,and probably less.

I appreciate that you are doing your research.Are you paying as much attention to your boots?

Its good to begin with an adequate cartridge for your cow elk.The 308 fills that bill.

Folks have been using 30-40 Krag,30-06,300 savage,etc to cleanly take elk for a long time.
The ammo makers make good ammo for doing that.

The 308 does not challenge cup and core bullets the way a 3200 fps magnum does.Its tough to get a bullet to hold together from 3000 + fps down to expanding at 2000 fps. That iswhat the exotic bullets attempt to do.

Your 308 does not push the extremes. Cup and core old school bullets have killed a lot of elk.

Brother and I were asked about moderate recoil hunting ammo for a 14 yr old's elk,Weset him up with a 165 gr Ballistic tip out of a 308.The caveat was these bullets expand easily.They won't stem to stern an elk from every angle.

IF you select your shot ,if you are taking a through the ribs,heart lung shot,out to around 300 yds+,,,,,well,this kid got his clean,one shot kill,and did it again the next year.

I would not hesitate to use a 165 gr Ballistic Tip,,with good shot placement.

I'd use a Hornady,or a Speer,or a Sierra,too. Whatever is in a Remchester factory load will work.

Yes,its nice to find the most accurate ammo.But really,it does not matter on a 300 yd elk if you found the 1/2 MOA load or the 2 1/2 MOA load.

Obsessing about finding the "ultimate edge" is a waste of energy.Pick one. Most agree,between 165 and 180 gr.Buy enough you won't run short.

Practice. Your shooting is worth more than which bullet. You need "Good enough" ammo. You can't buy an edge that makes up for poor shot placement.With good shot placement,any good hunting load will work.

Get your knives sharp,take care of your boots,you have a map and compass?Is a scouting trip possible?

If you put a bullet behind the fore leg through the heart and lungs,it won't matter what color of a box it comes out of.

Know elk anatomy.Put on your X-ray eyes and see the organs inside the elk.

Good Hunting!!

Last edited by HiBC; September 10, 2018 at 07:38 PM.
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Old September 10, 2018, 07:44 PM   #31
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I have only killed two elk. A cow with a 54 caliber BP rifle and 405gr lead Lee Minnie and a bull with an 8mm Mauser with a 175gr sierra bullet. The cow was 40 yards away and the bull about 60 yards. No long range shots needed. An open sighted 30-30 would have done the job.

I thought killing them was easy. Its finding them thats so damn hard.

Good luck with your hunt.
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Old September 10, 2018, 08:35 PM   #32
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Supeformance 150 grain gmx solid copper bullets to be exact. Copper bullets hold together very well to get deep penetration.
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Old September 12, 2018, 06:19 AM   #33
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"I've heard good about Noslers ammo loaded up with their E-Tip. "
My use has been very limited but I'd want to keep the impact velocity right up there.

"Copper bullets hold together very well to get deep penetration."
In some cases maybe TOO deep as in pencil right through.
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Old September 12, 2018, 09:07 AM   #34
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The last trip out for sight in was a disaster. I went from 1/2" groups from the day before, to all over the paper. My friend that was spotting for me kept telling I was pulling my shots because he knew I was a better shot than that. Come to find out, the picatinny base that was installed at Dicks Sporting Goods had come loose. When I pulled it off, I found no trace of Loctite, so my thinking my gun not liking the Barnes Remington ammo was not factual.
In a nut shell, I will be starting over again from square one.
The good news is that I found a serious problem and corrected it. That, and I'm getting plenty trigger time.
PS, I have stopped shopping at Dicks over year ago due to their politics, so that is a moot issue.
To ratshooter, thanks for the good luck wish.
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Old September 13, 2018, 08:50 AM   #35
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I realize I'm painting with a broad brush,but there is no connection between being skilled or knowledgeable in a particular technical field and being assigned a retail position in a particular dept in a big box store.
Odds are good your skills and knowledge are as great as any retail help a the BigBox gun dept.

I asked for spark plugs at an Autozone once.Parts clerk asked me "Is it the diesel?" Now I hand them an NGK or Denso part number.

Sometimes you need a Doctor,or a Mechanic,or a Gunsmith.There are good reasons why.

I would not let the floor clerk at the WalMart pharmacy remove my appendix.
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Old September 14, 2018, 05:43 AM   #36
Jack O'Conner
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Typical size for a mature cow elk is 375 to 450 lbs. They're not armor plated at all despite what so-called expert gun writers like to write about. My .308 has downed several bulls with 180 grain Core-lokt ammo. None got away.

Jack
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Old September 14, 2018, 08:46 AM   #37
Wyosmith
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The focus in the OPs post is the word "best".
And I agree, you are always going to be "best" with an expanding bullet that exits the elk and the best way to get the deepest penetration is weight retention.
So if one set of bullets retains 90% or more of it's weight at striking velocity and another retain 80%, you can bet that if the bullets are of the same unfired weight and leave the barrel at the same velocity, and open to the same diameter, the one that is 90% when it stops is going to have a capability to go a bit deeper then the one that weights 80%

But if both exit the cow, the effects of the bullet HOLES are going to be identical. It's the bullet wound that kills, not the bullet itself!

So, with that fully acknowledged, I will point out a fact (which is a fact, not just an opinion) that in my 50 years of hunting elk, and guiding elk hunts, I have seen an awful lot of cows and bulls killed with 180 grain Winchester and Remington "plane vanilla" bullets and in the 180 grain weight, from both 30-06s and 308s, I have seen very few failures. I have seen a few, but I can remember only 3 Remingtons "fail" and all 3 went about 2 feet deep before they came apart. So far I have seen no Power Points fail.

I hand load, so I can use "the best" for my elk shooting,--- and I do. Because many of my friends load their own too, I also recommend Partition, Bonded or solid expanding bullets. But in total fairness, I have to say that the Power Point and the Core-Lokt bullets you can buy at Wal-Mart are as good for killing cows in probably 80% of the cases. In fact I have found that both of those bullets hold together better then Most Sierras, many Speers and all Burgers.
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Old September 14, 2018, 09:04 AM   #38
Ballenxj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiBC
I realize I'm painting with a broad brush,but there is no connection between being skilled or knowledgeable in a particular technical field and being assigned a retail position in a particular dept in a big box store.
<------->
I would not let the floor clerk at the WalMart pharmacy remove my appendix.
You do bring up some very good points. One of my best friends has been a gunsmith for quite a number of years, and I let him look at it. He took it completely apart and pointed out a few mistakes made in the installation. Things like not enough torque, the rings were tightened unevenly, etc. I should have just bought the scope and let my friend install it in the first place. Heck, I could have done a better job myself, but I had no idea the clerk was that inexperienced. Oh well, that's now taken care of.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack O'Conner
Typical size for a mature cow elk is 375 to 450 lbs. They're not armor plated at all despite what so-called expert gun writers like to write about. My .308 has downed several bulls with 180 grain Core-lokt ammo. None got away.
Thanks Jack, that helps dispel some of the myths about the 308 not being enough gun.
I encourage all you nice folk to keep the 308 experiences coming. I love hearing them. And don't forget to mention what bullet was used.
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Old September 14, 2018, 09:27 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyosmith
The focus in the OPs post is the word "best".
And I agree, you are always going to be "best" with an expanding bullet that exits the elk and the best way to get the deepest penetration is weight retention.
So if one set of bullets retains 90% or more of it's weight at striking velocity and another retain 80%, you can bet that if the bullets are of the same unfired weight and leave the barrel at the same velocity, and open to the same diameter, the one that is 90% when it stops is going to have a capability to go a bit deeper then the one that weights 80%

But if both exit the cow, the effects of the bullet HOLES are going to be identical. It's the bullet wound that kills, not the bullet itself!

So, with that fully acknowledged, I will point out a fact (which is a fact, not just an opinion) that in my 50 years of hunting elk, and guiding elk hunts, I have seen an awful lot of cows and bulls killed with 180 grain Winchester and Remington "plane vanilla" bullets and in the 180 grain weight, from both 30-06s and 308s, I have seen very few failures. I have seen a few, but I can remember only 3 Remingtons "fail" and all 3 went about 2 feet deep before they came apart. So far I have seen no Power Points fail.

I hand load, so I can use "the best" for my elk shooting,--- and I do. Because many of my friends load their own too, I also recommend Partition, Bonded or solid expanding bullets. But in total fairness, I have to say that the Power Point and the Core-Lokt bullets you can buy at Wal-Mart are as good for killing cows in probably 80% of the cases. In fact I have found that both of those bullets hold together better then Most Sierras, many Speers and all Burgers.
Thanks for your insight, you are obviously an old hand at this, so, much appreciated. You seem to prefer the 180 grain slugs, but what is your opinion of 165's? My latest test batch are Federal 165 grn Fusion, and they seem quite accurate. Please forgive all the questions, but I'm a real Greenhorn when it comes to hunting Elk or Deer. I have been shooting for a long time though, so that part is not new to me.
I have a couple friends that swear by Remington Cor-lokt ammo. I'm not opposed to switching, and a friend suggests I take up reloading again.
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Old September 14, 2018, 10:00 AM   #40
Wyosmith
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No worries about questions. The only stupid one is the one you don't ask. Learn by the mistakes of others so you don't need to make them yourself.

In regards to weight the issue gets complex.
First we must focus on the mission of the bullet. That is simply to make a killing size hole clear through the elk at any angle. So with that said, bullet construction is more important then bullet weight. As an example, it's fairly common to have a 30 cal 150 grain bullet stay in an elk, yet quite uncommon for a 150 grain 270 to not exit.
Why?
Because the jacket on the 270 is often the same thickness as a 30 cal, but the core is narrower, so that means the 270 is a tougher bullet in looking at it's it's resistance to over-expand. More copper in relationship to the lead.
So a 270 is smaller in diameter with a "thicker" jacket for in scale which means it opens a narrower hole in the game, but goes deeper. The icon the bullet makers strive for is to double the diameter of a bullet in it's expansion. If a 30 becomes 60 and a 27 becomes 54 but both have the same amount of forward momentum, the 54 goes deeper and leaves a slightly smaller hole.

BUT..... once you have an exit the "religion of weight retention" is all worthless on the animal in question. The idea that more "power" from more momentum based in weight is a false religion. You have 2 things that can be effected by your choice of cartridge and bullet.
#1 is penetration. #2 is cavitation.
That's it.
That's all there is.
How deep is the hole and how big around is the hole. It truly is that simple. The deepest you can get is 100%.
That leaves diameter of the wound. THAT gets complex because the wounds are not symmetrical. Higher velocity makes a larger shock wave and a larger hole, but in some cases (many cases) that hole can be large and shallow, which you will find is NOT as good for big animals (over 550 pounds) and mid-size diameter and clear through. Big enough around is big enough and clear through is 100%.

I would take a 1" to 1.5" hole clear through every time over a 5" hole half way through. You will be amazed how far and fast an elk can go with one lung.

Now back to you 30 cals.
I have seen outstanding results from 165s but also some failures. Some real bad ones I have personally used and seen used with standard construction boat tails from Burger, Sierra, Speer and Hornady. So I am NOT a spokesman for any brand.

But those that hold together have been excellent.

Bonded bullets, Partitions, expanding solids and the old cup-core Remington Core-Lokts have been about as close to perfect as I have seen. It depends entirely on the exact bullet, not the weight. Federal Fusions get excellent reports. I would not even half-step if I were you. Use one and I am sure you'll be fine. I have only seen them used on one elk from a 300 Win mag, but what I can tell you is that from 30-06 and 270s used on deer and that one elk with the 300, I have no complaints at all. I am fully confident a 165 from your 308 is going to be perfect.

The reason I speak more about 180s is, as a guide, I see bullets used about 3X more then I use bullets. As an example, this year I have 6 tags to fill. My wife has 3. My friends, who I am taking out (I no longer do it professionally, having become too busy with my back-log in my shop) have 4 elk, 10 deer, and 9 antelope to kill. If we are blessed this year and we fill every tag, that amounts to 32 kills this year. 9 for my wife and I, and the rest by other hunters. There were times in the past where seeing 30-40 kills a year all from other hunters were common.
If the popular bullet weight is 180 in 30 calibers (it is) I will have more knowledge about 180s then say,,,,150s or 130s.
That DOESN'T mean there are not excellent 150s 165s and even some 130s that would do the job to perfection. It just means I have less one-on-one knowledge of them.

But what I know I am always willing to pass on. As the saying goes, if I light your candle with my candle, it doesn't diminish the light from my candle.

Happy hunting.

Last edited by Wyosmith; September 14, 2018 at 10:08 AM.
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Old September 14, 2018, 10:15 AM   #41
Ballenxj
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^^ Thank You Wyosmith. ^^ A very well thought out and written reply.
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Old September 14, 2018, 10:37 AM   #42
HiBC
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A standard 22 long rifle bullet is 40 grains. The difference between a 165 and a 180 is just over 1/3 of that. Not much.Its a fine shade of grey,not a make or break thing.
I remember the days when there were only 150 gr and 180 gr.

The wily hunter would agonize and argue between 150's and 180's. From campfire discussions to bar room brawls,each bullet had its champions.

So some smart alec made the 165 for folks who could not make up their mind.

In either case,its not too far wrong.

I would tend to choose a 165 for a 308 and a 180 for a 30-06.Thats for seat of the pants reasons around the shorter case and magazines But I'd use 180's in a 308,no problem.Ditto 165's in a 30-06.

I,myself,don't think in terms of penetrating an elk from any angle. But I live in Colorado and I don't spend thousands of dollars.I'm OK with not shooting if I don't have a good heart lung shot.

If I'm concerned about shooting through from any angle,I have a nice,light 375 Taylor that trajectory matches a 308 with a 260 grain Accubond.

I also have a .257 Ackley,A Rem 81 300 Savage,an old cut down 30-40 Krag,and a fake 1903A4 Springfield sniper rifle.I would not hesitate to use any of them to elk hunt. Or my .54 Hawkin or the Rolling Block 40-70 Sharps/405 Win brass version.
Understand the tool,accept limitations,and know where the organs lie. Aim small.
You have enough info to be properly gunned.

Last edited by HiBC; September 14, 2018 at 10:45 AM.
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Old September 14, 2018, 03:04 PM   #43
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Here in Co, cow tag is draw tag and not too much trouble to fill one. If I didn't live here not sure I bother to get one. We have elk draw tags that take 20yrs or better to draw and those are either sex, I guess if you can't get bull you have option of cow.

Myself I'm not going to use rifle that I use bull tag and I drew first rifle season cow tag it's 5 day season. May use 284 on long action.

Harvest stats for Co and I think Wy maybe same, Cow/Calf taken about same amount as bulls
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