What have you taken elk with?

Blkram

Handloader
Nov 25, 2013
2,561
1,970
Keeping on with Dan's thread...
What have you taken elk with?

Myself: 20 (10 different cartridges; 20% with non magnums)
270 Wby
7mm Rem Mag
6.5x55
35 Whelen
338 Win Mag (2)
7MM STW (5)
358 Win (3)
300 WSM (3)
376 Steyr
Crossbow
280 Rem
 
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6.5x47L
6.5x300wm
7STW
7-300wm
300wsm
300wm
30-8mm
308 Baer
338 Baer
358STA
375-358STA
416 Rem
.50 Muzzleloader
.54 Muzzleloader

I'm sure there is something I forgot about and it's getting harder to keep track of how many with each. I bet it was north of 15 with my .50 muzzleloader. The 6.5x47L and 338 Baer would be the least at 2 each. The others are somewhere between 3 and 8 or so. After I hit 50 I stopped keeping as close track of things.
 
It wasn't until I started looking at my notes tonight while first responding to Dan's thread on the deer, that I started looking at how many of species I have taken, and with what calibers.
Way back when I first started noting my game, it was more about what rifle I used and the distance that I took the animal. Using a certain rifle has developed a large memory bank of sentiment and experience. I also wanted to remember what animals I took with my grandpa's rifle or my Dad's. (My first whitetail and black bear respectively, with their 30-30's - Marlin and Winchester).

Tonight, I started looking more at the cartridges themselves and what my trend was for magnum vs non-magnum cartridges.
Interesting to see what we used and when, and recalling certain life's circumstances that influenced us along the way.

It is also interesting to see what others have used.
While I admire the man with one rifle, and the intimate knowledge that they have with that weapon and how to use it, I have certainly enjoyed the journey of learning as much about the various rifles and cartridges over the years and all the memories that has come with that varied experience!
Looking forward to learning from others, as they respond to these threads!
 
As a man with not one, but two rifles (30-06 and 6,5 Creedmoor):
The cartridges vary widely through the "what have you taken XYZ with?":
What are your experiences? Going down to the 6,5 Swede up to the really heavy hitters - did you see major differences? I guess distance matters a lot....
 
As a man with not one, but two rifles (30-06 and 6,5 Creedmoor):
The cartridges vary widely through the "what have you taken XYZ with?":
What are your experiences? Going down to the 6,5 Swede up to the really heavy hitters - did you see major differences? I guess distance matters a lot....
There is no replacement for displacement, just like in motors. The bigger calibers kill better as long as the bullets expand correctly. Rapid expanding heavy trauma bullets help small calibers act a bit bigger but a fast 375 or 416 flat hammers animals. The down side to the larger caliber is the low BC bullets for reasonable bullet weights so they aren't great for long range work.
 
Wisconsin has an elk season with 4 tags available , don’t see this happening for awhile.
Four is better than none. Glad to see that there is some hope there. Since Arkansas now has an elk season, maybe my old home state will one day see an elk season. Go, Kansas!
 
As a man with not one, but two rifles (30-06 and 6,5 Creedmoor):
The cartridges vary widely through the "what have you taken XYZ with?":
What are your experiences? Going down to the 6,5 Swede up to the really heavy hitters - did you see major differences? I guess distance matters a lot....
While I can say that it wasn't until I took my 5th elk with the 338 Win Mag that I made a quick, clean one-shot kill on an elk. Have done so since with other less powerful cartridges. While the other cartridges have cleanly taken the elk, there are other factors that play into cleanly taking a mature elk, than just cartridge and/or caliber.
These include the following:
1) State of alertness/attitude/adrenaline at the moment of the shot. Is the animal quietly feeding, or is it alert and wary, or is it in full rut mode? These have significant impacts on the elk's reaction to a well placed shot. I have seen a quietly feeding elk succumb quickly to a well placed shot in the boiler room from a smaller cartridge/caliber, while a large bull in full rut mode soak up several lethal hits from a larger cartridge/caliber. Elk have a tenacity for life that isn't seen in many other north american species. But like people, we all have varying degrees of tenacity; one may fold up and die from a less than perfect shot from a smaller cartridge/caliber, while others seemingly require a lot more killin' to get the job done!
2) Bullet placement. Many elk that looked like they were well hit, have gone good distances after the initial shot before expiring, or requiring additional shot(s) to finish the animal, once tracked down. A liver shot or a single lung hit can take longer for the animal to expire. Was the heavy shoulder bone down at the elbow hit? This animal has the densest bone of any animal in north america, and it takes a larger, heavier bullet with additional velocity to reliably break this bone and make it into the vitals with any amount of consistency. Stay away from that onside shoulder if using smaller, less powerful cartridges/calibers.
3) As so eloquently stated above, there is no replacement for displacement. A larger, heavier bullet delivered with higher velocity provides a factor of safety that promotes quick, clean kills, and an additional measure of confidence in the shooter that can handle this cartridge's recoil and consistently place that bullet in the vitals. As most experienced guides will tell you, they would prefer you show up with a smaller cartridge/caliber that you can shoot well than a monster you cannot and are scared to pull the trigger on. It just means the guide will get you closer to the target animal before setting you up for the shot. For those not guided, they would do well with elk to get closer, than risk wounding and losing an elk because they want to brag about how far the animal was away at the shot. Many people think that a 30-378 Wby will make up the difference that cannot be delivered by a 30-30. The truth is only in the distance in which that 30 caliber 150 gr bullet arrives at the target (vitals) retaining the 1500 ft.lbs of energy to ensure adequate penetration and expansion, to provide that quick, clean kill on an elk.
4) The state of mind of the shooter. An often overlooked consideration! Is the shooter calm, relaxed and in a comfortable shooting position with their chosen weapon? Are they confident in their ability and/or their equipment, to get the job done from this position, at this range? If so, all should work out fine. If not, then all precautions should be taken to correct the issues, and the wisdom to know when not to take the shot.
 
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There is no replacement for displacement, just like in motors. The bigger calibers kill better as long as the bullets expand correctly. Rapid expanding heavy trauma bullets help small calibers act a bit bigger but a fast 375 or 416 flat hammers animals. The down side to the larger caliber is the low BC bullets for reasonable bullet weights so they aren't great for long range work.
And therein lies the beauty of the fast 338's.

JD338
 
As a man with not one, but two rifles (30-06 and 6,5 Creedmoor):
The cartridges vary widely through the "what have you taken XYZ with?":
What are your experiences? Going down to the 6,5 Swede up to the really heavy hitters - did you see major differences? I guess distance matters a lot....
I’m with Idaho CTD on this one. I’ve killed moose, sheep, lots of deer and about 20 elk with an 06. Perfectly adequate to the task. A number of the elk took more than one hit but I always collected them. I never liked my 300 but killed one elk with it. The 8mm Remington was plagued by bullet selection. Shot a rag horn 5 point with it. Chunks of heart as big as my thumb started the 200 yard blood trail. The 338 Jarrett is different. 30 yards to 501 yards. Most dropped to one shot. shot one or two twice now that I think of it. 250 Grain Accubonds at 2950 are decisive. Shot another rag horn with the 577 nitro. Shot him from about 50 yards and double lunged him with a 750 grain lion tough soft point. He ran quite a ways with a half inch hole through him, lots of blood but I only hit one rib. Best I can figure is the lion tough soft point is designed to go north to south through a charging lion so it didn’t encounter enough mass going east to west through an elk to expand.
 
260 Remington (2), 7.82 Patriot (3), 284 Winchester (6-7), 7mm Dakota (5), 6.5 PRC (1), and an old Pearson Flame bow (1). All specialty pistols, with the exception of the bow 😁
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