PDA

View Full Version : Minimum elk caliber for Colorado


M. R. Byrd
02-16-2005, 11:19 PM
My son is looking to go on his first elk hunt this fall and is looking at the Savage 110GXP3 in the 30-06 Springfield. The Savage is available also in 25-06 Remington, 270 Winchester, 7mm Remington Mag, 300 Winchester Mag and 300 RUM.

Curious of minimum centerfire requirements for Colorado, I pulled my Colorado regs to find the minimum is .24 caliber(6mm) and a 70 grain bullet for deer and 85 grain for elk and having impact energy at 100 yards of 1,000 foot pounds. I was actually surprised the minimums were that low.

Is there anyone on the forum that has killed an elk with anything close to these minimums?

Maynard

rockinbbar
02-17-2005, 12:15 AM
They kill elk here with a .243 regularly in NM.
I'd not hesitate to shoot one with mine....;)

Rockin'

Hunterbug
02-17-2005, 12:43 AM
A few years ago a girl in the camp next to us killed a small 6X6 bull with a 243. She had to put 6 rounds into it to do it but she did it. While it's legal I personally would not do it, especially if I was coming in from out of state. My reasoning is that you would need good shot presentation and placement and while I can control the latter I have no control over the former. I would hate to have to pass on what may be my only chance because I was using a less than optimum cartridge. I personally won't hunt elk with anything less than a 30-06.

M. R. Byrd
02-17-2005, 12:56 AM
Rockin'

It has been quite awhile since I loaded the .243 for deer, but our load, that did a great job was a Barnes X bullet of 100 gr with 35 gr IMR 3031 and CCI 200 primers. In looking at bullets I don't believe that Barnes makes that bullet any longer.

I was just thinking that a bigger caliber was required for elk. I really didn't pay much attention to the minimum for my first Colorado hunt in 2003; I knew the 300 RUM that I won was certainly big enough. My oldest son is shooting a 270 Ruger MK77 left hand for deer and elk. He has yet to harvest an elk, but hopefully this year. I suspect my youngest son will choose the 30-06 for this year's hunt.

Hunterbug-
Thanks for the input. Even though I have never had any experience with the 30-06, I know that it has had a good reputation for a long time.

Thanks guys,

Maynard

Kanibal
02-17-2005, 01:22 AM
Most elk hunters in my area use a 30-06, it is by far the most popular for elk in my area. Although some people think you need a 300 WM or more to bring down an elk the truth is they are often put down by much less with great success. Myself I would use either my 7mm Rem Mag or 280 Rem. Other popular elk cartridges that Ive personally seen used include the 270 win, 264 mag, 25-06, 308 and 7mm-08. It is in fact all about shot placement. But if you plan on long shots you would need a something that has the enough punch at long ranges and in that case a 7mm Rem Mag or 300 Win Mag are supreme.

-Richard

m gardner
02-17-2005, 01:30 AM
We've gotten one shot kills with the 243 win. with 100 grain Speer Grand Slams, and Sierras. Also with the 25-06 with 120 bullets. They aren't hard to kill if you hit them right. Some of these animals were taken at 200 to 300 yards under ideal conditions. The heavier calibers penetrate better when you must angle the bullet into the vitals. It's hard to find elk to kill and it's hard to pass up a questionable shot when you know you may not see another bull.

Mark

periscope_depth
02-17-2005, 12:39 PM
I like the idea of the .358 caliber bullet as a prime elk caliber....either .358 Win, 35 Whelen or .350 Rem mag. But the question wasn't which is the "best"...the question was...what is the minimum?

Jeeze....all depends. The .35 Rem at 100 yards or less would be fine I guess.

A 45/70 at 100-150 yards would be ideal.

Even a 44 Mag at less than 100 yards would do the trick.

I have no personal experience killing an elk with a .264 caliber...but I understand the 160 grn slug is lights out when you need deep penetration and do not prefer the kick and heft of a Whelen or one of the magnums. 6.5x55 Swiss, 6.5x57 Mauser or the .260 Rem could work at ranges out to 200 yards.

The .270 would work well except where can you find bullets heavier than 150 grns?

The 7mm-08 would work...but can you push the 175 grain slug fast enough to give it a useful trajectory?

Stick with the .260 Rem for the all-around minimum.

gitano
02-17-2005, 12:41 PM
and it's hard to pass up a questionable shot when you know you may not see another bull.


THAT is the key issue.

Paul

m gardner
02-17-2005, 09:26 PM
When I said questionable I meant questionable for a minor caliber not a major caliber. Nosler is the only one I'm aware of making a slug heavier than 150 grains for the 270. They make a 160 grain semispitzer partition.

Violator22
02-21-2005, 02:45 AM
I use a 300 savage with confidence. I can't stand shooting rifles that belt the bejesus out of me. I know some older fellas that swear by the 250-3000. I am going to try that this year. Have a new Savage 1899H in 250 i am dying to try.

gelarson
02-25-2005, 01:01 AM
Personally I know someone who killed a Grizzly with a .22 cal but was it ideal? I think we owe it to the animals to kill them quickly and with out making them suffer. I think a .270 and equivalent should be the minimum. I killed 3 cow elk with neck shots with a 6.5x55 swedish but at around 60 yrds and I would not do that again. This year I shot a bull at 500 yrds (rangefinder) with my 8mm mag and I think that is a great elk gun.

Eric

Ultrahunter
03-09-2005, 08:12 PM
I have Killed Many Elk with a .270 when I was younger, but these days I prefer the Magnums. I have a new .300 Ultra that I will be trying this year

Big Red Trike
03-09-2005, 11:33 PM
Just remember that a poorly placed shot determines death or exercise.......I've seen 338's poorly placed at close ranges that require a chase and 270's at 250 that anchored them......make the correct shot placement..........

Thanks

Violator22
03-10-2005, 10:39 AM
Thats is what it is all about, if the firearm belts you too much you can't shoot it accurately. I can shoot big bores aquite well, but prefer my smaller calibers that i can keep in tight groups out to 300 yards, thatway if I aim for the heart, by golly I am going to take the heart. Les

M1Garand
03-10-2005, 05:59 PM
I wouldn't hestitate to use my .270 Win with a good bullet as it has the power to do the job if I do mine and place the bullet in the basket. One point though that a lot of hunters today seem to have trouble doing is knowing their (and their rifles) capabilities and staying within them.

Thought this was an interesting subject from the chuck hawks site:

http://www.chuckhawks.com/placement_kay.htm

Brithunter
03-11-2005, 05:05 AM
Hi All,

Now some may recall that I asked a very similar question some time ago, I rather do like the 270 Win and the 7x57mm, which in modern rifles are very similar regards power and velocity. However as I will be using a Guides service it was pointed out to me that they might not like these small bores on Elk, so I began working with my 7.92mm (8x57) but just in case I cannot resovle it's beding induced accuracy problems to my complete satisfaction I traded into a 30-06.

Now for the 7.92mm I am looking at 196 grn bullets at around 2600-2700 fps the 30-06 I am looking at 180 Grn bullets at 2700-2800 fps. Either of these loads should comfortably do the job even at the slightly longer ranges it seems that may be called upon to secure an Nice Bull. I may yet switch horses depending upon results of testing loads in another rifle/cartride combination which I started playing with a few years ago then it got put in the cabinet and has not been used much since. This to my thinking would be better than either the 8mm or the 30 cal as it has a bigger bullet and more weight to boot however the trajectory may be a little more limiting which is what I intend to test and play with to see how it actually perfoms at say 300 yards:D This on is the 9.3x57mm and I will start with the 235 grn Norma semi pointed bullet and then try the RWS 246 grn Cone Points;) .

In my dreams I would dearly love to use the Old Rigby Mannlicher which is the old 6.5x53R, using the 160 grn bullets it has proven to do an excellent job on Elk just as it did many years ago on Africain game however I cannot see a giude being very pleased with this choice especially with Express iron sights:confused: .

147 Grain
05-28-2005, 02:48 PM
Go with the 30-06 and buy Premium / Supreme ammo for heavy game like elk. If you're hunting elk or moose near the end of a rifle's limit, you can turn the same gun into a 30-06 Magnum by doing three simple things:

1. Using Premium Bullets with much higher BC's can easily turn a 30-06 into a 300 Win Mag with standard / less Ballistically Efficient ammo.

Example:

Winchester's 2005 Ammo Catalog says that at 300 yards, a 30-06 Supreme 180-gr. AccuBond has 102 more ft. lbs of energy (2,004, p. 11) than their 300 Win Mag pushing standard 180-gr. Super X Power Points (1,902 ft. lbs energy at 300 yards - p. 13).

The above figures are astonishing! especially when you consider the 300 Win Mag's 210 fps MV advantage over the '06. The Magnum's faster moving Power Point bullets only had a BC of .349 - compared to the slower AccuBonds with a high BC of .509. A .160 BC can make a big difference in downrange energy.

2. Consider Federal's High Energy 180-gr. Partitions at 2,890 fps. or Hornady Lite Mag ammo (180-gr. Interlock Spire Points at 3,015 fps) that have a higher MV than a standard 300 Win Mag's Power Point at 2,960 fps. In this case, 30-06 Supreme / Hornady Lite Magnum ammo beats the 300 Win Mag Super X line.

3. A 24" barrel provides 100 +/- fps advantage over the standard 22 inchers; further upgrading a 30-06 into a magnum type round.

147 Grain
05-28-2005, 02:50 PM
P.S. Similar comparisons can be deduced with a .270 Win too using Nosler Partition or AccuBond bullets of 150-gr.

Big Red Trike
05-29-2005, 12:08 AM
I think I remember a thread on THL regarding barrel length and their effects on velocity......from what I can remember the differences were immaterial at best 20/30 fps on average (?) I think.

Anybodyelse remember this?

BRT.

M1Garand
05-29-2005, 09:26 AM
Go with the 30-06 and buy Premium / Supreme ammo for heavy game like elk. If you're hunting elk or moose near the end of a rifle's limit, you can turn the same gun into a 30-06 Magnum by doing three simple things:

1. Using Premium Bullets with much higher BC's can easily turn a 30-06 into a 300 Win Mag with standard / less Ballistically Efficient ammo.

Example:

Winchester's 2005 Ammo Catalog says that at 300 yards, a 30-06 Supreme 180-gr. AccuBond has 102 more ft. lbs of energy (2,004, p. 11) than their 300 Win Mag pushing standard 180-gr. Super X Power Points (1,902 ft. lbs energy at 300 yards - p. 13).

The above figures are astonishing! especially when you consider the 300 Win Mag's 210 fps MV advantage over the '06. The Magnum's faster moving Power Point bullets only had a BC of .349 - compared to the slower AccuBonds with a high BC of .509. A .160 BC can make a big difference in downrange energy.

2. Consider Federal's High Energy 180-gr. Partitions at 2,890 fps. or Hornady Lite Mag ammo (180-gr. Interlock Spire Points at 3,015 fps) that have a higher MV than a standard 300 Win Mag's Power Point at 2,960 fps. In this case, 30-06 Supreme / Hornady Lite Magnum ammo beats the 300 Win Mag Super X line.

3. A 24" barrel provides 100 +/- fps advantage over the standard 22 inchers; further upgrading a 30-06 into a magnum type round.With modern powders and bullets, the 30-06 performs better than ever but they do not make it a 300 Win Mag nor does any ammo turn it into one. I know some of the figures you quote are from ammo catalogs but Iíve found that most of the time when they publish ballistics for rounds/calibers, they tend to be exaggerated. I would suspect the same holds true here. The 30-06 is a fine elk round but not a 300 Win Mag. What youíre looking at is marketing which I believe leaves people with the idea that with the light magnum-high energy-supreme rounds, theyíre essentially shooting a 300 Win Mag or comparable to it, which I donít believe for a second. No offense, I understand your line of thought, I just donít buy it until I see chronyíd results comparing the two.

firebird
07-31-2005, 11:41 AM
The minimums do seem very low indeed and a clean kill should be the goal of every hunter. Hunting terrain and your stalking skills in that terrain are key factors in chioce of firearm for any game including elk. Minimum power drops dramatically as range increases and velocity and energy fall off fast at the longer ranges. Bullet construction is is of great importance in the smaller high velocity calibers. Amminition is the cheapest part of your hunt and buy only the best constructed bullets if hunting with smaller calibers. The .243 relies on high velocity and that drops off fast with the heavier tough bullets needed to kill elk. Shot placement is more critical with the small calibers due to less penetration than the bigger calibers with thier heavier bullets. I would use a .243 on deer any time but would prefer to go .25 cal. or higher on elk. I would have no problem with the .270 win. and tough 150 GR bullets as long as I stay within my limitations of about 250 yrds. I wouldn't use a .243 for elk even that far do to veocity and energy loss at that range. I am not a fan of big magnums but they do have thier place if shooting past 300yrds. As always no caliber works well at any range if you can't place your shot in a vital area of the elk.

Just my opinion.
Firebird

147 Grain
07-31-2005, 12:52 PM
Heavier bullets maintain their velocity better than light for caliber projectiles, which at about 200 yards, are going about the same speed (with less mass) than heavy for caliber rounds.

hunterjosh
08-04-2005, 10:55 PM
My son is looking to go on his first elk hunt this fall and is looking at the Savage 110GXP3 in the 30-06 Springfield. The Savage is available also in 25-06 Remington, 270 Winchester, 7mm Remington Mag, 300 Winchester Mag and 300 RUM.

Curious of minimum centerfire requirements for Colorado, I pulled my Colorado regs to find the minimum is .24 caliber(6mm) and a 70 grain bullet for deer and 85 grain for elk and having impact energy at 100 yards of 1,000 foot pounds. I was actually surprised the minimums were that low.

Is there anyone on the forum that has killed an elk with anything close to these minimums?

Maynard
I killed two elk's last year with my Savage model 110 308 winchester package gun. I used cheap winchester wal mart 150 grain super x power point bullets!

As for a minimum elk caliber for colorado, I cannot say, but as for me, I might use the 6.5x55mm swedish mauser round in a new bolt action rifle this year for my November elk hunt!

I used to think bigger was better, but know I know practice makes perfect!

Josh

147 Grain
08-05-2005, 08:19 AM
Josh:

Out of curiosity, can you tell us where you hit your elk with the light for caliber 150-gr. Power Points, how the elk reacted, and how far the bullets penetrated?

Thanks!

m gardner
08-05-2005, 07:36 PM
I got to thinking and the calibers for elk should be easy to determine. There were several that were specifically designed for hunting elk and one became wildly popular. It was the 7mm Remington Magnum. It was designed by some elk guides (Les Bowman was one I believe) who were gun nuts and presented to Remington after some years of experimenting. So it's probably easier to decide if you know the background of the cartridge you intend to use. Gos bless and good hunting.
Mark

hunterjosh
08-06-2005, 09:33 AM
Josh:

Out of curiosity, can you tell us where you hit your elk with the light for caliber 150-gr. Power Points, how the elk reacted, and how far the bullets penetrated?

Thanks!147 grain

The 1st shot was when a big grandma elk was trying to get away from me, about 35 yards away. There was no choosing the ultimate vital zone for the shot. I had to think fast point & shoot. The bullet hit the elk high up on the ribs & part of the spine. The cow instantly dropped. I paralized her then did a follow up shot on the neck to completely put her out.

The next shot happened because a wounded elk popped out from the middle of nowhere bleeding at the mouth. I then put one up in the chamber pointed the crosshairs at the arm shoulder heart lung area, & dropped another elk instantly. There was no follow up shot, as I did have a chance to aim properly at the vitals on the second elk.

My shooting was at close range, 50 yards & less for both elks. I remember recovering one bullet, it was muchroomed pretty nice. I was also complememted with my shot placements, as no meat was damaged while my elk was being processed.

I've used this same ammunition in 30-06 & 300 win mag before. It is the winchester super x power point bullets that are designed to expand repidly. (http://www.winchester.com/products/catalog/cfrlist.aspx?type=12)
They seem to do the ultimate job on elk at close range, from what i've experienced. (http://www.winchester.com/products/catalog/cfrlist.aspx?type=12)

Josh

Gmoney
08-06-2005, 10:09 AM
"A wounded elk appeared out of nowhere".....care to elaborate I am intrigued...? Another hunter, disease, fighting? Could you tell what happened and how you think she happened upon you?

hunterjosh
08-06-2005, 02:49 PM
"A wounded elk appeared out of nowhere".....care to elaborate I am intrigued...? Another hunter, disease, fighting? Could you tell what happened and how you think she happened upon you?
It definitly looked like a previous hunters shot gone bad, or mistake.

MountainMafia
05-27-2006, 01:28 PM
The .243 works fine on elk if you limit the range that you shoot and go with 100 grain Nosler partition bullets.

I started my twin sons with a 243 and they both shot several nice bulls and cows and never need more than two shots. I have pegged a number of elk with the 243 myself. I consider the 243 an excellent deer and antelope rifle, but marginal for elk unless you are a very good shot. It is a sweet rifle to shoot.

bigblock455skylarkcustom
05-27-2006, 01:39 PM
i just dont like small calibers for big game. A bigger caliber like a 270 is a lot more forgiving if you get a bad shot.

MountainMafia
05-27-2006, 05:27 PM
I agree, a larger caliber is a lot more forgiving if you make a bad shot, but for me it sure is not as pleasant to shoot as the 243. My sons and I use 30/06s with the Nosler 165 grain partition bullet for elk hunting now, but wouldnt hesitate to use the 243 for elk again.
The 270 is a good caliber. Good hunting!

Daryl
05-27-2006, 07:05 PM
I've used a .243 to kill a lot of deer, but I've always used the 7mm Rem Mag for elk. It does the job well enough, and it's actually very pleasant to shoot.

Daryl

recoil junky
05-27-2006, 08:56 PM
I've got to agree about the 243 being a little light for a young hunter unless he's an excellant shot. I can gaurantee that a young shooter, unless he has nerves of steel, is going to be just a little bit nervous when that elk is in his/her cross hairs. I know I can still get that way under the right circumstances.

Ole Daddy Recoil never loaded down or let me use anything less than the 30-06 with 180 grain bullets when I started out. I remember the practice sessions as being a bit rough on me with the old Enfield, but I stuck it out and learned to shoot that old gun. When I was 12 I was 5'8" and about 100 lbs and a 9 lb gun was quite a load when I was on foot, but when that first elk went down with one shot I forgot all about the sore shoulder.

The only thing I did for Ben when he started hunting with it was put a slip on recoil pad on it. Kinda spoiled him that way I guess :rolleyes: .

What ever caliber you go with make sure the boy gets a bunch of trigger time shooting it. Especially at diffferent ranges. A little trick is to play music the lad absolutly hates while he's shooting. Helps develope concentration. :D

RJ

Daryl
05-28-2006, 08:32 AM
Seems to me like any time that someone starts a thread about "minimum cartridges for...", it becomes controvercial.

There are things that you can do to rifles chambered in the larger calibers to make them more tolerable to shoot.

Several years ago, a gal friend drew a cow elk tag, and needed to borrow a rifle for that hunt. I had a .243, and I had a 7mm Rem Mag. The 7mm Rem Mag was knocking her around something fierce, and she was having a hard time keeping from flinching.

So, rather than have her hunt with the .243, I decided to put a decelerator pad on the 7mm mag. It helped, too; a bunch! She was able to shoot it quite well after that, and though she didn't get an elk, she did shoot a coyote at about 250 yards while on that hunt...with one shot. Lisa weighed about 110 lbs then, soaking wet with her pockets full of rocks, and she doesn't shoot all that much with large caliber rifles.

Anyway, since it worked for her, I figured that it was worth mentioning. Might be of benefit to others.

bigblock455skylarkcustom
05-28-2006, 01:32 PM
my Winchester inline kicks harder than my dads 30-06. But now i put a bi-pod on it and its a real charm shooting it. Lets just pray i get to use the bipod in a laying down posistion lol

MountainMafia
05-28-2006, 06:11 PM
Hey, this is fun! I guess I am a real wimp. I put a "sissy pad" on most of my center fire rifles. It sure helps take the bite out of recoil. I sure agree with you all that accurcacy is most important -- there is no substitute for a well placed bullet.:p

Unfortunately, I am not the best shot in the world, but my past profession required straight shooting, or at least a kill. Therefore stalking and getting in close sure helped make up for my inadequcies at shooting. It's called hunting.:rolleyes:

As stated, practice, practice and more practice is one of the keys to accurate shooting, regardless of the caliber of rifle. It's still more fun to shoot my 243 than the 30/06.

p.s. my 22/250 is even "funner".;)

Daryl
05-28-2006, 06:43 PM
I sure agree with you all that accurcacy is most important -- there is no substitute for a well placed bullet.

A larger caliber cartridge won't make up for poor shooting skills, that's for sure. However, if someone can shoot just as well with either cartridge, I'd much rather see them shooting the larger cartridge on elk.

It's up to them, but a .243 Win is a little light for elk, especially if someone decides to shoot at a longer range. Lets face it, if everyone got close enough, and placed every bullet perfectly, we could hunt most game with a .22 LR.

Daryl