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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will be taking my Ruger International to Wyoming for elk. It has a 18" barrel. What ammo and bullet weight do you think will work best. I don't intend on any long range shooting.
 

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180gr Remington Core Lokt....or Winchester or Federal.....non premium bullet will serve you well for your hunt. I have used and still use them with no issues. Put one in the vitals and your elk will go down.
 

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What do you consider "long range"?

I have an 06 with an 18" barrel, and you do give some capability up for the short barrel.

My own personal belief, having never killed an elk, is that I'd personally prefer a 165gr Nosler Partition, or a bonded bullet of 165gr or bigger.

I think you'll see a very steep drop in velocity with real heavy bullets, so I'd suggest 165's or 180's. I would not go to 200-220's.

You'll be losing about 50fps per 1" of barrel (not carved in stone, but seems to generally be in the ballpark), so compared to a 22" barreled 30-06, you'll be running 200fps slower, all else being equal. You'll be 300fps slower than a 24" barreled rifle (I've never seen anything longer than that on a 30-06 unless it's a custom barrel).

The 30-06 seems to top out around 3000-3100 for a 165 with warm handloads (from memory, but I should be close), so expect to run around 2700-2800fps for your rifle. That's mid-range 308/300 Savage territory.

I'd have to run ballistics tables, but I'll guess you'll probably want to hold your shots to 300 and less, preferrably 200 and less.

Don't try to take one end-for-end, and don't plan on it falling on the spot. Prepare to shoot more than once if needed. Everyone I know who's killed a few elk agrees that once they've been hit, they make it their mission to get to the most God-forsaken place they can find before dying. If it's still moving, you keep shooting, lol.
 

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First of all good luck on your hunt.

People tend to WAY overthink the bullet thing. I've killed several elk as well as dozens of elk sized or larger animals. With your 30-06 and a 180 grain bullet, if you put the shot where it belongs, you will have a dead elk.
 

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Agreed with all above as far as weight. If you want to go with a premium round, I'd recommend the 168 gr TTSX by Barnes. I shot a mature cow at 325 yard with my .30-06 which is a Tikka T3 Lite Stainless. It penetrated completely through both front shoulders and she only took a few steps and dropped.
 

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I`ve never used them but I have read a few articles lately saying how well the Swift A-Frame bullets are. The guys that shot big game with them and the other premium bullets including the Nosler Partition said the A-Frame was better performing than all of them. I may have to try them myself. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks guys. I bought a Federal Fusion in 165 and 180 to see if there was any difference in accuracy. I had great accuracy results with this ammo in my 243. I don't intend to shoot further than 200 yards, I hope.
 

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I've had over expansion problems with 165 gr interlocks and sierra game kings many times on deer with both .308's and 30-06's.I never lost a deer but had many instances where the bullet never exited.I want full penetration and an exit wound every single time.If you don't always get that on a small deer,hit some heavy bone on an elk and see what happens.I'm sure thousands of elk have been killed with standard cup and core bullets but I'd never risk a trip costing thousands of dollars over a few cents on a bullet.

A fusion should be fine but I'd go with 180gr for elk.
 

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This is an interesting topic. I say that because my dad was talking about an elk hunt a while back and while most of the guides suggested using "something heavier" he did talk to one guide that said his '06 was fine for shots within 200yrds. But he said to use the 150gr round. Premise being speed kills and he should use the fastest rounds he could find.

I don't say this to counter anyone's experience. I have none of my own and never will, unless I draw a PA tag that I never apply for. I just find the differing viewpoints interesting.
 

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Heit said:
Again....placement.....double lung behind the shoulder....thru the ribs....done deal.


This. It would be very interesting t see how many people who responded have actually harvested an elk, or better yet more than one. It constantly amazes me how Madison Avenue has convinced people that they NEED style points for their bullets in how the harvest an animal. It's a wonder an elk was ever harvested before "premium" bullets were made.
Select any reasonable bullet in an appropriate weight. Place that bullet where it needs to go and the result will be a dead elk. Period. Can never understand why folks make so much more of this than it really is...
 

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kudu58 said:
Heit said:
Again....placement.....double lung behind the shoulder....thru the ribs....done deal.


This. It would be very interesting t see how many people who responded have actually harvested an elk, or better yet more than one. It constantly amazes me how Madison Avenue has convinced people that they NEED style points for their bullets in how the harvest an animal. It's a wonder an elk was ever harvested before "premium" bullets were made.
Select any reasonable bullet in an appropriate weight. Place that bullet where it needs to go and the result will be a dead elk. Period. Can never understand why folks make so much more of this than it really is...
I agree. I have taken elk....lived out West for 11 years....AZ, CO, WY.....me and all by buddies used Remington, Winchester or Federal....non premium bullets for elk & mulies out of these calibers....'06, 7MM, 300 Win Mag.....we all had kills with no issues.
 

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I know that there is a strong sentiment here that there's no need to spend the money for premium bullets. I get it.

Now, let's think about the cost of a hunt, the cost of fuel on a hunt, the cost of a license to do the hunt, the cost of food on the hunt......and then the cost difference of going to a premium bullet from a "standard" bullet for the hunt.

Which one is the smallest expense?

Everyone can and should use what they like, but I can tell you that when it's my money and vacation time being used to go hunt elk, I won't skimp on the bullet I shoot. But that's just my take on it.
 

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I get what you are saying....however....I can afford premium bullets but don't see the need for deer, elk, moose. I also don't feel I am skimping or using an inadequate/inferior bullet with say a Remington Core Lokt or the like. I, my western hunting buddies and countless others have put down many an elk, deer, moose with non premium bullets. To each their own.
 

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As with the others, I was not willing to skimp on ammo after putting all the other money down for the trip. After a ton of research, I settled on the Barnes TTSX 150-grain bullets for my .30-06. Handloaded, the cost was comparable to a box of non-premium factory ammo. I have had nothing but good experiences with Barnes copper solids on previous hunts. They group better then non-premium ammo out of my gun, and weight retention is considerably better then lead core. I chose the 150-grain over the 168 simply because I was prepared to shoot 400+ yards, and wanted to maintain as much velocity at that distance as I could.

I was fortunate enough to take a bull on the trip. I hit right behind the shoulder at 150 yards, and the bull went 20 yards and piled up. I put another one in him after he fell just to be safe, but I really don't think I needed to. Both shots were side-by-side in the cavity, and he left one heckuva blood trail between the POI and where he fell.

As others have said, shot placement is key. However, at the end of the day, you need to choose the ammo that shoots well out of your gun and that you have confidence in. Good luck with your research.
 

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I haven't killed any elk, but I've seen whitetail shoulders send things south in a hurry, and I'd be even more concerned about that with an elk. We're all crack shots at the range. How many shots don't hit the intended POA on the animal when in a hunting scenario?

If I can put the bullet just behind the shoulder with 1000% certainty, I agree, there's no need for a strong(er) bullet. But what happens if that bullet heads forward just a little and slams into an elk shoulder?

My experience with "standard" cup and core bullets on whitetails is you can flip a coin on whether the bullet fully penetrates. With bonded bullets, partitions/a-frames, or monometals, I've yet to see one not blow right through and leave a wake of destruction behind it.

I'm not a huge monometal fan, but too many people have too good a result with them to say they aren't good.

And I can say the same about the cup and core bullets. The only one I use right now is the Speer HotCor, which isn't exactly a TRUE cup and core, I guess. I use that in my 35 Whelen, though, and those are just BIG bullets. It takes a lot to stop them.

When I'm talking cup and core bullets, I'm thinking about stuff like a Sierra GameKing, Hornady Interlock, and the like.

I've only ever lost one whitetail I've shot with a rifle, and that one was killed by another hunter not long after that incident. I got to see the aftermath. The shot hit true, but the bullet failed. It utterly failed. It hit at the back edge of the shoulder blade and only penetrated about an inch, leaving a horrible wound and an infection that might well have killed the animal in time if it hadn't been harvested first.

I won't mention what bullet it was, but because of that, I refuse to this day (that was over 20 years ago) to hunt with that brand/make of bullet. Because it was one bullet, one incident, and long ago, I don't feel I can fairly say it was the fault of that bullet/manufacturer. But I also don't ever want that experience again, and it's hard to forget something like that.

And that was with a whitetail hunt that I can do each year, multiple times. Imagine that happening on an elk in Wyoming.

That's where my line of thought comes from.
 
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