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elk rifle

9519 Views 32 Replies 25 Participants Last post by  buddys dad
If you were to have a rifle to use for elk only out of these 3 calibers which would you choose? a 300 RUM,338 Win mag,or 338 RUM ?
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All are good choices, but I would choose a 325WSM over all 3 of those. More energy than a 338 win mag, and less recoil than the other 2 with a shorter bolt throw in a lighter rifle.
Im going with the 300 RUM, simply because I have one, and love shooting it. With 168 grn barnes tsx bullets, I can shoot a ragged one hole group at 100 yards with it. I've got a ton of confidence in the gun and myself, so thats my choice. With that being said, I don't think you will find a giant difference in the performance of those calibers on elk. Mabye something like coastal brown bears I would want the added benefit of a bigger heavier bullet that you can stuff in the .33 calibers. As far as elk are concerned, pick your poison(amount of felt recoil) and bang away.
deucebump said:
with a shorter bolt throw in a lighter rifle.
I always laugh when I see this posted. What does it matter if the bolt has a 1/2 to 1" shorter throw? Really? Does that equate to a millisecond faster action?

As for the energy, using the Winchester Ballistics website, if choosing 200 Grn bullets, both have a muzzle velocity of 2950 fps, and therefore the same muzzle energy.

The 338 Win Mag is much more popular, and probably easier to get ammo.

But the real answer to the original post, is the 300 RUM, of course!!
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If I were buying a new rifle to hunt elk - I would go with the proven 338 Win Mag. It is the world-wide proven medium bore.

Although, nothing wrong hunting elk with the 30-06. It is all about shot placement. A 180 from an '06 in the lungs is better than a 225 from a 338 in the hind quarter
Out of the three choices I'd choose the 338 Win Mag. Since we have other options though I'd probably pick a 280 Rem or 7mm Rem Mag.....maybe a 30-06.
I hada .338 Win and it was ok. Personally my elk rifle is my .300 Win mag in a 700 BDL. Rifle will shoot 1 moa or less every time I am on! Recoil is basically same as the .338 according to my shoulder and it is not excessive for me.
SMITTY 300 WSM said:
If you were to have a rifle to use for elk only out of these 3 calibers which would you choose? a 300 RUM,338 Win mag,or 338 RUM ?
To answer the OP, I'd go with the 300 RUM, just because I love the caliber and a friend of mine has one set up as a 1,000 yard bench gun. Its plum awesome in the accuracy department.

But I love the 7RM and If I ever get to head out west for elk or draw a Pa tag-- thats what I'll be using.
30.06 all the way, hunt that sucker! dont snipe him from 500yds thats not hunting, thats just shooting anybody can shoot!
Just how close should I be to be considered hunting and not just shooting?? I surely want to set myself apart from the shooters, anyone can do that.

I'd have to rely on the 338 Win Mag. Its a proven elk slammer that has reasonably priced ammo readily available.
Out of those three I'd choose the .30-06.
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The largest caliber that I can shoot well. For me that's a snot six.
Out of the 3 my choice is also the 338 win mag.
Strictly from those three choices only?


338 Win Mag.

More than enough juice to kill any elk, easily available ammo if you're not a reloader, long, poen track record, and I have ZERO use for anything that says UltraMag.

If I can't do it with a "standard" belted mag, it ain't gonna get done.

Now, outside of your choices, realistically anything from about the 7mm-08/270 Win category on up, with proper bullets and shot placement, is going to get the job done.
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If limited to only the three you suggested, I recommend the 338 Win mag. It is and esy choice for me as I shoot and reload all three.

If given a choice of all available cartridges.....I'd pick the 338 win mag (but for black woods close I like the 348 win in a Model 71, which I also reload for). The 35 whelan is also a good choice.
My personal elk rifle is an older Mark V Weatherby FiberMark. The cartridge is 340 Wby. Mag. I shoot the 250 grain Sierra bullet. It is devastating on elk.

If I was to buy another one it would probably be a 375 H&H. And I would shoot the 300 grain bullet.

There are a bunch of factors involved when choosing an elk rifle. But your specific question is on caliber. So I will tell you the reason for my choice.

Most elk hunting is done is steep terrain. And the big boys are always in the nastiest places. So IMO it is imperative that you use a rifle that will drop an elk in a very very fast manor. For ex., we hunt a slide in CO that is over 500 feet. Then there is a second slide above that runs about another 300 feet. There is a trail between the two slides that creates an incredible funnel for elk. We have killed several bulls on that slide. Until one day a friend decided to shoot one behind the front shoulder with a 130 grain bullet from a 270. After 1-1/2 days or dragging the bull backup over the slide he decided to buy a 340 for the next year.

In other words an elk only has to run a couple of hundred yards(in some cases only 20 or 30 yards) to make your recovery into a nightmare. So I like to put the 250 grain through both shoulders, that drops him on the spot. Yes it ruins some meat, but for me recovery is the problem. Not a little wasted meat.

Of the three you listed I would go with the 338RUM, and buy a lifetime supply of brass. That cartridge is devastating. But again I would buy a 375H&H. Just an opinion.

The elk hunting you see on TV really does not exist unless you are spending the big big money for private ranch hunts. Big bulls do not come out in the open like you see on TV on public land. Long distance shooting for elk is realy limited againto those private ranches. A 300 yard shot in the elk country I have been in is an unusually long shot. So do not concern yourself so much about distance shooting(unless you are hunting on open range private ranches). Concern yourself about a fast, quick kill. Tom.
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300 ultra mag choices for ammo from power level 3 to power level 1 at 30-06 especially if you don't reload
moosehunter said:
Out of those three I'd choose the .30-06.
I'm with ya on that!!!
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It'd be interesting to see this question posted on some forum out west. Unless you really want to buy another rifle, there's probably nothing wrong with one you carry every year around here.

I should be heading back to Colorado in 'll and have no problems taking the .270 Win.
I've got some decisions to make. Got a 300 WSM that I have been carrying, but just bought a 300 RUM Sendero that hasnt drawn blood yet. And have a 338 Win Mag in the gun cabinet that needs scope, rings, bases, and some load development.

Choices.....Choices.....Probably the Ultra.

Depends on where I'm going and terrain.
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