Best gun for elk and mule deer

Discussion in 'Cast & Blast' started by Andrew Shoemaker, Apr 22, 2014.

  1. cmann886

    cmann886 Active Member

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    At home the debate between the '06 and 270 was constant. One of the old hands said the 270 was a great gun depending on the dog you used...to retrieve the cripples. I believe Elmer Keith called the 270 a hunt and chase gun, but then he liked using a 300 winchester Mag for rock chuck!

    I personally have shot mule deer with a 280 (7mm express) a .308 and 06. the difference is like eating a sandwich hole, cut diagonally or horizontally. I would go with an 06 and find loads that work well for you and the rifle or if you will be hunting a lot of open areas I would consider one of the 300 Mags unless recoil bothers you then I would consider a 7mm Mag.

    When I was a kid one of my school mates took an elk with a single shot from a .243. His dad had to follow his for about a mile after a couple of hits with a .300 so I would agree that the important thing is how well you and the rifle connect.
     
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  2. bennysbuddy

    bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

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    It's all about shot placement,buy something That you can shoot well. Big magnums are nice if you can handle the recoil for elk,but anything from a30-30 to an 30-06 will do for deer with a bit of common sense and good bullet placement. I love the stories about 1,000 yard shots on elk,where I have hunted you couldn't see a elk passed about three hundred yards much less get a good shot at it. I have friends up in darrington that have never used anything but a 30-30 lever gun for hunting anything in western washington.
     
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  3. Olive bugger

    Olive bugger Active Member

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    Jack O'conner took a lot of elk with .270, back in the '60 or '70.
     
  4. Alex MacDonald

    Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

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    I'd say if you reload, the belted magnum shells would not be my choice. Recoil is manageable with today's good pads, and ethically, shooting an elk at a kilometer is, in my book, not acceptable. That being said, it really depends on how well you and the gun fit together, as several of you have pointed out already.

    it's possible to take an elk with a .22, if you shoot him in the eye, but since it's a debate on the "best" caliber for elk or deer, what's really being asked is, what's the MOST EFFECTIVE caliber. In my opinion, you need to be looking at the weight/type/BC/design of the projectile and not the caliber-within reason. The projectile should be married to the shell/powder/primer combo in such a way to give you consistent, sure accuracy at a realistic hunting distance. Way too many hunters are caught up in the idea of extreme distance shooting, with the .300 and the .338 options. Given our state's stupid proclivity around elk spike and "true" spike traps-and they are hunting "speed traps", shooting at extreme distances without spending a boatload of $$$ on optics, you're asking for trouble. You want a rifle you'll not flinch at lugging all over the place, so it needs to be relatively light weight, including the scope. You want one that you'll enjoy shooting, with decently manageable recoil, so a bazooka isn't on the table either. Getting one that won't break the bank is great, and realizing that most decent manufacturers' computer-guided machinery will give you good tolerances means that you don't need that custom job.

    I shoot a Remington 700CDL stainless action with a fluted barrel, Not too expensive, not too much recoil with the .300WSM; find ammo readily available if I have to fly somewhere, and really enjoy shooting it. The Hornaday SST 150gr bullets I shoot for mulies will vaporize a big buck's boiler room entirely, or blow through both shoulders, dropping the animal in it's tracks. Moving up to the same round in 180gr, it does the same job on elk-and most of you saw that big 6X6 I took with it in Idaho 4 seasons ago. A .270 in the same rifle's not going to weigh any less than the .300, which is flatter-shooting than the 30-06. So, when in doubt, go with the .300WSM There! Stuck my neck out for you guys!!!:D
     
  5. tkww

    tkww Member

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    Bullet construction. Some of the bullets out there today--many/most--weren't available 20, 30, or 50 years ago. Smaller calibers are far more practical now because there are bullets that will hold together and retain close to 100% of their weight. It gives them much greater penetration than was previously possible, turning smaller calibers into better big-animal (elk) rounds. So matching bullet construction and bullet weight to the animal you're shooting makes any cartridge more versatile and effective.

    And as BB mentioned, caliber can't make up for shot placement. A very light .270 might kick even harder than a substantial .30'06. And less recoil will almost always make you a better shooter.

    Going after deer most of the time? I'd go .270. If elk, especially trophy bulls was the priority, I'd go .30.
     
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  6. Alex MacDonald

    Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

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    Blacktails?? .243's plenty. Or the venerated 250-3000! You're not gonna get long-distance shots on these German Shepherd-sized deer anyway!
     
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  7. bennysbuddy

    bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

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    I have a savage model 99in 250-3000 with a tang sight the rifle was made in 1917 and it amazingly will still drop a deer today. I still like to hunt with the old classic even if it's not a belted magnum with a 10powered scope on it,some times I will use a old custom Mauser in 7x57 to hunt deer with and so far I have had no complaints from any deer I have ever shot with either of these old time calibers
     
  8. Alex MacDonald

    Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

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    the Savage is one of our American Classics, BB: my daughter's got her great-grandfather's 99.
     
  9. cuponoodle breakfast

    cuponoodle breakfast free bird

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    Lots of people kill elk, mulies, blacktails, whitetails, and bears with one gun. Anything in the .270 to .300 range will work.

    Please tell me you're not one of those guys that screams "benchleg!" every time you see a big blacktail.
     
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  10. Alex MacDonald

    Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

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    No, there's no blacktails anywhere near here; feral cats killed them all.:eek:
     
  11. cmann886

    cmann886 Active Member

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    My brother is a real hunting nut having bagged big game on four continents. He loves his .300 WSM except for the really big stuff. The newer bullets made a lot of things possible. Even with factory ammo many stock rifles will punch very tight groups. I certainly agree with Alex that most people don't have the needed optics and many of those who do can't effectively set them up for long range shooting.

    IMHO hunting is about the stock and a clean kill, but must admit I've done precious little hunting since I moved to Washington... just too many people out and about that are not careful with firearms.
     
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  12. Andrew Shoemaker

    Andrew Shoemaker Active Member

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    Alright, I think I've decided to go with a 30-06 for all three cervidae. Now who can tell me the best gun shop in western WA where I can buy a quality, well cares for used rifle for a fair price?
     
  13. Upton O

    Upton O Blind hog fisherman

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    Buy new.
     
  14. Olive bugger

    Olive bugger Active Member

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    Don't mean to be argumentative Upton, but the lack of QC, and some of the horror stories about new production long arms, I am not certain that this is sage advice.

    Since it will be a new firearm to the purchaser, I would suggest that a good in store examination of a well preserved used firearm, then a test drive at the range. NEW does not always = BETTER.

    Besides, it is always a good idea to be real familiar with your firearm before venturing out into the hunting and killing field.

    I concur that the choice of a 30-06 is a good one. But that opinion and a couple of bucks, will get you a beer in most places.
     
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  15. bennysbuddy

    bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

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    Pre 64 model 70,Leopold 3x9scope and your good to go!