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Ok, I'm going to take my bow and rifle when I go elk hunting. What ammo do you guys think I should shoot in a .300 WSM? Do you think 150 gr. is enough for a cow elk?
 

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bayman,

One of the things that blew my mind on my first trip to Colorado was the number of Locals in the Rifle area didn't carry magnums. 30-30 leverguns, 38-55 lever guns, the 30-06 and .270 were everywhere. One of the biggest 4x4's I saw that year was taken out by 15 year old local with a .243 Winchester using a 100gr bullet.

Shot placement and bullet construction. Even though you may have the opportunity to take much closer shots, I would prepare for the long ones and use something that penetrates well. Slow moving heavy bullets don't need to be fancy bullets to penetrate well and fast moving fancy bullets tend to "blow up" at short ranges.

How could you go wrong with a simple power point or core-lok? Anything...150,165,180. Any of them will fit the bill.
 

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I don't know how the 300 WSM compares to the 300 Win Mag but I can tell you from personal experience that elk, either a cow or bull, are large animals and I would recommend a premium bullet for penetration and the chance you would need to take a 200 - 300 yard shot. Yes, the .243 has taken lots of elk but I would only use this round for idea situations where you can place a bullet in the heart lung area inside 150 yards. Other shots where the animal is quartering away from you, going up hill or down hill, where your shot angle to get to the heart lung area may have to travel through a lot more muscle and tissue and that is where a heavier premium bullet will shine. I have used the 180 grain Nosler partition spire point bullet in my 300 and it has performed admirably through the years. I just bought a box from Cabelas for hand loading and it comes with the RMEF logo on the Nosler box. That is a good endorsement for this bullet. :up:
 

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I don't care if it's a .300 Win-Fed-Super hot stuff magnum with Rocky Mountain Tick endorsement. Sectional density and velocity will always determine penetration. A little 260 Remington with a 140grain bullet with a sectional density of .287 bests the 300 Mag using 180 grain partitians when it comes to penetration. You have to shoot a 200 grain bullets out of that magnum .30 cal. to even get close. A 180 grain .30 cal spire point might have a sectional density of .271. Not as good as a 154 grain 7mm or a 150 grain .270. Heck even a .257 Roberts little 120 grainers have a sectional density better than 150 or 165 grain .30 calibers.

So what does this prove? If your arguement is you need maximum penetration to kill an elk you're handicapping yourself by not shooting a cartridge that uses heavier than bore bullets.

Or you could just say that a Rocky Mountain Elk is not an armored animal and people have been taking them down many years before there was a Nosler, Barnes, or a Speer. Don't beat up your shoulder. And don't fall victim to magnum hype. My largest elk to date fell victim to a 7mm-08 using 140 grain handloaded jacketed bullet. Just a plain old piece of copper-tin alloy covered lead. Almost 300 yards away and never took a step. If you have your freezer full of meat in December, who's gonna care what bullet you used.
 

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bayman,

One of the things that blew my mind on my first trip to Colorado was the number of Locals in the Rifle area didn't carry magnums. 30-30 leverguns, 38-55 lever guns, the 30-06 and .270 were everywhere. One of the biggest 4x4's I saw that year was taken out by 15 year old local with a .243 Winchester using a 100gr bullet.

Shot placement and bullet construction. Even though you may have the opportunity to take much closer shots, I would prepare for the long ones and use something that penetrates well. Slow moving heavy bullets don't need to be fancy bullets to penetrate well and fast moving fancy bullets tend to "blow up" at short ranges.

How could you go wrong with a simple power point or core-lok? Anything...150,165,180. Any of them will fit the bill.
Eggzacktly!
 

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I don't care if it's a .300 Win-Fed-Super hot stuff magnum with Rocky Mountain Tick endorsement. Sectional density and velocity will always determine penetration. A little 260 Remington with a 140grain bullet with a sectional density of .287 bests the 300 Mag using 180 grain partitians when it comes to penetration. You have to shoot a 200 grain bullets out of that magnum .30 cal. to even get close. A 180 grain .30 cal spire point might have a sectional density of .271. Not as good as a 154 grain 7mm or a 150 grain .270. Heck even a .257 Roberts little 120 grainers have a sectional density better than 150 or 165 grain .30 calibers.

So what does this prove? If your arguement is you need maximum penetration to kill an elk you're handicapping yourself by not shooting a cartridge that uses heavier than bore bullets.

Or you could just say that a Rocky Mountain Elk is not an armored animal and people have been taking them down many years before there was a Nosler, Barnes, or a Speer. Don't beat up your shoulder. And don't fall victim to magnum hype. My largest elk to date fell victim to a 7mm-08 using 140 grain handloaded jacketed bullet. Just a plain old piece of copper-tin alloy covered lead. Almost 300 yards away and never took a step. If you have your freezer full of meat in December, who's gonna care what bullet you used.
I was not trying to argue or start an argument. The man asked what bullet to use for his 300 WSM. I answered that I shot a 300 WM that is close to his caliber and merrily made a suggestion for a bullet that has put lots of elk meat in the freezer for me. As some have all ready stated, elk have been taken from everything from a speer to as what you call the Super Hot Stuff Magnum. Also if you want to make light of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation efforts on providing habitat for elk and other birds and animals that live in that Eco system, go right ahead. You are in Iraq fighting for that right and I respect that. I also suggested for him to use a bullet for those cases when an elk will not be standing broad side at close range and to think of the worse case scenario but yet still be in range of when you would need a bullet for any given caliber to reach the vital areas for a kill. Also penetration has a lot more to do than just sectional density alone. You also have to factor in velocity and foot pounds of energy at any given range. I doubt if Bayman is going to go out and buy a rifle of another caliber as I when he all ready has one suitable to kill an elk. The difference between penetration of a 180gr Nosler partition with a muzzle velocity of 3100 fps vs the 200 gr Nosler partition at 2900 fps is slight. When you need to break up bones and penetration on dangerous game at short range the 200 grain or heavier bullet would be the choice. The flatter shooting 180 grain bullet is more suitable for the chance of an extreme range you may encounter when hunting elk.
Also according to the Nosler Reloading Manual the 260 Remington 140 grain bullet with sectional density of .287 with a muzzle velocity of 2900 fps vs the 300 WM with the 180 grain bullet at the same muzzle velocity generates 2615 ft lbs of energy to the 300 at 3362 ft lbs. Out at 300 yards the little Rem 264 packs 1700 ft lbs of energy vs the 300 at 2111. The same scenario is similar with the other calibers you mentioned also. The bottom line is getting a bullet that will stay together into the vitals to make a humane kill. The quarter angle, long distance range is where the magnum calibers have an advantage over their small counter parts. Not wanting to argue, just stating my opinion based on experience.
 

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catdaddylong. Man I know what you mean. I was just responding to something that gets me going. Your response is what I try to avoid. The ft lbs of energy a bullet has when it strikes a target at a given range is the same thing that Colorado DOW seems to have confusion with also.

A bullets style (meplat and ogive) will have little affect on how the bullet penetrates whether it has a thousand or two thousand ft lbs of energy. It's all about sectional density. It's like taking a hammer and attempting to drive something into wood. A nail works best, but trying to drive 3/8 bolt tends to be more difficult. Lets say that 264 pushing 1700 ft lbs of energy would be the nail, and the 300 would be the 3.8 bolt. That's the trick with sectional density. Bullets that are heavy for bore size have better sectional density.

I do agree however that that 2111 ft lbs of energy is a monster but my point is that based off of the sectional density of the 300 that little 6.5 is still able to penetrate deeper at less energy than the 300 will with almost 400 more ft lbs of energy. I think the state of Colorado just requires projectiles to have 550 ft lbs of energy at 50 yards.

Just mention the name Wiskey Chamberlain from Idaho to any Idaho Elk Hunter and they may refer to him as the 243 Winchester guy. I think the guy may have taken 15 or more bulls with the old 243, and at some pretty good distances.

I'm not attempting to argue with anyone. I just see too many hunters out there who are convinced that you have to bring out the heavy guns to take elk size game. It's not the case. The mass media telecommercial known to many as The Outdoor Channel seems to fuel the fire when it comes to this misbelief also.

The 300 short mag that bayman spoke of is more than enough to take elk at any distance. It has the ability to send a standard spire-pointed bullet weighing 150 grains at enough speed and energy to take out elk easily at ranges of 500 yards. My intent was to save the guy some money and boost his confidence in his choice of weapon at the same time. I could buy two boxes of over the counter at wal-mart winchester powerpoint 150's for what I could one box of Federal's 180 grain nosler partition. One box could be used to craft a ballistics chart and one to hunt with.

Confidence in what you're using matters most of all. I am convinced that whatever weight and construction bullet he chooses for the 300 short mag will work. That little short mag has a little more strength than the 30-06 and I've never doubted the 30-06 no matter the bullet weight. I do know that I can put more holes in a two inch circle at two hundred yards with a 165 grain bullet than I can a 180 grainer. My shoulder is starting to hurt just thinking about it.
 

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catdaddylong. Man I know what you mean. I was just responding to something that gets me going. Your response is what I try to avoid. The ft lbs of energy a bullet has when it strikes a target at a given range is the same thing that Colorado DOW seems to have confusion with also.

A bullets style (meplat and ogive) will have little affect on how the bullet penetrates whether it has a thousand or two thousand ft lbs of energy. It's all about sectional density. It's like taking a hammer and attempting to drive something into wood. A nail works best, but trying to drive 3/8 bolt tends to be more difficult. Lets say that 264 pushing 1700 ft lbs of energy would be the nail, and the 300 would be the 3.8 bolt. That's the trick with sectional density. Bullets that are heavy for bore size have better sectional density.

I do agree however that that 2111 ft lbs of energy is a monster but my point is that based off of the sectional density of the 300 that little 6.5 is still able to penetrate deeper at less energy than the 300 will with almost 400 more ft lbs of energy. I think the state of Colorado just requires projectiles to have 550 ft lbs of energy at 50 yards.

Just mention the name Wiskey Chamberlain from Idaho to any Idaho Elk Hunter and they may refer to him as the 243 Winchester guy. I think the guy may have taken 15 or more bulls with the old 243, and at some pretty good distances.

I'm not attempting to argue with anyone. I just see too many hunters out there who are convinced that you have to bring out the heavy guns to take elk size game. It's not the case. The mass media telecommercial known to many as The Outdoor Channel seems to fuel the fire when it comes to this misbelief also.

The 300 short mag that bayman spoke of is more than enough to take elk at any distance. It has the ability to send a standard spire-pointed bullet weighing 150 grains at enough speed and energy to take out elk easily at ranges of 500 yards. My intent was to save the guy some money and boost his confidence in his choice of weapon at the same time. I could buy two boxes of over the counter at wal-mart winchester powerpoint 150's for what I could one box of Federal's 180 grain nosler partition. One box could be used to craft a ballistics chart and one to hunt with.

Confidence in what you're using matters most of all. I am convinced that whatever weight and construction bullet he chooses for the 300 short mag will work. That little short mag has a little more strength than the 30-06 and I've never doubted the 30-06 no matter the bullet weight. I do know that I can put more holes in a two inch circle at two hundred yards with a 165 grain bullet than I can a 180 grainer. My shoulder is starting to hurt just thinking about it.
The recoil factor is what gets me on the big guns. If I'm jerking the trigger and closing my eyes, I can't hit squat anyway. So I just go with the old 270.
 

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Dirtdart I agree that the main thing is to get a bullet in the boiler room and then the really hard work starts :thumb: I don't know how many rounds I have put through my Weatherby Vangard but I can tell you a lot. The best thing I have ever bought for bench rest and sighting in your rifle is a Past shoulder pad that you strap on like shoulder holster for a pistol. It really tames the magnum calibers and I use ear plugs plus ear muffs when shooting. I have shot my 300 in a tee shirt all day long with this outfit and not be worse for the wear. Once you got your rifle sighted in you are only going to shoot it one more time in the field anyway so recoil is not a factor, especially when that big'un steps out of the quakies at dark thirty :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Guys, I really appreciate all the information you're giving me. And, some of it is over my head, as I've never immersed myself in bullet construction or ballistics. I personally own a .243 Win., 7mm08, and my .50 muzzleloader. My son-in-law offered the .300 WSM to me to use. I've always believed in shot placement myself, and have never really felt the need for magnum bores. I'm simply looking for information on options, which with all the expertise found on this board is not hard to get.

Like I said, I want to hunt a couple of days with my bow, and then go to something with more bang. I'm thinking about carrying my muzzleloader along, just in case the urge hits me.

What about a .308, is it an acceptable option for elk? Anyway, thanks for the information guys. I knew I'd get it here.
 

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As all ready mentioned anything from a 243 and up is a suitable rifle for elk. As Dirt as all ready mentioned confidence in hitting your target is the most important factor. A well constructed bullet that will hold together is also important regardless of caliber. The 308 would be an excellent choice IMHO. Your 7mm08 would be fine in the 140 - 150 grain bullet. Federal makes a premium bullet with the 140 gr Nosler partition bullet and Remington makes a 140 gr Nosler ballistic tip as well as their 140 gr core lokt. Bayman, there is not a perfect bullet for all game but IMHO the Nosler Partition Point comes close. Every elk I have killed was done in with the partition bullet as well as several mule deer and white tails. Also a one shot antelope with my 243 at approx 300 yards :wink: Anyway, good luck and good hunting.:up:
 

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IMM - If you are going on a hunt of a lifetime, go big.... I personally would not use a smaller caliber just to prove a point or save a pound of rifle weight. Put the animal on the ground. Don't chance wounding the animal and having it walk. Spending all that time, money, and effort would make the decision easy for me. Go with the biggest you are confident shooting....
 

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Do an internet search of WDM Bell. Check out the elephants, lion, cape buffalo, and dozens of other game he took down in Africa as a professional hunter. Most all of them with a 6.5 Mannlicher or 7x57 Swede. Those weren't just hunts of a lifetime, they were more like risking your life on a hunt. Where wounding an animal wasn't a missed opportunity it was life threatening. Those calibers will get you ran out of "BIG GAME HUNTER" camps these days. Guess you can't call them sporting rifles anymore because there's no sport in downing animals in the deer family with firepower usually reserved for armored vehicles.
 
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