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  • best elk rifle

    any idea what a good, accurate, mild kicking elk rifle would be?

  • #2
    Various 6.5's, 7mm-08, 7 mauser, .308, .270, .280, 30-06. All will work nicely if you use good bullets and shoot straight, at reasonable ranges.

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    • #3
      If you have big bears around you may want something better. They say a rifle shot is like a dinner bell to a grizzly.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by jhjimbo View Post
        If you have big bears around you may want something better. They say a rifle shot is like a dinner bell to a grizzly.
        We found this to be true in British Columbia . Shortly after killing an elk and getting it gutted a grizzly showed up. They really had trouble getting the elk on the horses because the horses could smell the grizzly. Matter fact my buddies horse threw him into a tree and he had to have his knee operated on when we got home. The old outfitter we had didn't want anyone hunting with him that didn't have at least a 300 Magnum or bigger. My buddy and I had 7MM Mags and he really frowned on that. It took 4 175 grain bullets from my buddies 7MM Mag to put the elk down and they were all good shots. Next trip if there is one I will have my 300 WSM with 180 grain Nosler Accubonds I will feel better with it.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Sarge01 View Post

          We found this to be true in British Columbia . Shortly after killing an elk and getting it gutted a grizzly showed up. They really had trouble getting the elk on the horses because the horses could smell the grizzly. Matter fact my buddies horse threw him into a tree and he had to have his knee operated on when we got home. The old outfitter we had didn't want anyone hunting with him that didn't have at least a 300 Magnum or bigger. My buddy and I had 7MM Mags and he really frowned on that. It took 4 175 grain bullets from my buddies 7MM Mag to put the elk down and they were all good shots. Next trip if there is one I will have my 300 WSM with 180 grain Nosler Accubonds I will feel better with it.
          I am surprised the Big 7 did not do better. It has almost as much energy as the .300 WinMag. Was it using premium bullets and what was the approx range, ?

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          • #6
            The 35 whelen with these new loads would be plenty for elk and would hit a bear pretty hard at close range.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jhjimbo View Post

              I am surprised the Big 7 did not do better. It has almost as much energy as the .300 WinMag. Was it using premium bullets and what was the approx range, ?
              He was using 175 grain Hornady Interlock bullets and the range was about 150 yards.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Dougfir View Post
                Various 6.5's, 7mm-08, 7 mauser, .308, .270, .280, 30-06. All will work nicely if you use good bullets and shoot straight, at reasonable ranges.
                All good options. I bumped up to a .35 Whelen in bear country after being annoyed with the recoil and lack of accuracy with a particular.338 Win Mag. I have since used 7mm and .300 Weatherby magnums for a wee bit longer range opportunities. The .35 Whelen is an excellent elk rifle but like the Weatherby magnums, it doesn’t fit your mild recoil category. Of those 3 mentioned, the 7mm Weatherby has the least recoil in a heavy rifle.

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                • #9
                  Really surprised the .300wm didn't show up earlier. I don't think the recoil is that bad, especially with the right stock.

                  Best on a rifle is subjective. Remember when we used to ask about a person's build and their recoil aversion on here?

                  If recoil is a big deal I would look at .280rem, .280AI, or .28Nosler. You'll get equal or better performance than the big 7 with a lighter recoil.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Buckshott00 View Post
                    Really surprised the .300wm didn't show up earlier. I don't think the recoil is that bad, especially with the right stock.

                    Best on a rifle is subjective. Remember when we used to ask about a person's build and their recoil aversion on here?

                    If recoil is a big deal I would look at .280rem, .280AI, or .28Nosler. You'll get equal or better performance than the big 7 with a lighter recoil.
                    I have shot two bucks over the last three years with my brother's two 300 Win mags (a Ruger 77 and a BAR Safari grade). I have to say, I didn't notice recoil with either gun, although I sure as hell noticed the BOSS muzzle brake on his BAR!! Ugh! Fixed that by giving him an aftermarket non-break extension for it for his birthday. He sighted the BAR in last week and said it's now much more pleasant to shoot!

                    My focus is always on connecting with the animal so don't pay much attention to recoil in the field. At the range is a different matter ... which is why I don't advocate spending much time shooting paper with big guns. I learn better control by repeatedly squeezing on imaginary animals in the basement with an empty gun.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ontario Honker Hunter View Post

                      I have shot two bucks over the last three years with my brother's two 300 Win mags (a Ruger 77 and a BAR Safari grade). I have to say, I didn't notice recoil with either gun, although I sure as hell noticed the BOSS muzzle brake on his BAR!! Ugh! Fixed that by giving him an aftermarket non-break extension for it for his birthday. He sighted the BAR in last week and said it's now much more pleasant to shoot!

                      My focus is always on connecting with the animal so don't pay much attention to recoil in the field. At the range is a different matter ... which is why I don't advocate spending much time shooting paper with big guns. I learn better control by repeatedly squeezing on imaginary animals in the basement with an empty gun.
                      Good advice OH. I have shot 8 or 9 deer with my 300WSM and I honestly don't remember the recoil on any shots. I have a Simms Limb Saver recoil pad on my Sako A7 300WSM and I don't really mind shooting it on the range for a few shots every year to make sure it is sighted in. I don't know if they make a mild kicking rifle to hunt elk with\ especially if you are hunting in bear country.

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                      • #12
                        Many moons ago, I found that my 12 gauge Ithaca Featherweight shotgun gave me a punch in the nose with my own right thumb held across the wrist of the stock.
                        I guess I'm a stock crawler.
                        I had an Edwards Recoil Reducer installed in the butt stock, and that punch in the nose disappeared, although I cannot measure the amount of the recoil reduction in numerical terms.

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                        • #13
                          I depends on your intended range and how big the bears are in your neck of the woods. The famed elk writer Don Laubach's father killed lots of elk on the spot with his 250-3000. He shot at reasonably short range and always hit vitals. I've talked to plenty of old timber hunters who have shot a 30-06 with 150g bullets their whole life and they have those monsters bulls on the wall to prove it. I personally prefer a big .30 caliber magnum for longer range shots because I am comfortable with long range hunting and I'm proficient with it. I also use a 30-06 in the timber. Elk are tough animals and bullet placement is a LOT more important than how big of bullet went through them. They are not elephants and most of today's premium hunting bullets will penetrate just fine. Calibers from .257 to .375 will penetrate completely with these bullets inside of 300 yards. You just have to put them in the right place. There aren't many cartridges capable of penetrating completely at 1000 yards (e.g. .300 RUM, .30-378, 338 Lapua) so pick what you need for your intended range.

                          I like to practice long range shooting a LOT (hundreds of rounds annually). So I use a Lead Sled for most of that practice when using high recoil rifles (for me) like my .300 Dakota or my .375 H&H so that I don't develop a flinch. I've never been bothered by high recoil on a shot at game but it's the practice that hurts.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DakotaMan View Post
                            I depends on your intended range and how big the bears are in your neck of the woods. The famed elk writer Don Laubach's father killed lots of elk on the spot with his 250-3000. He shot at reasonably short range....
                            I met Don many years ago when I was hunting with his cousin Kenny Laubach east of Big Timber. Great old Montana family. Sadly, Ken passed away prematurely several years ago. Happy Trails

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                            • #15
                              WAM, there is a name from the past, Big Timber, 50 years ago I chased and killed a lot of elk in that area.

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