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  #1  
Old 09-23-2013, 09:54 AM
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338 Win for elk


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I believe that the 338 Win Mag is one of the best cartridges for Elk Hunting and these are my reasons why:

The recoil is manageable for almost anyone. I sold my first 338 to a friend and his high school age daughter picked it for deer hunting and only wants to shoot that rifle for deer ever since.

The velocity of the 250 grain bullets (to me the perfect 338 choice) is not so high that bullet fragmentation is not an issue, but instead the 'standard cup and core bullets' penetrate deep. While there are some that are fortunate enough to hunt with outfitters and have many opportunities to wait for the broadside shots and no other elk/cows in the way, others often get only a few chances to shoot to the vitals. Well constructed cup and core bullets such as Hornady Spire point bullets work well and can reach the heart and beyond even if the elk is only offering an angling shot. You can pretty much eat right up to the hole if you shoot through meat (front shoulder for instance).

I've seen elk run off with well placed shots (heart) from lesser cartridges. Sometimes that means trailing a bull for a ways and hauling the meat up steep country and sometimes it means an argument with other hunters as to whose bullet was it that killed the bull. Again, you read gun writers state things like 7x57 or 270 is sufficient. But I wonder if they ever hunt on public land without a guide. Or if they ever had to carry their bull up a steep ravine after they shot their bull with their 'deer' cartridges. Maybe hauling elk meat and horns up a ravine is no big deal for a 30 year old, but I'm more than twice that.

I try to drop elk in their tracks. Using enough cartridge with a proper bullet and shooting the vitals which to me = heart of the animal is my way of having a good day.

I think cartridges like 9.3x62, 358 Norma, 35 Whelen or similar cartridges fit in the preferred cartridge class also. I think that if you hunt public land and hunt where the elk might run and might then drop 1,000 feet in elevation lower than where you shot it, use enough gun, use enough bullet, hit the vitals and you can't beat such cartridges.

And yes I know someone killed an elk once with a 25-35 and the elk didn't run off -- etc.
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  #2  
Old 09-23-2013, 11:14 AM
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I agree with you for the reasons you already stated. Although a cup and core bullet will work just fine I personally choose to use premium bullets.

Now lets see how many posts this thread will generate....
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  #3  
Old 09-23-2013, 05:07 PM
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.338 Win for Elk

Excellent choice! My favorite elk medicine as well, although I do use a custom .340 Weatherby Mag. It's a long story how I ended up with the .340, but the .338 (of which I have two) is really sweeter. Its "shove" is much gentler than the punch you receive from a .300 Mag. It's very accurate (I've had three and they all shot well). And for a long-haired, big-bodied animal like an elk whose hair seems to absorb blood, the .338 Win Mag provides a better blood trail.

Elk are truly regal animals and unfortunately today, many hunters lack the fortitude to chase them over miles of terrain they can cover if hit poorly. In fact, many guides tell me that elk are well hit and show no reaction, thus convincing some hunters that they missed. I shot one years ago with a .338-.378 at 80 yards and the 600# bull never even flinched. We found him 60 yards away in thick brush after waiting an hour to let him wander off and die.

The .338 Win Mag has been called the Alaskan Caliber, but it certainly is home for elk & mule deer. Excellent choice indeed! Elmer would be proud!!
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Old 09-23-2013, 05:10 PM
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I'm partial to the 210grn Partition myself.
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  #5  
Old 09-23-2013, 09:18 PM
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I agree, and a 338 loaded with 250 gr. Hornady SP's is my main elk rifle, but I doubt any elk hit with the equivalent bullet placement would be any less dead with my 30-06, 7mm RMag, or even my 45-70.

Bullet energy thrills, bullet placement kills.
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Old 09-24-2013, 07:16 AM
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I am getting close to purchasing one, but was considering the 225g for my elk hunts.
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  #7  
Old 09-24-2013, 10:33 AM
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a 225gr Nosler or other premium bullet should work too. I'm an Elmer Keith Fan though and find heavier bullets work well for sorta like he did.
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  #8  
Old 09-24-2013, 03:16 PM
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Talking

Excellent choice!
I have never shot an Elk, none live in my country, but we do have Sambar deer here, which a stag weighs about the same as a cow Elk.
I have used 210, 225 and 250gr pills on these animals in both 338Win and 340Weatherby. I use the 338 mostly with 225gr Nosler Accubonds @ 2890fps, haven't had an animal travel more than 20-30yrds after being hit with these, and most of the time I try for high shoulder hits where it's a bang flop most of the time.
The 338 cal just seems to kill big stuff with ease.

Cheers.
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  #9  
Old 09-25-2013, 08:16 AM
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A 225gr. Nosler Accubond in the 338 Win mag is hard to beat, very accurate! Great all around bullet for the 338.
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  #10  
Old 09-25-2013, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by So Dakota View Post
I'm an Elmer Keith Fan
I'm sorry.

RJ
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  #11  
Old 09-25-2013, 02:49 PM
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My regrets are those who followed the Jack, the 270 nut. He had guides (from what I read - negative comments from same) and he did't have to go to public land to hunt. He didn't have to do the any of the work.
What started me on this post was a article by some writer that hunted in situations similar to Jack, the 270 nut, he stated 30-30. 7x57, 270 and such other deer cartridges were fine elk cartridges. That just makes me puke.
This writer gets a lot of articles and he gets guides, hunting in prime country that many would have to save a dozen years to hunt. He was promoting deer cartridges as fine elk cartridges -- to bad he never hunted where many of us have to hunt.
Writers that don't hunt where many have to hunt - their writings are just fantasy stories as far as I'm concerned and that includes Jack the 270 nut!
If I could get a guide to give me a dozen options of a dozen game animals in prime hunting country, with many options to shoot and horses to haul out the hide, meat, and antlers, my opinion may change somewhat. I could shoot some sissy cartridge and not have to worry what many of hunters have to put up with, such as public hunting areas that are not necessarily easy to hike to or in, steep ravines, and other hunters that may argue after they put a bullet or two in the elk shot with my rifle (that should remained a rifle for deer).
I understand that Elmer Keith may offend some, but he hunted in areas which included the areas I am talking about without some guide having to show him where the game was standing.
But then, I can chose to ignore such writings and take a rifle chambered for a cartridge that does a good job when shooting appropriate bullets into the right area.
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  #12  
Old 09-26-2013, 04:45 AM
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Actually the 7x57, 270, 280 and the 30-06 make excellent elk cartridges, I have used all of those on elk on many occasions, and they kill elk just as effective as the 338, with the proper bullet placement and bullet selection. And by the way I hunt thick timbered public lands, I have never hunted using a guide and the only private land I have ever hunted was on a Russian boar hunt. I love my 338 but to be honest I have killed more elk with my 280. Deer and elk season run together here so I usually carry my 280.
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Last edited by fritz1; 09-26-2013 at 05:17 AM.
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  #13  
Old 09-26-2013, 05:14 AM
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Well, So Dakota, what started out as something I could agree with has morphed into something that makes you look a bit silly. Name calling seldom adds to the effectiveness of a good argument. "Jack the .270 Nut" and "sissy cartridge" along with what is starting to look like jealousy over hunting opportunities is seriously damaging your credibility.

The .338 is, in fact, a great elk cartridge. But if you think you may "puke" if someone tells you the .270 can kill elk too, then you lack experience. Try to keep it rational.
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  #14  
Old 09-26-2013, 06:38 AM
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I over stated my position. I apoligize.
I really was irked when I watched this gun writer say how the 30-30 and other deer rifles were the best elk rifles. Without seeing the video, it would be difficult to see my point and I did over state my point again I apoligize!

Last edited by So Dakota; 09-26-2013 at 06:43 AM.
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  #15  
Old 09-26-2013, 07:16 PM
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The 270 is a fine medium game cartridge for open country hunting. That's what I use mine for, and I've never lost an animal shot with it. Actually, I've never had to fire more than a single shot for any game downed with it. It would not be my first choice for elk, because I have the luxury of having five rifles more suitable for heavy game.

For a careful hunter using suitable bullets, the 270 is an adequate elk rifle.

O'Connor wasn't a small bore fanatic. He used what worked, and a 270 worked on everything from jackrabbits to moose, for him. He liked the 375 H&H, and was a 416 Rigby user when the cartridge was practically extinct.

Keith knew his stuff, too, particularly on big bore handguns, but I can't entirely agree with some of his negative opinions on smaller calibers.

I liked reading them both, which probably explains why two of my favorite calibers are the 270 Win. and 44 Rem. Mag.....
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Last edited by shawnbo; 09-26-2013 at 07:37 PM.
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  #16  
Old 09-27-2013, 12:01 PM
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.338 for Elk

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saskshooter View Post
Well, So Dakota, what started out as something I could agree with has morphed into something that makes you look a bit silly. Name calling seldom adds to the effectiveness of a good argument. "Jack the .270 Nut" and "sissy cartridge" along with what is starting to look like jealousy over hunting opportunities is seriously damaging your credibility.

The .338 is, in fact, a great elk cartridge. But if you think you may "puke" if someone tells you the .270 can kill elk too, then you lack experience. Try to keep it rational.
I think the point is, those that practice with their rifle, hunt hard and shoot both deer and elk can be effective with a cartridge that is less than desirable for such a big animal. However, I agree that too many espouse lesser cartridges than that required for most situations when hunting truly large animals such as elk. It is an injustice to send a novice into the woods after such a big animal, especially where potential dangers from bears exist, with a deer/antelope cartridge. A .30-06 is capable with the right bullet in the right range, but the .338 is substantially better. Just can't argue with the facts.
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Last edited by CCAguns; 09-27-2013 at 12:05 PM.
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  #17  
Old 09-27-2013, 01:57 PM
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Elk cartridges

I killed my first elk with a Remington Model 600 243 with105 grn Speer over 37 grs4320. 50 yards.Ran 40 yards and piled up.Heart was like jelly.Also shot one with a 257Roberts.I think it is more shot placement than bullet weight or caliber.Just an opinion.I've harvested 30 plus elk most with my 300 Win Mag and 200 grain nosler partitions.But it is also shot placement.

Randy

PS I am currently looking for a 338 Browning auto
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Last edited by nifrand; 09-27-2013 at 02:02 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 09-27-2013, 07:26 PM
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I'll raise my glass for the .338 caliber be it a Win mag, 06 or Ultra Mag. It makes no difference to me, they all do a splendid job on elk and moose too.
The one thing I noticed about hunting bull elk with the .338 Win mag, was you know when you hit that elk by the body language it shows after bullet impact.

I shot my first bull elk several decades ago using a .270 Winchester! I hit it just fine but it was a poor choice of cheap bullets that caused my not tagging out on that bull and a pair of brothers who finished the job 45 minutes later on the other side of the mountain with their 300 mag & .338 Win mag. I learned a lot that day from those hunters and my next choice of caliber and ammunition.
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Old 09-28-2013, 03:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by So Dakota View Post
I over stated my position. I apoligize.
I really was irked when I watched this gun writer say how the 30-30 and other deer rifles were the best elk rifles.
I hunted elk for several years on a drop camp arrangement, and the outfitter usually hunted with us as he became a friend as much as an outfitter. He used a .30-30, and 170 Winchester power points. He usually had a cow tag, and always shot an elk.

I was never inclined to use my .30-30.

I have shot elk with a .30-06, a 7RM, a .375, and a .35 Whelen. My longest shot was with the Whelen at a hair past 275yds, I passed on shots over 300yds every year I hunted for fear of losing them in the oakbrush. As the group usually consisted of six guys, I had the opportunity to see a fair amount of elk killed, and a couple lost. Lost elk were always shots at very long range, past the shooters ability. Beyond that, I never saw much difference between the Whelen, .300 Magnums, or the .338's, or my .375. Elk killed with a .30-06 or 7RM were pretty dead, but most years they were absent, as the consensus within the group was they were marginal. Not saying they are.

The .338 Winchester is certainly a great elk cartridge, and the SD girl Scouts may be fans. But on average, I suspect a lot of hunters are a bit over gunned with one in hand, and they don't shoot enough to use it well.
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Old 09-28-2013, 06:19 AM
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Tman, every elk I've taken has been with a 30-06. But I will agree with you, I consider them marginal. In all cases, except one, the bullet didn't exit which enticed me to look for something that shot bigger and heavier pills. Yes those elk are still dead but I just prefer pass through shots.
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