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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I know this topic is beat to death, but I have a little bit of a different situation.

I'm working on getting an elk hunt going for next year (or sometime, anyway... I really want to go elk hunting at least once... I've never been before :)) and I already have a .30-06 (Browning A-Bolt Hunter) that shoots well (and I can shoot it pretty well). If I used it, I would be using 180gr Partitions at 2700fps MV (I already have a few boxes). Is there any real need for me to look into getting something else if I am ever able to make a regular elk trip or something? I could get a new barrel for my T/C Pro Hunter in any caliber that they make but I kinda want to have a bolt action for an elk hunt for a quick follow up shot, just in case and I want to be able to get factory loaded ammunition so it would need to be common enough that like MidwayUSA stocks it.

I have toyed with the idea of getting a .338Federal but I'd really like 225gr bullets in .338 (or heavier) and 210gr Partitions are the heaviest they offer but they are probably enough. I've thought about the .338 Win Mag but 250gr in it would kick pretty hard and might be more recoil than I want... maybe 225gr would be enough for it which the .338 Federal doesn't seem to have right now but I like the idea of the 250gr in .338 Win Mag. The SD of that and how hard it would hit, it should be able to take the shoulders out of an elk (plus, if I ever get a chance on moose or big bears or something in the future, I'd have it and not worry). The .338-06 is another option but I'm not sure exactly how much better than my .30-06 that would be and how easy it would be to find a rifle (Savage or something). I've also thought about 180gr Partitions out of a .300 Win Mag. Another option might would be a .35 Whelen slinging 250gr. .358 Winchester would also be interesting but there're just not enough ammo options at MidwayUSA that would make me comfortable getting it right now. I don't like muzzle brakes so I'd rather steer away from those, too, so that starts hurting the idea of the .338 Win Mag and definitely anything bigger than that. The bolt rifle would be heavier than my TC (by a lot) so should help on the recoil, as well. I guess one thing I could do is to try to find someone in my area that has a .338 Win Mag who will let me shoot it some to see for sure how bad it would be (I don't know anybody with one locally... not sure how I'd go about finding someone).

However, pretty much everywhere says that the .30-06 is good enough for up to 200yds shots and some of those calibers I was looking at aren't necessarily *that* much more powerful than a .30-06 with 180gr bullets (.338 Federal, for example). If I ever went after moose or browns I could get something bigger when that happens, I guess. I've never owned anything bigger than a .30-06 and never really shot anything bigger, either. There's not really any reason to even have those down here... whitetail deer and big hogs are the largest game around down here.

Edit: I keep drifting back to thinking about the .338 Federal because of recoil concerns, but it really isn't that much more than what I have. I do know a few people with .35 Whelens so I could try those out. My cousin has a 7mm Rem Mag but, again, that isn't really that much more than a .30-06 (if any, really... flatter shooting though).

Edit2: What concerns me is the quartering shots, which some places say is pretty common that you have to take. Broadside, the .30-06 with 180s should do fine for boiler room shots, but it's the shoulder shots (even broadside) and the quartering shots where you need to shoot through a shoulder that are what worry me a little.
 

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30-06 with 180 grain partitions is enough for elk out to 350-400 yards if you can do your part, shot angles may come into play past 300 or so. .35 whelan would be an excellent choice for what you do, the .338 WM would pair up well with your 30-06 (pretty close to the same trajectory with bigger bullets) if recoil is a concern 215-225 grain bullets would do nicely without much recoil. Honestly though, you really dont need to step up from your '06.
.338 federal doesnt offer any advantage over your '06 unless maybe in real thick timber, where shots will be short.
 

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I have and do live in elk country for 50 plus years and will venture to say that more elk have been killed with 30-06's and 270 Win's than any other 20 calibers combined. I personally have shot a couple dozen with a 30-06. The two great failure in any hunting situations are poor bullet placement and improper bullets. I am a HUGE fan of Nosler Partions. A 30-06 loaded with 180 grain Nosler Partitions is THE gold standard with local experenced elk hunters. After having seen over 100 elk taken I can attest to the killing ability of the 30-06.
 

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I have and do live in elk country for 50 plus years and will venture to say that more elk have been killed with 30-06's and 270 Win's than any other 20 calibers combined. I personally have shot a couple dozen with a 30-06. The two great failure in any hunting situations are poor bullet placement and improper bullets. I am a HUGE fan of Nosler Partions. A 30-06 loaded with 180 grain Nosler Partitions is THE gold standard with local experenced elk hunters. After having seen over 100 elk taken I can attest to the killing ability of the 30-06.
30-30 has prolly killed more than both of them combined.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well... you two definitely make sense. I wouldn't want to doubt my rifle and either miss a shot or take a bad shot because of that doubt. It definitely sounds like I should not doubt my rifle because it will do its job. I'll just insure that I do mine and it should work out fine. I just need to make sure I study up on the anatomy and get proper bullet placement.
 

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Yes, seen a fair number of elk taken with 30-06, .280's etc. Your good there, many years ago I started hunting elk, did not have a pot to pee in but decided I could not wait to start going. After a few trips and success I started to get a few other friends going. One gentleman well into his 50's wanted to go badly so we took him along, well his knees and body was not up to the task. He hunted 1 1/2 days and he was physically done. Now I am closing in on that mark and my body makes me move slower, and actually hunt better. I guess where I am going is if its your first trip make a dedicated effort to get in shape, your 06 is more than up to the task.

good luck
GF
 

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I'd say the 30-06 with a follow up shot would be better than you T/C Pro Hunter in another caliber. The 06 is plenty of gun...just make a well placed shot with a good bullet and it will do the rest. Nosler partitions or Barnes TSX would be my recommendation. You could use th 168 grain Barnes for increased velocity.
 

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30-06 + 180 grain bullet = dead elk.

338 Federal is a cool cartridge but IMHO the 30-06 (and 35 Whelen, FWIW) are superior.

On the other hand, you could get a 338 Win mag and be done with it.
 

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I've distilled your post and question(s) to the points that are by far the most important:

I already have a .30-06 that shoots well (and I can shoot it pretty well). If I used it, I would be using 180gr Partitions at 2700fps MV (I already have a few boxes). Is there any real need for me to look into getting something else?
No, there's no reason to get anything else. In fact, to do so would be a mistake. You have the perfect gun, it shoots well, you shoot it well, and you're clearly comfortable & confident with it. That's the perfect situation, and only a fool (no offense meant) would mess that situation up. Best of luck to you getting to go on that elk trip!
 

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I agree with the 30-06 being adequate. I have shot two Elk with mine so far using 150 and 165gr bullets. I would suggest you spend the money on shooting it as much as possible, including from hunting positions and at the furthest distance you can shoot around where you live. From that experiene you will be more comfortable making decisions on whether a certain shot is within your abilities.

Also as a note, I don't know where you are planning on hunting, but much of Elk country, like here in Colorado, is steep and at higher elevations. I would also spend as much time hiking, jogging, doing stairs, etc. That will make your experience much better and will help make it easier to take that shot at your Elk after climbing up some hill to find them.
 

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I've been lucky enough to get 3 bulls and 1 cow and I wouldn't feel undergunned going after an elk with a good shooting 30-06.

Use a good 165/180 grain premium bullet, place your shot in the heart/lungs/front shoulders and you should be golden.
 

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I've never hunted elk, but a good friend spent 40 years in Montana and Idaho, and practically made a religion of it. His philosphy is, if you can shoot it a .30-06 is the finest elk rifle available. He has the trophies to prove his point. Plenty of power, easy on the shoulder, and available in rifles that are light and handy enough for rough country but still big enough to be easy to shoot. He also likes the 7MM Rem Magnum but ranks it right alongside the .30-06, not above it, even though it may shoot a bit flatter. His advice to anyone thinking about an elk hunt is -- take your .30-06 and shoot it until hitting whatever you're aiming at comes naturally. Then go hunting.
 

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Elk rifle question (is a .30-06 big enough?)

No Shane, sorry to say, it is not. The 30-06 is for mice, crows, paper targets (as long as the paper is thin), and the occasional prairie dog (young, tender pups only) at close, point-blank range.

Nothing less than the 300 RUM will even get past the hide, let alone kill the elk.

Signed:
T A N G


((( :D )))
 

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Now that is funny
 

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I got a crow with my .35 Rem last weekend. After a quick mental calculation, I determined that I had perhaps a few ft-lbs to spare with the chosen load, and most likely would not have been charged, maimed, or killed by a wounded crow should the shot placement be off.

Fortunately, all I saw in the scope was feathers after the shot.... :D
 

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Yep, I'd shoot that 30-06 and keep proficient with it and put in for a Missouri River Breaks Bull tag (HD411) and plan to spend a week up there. You'll probably shoot a bigger bull than you want to carry out.

A guaranteed tag is $3500, or the drawing is about $800, most is refunded if you don't draw.
 

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I can't state it much better than MZ5. Go with what's familiar - and plenty adequate 30-06 - if this hunt happens in the next couple years.

If you're looking for a reason to buy a new gun, no matter the flimsiest of arguments (and you have time to practice with it), the 338 WM would be a good choice. If recoil is a concern, don't get hung up on the 250-grainers as there are plenty of good 225 grainers to shoot and they provide plenty of thump. There is a noticeable increase in recoil in the 250's vs the 225's.

I'd abandon the 338 Federal option as it just doesn't offer any advantage to most elk hunting situations over the 30-06, UNLESS your hunting is primarily in thick timbered areas. There, you can have a typically lighter and shorter (handier) gun, with a larger and heavier bullet. But again, only if it feels good in the hands and comes to point of aim quickly. I think the 338 Fed is a good cartridge, but won't be any better for you than your familiar 30-06.
 

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only about 2 million elk have been killed with a 30-06 and a 180 gr. bullet. Yea go ahead and buy a rifle you dont need! it will boost the economy and make Obama look better :)
 

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Elk rifle question (is a .30-06 big enough?)

No Shane, sorry to say, it is not. The 30-06 is for mice, crows, paper targets (as long as the paper is thin), and the occasional prairie dog (young, tender pups only) at close, point-blank range.

Nothing less than the 300 RUM will even get past the hide, let alone kill the elk.

Signed:
T A N G


((( :D )))

LMAO, now that is funny right there !


If you MUST use the 30-06, load it with 200gr Partitions or Accubonds, or even the 190gr Berger VLD seems a popular choice. I know a 180 is a popular weight, but the heavier bullet might get you a little more penetration at odd angles since the -06 is down on speed compared to the Magnums.

Then again, if you MUST use the .30-06 and MUST use a 180gr bullet, try to stick with a well built bullet. The Partition has a well proven track record, and the Accubonds are accurate out of almost anything !

I'll leave my 30-06 bashing out of this thread, since he seemed to be wanting a straight answer. But just for Stretch, my RUM with minimum loads will out run a 30-06 loaded hot.. LOL :D
 

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a 30/06 with the right bullet will kill almost any thing on this planet,lets cut the bull s**t and be realistic.are there shooters out there ,trying to tell me that only a mag will do the job.-my answer is-put your money where your mouth is and name the game.-honestly,stop reading periodical magazines and start getting back to basics,--how DID OUR PARENTS COPE.-give me a break.--sorry about the attitude but sick of std 30 cal bashing.magnums are fine but are only MARGINAL on std cals.read facts ,not advertising hype
 
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