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I've have much first hand experiance on the demise of many big game animals. Yet this subject of lethality is something I'm still learning. Every few years or so an event I've witnessed occurs which affects previous notions. I've witnessed many elk kills with various cartridges. 30-30 and 35 Remington do quite well when distances are closely observed. You won't read about these cartridges in modern elk articles but look backward to 1930's Outdoor Life and you'll discover that 35 Reminton was well rec'd by the shooting press.

300 Savage, .308, 6.5mm Swede, 7mm-08 are all so-called deer cartridges that perform quite well for elk past the 200 yard mark. Again, writers defame them as unacceptable for elk sized animals. But my first hand experiances tell me otherwise.

For example, my sister-in-law hunted elk with her .257 Roberts rifle for 5 years. But about four years ago, her bullets did not slow a bull much. We chased it a long ways before it toppled over and she had shot it four times. Perhaps Premium bullets would've made a significant difference. But difficult to determine after the fact.

Now she hunts elk with a 7mm-08 with no problems. My wife takes elk with her custom 6.5mm Swede. Neither bullet of these two cartridges is significantly larger diameter than the Roberts but lethality is quite different indeed. So as I see it, the difference is bullet weight.

As far as a cartridge's ability to quickly topple an animal the following factor is Paramount: shot placement. Shoot the animal in the right spot with the first bullet and typically the animal will fall over after a few bounds. Second factor is bullet construction: use a bullet matched to the animal you're hunting and death quickly takes place. For example, I've witnessed .223 and 64 grain Winchester bullet topple a muley just as quickly as 270 with 130 grain core-lockt. Big difference in bullet weight and diameter but results were identical.

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