View Full Version : Thinking about an ELk hunt, so............

01-01-2005, 08:13 PM
Hi All,

Hmmm I have been and I still am thinking about how I would love to take an Elk Hunt, spent a good few hours today searching about it on the net and the choice od rifle & cartridge combination of course reared it's ugly head. Of course due to finances and planning such as Licences etc any such hunt would have to be for 2006 as I need to save up for it:confused: I also need to get fitter:o .

Now to the rifle, well I have in my collection several which woudl do the job but which would be best is the question, also on one outfitters site he is talking about a possible 500 yard shot:eek: Hmm not so sure about that. I figured that maybe a 300 yard shot but knowing little about Elk hunting I got to thinking and looking at figures in reloading manuals. At present I have the choice of the following cartridges:-



270 Win


308 Win

303 British

7.92mm (8x57mm)


Now as it requires some extensive travel for me to get to a place to hunt such as Elk, I am thinking that I definately want the rifle to have back up Iron sights. Just in case a scope goes west or poor weather means the scope is not usable, like say heavy snow! All but one of the rifle chambered in those cartridges are so equipped, and that's the 6.5x53R which is a Rigby Mannlicher and has not got a scope and I will not be having that rifle altered to take one either. Is a scope really needed to Hunt ELK? any scope would be set up in QD mounts as I want to be able to remove it quickly and anyway I want the scope in my hand luggage for the flights.

All of the rifles are proper sporting rifles! Two of which have peep sights as back up, these being a 270 BSA Majestic and the .303 BSA Model E built upon a P-14. The others have a variety of iron sights on the barrel, the Rigby has a fine set of Express sights with leaves for 200 & 300 yards the 100 yd being a fixed stand in what Rigby called the No3 Vee which I find rather easy to see unlike some iron sights.

Now on one outfitters site it makes a mention of the wet conditions and recommends rifles with either laminated or synthethic stocks, are these REALLY needed? Yes I know wood can warp but???????? we have wet conditions here as anyone who has visited the UK can vouch for:rolleyes:.

Right that's enough to be going with for now, of course there are other things to be addressed but we can cover them later, let's lok at these for now. After all I have over a year to get this right;)

Your thoughts and opinions are sought ladies and Gentlemen:D

01-01-2005, 09:43 PM
Where are you looking at for your hunt? If you're coming to Colorado I can hook you up with a rifle to use for your hunt. If the ones that you list Iwould go with either the 270 or the 308. I don't know how hard it is bringing in ammunition to the United States but should it become necessary to buy ammo for your hunt you can pretty much bet that you won't find 9.3X57 ammo at the local sporting goods store. I would bring the 308 sighted in with 180gr ammo and then buy 2 boxes of Federal Premium HE 180gr Nosler Partitions when you get to your destination and double check your zero and make any necessary adjustments and go hunt. If an outfitter says that you should be ready for a 500 yard shot then I would look for another outfitter. He should be able to get you to within 300 yards of an elk. While it is possible to hunt elk without a scope your odds of success are greatly enhanced by having one. You do not need a laminate or synthetic stock on your rifle. Rifles with wood stocks have killed elk for hundreds of years and I'm sure they will for many more. I've hunted deer and elk in some of the most miserable weather imaginable with my Pre '64 Model 70 and never had an issue. If you have any more questions feel free to ask.

01-02-2005, 12:35 AM
I am a colorado hunter as well, and I would have to agree with Hunterbug. If your guide can't get you to within 300 yards, you should look for another guide. While I prefer the 338 win for elk hunting, the 270 or 308 would work well two. Ammo would be available at most places and in the correct bullet weights for elk. I use a stainless synthetic rifle for elk, but my backup is blued and walnut. If you have hunted in wet conditions, I can't imagine that our conditions are all that different. The important thing is to be aware of what the conditions are and treat your rifle accordingly. I would recomend that you tape the end of your barrel with a piece of black electricians tape. This can prevent a host of problems and avoid some real problems from ice, snow and other little critters that might try to hide in your barrel. Open sights could be used to hunt elk, but could severly limit your chances of success. That being said, there are still a lot of elk take with open sighted rifles. Sounds like you are on the right track by planning early and asking questions. There are a lot of guys on this forum with more elk hunting experience than me, I hope they catch your post and are able to give you additional input.

drinksgin (deceased)
01-02-2005, 12:37 AM
A number of elk are taken each year with bow and arrow, that means 40 yds or less, if an outfitter told me I would have to shoot more than 200 yds, I would look for another one.

01-02-2005, 02:25 AM
Hi All,

Thank you fro your replies and you offers of help, as for loaning a rifle, thank you but half the fun is getting things ready and sorting out the rifle ammo combination. I will loading up some various types of bullets for each rife and see how they perform. The real surpirse when I first had it on the range was the 9.3x57. I wanted to check it out at 100 yds first, like you do but it was a club shoot on a military range and the others wanted to start off at 200 yds, Oh well, I got it on target easliy and then shot a group of each bullet weight. The marker was surprised to learn that I shot at least 4 different bullet weights ranging from 192 grns - 286 grns and they all fell inot a group about 6" dia. We then moved back to 300 yards and I tried it again without altering the sight, this time the 286 grn bulet fell out the bottom of the group, no surprise there. However the others still grouped inside 8", this rifle needs more range tie to really work it out. The 7.92mm (8x57mm) should be a useful tool, besides the 9.3mm it should have the most Knock down but until I get the stock bedding sorted out properly I cannot test it out.

The areas I have looked at so far are:-

Colorado & Montana, I did look at going into Canada but the prices seem awfully high up there.

All the places I am looking are fair chase, no high fenced inplaces!

Bringing ammo with me is not a problem at all, in fact I found it easier travelling with a firearm than not doing so, you get preferencail treatment at check in this side of the pond;) and all you need to do is get a "Form 6" from the BATF which I have done twice in the past so it holds no terrors there. I would bring three boxes of ammo so should any nasty surprises pop up after the flight on the zero side I have planty to re-sight it in and still hunt with.

I really wondered about that 500 yards buisiness, I might not be the best woodsman/hunter but I don't seem to have trouble getting closer to the Deer I hunt, in fact the last one was too close:eek: being only 15 paces away. Right it's time for me to head out to the wood with the dog and see what's about.. Later Brithunter

01-02-2005, 11:24 PM
Both the 9.3X57 and the 8X57 will work. A kid in our party used one of my 8X57s to take his first game animal this year. A cow elk at 250 yards. If you're interested I can hook you up with the number of an outfitter I know in Colorado. I've hunted cow elk on his property and was very happy and saw some big bulls that I could have shot if I'd had the tag. A bull hunt will run you about 5K but it's worth it. It's all 100% wild, 100% fair chase. Keep us informed.

01-03-2005, 11:21 AM
Hi Hunterbug,

Hmm I had forgotten about your friend and the 8x57:o, now I can't recall what ammo he used. I have heard good things about the S&B 196 Grn SPCE loading and have sent off an e-mail enquiry to see if it's available here in the UK.

The rifle chambered for this cartridge has a bedding problem and does not group well, but I am sure we can sort that out after all it's only been fired a few times. I just had a look at it and once the compoud I used dries I will test the rifle again. This will probably be next Saturday now. The rifle is a Mauser actioned Parker-Hale 1200 and it's a late production one built about 1996 for an Export order. At that time P-H was going through a troubled patch and the quality of the stock fitting left a lot to be desired. I tried to do the bedding once before but got too much compound in the stock and accidently free floated the barrel. When we tried it out is was terrible, this rifle certainly didn't lke it that way so I used some cardboard shims under the barrel at the bedding point in the fore end and the groups improved. This time I hope I have got it right, if not it looks like I will have to pay to have it done professionally. I have also made enquiries about a replacement Laminated stock for this rifle just in case! I will get the darned thing to shoot properly.

The rifle is fitted with Leupold QR mounts (lever) and rings and a Leupold Vari X 111 2.5-8 scope, as the rifle is a light weight I don't want to big a scope on it. Now in case I can't get that ammo, I have brought . Well some time ago when I first got the rifle I brought some Bullets for handloading. I tried Hornady's 150 grn spitzer at first but I also have the following bullets:-

Speer 200 Grn Spitzer #2285

Speer 170 Grn Semi-Spitzer #2283

Sierra 220 Grn Spitzer BT Gane King #2420

Out of these choices which do you think woudl be best?

It's just a shame I didn't get the Ross .280 Sporting rifle which had scope mounts on it. Now that would have been just the ticket I think for Elk! As it is if I can't get this darned 7.92mm to shoot accurately I will have to either use the 9.3x57 of the 270 win. It's a hard life you know;)

01-03-2005, 02:10 PM
He used 185gr Remington Core Lock handloads. Look at the 200gr Nosler Partition or the 180gr Barnes X and see if you can get either of thoes. The 200gr Partition will hit 2700fps and the 180gr Barnes will hit 2700+, either would be great for elk out to 300 yards or so. I think that Sierra makes a 175gr Spitzer, you may look at that as well. The problem with the heavier bullets is that you give up alot of speed in the 8X57. I get 2650 in the 8X57 with the 185gr CL and this summer gitano and I are going to play with that a bit and see if I can get a little more speed. I should be able to hit at least 2750 by our thinking.

01-03-2005, 05:02 PM
Hi Hunterbug,

Hmm I can see my first purchase shooting wise this year will have to be a Chronograph:D I wonder how fast I can push that 200 grn Speer spitzer and get acceptable accuracy? Methinks we shall have to try it and see;) which reminds me I need some more cases for this cartridge, the only ones I could get last time were R.P Nickel ones. I sent gitano an e-mail asking his opinions. You guys have shot far more Large game than I have even seen and I like to get ideas from those with practical experience in things like this, it may just stop me making a fool of myself:o

drinksgin (deceased)
01-03-2005, 09:18 PM
From what friends of mine who have spent some time in the U.K. tell me , the only places in America that are as soggy, are from Beaumont to Appachalicola and the western edge of Washington, Oregon and California down to S.F. Those places are almost always green, but mostly with mold and mildew.
People use non laminated and non synthetic stocks all the time there, they just make sure the stocks are sealed inside as well as outside, some thing I am going to guess is standard procedure in the "Foggy Isles"
Don ;D

01-04-2005, 12:56 AM
Well i dont want to make anyone mad but........ I worked as a guide for 7 years and have guided archery, muzzleloader , and rifle hunters. Ya, elk are killed at 10, 20, 40 yards and so on but that is the rut. I have had many hunters that the only shot that they had was 300-400 yards. With a good quality scope and rifle that shot should be easy. I my self have seen shots of up to 800 yards. Granted i would not shoot that far. But we all do have to realize that it is hunting and that the outfitter does not control the elks mind. If your outfitter cant get you within 300 yards im sure he tried as hard as he could. If he puts no effort into getting you closer then find a new outfitter. But the 270 would be a pretty good choice. The gun only puts the bullet where the hunter tells it to. So just make sure you shoot the weapon of choice alot before your trip. I would suggest New Mexico for the Elk hunt the state has done a wonderful job mantaining the elk population and as a guide that is my fav. state to guide in...... Good Hunting Yall.

01-04-2005, 03:53 PM
Hi drinksgin,

Yes sir it's certainly damp, in fact it's been raining nearly all day yet again:rolleyes: but not all parts are as damp. My parents live up on the East Coast just above the body of water called "The Wash" it's flat fen land up there, however about 11 miles to their West is a range of Hills called "The Wolds" and as our prevailing winds and weather comes from the South West the rain it brings falls on the other side of the hills and they get very little. In fact so little a few years ago that the soil so dried out that when it did rain it went down the cracks and washed the underlying peat out and their Bungalow (red brick) cracked in two with the subsidence:eek: They had a new one built next to it paid for by the Insurance before the old one was knocked down and removed from the site. The foundatons of the new one go 13 feet deep, it's built on a pile and raft. Now up in Scotland they REALLY have rain:rolleyes: in fact it's a standing joke that you can have all four seasons in one day up ther, and you may laugh but it's true I saw three in one day whilst on holiday up there a few years ago. Howevr I have enquired about a Laminated stock to replace the very light walnut one which this P-H 1200 is wearing, just in case;) although I ahve not had problems with swelling and warped wood before, I think it might be worthwhile taking insurance measure against it happening thousands of miles from home!

At present I am looking at Colorado but no hard and fast decisions have been made of course, I will try to get feed back form a few outfitters and I will also be following up on the information supplied here. I just phoned a friend who works in my local Gunshop and asked him to see if he can order some bullets for me and a couple of boxes of that S&B 196 Grn SPCE ammo to try. Man you won't belive the cost of that here. The importers who I e-mailed to see if they had any in stock gave me the yes answer and the retail price which is 94.99/100 incl. VAT ($170.98 US, VAT is 17.5%) they also just have the component bullets at 15.69/100 ($28.24 US) and those prices don't include shipping:eek: he importers are really greedy I understand their minimum mark up is 100% but due to our stupid laws expanding bullets of ammo cannot be sent through the normal post it has to go by secure carrier:frown You don't know how good you have it folks.

At least they had some is stock though;)