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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Last fall, I took my elk at 115 yards. I shot unsupported and my shots were not the best. It took 3 shots to put the animal on the ground. One of my shots hit a rib and did not penetrate. At 115 yards, I had more than enough velocity and energy to do the deed. I don't want to have a repeat of what happened last year and am wondering if I should switch to a heavier or different bullet, different powder, or????

Below is a chart of the load I have been using. It's a Nosler 150 grain Accubond and Varget powder. As you can see at 115 yards I had at least 2555 FPS and 2174 foot pounds of energy. That should have been capable of anchoring the yearling cow I shot easily. In Wyoming, a couple years back, I shot an antelope at 215 yards and the exit hole out the side was the size of a baseball (admittedly a thinner skinned animal).

For those of you who hunt and are knowledgable in ballistics, I would be interested in hearing any recommendations you might have.


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Which Nosler bullet are you using? You have the accuracy and kinetic energy, which to me leaves bullet construction as an important variable. Did you recover that bullet?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Which Nosler bullet are you using? You have the accuracy and kinetic energy, which to me leaves bullet construction as an important variable. Did you recover that bullet?
150 grain Accubond. My buddy quartered the animal as it was hanging in his garage and I did not see the bullet. I've had good luck with Accubonds in the past.
 

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Yep, I too recommend a180 gr bullet or 165 gr bonded bullet as a bare minimum but really, 180 gr is what you need.
 

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IMO .308 is too small for elk. If I lived and hunted where you are I would get a .300 WinMag. Good for long shots on elk or mulies.

That said, sticking with a .308 you need a bigger bullet and more powder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
IMO .308 is too small for elk. If I lived and hunted where you are I would get a .300 WinMag. Good for long shots on elk or mulies.

That said, sticking with a .308 you need a bigger bullet and more powder.
My shoulder won't take the recoil from a .300 Win Mag.
 
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My shoulder won't take the recoil from a .300 Win Mag.
I understand. I would practice with the .308 and just do a couple of rounds to sight in. If you're shooting an elk you won't feel the shot!

Keep in mind too the heavier bullet in your .308 will have more felt recoil.
 
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The .308 is a perfectly fine caliber to use for elk. People have been using that, and the older similarly powered, cartridges with great success for longer than I've been alive.

As long as you know your limitations with the round you will be fine. You just need to get closer to the elk than someone with some super heavy magnum round.
 

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I’m with CWO.....308 is not enough. I use mine only east of the big muddy. I hunt a 300 Win Mag in the western state. It’s not like a Weatherby 300 mag. The recoil is whatcha might call brisk, but not damaging. At minimum, consider an 06. Try a 300 if you haven’t, prior to making the assumption.
 

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The 308 is absolutely enough gun for Elk.

I would run a Partition bullet of around 165. Keep your shots limited to 200 yards and hit the shoulder if you are concerned with tracking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I’m with CWO.....308 is not enough. I use mine only east of the big muddy. I hunt a 300 Win Mag in the western state. It’s not like a Weatherby 300 mag. The recoil is whatcha might call brisk, but not damaging. At minimum, consider an 06. Try a 300 if you haven’t, prior to making the assumption.
I've fired a 300 Win Mag and have no interest in doing it again. For what it's worth, I took my first (and only) bull elk at the same distance (115 Yards) with a 7mm-08. It went down with one shot, after running less than 25 yards.

I prefer to shoot close (under 200 yards).
 

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I agree with those above, go for a heavier round. Like you, my last Elk was a cow at 300 yrds with a 7 mm - 08 shooting 140 g. NBTs. I had a 300 winmag, but couldn't take it even with a muzzle break (I know I am becoming a wuss in my old age)
 

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I always thought that a 150 grn bullet was light for elk. I would personally run a 180. However, if your hits are sloppy than nothing is gonna work.
I agree. IMO, a 150-grain .30 bullet is a deer bullet and designed for such. For caribou and moose, in my -06, I moved up to 180- to 200-grain bullets. In a .308 I would consider 175-180 grain bullets for elk. I've had Nosler 150-grain ballistic-tip bullets fail miserably in my -06, accuracy wise. Sierra has been my "Go-To" brand since.
 

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I always thought that a 150 grn bullet was light for elk. I would personally run a 180. However, if your hits are sloppy than nothing is gonna work.
I shoot 150 in my 30-06 for Deer and Antelope, Coyote,etc. but, I have always stepped it up to 180 for Elk, Moose and Black bear myself. Sectional density matters on the bigger boned critters in my opinion.
 

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They say when shooting elk you want the sectional density at .25 or greater.

I have cheated a little bit with a 130 gr out of a 270, but was still able to take a 500lb 5x5 elk with a good shot through the boiler maker.
 

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Accubond are good bullets. I use 100 and or 110 for white tails. They hold together very well. I agree that 150 may be light for elk, but a 180 won’t make up for a marginal shot.

I wobble shooting off hand so I bring shooting sticks. They help a lot, but nothing beats a solid rest. Place the shot well and 150 or 180 won’t matter.
 
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