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If it were you for elk - .270 or .308 ?

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by amboy49, Sep 1, 2012.

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  1. amboy49

    amboy49 Well-Known Member

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    The son of a friend of mine has moved to Durango,Colorado and invited his dad and me out for an elk hunt this fall. Most likely we'll be doing a walk-in hunt at 8,000-10,000 feet. Day trip or overnight at most. I have a .270 Savage bolt action with a 4x12 Leupold that probably weighs 8-8 1/2 pounds with the scope. I also have a Kimber classic in .308 with a 3x9 Leupold that weighs less than 6 1/2 pounds. From a carry standpoint I prefer the Kimber but not sure if a .308 is enough cartridge for elk. Accuracy is about equal but the Savage actually probably has the edge from the bench.

    Which would you carry if you were a 63 year old flatlander going to Colorado to climb the hills and have a caliber sufficient for elk. Please don't suggest I upgrade into a larger caliber as that isn't in the budget. I sold the 300 WinMag quite awhile ago thinking I didn't need it for whitetails or pronghorn.

    Thanks in advance.

    Amboy
     
  2. jmac_cope

    jmac_cope Active Member

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    Both are fine for elk. The .270 will shoot flatter for longer distances vs. the .308 with a little bigger bullet. In real life you would be splitting hairs. Take the rifle that you shoot the best. good luck and find a big one!!

    JMAC
     
  3. scooterbum

    scooterbum Active Member

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    Kimber.
     
  4. mag410

    mag410 Active Member

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    Better question would be, which high-quality bullet should I use in my Kimber .308 to shoot elk? :)

    165 grain Partition would be my choice.

    Michael
     
  5. Lead Miner

    Lead Miner Supporting Vendor Supporting Vendor

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    Take this advice from this flatlander. Site your rifle in for long yardage. 100 yards like we site in for deer in Nebraska will not do you any good. You will be shooting at 300 yards more than likely. Good luck with your hunt. I will be hunting elk in gunnison CO in November for mysecond year. Its a blast. Terry
     
  6. Old Cowboy

    Old Cowboy Active Member

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    FWIW, I'd take the .308.
     
  7. wyomingcutthroat

    wyomingcutthroat Member

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    Quick answer. Take which ever one you shoot better. The elk won't care.

    My own preference is for long and heavy for caliber bullets i.e, Nosler Partition .308 diameter in 180 grain, but again what ever rifle groups the best.

    Lots of elk have been taken with the .270 as well. Jack O'Conner wrote a bunch of books about using the .270 in Africa, Alaska and the lower US.

    Ditto the comment above about practicing at long ranges, and getting in shape.
     
  8. davidjayuden

    davidjayuden Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to be the tu-d in this punchbowl and say that neither will be ideal elk rounds. Like that fellow flatlander Leadminer said, shots are likely to be across the canyon and 300 yards is not at all unlikely. And the beloved .308 will be huffing and puffing at that range to the extent that premium bullets, Barnes solid or Nosler Partition, may not expand like we would like. That is where the .300 mag. class shines.
    Now having said that, the only elk I ever shot was a decent bull at around 100 yards. .308 Steyr SSG loaded with Nosler Partition bullets. Died in his tracks.
    Good luck!
    dju
     
  9. ljutic73

    ljutic73 Well-Known Member

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    In western North America ,the .338 Win. Mag is a great choice. But a .308 with heavy well constructed bullets will do.
     
  10. charleyj10

    charleyj10 TS Member

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    I think you should carry that light rifle. You will regret any extra weight that you carry. I agree about the 180 gr bullet, try to work up an accurate load with it or search for a factory load that is as accurate as possible.

    Charlie
     
  11. JH

    JH Well-Known Member

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    If you are going to hunt a private ranch with the obligatory semi-tame, ranch-fed, non-spooked elk, the 308 would do.....if you are going to hunt public land with harassed, spooky elk, the longer range 270 makes more sense.

    Then again, public land means climbing hills and a lot more exertion and you will for sure, tucker-out with a heavy gun.....

    It all depends where you are hunting.....and how bad you REALLY want an elk....
     
  12. dphillips8191

    dphillips8191 Member

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    270 all the way. I have seen what both cal can do on elk and the 270 will out perform the 308. personally i use 338 win mag. All the guides I have talked to said the 270 works well and some of them use 270 to take their elk.

    Dave
     
  13. 338reddog

    338reddog Member

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    Either will be a mistake if you hit them in the wrong spot any caliber would be. If you reload or not, use a a premium bullet and get close as you can. Sure you might be limited on questionable shots but those arent fair to the animal anyways. Alot of elk are killed every year with smaller cartridges. But if you can borrow a .338.
     
  14. acorange

    acorange Well-Known Member

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    I have hunted just east of Durango [near Pagosa Springs] for over 20 years.
    Out of the 7 elk that I have killed [with a 30-06] the longest shot was 120 yds. the shortest was 15 yds.
    Either round is more than adequate. Just get some practice shooting and try to shoot some sighting in rounds at altitude.
    It is always amazing how much higher a rifle will shoot in the thinner air.

    Rural Colorado natives kill many animals with 30-30's, 243's etc...
    My Dad swears by his .308 automatic and another Colorado resident that we go with will hunt with nothing but his Savage .270

    Elk hunting is a blast, just enjoy yourself and remember that hunting them is the easy part. The real work starts when you kill one.
     
  15. dls guide

    dls guide Member

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    I have killed a few truck loads of Elk with a 308 win. Buy or reload some good 165 gr. ammo and go practice out to 300 yds. You really don't even need premium bullets in the 308 because velocity is around 2700 fps. At that velocity standard cup and core bullets hold up fine. The Kimber will perfect. Shoot straight, Daryl.
     
  16. GoldEx

    GoldEx Active Member

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    If I had to use one of these cartridges for elk (and I wouldn't if others were available)I would use the 270 Win with a 150 Gr Barnes X bullet. Great sectional density for more penetration on the big bodied elk and great hold together when breaking bones. Driven at 2900 from the muzzle, anything within 400 yards has a whole lot to worry about.

    Jeff
     
  17. John55

    John55 Active Member

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    I've hunted a lot of elk in a lot of places over the years, hunted several times near Pagosa Springs back in the '90s. I'd prefer to shoot the 270 on elk but would much prefer to carry that 308! It will do just fine and you will really like not having to lug the extra 2 pounds up and down the hills in high altitude. As already mentioned, put a decently good bullet in the chest and you will have one very dead elk. Good luck and enjoy the experience!
     
  18. Mike

    Mike Member

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    Years ago I went to Colorado on a Elk hunt. I took my .308. I released I would probably have a long shot and was concerned whether the bullet at the lower down range velocity would "mushroom" or act like a "steel jacketed" bullet. So I hand loaded 180 grain Nosler Ballistic Tips over my favorite BL-C[2] powder thinking they would mushroom down range. Well I ended up shootind a Elk at about 100 yards and the bullet went through and through the chest with great results. Think about the scope as well, which works better in low light and at distance. Good luck on your hunt. Mik
     
  19. dls guide

    dls guide Member

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    I would like to add that if I were going on a hunting trip anywhere, I would take a back up gun along. So, get the 270 ready too, just in case you fall or drop your 308 while hunting. Sight them in dead on at 200 yds and practice to 300 yds. Everybody is talking about rifles, but the most important equipment on the hunt will be your optics. Take the best binoculars and scopes your can buy. You will glass for hours from high points trying to find elk. I do this for a living, so if you would like, pm me for more info.. Daryl.
     
  20. oz

    oz Active Member

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    flip a coin. either would be fine. good thing you don't have just a 22 hornet and a 9mm. That would be a tough choice.
     
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