Spike Camp

Up in caliber


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Up in caliber
« on: June 29, 2020, 03:30:05 PM »
When do you go up in caliber?

For me l start with a .257 and am comfortable up too black bear. If l move up to elk l feel l need more gun. Yes l took a elk with a .257 but l don't feel it's a elk cartridge. In my opinion when l move up to the next level of game, in this case to elk size game. I feel the minimum is a 28 caliber magnum. Something in 160's grain bullets and at least 3150 fps, to create a large enough wound channel in this size game. I don't think l would gain enough to go with anything less than that.

At what point do you go up in caliber and how much do you move up?


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Re: Up in caliber
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2020, 03:52:48 PM »
Mike, the only time I've been elk hunting was in Steam Boat Springs, and I took my 300 Weatherby & a 30-06.  Those were the only two rifles I own, beside a 243.  :o   When I went to Africa, and because of the animals I was going to hunt, I took again a 300 Weatherby & a 30-06.  Even though I had a 257, and some other calibers, I went with the recommendations of the owner of the concession I was hunting with and took a 30 cal.   When I go back to Africa, to continue to hunt plains game, I'm going to take a 375 H&H.  The only reason behind it, it is because a 375 H&H has Africa written all over it. :)  I guess I didn't quite answer your question did I??   ??? LOL!!!!


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Re: Up in caliber
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2020, 04:08:58 PM »
I used a .257 and moving up to elk as an example.
With the .257 l don't feel moving to a 6.5, 270 , 280 Remington is going to gain me enough to switch. For that matter l don't think s 308, or a 30-06 is going to be enough in wound channel size to change. So for me it would be 25 mag to 28 mag or 30 mag and up.
If recoil and grizzly country is the reason behind your answer, add that to the response
Hopefully l am wording this right
« Last Edit: June 30, 2020, 05:53:30 AM by .257 »

Re: Up in caliber
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2020, 04:10:13 PM »
I hunt elk with a .300 wm. and I agree if you are moving up anything less than a .28 mag is a waste of time. although I have a few friends that shoot the 6.5 creed for elk and get the job done. Cant ever go wrong with a 300 bee.
a 1/2" group is good enough for the girls I go with!

Re: Up in caliber
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2020, 06:01:04 PM »
Mike I don't think I've ever had a reason to go up in Caliber, about the only reason I can think of would be hunting Grizzly bears. A 257 Roy would not be my first choice for elk, but I see no reason not to use a 6.5-300 Bee or 26 Nosler and I consider the 340 to be the perfect elk round. As far as black bear any whitetail round will do just fine. While one of the Inuit's on FB hunts polar bear with his 6.5-300, that's definitely under gunned if you ask me. Now Africa is a completely different story!!!


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Re: Up in caliber
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2020, 06:51:04 PM »
I have this problem with owning to many firearms I have no more excuses to justify why I owned them other than I have issues! :)

For that I built a 7mm stw so I could shoot longer ranges and take down plains game here in texas. Probably wont see the dark continent, but for a few extra bucks we have lots of options and elk is on the hit list, well definitely for the wife. Given her hip condition a true hunt in your gods country is not going to happen. But again I settled on 6.5prc enough punch and little more forgiving on the recoil for her.

I go from 24's to 30's lots in between, I drew the line at 300wby. Bigger than that would be a one time hunt and sell the rifle. Not much cause for something beyond that cannon here in texas.

257 will forever be my most used and favorite caliber - but if I had to go just one more a good 7mm is hard to beat and offers plenty of versatility. 300 is even a little overkill in my neck of the woods;

Re: Up in caliber
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2020, 07:32:32 PM »
I tend to agree - elk is where I move up in caliber.  In all honesty, I haven't hunted extensively with a .270, but I suppose there have been enough elk taken with one that I wouldn't hesitate to use one.  That said, I feel a lot more comfortable with a 7mm with a 160 grain bullet or a .30 cal with a 180 grain bullet. 

I have bigger calibers (338 Ultra Mag, 8mm Rem Mag, 358 STA, 9.3x64mm, etc...), but I probably use a 7mm Magnum with a 160 grain bullet or a 300 Winchester Magnum with a 180 grain bullet more than anything else.

I have a top Wyoming area bull elk tag this year and I'm probably going to use a 28 Nosler.  The rifle is a little lighter and is a "Long Range" rifle, although I doubt I'll take a shot over 500 yards.  That would be my outer limit on yardage...

Re: Up in caliber
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2020, 07:59:54 PM »
We had a wild game feed at my church a few years ago and had a guest speaker that was an elk guide out west (can't remember where), he told us if you arrived at his camp with anything smaller than a .338 caliber, you weren't going with him.
I love the smell of deer guts in the morning, it smells like...VICTORY!

Re: Up in caliber
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2020, 08:25:52 PM »
In the right hands almost any caliber is good for elk. Remember Roy Weatherby took a cape buffalo with a 257wby and if memory server me correctly the bullet he used was a 100gr bronze point expanding from remington. Roy was an exceptionally good shot.
Good Hunting And Shooting To all

Re: Up in caliber
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2020, 08:32:25 PM »
My father shot a 338 Winchester Mag for elk and I own and have used a 338 Ultra Mag. They are certainly effective, but you don’t need quite that much for elk.

I always say there is a step change in recoil going to a .30 magnum with 180 grain bullets. That recoil level weeds out a lot of shooters.

There is another step change...and it occurs with 250 grain bullets out of a 338 magnum. Even a smaller percentage can shoot that level of recoil effectively.

I actually don’t see many hunters using .338 Magnums much these days. I’ve been invited to a few “.33 Elk Camps” and I bring my Ultra Mag, but not a lot of hunters are using them these days.

I was a full, unapologetic participant in the “magnum craze” of the 80s and 90s...and I enjoy them all, but I shoot the 7mm magnum cartridges much more comfortably.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2020, 08:34:06 PM by wyominghunter »

Re: Up in caliber
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2020, 08:43:52 PM »
For me, it's the 243/240, then up to the 270/7mm/300 wby mags(if I only had to pick one,300 wby mag) , then up to the 375's. I'm not saying the 25 cals are not great calibers, I just don't have much use for them. Same for the 30 cals larger than the 300 wby, and any of the 338/340's, if I need something larger than a 300 wby with 180's, then I wasn't really impressed until I got to the 375's.

ultralite-240 Wby
synthetic-240 Wby
synthetic-257 Wby
ultralite-270 Wby
fibermark-270 Wby
accumark-270 Wby
accumark-7mm Wby
stainless-300 Wby
accumark-30378 Wby
fibermark-340 Wby
accumark-338378 Wby
custom-375 Wby
DGR-378 Wby
DGR-416 Wby
custom DGR-460 Wby

Re: Up in caliber
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2020, 08:47:35 PM »
It's more A matter of personal preference for me. On one hand I have taken 5 species with my 7mm Rem Mag. And part of me wants to take A Elk and Moose with that same Rifle. And Its capable of doing so with partition bullets or the like. But I bought my 300 and 340 magnums for Elk and Moose and they are better suited for them as well.  The 340 if the moose is in grizzly country. But I agree with those who believe the 300 magnums with A premium 180 gr. Bullet is perfect Elk medicine. And made A choice to limit the 7mm Rem Mag caribou on down to pronghorn. I do have A 375 h & h that I would love to take A bison with. I think  A body shot on A bison warrants such A caliber. And It maybe my only chance to use that rifle.


Re: Up in caliber
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2020, 08:50:26 PM »
Upon moving to Wyoming more than 40 years ago my my big game rifle was a Savage 99 in .300 Savage. after killing 4 elk, only one needed more than 1 shot (operator error) and being told numerous times that a .300 Savage wasn't enough gun for elk I up graded to a 30-06.  Over the years and a few elk later I have more rifles to choose from.  My go to elk rifle now is my .300 Weatherby.  If I'm hunting in a more forested area where shots tend to be under 300 yds I carry my .35 Whelen.  My .300 Savage never let me down and I kept my shots to 250 yds or less.  Dirty Harry once said "A mans got to know his limitations".  A wise man has to know his weapons limitations.


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Re: Up in caliber
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2020, 08:52:14 PM »
The oversimplified answer is take the biggest caliber you are comfortable with. My cousin uses an 1903 Springfield. He has taken at least two cow elk with it in Oregon. A now retired high school English teacher uses a 30/06 and she gets em every time. Two Army buddies use the 7mm Rem Mag and 338 Win Mag and tryouts with a 338/06 A-Square and 6.5 WSM (wildcat) are underway.
I think all this means there are plenty of suitable cartridges. I would use a bonded or all copper bullet. The Swift A-Frame is pure copper bonded to pure lead.
Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.

Every man needs to know his limits.

Re: Up in caliber
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2020, 04:59:16 AM »
There are great points made about bullets and about knowing your limitations and that of your equipment.

My test is this: “If this hunt cost you 50k $ what would you use?” I think we see a bias to smaller calibres for citizen hunters here, or where hunts are lower cost choices.

There is a lot to be said for smaller calibres, that people shoot well. This is one of the reasons why Weatherbys gained a bad reputation in some circles in Africa; some hunters bought them shortly before a hunt, were not accustomed to the recoil at that time vs. their regular rifle, practiced too little and shot the extremely capable Weatherby cartridges very poorly, or so we were told. Poor bullet construction of that era was most certainly the other reason.

Good bullets which create large frontal areas allow calibres / cartridges to perform in a realm outside of what one might be accustomed to for that cartridge, with regard to both depth and straight-line penetration and the size of the wound channel due to the frontal area. I have witnessed many examples of mushrooms of a smaller cartridge measuring better and with better weight retention than a larger cartridge. A good example may be a good 150gr 270 vs. a poorly constructed cup and core 165gr, or even 180gr, bullet in a 30-06 or 308.

Much of our hunting has become extremely expensive due to our weak currency but we are often really blessed, to be in areas where we could be confronted with an animal far larger than that which we initially set out to hunt and that means that the largest game you are willing to take determines your cartridge of choice.

With dangerous game hunting the minimum calibres in most of Africa is legislated and more closely watched and would determine your smallest calibre selection, as would what type of back up you have and what other hunters / PH / guides are with you. A scoped 375 H&H or 9.3, whist a legal minimum in many areas and cartridges that most can shoot very well with some practice may be great for a first shot, but not the preferred choice for stopping a charge from most DG at short range in thick bush.
I shoot cases with a belt because I feel the other cartridges need to pull their trousers up.