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Is a 117 grain bullet from a 25-06 enough to kill an elk ethically?
I'm buying 25-06 or 7mm-08 for my fiancé, my dad has taken several elk with a 243, myself have taken 2 with a 300 Savage and 2 with a 7mm. All 4 never knew hit them, it is all about a well placed shot, don't take the one's your not sure about.
25 06 Happens to be my favorite caliber. I have taken everything you can imagine with it, since I lived in the wilderness for years and it and a 7mm Remington Magnum were the only two rifles I had. I think that many people often forget and of course then fail to mention one critically important thing about the 25 06 or any other of the lighter non magnum calibers. And that is DISTANCE! I took many elk with the 25 06 but never further than 200 yards away. If I could not close that gap I would pass the shot. Many times at anywhere from 40 to 150 yards, well constructed bullets would pass completely through a broadside bull or cow. But once the distance went to 200 yards or beyond all bets are off. Even a well constructed 7mm bullet fired from a magnum at over 300 yards will have indeterminate results. So in regards to the 25 06 on Elk its ok if you’re a crack shot and try to keep your distance under 150 yards, 200 yards if your completely certain of the shot, but nothing more.
yes. my sister killed her first elk with a 257 roberts with 117 grain bullet.
I have used a 25-06 for many years. I have used a host of different bullets to kill game as I load my own. A .22 kill an elk, a moose or a bear with the perfect shot. A 25-06 can kill an elk, a moose or a bear but there is a good reason why it is not the ideal choice. We don't always hit exactly where we intended. This can be said for the amateur and expert marksman alike. Professional hunters today and from the past acknowledge that a less than perfect shot with a larger and more powerful round is more likely to put down the big game animal then the lesser round. It is difficult to argue with this contention not just based on their greater experience in the field but the physics of bullet mass, diameter and penetration brings us to that conclusion. Of course there can be exceptions but this is about the caliber most capable across a broader range of circumstances. If you are inclined to buck the odds go with the 25-06 but at least get a Swift A Frame or Barnes bullet to allow it to reach its full potential on an animal of this size without shedding 40 % of its mass.
tylerfreel85 sounds like he has the experience and i agree with him totally. i want a 25-06 so bad i can taste it. :)
I have read many reviews on elk hunting with a 25-06 and I do believe it will take down one fast if the shot placement is good. But I have never hunted elk before and I love my 25-06 But for me personally I would take my 300 SAUM and still make sure my shot placement was good. Todays new bullets are awesome and more reliable than ever, but I think my 30 cal would go not my 25.
the post by typerfreel85 says it all...someone who actually testifies to results in the field instead of the bigger is better B.S. Hunting big game with high powered rifles...throw your ballistic charts out the window and talk to someone that has taken piles of game. the only thing that matters is:
1. Shot placement
2. Hydrostatic shock (bullet performance IN the animal)
SHot placement: the main thing that interferes with bullet placement is not developing the basic marksmanship skills and/or developing a flinch from getting belted my there big bore magnum
Hydrostatic shock:I have seen time and time again, hunters using 270 and bigger with a larger grain bullet for their caliber, shooting their game typically within 150 yds and the bullet (if placed well) is a needle hole in and needle hole out with no hydrostatic shock, little blood trail...sure the animal dies but game is often lost that way. the problem is that all that energy you read in your ballistic charts is lost on the ground behind the animal...the bullet is not designed to open up at that speed and it is all just a big fat waste of gun. Or they just make a crappy shot and lose animal or meat.
A 25 cal class magnum round shooting a ~110 grain barnes solid copper bullets is THE TICKET for any big game given that you make the mandatory, well placed shot. AND one can become confident on the range with no flinch habits and see the kill in the scope and develope a love for shooting to boot.
get a bigger gun to ensure that you kill/retrieve the animal
To throw my opinion on the pile, I have to stand up for the 25-06 as it is probably my personal (and family)favorite all around hunting cartridge. Mine has killed 4 black bears, 6 dall sheep, 3 AK moose (yes..moose), 3 blacktail deer, and a big bull caribou to name a few...all clean. within the family, we have taken wolves, more moose, more sheep, a grizzly (one clean shot),more black bears, AND several bull elk. So I guess my opinion is if you want to shoot the 25-06, it is legal in your state, you can shoot it well, and are willing to be a little more selective with shot placement, the 25 is PLENTY of gun! There are many cartridges that will do the job, but I would say go with what you are comfortable with. I think it is more irresponsible to shoot a cartridge that is too big for a person to shoot well (i.e. ruined meat and wounds from bad shots). the 25 is very mild in recoil, fast, and accurate, and with good bullets and shot placement i'll take it any day
Everyone has their favorite caliber, and no doubt elk have been killed with the .25-06. For that matter, people have taken deer with .22's. But, I sure would not do it aside from the fact it is against the law. As Bo stated, they are tough critters. Until recently with the availability of quality ammuntion, I would not have considered even a .270. (Yes, I know I am upsetting Jack O'Connor's memory and many .270 gun owners. I own one, so settle down my hunting friends). If you don't like heavy recoil, use the .30-06 in 180 grain. If you can handle the recoil, shoot the one of the .300's. By the way, a .338 Win Mag is not a bad choice. It pushes vice kicks which is much nicer. I prefer shooting it to a .300, but can handle the .300. (Yes, I own golf clubs too). Keep in mind that the question asked was taking an elk "ethically". Thus my recommendation for the .30-06 or bigger. In the end, as Vette points out, if you lack marksmanship skills, work on that first. Thanks for the enjoyable posts - it's what makes this all so enjoyable. I think is time for a campfire, a cup of coffee, and a Elmer Keith vs. Jack O'Conner discussion!
I am not going to argue the ethics of the .25 caliber bullet on elk. Check the laws of the state you will be hunting in. In some states, such a s Oklahoma, it is illegal to use anything smaller than a .270 for elk.
(I watched a guy would an elk with a 7mm. non magnum. It was a terrible disservice to a beautiful animal. It would have gotten away were I not in the area. I dispatched it for him. He was only marginally grateful. At least not enough to ask me if I wanted some meat. He ruined a lot of good meat with his lack of marksmanship.)
Since then I have become a big proponent of using enough gun. I realize that bullet placement is of paramount importance; even the largest caliber you have is cruel and unusual if you cannot put it where it needs to be for a quick clean kill.
Again check the laws in the state you are hunting.
I personally don't believe that the .25 is enough bullet. they are tough critters.
I've never quite understood the love hunters give the magnums over small bore non-magnums. My grandfather, who raised me shot a 25.06 most of his life, if he wasn't using a winchester 30.30. Well before the invention of today's premium bullets, my grandfather shot elk, whitetail, moose (Canadian and Shiras) and mule deer. At one time I think he told me he shot well over 15 elk and a half dozen moose with the 25.06. So why are so many opposed to this caliber for elk? Like Vette said, a hole in the lungs, whether from a bullet or stick still kills. As a hunting society I think we've fallen for the "bigger is better" mentality. My grandfather never needed a Ford F350 4x4 to go deer hunting when his 1962 Chevy did just fine.
If hunting wasn't exciting most of us would quit the sport. When the adrenaline gets flowing the barrel starts to quiver, I have laughed at myself in the field as I tried to regain my composure. Big deal, that goes with the territory and is part of the fun. Unfortunately, we are prone to making less than perfect shots when a little buck fever sets in. As Bo point out, shot placement is key but in a less than perfect shot the bigger, harder hitting slug is far more likely to put down the game. I don't see how anyone can argue with that statement. Learn to shoot the gun that measures up to the task at hand. That is suppose to be part of the fun as well, otherwise you are putting the cart ahead of the horse. The professional guide wants his hunter to succeed as it is a commercial venture that requires a good result. That is his job, the hunter's job is to arrive having practiced with the right rifle for the job. "Oh, but I shoot this smaller caliber so well", is not a good answer when you prove to be human and shoot that smaller caliber less than well.
Any caliber will work for elk as long as it starts with a 3, ends in magnum and is no less than 180 grains. If recoil is an issue then maybe your sport is golf.
I am going to fall back on thirty plus years in the ER. I have seen multiple GSW victims come in with head shots. I have seen many people shot with many different calibers. I am talking head shots here. I have seen people die from .22's, .25's, .32's & .38's. Any of those calibers can kill you, but even with a head shot, I have seen many people who were shot with those calibers who were not killed, some of them with no appreciable deficits after their recovery period. I once took care of a man who was hit in the head three times with a 9 mm. He survived, if you can call his condition surviving. He was never going to be okay, but he did not die. He is dead now from things related but it was months maybe a year after the original injury that he died. That is not the only story I know about .38's and 9's not fulfilling their purpose. But in all of those years, I never saw anyone who survived any kind of a head hit with a .45 ACP or a .44 Magnum. The purpose of the bullet is to kill the target, not wound it so it can die later.
I am a strong proponent of proper shot placement, but when we are in the field and there is so much adrenaline being dumped, people don't always make good shots. I still think bigger is better when it comes to results. I shoot a 140 grain bullet with a muzzle velocity of 3000 FPS. The energy retained is going to be far greater than that of a 117 grain .25 caliber and will do more damage at further distances. I never shoot animals at extreme distance though I am capable. It makes me wonder what distance a .25 could be used for. Less than 150 yards?
It does come down to the shooter and his ability with his gun, but it having enough gun to bring the animal down with one shot is paramount in my book.
Why take the risk of losing your animal? go for something bigger
Since all 25/06 shooters are not created equal as all elk are not the tranquil brusiers seen behind the tall fences,shots at bulls are normally fleeting in your face one second and fifty yards and vanishing the next a 30 caliber bullet or larger is a failsafe not a lifesaver if it is a marginal shot that was taken i'd rather think that it was 220 grain 30 cal. with controlled expansion in the liver rather tan 115 grain.I think that the reason for artillery isn't it.Bigger gun more bang for your buck.
It's not mass it's location. A 25 caliber bullet that weighs 120 grains is .020" smaller than the 270 and .051" smaller than the .300 Win Mag. That's not much hole size difference! The 25 caliber bullet weighs just 10 grains less than the 130 grain 270 and 45 grains less than a 165 gr Nosler Partition which is used very effectively in a .300 WM. 45 grains is less than 1/10 of an ounce and the elk don't notice the difference! A well placed shot through both lungs with either a Nosler partition or an E-tip will drop the animal within 100 yards. I guide for elk and would much rather have a guy or gal that shoots a 25-06 accurately than someone who flinches with a .300 and makes a bad hit. I have had it happen with both antelope and elk - big guns do not make for accurate shooters nor does a big bullet make up for a bad hit - it just makes a bigger mess if and when you find the animal. We kill a lot of elk with arrows and since there are no degrees of dead - punching a hole clean through both lungs with a sharp stick or a 120 grain bullet will deliver the same result. Give me a shooter carrying a gun that they are comfortable with and can shoot accurately every time and we'll tag out before the end of the week!
I love hunting with the 25-06 and I have killed large bodied deer with a variety of 25 cal bullets including those capable of better penetration by way of retaining more mass after impact. Certainly an elk can be killed by a 25-06 but I would not attempt to do so as watching the animal limp into the bush to be lost would taint my fondness for this caliber. If bigger game is to be put down reliably it requires a bullet making a bigger and deeper wound channel than a 120 gr twenty five caliber bullet can hope to achieve. For those who care to argue this point, let me put it to you in a different manner. A 180 gr bullet in .308 caliber traveling at the same speed as the 120 gr 25-06 bullet strikes an elk at the same point of impact and traverse the animal in relatively the same line... which bullet will perform better? Need more convincing, try a 300 gr bullet from a .375 H & H with all things equal and what would you conclude? I have said it before, killing a large bodied animal with a lesser caliber should not serve as an endorsement for its general use.
I wouldn't use anything less than a .270. Anything shot in the right place will go down, but 25-06 shouldn't be your first choice for Elk.
Get or borrow a big enough gun to do the job right.Bo has this nailed.Elk are large animals that are tough,living in the conditions that they do.At least have enough respect for the animal than to take a chance on wounding and never be finding it.
I would not think so. Light bullet, real fast, not much penetration. For elk you need something that will get the job done. Elk are big and will take a lot of punishment and I have seen elk not be brought down by larger heavier calibers, that should have had better penetration. (BTW, it wasn't me who shot. I would not have made the shot that I saw made. I ended up killing the elk for the other guy, because it was getting away.)
In some states the smallest bore you can use on elk is .270. SO before discussing the ethics, look at the legality. The ethics discussion doesn't matter if it is illegal to use it.
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