Is there truly a perfect gun for elk? Let's put it this way: Any centerfire caliber will put down an elk if the animal is hit in the right place. But we're talking optimum here: the best of the best, the mother of all elk rifles. How about it? An elk is a big animal; an average mature bull weighs in at around 700 pounds. You've probably heard that elk are tenacious, which means they're capable of taking a hard hit and staying on their feet. Measuring elk against most other big-game animals, I'd say that's true, but an elk shot in the vitals will not make it very far, if anywhere. An animal hit through the lungs or heart may travel 100 yards at best. The key, therefore, is to use a firearm that will place the bullet precisely where it needs to go. That's a no-brainer, but unfortunately, hunting poses some profound complications.