Caribou Gear

I know, dangerous ammo question

TNHUNTER

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Dangerous question because ammo is a personal choice and heavily dependent on what results each of us has seen on animals we've taken and how well we shoot. I certainly understand the "if you can shoot it well, that's your best choice" and agree to an extent. Not having much experience on elk wanted to get some opinions on 2 scenarios.

In looking at ammo availability locally it is very sparse. I have 2 calibers I own and looking for thoughts on elk more than deer. My daughter shot a mule deer with her 6.5 Creedmoor using the 143 grain ELD-X. I was very impressed with the results and very comfortable with mule deer sized game. We've also used this round on whitetails and equally impressed. I did pick up a box of the 147 ELD locally but skeptical that this would be sufficient on elk. Anyone have any experience with this particular round on elk?

The other caliber I own is 7mm rem mag but again not seeing a lot of ammo choices locally. I've seen Sierra 165 grain Gameking and Remington 175 grain corelokt PSP. Not seeing a ton of good reviews on either per se. Any thoughts on either of these for elk?

I'm fine with other recommendations but with the cost of ammo these days thought I'd see if anyone has any experience on these specific rounds before I invest in other rounds and see how the gun(s) like them. Thanks for your thoughts...
 

hearteater

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6.5 with a bullet like the eld-x is not ethical on elk eldm even less so. The 7 mag with a tough bullet is a much better choice. Also, ammo is available if you keep your heads up online so what’s available locally shouldn’t be a concern.
 

TN2shot07

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There is no debating at this point that a 6.5 with good bullets will kill an elk cleanly, put it through the heart or lungs and it can only go so far. Problems seem to come more from people taking steep quartering shots and really trying to stretch the distance.

I don’t think anybody will argue for the corelokts being the best bullet out there but they have killed untold numbers of elk, 7 mag will do the job fine.

Why are you concerned with local availability on the ammo? Shipping ammo to TN isn’t a problem and there are plenty of options for both rifles available online. I was able to find TTSX’s for the 6.5, partitions and trophy bonded tips for the 7 mag
 

PorterHouse

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The ELD-M, while it wouldn’t be my first choice, should work ok. Just don’t get crazy in terms of shot distance and stay off the shoulder since it’s a softer jacketed target bullet and lacks the interlock ring like the ELD-X. A lung shot should work fine and I wouldn’t worry as much about bullet construction with the Creedmoor as I would with say a 7 Mag or 6.5 PRC or something along those lines with higher velocity.

As far as the 7 Mag goes, I wouldn’t have any reservations with either of those choices. I’ve personally seen a lot of dead critters that fell to Game Kings, and dudes have been killing stuff with Core Lokts for a long time.
 

44hunter45

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I have killed multiple elk with 140 grain Sierra GKs out of a 264 Win Mag at 3000-3100 fps. Deer out of a 6.5x55 at 2600 fps. They are a frangible and will break up. Many that complain about them don't understand that is what they are supposed to do. Bergers are the same way. ELD-M is a target bullet and will frag as well.

Over the years, I have killed the most of my elk with Speer Hot-Cor bullets out of a 30-06 . These are what I would call "semi-bonded" The cores are poured hot into a fluxed jacket.
I have also killed elk with TBBCs and Grand Slams. All these elk were dead.

Just my observation, but I've had more one shot kills with well placed frangibles than with fancy bullets. I have retrieved six perfectly mushroomed Speers from a dead bull.

My last elk was killed with 150 grain "Blue Box" Federal 7mm Rem Mag. One shot.

We could deep dive into bullet construction, designed velocity ranges, and terminal performance. I enjoy those conversations and ballistic experimentation. The truth is that any bullet properly placed in an elk will do the job. Any bullet NOT properly placed may result in a rodeo.

I am now moving over to Hammer all copper bullets and I am really impressed. I am too much a tightwad to throw away a safe full of lead core bullets, though.

I think that many who come to elk hunting from the deer world don't get just how tough an elk is. Perhaps because too many hunting shows only show one shot kills. ( Thanks @Big Fin for keeping it real and factual in your content over the years.)

My first elk stood there and took three rounds before he tipped over where he was standing. I thought something was wrong. When I got to the down animal there was a 2" triangle of entrance wounds over his lungs. Inside the lungs were mush. All three Speer Hot-Cors were recovered under the hide on the off side of the elk.

The six round rodeo was a bull bedded in blown down timber. I walked in on him under ten yards in a blinding rain storm. We were both very surprised. Too close for a scope, he stood up and my first shot was too far back. He went down, but tried to get up and I emptied the rifle to keep him down. Fancy shooting? No. Real life? Yes.

Aside - This is also the only elk carcass over the years which I've had a robbed by a bear. I had to retrieve one quarter which was dragged off about 200 yards. I will no longer leave meat close to a carcass. I will get the game bags as far from the gut pile as possible even if I have to work all night.

It is my belief that hunters who don't have a rodeo story with elk haven't killed that many.

Long post. - Summary -

If "cheap" ammo gets you practicing more and your confidence and marksmanship are ready for the hunt, good.
If "fancy" bullets cost so much you don't practice, bad.
 

ImBillT

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Shot a bull with a 140gr Berger from a bigger 6.5mm. I feel like a 147gr bullet from a Creedmore should work. Bigger is often better, but not if she isn’t ready. That’s a lot of sectional density, which is good. I haven’t used an ELDX. If someone can shoot an elk with a 140gr bullet from a 7-08, then why not a 147gr bullet from a Creedmore? You’re talking about 5% more bullet mass than a 140gr 7mm and a sectional density of .301 vs .248. You’re fine.
 

TNHUNTER

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I appreciate the info - a great help. The reason I mentioned the 2 specific scenarios is that's what I currently either own or been offered by a buddy locally. I have tended to shy away from the Creedmor for elk with the bullets I have and I think this has only been confirmed. Perfect for deer and very good with that. Not saying other bullets won't work but what I have on hand.

Same reason on the 7mm. I can order more ammo but have the 2 brands on hand or offered to me. I also understand that ammo is one of the cheapest parts of the hunt so don't want to skimp there either. I can tend to look for the next latest and greatest - if what I have access to is sufficient then makes sense to use. If folks have simply had bad results with these I'll keep looking.
 

TNHUNTER

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Sorry ImBillT - I was apparently typing when you posted so my latest note was not directed to your post on the 147 gr in any way. I've been very impressed with the round on deer. Having not shot an elk I get nervous with the smaller bullet. I don't want to second guess myself in the field.
 

Doublecluck

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147 Eldms will hammer elk just like any other bullet if you don’t do stupid crap. Get within reasonable range and put it behind the shoulder. I know some college kids that stack piles of animals with 147’s.
 

S-3 Ranch

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I have had many one shot kills with federal classic on elk , but in .300wm , my .264wm was nosler partitions
no way I would trust ELD anything, my buddies father shoots a 6.5cm
with hornday ELD-x and they are very explosive on Texas white tail
I don’t think I would try them on elk or nilgai in a 6.5mm
 

SnowyMountaineer

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From a 2019 thread. Bottom line don’t overthink it.

I'll add some details on just elk kills for the 6.5's (6.5x47, .260AI, and 6.5 Creed) I've been shooting for the last several years. Muzzle velocities were between 2600 and 2820 on all.
--5x6 bull, 75 yds, 139 scenar, dropped instantly
--6x6 bull, 100 yds, 139 scenar, stumbled 20 yds, hit it again while moving, died instantly
--6x6 bull, 150 yds, 139 scenar, took 5 steps and died
--cow, 75 yds, 139 scenar (partner w/ my gun), dropped instantly
--cow, 200 yds, 147 ELDM, turned around and died
--spike, 175 yds, 147 ELDM (partner w/ my gun), dropped instantly
--cow, 125 yds, 147 ELDM, mediocre hit, ran 100 yds and hit it well, dropped instantly

That and punching through a pile of other deer/bears/antelope has led me to trust the 139 scenar (and the 147 to a lesser extent) as an excellent hunting bullet. If that's not enough data points it's the best I can do, I'm not that old, and I haven't killed everything with 6.5/.264's :)

There are lots of great chamberings and bullets for big game. I've learned not to blame poor bullet performance on a chambering. The OP asked what 6.5 bullets worked well for people on elk, hence my answer. If I went all-copper it would be for conservation reasons, not a lack of trust in my current bullet of choice.
 

ImBillT

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Sorry ImBillT - I was apparently typing when you posted so my latest note was not directed to your post on the 147 gr in any way. I've been very impressed with the round on deer. Having not shot an elk I get nervous with the smaller bullet. I don't want to second guess myself in the field.
No problem at all, and you’re talking about a 7mag with heavier bullets, which is obviously going to give you an edge over a Creedmore. I brought up the 7-08 with 140gr bullets because it’s not uncommon on this forum to read a 7-08 as a recommendation for elk, from the very same people who will say that a 6.5 Creedmore is not enough. While a 7-08 can be loaded up heavier, the most common bullets weights are 120gr and 140gr, and at those weights the 6.5 Creedmoor is at least equal to a 7-08 in lethality. Just pointing out that the Creedmore should work just fine. Something bigger is likely better.
 

jbseamus83

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Gamekings are great bullets. I've shot them from .223, 7-08, .30-06, and 7mag. They have always performed. Are there better bullets - probably. But, will they work. Absolutely. I wouldn't hesitate to use them if you have a good load that shoots accurately.
 

CAV67

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I am not a fan of the 6.5 Creed for full disclosure. I believe whereas the 6.5 is an excellent rifle for long range flat shooting target practice and is ethical for use with deer, It is way under performing for Elk unless you are in a "Rodeo story" as the previous commenter told, whereas he was super close. I prefer to use a tried and true 30-06 and have good accuracy to 500 yards. I use a Federal 180 g Trophy Copper cartridge. It has a really good BC and good performance. Federal website will show "Not available", but if you have them alert you to availability, it is possible to get good HUNTING ammo. I stay on the alert list and ussually buy 2 to 3 boxes, which gives me the ability to keep shooting skills up with a box + ready for the hunt. Even before I moved to the 30-06, I used a 180g in my .308, so my opinion is set in the higher bullet weights for elk. IMHO.

I am expanding my range reach currently with my .300 WIN MAG Savage Impulse. Hard not to have favorites with the tools of the safe...Have to treat them like kids and love them all equally! :cool:
 

Gila

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Ammo is extremely scarce right now for the more powerful elk cartridges. A good bonded bullet that is long and heavy with a secant ogive boat tail maybe, or something similar. Heavy, long and fast bullets are good elk medicine at longer ranges....I would stay away from mono or copper alloy stuff. I killed a big bull cleanly with a mono at 200 yards. The bullet expanded perfectly and held together at 200 yards. If the shot would have been at 400 yards I’m not so sure.

The monos need 2000+ FPS to begin expansion...The bonded cores need around 1800 fps to expand properly. The long range bonded core bullets like the Nosler Accubond LR need around 1300+ FPS for good expansion.

I would go with something like 160gr to 175gr in your 7 mag. I bought a 300 win mag to shoot 200+ gr for elk but can’t find any ammo nor can I get any reloading components (that I can afford anyway). Some ideas for your 7 mag:

Nosler Accubonds
Berger hybrid classic
Nosler partitions
Sierra Gameking
 

Gila

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Yesterday I picked up several boxes of federal premium 185 gr Berger classic hybrid hunters for my 300 win mag. Brownells, cabelas have them. Didn’t see any 7 rem mags though. Nosler ammo is going for $100-150 a box.
 
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