What is the best caliber for elk hunting? This is an age old question that has been debated over many years by many hunting experts. When you talk about rifles and calibers it can get downright personal and emotional for some folks. The truth is that you want a caliber that will deliver enough knockdown power and energy to make a clean kill at a reasonable distance.
Shots can range in distance from 20 yards out to 400 yards. A savvy hunter will choose an adequate caliber and practice at all distances. I recommend that you sight your rifle in at 200 yards. Some gun ranges only have a target distance of 100 yards.
In this case, sight your rifle in at 2 inches high at 100 yards. For many calibers, this will just about put you on bull’s eye at 200 yards. It is helpful to shoot from standing and sitting positions with the help of a support and off handed also.
Calibers under 30-06 are on the light side. I will not argue that smaller calibers are not capable of bringing down elk but we are looking for the best, most effective calibers based on past experience.
As far as the best caliber for elk hunting, my favorites would be the 30-06, 7mm and .300 calibers. All of these calibers offer many bullet types and weights to choose from. Be sure to sight in the rifle with the same bullet weight and type that you plan to hunt with.
Changing weight (grain) of your bullet can throw off your shot. Magnums can give even more advantage but can be heavy on recoil which can affect a shooter’s accuracy. The new short magnums seem to be the best of both worlds, shooting distance and knockdown power with less recoil.
As you can see picking the best caliber for elk hunting is not an easy answer but I know if you choose one of the calibers listed above, you will not be sorry or go wrong.
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