Many have named the “perfect” elk hunting rifle.
Many have mocked the small rifle.
Some have even named the all-around rifle.
My grandfather used to say that the 30-30 had probably killed more elk and deer than any other caliber. Since then the 30-06 has most likely replaced it.
After magnums made the scene in the 1960s there has been a tendency to go bigger and better.
Yet, in my experience, elk hunters who shot a 30-06/.270 type rifle killed more game than those that brought magnums. How can rifles designed to shoot flatter and kill better miss and wound more game than weapons “less well designed?”
Shouldn’t those large caliber and faster bullets shoot flatter and kill better?
Maybe, but the larger, faster better killing magnums have developed a dichotomy.
While they may kill better (they may not), it has been proven that the 30-06 is the largest rifle that most people can shoot well. So the better killing ability of the magnums is more than offset by lack of shooting with the magnum.
Here is a test you can do at home.
Take the rifle YOU believe to be your best elk weapon, 22 rounds of hunting (not plinker loads) ammo, a target with a nine-inch circle marked (the killing area), your best shooting buddy, and a watch or timer to a 100-yard range.
Here is the test:
- Put the target up at 100 yards
- Note the time or set your timer for 10 minutes
- Shoot 10 shots offhand (standing) in that 10 minutes
- For each of the last 12 shots, have your buddy load your rifle. He should load it so that you don't know if there is a live round in the chamber or not. Some shots will go "boom," some will go click with a wild swing of the muzzle.
- Have fun and see what happens.
This test may educate in a couple ways: How well you shoot offhand at 100 yards, and how bad your flinch is.
Even competitive shooters shooting low-recoiling rifles will have a mental cramp that flinches a shot. Add some noise, some recoil, possibly some wind or a larger level of competition and anyone can flinch “out of the black.”
More links for Caliber Selection for The Elk Hunter’s Rifle: