30-06 Factory ammo for elk

dailordasailor

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I’ll be going on first elk hunt this coming year. Should be doing a couple other hunts as well so figured good time to sort stuff out.
Been hunting with my 30-06 since I started and even bought the wife the duplicate 700 to keep thing simple. I started off with rem corelokt and seemed to do the job and both guns loved the ammo. Unfortunately had crap performance multiple times in once season couple years ago. I switched to Hornady whitetail ammo (150gr for wife and 180gr for me). It’s killed everything we’ve shot with the ammo since.

Only concern is blood trail. I’ve been fortunate that most of what we’ve shot has dropped in view. However I had to track a pig the wife shot and recently a 170lb whitetail I shot that didn’t really leave a blood trail. If the deer didn’t die on the trail it ran on, not sure we would have ever found it.

The bullets do their job, I’m just not getting the good blood Id like, especially when hunting an elk in the thick stuff. I don’t reload so looking at maybe better bullets that work for everything from deer to elk (pigs, black tail, antelope,etc). I know that’s a lot to ask of one bullet type/weight but figured someone may have good recommendations.

Thanks
Dale
 

TMac

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If you are seeking exits, two holes if you will, the tipped Barnes bullets and the like (Hornady GMX,...), are a good option. In the 06, I’d happily use the 168gr TTSX or 175 LRX Barnes factory loads. I have used the 180 TTSX to take Moose, it worked well. For Elk I’d use the 168 or 175 over the 180, if they shot well. Little more velocity in the 168, and bit softer bullet in the 175, to give me better odds of good bullet expansion if ranges stretch out a bit.
 

Ray B

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In 30-06 the most popular factory load for western Big game was Winchester Power Points and Silver Tips, however, I'm not sure they are made anymore since most of the Winchester loads that I now see are made by Nosler. I like the Partitions but I prefer other bullets to the other Noslers (ballistic tip silver tip, accubond). Since I reload I still use the Winchester bullets that I got as components several years ago.
 

Longwalker

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Yes, if you desire exit holes in elk, you will do well if you choose an all copper bullet like the TSX 180 gr. in the Vor-TX. If exits are important, don't go lighter, that just reduces the penetration. There are a few lead core bullet loads that will almost guarantee an exit hole, but most are European. One reliable choice is the RWS H-Mantel. I have had couple of 180 grain Nosler partitions exit elk and moose, but more often they are caught by the skin on the far side. Generally avoid plastic tipped bullets if you want maximum penetration, they do help maintain bullet velocity and initiate expansion but as a general rule don't penetrate quite as well as less quick opening designs.
 

YancyW

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Buffalo Bore makes a 168gr TTSX that does an honest 3000fps out of a 24" tube. If it shoots well in your rifle, it is really hard to be beat for factory rounds.
 

mark-hunter

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For game of size of elk (similar to european red deer), premium ammo to consider:
- partition bullets (Nosler would be ok), with probably smaller exit wound, and less blood spoor
- monolithic, TSX, TTSX
- bonded - like norma oryx

As heavy as possible. 180 grains. or more. Bit less on monolihtic TSX
 

kurpfalzjäger

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For game of size of elk (similar to european red deer),...

There are big differences in the weight of red deers between Scotland in the northwest and Bulgaria in the southeast of Europe. However , the Wapiti is larger and heavier than the european red deer. Only the largest specimens like the red deers from south east Europa can reach it.

I shot several Altai Elk in Central Asia , for sure there were only big trophy bulls , but overall the Wapiti appeared to me as a very heavy deer. Cartridges like the 340WM or 9.3x64 have proven their worth for this hunt. For the red deers of my country , which rarely weigh over 200kg , the cartridge 30-06 is sufficient.
 
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kurpfalzjäger

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The differences in size and weight seem to me to be much larger for the red deers than for the different sub-species of Wapitis. There are a lot of deers in Asia that are much smaller and sometimes counted among the Wapitis , but they are not.
 

Areaonereal

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Norma Oryx. 165or 180 gr....also the 200 gr. Nosler partition depending on range.
 

Kawshik Rahman

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An Elk appears to be identical in size and build to our Indian Sambhar deer . Therefore , l must absolutely endorse your choices of a .30-06 Springfield . Back when l used to guide clients , as a professional Shikari in Darjeeling , India from 1962 to 1970 , the most popular cartridge for Sambhar deer in .30-06 Springfield calibre used to be the Core Lock soft nose bullet from the firm , Remington ( which you have used ) and the silver tip soft nose cartridge from the firm , Winchester . I understand that the Winchester silver tip cartridge is sadly discontinued . Thus , any modern equivalent should suffice. I would recommend a Winchester Ballistic Tip soft nose cartridge .
It is a real shame that Remington's Core Lock soft nose bullets have deteriorated in quality so much . During our time , these Core Lock soft nose bullets were known for their flawless reliability.
I hope that you find an ammunition which suits your needs . Best of luck .
 

Clodo Ferreira

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Hi,

Agree with what TMac recommends. I have used the 168 TSX and TTSX for our big Red Deer down here. I load them at 2950 f/s without any issue. I have not used the LRX 175 grs but think it would be as good or better than the 168 TTSX.
Another bullet I like is the Nosler Partition either in 180 or 200 grs. At 2800 and 2700 f/s respectively they will work for sure!

Good luck!

CF
 

kurpfalzjäger

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The shooting distance must also be taken into account. I rarely shot a Wapiti in the mountains of Central Asia under 300 yards.
 
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375 Ruger Fan

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I've elk hunted quite a bit, taking elk with both rifle and bow. I used a 7mm mag for a number of years and lately been using a 338 WM. Your choice of 30-06 is good. I like the Swift A-Frame, but Nosler Partition, Core-Lokt, Barns, Hornady GMX will all work too. Shot placement is the priority and yes, an exit wound is good too.

BTW, I have a 2020 Montana elk hunt booked and taking a son-in-law. He will be carrying a 270 and using 150 gr Swift A-Frames.
 

Tra3

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A .30-06 will work great on elk. My buddy hunts with that caliber and I watched him shoot an elk in Idaho and then Montana this year. He was using nosler partitions. No exit hole, but the bullet was on the far side skin. 380 yard and 160 yard shots.
I agree that the mono-metal bullets will get you an exit hole on elk.
I have hunted and shot elk with a .270, 7 mm RM and a 6.5 CM. @375 Ruger Fan the .270 will kill elk for sure!
@Bullthrower338 should input some elk hunting wisdom.
Where will you be hunting?
 
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JimP

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A half dozen of my first elk were taken with a good old 30-06 shooting plain old cup and core 150 grain bullets. Unless the shot was a close one I never had a complete pass through shot, but then I usually always had a double lung shot and they never went very far.

If it was today and I was going to use my 06 I would hand load some Barnes TTSX in 165 grain at around 2800fps. They would do quite well.

If I was going to purchase some factory ammo it would be the Barnes Vortex in 150 or 168 grain bullets or some Federal Premium ammo.

As was mentioned don't plan on a pass through shot but bullet placement.
 

Ray B

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I recall hunting elk nearly 60 years ago. I had a 308, brother had a hand-me-down 30-30, uncle 303 Brit, cousin hand-me-down 32Spl, dad had the big gun of the group, a scoped 30-06. I don't recall anyone feeling undergunned and there were no elk that needed more than 2 shots to put on the ground. In those days there were no "spike only" hunts so we could shoot any bull, big or small. I'm not sure if the elk have read all of the magazines with the articles about how bullet-proof they are, at least they hadn't back in 1959.
 

mark-hunter

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@Ray B
What were the distances, for hunting down those elks?
Bullets, soft points, I guess?
 

JimP

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@Ray B
What were the distances, for hunting down those elks?
Bullets, soft points, I guess?
Most shots were 200 yards or less, and at the time I didn't have a scope on my rifle. I use a good old peep sight.
 

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