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View Full Version : Is a 220 grain .30-06 bullet to much for bull elk?



dhershberger
08-09-2011, 10:14 PM
I'm going rifle elk hunting with my .30-06 and I'm planning to use 220 grain Remington Core-Lokt bullets. Is this to heavy of a bullet for bull elk? I know the 180 grain bullets will do the trick and are better for longer shots but I think that 220 grains have better takedown power. Any advice is helpful, thanks!

Colorado Cowboy
08-10-2011, 07:10 AM
My general take is that you will be giving up a lot of ballistic performance. The 180 gr hits real hard and you get flatter shooting. My baseline for load performance has always been to try and get as close as possible to 3000 fps at the muzzle. Just my opinion.

Remember one thing...dead is dead. 180 or 220, so why penalize yourself.

8750
08-10-2011, 08:44 AM
220 gr is good if you are hunting the black timber. It can crash through brush and small limbs and have a better chance of doing its job.

Grantbvfd
08-10-2011, 01:21 PM
220 gr is good if you are hunting the black timber. It can crash through brush and small limbs and have a better chance of doing its job.

A bad shot is a bad shot. Shooting through limbs and brush isn't a good idea with a 100, 180, 220 or even 350 grain bullet. You will have more knockdown power with a 220 grain.

I assume u are using factory loads...? If that's the load your gun likes then use it.

Scott S
08-10-2011, 01:45 PM
I know the 180 grain bullets will do the trick and are better for longer shots but I think that 220 grains have better takedown power. Any advice is helpful, thanks!Actually a larger bullet doesn't offer more "takedown power" like you think it does. Stick with the flatter shooting 180 grain bullet like the Accubond or Partition and practice bullet placement. I killed my 6x6 elk with a 30-06 and 180gr Accubond. The faster 180gr bullet will provide both a large killing channel and you will also get a greater terminal velocity impact and shock on the vitals as well.

Give the 180 gr a try and you might find that you are pleasantly surprised.

dhershberger
08-10-2011, 02:48 PM
I think I'll take 180 gr. bullets and 220gr. bullets and if I get a long shot I'll use the flatter shooting 180 gr. bullets but if I get within 150 yds. then I'll use 220gr. bullets.

llp
08-10-2011, 02:50 PM
You will be better served with the 180 grain bullet. There is no doubt the 220 grain will kill an elk, but you are sacrificing more than necessary. The performance edge goes clearly to the 180 grain bullet over 100 yards. And at less than 100 yards, either bullet will give you all the penetration and power you need. I've shot lots of elk with the 180 grain bullets, some as close as 25 yards, and never had reason to question this bullet weight. If you have lots of the 220 grain load, and don't mind the limitations, then ok. But this would never be the first or best choice.
llp

Bitterroot Bulls
08-10-2011, 03:04 PM
I think I'll take 180 gr. bullets and 220gr. bullets and if I get a long shot I'll use the flatter shooting 180 gr. bullets but if I get within 150 yds. then I'll use 220gr. bullets.

Careful with this, as your point of impact can vary widely, depending on load. I have also killed elk with a variety of bullet weights. I would consider loading up a "hard" 150 grain bullet, like the Barnes TTSX. This load will flatten the trajectory significantly, and would dispatch bulls easily, with proper placement, of course. The 30-06 doesn't have the powder capacity to make good use of a 220 grain projectile, IMO. Within a 150 yards, I don't think that elk would notice the difference between them.

dhershberger
08-10-2011, 06:22 PM
Careful with this, as your point of impact can vary widely, depending on load. I have also killed elk with a variety of bullet weights. I would consider loading up a "hard" 150 grain bullet, like the Barnes TTSX. This load will flatten the trajectory significantly, and would dispatch bulls easily, with proper placement, of course. The 30-06 doesn't have the powder capacity to make good use of a 220 grain projectile, IMO. Within a 150 yards, I don't think that elk would notice the difference between them.

True, the weight can change the point of impact a lot so probably picking one bullet weight is the best. I do think that 150 grain bullets are a little light for bull elk so I think the bullet I will use is the 180 grain. I haven't tried the Barnes TTSX in 150 grain yet but I'll test it and compare it to 180 grain Remington Core Lokt. I do agree that 150 grain bullets can do the job when properly placed but I think the 180 grain has more forgiveness and knockdown power.

Colorado Cowboy
08-10-2011, 06:36 PM
I really think it has more to do with shot placement than anything elso. I have killed 5 or 6 elk and 2 moose with 30-06 150 gr Sierra GameKings. All were 1 shot kills. One bull moose was standing uphill and slightly turned away from me, one shot in shoulder and down he went. Found the bullet was lodged in the horn. Passed thru and lodged there. I shoot a .300 Wby with 180 gr Nosler Partition now and it does a great job. Shoots a lot flatter than the 06 at longer ranges. Pick a bullet and load, and if it groups the way you want it to, stick with it and do a lot of practice at various distances.

Bitterroot Bulls
08-10-2011, 07:57 PM
True, the weight can change the point of impact a lot so probably picking one bullet weight is the best. I do think that 150 grain bullets are a little light for bull elk so I think the bullet I will use is the 180 grain. I haven't tried the Barnes TTSX in 150 grain yet but I'll test it and compare it to 180 grain Remington Core Lokt. I do agree that 150 grain bullets can do the job when properly placed but I think the 180 grain has more forgiveness and knockdown power.

I shot a bull with a 180 grain corelokt from an 30-06 a few seasons ago. He ran about 20 yards and dropped. The bullet entered the ribs behind the off shoulder. No exit. The bullet was in the chest cavity and weighed 98 grains after cleaning.

I shot a bull the following year with a 140 TSX from a 270 WSM. The bull didn't take a step. The bullet shattered the on shoulder, turned the lungs to ribbons, crushed the off shoulder, and was caught in the hide on the off side. Somehow the Barnes "petals" were sticking out in the air on the off-side, but the body of the bullet was stuck in the exit hole. One petal sheered off somewhere inside, but the bullet stilled weighed 122 grains after cleaning.

Both bullets made the lungs inoperable. I don't know what the "knock down" power was. I know the Barnes was the bigger bullet after doing the job. The Barnes had better penetration for sure.

I agree with Colorado Cowboy in that shot placement is way more important than bullet choice. Find one that shoots well out of your gun and use it.

Just remember that 180 grain CoreLokt is going to be 150 grains or less really soon after impact.

dhershberger
08-11-2011, 11:01 AM
Bittroot Bulls and Colorado Cowboy: Your'e right, bullet placement is much more important than load and caliber. I have a question for Bitteroot Bulls: What was the yardage when you killed your bull with a .30-06 180 grain Core-Lokt and what was the yardage when you killed your bull with a .270 with a 140 grain Barnes TSX. I do think it is important to have proper bullet placement but also it is important to have enough caliber it make a clean kill. The .270 is on the light side for elk calibers but with proper placement, not too long yardage, and with a Barnes TSX I think that the .270 probably could perform pretty well. One more question: I've been looking at bullets and I really like the .30-06 Federal Vital-Shok with Barnes TSX tips in 150 and 180 grains. Do you think this a good bullet choice for bull elk? Thanks for all the advice, I appreciate it alot.

Colorado Cowboy
08-11-2011, 12:19 PM
I guess I'm old fashioned...maybe just plain old is a better description, but I use Nosler Partition exclusively in my .300.

jay
08-11-2011, 12:43 PM
maybe give a 165 grain in a partitioner a try. somewhere in the middle. i like that round for elk and deer, little more punch than the 150 but lighter than the 180 for those extended ranges. everyone is right about shot placement, if you know your guns capabilities and have a steady rest you could take down an elk with almost anything. good luck fellow newmexican...

dhershberger
08-11-2011, 05:27 PM
maybe give a 165 grain in a partitioner a try. somewhere in the middle. i like that round for elk and deer, little more punch than the 150 but lighter than the 180 for those extended ranges. everyone is right about shot placement, if you know your guns capabilities and have a steady rest you could take down an elk with almost anything. good luck fellow newmexican...

That's another good option that I haven't thought about. I use the 165 grain mainly for Oryx hunting but I'm sure it would work for elk too especially in a partition load. Thanks for the advice!

Bitterroot Bulls
08-11-2011, 06:28 PM
I have a question for Bitteroot Bulls: What was the yardage when you killed your bull with a .30-06 180 grain Core-Lokt and what was the yardage when you killed your bull with a .270 with a 140 grain Barnes TSX.

The 30-06 was under 100 yards, probably closer to 80 yards.

the 270WSM was over 400 yards.

I would be confident in the 150 Barnes doing the trick just fine. The 180 TSX would do well also, just not quite as flat shooting.

Find what you are confident in, and stick with it. I hope you get to do an on-game test of whatever bullet you go with this year.

Good Luck!

In God We Trust
08-11-2011, 07:44 PM
I use a 30-06 and I shoot 180 grain bullets. I have killed elk, mule deer, and whitetails with these bullets. I would say that 165 is the perfect all around bullet. My kid brother uses a .270 and shoots 140 grain bullets. They do the job as well. I have hunted elk a long time and I would say 220 is way overkill.

dhershberger
08-12-2011, 12:06 AM
Thanks for the advice guys!

NDHunter
08-12-2011, 06:58 AM
Now I understand why Mike Eastman explains in his book's why he doesn't get into what type of caliber, bullet, scope, etc. to use. It mostly just comes down to personal preference. Shoot an elk broadside through both lungs with anything bigger than a .243 and it is going to kill it. Shoot an elk through the guts with a .300 and you are going to have a tough time getting it.

Colorado Cowboy
08-12-2011, 08:38 AM
That is why I believe shot placement and confidence in your weapon are the most important things that a hunter can have. I learned some very hard lessons over 50 years ago on this when I was a very young, inexperienced hunter.

Elkoholic307
08-13-2011, 02:55 PM
I have hunted elk a long time and I would say 220 is way overkill.

There is no such thing as overkill.

Elkoholic307
08-13-2011, 03:02 PM
Shoot an elk broadside through both lungs with anything bigger than a .243 and it is going to kill it. Shoot an elk through the guts with a .300 and you are going to have a tough time getting it.

You're not always going to get that perfect broadside shot; which is why I'm now using a 338 Ultra. Even in an extreme quartering away shot, I can punch an elk through the guts and that 250 gr. NAB will still have enough steam to destroy the vitals.

In God We Trust
08-14-2011, 09:08 PM
I would not ever shoot an animal through the guts and hope for a kill!

packmule
08-14-2011, 11:30 PM
220 will limit more than help.. Kind of like hooking a cow trailer up to a 'vette. It's all about energy and velocity has a lot to do with that equation.

Elkoholic307
08-14-2011, 11:39 PM
I would not ever shoot an animal through the guts and hope for a kill!

You don't have to hope when you know what you're equipment is capable of.

6mm Remington
08-15-2011, 12:32 PM
I load nothing but the Nosler 165 gr. Accubond or Partition in my 30-06 and they are both great bullets that I feel would work just fine for your elk hunt. I would chose a good 165 or 180 and then shoot which bullet shoots the best in my particular rifle. Good luck on your hunt!
David

MTWillie
08-20-2011, 11:27 PM
My .338 Mag is shooting 185gr Hornady's at 3,000+ FPS so I think 220 out of an 06 is a bit much.

shootbrownelk
08-21-2011, 07:58 PM
I shoot 150 gr. barnesXBT's in my model 70 30.06....it loves them, my model 700 won't group
with them. It likes heavier bullets. I loaded-up some 200 gr. accubonds for it..it likes those and 180's.
I agree with Mike Eastman, use what you're familiar with. Those 220's aren't those round nose corelokts
are they? I never liked the performance of the early corelokt's, they come apart. I guess with the modern
high performance bullets we have to choose from nowadays...we're spoiled.

dhershberger
08-22-2011, 09:50 AM
Yeah, the 220 grains are round-nosed because more weight has to be added without making the bullet longer because it would screw up the caliber. The 150's are the most pointed, 165's very pointed, 180's are still very pointed, and the 220's are pretty round which doesn't help them at all balistically. I think 180's or 165's are the right choice.

turkeyhunter60
09-23-2011, 04:11 AM
220 gr. is fine, but you won't have the range...180 gr. is the best choice for Elk.....

trkytrack2
12-20-2011, 09:04 PM
A hell of a lot of elk have fallen to the 150 gr. bullet and a hell of a lot have been killed with a .270 with a 130 gr. bullet. Shot placement is the key to any quick kill on any animal, big or small. My 30-06 prefers 165 gr. boat-tail bullets; shoots a one inch group at 100 yards with them and has plenty of killing power. If your rifle groups well with a 180 grainer or a 220 grainer, shoot the bullet that groups the best in your rifle.

trophyhill
12-27-2011, 08:53 PM
I'm going rifle elk hunting with my .30-06 and I'm planning to use 220 grain Remington Core-Lokt bullets. Is this to heavy of a bullet for bull elk? I know the 180 grain bullets will do the trick and are better for longer shots but I think that 220 grains have better takedown power. Any advice is helpful, thanks!

how's your shoulder feel?:cool:

Elkoholic307
12-27-2011, 09:53 PM
a hell of a lot have been killed with a .270 with a 130 gr. bullet.

Funny you mention that. A friend of mine double lunged an adult cow this year with his .270 and a 130 gr. SST and it went almost 2 miles before dropping. He had to shoot it a total of 3 times.

trophyhill
12-28-2011, 08:35 AM
Funny you mention that. A friend of mine double lunged an adult cow this year with his .270 and a 130 gr. SST and it went almost 2 miles before dropping. He had to shoot it a total of 3 times.

i double lunged an adult cow elk a few days ago with my 7mag/140gr Accubond bullet. she went maybe a hundred yards. shot placement is everything.

Elkoholic307
12-29-2011, 08:52 AM
shot placement is everything.

Obviously, but a lot times it depends on what the animal is doing before you shoot it. If there is a lot of hunting pressure, then it is most likely stressed and full of adrenaline.

You don't have to believe my example. I'm not sure that I do; 2 miles is a long ways. I am just re-telling what was told to me, I wasn't there. The hunters didn't have a gps or a rangefinder so it was their 'gut-feeling' that it went 1.5 - 2 miles. Either way, it was shot in the lungs and went a long ways. This is why I never go under-gunned.

Everyone knows shot placement is key, but not enough people realize that the 270 Win. is not a suitable elk cartridge.

Bitterroot Bulls
12-29-2011, 09:46 AM
Everyone knows shot placement is key, but not enough people realize that the 270 Win. is not a suitable elk cartridge.

Count me in the group of "not enough people." I think it is a perfectly suitable elk cartridge at moderate distances with a quality controlled expansion bullet.

Old Hunter
12-29-2011, 10:09 AM
The .270 is plenty for elk. It's been killing elk since 1925. I'd never shoot an SST though. They have a habit of blowing up. Shoot a good bullet like the Accubond, Partition, TSX etc.

Drhorsepower
12-29-2011, 12:17 PM
The .270 is plenty for elk. It's been killing elk since 1925. I'd never shoot an SST though. They have a habit of blowing up. Shoot a good bullet like the Accubond, Partition, TSX etc.

Exactly! I've heard So many "horror" stories of 7mm rem mag and less. "7 shots in the heart and he still ran 1.5 miles!"
I call bs! Any double lung or heart shot and that elk is running on adrenaline. sorry. He's running purely off of stored ATP energy and is in Fight or flight mode. And it will end up in flight. A lot of lesser calibers have been killing elk for a long long time. A lot less than a .270

Elkoholic307
01-02-2012, 07:55 PM
I expected these kind of replies. All I'll say is, for the kind of elk hunting I do, the 270 is inferior.

Bitterroot Bulls
01-02-2012, 09:44 PM
I expected these kind of replies. All I'll say is, for the kind of elk hunting I do, the 270 is inferior.

I figured you probably did expect it. :) I thought I would oblige.

Inferior for you, OK. Suitable for others, you bet!

Elkoholic307
01-03-2012, 09:22 AM
Maybe someone should start a thread on the topic so we don't cram this one up.

Old Hunter
01-03-2012, 10:04 AM
I expected these kind of replies. All I'll say is, for the kind of elk hunting I do, the 270 is inferior.

What kind of hunting would that be?

Elkoholic307
01-09-2012, 11:57 AM
The kind that includes driving very heavy, large diameter bullets into elk at high velocities no matter what angle they're standing at and not having to worry about them running away.

Old Hunter
01-09-2012, 01:18 PM
That's why they make big magnums. Nothing wrong with that choice.

I prefer closer shots in the vitals. My elk this year was with a muzzleloader and a round ball. Many with a 30-30 over the years. A few with a 30-06, and i'm using a .270 from now on. I still hunt timber, so the .270 is really overkill, but I like the gun. I use peep sights on it for a bit more of a challenge. I've never lost an animal in 60 years of hunting, but I do have to pass up a lot of shots. I don't mind. I consider it part of hunting.

I didn't mean to sound like I was busting your chops. I was just curious.

Elkoholic307
01-10-2012, 10:46 AM
I admire your patience; I don't think I could do that! (pass up shots)

Old Hunter
01-10-2012, 02:26 PM
Not the easiest thing for me either. My dad drove it into me in the 50's, and it stuck. I still struggle with it, but I can say i've never taken a risky shot.. I guess dad did a good job.

trkytrack2
01-13-2012, 02:53 PM
Funny you mention that. A friend of mine double lunged an adult cow this year with his .270 and a 130 gr. SST and it went almost 2 miles before dropping. He had to shoot it a total of 3 times.
I would have to guess that your friend "thought" he double lunged that cow. I highly doubt it.

Elkoholic307
01-13-2012, 06:58 PM
There was a total of 5 guys hunting together and they all told the same story at different times. I don't see a reason why they would lie.

Was it actually double-lunged? Possibly. Could it have been a bullet failure? Possibly.

I didn't gut it, they did. So, I really don't know but I can see it happening. An elk's will to survive may be stronger than a 270 in some circumstances.

Wapiti slayer .270
01-18-2012, 09:41 AM
http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb65/K-elk/IMG1853_013.jpg

Never had an issue with a .270win nor the 150 gr. Partition. This one didn't go far and had pass through breaking the offside shoulder at a tad over 220 yards.

I use both the .300WM and the .270win for elk. At this point I see no appreciable difference in "killing power". I use that term loosely as it is always subjective to each of us.

To the OP, I think the idea of running the 180 or 165 in the 06 is very sound advice. Especially running premiums. However, dad has a couple dozen elk under the belt with plain old Core Lokts. So I tend not to dismiss the C&C style bullets. I also killed a bull with Win Power Points at over 300 yards and have a perfectly mushroomed bullet I found under the offside skin. Can't ask for more than that. 180 gr. out of a .300WM.

Old Hunter
01-18-2012, 11:05 AM
Really nice bull. Congrats.

Funny angle to his front leg. Is that the shoulder that broke?

In my early years I killed a few elk with a 30-30 170gr core-lokt. I'm sure it's still getting the job done for some.

Wapiti slayer .270
01-18-2012, 11:18 AM
Pete,

Thank you much sir!! 19 years of trying and frustration finally paid off! lol

Yep, it is the shoulder that broke. Camera angle don't show it well, but he fell on an incline into a dried up creek bed. Was somewhat of a pain to get moved around to field dress and it took 3 of us 6 hours to get him back to the truck. This was in 07, 1st rifle season, not far from where you call home. Love Buena Vista and the valley's scenery!

As to the .30-30, we still take one along every year with the same 170 gr. bullets you mention. Dad killed a few elk with it over the years while beating the timber.

Old Hunter
01-18-2012, 11:28 AM
How well I know what you mean about moving a bull. Those guys are huge. In my old age, and my stubbornness to always hunt alone. I've had to change to hunting cows. I just can't deal with a bull anymore. I'll let you youngsters have them. :)

Wapiti slayer .270
01-18-2012, 11:38 AM
Pete,

Lol. Understood, but its not exactly a picnic for us youngin's either! As my dad says, the fun stops when the elk drops. Then its work!