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Top 10 Best Rifles for Elk Hunting

By Trent Gander

elk hunting rifle

Elk hunting is a special firearms niche that requires a slightly different tool than your standard deer hunting rifle.

This is because of the difference between elk and deer. The average whitetail deer is roughly 150 lbs and stands at most 3.9 feet at the shoulder. Elk on the other hand can weigh from 700 to 1100 lbs and stand at 4.9 or 5 feet at the shoulder.

This significant difference firmly places elk in the large game category. Elk are also denser than a whitetail deer, meaning we have to have better penetration to reach the internal organs and very effective rounds to take down an elk.

All of this comes down to a good pairing of gun, ammunition, range, and environment to produce a successful elk hunt. We’re going to look at a number of these factors to help you select an affordable elk rifle.

Elk Rifles At A Glance

Most elk rifles use 7mm, 6.5 mm, or .30-caliber rounds and come in several manual and semi-automatic options. Magnum loads are popular elk rounds, but .45-70 will still perform well on elk within 200 yards.

The variety of firearms and ammunition make choosing your elk rifle hard because there are so many effective options. The limiting factors are going to be the range you are shooting at, the rifle you want to carry, and the round you want to use.

Let’s look at some of the factors that go into the rifle we want to take on an elk hunt.

What makes a great elk rifle?

Elk hunts can be physically taxing and can involve long hikes in less-than-ideal conditions while carrying all of your gear and the elk itself. This means we have to have a rifle that is going to use an effective cartridge but not weigh us down too much.

elk hunter lying down

Let’s first look at the rounds available to us before we settle on a rifle style.

Calibers

Practice makes perfect, and any round we use to bring down an elk needs to have enough practice behind it to make it worthwhile. This will be one of the major factors in selecting the right round for you.

From .308 all the way up to full powered magnum loads, there are dozens of rounds that have been used in elk hunting. But not all of them are ideal for the job.

Rounds like .308 have what it takes to bring down an elk but it is not ideal for dealing with all of the variables that go into taking the shot on an elk at extremely long distances.

Good shot placement and knowing the drop and effectiveness of the round we have selected matter more than having too powerful of a round.

We want to hedge our bets when it comes to bringing down an elk. We might have one shot or the distance might be just at the end of our rifle’s effective range. Or we might have to take multiple shots in quick succession.

While there are multiple elk hunting rounds, we’ll only be including a number of the more popular loadings. If your preferred round meets or exceeds the power of the selected rounds it should be fine for elk.

This generally places our ammunition into two major groups: Non-magnum rounds and magnum rounds.

Non-magnums

Non-magnum rounds are better for the average shooter. They are usually common, affordable, and allow for multiple shots with less recoil than magnum loads.

They include 6.5 Creedmoor, .308, .30-06, .243 Winchester and .280 Remington.

The benefits of 6.5 Creedmoor are that it can be used in both bolt action rifles and AR style platforms while having good ballistics out to 1000 yards. This round is also benefited by its high ballistic coefficients which make it less impacted by the environment in flight.

If you want a great “do-it-all” cartridge, .30-06 is the way to go. It is a popular hunting cartridge and has many specialty projectiles in a variety of weights. This allows you to dial in the one that suits you and allows for more hand loaded options.

While .308 is very similar to .30-06 the market is slowly catching up to providing the variety of .30-06 in .308 offerings. It’s a good round to use if you are already heavily invested in it. The main difference between .308 and .30-06 is that .30-06 can push heavier bullets faster which translates to better terminal ballistics over a wider spectrum.

The off-the-shelf options of .243 Winchester and .280 Remington are also great options. Just be sure the rounds you are using are rated for elk, but this applies to all ammunition not just these rounds.

Another round to consider is the .45-70. It is not a long range round but it will work within 100 yards. It has a steep drop beyond that, but it will be able to take down elk at that distance.

Most of the other non-magnums will be able to reach out to several hundred yards easily and still take down the elk.

This brings us to the magnum loads.

Magnums

Magnum loads are not a beginner’s round. They tend to have heavier recoil, more power, and a greater effective range than non-magnums, but this comes at the cost of slow fire and a rough shooter experience.

The most popular rounds in the magnum category for elk are 7mm Remington Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum., and .338 Winchester Magnum.

These rounds will hit extremely hard, but this includes the shooter and the target. If you really want to be sure of your shot, these rounds will work.

The .300 Winchester Magnum is very overpowered. It will take down an elk easily and it has a wide variety of loads, both off-the-shelf and handloaded. This makes it good for extremely long distance shooting up to 1000 yards, but does not make for fast follow up shots.

If you want to invest in a magnum rifle be prepared for the extra recoil it will bring.

This brings us to the rifle’s action.

Bolt Action, Lever Action, or Something Else?

With modern firearms technology there are more options than ever before. But there are three major options we should consider for our elk hunt: Bolt actions, lever actions, and semi-automatics.

Starting with semi-automatics we have the benefits of quick follow up shots. Precision semi-autos are becoming more popular and are starting to match bolt action accuracy at range.

Semi-auto options are great for chambertings like 6.5 Creemoor and .308, but they can be expensive to accurize. Additionally they are usually not offered in more powerful chamberings, and those that are, are one-offs.

The tried and true bolt action rifle will most likely be our elk rifle. They are affordable, reliable, and come in all the common elk calibers. Their action is designed to handle these stronger loads, especially the magnum chambered rifles.

bolt action rifle

Bolt actions allow for good follow-up shots if they are in a non-magnum caliber. This means you can put multiple rounds down range if you need to, such as situations that involve a surprise encounter with bears or other large game.

Lever action rifles are closer range options. These are usually going to be in .45-70 and used in closed in brush situations. Perfect for multi-shot scenarios but their ranges will drop off significantly.

There are single-shot options in the calibers that will work, but unless you’re looking for a challenge it’s just better to go with a bolt or lever action rifle.

Now for the next major factor, weight.

Weight

The weight of a rifle might not matter to you if you’re walking from your vehicle to the range, but walk with the same rifle for hours and you’ll tell a different story.

Rifle weight is a very fine balance between what we need for accuracy and what we need to carry. Heavier rifles make better long distance, precision guns. Weight also helps mitigate recoil since it takes more effort to move the mass of the rifle.

However a nice heavy rifle may be good for recoil and precision but carrying it plus the weight of your gear and elk meat will take a toll on you.

Elk rifles range from very light 5.8 lbs to 15lbs with most sitting in the 8.5-10lb range. This might sound like a lot but this includes ammunition, scopes, and other accessories. A good sling will make a world of difference for some of these heavier rifles.

If you need the weight, it’s just something you’re going to have to deal with carrying for the benefit of easier accuracy at distance.

Now for some of your rifle options.

Rifles

Elk rifles are either going to be a serious investment or an attempt to balance cost and performance depending on the caliber you use. Keep in mind that a good scope will cost as much if not more than the rifle if you want to perform well at long distance.

We’ll try and keep things affordable but sometimes that expensive rifle might be what you need.

1. Savage 110

Savage Arms 110 Hunter Rifle

The Savage Hunter is a great option if you’re looking for a balance between performance and cost. Elk hunting can be expensive, with some of the rifles costing thousands of dollars.

If you don’t want to spend that much on a rifle but don’t want to go with an extremely low cost option, the Savage 110 Hunter fits the bill.

Pros

The 110 hunter line comes in a variety of calibers. Most of which are great for elk, like .30-06 and .308 to 7mm Remington Magnum and .300 Winchester Magnum.

Most options are under $800 so you’ll be able to afford a quality scope to go with your rifle. The rifle is pre-drilled and tapped for scope mounts so you don’t have to have any extra work done to fit your scope.

The rifle also comes with Savage’s Accufit stock, allowing you to adjust the comb and length of pull for the rifle. This will help you with getting consistent sight pictures and accuracy.

An adjustable AccuTrigger rounds out the package by allowing you to dial in your preferred trigger weight.

Cons

This rifle is not too heavy and not too light. With a scope it will be in the 8-9lb category in weight. If you want an ultra lightweight option, this isn’t it. If you prefer your rifles to be on the heavier side of 10lbs this also isn’t it.

This might be a concern if you go with one of the magnum options. The extra weight won’t eat up the felt recoil and you’ll experience higher felt recoil than with a heavier rifle.

The Savage 110 comes chambered in the following popular calibers recommended for taking down an Elk out to 200 yards:

Caliber
(Standard Cartridges)
Energy
(ft-lbs @ 200 yards)
Velocity
(drop at 200 yards)
Recoil
Low 1-2, Mod 3-4, High 5-10
.338 Win Mag (185gr) 2,848 2,633 4.60
.308 (150gr) 2,084 2,502 2.97
.300 Win (150gr) 2,463 2,719 3.69
.300 WSM (165gr) 2,840 2,785 3.90
.375 Ruger (250gr) 3,167 2,389 5.40
.7mm-08 (150gr) 2,018 2,461 2.75
.25-06 (117gr) 1,793 2,627 2.58
.270 Win (130gr) 2,016 2,643 2.80
.30-06 (150gr) 2,300 2,628 3.16
7mm Rem Mag (139gr) 2,266 2,709 2.90
6.5 Creed (140gr) 1,849 2,439 N/A
.260 Rem (130gr) 2,055 2,516 2.40
6mm Creed (108gr) 1,643 2,618 N/A

2. Winchester Model 70 Super Grade

winchester model 70 super grade maple rifle

If you’re looking for a heavier traditional rifle, this Winchester Model 70 Super Grade is worth looking into.

Definitely not a bargain option, this rifle is more for the individual who wants a great rifle and isn’t afraid to spend more to get it.

Pros

This rifle comes in 14 different calibers ranging from .243 chamberings all the way to .338 Winchester Magnums. If it can take an elk, this rifle will come chambered in it.

If you prefer magnum loads, this rifle is better suited for it. With a weight range hovering around 8 lbs this rifle will more than likely be in the 9 to 10 lb range with a scope.

While this might be considered a lot to carry, the recoil mitigation and better accuracy it provides might outweigh the discomfort of a little extra weight.

Cons

The biggest drawback to the rifle is the price. This rifle has a $1,500+ price tag. It’s not the most expensive rifle, but if you are not going to be using it a lot for hunting, it is very expensive.

It also doesn’t benefit as much from being chambered in smaller calibers either. The weight will help keep the gun steady for accuracy, but there are other less expensive options that will perform with lighter loads.

If you don’t want to spend money getting into Magnum calibers, this is not the rifle to choose.

The Winchester Model 70 Super Grade comes chambered in the following popular calibers recommended for taking an elk at up to 200 yards:

Caliber
(Standard Cartridges)
Energy
(ft-lbs @ 200 yards)
Velocity
(drop at 200 yards)
Recoil
Low 1-2, Mod 3-4, High 5-10
.270 WSM (130gr) 2,244 2,788 3.28
.270 Win (130gr) 2,016 2,643 2.80
.30-06 (150gr) 2,300 2,628 3.16
.300 Win (150gr) 2,463 2,719 3.69
.300 WSM (165gr) 2,840 2,785 3.90
7mm Rem Mag (139gr) 2,266 2,709 2.90
.7mm-08 (150gr) 2,018 2,461 2.75
.308 (150gr) 2,084 2,502 2.97
.264 Win Mag (140gr) 2,055 2,571 3.32
6.5 Creed (140gr) 1,849 2,439 N/A
.338 Win Mag (185gr) 2,848 2,633 4.60
.280 Rem (139gr) 2,220 2,682 4.60

3. Marlin 1895

Marlin 1895 Stainless Lever Action Rifle - 45-70 Government - 19 in

This lever action is a good one-trick pony. The Marlin 1895 is great if you are not doing any long range shooting. Falling into more of a “brush gun” style it has the appeal of a lever action rifle in an elk stopping caliber.

Pros

If you want a fast firing, stone-thrower of a rifle, look no further than the 1895. It comes in .45-70 with a capacity of 6+1, which places it higher than most elk guns.

It comes with a high visibility front sight and adjustable ghost ring rear sight. This means it’s ready to go the moment you pick it up. It also features a picatinny rail for mounting optics and scopes, depending on your preference.

The barrel comes pre-threaded so you can add muzzle breaks or suppressors to your rifle. These will either help with your recoil or help save your hearing during the hunt.

The rifle is heavy enough to deal with its powerful chambering, coming in at 7.3lbs. If you opt for a lightweight optic, this won’t impede you at all.

Cons

The major drawback of the 1895 is the caliber and caliber variety. It only comes in .45-70, which is fine, but it doesn’t have the range of even .308 in terms of distance.

If you don’t plan on shooting longer than 100 yards, this rifle will take down an elk. But you are not going to get more range out of the round unless you really know the drop and holds of your rifle.

If you prefer up-close hunts or need something to deal with a close wildlife encounter, this rifle is the perfect choice. If you want a nice long range hunter, this is not the choice for you.

The Marlin 1895 comes chambered in the following calibers recommended for humanely taking an elk up to 200 yards:

Caliber
(Standard Cartridges)
Energy
(ft-lbs @ 200 yards)
Velocity
(drop at 200 yards)
Recoil
Low 1-2, Mod 3-4, High 5-10
.45-70 (325gr) 2,158 1,729 4.10

4. Kimber 8400 Classic

Kimber 8400 Classic Walnut Bolt Action Rifle – 300 Winchester Magnum – 26in

Kimber is widely known for their 1911s, but they also provide some quality bolt guns. This 8400 model offers multiple caliber options but at a fraction of the cost of a Model 70.

It’s not as expensive but it does have the look of an expensive rifle with good performance.

Pros

It’s drilled and tapped for a scope like many of our options and comes in 6 different calibers. These include .30-06, .308, and .300 Winchester Magnum.

A little more expensive than the Savage 110 depending on where you shop, it is a good wooden style gun that is not too heavy. If you prefer wooden guns to synthetics, it is a good option.

Cons

The same concerns about magnum cartridges apply. The gun is not as heavy to compensate, but it’s going to be in the 8-9 lb range with a scope.

Another concern is the wooden stock. Wood is a classic stock material but it is dependent on the weather. Temperature changes and moisture can cause the stock to warp which in turn affects the consistency of the rifle.

While the Grade-A French Walnut stock is treated with oil, it can still be affected by the environment.

Price can be a concern with this gun ranging from just under $1000 to a recommended price of roughly $1,600. It is more affordable than the Model 70 but it does not have the caliber range.

The Kimber 8400 Classic comes chambered in the following calibers recommended for hunting elk:

Caliber
(Standard Cartridges)
Energy
(ft-lbs @ 200 yards)
Velocity
(drop at 200 yards)
Recoil
Low 1-2, Mod 3-4, High 5-10
.25-06 (117gr) 1,793 2,627 2.58
.270 Win (130gr) 2,016 2,643 2.80
.30-06 (150gr) 2,300 2,628 3.16
.300 Win (150gr) 2,463 2,719 3.69
.338 Win Mag (185gr) 2,848 2,633 4.60

5. Tikka T3x Superlite

Tikka T3X Superlite Black Bolt Action Rifle - 300 Winchester Magnum - 24.3in

The Tikka T3x is a great lightweight rifle option. If your goal is to get the lightest rifle you can while still having good caliber options, the Superlite is a very affordable option.

It comes in 14 different chamberings but not all of them will be suitable for elk hunting. However if you want a Tikka Superlite it probably comes in your preferred caliber.

Pros

The ultra lightweight rifle is one of the lightest on our list and is sure to perform wherever you carry it. This rifle comes in at 6.3 lbs without optics, which means with an optic it will reach the base weights of some of the other rifles on the list.

The synthetic stock allows for consistency in a variety of environments and it has some modularity to customize the stock to you.

Cons

If you’re looking for an extremely customizable rifle, this one does not have as many customization options but it has more than some of the wood stock guns.

The ultra-lightweight nature of the rifle makes it questionable to use with magnum rounds, but if you’re willing to deal with a lot more felt recoil, you can use the magnum calibers with this gun.

While the weight won’t help as much to mitigate recoil, supported shooting with a proper scope will lessen the need for follow-up shots.

The Tikka T3x Superlite comes chambered in the following calibers for elk hunting:

Caliber
(Standard Cartridges)
Energy
(ft-lbs @ 200 yards)
Velocity
(drop at 200 yards)
Recoil
Low 1-2, Mod 3-4, High 5-10
6.5 Creed (140gr) 1,849 2,439 N/A
.300 Win (150gr) 2,463 2,719 3.69
.270 Win (130gr) 2,016 2,643 2.80
7mm Rem Mag (139gr) 2,266 2,709 2.90
.308 (150gr) 2,084 2,502 2.97
.30-06 (150gr) 2,300 2,628 3.16
.264 Win Mag (140gr) 2,055 2,571 3.32
.25-06 (117gr) 1,793 2,627 2.58
.7mm-08 (150gr) 2,018 2,461 2.75
6.5 PRC (143gr) 2,248 2,661 2.93

6. Savage 110 Ultralight

Savage Arms 110 Ultralite Black/Gray Bolt Action Rifle - 308 Winchester - 22in

This is one the lightest rifles on our list, but it comes at a higher cost than its Hunter sibling. While Savage is known for making affordable hunting rifles this is a more expensive option from their lineup.

This is because more expensive materials go into making a lighter rifle that is still reliable.

Pros

This rifle weighs between 5.8 lbs and 6 lbs depending on the caliber you get it in. It comes in 9 different calibers and includes popular options like 6.5 Creedmoor, our standard .30-06, and Winchester Short Magnum.

It also features a threaded barrel for attaching muzzle devices. The length of pull, comb, and trigger are all end user adjustable to tailor the gun to your preferences.

These all combine into a very light, accurate rifle package that won’t weigh you down on your hunt. This is the rifle you want if your goal is the lightest option.

Cons

The price is the one drawback to this rifle. It is almost twice the cost of a standard Savage 110. But if you are willing to pay more for a lighter rifle this is not a huge barrier.

It does not have as many magnum options as other rifles but since it is such a light rifle you wouldn’t want to use many magnum loads in it.

The Savage 110 Ultralight comes chambered in the following calibers recommended for elk hunting:

Caliber
(Standard Cartridges)
Energy
(ft-lbs @ 200 yards)
Velocity
(drop at 200 yards)
Recoil
Low 1-2, Mod 3-4, High 5-10
.308 (150gr) 2,084 2,502 2.97
.30-06 (150gr) 2,300 2,628 3.16
.300 WSM (165gr) 2,840 2,785 3.90
6.5 Creed (140gr) 1,849 2,439 N/A
6.5 PRC (143gr) 2,248 2,661 2.93
.28 Nosler (162gr) 2,954 2,866 4.43
.270 Win (130gr) 2,016 2,643 2.80
.280 Ack (162gr) 2,360 2,562 3.20

7. Ruger American–Standard

Ruger American Black Bolt Action Rifle - 308 Winchester - 22in

Ruger offers a pretty well rounded, lightweight rifle. Unlike most of the other rifles on this list, this model does not feature a pre-drilled scope mount. Instead it has a picatinny rail.

It is not as versatile as some of the other rifles in regards to ammunition, and does not feature any magnum loads. But it does feature 7mm-08 Remington and .30-06 chamberings.

The price of this rifle makes it a very economic choice if you don’t want to spend too much on a rifle.

Pros

The use of a picatinny rail instead of a scope mount allows for a wider variety of scopes and optics to be used on the rifle.

This means you can use optics you might have on other rifles for this one if you don’t want to get a new scope.

The weight of this rifle is also rather low, 6.1-6.4 lbs depending on the caliber. Combined with an adjustable trigger and synthetic stock makes this rifle hard to beat for overall utility.

Cons

The major drawback of this rifle is the lack of magnum cartridge options. There are many proponents of magnum cartridges being used on elk, just to ensure there is enough power to take the animal down.

This is not as necessary as some claim but if you plan on shooting at longer distances magnum rounds are useful. The 6.5 Creedmoor options will fill this long range role if you need it.

The Ruger American–Standard comes chambered in the following calibers:

Caliber
(Standard Cartridges)
Energy
(ft-lbs @ 200 yards)
Velocity
(drop at 200 yards)
Recoil
Low 1-2, Mod 3-4, High 5-10
.270 Win (130gr) 2,016 2,643 2.80
.30-06 (150gr) 2,300 2,628 3.16
.7mm-08 (150gr) 2,018 2,461 2.75
.308 (150gr) 2,084 2,502 2.97
6.5 Creed (140gr) 1,849 2,439 N/A

8. Browning BLR Lightweight '81

Browning BLR Lightweight '81 Rifle

Another lever action option, the Browning BLR Lightweight offers something different than the standard bolt action rifle.

It provides a wider variety of ammunition than the Marlin 1895 but does not feature any magnum loadings.

Pros

This rifle features iron sights and a pre-drilled scope mount. It comes in 7 different calibers most of which will work on elk.

This pushes the range of the gun out farther than the 1895 while still offering a somewhat faster fire rate than a bolt action rifle.

Cons

There are few drawbacks to the BLR. The major drawback is the wide price range that it has. Anywhere from just under $600 to almost $1000 will get you this rifle.

The straight grip might be a concern for some people. Semi-pistol grip stocks have become standard on many hunting rifles, they allow you to get a better grip in the gun to pull it into your shoulder.

Straight grips provide less purchase, but this comes down to shooter preference. The rifle is also in the mid-range of weight, but with most of the calibers it comes in this will aid in accuracy.

It’s on the heavier side for non-magnum rounds, but since there are no magnum options this will aid in accuracy and in dealing with the recoil of some of the hotter loads.

The Browning BLR Lightweight '81 comes chambered in the following calibers recommended for elk hunting:

Caliber
(Standard Cartridges)
Energy
(ft-lbs @ 200 yards)
Velocity
(drop at 200 yards)
Recoil
Low 1-2, Mod 3-4, High 5-10
7mm WSM (162gr) 2,626 2,702 3.63
325 WSM 2,562 2,290 5.35

9. Weatherby Mark V Backcountry

Weatherby Mark V Backcountry 2.0 Ti Bolt Action Rifle – 300 Weatherby Magnum – 26in

If price doesn’t matter to you, the Weatherby Mark V Backcountry is a great option for elk hunting.

Synthetic stocks and a wide variety of ammunition make this rifle a good choice if you are getting into specialty magnum loads.

This rifle is also very light for the power that it brings. If you plan on hiking for long distances and don’t want a heavy rifle, the cost is worth it.

Pros

This rifle comes in many of Weatherby’s magnum loads and it comes in 6.5 Creedmoor. It also comes in at 5.6 lbs, the lightest rifle on the list.

Like the other options it can accept a scope, but will still be in the range of some of the base weights for the other rifles.

It is perfect for someone who wants the smallest amount of weight for a powerful rifle and is willing to pay for it.

Cons

This is easily the most expensive rifle on the list. You’ll pay almost $3,400 for this rifle, but a lot of this cost comes from things like the titanium action and light weight material.

If you are not fully invested in elk hunting or other long range hunts, this is not the rifle for you.

The Weatherby Mark V Backcountry comes chambered in the following calibers for hunting elk:

Caliber
(Standard Cartridges)
Energy
(ft-lbs @ 200 yards)
Velocity
(drop at 200 yards)
Recoil
Low 1-2, Mod 3-4, High 5-10
.280 Ack (162gr) 2,360 2,562 3.20
6.5 Creed (140gr) 1,849 2,439 N/A
.257 Wby Mag (90gr) 1,621 2,848 2.92
.270 Wby Mag (130gr) 2,366 2,863 N/A
6.5-300 Wby Mag (140gr) 2,527 2,851 3.50
300 Wby Mag (180 gr) 2,932 2,709 4.65
7mm Wby Mag (140 gr) 2,398 2,777 3.33

10. Remington 700 Magpul

Remington 700 Magpul Black Bolt Action Rifle 300 Winchester Magnum – 24in

A tried and true classic, this updated Model 700 offers a modularity that other rifles on this list don’t have.

It’s not what most would think of as a hunting rifle but it still produces results at range. This model is geared towards accuracy rather than a lightweight package.

If you want a rifle that will serve in other areas beside elk hunting, this is a good option.

Pros

The Magpul 700 chassis is compatible with any Model 700 action as long as you select the appropriate action. This is short actions with short actions and long actions with long actions.

The rifle is drilled for a scope and the M-Lok attachments allow for easy modifications and accessories.

It comes in any chambering that the 700 can be had in, which include .300 Winchester Magnum down to .223 Remington.

The price is around $1000 which makes it a more affordable precision option. It features a threaded barrel and fully adjustable stock allowing you to have a multi-purpose precision rifle that can also be used to hunt elk.

Cons

Rifle weight is a major drawback with the Magpul 700. Coming in at 9 lbs, this is a heavy rifle without a scope. This does help with accuracy and recoil mitigation but requires a good level of fitness to carry it for miles on end.

If you’re okay with the weight, and want the most accuracy out of your platform go for this rifle.

The Remington 700 Magpul comes chambered in four popular calibers for elk hunting:

Caliber
(Standard Cartridges)
Energy
(ft-lbs @ 200 yards)
Velocity
(drop at 200 yards)
Recoil
Low 1-2, Mod 3-4, High 5-10
.308 (150gr) 2,084 2,502 2.97
6.5 Creed (140gr) 1,849 2,439 N/A
.300 Win (150gr) 2,463 2,719 3.69
.260 Rem (130gr) 1,827 2,516 2.50

Conclusion

What elk hunting really comes down to is shot placement with a powerful enough round.

As long as your ammunition is designed to deal with elk and you are accurate enough it doesn’t matter what round or rifle you prefer.

Like most hunting and firearms topics, elk hunting is very subjective. Some will swear by a certain round or a certain rifle. If you prefer to use a magnum load or a specialized .30-06 both with work.

What you need to do is train enough with your selected ammunition and rifle to see if it is worth carrying out on the hunt. If you find out that it is not what you need, then adjust accordingly.

Hopefully you’ll make some great stories while hunting elk with some of the rifles on this list.