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Is a 117 grain bullet from a 25-06 enough to kill a bull elk ethically?

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  • Is a 117 grain bullet from a 25-06 enough to kill a bull elk ethically?

    Is a 117 grain bullet from a 25-06 enough to kill a bull elk ethically?

  • #2
    Good question.
    I would say that a 117 grain bullet is not optimal for killing elk, however shot placement is everything.
    If you can take a broadside or neck shot, then I can see nothing wrong with shooting the round at elk.
    Just know your limitations, in that you cannot force the shot (running, walking away, etc).
    I have seen elk killed with .243s the went out like a light.

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    • #3
      I agree with The Captain shot placement is everything.

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      • #4
        I wouldnt use anything less than .30 cal

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        • #5
          i wouldnt be afraid of using a 117 grain bullet as long as its well constructed and the shot and placement are good i see no problems with it

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          • #6
            As far ethical, that is a slippery question. Most people who have hunted elk will tell you they are very resilient animals and will not usually go down easily. The cartridge you have mentioned is very light, very fast and will not have great penetration compared to standardly accepted elk rounds. Another thing to consider is that some states will not allow anything smaller than a .270 bore gun. Check the laws in the state you will be hunting for what they say is the minimum. There is nothing worse for a hunter to be undergunned and lose an animal for that reason. Well, shooting the wrong animal or a person would be worse, but you get my drift.
            Some years ago, I watched a man shoot and almost lose a cow elk when he shot it multiple times with a 7 mm (Not magnum)He told me it was just as good as my .270. It wasn't. The cow proceeded to run and I took it down for him as he had used all of his ammo, shooting at it. The elk had been hip shot and gut shot and was still mobile. I took it down with a head shot, one round.

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            • #7
              I dont see any thing wrong with it but personally i would not use it as a elk rifle, i shot my first bull with a 243 and it definatly killed him, and have seen many elk even killed with a 22-250, but i would still recomend a bigger gun. I have also seen many elk go along ways with a large rifle with a perfict shot in the lungs. IT all depends on the shooter i guess, like said before with any gun, shot placement is essential, and with a smaller bullet it becomes even more so. It has been done many of times but I will personally never use one agian to elk hunt, I have heard of way to may people losing elk because of a lower caliber gun. Not saying that you cant just a recomendation.

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              • #8
                Bo, I see your point, and it is a good one. But, I guarantee if your hunting partner had put a 7mm bullet into the vitals that cow would have gone down.
                Please take this as a compliment, because a head shot on a moving elk is no small feat, but if you had hip and gut shot that elk with your .270 it still would have run away.
                I am a big fan of bullet placement and not taking a shot that you do not guarantee a clean kill. Having a smaller bullet means you must be more selective with your shots.
                With that said, I would not promote the 25-06 as an elk cartridge, but if it was all I could get my hands on I would use it.

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                • #9
                  Captain, (BTW, he was not a hunting partner, just a hunter that I met while I was there. He happened to cross my path, he wasn't even supposed to be where he was. I was happy not to ever see him again as he used the spray and pray method of marksmanship.)
                  As for the head shot, I had a few things going for me. Outstanding training in the Army almost 40 years ago, a well made set of shooting sticks, and an awesome shooting rifle, a Remington .270 that printed a shot group at a 100 yards covered by a nickel.. I waited until the cow stopped moving and even at over a hundred yards, with a 12 power scope, it was much easier than those 300 meter targets forty years ago that I used iron sights on.
                  I shot it in the head so the guy couldn't say that I ruined his kill.

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                  • #10
                    I have to agree with Bo on this one. Plus why would you take that risk of losing your animal if you didn't have to?

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                    • #11
                      Freddie, it's not just losing the animal, it is not a clean kill. An animal with a bunch of bullet holes in it is suffering, it will die but not quickly. I have shot animals that did not die when I thought they should. I did not enjoy watching it. I prefer to know when I am hunting that I have enough gun, and that when I shoot, there is no more pain for that animal. I want it dead,as soon as possible, with no adrenaline release to give it an off flavor.Then I can put it in my freezer with confidence.

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                      • #12
                        I fully agree with you on the clean kill, Bo. My elk gun is a .280... and it works pretty well. I have thought of going up to one of the .30 cal super-boomers, but I just do not see the sense in it since I shoot the rifle well... and I have never had any animal run more than 50 yards after being shot with it.

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                        • #13
                          well put Bo

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                          • #14
                            no move up to a 270 , 7mm remington or 30-06

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                            • #15
                              I have seen a few deer shot with the 25-06. With that said I think it makes a great coyote rifle and not much more. If your going elk hunting buy an elk rifle.

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