Elk bulls are the fiercest hooved big game animals in the United States. It involves an excellent cartridge to kill a bull nicely. Adult bulls have strong bones, thick muscles, and a lot of stamina from years of fighting. The killing of a bull at a sharp quartering angle needs a perfect cartridge loaded with a robust and profound bullet. 

We exist in an imperfect environment, and even the finest shooters do not always get their shots perfectly wherever they want them. A much more powerful cartridge offers a little more margin for inaccuracy than a small, lower-powerful cartridge. That may be the variation in a close shot on the elk between a total tag and a wounded and missing animal.

You may only have one chance at the bull of a career, and he may not provide an excellent front shot at 200 yards. On the other hand, a suitable cartridge will offer you more choices for the rounds you can morally take in real-world hunting situations.

Ideal rifle caliber for elk

We are questioned at least a couple of times a day, “What is the ideal rifle caliber for large hunting animals?” There is no one conclusion, and rifle caliber and bullet selection have been among the most heated topics in the hunting world. 

Given the variety of options available to hunters, this is not unexpected. Dozens of cartridges are known to do the work when the time arrives to load the freezer. And the reality is that we usually utilize different ones for various hunts at MeatEater.

If you’re searching for an excellent elk rifle, though, the following cartridges are a fantastic starting point. While picking the appropriate cartridge is essential, don’t ignore your bullets. After all, the shot kills the elk. 

Choose a well-made, managed expanded bullet, irrespective of the cartridge you select (to name a few). Those rounds will have the ultimate capability required to penetrate the massive bones and strong muscles of a giant bull elk and hit the vitals from a range of firing positions.

7mm Remington Magnum:

When it first appeared in local stores in the early 1960s, the 7mm Remington Magnum was a massive achievement for Remington. Hunters were in love from the very beginning with a super-fast shooting cartridge. After a few years, though, the cartridge earned a name among elk shooters as a “wounder.” 

The 700 was such a favorite weapon by acquiring a reputation as an accurate and trustworthy shooter. It was mainly because early 7mm Mag factory ammunition utilized bullets unsuitable for the cartridge’s high velocity.

 When shot at 7mm Rem Mag speeds, the lightweight, thin jacketed bullets worked admirably at the slower velocities generated by the 7mm Mauser. Still, they expanded far too fast, often powerfully, upon contact. It is a traditional elk rifle at an affordable price of around 800 dollars. Even Remington still promises to be the “precise rifle out of the package.”

300 Winchester Magnum:

Although the .30-06 is an exciting everywhere hunting caliber, the .300 Winchester Magnum provides shooters with a slightly higher power output of a .30. That greater output might be helpful on elk if the shooter can handle the significant rebound of the 300 Win Mag. 

It uses the same .308″ diameter shells as the .30-06. It may fire the same mass bullet at roughly 200fps quicker or a heavy shot at a comparable speed. It leads to smoother paths, more air drifting tolerance, and a more extensive range of preserved energy.

There’s a great variety of high-quality 180-grain, 190-grain, and 200-grain shotgun pellets for the 300 Win Mag that provide accurate entry and regulated expansion on elk at nearly any respectable hunting distance. When you sum it all together, you have a cartridge that is incredibly adaptable and efficient. The .300 Win Mag is, unsurprisingly, incredibly popular and well-regarded among professional elk hunters.

6.5 PRC:

The 6.5 Creedmoor’s outstanding reputation has inspired an unusual wave of fame in 6.5mm ammunition amongst North American shooters in recent times. The 6.5 PRC is effectively the 6.5 Creedmoor’s larger sibling, shooting the same mass bullet at roughly 200-250fps quicker. 

In general, 6.5 PRC does not have the same power as the larger caliber cartridges described above; they are usually incredible high sectional bullets that push them well and are helpful “punching them above their weight.”

30-06 Springfield:

The.30-06 is nearly a generation old, so it isn’t the most recent and best thing. However, shooters have been using the ancient aught-six to shoot elk (and other wildlife) because it was initially issued in the early twentieth century. The ballistic features of the current super magnum are not in use, but in average hunter ranges, it is still a very effective elk caliber, with the .30-06. 

It also has far less recoil than typical magnum cartridges. Likewise, almost every elk operator would choose a hunter to come camp with a very well-06 that they know how to shoot rather than a newly designed magnum. The .30 caliber is filled with excellent grade 180-grain bullets.

.35 Whelen:

That’s the greatest one. It can easily hit 300 yards; therefore, these ideas are a small range cartridge. If necessary. Hornady makes a 200-grain bullet that travels at 2,910 fps. It’s just 8.6 inches limited at 300 yards if you set for 200 yards. That is the same velocity as the extremely long-range 6.5 Creedmoor, but the Whelen strikes harder. If you’re hesitant, this may be a cartridge for your elk.



When hunting for elk, you will need to take the long shot with pinpoint precision. This criterion eliminates several calibers that are intrinsically poor at shooting out over a long distance. The.30/30, as well as the.35 Remington and other short-range cartridges fall into this group.

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