Can I hunt Elk with .260 Remington match ammo?

There is a lot of debate on the merits of certain cartridges for hunting.  Many people think that the 6.5mm bullets in the 260 Remington match ammo are not capable for hunting Elk, or that for some reason they are a “bad” choice.  They suggest instead using special bullets designed to expand in a certain way, solid designs to retain high weight or hollow points designed to control expansion for example.  Most of the guys I know decide to go for larger bullets carrying more weight and energy as the “magic” that helps them take down large game like Elk.

This year I decided to take a different approach.  I took the rifle and cartridge that I could shoot most accurately and decided to give them a try.  For me, this was a DTA SRS-A1 sporting a US Optics SN-3 5-25 with a Horus H-37 reticle

Since I seem to be able to shoot the .260 139 grain Lapua Scenar pretty well, I figured I should stick with that cartridge.  Below is a picture of the target showing my best 5 shot group at 91 M (100 yards).

Nice .22 MOA group at 100 yards
.260 Lapua Scenar 139 grain bullet, Lapua brass case 5 shots .22 MOA @ 91 Meters (100 yards)

 

I figured that while this is a “Match” bullet, if I missed at longer range then it really didn’t matter what type of bullet I used.

cow elk
Cow Elk around 300 lbs

I shot this cow late in the day from approximately 480 meters.  I missed my first shot at which point the herd ran for a short distance and stopped.  I readjusted using my Horus reticle and fired a second shot, watched as the cow dropped to her knees and collapsed and rolled down the hill.

Below is a picture of the cow and I – and the an arrow pointing to the ridge where I took the shot.

posing with cow elk
posing with my Elk cow dropped with a .260 rem from around 480 meters.

I shot the cow in the neck, and it dropped in place.  Based on this result, I figure that the 6.5 mm bullet fired from the .260 Remington cartridge had plenty of killing energy at this distance (approx 500 meters) to quickly kill an Elk.

To summarize, while some choose a 7mm, .338 or other .30 caliber round for Elk hunting, the lower recoil of the .260 and the confidence in the ability to correctly place the round makes the 6.5 bullets – particularly the .260 Remington a good choice for hunting Elk at medium range.

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