Going Elk Hunting This Year

uncle jimbo

Active Member
So my oldest son ask me if I would go elk hunting with him this year. And Of course I said yes. It has been over 35 years since I went big game hunting. Back when I did hunt, I used a Remington 700 BDL in 30-06. I gave this rifle to my oldest granddaughter when she turned 16 and wanted to go deer hunting. I still have all the 30-06 equipment to load for it. But I didn't use lead bullets back then.
The only rifle I have now that will be suited for this is my father's old hunting rifle. It is a Winchester model 70 made in 1971, with a 1-10 twist, so this is what I will be using. I want to use lead bullets for this hunt. I have never used lead bullets for hunting big game, so I am seeking help and advice from all the fine and knowledgeable members here. So here are the things that I have to work with.

1. I have a Lee 160 gr mold and a Lee 180 gr mold. Both use gas checks. I use Alox lube, it is all I have. I have a Lee push through sizer that sizes to .309 and installs the check. I would like to use the 160 gr bullet for this hunt, but not opposed to using the 180 gr.

When I got these molds about 1½ years ago. I casted up some to see what they would do. For the 160 gr I used coww. Average weight for 5 of them is 158.5 grs with an aluminum gc. I weighted the 180 gr with copper gc and they averaged 162,2 grs. I don't remember what type of lead I used.
I do have a lot of pure lead, coww, lino, and 60/40 solder from a radiator slag tank.( I think it is 60/40, but not sure.) So if need be I can make up a mix that will give me a good bullet for what I need.

2. I would like to use IMR4895 or 4227 if possible, I have lots of both. I do have some other shotgun and pistol powders if need be. I again am not opposed to using something else. I have a Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook 4th edition and the Modern Reloading 2nd edition by Richard Lee. Neither of these have listing for these two powders. I was told by someone else on another site that a good starting point for the 4895 is 28 grs and 23 grs for the 4227.

3. I have a chrono so I can tell the velocity of the loads I work up. I am not after the fastest velocity I can get, just a accurate load that will knock down an elk if I do my part.
These are the things I have to work with and would very much like to get an elk with a lead bullet. Any help and advice would be welcome if you feel inclined to help.
If I ask a dumb question, please forgive me and do the best you can to answer if you want.

Thanks in advance,


Well-Known Member
For elk with 06, I would practice with cast doing about 2200-2400, and
when I got good accuracy with that, I would buy 2 boxes of factory
180 or 200 grain bullets. I would practice with those 30 rounds the
week before season, and take 10 rds on the hunt. Not saying that 06
with cast won't take an elk within reasonable distance, just that I would
not do it.



Active Member
Paul hit my thoughts spot on. Not that cast would not work, an Elk is such a grand animal it deserves the best.
If it were me and I wanted to shoot cast at one, I would have an alloy and a load I totally trusted already worked up. I just don't see that happening by fall as there is a fair bit to do.


Staff member
Cast are fine for elk, with a 35 cal and up.
I would have no issues with a 35 Whelen on up. An 06 for elk with cast is pushing it.
Just my opinion.


Well-Known Member
I'd find a practice load like posted above around 2400,and then wear it out. Dry fire 1for1 vs live fire,the former from offhand.Get to where that,cast would be slam dunk on a beer can inside of 150 using field rests.

What you use on the Elk hunt?.. beats me. Would probably opt out of cast and use a jacked up 180 JB handload.


Active Member
Where are you hunting? I would feel better about hunting with the RCBS 180 fn in the 06 if you are in heavy timber on the Washington/Oregon coast. Open parks where shots might range 400 yards with 30 feet visibility on the back side of the park require jacketed, IME. No two ways about it.


Well-Known Member
I hate to say this.
but here goes.
a 30 cal cast bullet should be heavy and especially heavy for ELK.
a cow is pushing 500 lbs and a Bull is pushing 1,000 lbs.
you can get plenty of penetration but,,
you need a good 18"s and the bullet should be doing something in the middle other than poking a hole through both sides.
you really need to be careful about balancing the two.
[personally I'd opt for the second hole over a bigger temporary wound channel]

IMO if I wanted to take a lead slinger it would be something bigger,,,,,,,,, 44 mag 45 colt or 45-70 at around 1500 fps or so, and load jacketed for the 0-6 then take the rifle out for where I was going to hunt for the day.

I hunt some pretty varied terrain around here and it's pretty common for me/us to take a couple of different rifles in the truck and swap them out as necessary throughout the day as we cover different areas of the canyons.
just deer hunting I have used the 45 colt lever gun, a 30-30 bolt gun, [both with cast] and the 25-06 in the same day.
[then ended up shooting a buck at 15 yards with the 0-6]

uncle jimbo

Active Member
Thanks for all the comments, I will not be using cast to hunt an elk this year. The last thing I need to do is wound an animal and have to spend the rest of the hunt tracking it down, Or worse, not be able to find it. Not going to happen.
I will go back to what I use to load when I hunted big game.
Thanks to all, Paul


Well-Known Member
I have had superb results with Nosler partitions and Barnes Triple Shocks.
I would load a nice middle of the road load with a 150 Barnes Triple Shock and then
as everyone as said practice until you are very comfortable with the gun. I
personally recommend at least a bit of practice with a jacketed surrogate, since both
partitions and TShocks are very expensive to practice with. Work up the hunting load,
then make a same weight load with an affordable, accurate bullet like a 150 Hornady.
Then practice a good bit with that jbullet after the much greater cast practice.

The for a few days before you go, shoot your actual hunting load in short strings, just
2 shots or so from a cold barrel to verify cold bore zero with the hunting load.
And know for certain, by shooting, where it hits at 100, 200 and 300. IMO, few of
us should be shooting past 300 on game, although I know folks can do it.

Before I headed to Africa the wife and I spent a good bit of time shooting over
crossed sticks standing, as that is common there and rare here. I took a couple of
shots that way, but also sitting and prone. And paint the inside of the wood with
a couple of coats of varnish with the action out to minimize rain induced POI shift.

No magic, but good prep will give you confidence and you will enjoy working up to a
better skill level even if you never go.

My 2.5 cents worth.

If you think 150 TShock is too light for elk, don't. You should use "one step" lighter
in a Triple Shock compared to a normal bullet. A 140 TShock from a 7x57 broke
both shoulders of a kudu bull at 200yds and the bullet was recovered just under
the hide on the far side, looking just like the Barnes ad pictures. I normally used
160 gr for larger animals, but this 'one step lighter', as recommended, worked great
for me.


PS Did you try the cornbread?
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uncle jimbo

Active Member
Back when I was hunting elk and deer, I loaded a 165 gr Nosler partition over 51 grs of imr4895. Never had a problem with this load. Back then I had a Remington 700 BDL in 30-06. I now will be using a Winchester model 70. I have 1½ boxes of the Nozlers left over from those days which I will be loading. I will start shooting this load and see what it does and go from there.

And no on the cornbread, found out we don't have any corn meal. Got to go to town tomorrow and I will get some then. I am going to make it, believe me.


Well-Known Member
The 165 NP is an excellent choice, too, although for elk I might go up to 180 gr. But really, the
165 will be fine if the other rifle likes it.

If so, find a cheap 160-165 gr practice bullet and load to the same specs.

My personal goal was to hit a dessert sized paper plate (about 6 inches) at 100 yds from standing
with crossed sticks, every time. That was the range that the African outfitter said would be
the most likely.

We couldn't do it 100% at first, but we could both do it by the end of our practice. Since you
are more likely to be sitting when elk hunting, or maybe walking, I'd talk to someone who
knows which is most likely and concentrate on that.

Hornady 165 Interlock (which would probably kill your elk absolutely dead) are
affordable for practice, and if you rifle likes them, would actually be fine. But at $25/100 at
Midway, far more affordable for practice than the wonderful, but pricey Nosler Partitions.

I have used a couple of Hornady's regular Interlocks over the years with excellent results, and
a friend killed 7 African antelope (kudu on down) with one shot each from a 7x57 Ruger with
my loads of 175 Hornady RN Interlock bullets. Animals didn't move far from where shot.
Super bullets are nice, but not mandatory.

I shot my cow elk with 160 NP from 7x57 Ruger. She ran about 25 yds, then collapsed and
rolled downhill quite a ways. Bullet exited on a heart-lung shot, about pure broadside. She
was a big girl, probably 500 lbs. VERY difficult to move. Take a small block and tackle, I needed

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Well-Known Member
the 165 Interlock will do the job without issue.
I have seen their 165gr. Inter-bond put an Elk down with one shot also, and it isn't near as toughly constructed as the Interlock.
when our Deer and Elk season used to overlap by a week I almost alway's had a 165 Interlock in the 30 cal rifle.
it just made things a lot easier for me and I had no worries on the bullet doing it's job no matter which one I happened across.


150 grain ballistic tips in the 270 have worked very well for me, for cow elk, large ones at that.

I know there are better bullets out there, but every elk has been a spine shot, and they go six feet straight down, and stay down.

My son will be using 150 grain sst in his 308 this year, and I don't foresee any problems with that.

I love partitions, but let's face it, I spend a lot of money to handload, so that I can save money!:headscratch:


Well-Known Member
Check out shooters pro shop if you want partitions.

They carry nosler seconds that have cosmetic blemishes for a pretty discounted price. Usually they have a good selection.