6.5 To kill an elk?

memtb

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Jan 19, 2019
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Lots of people do......but, it wouldn’t be my first choice. My wife killed her first elk with a .243 Win.......but, she’d quickly tell you it’s not really an elk cartridge! If I were a non- resident, with this “potentially “ being my only elk hunt.....I’d start with .30 caliber and up! memtb
 
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taskswap

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Jul 9, 2018
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In a group of five hunters last year, we took three elk. All of the tags filled were taken with 6.5CM. The 6.5CM is the ballistic twin of the 30-06, and delivers slightly higher energy below 200yds and slightly higher above it. If you can take it with a 30-06 (which is like the de-facto "old school" hunting round) you can take it with a 6.5.

I've always believed bullet choice is way more than caliber, but that's just me...

Isn't this thing posted like once a year? :)
 
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memtb

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Personally, I feel it is plenty of gun to kill an elk.

But, I wouldn't put it as a twin to a 30-06.

View attachment 31434

View attachment 31435
JMO, unless a mono.....a150 grain bullet from a 30-06, is far from an optimal choice for elk! The heavier bullet in the .30 caliber should make the ‘06 even more desirable, except at extended ranges.....where neither are the preferred choice by more knowledgeable, ethical hunters of elk sized big game! Both can and will kill elk at extended ranges, but, placement, angles of entry, terrain, bullet design , etc. must be near perfect.....most of us do not have the privilege of “perfect conditions” with every big game animal encountered! Therefore, many of us prefer to carry an “insurance policy” of larger, heavier, higher velocity bullets for elk sized big game! Obviously, proper bullet placement is needed.....no matter the cartridge! memtb
 
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D_Dubya

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I am perplexed by how many people think it’s some sort of miracle round. The PRS guys have helped make it super popular due to high BC bullets, reduced recoil and ability to spot your own long range impacts. No doubt it will kill elk, and to the extent that it’s easier for many people to shoot accurately due to mild recoil, it helps recoil shy women, children and the man bun skinny jean crowd put bullets where they need to go, thus it’s meteoric rise in popularity. I’ll stick with my .30’s though. Big holes in one side and out the other is what I prefer (despite the occasional scope cut!)
 

taskswap

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It depends on the bullets and loads you choose, as always.

31438

So here we have a 143gr 6.5CM against a 30-06 178gr. Fair comparison? I don't know, it's just one I grabbed online - personally I shoot a 165gr 30-06 which is even closer. But either way, there's almost no perceptible difference in trajectory out through 600+ yards, way more than most people shoot.

Now, at 500 yards, that 6.5CM bullet is delivering 1306 ft. lbs. and the 30-06 is delivering 1567... which is "more"... but since pistol hunters are allowed to use loads that deliver "at least 550 ft. lbs." and archery hunters take elk with arrows delivering 60 ft. lbs., I'd argue that's still well more than enough - and that at the 200-300 yards most hunters usually shoot within, both rounds are "well more than sufficient". As said above, shot placement is everything.


You can monkey with the numbers any way you want, but I still don't see this as being an "underpowered" round. If the shot is within your ethical limits/capabilities (in terms of being able to accurately place a killing shot at the given range and animal position), both rounds should take that animal easily.
 

Colorado Cowboy

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Do the comparison with the .300 Wby and 180 gr bullets. Much better ballistics than a 30-06 with 178gr bullets.

Here is the deal.....dead is dead no matter what it is shot with. My handloads (mv 3250) with 180 noslers kills them dead out to 500 yards (that's as far as I will shoot) holding dead on with my Leupold ballistic turret. I'm not turning my Wby into a "safe queen" just because someone comes out with a new caliber. Like I said " dead.......is dead"!
 

JimP

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After I bought my .340 Weatherby I wondered how I ever killed a elk with any of the other rounds that I have killed them with.

But for elk rounds you need to look at down range energy and not just the trajectory or speed. Where one bullet is going nice and fast but has no energy left and just bounces off so to speak. Where the other is going slower but still has enough energy to punch through a elks shoulder.
 

JimP

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Will a 6.5 kill a elk? Yes, it will. Are there a lot better options out there, yes.

A lot of elk are killed with .243's and other rounds in the 6mm's but that doesn't mean that it is now the go to round for them.
 

Mule3006Elk

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Jul 3, 2013
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I have a 30-06 and a 300 WM. For elk I prefer the 300 WM. We have taken elk with the 30-06 150 grain TTSX (my kids use this platform). The 300 WM is too strong for them. I've ran the ballistics several times to see what the hype is re: 6.5 CM.

For my platform I use Barnes. So the following data reflects that. Running Barnes 30-06 150 grain TTSX (lightest I would go for elk) vs 6.5 CM 127 grain LRX. Barnes does have 130 grain TSX but the LRX has much better ballistics so I used that one to give it an advantage.

Drop 400 yards Energy 400 yards Velocity at 400 yards
30-06 23.9 in 1712 ft/lbs 2268 fps

6.5 CM 28.2 in 1320 ft/lbs 2164 fps

I'm in no way bashing those who have a 6.5 CM. I'm not trying to change your setup. When I saw the strong 6.5 CM following it simply made me curious. I wanted to see if it was a better option, compared to my current setup, so I ran the numbers. With the bullets I use, my input parameters, the 30-06 150 grain TTSX comes out on top. My max shot is 400 yards and that is why I used 400 yards as my data endpoint. Many state the advantage is downrange. Even if I extend the range to 600 yards the 150 grain still has the lead on each of the above categories. Even when the data really merges, ballistic twins, I'll still take the bigger hole.
 
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memtb

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Will a 6.5 kill a elk? Yes, it will. Are there a lot better options out there, yes.

A lot of elk are killed with .243's and other rounds in the 6mm's but that doesn't mean that it is now the go to round for them.

JimP, My wife, many years before we met, killed her first elk with a .243 Win. She soon (the next year) graduated to a .270 Win. After we met, and we had fantasies of hunting Alaska, Africa, as well as Wyoming.....we moved her up to a .338 WM. It took her about a year to get comfortable with it. Now, after 24 years of using the .338 WM, she has no desire to change a thing. She hunts everything (antelope to moose) with it.....and there have been “very” few follow-up shots during that 24 years! She thinks that it works well for anything we may hunt! memtb