What's the best elk bullet? Randy Newberg shares his thoughts on the subject.
Elk are very large and tough creatures. For this reason, choosing the right bullet is a critical part of an elk hunt. After all, the bullet is the thing that actually kills the elk, so it is a good idea to do everything possible to choose the best elk bullet possible for your hunt.
Trust me when I say that this is not an area where you should try to save money. Additionally, a bullet that will work great on a whitetail deer or black bear will not necessarily be a good choice for elk.
How Do You Choose an Elk Bullet?
Watch the video to learn the criteria Randy Newberg uses to select his elk bullets.
Elk Hunting Bullet Criteria
Accuracy: as always, shot placement is critical and it's important that you choose ammo that works well in your elk rifle. Different rifles seem to prefer different bullet types and weights. Do a little bit of experimentation and choose a bullet that you and your rifle shoot accurately.
Proper Expansion: controlled expansion is the key phrase here. Yes, you want the bullet to expand, but in a controlled manner that does not trade penetration for expansion. Once again: just because the bullet works well on deer doesn't necessarily mean that it will work well on elk. After all, elk are much larger than deer and a bullet must penetrate much deeper to reach the vitals on an elk.
Weight Retention: more weight retention is better and weight retention is directly related to expansion and penetration.
Fortunately, there are a number of good quality bullets out there that fill these requirements. Randy is partial to Nosler bullets and the Partition, AccuBond, and E-Tip will all work great on elk. Other hunters prefer different bullets, like Barnes or Hornady, which will also work. However, as long you make a choice based on the basic criteria Randy lays out here for choosing the best elk bullet, you'll be fine.
Finally: regardless of the bullet and caliber you end up using, don't admire your shot! Take his advice to heart when he says to "shoot until they're on the ground." It's better to lose a little meat by shooting an elk an extra time or two than it is to lose all the meat by having it get away.
Newberg's Elk Cartridge of Choice
Randy discusses a few of his top choices, which are the Nosler Partition, Nosler AccuBond, and the Nosler E-Tip, and also briefly talks about handloads.
Bull elk can grow to be huge game animals, and elk hunters need to prepare for what could be long shots at long ranges, especially in the wide open elk country of Montana, Wyoming , Idaho, and similar states. The most important thing you can do when you're making a decision is to educate yourself, and try different options before settling.
The best bullet for you and your rifle might be different for someone else. Bullet weight and muzzle velocity will forever be intertwined, but aren't always totally consistent.
If you're in need of additional shooting accessories, don't forget about Walmart.com as a decent source.
Like what you see here? You can read more great hunting articles by John McAdams on his hunting blog. Follow him on Facebook The Big Game Hunting Blog, Twitter @TheBigGameHunt and on Instagram The_Big_Game_Hunter