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Q:
Is a 30-30 with 170 grain bullets adequate for Elk.(I know it is not ideal, but it was just a random question that came to mind.)

Question by 3030forlife. Uploaded on January 22, 2010

Answers (19)

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from huntnow wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

well, it doesn't look like you have a choice but the answer is yes, just limit your shots to 200 or fewer yards. the 30-30 is a great round you just can't forget the intended range. seriously. don't shoot past 200 or you will likely wound the animal and wind up with more work than you bargained for.

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from bat4bab wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

The 30-30 is one of the greatest elk hunting guns out there in history. The range is not the greatest like said keep it 200 yards or less.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

Au contraire, moosebreath. The .30-30 is NOT one of the greatest elk hunting rifles by any stretch of the imagination. More like 100 to 150 yards. The .30-30 does not even have 1,000 Ft/Lbs of energy at 200 yards. Can you kill an elk with it at 200 yards? Sure, but it is nowhere near ideal or great.

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from babsfish4life wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

I would never consider a elk gun anything close to great if I had to keep it within 200 yards.

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from Kentucky Hunter wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

thanks forkeeping it real WA Mtnhunter +1 well said 100%

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from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

A pretty decent Elk hunter told me one time that you needed a rifle shooting a cartridge that would quote, "Let the air out of them!" Go bigger and do yourself and the Elk a favor!

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from 3030forlife wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

As for huntnow's comment, there are other rifle calibers in my house other than the 30-30. I also believe that bat4bab meant that more Elk have been killed by a 30-30 than any other cartridge, heck even Mr. Petzal himself admitted to that while explaining why you should use big guns and bullets for Elk.

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from Wapiti wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

If I only had a 30-30, and I had to put meat on the table, I could surely kill an elk with it. But I could say the same about a couple of dozen other calibers, none of which are good elk medicine. I'll agree with Petzal that you want to use "big guns and bullets" for elk whenever possible.

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from DakotaMan wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

If I lived in elk country and there was a herd in my back yard every morning, I would certainly use a 30-30 if I couldn't find a decent elk rifle. From inside a 100 yards it will do the trick. Unfortunately, I don't get to hunt elk very much and when I do, I want something that will be able to take them at much longer ranges than a 30-30 just in case that is the only shot I get.

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from Sourdough Dave wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

Either rely on luck for a close shot in the dark timber, or adopt archery tactics, which would require a firearms season during the rut. If you are serious about an elk better get a serious elk rifle. My last elk was at just over 100 yards and yes it was pure luck. However, I was carrying a rifle that I would have been confident to use for a 300 - 400 yard shot.

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from 99explorer wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

The questioner acknowledges that the caliber is not ideal, but wants to know if it is adequate. I would say the .30-30 with 170 grain bullet would be barely adequate, if the hunter confines his shots to 100 yards or less and waits for a shot through the ribs.
That means no running shots and no quartering shots. Patience and forbearance may dictate fewer opportunities to shoot, but that's the trade-off when you don't have the proper equipment for the job.

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from crm3006 wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

99explorer-
Can't go along with that "shot through the ribs" you so blithely throw out there as advice. An elk is a big, tough, animal, and can soak up a lot of lead. I have seen this, actually seen one shot through the heart with no visible effect. With a .30-30, my experience dictates get as close as possible, and shoot through the shoulder.

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from crm3006 wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

As close as possible means within 100 yds. A .30-30 with 170 gr.bullets only has 1360 ft.lbs. of energy at 100 yds., which is very marginal for elk.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

If the only rifle I had was a 30-30, 170 will work fine!

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

Alaskan Natives use 30-30 on everything with no problem.

It's not the spear,

It's the Eskimo!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Clay is right they even shoot Polar bears and huge Walrus with 30-30's. However that sure isn't even close to ideal for the job. Bullet pacement and energy is what kills. The 30-30is marginal in energy.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

At very close range, aka point blank, rock throwing range a .30-30 is deadly on most anything. For the Inuits, anything with more range than a spear or harpoon is a quantuum leap.

You let me know how that point blank range elk hunting works out for you.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from pls1911 wrote 4 years 6 weeks ago

Folks, Granddad passed a lesson from an old cajun guide to us early in our field training:
"It's not the gun, it's way you point it!"
After nearly 60 years I've been full circle. Yes there are .270s, 223s, .308s, in the safe... parked next to a couple dozen 30-30s.
The 30-30 with a 165-170 grain hard cast flat nosed bullet and a properly placed shot at the shoulder/ spine junction area, has the power and deep penetration to pole axe angry wild bulls, 300 pound hogs, mule deer, white tails and yes, elk.
Know anatomy of your quarry, the limits of your round and your own ability, and you'll do fine.
That means about 150 yards. Folks put too much drama into hunting. Take a quiet walk in silent shadows, keep keen your senses, and your 30-30 ready... bang flop... dead right there. It's just not that tough.
That's why I only hunt now with open sighted Marlins, made before 1950. Or Sharps... Oh, and maybe a Rolling Block for grins.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from pls1911 wrote 4 years 6 weeks ago

Folks, Granddad passed a lesson from an old cajun guide to us early in our field training:
"It's not the gun, it's way you point it!"
After nearly 60 years I've been full circle. Yes there are .270s, 223s, .308s, in the safe... parked next to a couple dozen 30-30s.
The 30-30 with a 165-170 grain hard cast flat nosed bullet and a properly placed shot at the shoulder/ spine junction area, has the power and deep penetration to pole axe angry wild bulls, 300 pound hogs, mule deer, white tails and yes, elk.
Know anatomy of your quarry, the limits of your round and your own ability, and you'll do fine.
That means about 150 yards. Folks put too much drama into hunting. Take a quiet walk in silent shadows, keep keen your senses, and your 30-30 ready... bang flop... dead right there. It's just not that tough.
That's why I only hunt now with open sighted Marlins, made before 1950. Or Sharps... Oh, and maybe a Rolling Block for grins.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

Au contraire, moosebreath. The .30-30 is NOT one of the greatest elk hunting rifles by any stretch of the imagination. More like 100 to 150 yards. The .30-30 does not even have 1,000 Ft/Lbs of energy at 200 yards. Can you kill an elk with it at 200 yards? Sure, but it is nowhere near ideal or great.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntnow wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

well, it doesn't look like you have a choice but the answer is yes, just limit your shots to 200 or fewer yards. the 30-30 is a great round you just can't forget the intended range. seriously. don't shoot past 200 or you will likely wound the animal and wind up with more work than you bargained for.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from babsfish4life wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

I would never consider a elk gun anything close to great if I had to keep it within 200 yards.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kentucky Hunter wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

thanks forkeeping it real WA Mtnhunter +1 well said 100%

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

A pretty decent Elk hunter told me one time that you needed a rifle shooting a cartridge that would quote, "Let the air out of them!" Go bigger and do yourself and the Elk a favor!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

If the only rifle I had was a 30-30, 170 will work fine!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from 3030forlife wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

As for huntnow's comment, there are other rifle calibers in my house other than the 30-30. I also believe that bat4bab meant that more Elk have been killed by a 30-30 than any other cartridge, heck even Mr. Petzal himself admitted to that while explaining why you should use big guns and bullets for Elk.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Wapiti wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

If I only had a 30-30, and I had to put meat on the table, I could surely kill an elk with it. But I could say the same about a couple of dozen other calibers, none of which are good elk medicine. I'll agree with Petzal that you want to use "big guns and bullets" for elk whenever possible.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from DakotaMan wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

If I lived in elk country and there was a herd in my back yard every morning, I would certainly use a 30-30 if I couldn't find a decent elk rifle. From inside a 100 yards it will do the trick. Unfortunately, I don't get to hunt elk very much and when I do, I want something that will be able to take them at much longer ranges than a 30-30 just in case that is the only shot I get.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sourdough Dave wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

Either rely on luck for a close shot in the dark timber, or adopt archery tactics, which would require a firearms season during the rut. If you are serious about an elk better get a serious elk rifle. My last elk was at just over 100 yards and yes it was pure luck. However, I was carrying a rifle that I would have been confident to use for a 300 - 400 yard shot.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from 99explorer wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

The questioner acknowledges that the caliber is not ideal, but wants to know if it is adequate. I would say the .30-30 with 170 grain bullet would be barely adequate, if the hunter confines his shots to 100 yards or less and waits for a shot through the ribs.
That means no running shots and no quartering shots. Patience and forbearance may dictate fewer opportunities to shoot, but that's the trade-off when you don't have the proper equipment for the job.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

99explorer-
Can't go along with that "shot through the ribs" you so blithely throw out there as advice. An elk is a big, tough, animal, and can soak up a lot of lead. I have seen this, actually seen one shot through the heart with no visible effect. With a .30-30, my experience dictates get as close as possible, and shoot through the shoulder.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

As close as possible means within 100 yds. A .30-30 with 170 gr.bullets only has 1360 ft.lbs. of energy at 100 yds., which is very marginal for elk.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

Alaskan Natives use 30-30 on everything with no problem.

It's not the spear,

It's the Eskimo!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

At very close range, aka point blank, rock throwing range a .30-30 is deadly on most anything. For the Inuits, anything with more range than a spear or harpoon is a quantuum leap.

You let me know how that point blank range elk hunting works out for you.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from pls1911 wrote 4 years 6 weeks ago

Folks, Granddad passed a lesson from an old cajun guide to us early in our field training:
"It's not the gun, it's way you point it!"
After nearly 60 years I've been full circle. Yes there are .270s, 223s, .308s, in the safe... parked next to a couple dozen 30-30s.
The 30-30 with a 165-170 grain hard cast flat nosed bullet and a properly placed shot at the shoulder/ spine junction area, has the power and deep penetration to pole axe angry wild bulls, 300 pound hogs, mule deer, white tails and yes, elk.
Know anatomy of your quarry, the limits of your round and your own ability, and you'll do fine.
That means about 150 yards. Folks put too much drama into hunting. Take a quiet walk in silent shadows, keep keen your senses, and your 30-30 ready... bang flop... dead right there. It's just not that tough.
That's why I only hunt now with open sighted Marlins, made before 1950. Or Sharps... Oh, and maybe a Rolling Block for grins.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Clay is right they even shoot Polar bears and huge Walrus with 30-30's. However that sure isn't even close to ideal for the job. Bullet pacement and energy is what kills. The 30-30is marginal in energy.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from pls1911 wrote 4 years 6 weeks ago

Folks, Granddad passed a lesson from an old cajun guide to us early in our field training:
"It's not the gun, it's way you point it!"
After nearly 60 years I've been full circle. Yes there are .270s, 223s, .308s, in the safe... parked next to a couple dozen 30-30s.
The 30-30 with a 165-170 grain hard cast flat nosed bullet and a properly placed shot at the shoulder/ spine junction area, has the power and deep penetration to pole axe angry wild bulls, 300 pound hogs, mule deer, white tails and yes, elk.
Know anatomy of your quarry, the limits of your round and your own ability, and you'll do fine.
That means about 150 yards. Folks put too much drama into hunting. Take a quiet walk in silent shadows, keep keen your senses, and your 30-30 ready... bang flop... dead right there. It's just not that tough.
That's why I only hunt now with open sighted Marlins, made before 1950. Or Sharps... Oh, and maybe a Rolling Block for grins.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from bat4bab wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

The 30-30 is one of the greatest elk hunting guns out there in history. The range is not the greatest like said keep it 200 yards or less.

-4 Good Comment? | | Report

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