Should I purchase a .270 or 30-06 for an elk hunting rifle? Does the 30-06 have a great deal of recoil?

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  • 1 month ago
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    The recoil of the 30-06 will greatly depend on 2 factors. The weight of the rifle itself, and the weight of the bullet you fire. A heavy for caliber bullet in a lightweight rifle will produce recoil that's equal to magnum rifle recoil. Let's just assume for the sake of argument that you're getting a Walnut stocked Winchester model 70. Without a scope or ammo the rifle weighs 7 and 3/4 pounds. Throw in a good scope, rings and bases and now you've got a 10 pound rifle. If you had that same rifle in 270 and 30-06 and fired a 150 grain bullet out of both, the 270 will recoil more due to the fact that a 270 can propel a 150 grain bullet at apprx 3000 fps, and the 30-06 will fire a 150 bullet at apprx 2900 fps. However, 150 is light for caliber in 30-06 and heavy for caliber in 270. For elk, I would use nothing lighter than 180 grain in 30-06, and most likely would explore accuracy in the 200 to 220 grain bullets in 30-06. In a wood stocked full size hunting rifle that weighs 10-12 or more pounds, the recoil is manageable and tolerable with heavy for caliber bullets in 30-06.

    • Richard
      Lv 7
      1 month agoReport

      Jack O'Connor firmly believed in the .270 and harvested many animals of different species.
      Most of you younger guys don't know who he was but for years he was the "GO TO" man.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    I have never hunted Elk but have killed many deer and I would be comfortable 

    using either of the two calibers.  Just me and I may be wrong but I believe I

    could use either with success.

  • Adam D
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    The .30-06 is going to be the better option.  The .270 will work, but you'll want premium bullets - either hand loading or buying something that will definitely be more expensive.  The .30-06 should have factory options that work just fine for elk.

    As others have said, the weight of the rifle will play a big part in how much recoil you feel.  I have a .30-06, a Remington 700 ADL - synthetic stock, not very heavy.  I don't feel like the recoil is particularly bad, it isn't a bruiser like the bigger magnums.

  • 1 month ago

    30-06 for big game. A 270 will do the job but depending on distance and shot placement there may be running from a wounded animal in your future! You wont have to run far and the elk will go down,but why risk it?

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  • 1 month ago

    Recoil results from a physics law called conservation of momentum. Basically the momentum of the bullet exiting the muzzle is the same momentum but in the opposite direction of the momentum of the gun against your shoulder.

    So we can write P = mU = Mu = P where m is the mass of the bullet and U is its muzzle velocity. M is the mass of the gun and u is it's kickback speed. For a given gun, M, what you want is the smallest u = mU/M so there you are.

    What's the mass of the two bullets and what's their muzzle velocities. Then what's the mass of the two rifles? I'll do the Remington Winchester .270 for you.

    The Winchester bullet (140 grains) is 0.00907185 kg in mass. It's muzzle speed is about 900 m/s for that bullet. The gun mass is 8.6 lbs or about 4 kg. So the kick speed u = mU/M = 0.00907185 * 900/4 = 2.0 m/s against your shoulder.

    Now you can look up the muzzle speed U, the bullet mass m, and the rifle mass M for the 30-06 and solve for u = mU/M. If it's less than 2.0 m/s then it has less recoil than the .270. If it's greater than 2.0 m/s, it's recoil is greater.

    • oldprof
      Lv 7
      1 month agoReport

      Actually it's the force which for this case is the change in momentum over time.  It's that force that pushes you back when you fire a weapon.  But it's the conservation of momentum (not energy) that determines how much momentum is changed.

  • 1 month ago

    I agree with Fatefinger.  270 is a great deer rifle.  It's marginal on a bigger animal like elk.  If you 'normally' hunted deer with a 270 and only once in every 4 years maybe went for elk - you would be best off with the 270 you are familiar with.  If you are looking to make elk your 'go to' annual hunt - yeah - you need more punch of a 30-06.

    I live in Alaska. Most families will have a 30-06 and the wives and older daughters learn to shoot them.  I had a 105lb short single mom who worked for me and 30-06 was her go to gun on Kodiak.  Your concerns about recoil are not unfounded - 30-06 has recoil - just don't shoot it wearing only a t-shirt.  There are some very nice high tech recoil pads that slip over the stock to tame it.  

    If this is going to be your main centerfire practice and hunting rifle - get a muzzle break.  My 338 punished me for decades - finally I put a brake on it - and its like firing a 308 now.  Money well spent.

    Avoid the lightweight rifles.  Law of physics - the heavier the rifle the less felt recoil.  Consider this - instead of buying a $600 Leupold scope that weighs 20 ounces consider the less expensive and just as good Millet that has more weight for half the price.  Just don't make the darn thing so heavy you have to put wheels on it, lol.  

    • falconry2
      Lv 7
      1 month agoReport

      I've seen 270 take elk, but with premium bullets loaded up and with really good accuracy. I've used 30-06 for deer an elk hunting since 1974. 30-06 has about 20 pounds recoil, about max for average shooters but easy to deal with when you practice well and have good shooting mechanics. 

  • Gary
    Lv 4
    1 month ago

    Elk hunting is mean. Elk are becoming endangered due to hunting.

    • Adam D
      Lv 7
      1 month agoReport

      I think it is possible you have a mental handicap.  You should get tested.

  • 1 month ago

    30-06. .270 Winchester can take elk but it leaves less room for error. It’s my deer rifle caliber of choice, it can take almost everything in my state except for brown bear and buffalo. Elk I could do it but would need a heavier 150gr at least with a hotter powder load for me to feel comfortable using it.

  • 1 month ago

    im conservative and i love guns

  • Robin
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    if you are recoil senetive you need to practice more. Both these rounds are very mild

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