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I like short light rifles and am left handed which limits selections significantly. I had never owned a bolt rifle despite multiple 15s,10s and a Nextgen. I bought a Ruger American Compact 308 for $360 new, the scope on it cost more than the rifle. Put a limbsaver 1” slip on pad to get normal length of pull. Rifle shoots 2” groups at 300 yds with Barnes 150gr TTSX factory loads. Dec 2018 shot a 350 lb Nilgai cow ranged at 320 yds. Dropped it where hit with both shoulders broken, both lungs collapsed and fragments of bone lacerating the liver. I am mildly recoil sensitive and can shoot this at the bench in a t shirt. Weighs 5 3/4 lbs. plan to use it on a NM elk hunt in the fall. 36 y/o son shoots a 7-08 and recently bought a Barrett Fieldcraft in 270 to use on the same hunt. 5 1/2 lb rifle, says recoil at the bench is painful, limits shooting to 20 rds. Ruger still makes the compact in 308 for rt handed shooters, take a look.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
My Tikka T3 Lite is composite stock which is much more rigid than some of the "composite" stocks found on low-end Remingtons, Rugers, etc. I started out shooting 110 TTSX .270 Win at 3450 fps and needed the LimbSaver to shoot off the bench. 129 LRX and 130 GMX have done well on elk though I'm now shooting just the LRX. Both the LRX, TTSX, and GMX have good factor loads in the calibers you are talking about.

Elk are more than double the size of deer. I think 12x is more magnification than I need at 400 yards for an elk but just right for a small TX deer at 200.

Get a rifle you don't need a muzzle brake for. I wear my electronic ear muffs from the start of my hunt when its cold weather.

Oh, I'm not surprised by your comments on copper bullets in .223. Too many 16" barrels out there and 1:9 twist. Some monolithic bullets will not expand much past 100 yards launched from that configuration. 1:7 twist really "wake's up" and increases expansion with monolithic bullets in .223. Right now I've set-up a 224 Valkyrie for my night rig using 55gr E-Tips at 3400 fps. It is vaporizing coyotes but I do plan to use it on hogs next time I intercept them. Neck shots on the big ones and should have more hits when they scatter with less recoil and lead.
Yes, Tikka definitely makes better quality composite stocks than most factory offerings. One of my 338 win mags (Savage) still has the factory plastic stock. It shoots remarkably accurately but I can feel it flex as I walk. My wife prefers a walnut stock. What can I say, she likes the look and feel of good hardwood...

What is the Twist Rate on the the valkyrie? Vaporize is a good prediction! I will be interested to see your data on the thicker skin hogs and what kind of penetration you will get. I enjoy reading your posts.

I love the the debate of bullet spin and the effect on stability and terminal performance. I definitely agree with you that higher spin rates can greatly increase terminal performance. The torque on a spinning bullet may be very small, however, speed is the multiplier to get horsepower. Take a .277", 110gr bullet at 2500 feet per second with a 1:10 twist vs 1:11.The difference in RPM is about 16,000. According to my calculations (correct me if I'm wrong) that is a 9% increase in surface speed and an 11% increase in horsepower with the 1:10. Higher RPMs create more centrifugal force. That extra power is used to overcome the yield strength of the bullet to cause it to mushroom, peel the pedals or fragment and to move more tissue out of the way. The increase in surface (tip) speed cuts more tissue.

Before everyone jumps all over me for using horsepower in this analogy, remember horsepower is a measure of work over time by a force. Centrifugal force is the internal force of the spinning bullet pushing outward on a bullet jacket or pedals. Torque is a measure of force at a given distance. Anyone that has mixed paint with a drill on low speed (1:11) vs high-speed (1:7) can testify on the difference of just a few hundred RPM make on how much extra work you created cleaning up the, sometimes explosive, mess.
 

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The 224 Valkyrie shooting the 55 E-Tips has a 1:7.7 twist.

I took my other 224 Valkyrie with a 1:6.5 twist with Barnes 78 TSX on a pronghorn hunt. This buck was shot at 130 yards quartering away. I've tested the expansion of the 78 TSX in the 1:7.7 twist and the bullet barely opened. The size of this exit wound is amazing for a .224 caliber bullet and is the result of the 1:6.5 twist.

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I have not found any measurable increase in bullet expansion of lead-core bullets with increase twist rates. Below is a graph of the expansion vs twist rate with copper bullets. The red line is the .224 55 grain GMX. Note the bullet became elastic as it approached its structural limits. The green stars were test points for the 55 grain E-Tip shot from a 1:8 twist. The .224 E-Tip has good expansion compared to other .224 monolithic bullets at the lower energy levels.

So back to hunting elk. If you get a .308 for your wife and choose to hunt with monolithic bullets, get a rifle with 1:10 twist instead of 1:11 and 1:12 that can be common in that caliber. Or consider the 6.5 Creedmoor with its 1:8 twist as it will be up to the task. yfarm's suggestion of the Ruger Compact has the .308 with 1:10 twist and the Creedmoor with 1:8 plus the advantage of a 20-inch barrel.

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Discussion Starter #25
I have not found any measurable increase in bullet expansion of lead-core bullets with increase twist rates. Below is a graph of the expansion vs twist rate with copper bullets. The red line is the .224 55 grain GMX. Note the bullet became elastic as it approached its structural limits. The green stars were test points for the 55 grain E-Tip shot from a 1:8 twist. The .224 E-Tip has good expansion compared to other .224 monolithic bullets at the lower energy levels.

So back to hunting elk. If you get a .308 for your wife and choose to hunt with monolithic bullets, get a rifle with 1:10 twist instead of 1:11 and 1:12 that can be common in that caliber. Or consider the 6.5 Creedmoor with its 1:8 twist as it will be up to the task. yfarm's suggestion of the Ruger Compact has the .308 with 1:10 twist and the Creedmoor with 1:8 plus the advantage of a 20-inch barrel.

View attachment 61362
Xman, you have done impressive field work with your experimentation and data collection. The graph is what I would expect to see done in a lab with precise testing and measuring equipment. Excellent work! I think I could lay a graph I have over it from the last time I was proof testing bolts.

I'm not to surprised you were unable to measure much difference in expansion of lead core bullets. It might be possible to, some extent, quantify bonded, very thick jacketed bullets or maybe the size of the wound channel of fragmentation bullets. The tensile and yield strength of lead is so low that it is unable to withstand force generated by forward momentum. After all lead is malleable by hands. I suppose that's all moot anyways as we move away from hunting bullets made from lead towards copper.

Probably more pertinent measure of twist rate is centrifugal force. A 110gr .277" bullet from a 1:10TR at 2,500fts has a RPM of 180000. That creates centrifugal force on the bullet of 2000lbf. A 1:11TR has an RPM of 163640 with 1655lbf. About 17% more force.

I have already passed on a couple of nice hunting rifles in 308 because I thought they were "castrated" buy slow twist rates, a beautiful Browning with 1:11 and a Winchester model 70 with 1:12. At least gun manufacturers are starting to realize the need for faster twist rates in the small calibers.

I've got a 20-something year old safe queen Bushmaster that's just begging me to do something with it. It was a gift from my wife's brother who built it at the Wyndham Factory. Do I turn it into a valkyrie or take the jump to the APR 270 MSR...
 

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I've got a 20-something year old safe queen Bushmaster that's just begging me to do something with it. It was a gift from my wife's brother who built it at the Wyndham Factory. Do I turn it into a valkyrie or take the jump to the APR 270 MSR...
Will you or your wife be shooting Elk with it? I have not experience with the 270 MSR but you will have to reload for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Will you or your wife be shooting Elk with it? I have not experience with the 270 MSR but you will have to reload for it.
Anything I get will be used for some type of hunting. The valkyrie could be used from pronghorn and coues deer on down. It would be perfect for smoking coyotes. We would like her hunting rifle to be a more traditional bolt action, but my wife will hunt with any weapon platform, as long as she can handle it and it produces a clean kill.

I know I've sword off wildcats and the 270 MSR is a wildcat, but everything I've read about it suggest it is likely to meet my minimums for elk and is easy to load for. I have sold or given away nearly all my reloading equiptment. I do have friends that load for me here in AZ, but it is not always easy to get them to load exactly what I want. My BIL (he's got most of my old equipment) will load what I want, but will have to ship ammo across the country.

Time, money and space are the factors to keep me away from wildcats and reloading. If I spend the money on dies, etc, and give them to someone who will load for me, it is their space and time that will suffer... at least that's the rationale I'm trying to gain traction with in my head.
 

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The answer to your problem is simple. Get a .270 and put a limb saver on it.

I once purchased a 450 Marlin barrel for an encore. It is essentially a magnum 45-70. With a limb saver on the stock it was totally manageable. Without I couldn't shoot it.

You get a 270 with a 130 grain partition or 140 grain partition, be reasonable on your shot,i.e. 300 yards or less and she will be just fine. A 270 can be zeroed at 250 and a 300 yard shot is not hard.

You have to experience the effect of the limbsaver to appreciate it. For most rifles its a straight screw on replacement for the butt pad. They are made for specific rifles and they make a generic one if you don't see a straight replacement.

I also use shooting sticks. If you don't have time to set up your shot you should not take it. The shooting sticks negate the weight of the rifle. Shot placement is always important and I have taken many deer, elk and antelope with partitions. The effect of a partition going 3000 fps is unbelievable and this is easily achievable from a .270. You may also be able to find a slightly older .270 with a good barrel that weighs more than the latest 6 pounders. I have a Sako at 7.5 pounds plus a pound of scope and rings and its perfect.
 

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A long time ago I built my wife the rifle in the cartridge you are looking for. It is famous for its light recoil, accuracy and killing power on moose and elk alike. The 6.5x55 Mauser, she likes “her rifle”, it has a Richards dual grip stock that helps reduce the felt recoil about 25-30%. The 1” Limbsaver pad adds to the recoil reduction, so it is very manageable for a lady. I would use the 130 Barnes with a fair amount of 4831.
 

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My wife has an elk hunt this October. We need to get her a new rifle chambered in an appropriate cartridge. Her shots will likely be inside of 200 yards but if the situation dictates, her maximum distance will be 250 yards. She is a little recoil sensitive but works hard to minimize her flinch. She is slight built and does not have the strength to hold a heavy rifle on target. She has no problem hunting, even cute and cuddly, but gets very upset if an animal does not expire quickly. Her 243 Win is absolutely not an option for Elk. She has shot 270 win, 308 Win and 338 WinMag but claims they have the same recoil, too much.

Cartridge to fit (most of) these parameters:
-max 20ftlb recoil
-min 270 cal, not just because this is the 6.8 community, it is the minimum caliber in some states we hunt
-min 140gr bullet
-2,700-ish MV, relatively flat shooting
-1200-ish ft-lb energy @ 250 yards
- commercially available cartridge, I've sworn off Wildcats and I'm desperately trying to resist that addiction

We would prefer this performance without a muzzle brake, for several reasons, but a dead elk is the priority.

This forum seems to debate more on fact then emotion, so, what hunting cartridge would you recommend that fits these parameters? Does this cartridge exist? Are we looking to hunt elk with a unicorn?
7-08 is a good choice for elk, though finding an off the shelf bullet heavy enough might be tough. There are an abundance of rifles now with threaded barrels, installing a brake might make a huge difference in perceived recoil for your wife. I've got one on a 7mag that reduces recoil to that of a heavy .243 in a rifle with a total weight of just over 7lbs, it's loud as hell at the range, but the lack of recoil makes it worth the time waiting to shoot alone.

You can buy a good break for as little as $30. Threading a barrel runs about $60.
 

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I bought a 300 weatherby mag mk5 ultra light for elk hunting. Unpleasant gun to shoot. I don't care who you are, it's not pleasant. The reality is your going to carry the thing around for days and fire one or maybe two shots. I'm not suggesting she get a 300 weatherby but I am suggesting she not worry about the recoil quite so much. Get a rifle like the 243 she normally uses but in a more appropriate cartridge. Sight in with a lead sled or shoulder pad. Hell, you can sight it in and just have her fine tune it with a shot or 2. She can practice with the 243. How often do you feel recoil when shooting at an animal?
Now every one can tell me how wrong I am. (That's how this works, right? )
 

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My Tikka T3 Lite is composite stock which is much more rigid than some of the "composite" stocks found on low-end Remingtons, Rugers, etc. I started out shooting 110 TTSX .270 Win at 3450 fps and needed the LimbSaver to shoot off the bench. 129 LRX and 130 GMX have done well on elk though I'm now shooting just the LRX. Both the LRX, TTSX, and GMX have good factor loads in the calibers you are talking about.

Elk are more than double the size of deer. I think 12x is more magnification than I need at 400 yards for an elk but just right for a small TX deer at 200.

Get a rifle you don't need a muzzle brake for. I wear my electronic ear muffs from the start of my hunt when its cold weather.

Oh, I'm not surprised by your comments on copper bullets in .223. Too many 16" barrels out there and 1:9 twist. Some monolithic bullets will not expand much past 100 yards launched from that configuration. 1:7 twist really "wake's up" and increases expansion with monolithic bullets in .223. Right now I've set-up a 224 Valkyrie for my night rig using 55gr E-Tips at 3400 fps. It is vaporizing coyotes but I do plan to use it on hogs next time I intercept them. Neck shots on the big ones and should have more hits when they scatter with less recoil and lead.
My wife has an elk hunt this October. We need to get her a new rifle chambered in an appropriate cartridge. Her shots will likely be inside of 200 yards but if the situation dictates, her maximum distance will be 250 yards. She is a little recoil sensitive but works hard to minimize her flinch. She is slight built and does not have the strength to hold a heavy rifle on target. She has no problem hunting, even cute and cuddly, but gets very upset if an animal does not expire quickly. Her 243 Win is absolutely not an option for Elk. She has shot 270 win, 308 Win and 338 WinMag but claims they have the same recoil, too much.

Cartridge to fit (most of) these parameters:
-max 20ftlb recoil
-min 270 cal, not just because this is the 6.8 community, it is the minimum caliber in some states we hunt
-min 140gr bullet
-2,700-ish MV, relatively flat shooting
-1200-ish ft-lb energy @ 250 yards
- commercially available cartridge, I've sworn off Wildcats and I'm desperately trying to resist that addiction

We would prefer this performance without a muzzle brake, for several reasons, but a dead elk is the priority.

This forum seems to debate more on fact then emotion, so, what hunting cartridge would you recommend that fits these parameters? Does this cartridge exist? Are we looking to hunt elk with a unicorn?
I shoot a Browning bolt action in .280, I feed it 140s and it’s a pussycat to shoot. Accurate and plenty of power.
 

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My wife has an elk hunt this October. We need to get her a new rifle chambered in an appropriate cartridge. Her shots will likely be inside of 200 yards but if the situation dictates, her maximum distance will be 250 yards. She is a little recoil sensitive but works hard to minimize her flinch. She is slight built and does not have the strength to hold a heavy rifle on target. She has no problem hunting, even cute and cuddly, but gets very upset if an animal does not expire quickly. Her 243 Win is absolutely not an option for Elk. She has shot 270 win, 308 Win and 338 WinMag but claims they have the same recoil, too much.

Cartridge to fit (most of) these parameters:
-max 20ftlb recoil
-min 270 cal, not just because this is the 6.8 community, it is the minimum caliber in some states we hunt
-min 140gr bullet
-2,700-ish MV, relatively flat shooting
-1200-ish ft-lb energy @ 250 yards
- commercially available cartridge, I've sworn off Wildcats and I'm desperately trying to resist that addiction

We would prefer this performance without a muzzle brake, for several reasons, but a dead elk is the priority.

This forum seems to debate more on fact then emotion, so, what hunting cartridge would you recommend that fits these parameters? Does this cartridge exist? Are we l
For anyone that is recoil sensitive, I definitely recommend an AR style rifle. In 308, the recoil is very manageable and much less than even a 30-30 in my experience. I’ve had young hunters who flinch all day with a bolt 308 do very well with an AR in 308. I think they even make an AR platform in 300 win mag, but I think it is a bit pricey.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
A silencer will tame the 308 recoil. Long term that is your best option. Yhm resonator is very light and inexpensive. I've shot it on a 300 Rem Ultramag and it was very pleasant in terms of recoil.
Unfortunately silencer/suppressors are not allowed in most areas we hunt, with the exception of TX.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
The answer to your problem is simple. Get a .270 and put a limb saver on it.

I once purchased a 450 Marlin barrel for an encore. It is essentially a magnum 45-70. With a limb saver on the stock it was totally manageable. Without I couldn't shoot it.

You get a 270 with a 130 grain partition or 140 grain partition, be reasonable on your shot,i.e. 300 yards or less and she will be just fine. A 270 can be zeroed at 250 and a 300 yard shot is not hard.

You have to experience the effect of the limbsaver to appreciate it. For most rifles its a straight screw on replacement for the butt pad. They are made for specific rifles and they make a generic one if you don't see a straight replacement.

I also use shooting sticks. If you don't have time to set up your shot you should not take it. The shooting sticks negate the weight of the rifle. Shot placement is always important and I have taken many deer, elk and antelope with partitions. The effect of a partition going 3000 fps is unbelievable and this is easily achievable from a .270. You may also be able to find a slightly older .270 with a good barrel that weighs more than the latest 6 pounders. I have a Sako at 7.5 pounds plus a pound of scope and rings and its perfect.
Definitely. A high quality recoil pad with surely be added! I have a couple of Marlin 444s. One is an old school original with a long barrel, wooden stock and squishy pad. I liken it to a couch. Big, heavy and comfortable. The other one is lightweight, plastic stock and (had) a solid buttplate. It can handle high pressure loads, the last time I did load testing on it, 68 rounds, I had purple jelly for a shoulder. I like heavy recoil, but not that much. The Blessed Mother of all things gentle put a curse on that thing, til it got a limbsaver.

She does have some Primus shooting sticks she's been practicing with quite a bit. They helped with her turkey hunt a month or so ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #37
A long time ago I built my wife the rifle in the cartridge you are looking for. It is famous for its light recoil, accuracy and killing power on moose and elk alike. The 6.5x55 Mauser, she likes “her rifle”, it has a Richards dual grip stock that helps reduce the felt recoil about 25-30%. The 1” Limbsaver pad adds to the recoil reduction, so it is very manageable for a lady. I would use the 130 Barnes with a fair amount of 4831.
The 6.5 Swede was my wife's father's favorite cartridge. He had several rifles chambered in it. When he passed, family politics did not allow her any of the rifles. She would have appreciated any one of them the most. She still tears up over the memories 20+ years later.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
7-08 is a good choice for elk, though finding an off the shelf bullet heavy enough might be tough. There are an abundance of rifles now with threaded barrels, installing a brake might make a huge difference in perceived recoil for your wife. I've got one on a 7mag that reduces recoil to that of a heavy .243 in a rifle with a total weight of just over 7lbs, it's loud as hell at the range, but the lack of recoil makes it worth the time waiting to shoot alone.

You can buy a good break for as little as $30. Threading a barrel runs about $60.
A7-08 is definitely on the list of cartage options. Availability of factory ammo does make it a bit of a tough sell. I think my wife could handle the recoil of a 7-08. We are trying hard to avoid a muzzle brake. A brake that can be turned on and off is intriguing. I know Savage makes one I don't know if anyone else does?
 

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Discussion Starter #39
I shoot a Browning bolt action in .280, I feed it 140s and it’s a pussycat to shoot. Accurate and plenty of power.
280 is an option but the availability of factory ammo is, unfortunately, thin.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
I bought a 300 weatherby mag mk5 ultra light for elk hunting. Unpleasant gun to shoot. I don't care who you are, it's not pleasant. The reality is your going to carry the thing around for days and fire one or maybe two shots. I'm not suggesting she get a 300 weatherby but I am suggesting she not worry about the recoil quite so much. Get a rifle like the 243 she normally uses but in a more appropriate cartridge. Sight in with a lead sled or shoulder pad. Hell, you can sight it in and just have her fine tune it with a shot or 2. She can practice with the 243. How often do you feel recoil when shooting at an animal?
Now every one can tell me how wrong I am. (That's how this works, right? )
Buy matching rifles. Sounds great. Higher power for elk hunting. Lighter one for smaller game and practice. Don't need an excuse to buy another rifle, or two. Not sure what is wrong with that??
 
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