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Thread: Got PA Cow Elk Tag

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    534

    Got PA Cow Elk Tag

    I hit the elk lottery in PA... Got a call Saturday from the Game Commission telling me I got a cow tag in unit 12.(one of the best units). Due to age and health this will be most likely my last elk hunt. Thinking of using a Sharp's 45-70 and boolets and black powder that I have made... Looking for advice on a good choice in boolets for elk...I have moulds for 525 Postell, 500 Gov't, 405 RN, and 350 Gould HP.
    Think I have a couple more, but they were Lee with smaller lube grooves that I do not prefer... Not sure of what range and I know that any of these will be more than enough for Wapiti...I will be doing range work to see what accuracy I can tweak for each boolet...not sure how my homemade BP will compare to Swiss, but anxious to work up some loads and run thru the chronograph...
    I would appreciate your suggestions for choosing the best hunting boolet for elk... thanks in advance for your help.
    Perhaps my learning skills have diminished in my senior years.. 50 years ago I could read something once and then "have it"... Now I read it about three times, do it a couple of times and then... "have it" only about half the time.

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Northwest Ohio
    Posts
    10,621
    I don't hunt but have been a fan of the lyman 510 grn govt round nose as an all around bullet for a long time.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master



    Boz330's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Central Kentucky
    Posts
    3,819
    You should be fine with your home made and a meplat boolit if you have a mold. I would crono your loads to make sure your powder is generating enough velocity. A tapered boolit will give you more powder space if you can find some.
    This deer was taken with home made powder and a flat nosed boolit in a 40-65. Velocity was 75 FPS slower than Swiss but the deer couldn't tell the difference, he went about 30yd and dropped.

    Bob
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    GUNFIRE! The sound of Freedom!

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    Chill Wills's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    2,195
    Elk are tough. The 45-70 is tougher and the 400gr class bullet is more than enough. Lyman's 457 124 in 30/1 or even 40/1 would be good.
    If you have a Lyman 457 193 mold which is the Marlin lever bullet with a flat nose cast in the same alloy, results would be the same.

    For hunting, try soft (er) tin/lead alloys.

    As in using any rifle and load, where you hit the elk will make the difference.

    It sounds like you are going to have a great hunt! I wish you success.
    Last edited by Chill Wills; 08-19-2019 at 10:15 AM.
    Chill Wills

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    bigted's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Sweet Home Oregon
    Posts
    4,018
    Another vote for the 400 grain boolits. I really like Lee's 459405 boolit. Hollow base and generous lube grooves. It has worked very well in every 45-70 I ever tryed it in. 457193 is a good boolit for smokeless in my Marlins. 500 ish boolits are in my opinion a bit over board. The tough Elk are thin skinned and the 350's and 400's do very well at Black Powder speeds.

    Sure hope your hunt goes well. Take lotza pictures for fond memories both game AND camp.

    Good luck
    WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE...MORE WILL BE SAID THEN DONE

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    275
    I'm not really an expert on elk, but I have taken three of them, one with a Shiloh 45-110, and two with a Shiloh 45-70. Based on my results, and watching a couple of my friends take elk, I will say that the 500 grain Govt. bullet you have will be your best choice. Ideally, you want a broadside shot through BOTH shoulders, and an exit wound. The exit wound causes an air leak that collapses the lungs and puts the animal on the ground right now. Lighter bullets do not always give this exit wound and air leak. With the 500 grain round nosed bullet, any velocity around 1100 fps will get the job done. Good luck.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    534
    Thanks to all for your feedback...it is greatly appreciated. Sharpsguy, never taking an elk(have killed moose & caribou) I am cudrious as why you prefer to take out both shoulders on a large boned animal. High shoulder shots(DRT) used to be my preference on deer so there was no tracking. Since then I found a way to cook whole shoulhers with the meat falling off the bone and all the silver and connective tissue dissolved... I would think a double lung or heart/ lung shot would be preferable on a meat hunt...trophy hunt perhaps a different story
    Perhaps my learning skills have diminished in my senior years.. 50 years ago I could read something once and then "have it"... Now I read it about three times, do it a couple of times and then... "have it" only about half the time.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    275
    You want a through and through WITH an exit wound in front of the diaphragm. The entrance wound will often fill with fat and tissue and thus not give a good air leak. The internal pressure inside the chest cavity blows the exit wound open and you have the air leak that collapses the lungs and the animal goes down quickly, The 500 grain Govt bullet doesn't tear up a lot of meat, and doesn't leave a lot of bloodshot meat. If you want to tear up a lot of meat and have a lot of what's left blood shot, use the Gould hollowpoint. A pass through behind the diaphragm doesn't collapse the lungs, and results in a long tracking job.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy


    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    The Lowcountry
    Posts
    330
    Whatever you choose, it should put meat in the freezer. Shot placement is everything.

    Enjoy the hunt. One day I would like to do the same.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    534
    I found a good target of elk vitals from Berger bullets. I am not a computer guy, but downloaded a PDF and printed copies at Staples for $0.13 each. Will try them on next trip to the range
    Perhaps my learning skills have diminished in my senior years.. 50 years ago I could read something once and then "have it"... Now I read it about three times, do it a couple of times and then... "have it" only about half the time.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check