I've been away for a while, but, as always, Hunting Man is still giving good advice! Asking a hunter to practise out to 600 yds. is one thing; actually encouraging a shot at that range, even on something as large as an elk, is criminal. Look, I live in the best elk country in the U.S.; I also shoot magnum rifles as well as non-magnums, and have hunted with outfitters and without them, so I have a little firsthand experience with this subject. When I was a taxidermist, I met dozens of hunters who wounded lots of animals or needed multiple shots to finish one off because they were afraid of their own rifles - recoil made them flinch on every shot. Strick with a rifle you can shoot well. If that is a magnum, fine, but most rifles in the .270 - 30/06 class will kill any elk at respectable ranges. Use a well-constructed bullet, know your game's anatomy - where the vitals are both when broadside and at any reasonable angle. And practise at realistic ranges. Here's a good rule of thumb on how to decide about taking a long shot or not: If you are positive you will hit the animal and drop it, squeeze away. If you are not sure of the distance, if the wind is blowing, if you don't have a good rest, etc. - basically if you are only hoping you will hit it, don't shoot! Leave the trick shots to Annie Oakley! Good luck with your hunt.
(You might want to read my article on Long Range Shooting in the Hunting Tips section of this site. It is very comprehensive and has lots of practical advice on this subject. And a pretty good photo of a bull that I dropped in its tracks at a reasonable long range shot.)
Last edited by onehorse; 03-11-2012 at 08:58 AM.