This was the second hunt with fellow forum members that I have attended. They are at a minimum, fun, and can be educational and informative. Witnessing guns and bullets at work in the flesh, and then debriefing and discussing the action afterwards is more tangible than reading it on the internet.
I have a fantastic opportunity to go elk hunting this October in Colorado. I am taking my trusted Contender in 35 Rem with 200 grain Hornady FTXs. I have used that combo on two cow elk previously with complete satisfaction. But... I found myself second guessing my decision after conversations with others. The additional weight and tenacity of a bull elk gave me concerns.
I took advantage of this preserve hunt to test my elk load on an animal with the approximate weight and resilience of a bull elk. A Highland/Watusi cross weighing about 700 lbs. was selected. It helps that this animal yields excellent tablefare.
My goal was to test the ammo on flesh at an extended range of around 150 yards. That shot never presented itself. The shot I took involved threading the bullet through a 4" opening in a stand of saplings into the broadside bull. The bull stood motionless for a second. He then took two steps forward, dropped his ass, then fell over dead. And I mean DEAD. Maybe two kicks and no wiggles or head rolls. Time elapsed from shot to last wiggle had to be less than 10 seconds and I would say closer to 5. Everyone was impressed, especially the preserve owner.
The bullet struck as intended on the point of the shoulder, slightly lower than 1/3 up his body. Despite the heavy bone contact, the bullet traveled straight through the chest, coming to a stop in an offside rib. If it had not lodged in that rib, but gone between ribs; would it have exited?? One lung had a hole the size of a golf ball, the other lung had a baseball sized hole. The bullet penetrated the heart, leaving a quarter sized hole through, and popping the the large arteries off the top.
Bull elk beware.