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208gr ELDM in the 308 for Whitetail to Elk?

09 Sep 2017
@ 05:28 pm (GMT)

Aaron Peterson

Hello all, this is my first post. I love the site, and I love your books Nathan! Ive got 2 left to read of the 5. Anyways, I've been working on a load for my Savage 10 24" 1/10 twist barreled 308. Originally I started working with the 200gr ELDX and I was getting over 2600fps using Varget with that bullet. After reading the second edition of the "Cartridgrs" book, I've switched to the 208gr ELDM. So far, I've been able to get right at 2600fps with those using Varget. I intend on trying Reloder 17 next to see if I can perhaps bump the velocity, or at least lower my pressure. A muzzle velocity of 2600fps with the 208 ELDM will equate to 1600fps at 950 yards here in central Missouri, and I'm satisfied with that speed. My intended goal with this load is to take it west next fall to hunt elk. All other occasions will be here in Missouri shooting targets mostly, but I may occasionally use it for Whitetails. I'm under the impression this load won't be desirable at close range on a Whitetail, so I'd only use it if I was hunting a place with some range.

At any rate, my main goal with this post is to pick brains and see what guys think about all this. Will this load work as well as I'm thinking on Elk in Colorado? What would the best minimum to maximum range be for this bullet at my MV? Should I be wary of a shot inside of say, 150 yards? Can a take it all the way to an impact velocity of 1600fps, even if that's over 1,000 yards in 6,000' elevation? That's assuming they and I'd be accurate enough at that distance to take that shot, of course. Is there a better powder than Varget or Reloder 17 with this bullet in a 308? To add a bit more info, I can seat these to an OAL of 2.880" in my magazine and that's currently where I'm testing them at. I have also thought hard about going with the 195gr Sierra TMK. I live 30 minutes from the Sierra plant and I feel a bit guilty not going with the local guys. By the way Nathan, I was touring the plant the other day and we brought up your name. He knew right away who we were talking about and spoke very well of you. He mentioned they were a little disappointed in the honesty you provided about some of their bullets, but said that honesty is indeed the best policy. I just thought you might appreciate that. Thanks in advance for all your thoughts!


10 Sep 2017
@ 09:29 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: 208gr ELDM in the 308 for Whitetail to Elk?
Hi Aaron, it sounds as though you have covered all your bases. Your muzzle velocity is a bit on the high side, about 125fps faster than other .308's but provided the load is safe in warmer temps, so be it. You do not really need any higher velocity, this is a good speed. Accuracy, low pressure and a low ES will be key.

Yes, the load will do everything you want it to do. And yes, you could run with the TMK taking my book comments into consideration. You can use both at close ranges, they will be fine. I would ask that you pick one, then stick with it, get comfortable shooting it out to various ranges, learn its drift characteristics versus whether you tend to over or under estimate drift etc. Take a few animals before performing any other experiments or dual loading etc. I do not like to divulge book details here but will say- work to the first wall first and make a note of where this (velocity) occurs on your print chart. Then work to that second wall (again note it on your print chart) and really give it time. You will soon learn which wall you can shoot to as far as wind conditions go. If you practice during the middle part of the day but hunt in the mornings or evenings, the hunt / kill shots will be much easier to take. But do take note that if you are hunting for Elk with a guide, you will need to find that quiet place in your own mind where you are not distracted. He may be focused on the animal etc, but you need to take in the whole picture (environmental conditions). And again, this is where your print charts come in handy, allowing you to stay focused without distraction.

I have enjoyed past communications with Sierra. They have some very passionate people working within the company which is great to see. When people love what they do, it really shows.


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