I'm in WA State and decided to post here, rather than in the AK Hunting Forum. I've hunted AK, BC, WA and South Africa, but mostly hunt elk. My experience includes 7mm-08 to 416 Rem Mag. I could stick with what I know, but am always looking for a better mousetrap! This is what I've seen: Moose and elk are clearly hit hard when using a 338 Win Mag and 210 or 250 Noslers. But big game shot with the 225 original X Bullet seem far less impressed with the 338 and take much longer to expire with well placed shots! This goes for Muskox, Black Bear, Caribou. I had to shoot the Ox at 300 yards 3 times, the bear 3 times in a tree and the Caribou twice! Yet elk drop at the shot using the Noslers. Plus the recovered X Bullets from Ox look picture perfect! On the other hand deer shot at long range with a 7 Rem Mag and X Bullets react as though they were struck by lightning! I learned the 375 H&H is not a Stopping Gun! Yet it seems to hit hard and I dropped all my African Plains Game with 1 shot a piece- only a Blue wildebeest ran 60 yards or so, all using Noslers. But on a BC moose hunt an enraged bull who came in unexpectedly to a cow call, was not too happy with us little pale toothpicks in his meadow. He was getting ready to run me down and it took 5 well placed shots around 40 yards with my 375 and 1 poor placed shot from my guide's 30-06 to stop his intent! I've never seen anything like that and realized right then, the 375 is not a Stopper if ever really needed! Yet another calm moose I shot went right down with the same loading with 1 shot.
I realize every situation is different, as is every animal. My buddies hunt elk with 30-06s, but seem to have to shoot them more than once, so they do not run off and drop in front of another hunters tag! I always hear stories of black bear running off after well placed shots. Then there are articles that claim the 300 RUM is a great big bear gun and a 7MM works perfect for Grizzly! I recall a time when hunters frowned on 30 caliber and under for the big bears, and Alaskans recommended at least 30 caliber for general hunting. But these days guys seem to be taking long range shots at elk using a 7 mm WSM rig. One author seemed to think a 270 was perfect moose medicine. I could go on.
My question is, if dead is dead, how much gun does one really need for big game these days? Is it time to give up my 338 and 375? I wonder because of the new bullet technologies? As an example one recent article suggests using only modern 150 grain bullets on elk from your 30-06, and that 180s were no longer needed- why the new 150s shoot right through any bull! Another opined the 243 was now a"Giant Killer" using modern bullets. And one hunter shooting a 300 RUM said loaded with the new Hornady 150 GMX, was devastating on elk! Has our new bullet technologies raised the lethality factor considerably for lesser calibers. In other words, can I hunt everything now with my 300 Win or 7 Mag, using the new lighter modern bullets? Or would I just be fooling myself? All opinions appreciated.