.300 Wby. Mag Vs. .375 H&H: What's the Best Elk Cartridge?

best elk cartridge

.300 Weatherby Magnum

If I had to choose one species — and only one — to hunt the rest of my life, it would be elk. If I had to choose only one cartridge — heaven forbid — to hunt elk with, it would be the .300 Weatherby Magnum.


Why? Simple: It's the best for the job. Or at least, there are none better.


Now, that's a pretty strong statement, but I can support it. With handloads or genuine Weatherby ammo, it runs neck and neck with the .300 Ultra Mag, but burns less powder and produces less recoil.

Modernists scoff at the double radius shoulder, but it feeds more smoothly than today's fat, angular magnums. Many reloaders believe the double radius also minimizes brass flow and case stretch, resulting in longer case life.

Plus, it's got more panache than Sinatra.

Many current rifles chambered in .300 Ultra Mag, .300 WSM, and other short fats resist accepting more than two cartridges in the magazine — but the .300 Wby. fits three like sophisticated sardines and feeds them out just as slick.


Ballistically, the .300 Wby. need bow to none: 180-grain bullets exit the muzzle at 3,200 fps or more and carry over 4,000 ft.-lbs. of energy.

With aerodynamic projectiles, it's a legitimate extreme-range cartridge, and with tough bonded or monolithic bullets, it's authoritative, mighty authoritative, up close.

My personal favorite bullets for handloading the .300 Wby. are Swift's 180-grain Scirocco II and Nosler's 200-grain AccuBond, both of which offer admirably high B.C.s and tough, bonded-core construction.


The Scirocco II, which invariably shoots sub-inch groups from my rifle, shoots fast enough that it makes sense to sight-in at 250 yards. Drop at 300 yards is less than three inches, at 400 yards it's less than a foot, and at 500 yards the Scirocco II drops just a shade over 26 inches.

The .300 Wby. shoots flat and accurately, hits extremely hard,and has class. What more could one ask of an elk cartridge?

— Joseph von Benedikt

.375 H&H Ackley Improved

I'll admit the .300 Weatherby Magnum is a fine elk cartridge, but is it the best elk cartridge? Well, that depends€¦

I get it. Sleek .30-caliber bullets fly through the air like greased needles. If I was inclined to be a long-range hunter, the .300 Wby. would be a great choice. But I am not so inclined.

I had long-range hunting fantasies when I was about 18 — before I actually had much field experience. It didn't take me long to realize that the vast majority of animals could be closed to within a couple of football fields with a little effort.

I learned that for every cagey bull that went over the ridge at 500 yards, there were a half-dozen bulls running through the dark timber, presenting only bullet-destroying, close quartering-away shots.

Take that shot with a fast-stepping .30 and all you will have is a destroyed rear quarter and a long trailing job (that may not result in a recovered elk).

So what do I use?

My current favorite elk cartridge is a .375 H&H Ackley Improved. Sounds exotic, doesn't it? It isn't — but it is extremely versatile. Essentially, it is a .375 H&H with a straighter case and a 40-degree shoulder for increased powder capacity.

What's great about this chambering is that it will still digest factory .375 H&H as well as .375 Weatherby ammo. As for recoil, even out of my sub-six-pound MG Arms Ultra-Light, it is a mild push instead of a sharp crack like the .300 Wby., and it prints half-MOA groups all day long.

It pushes a 300-grain Nosler Partition between 2,650 and 2,750 fps and delivers 5,000 ft.-lbs. of energy. For the folks wanting flatter trajectories, it will push a 260-grain Nosler AccuBond with a B.C. of .473 over 2,800 fps.

It will penetrate deeper than a .300 Wby. with far less meat waste up close on tough quartering shots. It will drop only 16 inches at 400 yards when zeroed at 250 yards, making it an ideal gun for the timber as well as from ridge to ridge.

— Mike Schoby

best elk cartridge

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 12: High Plains Elk

David Draper teams up with Fred Eichler to hunt elk on the high plains of southern Colorado.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 11: Wheelgun Buffalo

Host Craig Boddington lays claim to hunting more than 100 Cape Buffalo over the course of his 40 plus year career, but he never took one with a handgun. That changed in South Africa when Craig faced down "black death" with a magnum wheelgun.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 7: Beginner's Luck

Host Kali Parmley takes first-time hunter Danae Hale of CZ-USA to Wyoming for a mule deer hunt. After covering all the basics with Danae, the girls head into the field and what happens next goes way beyond either of their expectations!

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 10: Snowbound Chamois

Host Brittany Boddington gets more than she bargained for on what turned out to be a grueling, snowbound and extremely physical hunt for chamois in Romania's Carpathian mountains.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Looking for a great gun for the young hunter in your family? Here are eight favorites. Guns

8 Great Youth Guns Designed for Growing Hunters

Brad Fitzpatrick - July 18, 2016

Looking for a great gun for the young hunter in your family? Here are eight favorites.

The Top 10 trophy whitetail states featured here are the best of the best in terms of B&C entries over the past ten years. North America

Top 10 Trophy Whitetail States

Joseph von Benedikt - December 18, 2017

The Top 10 trophy whitetail states featured here are the best of the best in terms of B&C...

Over the years, Remington has introduced a continuously expanded variety of Model 1100 shotguns. Guns

Remington Timeline: 1963 - Remington Model 1100 Autoloading Shotguns

Hunting Online Staff

Over the years, Remington has introduced a continuously expanded variety of Model 1100...

What's The Best Coyote Cartridge? .22-250 Versus .223 Ammo

What's The Best Coyote Cartridge? .22-250 Versus .223

Joseph von Benedikt & David Faubion

What's The Best Coyote Cartridge? .22-250 Versus .223

See More Trending Articles

More Ammo

It was time to talk turkey when OSG senior digital editor Lynn Burkhead visited with Rafe Nielson of Winchester Ammo

New for 2018: Winchester SXP Long Beard 20-Gauge Turkey Shotgun

Lynn Burkhead - January 24, 2018

It was time to talk turkey when OSG senior digital editor Lynn Burkhead visited with Rafe...

At the NWTF's annual Still Target Championship last fall, the Winchester Long Beard XR ammunition Ammo

Winchester Long Beard XR Hits the Benchmark

PH Online Editors - February 09, 2018

At the NWTF's annual Still Target Championship last fall, the Winchester Long Beard XR...

With the Federal FireStick and NitroFire from Traditions, muzzleloading is now more accessible. SHOT Show

Federal & Traditions Team Up to Make Muzzleloading Easy

David Draper - January 20, 2020

With the Federal FireStick and NitroFire from Traditions, muzzleloading is now more...

We have had many new cartridge designs in the last three decades, from the revival if the .416-inch Ammo

4 Lost Classic Hunting Rifle Cartridges

Phil Massaro

We have had many new cartridge designs in the last three decades, from the revival if the...

See More Ammo

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.