I know we're already pushing it with a 308, at least for yardage. Its my wife's rig and she's determined to make it work. What is the best 308 deer/elk hunting round? I'd love for her to be able to reach out to 4-500 yards for elk effectively. Is that possible with off the shelf manufactured ammo? The myriad of options out there is unbelievable. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
One man's opinion, you know what they say about opinions.
400 - 500 yards for elk with a .308? Nothing short of a 180 gr bullet . Too much foot pound drop with lighter bullets at that distance. Minimum 1500 ft-lb energy at impact distance if you want to take an elk down cleanly.
Considering the energy factor alone, 165 gr bullets at 300 yards or less are within spec; may be pushing the envelope, even with the 180 gr, on a shot longer than 400 on an elk. Your call.
7 Mag or 300 Winnie are my caliber of choice on elk. Which ever round you settle on, make sure it will penetrate enough to hit vitals, and expand enough to anchor your animal to the ground.
Ethical hunters know the limitations of rifle, ammo, and self. Having to track a wounded animal for an untold distance; or worse, not being able to track it at all leaving it to suffer is a real bummer. Shot placement is king . . . practice, practice, practice.
Off the shelf ammo? I reload, but I know others have had satisfactory results with 165 Nosler AccuBonds on big mule deer.