Will A 150-Grain Bullet Kill An Elk?

Fact checked by Steven Lines, lifelong Hunter and OutdoorsmanOpens in a new tab..

Elk hunting has many different topics that are openly debated, and one of the most heated arguments is over bullets and bullet selection. For example, many hunters often wonder if a 150-grain bullet is enough to kill an elk properly. Some say that it is, while others disagree. So will a 150-grain bullet kill an elk? 

A 150-grain bullet is more than adequate to take down a full-grown elk. While rifle caliber is important, most calibers capable of firing a bullet that is 150 grains in weight are powerful enough to take down an elk as long as there is proper shot placement and it is done at a reasonable distance. 

Will a 150 grain bullet kill an elk

To ensure you get a quick and clean kill while rifle elk hunting, you will want to learn everything you can about bullet sizes and weights. Continue reading to learn more about 150-grain bullets and their effectiveness while elk hunting. 

What Size of Bullet Will Kill an Elk?

So if a 150-grain bullet will comfortably kill an elk, what size of bullet do you actually need to kill an elk successfully? The answer will depend on a large number of factors. Some say you need a minimum of 180 grains, while other hunters argue that something as small as 100 grains will do the job. 

In reality, it is more about the kinetic energy that the bullet possesses that is more important than the actual size. In general, anything over 100 grains in weight will kill an elk as long as it has enough energy behind it.

Still, there are other factors that you must consider as well. This includes the average distance that you will be shooting, as well as shot angles. Elk are not always going to be standing broadside and at close range. You will need a bullet that is big enough to give you some margin for error. 

This is why most hunters opt for heavier bullets when going rifle elk hunting. This gives them a little bit of added security in case they make an imperfect shot or the shooting conditions are not ideal.

This is also why a 150-grain bullet is more than capable of taking down an elk, providing that you are practicing proper shot placement as well. 

Elk Hunting Calibers that Utilize 150 Grain Bullets

There is a wide variety of different elk hunting calibers out there that provide you with great bullet selections in order to ensure a quick and clean kill. Many of these calibers also have bullets that can be found in 150-grain varieties, proving that it is more than capable of taking down an elk in the right conditions. 

Some of the most popular elk hunting cartridges include the

All of these calibers are widely used, meaning that ammunition can be easily found and bought. They also have many varieties of sizes and weights depending on your wants and needs. 

Effective Range of a 150 Grain Bullet

Another important question about the lethality of a 150-grain bullet is how far away you can use it to kill an elk successfully. This again calls into play the actual speed and energy that the bullet has, but in general, a 150-grain bullet can cleanly kill an elk out to 400 yards away. 

Elk hunting is often done at longer ranges, so 200 to 400-yard shots are very common. This means that any of your hunting rifles that utilize a 150-grain bullet can successfully kill an elk out to these ranges, provided that you hit the elk in the vital kill zone.

Even the biggest bullets will not kill an elk if you do not hit the vitals, and they will simply injure the elk and allow it to escape before you can find it again. 

What Type of Bullet is Best for Elk?

Now that we have covered the size of the bullet, what about construction? In order to take down an elk, you will need to use a bullet that is not only big enough in size but also constructed properly and made for hunting.

Bullets that are made for simple target practice will not penetrate and destroy the vitals of an elk like a bullet that is specially designed for hunting will. 

Hollow point or soft nose-tipped bullets are often a popular choice for elk hunting. These bullets are designed to slowly expand and mushroom upon impact, creating the most amount of shock and damage as it moves through an elk.

Bullets that are simply made for target practice will often completely disintegrate and fall apart once they hit their target. You do not want this to happen while hunting, so using bullets that are specially designed for hunting is a must. 

Final Thoughts

Although many elk hunters will have differing opinions on everything rifle elk hunting, there is no doubt that 150-grain bullets have successfully taken down many elk throughout the years.

If you intend to use a 150-grain bullet on your next rifle elk hunt, just ensure that you are practicing proper shot placement and using a quality bullet designed for hunting. With both of these things, you are sure to take down your elk without any problems! 

Steven Lines hunter pic 1

Steven Lines is a hunter and outdoorsman from Safford, Arizona, USA. Since he was a child, he has been hunting and fishing and has over 20 years of outdoor experience. Steven works as a hunting guide in Arizona during his spare time and runs a Youtube channelOpens in a new tab. dedicated to sharing his outdoor adventures with others.


Was this article helpful?


Hi, I'm Sam! I used to work as a caregiver, and now I'm in medical school. My blog is about helping people get healthier through fun activities like archery, hunting, and powerlifting. If you like one of my articles, please share it with your friends and family so they can be healthy too!

Recent Posts