I have used my 7 Mag on elk off and on for 20 years. I have always used Hornady's 154gr spire point.
(I should have said I have hunted and TAKEN elk with this load for 20 years). I have never lost an elk that has been hit with this rifle and bullet combination. I have expirmented with Noslers 160gr. bullet but have never taken any game with it as the Hornady bullet has always performed well for me.
Personally I would not use any bullet lighter than the 154 Hornady. I'd use it or the 160gr. bullets. Elk can be tough to kill and if badly hit show a tenacity for life and escape! A wounded elk can cover quite a bit of territory in a short amount of time compared to how much humping up, down, and around mountains you want to put in after taking a bad shot.
I would recommend using the 139 and 140 grain bullets in .280 Rem or in 7mm-08 cartridges (although I use 154 grain bullets in my .280 Rem just as I do in the 7 Mag.)
My experience of being in on nearly a hunderd elk kills and field dressings show that using light weight bullets at higher velocities tends to produce un-necessary hydrostatic shock to the region around the impact area causing too much blood-shot meat which is wasted. Also using too light of bullet will cause the bullet to fragment faster and not penetrate as deep as needed if heavy shoulder bones are hit or the shot is at an angle and must penetrate through the rumen to get into the boiler room. Not saying you can't take elk with the lighter bullets in the 7 Mag. just saying you'd damn well better place your shots well (I.E. between the ribs).
Hope this helps.
Sub Club member #145 (cause all it takes is 1, .45)
NRA Life member, RMEF, '99 H-D FLHTC
And a elk huntin' fool!
Last edited by Elkslayer; 09-30-2002 at 12:23..