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Thread: Best Moose Caliber?

  1. #1
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Best Moose Caliber?

    Here's one we can all chew on; it comes up pretty often and I think with the influx of new folks here it's worth approaching in a different way. Let's talk about your top three choices of centerfire caliber for Alaska-Yukon moose. Once this percolates a bit I may post a poll on the favored calibers and see what we get.

    Here are my choices, in order of preference, and why.

    1. 7mm Remington Magnum. I carried one of these for over 20 years before started guiding, killed deer, elk, sheep, goat, black bear and moose with it. I always knew what it would do at various yardages and that particular rifle (it was a Ruger) was a real tack driver. Quit carrying it when I started guiding because I thought it was inadequate as a sure-fire bear stopper. Anyway, a sure moose killer, and a very flat shooter for those longer shots that sometimes present few alternatives.

    2. .338 Win. Mag. I don't own one, but I have seen plenty of moose killed with them. A very nice flat shooter with good bullet selection.

    3. 30.06. I have one, rarely use it, but you get an excellent choice of bullets for this caliber and it will surely kill a moose.

    Having said all that, I know that these are not the best choices for bear protection, a sermon I have preached here many times. I'm not asking about bear protection here, but simply what you would prefer to hunt moose with.

    Regards,

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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  2. #2
    Member gunup1's Avatar
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    Default 30.06

    Being that I have only dropped one moose in my life thus far, my opion on this issue is somewhat novice at best. However, I did drop a bull in his tracks with one shot from my .06
    Therefore, in my opion and for my own personal choice, 30.06 works just fine.
    Gunup1

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    I don't think there is such a thing as "best" as any caliber that kills quickly at the range you plan on shooting is good enough. Once you have enough gun to do that, how much better can you get? Lets see, there is dead, extra dead, really dead and graveyard dead. Any one of these will put meat in the freezer. I have used a 338win once,a 308win twice, a 300H&H once and a 270win 6 or 7 times. All of which put moose in the freezer. I'm not sure how to tell if one worked any better than the next. I think a better question would be where is the cut off point as to being too small. And, even that is pretty subjective. It will be interesting to see how many will say this or that whiz bang magnum is the best.

  4. #4
    Supporting Member AFHunter's Avatar
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    Wink Shoot straight

    The best caliber for a moose is: The largest caliber you can shoot accurately and shoot at least two boxes through in one sitting at the rifle range.

    I have seen four moose shot with .338s, one with a .300 and a few with a .270. Every moose is dead and did not go more than 20 yards on every moose. The caliber is not as important as accuracy in my opinion.

    I hunt everything with my .338.

    Mike, please add a column in your poll for the largest caliber you can shoot accurately.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    To me moose are kind of like brown bear as most times its best if they drop where you shoot them.Lots of times it takes the big wonderfull moose awhile to know he is dead when shot and he will hit the nearest water he can find for protection.If not hunting around water most all from 30/30 on up will work but around water I prefer something to stop him right now.Guess I will will go with the 338 with heavy bullet right up through the 458 cals but then again those are my choice for everything in Alaska.

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    Default Caliber

    Quote Originally Posted by AFHunter View Post
    The best caliber for a moose is: The largest caliber you can shoot accurately and shoot at least two boxes through in one sitting at the rifle range.

    I have seen four moose shot with .338s, one with a .300 and a few with a .270. Every moose is dead and did not go more than 20 yards on every moose. The caliber is not as important as accuracy in my opinion.

    I hunt everything with my .338.

    Mike, please add a column in your poll for the largest caliber you can shoot accurately.
    Im thinking its all about shot placement and the know how to down the animal the fastest with out wounding the animal...I have taken 3 moose w/ 25-06 & they all droped in there tracks w/ one going about 10yrds...But my gun of choice is a 300wm Can't go wrong for any big game animal...Just my 2cents...Its all about shot placement...Its not the size of the gun its if you know how to shoot it

  7. #7

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    I have a .338WM and a few .30-06' s. I have not killed any moose with an .06' but my wife did. All the moose I have taken have been with my .338WM purely by luck. They all died promptly with one round. Back to the luck. There have been years where I agonized over which caliber/rifle to take because I like them both very much, as luck would have it, whenever I chose to take the 06' I would not get a moose that season so, next season out goes my .338WM, bang, moose on the ground . So luck would dictate that I favor my .338WM but I think both are superb calibers.

  8. #8

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    1. 25-06
    2. 300 Win Mag
    3. 30-06

    These are the best calibers I have seen and used (and I have seen and used a bunch), in the order of preference. The reasons are difficult to qualify and probably end up being to subjective to others anyway, so...., other than to say "experience" and lots of moose meat.

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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    Default

    Like it was said in a previous post, it depends on how accurate with a particular caliber more than the caliber itself. I know of a guy that shoots moose with a .223 and some people use a .375 IMO the best caliber for moose ranges from 7mm to .338 I have recently bought a .270WSM and I want to try it out on moose. All the moose I have taken has been from either 7mm, .300win mag, and .338 win mag

  10. #10

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    I have my choice of 3 different weapons for moose.
    1. Winchester model 70 375 H&H, this round puts the smack down on big bull moose and will handle the biggest of brown bears as well. Mine shoots the Federal Premium 300 gr Nosler Partitions the best.
    2. Marlin 1895 XLR 45-70, I haven't had a chance to put a biig critter down with this setup but i am hoping to give it a try next spring for brown bears and maybe moose in the fall.
    3. Kodiak Nomad compound bow, I am buying one of these this winter and should I get lucky and draw a late Ft Rich moose tag I hope to use it on a big bull moose.

    I have taken probably 9-10 moose over the years and all but one were taken with a Winchester model 70 300 win mag and 200 gr Nosler Partitions.

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Default

    Here's my list:
    1. 30.06-Most moose I've killed have been with this caliber. I've shot anywhere from 150-220 grain before finally settling on 180 grain. This has always been my go-to gun, BUT I put a new synthetic stock on it, hope she still shoots true!

    2. .338-One of my favorite rifles I own but not my go-to gun (see above ) Due to scope ring issues this one hasn't seen much action yet shot one moose with it in '04. Bought it to retire the ole '06.

    3. Marlin XLR .444-My first ever one-shot kill occurred this fall using a Hornady Lever Revolution 265; and my buddy said it was underpowered for bear!

    For the record, my dad shot only a Remington 7mm for everything up here, although he was not a bear hunter. Took elk on Afognak, caribou on the AK Pen, etc...Always carried a .44 for backup though.

    Tim

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    Moose hunting is not always about what will kill a moose as they are easy to kill. The problem we run into is returning to a carcass and find a mad griz. This is why all the moose I have killed with the exception of two (9,3x74R and 454 Casull) have been shot with a 375 H&H. My son shoots an 06, my wife will be shooting a .308. Both are great moose rifles. But I will be there with my 375 just in case.

    Same principal as to why I like to carry larger bore rifles while deer hunting on Kodiak, just in case.
    Tennessee

  13. #13
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    For moose I have a plethora of rifles to choose from... 30-30, 270wsm, 7mm, 308, 325wsm. The 270 and 325 are both stainless/synthetic and all the others are wood/blued. If I am chasing moose the 325 w/ zeiss conquest 3x9 is in my hand loaded with 200grn accubonds. Of these guns only one has taken a moose and it was the little 308 ruger compact in the hands of my wife. She has a cheap Simmons scope and was shooting cheapo 180grn Winchester silvertips (thin skinned game loads). 65 yards standing unsupported boom....flop...DRT

    I don't agree with the largest caliber ideology. I know several people that are deadly with a 375 but wouldn't carry it for moose due to range etc. My 270wsm is my favorite rifle to shoot, it is forgiving in the recoil dept and just plain fun to shoot. It is also very accurate, extremely light and will be getting a zeiss scope this year to replace the leupold rifleman. It likes 140 grn accubonds and I keep it sighted in with them for bou and those white mountain critters. I would shoot a moose and definitely a black bear with it if the opportunity presented but I wouldn't carry it if they were the target species. For me the 325 falls into the sweet spot though honestly anything from the 300-338 in the various cartridges will do their part if you do yours at any reasonable range you are likely to find in the field.


    I would not reccommend the silvertips for moose however... The bullet impacted a cervical vertebrae and detonated both the bullet and the vertebrae. The damage to the surrounding meat was astounding! Had it been a shoulder vs a vertebrae we may have been in for a tracking job!

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default surprised to see this...

    There must be a thousand or more threads pertaining to "what is the best caliber for...?"

    Invariably they mostly lead newbie hunters into thinking caliber is more important than practice and accuracy and knowing where to place the bullet depending on how the animal presents itself.

    When I first moved out to the bush a longtime bushrat and mentor had finally come up with the "perfect" all-around rifle for everything. It was a custom stainless Sako in .223 with peep sights, weighed just over four pounds.

    Practice, knowledge of anatomy, the right bullet, and accuracy are far more important than caliber any day. Just my .02

  15. #15
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Clarification

    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    There must be a thousand or more threads pertaining to "what is the best caliber for...?"

    Invariably they mostly lead newbie hunters into thinking caliber is more important than practice and accuracy and knowing where to place the bullet depending on how the animal presents itself.

    When I first moved out to the bush a longtime bushrat and mentor had finally come up with the "perfect" all-around rifle for everything. It was a custom stainless Sako in .223 with peep sights, weighed just over four pounds.

    Practice, knowledge of anatomy, the right bullet, and accuracy are far more important than caliber any day. Just my .02
    Hi Mark,

    Agreed. But rather than getting tangled up in all the variables I thought a thread JUST on calibers would be productive. I have an idea of a series of threads like this directed for the benefit of new hunters or folks new to Alaska. In those other threads we can and should discuss accuracy, recoil, bear protection, meat waste from some of the larger bullets, ammunition, wounding of game, and the host of other related issues.

    The purpose of this thread is to simply find out what YOUR personal choice of caliber is, and why. So.. how about you?

    Take care,

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
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    280, 300, 338....... Big enough to bust thru brush if need be but small enough to not cause meat damage if the bullet is placed properly. I have shot many animals with my 300 Win. and I've never worried about that 1'' to 2'' tree/stick/branch thats close to the kill zone. I think you have to start worrying about that when shooting a smaller caliber. Again I think accuracy and practice is most important but I don't want to have to pass on that big bull (knowing he is legal) that just won't fully present himself for a completely open shot.

  17. #17
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default Mike, this has come up before...

    ...and I was somewhat beaten upon because folks thought a certain caliber was way too light for moose <grin>.

    There is really no "best" caliber for moose, and neither imo is there any "best three" calibers for moose.

    As for me...all I'll say is that in my experience the choice of bullet is far more important than choice of caliber. So for you newer guys, if you don't reload I'd highly recommend buying some kind of premium ammunition with either Nosler partition or some of the newer Swift bullets. This will save you from wounding an animal and having it get away in many cases. And when we speak about "best calibers for..." I really think that's what we are driving at.

    Again, a search of the archives will likely result in tons of threads on this very topic...it seems to be the thread starter that will never go away <grin>.

  18. #18
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Here's another-

    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    ...Again, a search of the archives will likely result in tons of threads on this very topic...it seems to be the thread starter that will never go away <grin>.
    Wait until you see my bear thread... you think THIS one covers old ground.

    Seriously though, these topics are always timely. We have a HUGE number of new visitors now, and... well....

    So, you're not biting, eh? Well, I tried!

    :-)

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  19. #19

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    personally i love my 7mm rem mag, tac driving, flat shooting, with plenty of knock down power. I like to be able to take a shot at 300-500 yards if the option becomes available, and have never had a problem with knock down power with the 175 grain federals, and been coyote hunting with the 135 grain speeders.

    For me it makes a good all around gun that i can shoot all day and reliable know where the bullet is going.

    I would also like to stress optics over caliber. Personally i would rather have a .223 rifle with a nice scope vs a .338 with poor optics. after all if you cant reliably see what you are aiming at or it dosent keep zero what is the point of having massive know down power?

  20. #20
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    From reading I believe I can see where a big difference in gun may come from. A big difference I believe is where you live or hunt.Folks have talked about 300 yard shots but in the area I have hunted you are lucky to see for 100 yards 50 about normal and most any scope over 3X all the twigs become logs.To some the 375H&H has no range but in fact the big bullet equals that of the 30/06 for flat shooting.
    Heres my new statement on moose gun but for S.E.Alaska,338 heavy bullet up through 458 cal bullets.If you have a couple of partners that will be with you the whole time and carring guns you can go smaller if you like. Bears love moose meat and in the thick stuff light bullets and high power scopes don't work. Carried a 45/70 everywhere the first go around 89-95 and thats what I'm bringing back.

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