I wrestle with the problem of seeing moose when I am hunting caribou and seeing moose when I am hunting bou! The question of bullet choice is a constant question all of the time! I do not want to shoot a caribou with a large grained bullet as I find that there is way to much damage and the bullet drops like a rock at 250+ yards.
3 years ago I was beginning a hike up a mountain to a large bench that had a group of 200+ caribou in the Noatak NP around the Aggie River area. I was packing my .270 with 130 grain bullets as I find them to really do the job on caribou and can reach out over 400 yards if needed and up 400yds+ is normal. I always carry a pocket full of 160 grain just incase I bump into a nice moose along the way.
About 20 mins. Into this hike I spotted a very nice bull moose taking a nap in some timber about 350 yards out and made the decision to for go the nice caribou we had spotted earlier and kill the day with this moose. I was shooting down hill at about a 20 degree angle and squeezed off a nice shot just behind the shoulder of this guy. The Big Boy lurched and moved about 20 yards into the timber and lay down. Cool! Time for a cup of coffee and a sandwich and give him time to bleed out right!!
I moved in on him after a 15 min rest and this guy bolted straight towards the Noatak River at Jessie Owens speed. Crap! I caught up to him at the river and he was about 20 yards from shore doing the back stroke like Michael Phelps but a boat passing by scared him back towards shore. The last thing I wanted is for this guy to get back into the willow so 2 shots in the neck at 40 yards and mongo was face down in knee-deep water.
Well the story was about bullet choice right? Me being the excited hunter forgot to drop the 130 grain and replace them with the 160’s and as we are pealing the hide back I find shot #1. Well placed and it entered just where I wanted it to but it hit a rib, traveled up towards the spine, lodged in the subcutaneous fat and did almost no damage. Hell this bull would of lived for sure if this was the only shot!
I know that I would have done the needed damage with a 160 grain bullet but the 130 just did not carry enough energy to get past the ribs! I use this example every year in my Physical Science class when we are learning about Inertia! The model 700 is a great gun and if the bullet had slid through the ribs rather than hitting one square on I would have been fine.
The moral of this story is chose the correct bullet for the job at hand and the rest is up to you. Most importantly is shot placement. A well-placed shot will get the job done for sure.
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