I'm currently in the earliest stages of planning an Alaskan moose hunt, still probably about 2 years away by the time I do enough research and acquire the necessary gear. I live in Kentucky, and most of my hunting experience has been with whitetail deer, turkey, waterfowl, and other small game.
I have a MK V Ultra Lightweight in .300 Weatherby that I've hunted with/shot for almost 10 years now. I'm very comfortable shooting it and have taken many deer with it, the farthest at about 300 yards.
In preparation for coming to Alaska, I'm considering buying a new rifle. I want something with CRF, and I figure I might as well get something a little bigger, since there's nothing wrong with my .300 Weatherby.
I'm mostly looking at the Kimber 8400 Montana. My brother just got one in .300 Win Mag, and I have been really impressed with it so far. I had been thinking that the same rifle in .338 Win Mag would be the way for me to go.
However, the more I look at the numbers, the more I have a hard time convincing myself that the .338 is much of an upgrade. With the 200gr Nosler Partition load I shoot in my Weatherby it actually has more muzzle and down range energy than the .338 with 250gr Partitions, and it has a flatter trajectory. However, the .338 will obviously leave a little bigger hole. I just don't know if there would be enough difference in the terminal performance of these two to justify buying another gun.
Then there is the .375 H&H. There's no question that this would put me on another level as far as terminal performance is concerned. According to my reloading books, it should have a trajectory similar to the .338. Plus, from what I've read so far, this seems to be some of the best bear medicine available, if I were to ever go on a guided brownie hunt, or if on my moose hunt one decided that I might make a tasty snack. The Kimber Talkeetna, if you're not familiar with it, is stainless steel, comes only in .375 H&H, holds 4 rounds in the magazine, and has a 24" barrel with open sights. To me the drawbacks of the .375 are that it is really only practical for the largest of game, and that the Talkeetna is over $500 more than the .338.
A final point is about open sights. In the event of damage to your scope, it would be nice to have open sites so you could continue to hunt, but I would like some input on how important you all think this is. In all my years of hunting, I've never had a scope fail me, but I've never hunted in Alaska.
Whatever I decide to get, I'm probably looking at a Leupold VX-III in 2.5 x 8 to go on top. I have a Vari-X III 4.5-14 on my Weatherby, but think I should have something with a lower power for quick close-up shots, such as what you might expect in the event of a charge.
Sorry for the long post.