Favorite cartridge/rifle for moose

1dirthawker

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Just curious as to what other hunters prefer for moose hunting. I am fully aware that you can kill them with anything, shot placement, and other standard comments.
I've shot or been in on over 50 moose, guiding and hunting with friends. i suspect that a 3006 with 180 gr would be a minimum, i would prefer a 338 win which i think is ideal for moose. flat shooting, hard hitting.
I am a firm believer in shooting until they drop, and if they move much on the ground I shoot more. That applies to anything I shoot.
agreed, i think that is a fine rule of thumb.
But surprisingly I've taken more Moose with my Ruger M77 6mm Rem than any other rifle.
a 6mm will kill a moose, but is too light of a rifle to responsibly take some shots. for instance a hard quartering toward you, too much penetration required (in my never to be humble opinion). a 6mm with great bullets obviously can kill a moose, as can a .223 and i know of one shot with a .22 lon rifle years ago. but, that does not make it much of a moose rifle.

if you get one shot at a bull quartering away or toward you at 250 yards, in or close to brush... well, i suspect a heavier caliber and bullet will do a much more reliable job.

they are about like an eland in size and i think most PH's would discourage or outright deny using such a small rifle on such large quarry. i have heard of moose being hit with 338 win/300 magnums and drop and then recover and get away.

i have watched moose get up after being hit with a 338 lapua, twice. both looked like good hits, the third shot put it down.
 

ldmay375

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I've shot or been in on over 50 moose, guiding and hunting with friends. i suspect that a 3006 with 180 gr would be a minimum, i would prefer a 338 win which i think is ideal for moose. flat shooting, hard hitting.

agreed, i think that is a fine rule of thumb.

a 6mm will kill a moose, but is too light of a rifle to responsibly take some shots. for instance a hard quartering toward you, too much penetration required (in my never to be humble opinion). a 6mm with great bullets obviously can kill a moose, as can a .223 and i know of one shot with a .22 lon rifle years ago. but, that does not make it much of a moose rifle.

if you get one shot at a bull quartering away or toward you at 250 yards, in or close to brush... well, i suspect a heavier caliber and bullet will do a much more reliable job.

they are about like an eland in size and i think most PH's would discourage or outright deny using such a small rifle on such large quarry. i have heard of moose being hit with 338 win/300 magnums and drop and then recover and get away.

i have watched moose get up after being hit with a 338 lapua, twice. both looked like good hits, the third shot put it down.
Personal choice for me, but I like the larger diameters and deeper penetrating bullets also.
A few times they have not been positioned exactly like I thought they were.
A little different angle can mean a lot more moose meat and/or big bone to go through.
I think that little different angle error happens on quite a few game shots.
 

Pheroze

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If I had not had optics, both of these would have walked. Because, I would not have been able to identify antler legality and doubtful if I could have found a hole in the brush to shoot through.
Optics, ok great issue - what magnification? My best scope (Swarovski) is very bright, by far the best of my collection. But, it is a minimum 3.5x variable. Do you think the magnification is a good tradeoff for clarity? Or, should I use the Nikon 2-9 or the Trijicon 1-4 instead? I am inclined to this it is fine but thought I would discuss it.
As to staying in the immediate area after shot, that area can be vastly different in a few moose lengths. Not unusual to hear a shooting-rodeo in the distance several minutes after a single shot.
As with any animal, if it is still standing and I have a shot, I am shooting. We all know the first shot is the most important.
Don't want that moose wandering into a bog, that is for sure! Also, they have a magical ability to fit through very narrow openings in the trees, and that leads to a lot of work!
 

1dirthawker

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A little different angle can mean a lot more moose meat and/or big bone to go through.
I think that little different angle error happens on quite a few game shots.

i think you are right here as well. a very real issue when hunting any animal, but a bigger deal with a small caliber/bullet for a large animal:

a hunter has spent between $500 and $20,000 for a moose hunt. it is the last day, and (or one has not seen many legal bulls) the trophy of a lifetime is walking away, or looking at you, or, or, or. regardless the ideal broad side shot opportunity is not there. will a hunter be disciplined enough to let that animal go? will that hunter take a texas heart shot with a 243? i hope not, but, guys want to take that bull home with them and will likely do the wrong thing. also, when guiding, the lightest rifle i ever saw in camp for moose was a 300 magnum.

the same bull walking away when shooting a 375 or 338 will likely end up in the salt. again, when a lot is on the line, it can cause poor decisions (only a poor decision if one is shooting a light rifle). that is probably the answer, it is only a poor decision if one has a light rifle on a moose. so, as has been said by smarter guys than i...use enough gun!
 

ldmay375

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Optics, ok great issue - what magnification? My best scope (Swarovski) is very bright, by far the best of my collection. But, it is a minimum 3.5x variable. Do you think the magnification is a good tradeoff for clarity? Or, should I use the Nikon 2-9 or the Trijicon 1-4 instead? I am inclined to this it is fine but thought I would discuss it.

Don't want that moose wandering into a bog, that is for sure! Also, they have a magical ability to fit through very narrow openings in the trees, and that leads to a lot of work!
I personally prefer 1-1.5 on the low end, and a minimum of about 60’ field of view at 100 yards. But, that is just my preference and heavily influenced by the area that I hunt.
I prefer wide field of view over the power X’s.
The X’s can be handy at times for finding holes in the brush, and that last minute check of antler legality. My most used scopes are the 1-4x24 and 1-6x24 types.
I am not saying they are the best. With equal quality glass the larger objectives edge the 24mm objectives out in the low light.
Not being able to identify the brow tines with very good binoculars, has prevented me from shooting rather than my straight tube scopes. Of course, there is a point that it gets too dark regardless of scope.
I have some pretty good 1.5-6, 1.5-8 scopes with 42mm objectives and have used them, and will again. But, the 24mm objectives have done quite well for me, at the distances that I shoot. Maximum power wise, I could be very satisfied with 5x, and no issues with 4x.
 

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Personally, I think that combination would be outstanding.
Its a great combination, the 35 Whelen is my go to rifle for allmost everything except DG.
 

luger6

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Fa4.jpg

Some more stats from Sweden.
3698 one shot kills.
In 1982 175000 moose where harvested in sweden, now we are down to ca 80000 animals/year.
 
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ldmay375

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The 358 Winchester is a nice compact thumper.
Those Pedersoli double 45-70 are fine looking rifle.
One of these years, I would like to tag one with my 45-70 lever rifle. But, my true allegiance is to bolt rifles.
 

Cam Moon

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@1dirthawker I just want to clarify...... I'm not saying that my 6mm is my "go to" moose rifle. Far from it! :E Laugh: At the time I used it because it's what I had. Shot placement is imperative! Especially with a smaller caliber. But I don't believe that using a large caliber is any substitute for proper shot placement either. A shot in the ass is still a shot in the ass! LOL
Also, with regards to your scenario of somebody paying big dollars and waiting many years to go for a moose, I'd think they would be a fool to take something like a 6mm! I was just sharing that I've actually taken most of mine with one. But I also had time to hunt and wasn't under a bunch of pressure. I was using quality bullets, hand-loaded, and I was VERY comfortable and confident with it. But over the years my arsenal has grown, and it has been staying in the cabinet as other, larger calibers have been out hunting.

FB_IMG_1618545335898~2.jpg

Small rifle, big moose.
 

mark-hunter

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@luger6
In sweden 80.000 moose per year is shot?
To me it sounds surreal!
What is then, estimated, total population of moose in Sweden?
 

Opposite Pole

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We do not hunt moose in Poland at the moment but annually we harvest over 80,000 Red Deer, nearly 200,000 Roe Deer, and 200,000-300,000 Boar. This is to keep the population steady, not to reduce it and Poland is not a big country.
 

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I've hunted a fair number of moose, and would suggest folks remember the size of moose varies greatly. Size varies by sex, and Sub species. Any wear from 200 and 350 kg (441 and 772 lb) to the largest confirmed ( Wikipedia) record that weighed 820 kg (1,808 lb) and measured 2.33 m (7.6 ft) high at the shoulder. (my personal best 860 lbs cut and wrapped)
The subspecies variation would change my caliber selection.

Pat
p.s. Started 308NM but now 9.3x62
 

ldmay375

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I've hunted a fair number of moose, and would suggest folks remember the size of moose varies greatly. Size varies by sex, and Sub species. Any wear from 200 and 350 kg (441 and 772 lb) to the largest confirmed ( Wikipedia) record that weighed 820 kg (1,808 lb) and measured 2.33 m (7.6 ft) high at the shoulder. (my personal best 860 lbs cut and wrapped)
The subspecies variation would change my caliber selection.

Pat
p.s. Started 308NM but now 9.3x62
I definitely agree about the Large variations in size.
That moose that yielded 860 lbs of cut/wrapped meat was Big moose.
In my opinion, No matter where you are, and no matter what subspecies it was, that was a sizable critter !
 

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