View Full Version : Longer Range Moose Shots

The Lost Yooper
January 21, 2001, 05:36 PM

Ok, let's say you had to shoot a bull moose through the shoulders at a range of 250 yards, which caliber and bullet would you choose? How about a 300WSM, 300 RUM, or 300WM? Any experiences would be helpful.



January 21, 2001, 07:43 PM
Um, the .338, or .375 would both drop it like loose change, but you'd have to know how high to hold, and that depends on your ammo.

The Lost Yooper
January 21, 2001, 09:07 PM
What's the definition of non-meat animals? I don't kill it unless I intend to eat it. However, if circumstances were such that a trophy moose needed to be dropped while on a guided hunt, I'd do it (if possible).
Thanks for the caliber recommendion. There seems to be a consensus that the 338WM will do it pretty easily. The 300UM doesn't seem to lag behind the 338 by too much, but of course doesn't leave as big a hole.


Johnny Guest
January 21, 2001, 10:14 PM
I've never shot a moose but made some small study of their anatomy when I was hunting bear in an area of Ontario where there were a bunch of moose. I decided two things: One, I'd try to avoid moose every chance I had. Two, if forced into a confrontation, my ‘06 with 165 gr. Sierra Game Kings would PROBABLY see me through at close range.

I agree that the .338 and .375 mags leave bigger holes, etc., and one of these would probably be MY choice--- but I assumed you were limiting the choices to the three .308" bore rifles.

Of those you list, I have personal experience only with the .300 Win Magnum. With the 180 gr. Sierra Game King and a bunch of ReLoder 22 powder, you can get up over 3,000 fps. Believe me, you'd know you're shooting a powerful rifle, without it being crippling in recoil.

Remember, thousands of moose have been killed with well-placed .30-30, .303 Brit and .30-06 bullets, without regard to the larger-bore rounds.

If you hold the idea of smacking a moose in the shoulder, you'll really want a solidly-constructed bullet.

Bad Medicine's comments notwithstanding, I would not be loathe to take a shoulder shot, especially late in the day, and/or if the animal was close to cover, and more especially if the range was fairly long. I think 250 yards is pretty distant for a moose.

I know the stories about the Native Americans emptying a magazine full of .22 LR solids into a moose's lungs and then following it up for a couple of days. Observations---One: That is subsistence hunting. Two: They have trackers who don't mind taking a couple of days to do the job. Three: Those hunters tend to be quite agile in case the animal becomes aggravated by the proceedings.

The goal of the sports hunter is immediate incapacitation, and a humane kill--not a tracking exercise. That said, if you've studied the animal's anatomy well and can place the bullet through the lungs, high enough to get some spinal shock, it will probably drip in place. Certainly, though, we try to allow for worst-case scenarion.

Good luck with your hunt, and .
Best regards--


The Lost Yooper
January 21, 2001, 10:29 PM
Johnny Guest,

Thanks for your insights. I have talked to a few guys who have taken longer shots through the shoulders of moose using 338's and have been impressed. I've yet to talk to anyone who has done it with a 30 caliber.
I'm not a big bore boy at all, so I don't have a clue really (just theory). If I can confirm that a 300WSM/300WM can do it, I may prefer it to the heavier recoiling 338WM.



January 21, 2001, 11:06 PM
If I were to shoot a moose with a .22, I would shoot it in the back/side rear of the skull. A shot or two there would turn his legs to noodles. As far as never talking to anyone who has done it with a 30 cal. you haven't talked to many bush/rural alaskan or canadians then. Many of these people prefere smaller caliber gun, which is better by means of more magazine capacity, cheaper ammo, and it'll still do the job. Old 30-30's and military surpluss 30-06's are very common for bush fellows.

A 30-06 through the lungs of a moose will have it dead in less than 15 mins, garunteed. But a moose is generally found through the thickest nastiest -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED- that you wouldn't want to pack a rabbit out of, and you can bet your balls, that's where he's gonna head to die. That's why I like my .375, It'll drop him where I hit him, and If I do my part, he wont be getting back up.

As far as opting for a .300 over the .338 because of the kick: I've heard great things about the .300 for long range elk and caribou, and deer shooting, it can hold it's punch quite a ways out, but so can the .338, and you should never consider sacrificing performance because of the kick of the rifle. I haven't shot a .300, but I have shot a .338, and it is not much worse than my 30-06. When I shot my coyote with it, I didn't even feel the kick. Excitment does that to ya, and if you're shooting at a moose, you're gonna be excited.

Unless you're shooting across a river, or a canyon, you should be able to get closer than 250yards. I was out looking for sheds today and found three moose. The first was at about 5 yards, second at about 30, and the last one at 40-50. They don't spook easily, they'll just sit there and chew sticks while you get close.

January 22, 2001, 08:14 AM
I don't know what's the hoopla with moose shooting with a zillion fps wondergun. Back down here, for one moose shot with a 300 mag, 10 fall to 270, 30-06 or 308. IMHO, shoulder shots are a bad idea on something that would feed me for a year, a heart-lung area shot generally brings down the beast within a mile. On an animal this big and profusely bleeding from a lung shot, tracking if far from being a problem... just look for the tightest bunch of s**t, as Bad Med said earlier, tight enough that you can't figure out how a moose could have gotten in there head first, it'll be lying in there somewhere!
As of caliber selection, if you want a sledgehammer, I humbly suggest 375.

The Lost Yooper
January 22, 2001, 02:07 PM
Thanks guys for sharing your thoughts. I understand that one can kill a moose with a shot to the lungs (behind the shoulder) fairly easily with much lesser rounds than the 300's. This is my preferred shot on whitetails. Of course I don't spend $3000 on a guided whitetail hunt either.
The entire jist of my concerns is a situation where the moose may take off for a swim (a bad scenario, I suspect)after being hit. Rather than taking an iffy neck shot, I'd opt for the double shoulder shot if the rifle were capable and the moose "in range". The question is -- what is "in range" for the 300 mags?

Thanks again,


Johnny Guest
January 23, 2001, 01:19 AM

That moose might be "In Range" farther out than you really want to shoot him. A quick glance at the tables shows that a .300 WM/180 SBT @ 3000, sighted in dead on at 200 yards strikes only 6.6 inches low at 300. You can easily mess with the sighting-in and extend the max point blank range (out perhaps 50 yards beyond that.

Moose are big animals and the target area is at least the size of a pie pan. Example: The 180 gr. Boat Tail Spitzer bullet going at "only" 3000 fps and zeroed at 300 yards strikes 3.7" high at 100 yards, 4.5" high at 200, zero at 300, and 10.5" low at 400. This means you can hold dead on to about 350 yards. No hold over a-tall. And this load is more than two grains less than max using RL-22 powder. You should be able to safely get 3100 fps from a 24" bbl. but you only reduce the 400 yard drop by an inch or so and I don't think it is worth the increased blast and recoil. And I sure can't tell the difference in an inch strike at 200, far less at 400.

I personally like BadMedicine's comments about being able to get a good deal closer than 250 a majority of the time. (Again, my disclaimer about never having shot a moose.)

Sportsmanship is a combination of a lot of things. One is getting into position for a shot you are SURE you can make, barring the uncontrollable variable. I've had bullets deflected by tree branches twice, at MUCH shorter ranges. One deer went down on a subsequent shot; one big hog did not.

If I have a totally unobstructed shot without needing to thread the bullet between bits of brush, and a SOLID rest,
AND a rifle/load combo I know well, AND no way to stalk closer, then I might very well take a 300-yard-plus shot. But it would have to be an exceptional situation. I really love long range rifle shooting, but I feel constrained to show some consideration toward game animals.

Best of luck to you--


Paul B.
January 23, 2001, 01:26 AM
Well, with a 180 gr. Nosler, probably 300 yards or so. I have never been lucky enough to hunt moose, but let's face it. A moose is a big, tough animal. Yet, used properly, even a 30-30, or even smaller rounds will bring one down. Not my cup of coffee, thank you. Nor would I much care for a .300 Mag. of any kind.I'd probably bring my .338 Mag.,loaded with 250 grain bullets and do "Brer" elk the bad deed. I might even use a .375x338 Mag. wildcat I have. It does everything the .375 H&H does in a standard length action, and with recoil still in the .338 Mag. range, which is tolerable. Bigger holes let more blood leak out and more air getting inside.
The .300s might shoot a bit farther and flatter, but half the fun is in sneaking up said moose, without him noticing you.
Paul B.

January 23, 2001, 07:26 AM
And then again, get a moose call and practice in the shower... so dear wife can think you're getting depressive and REALLY have to go. :D

The Lost Yooper
January 23, 2001, 02:19 PM
Johnny Guest,

Thanks for responding. By "in range" I was referring to the "energy range" (sorry). The 300WM certianly has sufficient trajectory for long range shots, but the question of sufficient energy to penetrate both shoulders of a bull moose at 200-250 yards is a tricky one. I've yet to talk to anyone who has taken such a shot, but I've only been looking for a short while.

Thanks everyone,


Ron Ankeny
January 24, 2001, 04:01 PM

I would use my .30-.338 loaded with 200 grain Nosler Partitions. The range is not long at all, and there is plenty of remaining energy. You know as well as I that the bullet will perform just fine.

I am a trophy hunter, and I have been chastized on this forum for being more interested in getting trophy animals on the ground as quickly and humanely as possible and to heck with a little bit of hamburger getting ruined. You are on the right track, if you have a trophy moose in your scope, and if you want him on the wall, and if you want him busted down and dead right there, then there is nothing wrong with body slamming him through both shoulders with a properly constructed bullet out of any of the .30 magnums.

I usually prefer to shoot them behind the front shoulder, but you will have less room for error, and if you shoot too far back, you will chance losing the animal altogether. Either shot is humane, ethical, and proper, so why argue the relative merits anyway?