View Full Version : Do you really need a 338 or such for Moose/bear/etc?

May 16, 2001, 10:46 AM
I know I have more confidence in a 338 for biger big game than I would in a 270/30-06/7mmRem. But part of me keeps saying it is all in my mind.

Paul B.
May 16, 2001, 12:43 PM
Good question. What did they use before all these hosshot magnums came on the market. Why the 30-06,270, and even the lowly 30-30. Read Lymans first edition cast bullet handbook and there are anecdotes of people who hunted moose with 30-30's and cast bullets.
These so called big game guide who won't take you out unless you have at least a .338 Mag. will never get my money. The good old 30-06 will do the job just as well now as it did in the past. JMHO. A moose hit in the right place will go down a lot quicker than one hit in the wrong place with a .458 magnum. If you can honestly shoot a .338 mag, well, go for it. If not, use your 30-06. It'll work just fine.
Paul B.

Al Thompson
May 16, 2001, 09:27 PM
I actually don't think Moose should be in the same basket as bear or elk. And there are some severe differences when you lump elk and bears together.

However, is the .338/.340 and up crew needed? IMHO, no - but - you end up limiting your shots due to the cartridge/bullet combo as opposed to your skill level. I think that the .30 and below crowd will kill very well at closer yardage. My personal limit is right at 300 yards. I would want a .338 for the 200 yards and beyond shots due to the additional smack.

Another factor to think about is time. I know several folks in Colorado that use the '06 as the big gun. They have the ability to pass on a longer shot as they are not pressured by time. For us common folk that have to use a guide as we are out of state, time may be against us. I want the limitation to be my maximum range not the bullet/cartridge's max. Those folks can pass today as they can be back tomorrow or the next weekend.

Not using an appropriate combo due to recoil is neck and neck with the same folks that refuse to practice with their rifles. Both groups are simply not paying their dues to hunt big game. Reminds me of an acquantiance that bought a 7mm STW for the "flat shooting" aspect and could not hit a coffee can at 100 yards with it. Truly a hardware solution to a software problem.

Game habits have changed and hunting ethics have also. The old timers had game that was closer and less wary. Rereading some of the old accounts, you'll note the horribly frequent mention of chasing wounded game. IMHO, this was the result of using inadequate equipment.



May 16, 2001, 09:54 PM
Spartacus and I spoke about going to Alaska after the recent elk thread in this forum.

We both have .35 Whelens on layaway. He also has a 7mm Mag on layaway, as well as two .300 WinMags he owns.

I believe the .35 Whelen will do a bang-up job on caribou, while still providing a good defensive piece if the Browns decide they want the miniscule and great white hunter combo meal.

My sole worry- and Spartacus' concern- is that we will only be presented with a far shot, and that the .35 won't carry the energy to cleanly anchor them.

Keith Rogan
May 17, 2001, 12:21 PM

The Mulchatna caribou I mentioned are inland in SW Alaska where you won't find any brown bear. The inland bears are grizzly's which are much smaller animals, so I wouldn't be too concerned about undergunning yourself.
I think a .35 Whelen and 7mm Mag would be a perfect combo for the hunt.
If you guys decide to go email for tips on judging caribou racks. It's real difficult to separate an average rack from a true trophy since the number of points aren't much help. The bulls tend to travel together and they all look huge from a distance.

May 17, 2001, 03:53 PM
Thanks, Keith. It's always nice to have someone who's "seen the elephant" in question.

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Lets...change...the beat.