The Most Popular Moose Hunting Rifle
THE Most Popular Moose Hunting Rifle Caliber
The question around the campfire has always been what is the most popular caliber for hunting moose? I will provide my own thoughts and reasoning for the choices I have made over 41 years of hunting them and participating with others in the hunt.
When I started hunting in 1974 for moose anyway I bought a brand new 6.5 swede in a bolt action Husquarna. I killed my first bull with that rifle using a 156 gr Norma round nose. It was like launching a flying pencil because the bullet is very long for diameter. The beauty of this is light recoil and high b.c. A very efficient combination.
I had my doubts about the caliber even though the moose dropped where it stood at 240 yards. I went to a Sako Hunter in 30-06 and it was very efficient. Talking with others and researching I always was reminded that if the shooter did his job the '06 would do its job.
I killed moose that one using 180 gr normal core lot bullets sensing no deficiency.
Then later I had an affair with two 338 win mags. One was a Ruger #1 and a Tikka Whitetail model 695. This last accounted for 3 bulls all with 230 gr Winchester Failsafes and had 17 left in the box when I traded that one for a Tikka T3 in 30-06 and this one I think I am keeping till I hang up my guns for good.
It is very accurate, light and dependable and is already accounted for two Bulls.
I use premium ammo in this one using Federal and Winchester. I think a hunter owes it to himself. Most hunters I know only get out several weeks in the fall and the cost of ammo should be a minor consideration.
My other parting thoughts are practice! And practice again.
I have come to believe that moose are not bullet proof and have been brought down with a wide variety of calibers some of which most people would just shake heads at. I have used 7 mm mag, 45-70 (I like!) and a couple of older model 94's in .30 cal. They work too!
Clint Eastwood said in the movie Dirty Harry "a man's got to understand his limitations". I think choosing a rifle to hunt moose would use the same logic. The '06 will kill moose at distances beyond what most hunters should shoot at and is actually a better round now than in it's earlier days.
So thanks for this opportunity to let you know how I feel. By the way, the longest shot I have made was 600 yards (proven) and took a yearling bull at the end of a lake. The shortest was 35 yards both of which done with the Sako and the Tikka, both in 30-06 caliber.