What is the best moose hunting ammunition? Like the question “What is the best moose hunting rifle?”; the answer is very subjective. There many variables to consider when trying to answer a question such as this. For instance: shooting distance, caliber, skill level, stance of the animal, velocity, energy and bullet weights just to name a few.
I am not going to pretend that I know everything there is to know about picking the best ammo for moose hunting... but I can tell what works for me and a few of my hunting partners.
Image courtesy of www.barnesbullets.com/information/bullet-talk/lab-tests/ .308 168gr TTSX at 100 Yards
I must admit factory ammunition has come a long ways since my grandfather used WW2 surplus ammunition some of which were tracer bullets. Ammunition in the old days was mass produced, not with accuracy in mind but with the sole intent of getting a lot of lead going in the direction of the enemy.
Today most of the ammunition manufacturers have some sort of premium ammo to offer. Manufacturing tolerances have tightened up for both firearms and ammo and it is not uncommon to purchase a stock rifle that is capable of shooting under a MOA (minute of angle). A minute of angle is about an inch or 25.4 mm at 100 yards... not bad for factory.
If you can add anything to this information I am sharing please post it over at the ask an expert page, it will be greatly appreciated by everyone who visits this site.
Unless you are a target shooter, this kind of out-of-the-box accuracy is plenty good enough for most hunting situations.
I handload, that is, I make my own ammunition for hunting. I have found this gives me the most flexibility in making ammunition for moose hunting. I use premium components and I follow reloading guidelines to be sure my cartridges are consistent, accurate and of course safe.
Handloading is not for everyone, and is not necessary with the quality ammunition that is available for hunting. Most manufacturers create a premium line with either their own proprietary made bullets or put together with fine bullets from Sierra, Hornady or my personal favorites Nosler or Barnes.
Ballistically speaking various rifle calibers perform best with certain bullets weights, the militaries from around the world have proven this.
I used to shoot Sierra Bullets exclusively for moose hunting until I had a bad experience with a bullet that disintegrated when it hit bone. The moose was injured and I was unable to recover the animal. The next day I had a second chance at a moose, and I got that one. It turned out it was the one that got away the day before. I swore I would change bullets, I did and I have never had a bullet fail again.
I only really recommend two different bullets for moose hunting now... the Barnes X bullet or the Nosler Partion. These bullets have proven themselves time and time again against moose sized animals. Since I switched I have had only one shot kills while using my chosen moose hunting ammunition.
Federal, Winchester and Remington to name a few of the most common and
readily available manufactures all offer premium ammo. When given a
choice I would purchase Federal Premium ammo with either the Barnes X or
the Nosler Partion.
I have trust in these bullets and these cartridge manufacturers.
If I were not handloading I would certainly only use premium cartridges from quality manufactures. The fact that I do handload stems from the fact that when I started to hunt, manufacturers cartridges left something to be desired when it came to reliability and consistency... that of course is different in today's modern world.
If I were starting out today I might not purchase all the handloading equipment I now own, rather I would just buy off the shelf quality ammo.
Quality moose hunting ammunition IS available; this is one reason to stay with common calibers. For a visit to the far North with a firearm without ammo (some airlines prohibit the transport of cartridges) may be disastrous if you find you cannot purchase ammunition upon your arrival. The standards: 7mm , .300 Win, 30-06, .308, .270 will likely be found anywhere you travel, you might not be so lucky with some others.