The Best Moose Hunting Rifle Caliber is...

It would be easy for me to point out one particular moose hunting rifle and then point out all its strong points. The truth be known though a strong case can be made for dozens of different calibers.

Moose Hunting Rifle - Tikka T3 Lite in .30-06 containing 180 gr Federal Premium with Nosler partition and mounted with a Leupold VX1 4-12 x 40 mm

I have used two commonly available calibers myself and have had very good success with both. I will explain that later. As you may be aware the topic for choosing a rifle caliber for big game hunting has been hotly debated since before smokeless powder was available.

Hunters are passionate people and are usually more than willing to sit down and share with you there choice of calibers and why they think their choice is best... or at least better than yours!

What Makes the Best Moose Hunting Rifle?

Moose are huge animals, therefore whatever moose hunting rifle caliber you use must have at minimum enough energy to penetrate the vitals on a broadside shot (that would include breaking a rib or two). If you are not prepared to wait for a broadside shot only, then you will need enough energy to pierce the thick shoulder bones and still reach the vital area.

The best moose hunting rifle should be capable of either of those scenarios.

As hunters, the one thing we must all keep in mind it is our duty to dispatch our game quickly and humanely.

I find it necessary to discount a few so-called candidates for a moose rifle.

It would be frowned upon by the big game hunting community for you to be hunting moose with any 22 caliber rifle, they are just too small and do not carry enough energy, I would go so far to suggest that a 243 caliber rifle is too small for hunting moose as well. These small calibers just do not have enough bullet mass or energy to take down moose sized game.

Suggested Moose Hunting Rifles

.30-30 Winchester

Who has not heard of the venerable 30-30 Winchester? This caliber has probably killed more game (including moose) than any other firearm in history, but it would not be my first choice for a moose hunting rifle.

Compact and light weight they are a hunters dream except for its short comings.

1) Effective range 150 meters (yards).
2) Not enough energy at the further distance.
3) It is not an accurate cartridge. It makes a great deer sized game rifle, just a little too small or light on energy for moose.

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.30-06 Springfield

If you stick with well-known and readily available calibers for moose hunting you are on your way to success. The .30-06 caliber rifle is an awesome caliber. If you are a re-loader you probably already know that bullets are available from 100 grains up to 220 grains with a huge variety of shapes and weights in between.

Love our antler art? Want one in your caliber? Visit our antler art web pape and order a custom one.

The 30-06 has everything going for it. Loaded with 180 grain bullets, you can take on any North American Game. The .30-06 is a good flat shooting, long range moose hunting rifle. It is an accurate caliber with lots of energy; loaded correctly, has a point blank range of approximately 330 meters.

Point Blank Range: when sighted correctly will hit a 10 inch diameter circle anywhere from the muzzle out to 330 meters. This distance is more than ample for most moose hunters in any situation.

Be sure to check out our recommended hunting gear page!

I have taken 11 moose with my 30-06 caliber using 180 grain bullets, 8 of these moose were with one shot the other two I took one more shot, only because they were still standing (as it turned out , the second shot wasn’t required). I have been very happy with the results with this rifle and highly recommend it as an excellent moose hunting rifle. My son and my father now share the 30-06, depending on which one of them comes with me.

I have a Leupold rifle scope mounted to most of my hunting rifles. This is the brand that fits my budget and gives me the reliability and quality I expect.

The Perfect Hunting Rifle

In search of the perfect hunting rifle. Blogger Adrian Skok talks about building the perfect North American rifle and how some calibers, ones we wouldn't think of using, will take down the largest of game.

Skok says: There is much wisdom in the statement, "beware of the man with only one rifle, because he likely knows how to use it."

.308 Winchester

Model 88 Winchester - Chambered in .308Model 88 Winchester - Chambered in .308

My father has always loved the .308 cartridge for hunting moose, but through an unfortunate turn of events lost it.

In his younger days (he is 90 now... and still moose hunting!) he hunted moose on horseback in the Caribou region of British Columbia. He had a Savage model 99F in .308 and killed several moose with it using 150 grain bullets. His recommendation... the .308 caliber for a moose hunting rifle.

Target ResultsBarnes Bullets at the Range

I must agree with him, the .308 is a good cartridge for moose hunting. For me though I look for a cartridge that has just a little more reach than what the .308 has to offer.

Here are a couple of related articles...
The right bullet choice for a 308

308 Bullet Choice for Moose

The Barnes 150 gr TTSX

Bull moose in lake

.270 Winchester

My current moose hunting rifle is a .270 caliber. Some might argue that the .270 is under gunning if used for moose hunting. In some senses they would be right... but in the right hands it is an adequate cartridge. It is another example of a flat shooting long range hunting rifle.

Since switching to the .270 I have shot 9 moose. It is a .270 caliber Model-75 stainless steel with a beautiful wood stock. I use 130 grain Nosler Partion bullets.

My 270 has taken lots of one-shot moose? How about you? Or are you undecided?

7mm Remington Magnum

One of my moose hunting partners shoots a Parker Hale 7mm Remington Magnum with 160 grain bullets and has taken many moose with this rifle. He loves this rifle, as a matter of fact I have several friends that use this caliber for a moose hunting rifle. My only complaint is the recoil. With the amount of recoil you get from any magnum rifle, it just does not make it a pleasure to shoot.

7mm WSM

New to me this year is the 7mm Winchester Short Magnum. The model I received is a Browning A-Bolt in stainless steel mounted in a synthetic stock.

The scope is one that I love! It's a Leupold Vari X-III 3X9 with a 40mm objective.

As of this writing I haven't had a chance to take it to the range nor will I be able to try it out on a moose hunt  this coming season (we are going for the archery only season).

I'll probably choose a solid copper bullet in either 130 or 150 grain for this rifle as I have decided to do my part for the environment and switch away from using lead bullets (see article on the banning of lead bullets).

.338 Winchester

Another friend of mine shoots a 338 caliber rifle and he too, has taken many moose.


It would seem that you are not alone. The question of which is the better moose hunting rifle combination for moose hunting has been going on for years. I have an opinion that will likely be in disagreement with others.

You see, there is no absolute correct answer! Recommendations are about the best we can do.

You need to do your research, due diligence I think we’ll call it. As I stated previously I currently am using a Model 75 Sako .270 caliber hunting rifle, and I get my moose. I also should say that I am a marksman; I have competed in and won many competitions. With my skill level I have no problem using this caliber; I also know the limitations of this moose hunting rifle. There are definitely times when I must choose to wait for a better presentation from the animal or simply choose not to shoot.

When choosing a moose hunting rifle you must consider the following :

  • How much money do you want to spend? Prices can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars!
  • Your skill level – (do you practice regularly)
  • Are you prepared to take only broadside killing shots? Or are you going to take a chance at marginal shots too?
  • What distance you will most likely shooting at? 100 yards to 400 yards? (If you do not practice long distance you should not shoot at an animal long distance). IE: You should never shoot at an animal at any further distance than what you practice and are efficient at.
  • Are you hunting the prairie provinces or are you hunting the thick west coast mountains? In other words do you need a long range or a bush moose hunting rifle.
  • Do you flinch when you pull the trigger of your hunting rifle. Are you afraid of the recoil? Many a hunter get beat-up by their own rifles because they purchase one that has too much recoil for what they can tolerate; this only makes for sore shoulders and wounded animals.

Do talk to everyone you know who knows anything about moose hunting. Find out what they use for a moose hunting rifle, ask questions. Go to your local rifle range and see what successful hunters are using.

Don't forget our moose hunting tips page. It's a valuable resource!


The Moose Hunting Tips eBook - The Ultimate Guide to Moose Hunting

I recommend that you look at the .30-06 Winchester or the Winchester Short Magnum (WSM) in .300 caliber as possible choices for a moose hunting rifle.

These rifle calibers offer a large choice in bullet weights to suit the demands of the modern day hunter. You should be able to find a cartridge that is fitting for moose sized game.

For the average hunter these are high performance hunting rifle calibers that give magnum velocities without the massive recoil. Most rifle manufacturers make entry level to premium grade rifles. You should be able to find one to fit your budget.

Stick with the well-known brands and calibers for a moose hunting rifle, this way parts and ammunition will be readily available no matter where you travel.

Oh, I almost forgot... stay away from semi-automatic rifles, they just do not have the accuracy potential of the always reliable bolt action rifle.

Want to know what scope to mount on your moose hunting rifle?
I recommend the Leupold VX Rifle Scopes.

A note on break action rifles: If you are not 100 percent confident in your shooting abilities I would stay away from these. If you need to make that second shot it just might take too much time to reload.

Moose Hunting Rifle Survey Results

The results of the vote for your favorite moose hunting rifle caliber are in constant change.

As of January 2019: 1791 respondents.

  • 30-06 (23.2%)  chose as their favorite moose rifle.
  • .308 (10.0%) 
  • 300 Win Mag (9.6%)
  • 7mm Rem Mag (9.0%)
  • .270 Win (6.2 %)
  • .338 Win Mag (5.4%)
  • .300 WSM (4.8)
  • This list comprises the most popular, vote to see the balance.

The Other category was chosen by 310 respondents.

What do you think? Voice your opinion!

After the Purchase

Once you purchase your moose hunting rifle....Practice, Practice, Practice. Assuming of course you have taken the time to properly sight in and maintain your rifle. I cannot stress this enough! Remember this if you remember nothing else, do not shoot at animals at any greater distance that what you practice and are proficient at. It is very disheartening to hear a hunting story of a hunter and they brag about how it took 3, 4, 5 or more shots to take a moose down. One properly placed shot, through the vitals is all it takes.

Then when the moment of truth arrives, you need to decide under what circumstances you will shoot; know the anatomy of your target, identify the vital area and make your shot confidently.

An article of interest...

Want to know what kind of moose hunting ammunition to use? Visit our moose hunting ammunition page and read our point of view.

Want to learn how to hunt moose? Or are you wanting to increase your moose hunting skills?

Look no further!

Our moose hunting tips book is written with not just the novice in mind, there are tips in the book that even the most seasoned moose hunter will find of value.

The book includes 57 chapters, with more than 150 pages of information, jam packed with tips, techniques and discussions - The Ultimate Guide to Moose Hunting!

And don't forget to order one of our Fiberglass Moose Calls. In stock and ready to ship.

Do you have a favourite caliber or have a question about moose hunting rifles?

I think it is fair to say that most hunters have a favorite big game rifle (brand, action and caliber). Do You? Why did you choose it? Do you think that one particular brand, caliber or action is best? Why?

Got a question?? Ask away!

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Too Much Scope Question 
I own a 12 to 20 X 50 scope. Is this too much scope for moose? I love my 7 mm mag and I shoot 174 grain bullets. It is a break open single shot version. …

30-06 Browning BLR with Hornady Ammunition 
After 8 years with .270 Weatherby MK-V using Federal Fusion 160g I took one bull with a single shot in 2016 at 80yds. Now with my 30-06 Browning BLR …

Lee Enfield No4 
Seeking two bits of intel regarding using a Lee Enfield No4, MK1 for hunting both moose and elk. First please, what is a humane effective range for …

30.06 Remington 
After shooting many brands and makes of rifles and ammo, I Remington 700 CDL 30.06 Springfield is my "go-to" gun for hunting. It is a joy to shoot. Heavier …

30.06 Winchester? 
In your article, you specifically recommend either a 30.06 "Winchester" or the Winchester in Short Magnum. I've been around firearms for a good many years …

Moose Virgin 
I am an Alberta hunter who has never filled a moose tag. I have Savage chambered in 7mm Remington Magnum that I have taken an Elk with and a Tikka …

6.5 Creedmoor 
My first moose hunt might be this fall. I bought a Savage Weather Warrior for Elk. Would this be an adequate caliber for moose? Thanks for the question …

308 vs 3006 for Moose Hunting 
From what I have read the point blank difference between the 308 and 30-06 is less than 25 yds and the 30-06 has a lot more kick. You should practice …

Manitoba Big Game Guide 
The best of the best is what I use. I'm 72 years old and am brain washed with my Swedish Carl-Gustaf 7mm-Rem-Mag and a 160 grain Speer Mag Tip bullet, …

.300 Weatherby Magnum (Mark V) 
I bought this rifle while living in the Sub-arctic for long range caribou hunting...then learned you do not need a long range rifle for caribou! Never …

.35 Whelen A.I. 
The .35 Whelen has it all... it will shoot far heavier bullets than the '06, it shoots them faster and flatter, with way more energy on target. Close …

.270 vs .30-06 
I too use a .270 win for most of my moose hunting, using 150 grain Corelocks I can break the shoulder blade and still take out the lungs if I need to. …

The headstamp isn't as important to the moose, as it is to you 
So often, the discussion is around how powerful a gun should be, but how often does a moose hunt fail because the bullet didn't have enough power? Very …

7mm Rem Mag Browning BAR semi auto ejection problems... 
Hello all. I have a 7mm Rem Mag Browning BAR semi-auto which is showing ejection problems after the first shot and I just can't find why it does that... …

Alberta Canada Fall Moose Hunting  
I have a Browning A-bolt in a .300 WSM, I also have a Savage model 111 .300 Win Mag. I live in northern Alberta with a lot of heavy bush so my choice …

45-70 Caliber Rifle for Moose 
It is agreed... Shot placement is the real deal. I hunt Moose with a Browning 1885 High Wall in 45-70 using iron sights. You need to get inside of …

First moose hunt, bull tag in Maine Zone 2..... 
Took almost 25 years but I fianlly got the tag. I'm sure I'll be hanging around here and asking more questions but let's start off with cartridge. …

Best ammo and caliber for moose hunting in Northern Manitoba, Canada. 
I'm going to Northern Manitoba to go moose hunting this fall. First week of October. I have a Ruger 77 in 308. Will this gun fit the bill? If so, …

German Calibers 
8X57 IS and 9.3X62 are my favorite, the Germans know how to make a good cartridge. Less pressure less recoil than most of the the other calibers. …

375 H&H and here's why 
I hunt moose in Alaska and I take my 1967 Winchester model 70 375 H&H magnum shooting 300 grain nosler partitions. It's blued with a wood stock, no …

.303 British  
Out to lunch on your .30-30 as a moose killer north of the 49th! By far the Lee-Enfield No.4 in varied marks has killed more moose, deer and probably …

The Most Popular Moose Hunting Rifle 
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 …

Caliber and Weight Bullet Combination 
Is 140 grain Accubond Bullet out of Remington 7mm at 3200 fps enough for a clean kill on moose? ============ I would think that a 140 grain Accubond …

Moose Hunting Rifle Debate 
Inevitably every hunt camp has the usual rifle show and tell and debate to why his or her's rifle and rifle cartridge choice is the best. Having experienced …

Click here to write your own.

7mm Remington Magnum Recoil 
I really don't think that the 7mm Remington magnum has such bad recoil. I have been using this caliber for 6 years and really don't notice much difference …

7MM WSM for Moose Hunting 
What bullet weight/type do you recommend for 7MM WSM for moose? I will be reloading. I would recommend using a 130 grain weight bullet for your …

300 Wildcat for Moose 
300 wildcat cartridges outperform the 300 Weatherby magnum, at the same time you want a caliber that gives the highest velocity with the least amount of …

A Lightweight Moose Hunting Rifle .308 BLR 
I use a BLR, among other rifles... It depends if I am going to do a lot of walking, it has range enough, and I break their necks, down they go like they …

150 Barnes and 180 Noslers for Moose Hunting 
I'm headed up for the first time to Newfoundland after moose. I need help to decide on a gun bullet combo, I do have a 300 win mag with a break action …

...30-06, reloaded with varget powder, behind a 168 grs. barnes X 
...That's my choice up to 300 yards... Or a muzzleloader at close range, ... less than 100 yards,... cal. .68, smooth bore, 360 grs. round ball pushed …

Which Bullet Weight for 30-06 Moose Hunting 
Moose Hunt 2014, NB Canada Last week Sept (5 days) I use a Remington 700 in 30:06 cal. My friend who is my second gun insists that a 150 grain bullet …

Moose Load for .35 Whelen 
Currently working on a load for my Rem pump .35 Whelen. Barnes 225 gr TSX should get it done with RL-15 powder. Hoping for 3" group at 200 yds. Quebec …

7mm Remington Magnum vs 300 Winchester Short Magnum 
New to hunting, won a moose draw in BC. I'm not the best shot but can hold my own. Tikka T3 Lite is what I am thinking, just not sure on the size 7mm or …

My Moose Rifle Picks  
A lot of good info on Moose caliber selection. I have used quite a few different calibers from 260 Remington up to 338 Ultra Mag. The 260 with 140 …

7mm WSM vs a 7mm Remngton Magnum 
The performance of a 7mm WSM vs a 7mm Remington Magnum is virtually the same. Ballistics are basically the same when compared to a ballistics table. …

Hunting moose with 7.62 by 39 
Can you hunt moose in Quebec with 7.62 X 39 ? I think it's a great chambered rifle with a lot of punch. While the 7.62X39 is a popular cartridge …

Old Rifles for Moose Hunting 
New to Moose Hunting with Old Rifles This is a fantastic website....thanks for putting it on. At 41 and relatively new to hunting I have a couple of …

Love My Tika 270 WSM 
Love my new Tika 270 WSM. I also own a 308 Norma Magnum. It's tough to get shells for unless you hand load. It was the first short action Magnum in …

Moose hunting from a Canoe 
Back around 1962 my moose hunting step father told me quite a story about a recent trip from up in northern Ontario. As his hunting buddy's were aging …

Right Bullet Choice for 308 for Hunting Moose 
Going to use a custom built 308 for hunting moose this year in Alberta and Yukon for the first time ( nice, compact and light for my recently repaired …

Browning 308 BLR Moose Hunting Rifle 
I use a Browning 308 BLR with a 2 to 7 Leupold Scope. Dan, Thanks for your input. Here's a little information about the Browning BLR Lever Action …

338 Winchester for a Moose Rifle 
Well I've dropped a lot of moose, some have run off, but none have ever got up and run when hit by a .338 cal. Winchester mag 225 grain soft point boat …

Cold Shot Accuracy 
I have used .308 with 165 grain Core Lokt bullets on Moose, .270 on African game and now own a 30-06 SAKO Bavarian (wood stock.) Which has been to the …

Moose Hunting Caliber 30-06 Winchester Model 70 
I like that Winchester model 70, it is the best for moose hunting! Thanks for the comment Tluang. I couldn't agree with you more. From what I've …

308 for a Moose Hunting Rifle 
Gun Purchase Question I am considering purchasing a Remington 700 VTR in 308. I was wondering if this rifle is good enough for my moose hunting trip …

358 Savage Lever Action 
I`m experimenting with this rifle and the dies were hard to find. As of now I have found 170 grain gives a good distance with a nice result. Will let …

Browning BLR - 300wsm 
Browning BLR Lightweight Pistol grip .300 WSM Before I picked this up it was the old reliable .300 Winchester magnum. Use 180gr bullet in both. …

45-70 Caliber for Moose Hunting 
I bought a 45-70 caliber recently, to get back into deer hunting. A bit of overkill, but I will be in Northern Maine (above Caribou) where I grew up, …

Moose Hunting Rifle Scope 
What brand of scope should i purchase for my moose hunting rifle? How much power should it have? BTW, I shoot a Winchester Model 70 in 30-06 caliber. …

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308 Remington Pump Action 
I use a 308 Remington Pump action. They say that Remington is the only gun manufacturer that makes a pump action rifle. I use a one eighty grain bullet. …

Best Rifle Combo for Moose 
In 2012 I shot my 30th moose in 50 years and I have used most 30-30, 30-06, 38-55, 44, 12guage slug and a 300 Weatherby. My last one with a 300 WSM. …

Savage Model 99 
Hard to beat as a good brush gun with 300 Savage 180 grain cartridges. I get my moose to within 100 feet usually and also hunt where there are not many …

Muzzleloader Loads for Moose? 
I am relatively new to the muzzleloader world, but I am considering taking my muzzle-loader with me on this years moose hunt. What's a good powder/projectile …

Best Bullet Weight for Moose  
I have an older .308 caliber Remington semi-automatic and I was wondering what the best bullet weight ammunition would be when hunting for moose? …

270 WSM 
270 WSM is flat shooting and hard hitting. I like 150gr Winchester XP3. I have a Tikka T3 Lite. When moose hunting I like to walk relatively long distances …

Rifle Cartridges for Moose 
After moving to Alaska I discovered this site. I had thought that my 30-06 was on the small size for rifle cartridges for moose. I learned quite quickly …

Rifle Size for Moose Hunting 
Is a Browning 7mm WSM using 160gr bullets good for moose hunting? Charlie, Good question! The make of the moose hunting rifle is not as critical …

Robert Gradous Custom; 340 Weatherby Magnum 
Surgeon action. Jewell HVR trigger. H-S Precision bottom metal. Krieger barrel. Vais Brake. McMillan Hunter's Edge Stock. Atlas bipod. Swarovski …

Maine Moose Hunter 
I have shot many animals including 1 elk, mule deer and many whitetails with my Winchester Mod 70 30-06 including 2 moose that is my gun of choice . I …

Ruger M77  
Very reliable never jams. Light weight. Thanks Steve, What caliber of Ruger M77 do you use for moose hunting? What bullet have you had success …

Sako Finlight 280 Remington 
The Sako 280 Remington, when used with 160 gr TSX its hard to beat as long as I do my part. William, You have to love those Sako rifles don't …

Blaser R93  
After trying several other rifles, I settled on the Blaser R93 with a synthetic stock. It is reliable, accurate, durable, light weight, easily taken apart …

Cartridge Sizes .30-06 verses .338 
Is a .338 caliber cartridge bigger than a 30.06 caliber? Hi Mark, and thanks for your inquiry. Yes the .338 caliber cartridge is considerably larger …

Semi-auto Rifles For Moose Hunting 
Anyone who says that semi-autos are not good big game rifles have either not shot, owned one or are just plain bias. I have hunted with an old Winchester …

Best Bullet for Moose Hunting? 
What is the best bullet for moose hunting? I will be using a 30-06 for hunting moose this season and I need to get it sighted-in in preparation for the …

Best Caliber For Moose 
I am moving to Alaska and have a 30-06 how effective would that be on a moose? What bullets do you recommend? Hi Mike, The question of What is the …

30.06 Caliber - All Round Big Game Rifle 
30.06 ALL THE WAY. If you know how to reload and know your ballistics it's a great caliber. Everything from varmints, to Grizzly. My Uncle has killed Caribou, …

30-06 with a 180 grain Nosler Partition bullet 
I think everyone should use at least a 30-06. I used to use Sierra 180 grain SPBT bullets but I had a bad experience once, with a bullet that disintegrated …

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