Old Rifles for Moose Hunting

by Rob Gerald
(Ontario, Canada)

The 38-55 Winchester Cartridge <br/>(Wikipedia Image Copyright Free)

The 38-55 Winchester Cartridge
(Wikipedia Image Copyright Free)

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 questions.

1. Will the old 303 British my dad gave me work on these big animals.....I'm going north this fall with some wily seasoned hunting co-workers.

2. Dad also gave me his dads model 94 Winchester 38-55. What a beautiful old gun with a rich history in our family.
Anyhow, will the factory Winchester loads work on moose? I could near ride the bullet at 1320 fps!!!!!!

Welcome to the world of moose hunting Rob. You'll love it!

I'll answer your questions in order.

1) A new world record moose was shot last fall in the Yukon. The hunter (Heinz Naef) was out hunting for moose when he called in his monster which was a whopping 75 1/4 inches across. Incredible eh?

Why am I telling you this?

He shot this moose with a .303 British!

"Armed with his old British .303 with open sights, the 26-year resident of Dawson fired twice into the vital organs, and then fired a third time to finish the kill at 11:30 in the morning."

Quoted from http://www.whitehorsestar.com/archive/story/moose-may-be-in-running-for-world-record/

Earlier in 2014, after the required drying period the Yukon moose was declared the new world record.

Never underestimate the power of a well placed bullet!

2) The 38-55 is not a caliber that I am familiar with. All I know is what the designation stands for .38 diameter bullet with 55 grains (by weight) of black powder.
The 255 grain bullet of the 38-55 is definitely suited to moose hunting, my concern would be the lose of energy at extended ranges.

The 38-55 according to Wikipedia is a decent deer and bear rifle and they also go on to say that the 38-55 is quite accurate.

Are there factory loads available for this caliber?

Like any moose hunting rifle, the hunter should (must) rely on his or hers ability to get the right shot placement. With a slow cartridge like the 38-55 you'd have to be pretty sure that you have a clear (and short distance) shot at vitals. But, it could be done for sure.

The vital shot is one I recommend to every hunter, novice or experienced. With that shot your animal will be dispatched quickly and humanely.
"The Moose Man"

Comments for Old Rifles for Moose Hunting

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Moose aren't cape buffalo
by: Anonymous

Nothing newsworthy about shooting a moose with a .303 or a 30-30. Here in Canada that's like reporting seeing a fish swimming.

by: Cal

That's interesting that the record Yukon moose was shot with a .303.... I remember reading in Outdoor Life that the record Alaskan moose had been killed with a .270. There you have it, probably the two biggest moose ever recorded and both were taken by relatively modest rounds.

Much Ado
by: Anonymous

Thanks Vincenzo,
There is something about the old calibres that I trust and love!!
moose haven't changed an iota in the last hundred years, so why does anyone think that you have to have at least a magnum to drop one?
How did the old boys drop them with pre magnum guns? In those days they didn't even care or know much about velocity or energy......just grab your meat gun and get er done!!!!

45/70 Sharps for Moose
by: Charlie

I recently killed a 48 in. moose in Newfoundland with 45/70 420 grains Sharps single shot, tang sight. At 100 yards off-hand, Moose walking fast, I put 1st through shoulder and complete path through. Two other shots into chest for insurance, probably weren't needed. This type rifle probably should not be used on animals past 150 yds as the bullet drops 18 in. from 100 to 220 yd, but the accepted limitation adds to the excitement and challenge of the hunt. You also shouldn't walk around with a bullet in the chamber with these guns.

...Much ado to your post...
by: vincenzo 71 old

... You are right with your .38-55... If not,... one could think that it's only since the '50's that moose was hunted,...with success... Just as a .303 British for the last two W'W''s was much glorified and fetished,... and could pass through a railroad (Given a copper jacketed steel bullet),... was no reference for strength!.... And yet,... it pumped more stamina than a .30-30, or a .32 Special... So, don't worry about that rifle,... given respect to shooting distances!

303 British and 38-55
by: Rob

thank you so much for answering my questions and wow! That's incredible about the ole 303! I am so looking forward to hunting moose in Cochrane Ontario this fall.
Awesome, informative website Mark!

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