An Outfitter's Take on the Best Cartridge for Moose Hunting

Last week I had the chance to hunt moose, wolves and mule deer with Rugged Outfitting in southern Alberta, Canada. Like any other hunt I've ever been on, the conversation eventually turned to moose guns and loads.

Without any hesitation, Outfitter Todd Bunnage said a moose hunter should be carrying a magnum .30 caliber rifle (or something bigger). The most popular choice is the .300 Win. Mag, Todd said. His reasoning is simple: "moose are big."

As an outfitter, he wants his clients to drop moose close to where they stand. This is primarily because they are so tough to haul out of the bush. A 1,000-pound animal piled up a 1,000 yards in the snowy timber can take a full day to evacuate. This process, of course, is part of the hunt, but the less time you spend hauling, the more time you can spend helping your hunting buddy punch his tag.

On our hunt, we shot the T/C Dimension switch-barrel rifle with barrels in .300 Win. Mag for moose and .270 for deer. There were four hunters on our trip and we all killed bulls with Federal's 180-grain Trophy Copper bullets. The all-copper bullets (polymer tipped) retained their weight extremely well even after punching through heavy moose hide and bone. Of the four bullets we recovered from our moose carcasses, only one had lost a petal during expansion.

There's no doubt that .270s and .30-06s have killed plenty of moose. Old-school moose hunters in the Northeast commonly picked the 99 Savage in .300 Savage as their go-to rifle. But, if you want to make your guide happy, roll in to moose camp with a .300 Win. Mag. in your gun case.