Will a 308 Kill a Moose? Debunking the Myths and Misconceptions.

Hunters and shooting enthusiasts have always been interested in finding the most effective weapon for taking down a big game like a moose. One of the most popular questions that have been asked in the hunting community is, “will a 308 kill a moose?” Well, the answer to this question is not as straightforward as it may seem. While it is possible to take down a moose with a 308, it is essential to consider a few factors before using this rifle.

Firstly, the 308 cartridge is a powerful round that can deliver a considerable amount of impact energy. It is ideal for hunting medium-sized game like deer and elk. However, moose are much bigger animals, and their muscle and bone structure are much denser. This means that a 308 may not have enough stopping power to take down a moose in a single shot. This is why it is crucial to choose the right bullet type and weight combination when using a 308 for moose hunting.

Secondly, the distance between the hunter and the moose also plays a crucial role in determining the effectiveness of a 308. If the range is too long, the bullet drop and wind drift can adversely affect the accuracy and velocity of the round. This can lead to an insufficient impact on the moose, resulting in an injured animal. However, if the shot is taken at a close range, say within 100 yards, a properly placed bullet can do the job well. So, if you are planning to hunt moose with a 308, make sure to practice shooting at different ranges and choose the right bullet weight and type for maximum effectiveness.

Effective Range of a .308 Rifle for Hunting Moose

The .308 rifle is a popular and reliable choice for hunting big game like moose. However, it is important to understand the effective range of the rifle when targeting these animals.

  • The effective range of a .308 rifle for hunting moose is typically around 300 yards. Beyond that range, the bullet may not have enough energy to take down the animal effectively.
  • Factors that can affect the effective range include wind, elevation, and the type of ammunition being used.
  • It is important to practice shooting at various distances and under different conditions to determine your personal effective range with a .308 rifle.

When hunting moose with a .308 rifle, it is recommended to aim for vital areas like the heart and lungs to ensure a quick and humane kill. A well-placed shot can take down a moose within the effective range of the rifle.

.308 Rifle Ballistics Distance (yards) Velocity (feet per second) Energy (foot-pounds)
150-grain bullet 100 2,820 2,648
200 2,639 2,197
300 2,384 1,793
400 2,143 1,443
500 1,915 1,149

It is important to note that these ballistics are based on a specific type of ammunition and may vary depending on the brand and grain weight being used. Always ensure your equipment is properly sighted in and that you are using the appropriate ammunition for your rifle and the game being hunted.

Recommended bullet weight and type for moose hunting with a .308

When it comes to hunting moose with a .308, the first thing you want to ensure is that you have a good understanding of the bullet weight and type that is best suited for the task. As a rule of thumb, you should always go for a bullet weight that is heavy enough to deliver enough energy to penetrate deep into the moose’s body for a quick, humane kill.

  • For moose hunting with a .308, it is recommended that you use a bullet weight of at least 180 grains. This is because the heavier the bullet, the greater the momentum and energy it delivers.
  • You can opt for a soft-point bullet or a ballistic tip bullet. A soft-point bullet expands on impact, creating a wide wound channel while a ballistic tip bullet offers superior penetration as it is designed to retain its shape upon impact, thus allowing for deeper penetration.
  • In addition, you can also use a bonded bullet, which is designed to hold together upon impact, thus ensuring maximum weight retention and penetration.

Before heading out on a moose hunt with a .308, it is important to test your chosen bullet weight and type to ensure that it delivers maximum accuracy and performance. Remember, the ultimate goal is to deliver a clean kill that is both humane and ethical.

Bullet Type Weight (grains) Velocity (fps) Energy (ft-lbs)
Remington Core-Lokt PSP 180 2,600 2,677
Hornady American Whitetail Interlock SP 150 2,820 2,648
Federal Fusion Bonded SP 180 2,620 2,719

The table above shows some of the best bullet weights and types for moose hunting with a .308. These bullets are all capable of delivering superior accuracy and performance on moose, ensuring that you get a humane and ethical kill every single time.

Shot Placement Tips for Hunting Moose with a .308

When hunting moose with a .308, it’s crucial to have proper shot placement to ensure a successful and ethical kill. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Target the heart and lungs: The most effective shot on a moose is to hit the heart and lungs, which will cause the animal to die quickly and humanely. Aim for the center of the chest, just behind the shoulder blade, to hit these vital organs.
  • Avoid bone: Moose have thick bones that can cause a bullet to deflect or lose its integrity. Try to avoid shooting through any bone, and instead aim for the chest cavity or neck where there are fewer bones to penetrate.
  • Consider the angle: The angle of the shot can greatly affect the outcome. A quartering-away shot is ideal, as it allows the bullet to travel through the chest cavity without hitting bone. A broadside shot is also effective, but be cautious of the shoulder bone. Avoid frontal shots, as the thick shoulder blade can make a clean kill difficult.

Recommended Ammunition

When using a .308 for moose hunting, it’s important to choose the right ammunition for the job. Here are some popular options:

  • Soft-point bullets: These are a popular choice for hunting big game, as they expand upon impact, causing greater damage to vital organs.
  • Bonded bullets: These bullets are designed to maintain their integrity upon impact, preventing breakup and ensuring deeper penetration for a clean kill.
  • Heavy bullets: A heavier bullet will offer greater penetration and energy transfer upon impact, ensuring a faster and more humane kill.

Understanding Moose Anatomy

Before setting out on a moose hunt, it’s essential to have a good understanding of the animal’s anatomy. This can help you make more informed decisions about shot placement and increase your chances of a successful hunt. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Moose have large lungs, which are located in the chest cavity just behind the shoulder blade. Hitting these organs will cause the animal to quickly lose consciousness and die within a few seconds.
  • The heart is located in the same area as the lungs, and hitting this organ will also result in a quick and humane kill.
  • Moose bones are thick and can be difficult to penetrate. The shoulder blade is particularly thick and should be avoided when possible.
Shot Placement Result
Heart-Lung Shot Quick death (within seconds)
Spine Shot Instant death, but difficult to execute
Head Shot Instant death, but small target area and difficult to execute

By keeping these tips and factors in mind, you’ll be better equipped for a successful and ethical moose hunt with a .308.

Key factors that could impact the effectiveness of a .308 on moose

If you’re planning on hunting a moose with a .308, there are several factors you should consider to ensure that you’re able to make a clean kill. While a .308 is a powerful cartridge, it may not be sufficient for taking down a large animal like a moose under certain circumstances. Here are some key factors you should keep in mind:

  • Shot placement: One of the most important factors when it comes to hunting with a .308 is shot placement. You need to be familiar with the moose’s anatomy and be able to place your shot in the right spot to ensure a quick and humane kill. A well-placed shot to the vital organs or spine can take down a moose with a .308, but a poorly placed shot can result in a wounded animal that gets away.
  • Distance: Another important factor to consider is the distance between you and the moose. A .308 is a powerful cartridge, but it loses velocity and energy as it travels downrange. If you’re shooting at a moose from a long distance, you may not have enough energy to penetrate deeply enough to reach the vital organs. You should be comfortable shooting your rifle at the distances you anticipate encountering moose, and you should be able to estimate distances accurately.
  • Bullet selection: The type of bullet you choose can also impact the effectiveness of your .308 on moose. You want a bullet that is heavy enough to penetrate deeply and reach the vital organs, but not so heavy that it loses velocity and energy. A good choice for hunting moose with a .308 is a premium bonded bullet, like the Nosler Partition or the Swift A-Frame. These bullets retain their weight well and provide good penetration without excessive recoil.
  • Environmental conditions: Finally, the environmental conditions you encounter can also impact the effectiveness of your .308 on moose. If you’re hunting in dense brush or heavy timber, you may not have a clear shot at the moose or may be shooting at a steep angle. You need to be comfortable shooting from different positions and angles, and you should practice shooting in realistic hunting conditions.


While a .308 can be an effective cartridge for taking down a moose, there are several factors that can impact its effectiveness. Shot placement, distance, bullet selection, and environmental conditions are all important factors to consider when planning your moose hunt with a .308. By taking these factors into account and practicing your shooting skills, you can increase your chances of making a clean kill and bringing home a nice moose.

Remember, ethical hunting practices are critical to the preservation of our hunting heritage and the conservation of our natural resources. Hunt responsibly and always strive for a quick and humane kill.

Factors Impact on effectiveness of .308 on moose
Shot placement One of the most important factors, as it can mean the difference between a clean kill and a wounded animal
Distance Can impact the energy and velocity of the bullet, reducing its effectiveness at longer ranges
Bullet selection Choosing the right bullet is key for ensuring good penetration and energy transfer
Environmental conditions Can make it difficult to get a clear shot at the moose or shoot from a stable position, impacting accuracy and effectiveness

With these factors in mind, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision about whether a .308 is the right cartridge for your moose hunt. Happy hunting!

Comparing the .308 to other calibers commonly used for moose hunting

When it comes to hunting the largest member of the deer family, a big enough caliber is necessary to ensure a clean and humane kill. While the .308 is a popular cartridge for a variety of game, some hunters may be wondering if it is sufficient for taking down a moose. Let’s compare the .308 to other calibers commonly used for moose hunting.

  • 30-06: The .30-06 is a classic cartridge that has been used for hunting big game for over a century. It has a slightly larger case capacity than the .308, which means it can achieve higher velocities and more energy at impact. Its heavier bullet also provides better penetration, making it a strong contender for moose hunting.
  • 7mm Remington Magnum: The 7mm Remington Magnum is another popular cartridge for big game hunting, including moose. Its lighter weight and smaller diameter bullets result in higher velocities, which can achieve longer ranges and flatter trajectories. However, it may not provide as much stopping power as some of the larger calibers.
  • .300 Winchester Magnum: The other Winchester Magnum, the .300, is a potent round that has become a favorite of many big game hunters. It generates higher velocities and more energy than the .308 or 30-06, while still offering good accuracy and manageable recoil.

While these three cartridges are commonly used for moose hunting, the .308 can still be effective if the hunter uses a quality bullet and places it in a vital area. It’s important to note that shot placement is more important than caliber size, so hunters should always practice their marksmanship skills and make ethical shots.

Here is a table comparing the .308, 30-06, 7mm Remington Magnum, and .300 Winchester Magnum:

Caliber Bullet Weight (grains) Muzzle Velocity (fps) Muzzle Energy (ft-lbs)
.308 165 2700 2670
30-06 180 2700 2913
7mm Remington Magnum 160 2950 3171
.300 Winchester Magnum 180 2960 3502

Ultimately, the choice of caliber for moose hunting is a personal one that depends on factors such as the hunter’s preferences and skills, the terrain and weather conditions, and the distance at which the shot is being taken. Any of these four calibers can be used effectively, as long as the hunter is aware of their strengths and limitations and uses them responsibly.

Pros and cons of hunting moose with a .308

As a versatile rifle, the .308 Winchester has been a popular choice for hunting a variety of game, including big game like moose. However, there are both pros and cons to hunting moose with a .308. Let’s take a closer look:

  • Pros:
    • The .308 is a widely available cartridge, making it easy to find ammunition for your hunt.
    • It has manageable recoil, allowing for easier shot placement and follow-up shots.
    • The .308 is capable of producing enough power to take down a moose with good shot placement.
    • It is a relatively lightweight rifle, which is beneficial for carrying on long hunts.
    • The .308 can be used for other game, making it a versatile choice for hunters.

  • Cons:
    • The .308 may not have enough power for larger moose at longer ranges.
    • The bullet selection for .308 may not be ideal for moose hunting, as it is often used for smaller game.
    • It can have limited penetration, which can be a concern for moose hunters.
    • The .308 may not have the range necessary for certain hunting situations.
    • Given the size and weight of a moose, the .308 may not be the best choice for ethical hunting practices.

When considering using a .308 for moose hunting, it is important to weigh the pros and cons. While the rifle is versatile and widely available, it may not always be the best choice for taking down larger game like a moose. Hunters should also consider their own comfort and ability with the rifle, as well as the conditions of the hunt, before making a decision.

Caliber Muzzle Energy (ft-lbs) Muzzle Velocity (fps) Bullet Weight (gr)
.308 Winchester 2,700 2,800 150-180
7mm Remington Magnum 3,239 3,315 139-175
.338 Winchester Magnum 4,000 2,900 200-250
.375 H&H Magnum 4,620 2,530 270-350

As shown in the table, there are other calibers available with higher muzzle energy and velocity that may be better suited for larger game like moose. However, it is ultimately up to the hunter to determine what rifle and cartridge they are comfortable and confident using in the field.

Profiles of Successful Moose Hunters Who Used a .308

If you’re considering using a .308 for hunting moose, it’s always helpful to hear from experienced hunters who have already succeeded with this setup. Here are some profiles of such hunters:

  • Clay Newcomb: In his article for MeatEater, Clay Newcomb details how he used a .308 to take down a large Canadian bull moose. He notes that while there are certainly larger calibers you could use for hunting moose, the .308 is still a good choice if you’re familiar with it and confident in your shooting ability. Newcomb’s shot hit the moose in the lungs and dropped it within 60 yards.
  • Kyle Lamb: Retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major Kyle Lamb used a .308 to take a 750-pound bull moose in Alaska. He was able to get a clean shot at 120 yards and the bullet penetrated the moose’s chest, taking it down swiftly.
  • Mark Kenyon: During an episode of his podcast Wired to Hunt, Mark Kenyon describes how he used a .308 to bag a moose in Ontario, Canada. He notes that he chose this caliber because it’s what he’s comfortable shooting and because he didn’t want to deal with the recoil of a larger caliber when he’d be taking multiple shots in a day. His shot hit the moose in the spine and dropped it within 10 seconds.

As you can see, there are a variety of experienced hunters who have successfully used a .308 for moose hunting. While there are certainly larger and more powerful calibers available, the .308 can still get the job done if you’re comfortable with it and able to place your shots accurately.

Can a .308 be used for moose hunting in all states/provinces where it is legal?

Many hunters, especially those on a budget, often ask this question. In short, the answer is yes, a .308 can be used for moose hunting in most states/provinces where it is legal. However, there are some things to consider before heading out on your moose hunting trip.

  • Check your state/provincial regulations: It is important to research the regulations in your area before hunting with a .308. Some states/provinces may require a minimum caliber for moose hunting. For example, in Alaska, the minimum caliber for moose hunting is .30-06. Therefore, a .308 would not be allowed for moose hunting in Alaska.
  • Shot placement: Moose are large animals, and shot placement is crucial. It is important to use the right bullet weight and design to ensure a quick and ethical kill. A .308 with a bullet weight of at least 165 grains and a controlled expansion bullet design should be sufficient for taking down a moose.
  • Distance: Moose hunting often requires long-range shots, and a .308 may not have the necessary energy and power at extended ranges. It is important to practice shooting at various distances to be confident in your abilities and know your limitations.

Overall, a .308 can be used for moose hunting in most states/provinces where it is legal, but hunters need to be aware of the regulations and be comfortable with their equipment. With proper shot placement and bullet selection, a .308 can be an effective and reliable choice for taking down a moose.

When hunting moose, always remember to follow ethical and safe hunting practices.

Tips for Safely and Responsibly Handling a .308 Rifle During Moose Hunting

Hunting moose with a .308 rifle requires proper handling and responsibility. It is crucial to ensure the safety of yourself and others while hunting. Below are helpful tips for handling a .308 rifle during moose hunting.

  • Before you head out for moose hunting, ensure that you have proper firearms training and knowledge of the .308 rifle’s mechanics.
  • Always treat firearms as if they are loaded. This means that you should never point the rifle at anyone or anything unless you intend to shoot.
  • Avoid carrying the rifle’s muzzle or trigger area while in the field.
  • Ensure that your rifle is unloaded when you are not actively hunting or are in a confined area such as a vehicle, cabin, or tent.
  • Carry the rifle in a proper carrying case or sling to protect yourself and others from accidental discharge. Also, ensure that the carrying case or sling is not obstructing the rifle’s action or trigger.
  • When loading the rifle, ensure that you only load it when you are ready to fire, and the rifle is clear of obstructions.
  • Understand the hunting laws in your area and follow them accordingly. This includes knowing the hunting season dates, hunting zone boundaries, and bag limits.
  • Ensure that you have the proper licenses and permits required for moose hunting in your area.
  • Practice safe and ethical behavior when hunting by taking shots within your skill level and not taking unnecessary risks.

The .308 rifle delivers an impressive amount of power, making it an excellent choice for moose hunting. However, its power also requires you to handle it responsibly. Always follow proper gun safety protocols when hunting to ensure that everyone in your hunting group remains safe. Additionally, when hunting in a group, make sure everyone follows the same safety rules to avoid accidents.

Caliber Muzzle Velocity (ft/s) Muzzle Energy (ft-lbs)
.308 Winchester 2,820 2,648

In conclusion, when hunting moose with a .308 rifle, safety should always be the top priority. With proper handling, the .308 rifle is a dependable and powerful hunting rifle. Always follow safe hunting practices to ensure an enjoyable and successful hunting trip.

Legal and Ethical Considerations for Using a .308 to Hunt Moose

Before taking a shot at a moose with a .308, it is important to consider the legal and ethical aspects of the hunt.

  • Licensing: In most states and provinces, hunters must possess a valid license and tag to legally hunt moose. It is important to obtain the proper permits before heading out in the field.
  • Regulations: Hunters must also adhere to specific regulations such as hunting seasons, bag limits, and weapon restrictions. It is essential to understand the hunting laws and regulations in the area where you plan to hunt to avoid any legal issues.
  • Firearms Safety: It is the responsibility of the hunter to handle firearms safely and ethically. Proper education and training are crucial to ensure a safe and successful hunting experience. Always practice safe firearm handling techniques and ensure that your firearm is in good working condition.

When it comes to ethical considerations, there are several things to keep in mind.

  • Shot Placement: It is important to aim for an ethical shot placement to ensure a quick and humane harvest. A .308 is a powerful round that, with proper shot placement, can take down a moose effectively. Aiming for the heart, lungs, or spine is the most effective way to ensure ethical harvesting.
  • Animal Welfare: As hunters, it is our responsibility to respect the animal we are hunting and ensure that the meat is used effectively. Proper care and processing of the meat are essential to ensure it is safe to eat and not wasted. Leaving the animal to waste in the field is unethical and disrespectful to the animal.

While a .308 can effectively take down a moose, it is important to consider the legal and ethical aspects of the hunt before taking the shot. Understanding and following hunting regulations and practicing ethical hunting techniques can ensure a successful and rewarding hunting experience.

Bullet Weight (grains) Muzzle Velocity (fps) Muzzle Energy (ft-lbs)
150 2800 2702
165 2700 2705
180 2600 2702

It is important to select the appropriate ammunition for your firearm and the specific hunting situation. Always use high-quality ammunition and select the appropriate bullet weight and muzzle velocity for the game you are hunting.

FAQs about Will a 308 Kill a Moose

1. Is a 308 powerful enough to kill a moose?

Yes, with proper shot placement and ammunition selection, a 308 is powerful enough to bring down a moose.

2. How far can you shoot a moose with a 308?

A 308 can accurately shoot up to 300 yards, though it’s best to take shots at closer ranges for more precision and reducing the risk of wounding the animal.

3. What kind of ammunition should I use when hunting a moose with a 308?

It’s best to use a bullet with a weight of at least 165 grains with a proper expanding design for maximum penetration.

4. Can a 308 handle a moose at close range?

Yes, a 308 can handle a moose at close range, but shot placement is crucial for quickly and humanely bringing down the animal.

5. What is the ideal shot placement when hunting a moose with a 308?

The ideal shot placement is behind the front shoulder, aiming for the heart/lungs, which will lead to a quick and clean kill.

6. Is a 308 suitable for hunting other big game animals besides moose?

Yes, a 308 is suitable for hunting other big game animals, such as Elk, Caribou, and Black Bear, if you have the right ammunition and shot placement.

7. Is using a 308 for moose hunting legal?

Yes, in most states and provinces it is legal to hunt moose with a 308, although it’s always best to check with your local wildlife agency before hitting the field.

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for taking the time to read about whether a 308 can kill a moose. Remember, proper shot placement and ammunition selection are crucial when hunting these large animals. Make sure to check your local hunting regulations and always prioritize safety when in the field. Happy hunting, and please visit again soon!