I recently ran into a nice bull moose while I was out fly fishing and was thinking of putting in for a moose tag this upcoming season. I was talking it over with a friend about possibly planning a hunt. He got so excited about it that he decided to put in for a tag as well. As we were planning we got down to what gun we were going to take on the hunt and my friend mentioned he was going to take his .30-30. After all, over the past several decades the .30-30 has been credited with taking the most game. I wasn’t sure if that would be the best choice for moose so I started to do some research to find out if you can use a .30-30 for moose hunting.
What I found out is that, yes you can use a .30-30 to hunt moose. It will take some extra thought on the shooter’s end though. It may also not be the best choice for moose. Let’s get more in-depth on this!
Shot placement is very important.
It doesn’t matter what you’re hunting or what caliber you’re using shot placement will always be of utmost importance. That being said shot placement on a moose while using a .30-30 is crucial to your success. It’s crucial because although it is possible to kill a moose with a .30-30 most people recommend you use a larger gun. So when you’re already somewhat under-gunned a poor shot placement will make your chances of success even that much less. So what is the best place to shoot a moose with a .30-30? The best placement of your bullet is going to be in the neck or the head of the moose if you’re a confident shooter. A properly placed shot to the lungs within a good range will also be a good enough shot to take the moose. This will allow for the quickest and most humane kill. In order to get a shot like this, you’re going to have to get closer to the animal. How close is necessary though?
The best yardage to shoot a moose with a .30-30.
Hunting has gradually drifted towards long-distance shots with new technology in optics and rifles. It is now common to take shots at 300 yards and even farther. However, in order to have a successful hunt while using a .30-30 for moose, you’re going to need to be able to close the distance on the animal. You need to make sure that your bullet is going to pack as much of a punch as possible and not lose energy by the time it gets to the moose.
The yardage that will give you the best chance of humanely killing the moose will be within 100 yards. Now that might seem like it would be difficult to get within that range on a moose. Especially if you’re a deer or elk hunter. Elk and deer are very spooky and move rather quickly when spooked. That means they rarely give you a good looking shot. Moose though are slower moving, lackadaisical animals. It is much easier to get a shot within 100 yards on a moose than with other animals. You don’t want to take a shot that is too far and only injure the animal and have to track it for miles and miles. The worst-case scenario is having the animal travel too far, you not finding it, and wasting the meat. If you have a hard time getting close to a moose and cannot get within 100 yards then I recommend using a larger caliber.
To increase your chances of your .30-30 being effective on a moose hunt the right bullet choice is important. Bullets come with several different types of points and weights for a .30-30. A moose is a very large animal with a tough hide. You’re going to need a bullet that not only punctures the skin well but will create enough damage to take down the moose humanely.
To do so, you will need a heavy bullet with great expansion upon impact. Many hunters think that the heavier grain the bullet the more stopping power it has and the better suited it is for bigger game. Like everything in life though there’s a balance and this balance is between weight and energy. If you choose to shoot a 190-grain bullet at a moose the bullet actually loses energy and just gives you more recoil as it tries to push the heavy bullet out of the barrel. To balance the weight and energy of the bullet you’re going to want to choose a bullet between 160-170 grains. This will provide enough weight to the bullet to provide stopping power but will also allow the bullet to have enough energy to travel to the animal and have a greater impact.
Why a larger caliber may be a good idea.
After taking all of these factors into consideration it is your responsibility as a sportsman to decide if you can humanely and responsibly take a moose with a .30-30. If you’re not confident in getting within a range of 100 yards or less and that you can get a good shot placement on the moose then it may be best for you to choose a larger caliber rifle. A larger caliber rifle will enable you to take shots at a longer distance and have confidence in those shots. This doesn’t mean though that you can take a break on your shot placement. This will still be of importance and should be taken seriously.
The .30-30 has earned its place in history as a reliable hunting gun. Using a .30-30 for moose can be a viable option but knowing that you have to shoot at closer yardages and get a great shot placement is important. Using the right weight of bullet will also play into the situation. If you don’t believe you can close the distance on a moose and you aren’t very confident in your marksmanship a larger caliber would be a better choice for you.