Shot Placement on Moose

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Where to aim on the moose

The most ethical point of aim on a moose is obviously the lungs, as any beginning hunter should have the necessary marksmanship to place a shot that strikes both lungs for a guaranteed kill that is quick and clean. Often times, the impact to both lungs is enough to drop the moose instanly, but even if doesn’t you don’t have to worry about it running too far from the spot. The hydrostatic shock from the bullet, along with rapid change in blood pressure is usually enough to knock out the animal. An even more efficient point of aim is to strike both lungs and the heart, which means your aim should be a little lower and a little further towards the leg. Both of these shot placements require you to get off a broadside shot at the moose so the penetrating bullet has a path through all these vital organs. If you aim too closely toward the shoulder and leg, you risk getting a bone impact which will cause a very violent expansion, so track the leg up a bit to where it meets the shoulder and aim a smidge behind it.

The most angular offset you should allow for is a quarter turn, otherwise you risk striking only the first intended organ and the bullet penetrates away from the other. This can cause slower kills, which in some terrain could lead to the loss of an animal and also more damage to meat than necessary. It is for this same reason that shots to the heart from the front are not advisable, the bullet penetration path is pointing straight through the animal in this case which is problematic if it reaches the stomach. As the heart sits quite a bit lower than most of the lungs it’s also tricky to hit the lungs from the front.

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istock 600166864 min Shot Placement on Moose

A perfect opportunity on a beautifull bull moose for a clean broadside shot for maximum efficiency and safety.

Quick note on moose headshots

It is quite unnecessary to attempt headshots on moose. Moose are big game, but not tough game. Boars or badgers are much tougher pound-for-pound where even perfect heart and lung shots can leave them running for quite long distances. Moose that are shot through either just both lungs or also the heart tend to drop immediately, so there really is no reason to attempt the much, much more difficult headshot. One of the common wounding shots in this case is to impact the jaw of the moose. Moose can survive for several weeks this way before they starve or succumb to sepsis, which is not acceptable.

Caliber choices for moose

While we are on the topic of tough game it is appropriate to quickly mention calibers. A moose shot through the heart with a lighter 6,5mm caliber will die quicker and cleaner than a poor shot placement with a 9,3mm caliber. People often equate the size of an animal with how tough it is, but most moose in Sweden for example are shot with a 6,5 x 55 Swedish Mauser and a bullet weight somewhere around 143 grains. We have an article on what apropriate calibers for moose that you can find if you click here. For purposes of this article, I will just mention that the caliber range of 6,5 mm to 9,3 mm is probably going to the be the most apropriate and suitable choice of rifle and ammunition.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>