When determining the firearm and ammunition for the hunt of lifetime in Alaska and beyond, confidence in lethality is paramount. Years of saving and planning for a moose hunt can result with the bull of your dreams or the one that got away.Many calibers and loads have proven effective on Yukon moose, but there are factors to examine when deciding which combo to bring Northwest. It all begins if and when you knock down a brute with a well-placed shot from a .270 Win 150gr Super X bullet. You begin to break down the animal, on average taking about 7-9 trips from the kill site back to mode of transportation or base camp. Upon returning to the carcass, you find yourself face to face with an interior grizzly who’s claimed your prize. Shouldering your rifle at the charging bear, you take aim and place the 150grain bullet perfectly and directly into the bear’s chest inches below his chin. The only problem, grizzly bears are tough customers. Even more so when they are hungry or have cubs to protect.
2,705 foot pounds of energy from the .270Win is absorbed and the grizzly keeps coming. This is where rifle choice can absolutely make a difference; when your life truly depends on it. In comparison to a .300 Winchester Magnum with Power Point 180grain, boasting 3501 foot pounds of energy, 800 more foot pounds can make all of the difference in the world.
300WM is not quite what big game guides in Alaska would consider a “bear gun.” The beefier load will certainly have more punch than a .270Win. I however prefer to use nothing less than a .300WSM for Alaska’s big game. I’ve used a .300WSM on blacktail deer, sheep, moose, goat, caribou, and bear.
This year I used .300WM Expedition Big Game Long Range 190gr. This combo’s performance led to a full freezer and smaller wall space. Packing 3,547 foot pounds at the muzzle and 3,200 at 100yards, this round booked a one way ticket for a bull back to Palmer Alaska. You can get away with lesser calibers with a well-placed shot on thick hide and heavy boned critters, but the uncertainty of animal instincts and Mother Nature is what places more energy at the fore front of my mind.
A .375H&H or .416 Mag will get the job done for moose, bear protection, etc., although hunters venturing north may not particularly be looking for a one hunt rifle purchase. I’m fond of caliber choices that work for just about any big game animal North America has to offer. Whether your Wisconsin tree stand hunting brutish whitetails, pursuing elk in grizzly country, or crawling after blacktail deer in Kodiak brown bear territory - having a well performing rifle-ammo combo for the job is critical.
Furthermore, I’m interested in rifles that have ammunition availability on the many shelves across America’s outdoor stores. 300WM in heavy grain offerings seem to be readily available in many of the locations I’ve traveled for out of state hunts. The .300WSM and .270WIN is a bit of a different story. Whatever your choice may be, confidence afield is key. I stock up on what works, and what’s worked for me has been Expedition Big Game Long Range in the .300WSM and the .300WM 190gr; heavy hitters no doubt. Being prepared for the many scenarios the Last Frontier can throw at you will only help confidence afield. Be confident, shoot the Big Red W.