280 Remington for Moose


June 19, 2006, 03:51 PM
I was fortunate enough to draw a moose permit for the upcoming season in Maine. I plan on hunting with my 280 Rem and am now having some second thoughts on bullet selection. Originally, I was planning on using the Hornady 139gr SST Light Mag, but I'm wondering if I should go with one of the 160gr options instead. Or perhaps I'm making a big deal over a small issue. I'm confident with my ability to place the 139 light mag exactly where I want it to go, and could probably get there with the heavier round with some practice. Also, no shot over 200yds is likely. Any opinions or advice?
Thanks in advance.

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June 19, 2006, 05:14 PM
160 grain should be fine...take him through the lungs and you'll be ok...you'd probably break the on side shoulder but not make it through and through...oh and keep ranges to under 200 yards

June 19, 2006, 05:55 PM
The Hornady 139 gr. is too light for Moose in my opinion. I would doubt penetration on anything other than a perfect broadside/lung shot. My vote would be a 160 gr. TSX, Nosler Partition, etc.

June 19, 2006, 06:45 PM
I think you're a little light there, Salthouse--personally I'd be more comfortable with a larger caliber...

June 19, 2006, 07:09 PM
The .280 is fine. You should consider a heavier stronger bullet though.

If you want to stick with Hornady, their Interbond would be the way to go. Otherwise a Nosler Partition would be my first choice. Remington and Federal both load premium bullets in their premium lines of ammo as does Winchester.

Dozens of moose drop to .270s up here every year, so you're not undergunned by any means and Maine meese are smaller than ours. Just don't take marginal shots and you'll do fine.

June 19, 2006, 07:12 PM
I don't think there is anything wrong with the caliber...but I think the 139gr bullet is a little to light, even driven at Hornady's light magnum velocities.

If it was me, I think I would go with the 160gr Nozler Accuframe load that Federal puts out for moose sized game. I don't think I would use the 139 on elk, let alone moose.

Congratulations on the special draw.


June 19, 2006, 08:24 PM
Go with a 160 or heavier and you'll be fine. You need penetration

June 19, 2006, 09:30 PM
Hey, in case anyone hasn't mentioned it, you should go with the 160 in some sort of corebond or controlled expansion (partition) type bullet. 139 is light for a moose type critter. :)

30-06 lover
June 19, 2006, 11:24 PM


These two would get my vote. Accubond is very accurate, hits hard retains weight and penetrates deep. Partition = enough said.

Byron Quick
June 20, 2006, 02:28 AM
I've never had a chance to hunt moose so I won't give you advice on adequate or inadequate bullets.

You did make a comment about proper bullet placement though. And that brings up my personal hunting philosophy regarding caliber. I prefer using a caliber and bullet that can do the job with less than proper placement.

Ever had an animal take a step at the very instant the trigger broke? I have. I was aiming for a diagonal shot through a front shoulder, both lungs, and exiting around the far short ribs. What I got was a shot that hit the short ribs and exited the far rear hip. But the .35 Whelen knocked the deer down, shocked its spinal cord, and it didn't go anywhere before I got another shot into it.

I've seen people make similar shots with calibers that were suitable for the game but only with perfectly placed shots...wind up tracking wounded animals for extremely long distances through very bad weather. This is an aspect of hunting I avoid if at all possible.

June 20, 2006, 11:01 AM
Byron, you're absolutely correct. Elmer Keith said the most common shot on elk he had seen was a quartering away shot. That needs much more penetration than the broadside shot and tha's why he preferred things like the 35 Whelen .....Or you could do it like they do in Norway ! www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article1357411.ece

June 20, 2006, 07:53 PM
I'll probably never acquire enough points to draw a moose tag, but I'd be more than happy to pursue one using 140 grain 7mm Barnes Triple Shocks in a rifle I was comfortable with. The Alaska contingent over at 24 Hour Campfire uses 120 grain TSX's fired from 7mm-08's against some rather large critters, and they report excellent results. http://www.24hourcampfire.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=798024&an=0&page=0#798024

pete f
June 21, 2006, 01:09 AM
175 grand slams work nicely too.
the 160 partitions or failsafes are very good too.

A 175 from a 7 mm is similar in SD to a 200 from a 30-06 and they kill plenty of moose.

Moose are tough animals but they are not tough to kill like big bears or some big elk. They just do not have that drive that some other species have.

Just make sure you have some dedicate help when you get one, REALLY big when you stand next to one and you realize "damn, I have to cut this thing up."

June 21, 2006, 08:47 AM
Another vote for a heavier, stronger bullet.

freedom and guns
June 21, 2006, 12:19 PM
There is one thing you should know ALL MOOSE ARE INSANE!!!!

June 21, 2006, 12:48 PM
Sounds like a great hunt. I think you should upgrade your caliber, though. I'm sure plenty of moose are killed with 280's and 270's, but how many more are killed with bigger (and IMO, more appropriate) calibers? Of course shot placement is critical, but upgrading a bit might be a smart move.

June 21, 2006, 01:19 PM
You have gotten plenty of advice as for bullet wieght goes but I will offer you somthing else.

Start right now, practice shoot, and reload. Keep practicing for a follow up shot. Make it as fast as possible and second nature so as soon as you shoot, your work the bolt.

Moose is a strange creature, the biggest critter in the woods and they know it. They are the only ones I have seen charge the shooter if the shot didn't kill them right away. I have heard of buffalo do it but have yet to see it.

Shoot, then reload and get back onto target as quick as possible. No looking aorund to see what happened, no looking over to your buddies waiting for them to tell you how cool you are (they might all be running anyway). Shoot and immediatly get ready to shoot again.

June 21, 2006, 01:49 PM
The SST (Interlock) holds together pretty well, in my experience (I load it into a .280 Ackley Improved). It's taken elk and whitetail for me, though they've all been headshots or heartshots.

Note, though, that the Interbond has the same exterior ballistics, but better terminal ballistics. If you can work up a similar load, it should shoot the same -- at least within the 200 yard window.

If you don't handload, such a tag might be special enough to warrant a call to Superior Ammo for a custom load. Have them match the Hornady load, and you shouldn't have to change the zero much.

June 21, 2006, 04:16 PM
Do be ready in case you need a quick follow up shot--

June 21, 2006, 05:44 PM
If you're going to use the .280 use the heaviest bullet you can get to shoot acceptably well. Moose = big. I wont even hunt elk with anything less than 180g.

In Alaska, not too many people hunt moose w/ anything less than a .30-06.

June 21, 2006, 07:11 PM
Enough said...

I vote 160G v-shock will do the shot.;)

June 21, 2006, 11:05 PM
The Hornady SST's that I'm familiar with (6.5mm) are too lightly constructed for anything much bigger or tougher than the average whitetail deer. I would personally stay away from that bullet type if the 7mm's are the same deal.

As others have said, 139gr is too light weight for moose as well. Perhaps a TSX in that weight would work OK, but I'd go for at least 160gr weight, and even then I'd want an XLC/TSX or other toughly constructed bullet to help ensure penetration. 175gr would not be unreasonable, so long as your rifle has a fast enough twist to stabilize it.

I've used 6.5mm 140gr XLC on elk (a large cow) with very good results. She only ran 38 yards (paced) before collapsing and expiring. That 140gr bullet has a SD of 0.287. The 160gr 7mm is very similar at 0.283. Scandinavians used the 6.5x55 to kill moose for a century, mostly using 155-160gr non-bonded bullets. Based on that I would not feel at all under-gunned with a .280Rem shooting a 160gr premium bonded or solid copper (a la TSX) bullets.

June 23, 2006, 05:57 PM
There are literally thousands of native Cree who topple big moose each and every year with Winchester 30-30 carbines. The belief that moose are armor-plated is pure foolishness and I'll have no part of this marketing nonsense.

Use a heavy Nosler Partition and you'll be happy with the results. Plan to bring a sturdy wheelbarrow for moving those heavy quarters.

Good hunting to you.

June 23, 2006, 09:36 PM
The belief that moose are armor-plated is pure foolishness and I'll have no part of this marketing nonsense.

I don't think it's marketing nonsense to suggest that a bigger, powerful caliber is more effective. Just common sense. I've killed coyotes with a 22 magnum, but prefer to do it with a .30-06. I've killed lots of deer with the .30-30, but now prefer the .30-06 for them, too.

No dead is "too dead".

Matt G
June 24, 2006, 02:51 PM
You know, we were discussing .270s for moose (http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=189921) over at The Firing Line (http://www.thefiringline.com) about 6 months ago, and many were of the opinion that it was marginal, except under certain conditions with heavy bullets. I was (and am) one of those who felt so, and posted some examples of why I'd move up a caliber or two (http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1806191&postcount=50) for a hunt of a lifetime.

Yes, I realize that we're talking about a .280 rather than a .270, here, but to those of us who've seen the data and drained coffeepots over discussions on the comparison of the two, I'd have to say that it's splitting hairs to try to find much difference between the two calibers' respective downrange performances.

June 26, 2006, 01:29 PM
Personally not that it matters I'd get a bigger caliber as opposed to a bigger bullet. Murphys law alway rears its ugly head when hunting. Light bullet means a near perfect placement in reality how often does that happen? you were lucky to draw a tag, do yourself and the Moose a favor. Get a Bigger rifle. .300 win is a choice I prefer. .35 Whelens a great choice to. Enjoy your trip and think about worse case scenarios. If you have larger caliber offers more shot choices and if moose turns os move he'll still go down. my .02.

June 26, 2006, 06:42 PM
After reading a lot of the advice and talking to a number of local experienced Northern Maine hunters. I think I'll borrow my friend's 35 Remington, loaded with the new lever action rounds in 200gr, I should be fine out to 200yds. The accuracy is good, the second shot is fast, and it carries more punch than my 280 (which I'll save for deer season). I also forgot to mention that my sub-permitee aka "the back-up plan" will be toting his 45-70, just in case. Thanks for all the advice and comments!

June 27, 2006, 10:15 AM
Good choice have a 35 Rem and its a great round, just practice. Enjoy and good luck!!!

30-06 lover
June 27, 2006, 06:19 PM
Do what you think is best, but I sure wouldn't use someone else's gun on a special hunt. If I were you, I'd use the 280 that is yours and that you are familiar with and drop a moose.

June 28, 2006, 04:01 PM
30-06 lover, I ordered some 280 Rem in 175gr Nosler Partition. IF I can get the accuracy out of that round that I hope for, I'll stick with the 280. I did a lot of research in picking out my rifle (Sig 970 SHR) and I have a great deal of confidence in my ability to put a round where I want it to go. There is something about hunting a special trip with your own rifle. I also have access to a 325WSM that I think I'll pass on for the trip. Thanks for your input.

June 28, 2006, 04:16 PM
.280 loaded with 160's is more than enough for alces alces gigas, let alone the Maine versions. Moose are pretty easy animals to kill. I've seen them taken with 7.62x39 SP's. They are poached with .22LR's. The old saying is no matter what you shoot them with they take about a minute to die.

July 1, 2006, 12:59 AM
There is no moose can live if you hit him just behind front shoulder with 150gr Nosler Partition at 2900 fps and at a lot farther than 200 yards, it shoots flat and speed kills try H 4831 work up to max slowly, the gun I just sold to my best buddy a Rem 700 would shoot a true 1/2in at a 100 with this load.

I now use a rem 700 in 7mmwsm with 140 gr noslers at almost 3300fps and it shoots flat and lots of energy I have seen many moose shot I have not shot a moose with 7mmwsm but I will bet it will go right out the otherside and if you go in on rib cage and hit far shoulder it will fracture shoulder and moose will not get up.
Acuracy and speed kills
just mt 2 cents
Good luck

Screamin Beagle
July 10, 2006, 02:33 PM
Congrats on the draw. 2 out of our party of 6 got drawn this year (1 bull and 1 cow). We've shot a few over the years. All with .270's (our deer guns). Not a premium caliber for moose, but adequate enough so we don't need to purchase any new rifles for something infrequent enough as winning the moose lottery. The first moose we got dropped in his tracks at 200 yards in an open bog area. The rest we took at less than 50 yards while calling. All with either 150 grain Rem soft point or 150 grain Nosler Partition.

Vern Humphrey
July 10, 2006, 04:22 PM
A long, heavy preminum bullet is what I would choose -- in this caliber or any other. No need to buy a new rifle -- just practice with the one you have and use the right ammunition.

July 11, 2006, 12:21 PM
Just use a good 150-175gr bullet in that .280 and you'll be fine. Lots of moose are killed here in New Hampshire every year as well. Guess what the most popular weapons are? .30-06, .308, .270 and sedan. :p

Most people who get lucky enough to draw a moose permit usually have an adequate deer rifle and they tend to just use that. I've personally seen the results of a .30-06 180gr and it was tasty! The shooter said he put two rounds into the moose though. The first was fatal, but the bull didn't realize it so #2 was used to put him down. Remember to have a back-up shot following the first and you'll bring home your moose.

Which reminds me, I forgot to put in for my preference point this year... Bummer. :banghead:

October 18, 2007, 05:58 PM
It is plenty of gun, it's YOUR gun and you are likely familar with the shooting drill and handling of it. As someone mentioned while moose are sturdy, they aren' armor plated. Find some 160 gr (+ or - a bit) and practice at short, medium and long ranges. I wouldn't borrow a rifle from anyone unless I were gun poor or had a GROSSLY underpowered weapon. You are neither. Enjoy the thrill of the hunt with your old friend of a gun.

Best of luck and be safe.


October 18, 2007, 07:24 PM
Most 7MM rifles have a 1 in 9 twist which means they were expected to be used with heavier bullets.In theory it should shoot the 160 and 175 grain bullets better than the 139 or 140 grain bullets.

Just noticed this was resurrected from a year ago.Wonder if he had any luck.

October 18, 2007, 10:03 PM
Yes, I realize that we're talking about a .280 rather than a .270, here, but to those of us who've seen the data and drained coffeepots over discussions on the comparison of the two, I'd have to say that it's splitting hairs to try to find much difference between the two calibers' respective downrange performances.

Differences? First thing that comes to mind is that I've seen 200 grain loads for 7 mag, so 200 grain bullets must be available, though I haven't looked. I know 175s are quite common. I've seen 170 listed for 270, sort of like finding a 200 for the 7, I know it's out there. But, 150 is normally a heavy bullet in .270.

I wouldn't hesitate to use the 280 on a moose. I wouldn't run out and buy a gun and try to get set up, more important that you are using a gun you have confidence in and are familiar with IMHO. I'd go with either a 160 partition or a Barnes X bullet, though. If I was going on a moose hunt (I should be so lucky, sorta envious except for the butchering part:D) I'd take my 7 mag an 160 partitions and not think twice about it. The 280 ain't THAT much down on a 7 mag and uses the same bullets. Inside 200 yards I don't think that moose will know the difference, frankly. JMHO, though. Toughest animal I hunt is hogs and I don't pick on the big ones, so I cannot claim to be a moose expert. I don't know if there's a moose within 400 miles of Texas. Know there's some in Rocky Mountain National park. LOL

October 18, 2007, 10:08 PM
Just noticed this was resurrected from a year ago.Wonder if he had any luck.

Ha! That one slipped right by me, LOL.

October 18, 2007, 10:40 PM
He didn't. I hunted hard for the entire week. Sun up to sun down in the paper company territory north of I-95. I saw one bull the whole week, on my way out at about 9:00 pm. I had a bull permit for the second week of moose in Maine and the first week in my zone was the week were the majority of permits were for bulls. I know another guy in Maine that had a bull permit the same week as me and he got skunked too. He is a certified Maine guide and had lots of help on the hunt. All in all it was a very frustrating week. On the last day in the afternoon I saw a huge bald eagle up close and it reminded me of the real reason I hunt and own firearms. Sometimes we need to be reminded of what is really important. Great advice from THR, as usual!

October 18, 2007, 11:11 PM
So, nobody won the argument? Bummer. :D

October 18, 2007, 11:16 PM
Can't say that surprises me. I know its a bit different than Vermont (Maine has far more Moose) but I lived in Vermont for four years, spending lots of time in the wilderness and only saw a moose 3 times (and twice was the same moose).

October 18, 2007, 11:31 PM
280 is fine...150 Nosler partition from federal if you don't reload or something in the 160's as well. If you reload 160 nosler all day long!

October 19, 2007, 10:15 PM
Funny thing is I saw the largest buck I've ever seen while moose hunting last year. It was clearly 250lbs on the hoof. The year before I saw 2 60" bull moose while deer hunting. I'm sticking with the 280 with 175gr NP. I got them loaded by Conley Precision. They are very accurate out of my Sig SHR and there is plenty of punch.

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