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We design transmission strategies for medium access control (MAC) layer multicast that maximize the utilization of available bandwidth. Bandwidth efficiency of wireless multicast can be improved substantially by exploiting the feature that a single transmission can be intercepted by several receivers at the MAC layer. The multicast nature of transmissions, however, changes the fundamental relations between the quality of service (QoS) parameters, throughput, stability, and loss, e.g., a strategy that maximizes the throughput does not necessarily maximize the stability region or minimize the packet loss. We explore the tradeoffs among the QoS parameters, and provide optimal transmission strategies that maximize the throughput subject to stability and loss constraints. The numerical performance evaluations demonstrate that the optimal strategies significantly outperform the existing approaches.