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By Mark on March 15, 2015

My Grandpa is an incredible hunter and an amazing shot. He hunted for many years with a 300 Win Mag so I thought I would get his opinion on this classic caliber. When I asked him what should be said about the 300 Win Mag he said without hesitation, “It kicks like a mule.” Although this is true, he and many others would not have used it for so long if it did not have so many desirable qualities as well. Over the years since its conception in 1963 it has become a staple not only in the hunting world, but also in target shooting and military use as well. In the context of long range shooting, the 300 Win Mag is often the standard that we measure all other cartridges against. The big question, though, is if it is the best long range hunting cartridge or not. 

History

30 caliber bullets as we know them have been around for over a century and have been used in standard military rounds until just recently. These military rounds included the 30-06 springfield and the 308 Winchester. These calibers are not particularly impressive in their trajectory and during the early through mid 1900s there was a lot of experimentation being done to develop a 30 cal cartridge with excellent ballistic performance.

Some of the 30 cal rounds developed during this time include the .300 H&H Magnum in 1925, and the .300 Weatherby Magnum in 1944. In 1958 Winchester introduced the 338 Win Mag, the 264 Win Mag, and the 458 Win Mag. These cartridges were based off of the 375 H&H magnum brass with less taper in the body to allow for more powder. Finally in 1963 Winchester came out with their 300 version. This cartridges was based off the same brass as the previous 3 but had the shoulder moved farther forward to allow shooters to ream their .308 Normas or .30-338 Winchesters to accept the new 300 Win Mag. This cartridge proved to be what people were looking for and has outgrown all the other 30 calibers that existent at the time.

Long Range Application

One of the reasons that this cartridge has been so popular for so long is that it shoots a big bullet fast, allowing for great knockdown power and minimal compensation at standard distances. It’s a favorite of U.S. Military snipers and has seen action in battlefields around the world. When people want to get into long range hunting this is often the first place they go but the question is if it is the best choice? Although this is a fairly popular debate lets compare the 300 Win Mag to the 7mm Rem Mag and look at the actual numbers.

For shooting elk or similar sized critters a 160 to 180 grain bullet is just about ideal. A popular long range load for the 300 Win Mag near this range is the 190 grain Berger VLD. The 7mm counterpart is the 180 grain Berger VLD. In the standard Gunwerks loads these two bullets have identical muzzle velocities. The G7 BC however is quite different between the two bullets. The 180 grain 7mm bullet has a G7 BC of .659 while the 190 grain 30 cal bullet has a G7 BC all the way down at .570 despite it being 10 grains heavier. At 1000 yards this translates to an extra 20 inches of drop and 10 inches more drift in a 10 mph cross wind for the 300 Win Mag. In order to match the BC of the 7mm Rem Mag you have to go up to about a 210 grain bullet and still be pushing the same velocity. This is possible but unless you need the extra knockdown for larger game it is overkill, and, like my grandpa remembered, it will kick the snot out of you.

Conclusion

So the almighty Ballistic Coefficient has spoken and shown that at long ranges the slightly smaller bullets with better BCs will perform slightly better than the big 300s. Does that mean that the 300 Win Mag is a bad choice? I don’t think so. There are a lot of guys that like the 30 cal and if thats what you want or if thats what you have then I say go for it. On the other hand, if you want something that has as good or better performance as the 300 Win Mag with less recoil then you probably ought to look into the 7mm Rem Mag, or Gunwerks own 7 LRM which even outperforms the 7 Rem Mag.

By Jim Allan

28 Comments

jim moseley on March 16, 2016
Is that a fair test? Instead of bullet weight, should it be more of a BC to BC contest? I'm a 7 mag man myself and but just about everyone is using a muzzle brake these days.
S. VanHansen on March 28, 2016
The reason that I chose the .300 Winchester Magnum was for two reasons. The first reason is Federal makes Match Ammunition for the .300 Winchester Magnum. I would have went with a 7mm Remington Magnum if I could have found commercially available match ammunition for the 7mm Remington Magnum. The second reason is that Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle used one so they can't be all that bad. I have found that to tame recoil all you need is a good muzzle break or grow stronger. I shoot 190g Sierra MatchKing and it works just fine. Haven't played with a hunting round yet but think I am ...
Scott on March 29, 2016
I'm having a hard time getting my 7mag to shoot ,I have a 700 sendero,I've tried 168 berger vlds won't shoot them worth a crap,then 168 berger classic hunters,shoots them better but not impressively im ready to make a jack handle out of the barrel and scrap the rest, should I try 180s or what do you recommend for a decent load?? Thanks for letting me vent, Scott
Greg on April 8, 2016
Did you mean G1 BC instead of G7 BC My Berger Tables cites 7mm 180gr Hybrid G1 BC .680 n G7 BC .349 300WM 210gr G1 BC .621 n G7 BC .318 300WM 230gr Hybrid G1 BC .717 n G7 BC .368 The later should out perform 7mm across the board
Greg on April 8, 2016
The suggested correction stands G1 v G7 However I should have cited the Berger Hunting table instead of Target or Tactical tables to be in context
Douglas Greene on May 6, 2016
I live in western Montana and my go to rifle for Mule deer and Elk in Grizzly bear country is a Kimber Montana in 300wsm shooting 180g Nosler Accubonds at 3000 fps and I love its super accurate power and portability. I do not notice its "kick" either off the bench or in the field. I load 180g FailSafes when I get an animal on the ground and keep 3 or 4 in my stock ammo carrier in case of Grizzley problems and they group within an inch of the Accubonds at 100 yds. The 300 magnums are extremely versital cartridges with a wide range of bullet weights. However, when hunting in tamer areas witho...
jason on May 15, 2016
I shoot both the 300WM and 7mm Rem Mag, and like them both. I run a Berger VLD 180 In the 7, & the 210 VLD in the 300. Both leave the muzzle around 2950 fps, and never have had any issues with wind. As a dedicated elk hunter, without worrying about losing an animal, I'll take the 300WM hands down. I know of a cure for the "kickin the snot out of ya" issue, Hogue overmold stock, felt recoil is no worse than any standard 30-06
michael theis on June 2, 2016
all this new long range shooting these days are confusing people about there 308 not a good long range round. 46 yrs ago I made a 800 meter shot on a bad guy,with my xm-21 sniper rifle, bullet was 173 gr . no bad guy or deer,elk can out run a bullet. some get there faster then others, practice with what you have, period.
Gary on July 24, 2016
Scott, I purchased a 700 Sendero and I also had a tough time developing an accurate load. Long story short, I now have a sub half inch moa rifle (100 yards). The secret? My Sendero likes the mid to slower powders with heavy flat base bullets. Current recipe 200 grain Barnes TTSX with RL 22.
Gary on July 24, 2016
Correction - Current recipe is a 200 grain with the Barnes TSX with RL 22.
Mitch Pankey on August 22, 2016
I like how the author puts the limiting factor on the 300 winmag of over penetration of heavy bullets to achieve the 7 mag superiority he wants it to be using the heaviest bullet in a 7 mag and not for the winmag . A 230berger from a winmag at 2800-2880 fps beats the 7mm mags heavy bullet in ballistics everyday of the week and twice on Sunday it's apples to apples not apples to oranges
Bruce Hudeck on September 6, 2016
I have always been a .308 guy and I'm still a big fan of that round. It has always been the perfect round for deer hunting in Texas. I'm getting older and I'm about to purchase a Remington 700 Police 300 win mag rifle with heavy barrel. Any suggestions on a quality scope for that rifle in the 1000.00$ range ?
Pedro on November 21, 2016
I shoot with a Ruger American Magnum in a 300 Win Mag. It kicks like a mule ! With 180 grain sierra bullets. 3 shots and I am done but when I spin on my Suppressor it tames it way down. I shot 50 rounds at the range It was actually fun. I was very accurate with it and I did not even flinch when I pulled the trigger.
Garry on November 23, 2016
I'm older'n dirt retired for 17 yrs after 3rd of century as Fed LEO aka Horseman, aka Hostage Negotiator. Bulls/Bucks etc probably tally near 100. Used 7Rem (was stolen) Talked into 300Wby, altho' took 3 Bulls, dissatisfied. Got 300Win/Nos B/T 180s @3,100 fps (ES only 9fps) half MOA. Did some 6,7 and 900 meter shooting @ Sniper Course in Alta. couple wks back. Did not miss with my Win SS Classic w/Boss. Accuracy paramount. Competed against $10K rifles and bested them.
Dean victor on January 9, 2017
With the sadero, it's been my experience that it's not the rifle that's shooting bed.
Silvio Manzano on January 11, 2017
Good evening. Not asking for advice. I guess rather reassurance here. A few months ago I got a nice Sako Hunter in 300 win mag. Main purpose is hunting wild boar, perhaps red deer in my country which happens to be Spain. Shots out to 400 yds at most. I followed the advice of a experienced hunter friend who loves the cartridge. I am tall but not bulky at 6' and 160 lbs and find the recoil stout but bearable. Now many hunters tell me I made the wrong choice. They say I should have gone 7mm RM. More tan enough for Spanish game and much more sweet to shoot. But I find something mythical in the 300 WM and I like to be a one rifle man. I would appreciate your input. Thanks
Ed Oliver on February 23, 2017
I am looking for a good out to 800yards load for my 300WM and I will be hunting Moose in Alaska. I had looked at getting a 338 Win Mag or 338 lapua but from all I have rad the 300 Win Mag will do the job and I already have 2 of them . Thinking of setting one up for long range and putting a good long range scope on it but really want to make sure it will have the power to kill a moose at long range..Any help with a good load would be appreciated
rat on February 28, 2017
get what works best. practice with that. exclamation point.
Rod on March 14, 2017
In these type of discussions, it seems assumed the terminal performance of both calibers is about the same, presumably because of the energy similarity .. However, many of the experts on terminal performance or 'knock down' power e.g. Taylor, indicate terminal performance is proportional to velocity, weight and diameter . As the velocities are pretty similar, if you do the math with the weight and diameter e.g. comparing Hornady's ELD Precision Hunter cartridges in both calibers, the 300 win mag is the huge winner, by up to a third! That big 300 win mag recoil is felt on both ends of the trajectory! So if quicker, potentially more ethical, faster knock-down kills are the objective.....
Patrick on April 24, 2017
Let's try your calculation with a .308 Nosler HPBT BC .530. !!!. In fact you may make a mix of many parameter but the most important thing is to know the balistic performance of the bullet you are shooting and train with. Choose one of those calibers and you will have succes. It become like throwing a ball, you will hit de target mor often than if you throw each time a new kind of ball . Regards :)
Greg Blevins on August 23, 2017
A gallon jugs doesn't stand a chance a 750 yards.A 200 grain Nosler partiion at 2820fps will do the job. Recently had scope redone with custom dial system from Leopold. Works well thanks Leopold.
Scot on September 17, 2017
I live in Western Montana. The "kick the snot" out of you is also solved with a Falkor Petra in 300 wm. No felt recoil. 9 more shots to go. Should you need them. G7 range finder and NF scope. Lots of learning to do. Any issues will be with the shooter I suspect.
Scot on September 17, 2017
I live in Western Montana. The "kick the snot" out of you is also solved with a Falkor Petra in 300 wm. No felt recoil. 9 more shots to go. Should you need them. G7 range finder and NF scope. Lots of learning to do. Any issues will be with the shooter I suspect.
MK on December 4, 2017
I agree with your results....... BUT.........put up a graph for energy over range, this is where the 300 magnums beat the 7mm Magnums. From memory up to 700m the 300 magnum is superior in "power".
MK on December 4, 2017
I agree with your results....... BUT.........put up a graph for energy over range, this is where the 300 magnums beat the 7mm Magnums. From memory up to 700m the 300 magnum is superior in "power".
Paul on January 3, 2018
Nosler is now manufacturing a 190 grains bullet in 30 caliber with a bc of 0.640, the Accubond long range. This would be an apple to apple comparison with the example used by the author. In the 300 Win Mag according to the latest Nosler reloading manual, this bullet can be pushed at over 3000 fps in a 24 inch barrel. Long distance barrels are often longer. The undeniable advantage this bullet has is more speed, at least 100 fps more than the 7mmRM and more mass. I'm willing to bet that it would show the same amount of wind drift or less than the 7mm Mag and more than likely less drop. In order to have an apple to apple comparison, it is imperative to have similar ballistic coefficient and the individual rounds used for the test should be pushed to their true potential. Another factor is sectional density. The 160 7mm and the 190 30cal are very close in that respect.
paul on January 3, 2018
Just to illustrate my point in my first post. I ran comparisons on Swarovski ballistic program. The 7 mm bullet; a 160 gr bullet with a bc of 0.657 at 2950 fps, although it can be pushed to 3000 in the 7mm Rem. Mag. The 300 mm bullet; a 190 gr bullet with a bc of 0.64 at 3050 fps, it can be pushed more, both bullets with the proper powder can achieve a bit more but they are very close. The results are in favor of the 300 Win Mag with a drop of 214.75 inches. ZERO at 200. The 7MM mag, shows a drop of over 228 inches with the same 200 yards ZERO. Both these figures are taken at 1000 yards. I did not run the wind drift but it can be done on the same ballistic program. Even at 3000 fps, the 7mm mag with lag behind the 300 Win Mag. When cartridges are exploited to their true potentials, results clearly favor the 300 with similar BC bullets and sectional densities. They are still very close to make any practical difference. It's what one likes and shoots best that is the defining factor.
Paul on February 18, 2018
I have been shooting a 30-06 with a 180 grain bullet and have never missed a deer at 400 to 600 yards with no wind allowance. At 100 to 350 yards it is always dead on. I see more deviation when the temperature is lower between 25 and 45 degrees. I normally see less accuracy at damp and wet weather.

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