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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

8 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.

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