Ask the Experts: Which Short Magnum for Deer?

If you are thinking about purchasing a short magnum for deer hunting, then you will want to hear what our expert, Thomas Tabor, has to say. One GW reader was debating between a .300 WSM and a 7mm WSM and was wondering about the velocities of those cartridges as compared to the velocities of the traditional .300 Win Mag and 7mm Remington Mag. Read on to hear Tabor’s expert advice!


300 Winchester Magnum

Photo by Winchester


Thomas Tabor Answers:

The .300 Winchester Magnum and the 7mm Remington Magnum have provided themselves as great deer cartridges, and I believe that the .300 WSM and 7mm WSM would be just as effective when it comes to deer-sized game. But when it comes to larger game, like elk, I would steer clear of the 7mms. If you ever envision going after these big and tough critters, I would opt for the either the .300 Win Mag or the .300 WSM. Either one of these cartridges would be acceptable for deer or elk.


If you look at the performance of the typical factory-loaded cartridges we find that a 180 grain bullet loaded in the .300 WSM generates about 2,970 feet per second (fps) muzzle velocity and 3,090 foot pounds of energy (fpe) at 100 yards as compared to about 2,960 fps and 2,915 fpe in the .300 Win Mag. There is, however, a bit more of a difference in the case of the 7mms.


Factory loads with 140 grain bullets typically run 3,310 fps at the muzzle and 2,985 fpe at 100 yards in the 7mm WMS. A 7mm Rem Mag loaded with a140 grain bullet typically produces a muzzle velocity of about 3,150 fps and 2,655 fpe at 100 yards. Of course different weight bullets within factory-loaded ammunition can account for differences in both velocity and retained energy and the shooter who handloads their own ammunition has the ability to sometimes vary the performance levels considerably.


By Thomas Tabor

Photo by Winchester


About the Expert: Thomas Tabor is Gun World’s resident hunting expert, and routinely goes afield in pursuit of turkeys, large game and good stories. He was last seen slipping into the woods on a spring turkey hunting adventure.


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