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300 WSM vs. 300 Win. Mag.
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 Posted: Fri Mar 18th, 2005 09:03 PM
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The_Mountaineer
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[size=The 300][][size=Winchester][][size=Short Magnum VS. the 300][][size=Winchester][][size=Magnum]

] 

Introduction

As I am in “need” of another rifle, I decided that the next one might possibly be a 300 magnum of some sort.  Having narrowed my choices down to either the 300 Winchester Short Magnum (300 WSM) or the 300 Winchester Magnum (300 Win. Mag.) I decided to do some research to see which one would be the “better” choice.  I did not forget about the 300 Short Action Ultra Mag (300 SAUM) being offered by Remington.  However, it appears by the lack of factory rifles chambered in this caliber - other than by Remington itself - the 300 SAUM may be headed for the graveyard of unsuccessful calibers. Little did I know of some of the surprises that my research would reveal. 

 

Ballistics

I first decided to take a look at the manufacturers’ published ballistics.  After all, aren’t ballistics what honestly separate one caliber from another whether it be on the range or in the field?  Seems to me it does. 

 

I searched the websites of Remington, Winchester, Hornady and Federal as they represent the largest segment of “factory” produced ammunition readily available to majority of shooters in the United States.  Each manufacturer has made available on their website ballistic charts for their loaded ammunition.  Taking this information and incorporating it into a spreadsheet I was able to note velocities, energy and trajectory for 16 different factory loadings for the 300 WSM and 39 different factory loadings for the 300 Win. Mag..  For each factory loaded bullet weight – which included 150, 165 and 180 grain bullets for the 300 WSM and 150, 165, 180 and 200 grain bullets for the 300 Win. Mag. – I ranked the different loadings in increasingly faster velocities and higher energies for 200 yards.  I arbitrarily picked 200 yards for two reasons.  First, the overwhelming majority of riflemen and hunters will keep their shots under 300 yards (and truth be told probably less than 100 yards), making 200 yards about as even a measuring point as one can expect for my research.  Second, the smaller segment of shooters and hunters who do exceed 300 yard shooting with regularity will most likely be using specialized equipment to include customized rifles and/or precision handloaded ammunition where factory ammo ballistics have less meaning.  As a result of this arbitrary 200 yard ranking of various factory loadings, I was able to rank them from “good” to “bad.”  I then got an “industry average” of each caliber’s ballistics grouped according to bullet weight. The “industry average” is just that - an average of all the loads Remington, Winchester, Hornady and Federal offer averaged together.  Certainly, there are factory loadings that are faster or slower, hit with more energy or less energy and experience quicker or slower bullet drop compared to the “industry average”.  However my intent was to see what the rifleman can expect should they be limited to only using factory ammunition.

 

150 gr. Factory Loads

There are currently three 150 grain factory loaded offerings available for the 300 WSM – two by Winchester and one by Federal.  The “industry average” ballistics are as follows: 


300 WSM Avg. Muzzle Velocity/Energy = 3257 fps/3533 ft-lbs.
300 WSM Avg. 100 Yard Velocity/Energy/Trajectory = 2978 fps/2956 ft-lbs./+1.2 in.
300 WSM Avg. 200 Yard Velocity/Energy/Trajectory = 2717 fps/2463 ft-lbs./0.0 in.
300 WSM Avg. 300 Yard Velocity/Energy/Trajectory = 2471 fps/2042 ft-lbs./-5.9 in.


300 WSM Avg. 400 yard Velocity/Energy/Trajectory = 2239 fps/1683 ft-lbs./-17.7 in.

300 WSM Avg. 500 Yard Velocity/Energy/Trajectory = 2022 fps/1380 ft-lbs/-36.6 in.

 

There are currently ten 150 grain factory loaded offerings available for the 300 Win. Mag – two by Winchester, two by Federal, three by Remington and three by Hornady.  One of the Remington offerings included a “Reduced Recoil” loading which was omitted as its velocity, energy and trajectory were inconsistent with other loadings by other manufacturers.  The “industry” average ballistics are as follows:

 

300 Win Mag. Avg. Muzzle Vel./Energy = 3279 fps/3582 ft-lbs.

300 Win. Mag. Avg. 100 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2986 fps/2970 ft-lbs./+1.3 in.

300 Win. Mag. Avg. 200 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2712 fps/2450 ft-lbs./+0.2 in.

300 Win. Mag. Avg. 300 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2454 fps/2008 ft-lbs./-5.6 in.

300 Win. Mag. Avg. 400 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2210 fps/1632 ft-lbs./-17.4 in.

300 Win. Mag. Avg. 500 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 1975 fps/1315 ft-lbs./-36.2 in.

 

It appears that the faster, more powerful and flatter shooting caliber when using 150 grain factory loaded cartridges is the 300 WSM, on average. 

 

There are a three important things I should note in regards to comparing the two calibers and their ballistics with 150 grain factory loaded ammunition.  First the dead on range for the 300 WSM was always 200 yards.  With, the 300 Win. Mag., both Remington and Winchester sighted in one of their 150 grain loadings at other distances.  This was a play on trajectory numbers by both manufacturers.  Riflemen who would only glance at the 500 yard bullet drop could be easily fooled into thinking that the less bullet drop could be attributed to the caliber and NOT the sight-in range.  It is understandable why Remington did this for their “Reduced Recoil” loading.  Why Winchester varied their dead-on ranges with one of their loads, the 150 gr. Super-X Power Point, to something other than 200 yards like other manufacturers as well as other loadings of their own is beyond me.  Second, at this time there are roughly three times more 300 Win. Mag. offerings made by commercial ammunition manufacturers than there are for the 300 WSM.  This play on numbers and variances between one manufacturer and the next surely affects the “industry average.”  Should manufacturers decide to load more for the 300 WSM then I expect these numbers to change.  Third, is in regards to the “best” and “worst” of each caliber’s factory ammunition.  The “best” factory loaded ammunition topped with 150 grain bullets for the 300 WSM showed more desirable ballistics than the “best” factory loaded 300 Win. Mag. ammunition loaded with 150 grain bullets, but only by a small margin – less than 50 fps difference in velocity, less than 60 ft-lbs in difference in energy and less than one inch in trajectory.  For the 300 WSM, the “best” was Winchester’s 150 grain Supreme Ballistic Silvertip:

 

Muzzle Vel./Energy = 3300 fps/ 3628 ft-lbs.

100 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 3061 fps/3121 ft-lbs./+1.1 in.

200 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2834 fps/2676 ft-lbs./0.0 in.

300 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2619 fps/2285 ft-lbs./-5.4 in.

400 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2414 fps/1941 ft-lbs./-15.9 in.

500 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory =  2218 fps/1638 ft-lbs./-32.4 in.

 

For the 300 Win. Mag., the “best” was Hornady’s 150 grain SST:

 

Muzzle Vel./Energy = 3275 fps/3572 ft-lbs.

100 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 3032 fps/3061 ft-lbs./+1.1 in.

200 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2802 fps/2615 ft-lbs./0.0 in.

300 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2584 fps/2223 ft-lbs./-5.6 in.

400 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2375 fps/1879 ft-lbs./-16.4 in.

500 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2177 fps/1578 ft-lbs./-33.4 in.

 

There were again small differences in the “worst” offerings made available by ammunition producers.  Except at the muzzle, the “worst” 300 Win. Mag. factory ammunition outperformed the “worst” 300 WSM factory ammunition loaded with 150 grain bullets.  Again, the margin was small, yet more significant than in the comparisons of the “best” factory ammunition for both calibers.  Velocity differences were 175 fps or less.  Energy differences were 208 ft-lbs or less.  Trajectory differences were 4 inches or less.  The 300 WSM factory ammunition that gave the slowest velocities, weakest energy and greatest bullet drop for 150 grain bullets was Winchester’s 150 gr. Super-X Power Point: 

 

Muzzle Vel./Energy = 3270 fps/3561 ft-lbs.

100 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2903 fps/2807 ft-lbs./+1.3 in.

200 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2565 fps/2190 ft-lbs./0.0 in.

300 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2250 fps/1686 ft-lbs./-6.6 in.

400 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 1958 fps/1277 ft-lbs./-20.2 in.

500 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 1692 fps/953 ft-lbs./-42.9 in.

 

The “worst” 300 Win. Mag factory ammunition that gave the slowest velocities, weakest energy and greatest bullet drop for 150 grain bullets was, without doubt, Remington’s 150 grain Pointed Soft Point Core-Lokt Reduced Recoil loadings.  However, as this isn’t a “standard” offering but simply made for reduced recoil, it isn’t fair to rank it in this comparison so we move to the next factory offering which was Winchester’s 150 grain Supreme Fail Safe:

 

Muzzle Vel./Energy = 3260 fps/3539 ft-lbs.

100 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2943 fps/2884 ft-lbs./+1.3 in.

200 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2647 fps/2334 ft-lbs./0.0 in.

300 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2370 fps/1871 ft-lbs./-6.2 in.

400 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2110 fps/1483 ft-lbs./-18.7 in.

500 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 1867 fps/1161 ft-lbs./-38.9 in.

 

To summarize, if you compare the “best” 300 WSM 150 grain factory ammo with the “best” 300 Win. Mag. 150 grain factory ammo, there is little difference though the 300 WSM does come out on top as the “better” performer.  Yet, if you compare the “worst” 300 WSM factory loaded 150 grain ammo to the “worst” of the 300 Win. Mag. factory loaded 150 grain ammo, the 300 Win. Mag. comes out on top as the “better” performer and by a larger margin. 

 

165 gr. Factory Loads

There are currently three 165 grain factory loads for the 300 WSM – two from Federal and one from Winchester.  The “industry average” ballistics are as follows:

 

300 WSM Avg. Muzzle Vel./Energy = 3128 fps/3585 ft-lbs.

300 WSM Avg. 100 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2881 fps/3040 ft-lbs./+1.3 in.

300 WSM Avg. 200 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2647 fps/2568 ft-lbs./0.0 in.

300 WSM Avg. 300 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2425 fps/2156 ft-lbs./-6.3 in.

300 WSM Avg. 400 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2214 fps/1798 ft-lbs./-18.5 in.

300 WSM Avg. 500 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2014 fps/1489 ft-lbs./-38.0 in.

 

There are currently seven 165 grain factory loads for the 300 Win. Mag – one from Winchester, three from federal and three from Hornady. The “industry average” ballistics are as follows:

 

300 Win. Mag. Avg. Muzzle Vel./Energy = 3904 fps/3508 ft-lbs.

300 Win. Mag. Avg. 100 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2861 fps/2999 ft-lbs/+1.4 in.

300 Win. Mag. Avg. 200 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2640 fps/2554 ft-lbs/0.0 in.

300 Win. Mag. Avg. 300 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2429 fps/2165 ft-lbs/-6.4 in.

300 Win. Mag. Avg. 400 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2229 fps/1824 ft-lbs./-18.7 in.

300 Win. Mag. Avg. 500 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2039 fps/1528 ft-lbs./-38.4 in.

 

On average, it appears that the 300 WSM 165 grain factory loads outperform the 300 Win. Mag. 165 grain factory loads.  However, at ranges beyond 200 yards, the 300 Win. Mag. is the stronger performer.  So, it doesn’t appear there is any clearcut “winner” in this comparison over all ranges.  Regardless, the differences are subtle with no more than a 20 fps difference in velocity, no more than a 41 ft-lbs. difference in energy and less than 0.4 inch difference in bullet drop between the two. Unlike the 150 grain cartridge comparisons, all factory offerings had a “dead-on” range of 200 yards.  Also, there was less of a number play in this comparison than with the 150 grainers.  This time, there were seven 165 grain factory offerings for the 300 Win. Mag and three for the 300 WSM, which roughly means there were “only” twice as many offerings for the 300 Win. Mag. this time around instead of three times the number of offerings as last time.  Comparing the “best” performer of the 300 WSM 165 grain loadings with the “best” performer of the 300 Win. Mag. 165 grain loadings shows the 300 Win. Mag to be the better performer of the two by a small margin (less than 10 fps difference in velocity, less than 29 ft-lbs of energy, and less than 0.3 inches in bullet drop) as can be seen below.  For the 300 WSM, the “best” 165 grain load was Federal’s 165 grain Nosler Solid Base:

 

Muzzle Vel./Energy = 3130 fps/3589 ft-lbs.

100 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2904 fps/3090 ft-lbs./+1.3 in.

200 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2690 fps/2651 ft-lbs./0.0 in.

300 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2486 fps/2263 ft-lbs./-6.1 in.

400 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2290 fps/1921 ft-lbs./-17.8 in.

500 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2104 fps/1621 ft-lbs./-36.3 in.

 

For the 300 Win. Mag., the “best” 165 grain load was Federal’s 165 grain Solid Base Boat Tail:

 

Muzzle Vel./Energy = 3140 fps/3612 ft-lbs.

100 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2914 fps/3112 ft-lbs./+1.3 in.

200 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2700 fps/2671 ft-lbs./0.0 in.

300 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2496 fps/2282 ft-lbs./-6.1 in.

400 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2300 fps/1938 ft-lbs./-17.7 in.

500 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2114 fps/1637 ft-lbs./-36.0 in.

 

Different results can be found when comparing the “worst” of each caliber’s available factory ammunition.  In this instance, the 300 WSM is the better performer.  Interestingly the “worst” performers for both calibers are made by the same manufacturer – Winchester.  I find it especially interesting that the same exact bullet in different calibers, produced by the exact same manufacturer can produce these differences.  Winchester shows a relatively significant difference between its two offerings.  There’s as much as 134 fps velocity difference, 178 ft-lbs of energy difference and 3.0 inches in bullet drop difference.  Furthermore, this same load, Winchester’s Supreme Fail Safe, was also the weakest performer for the 150 grain 300 Win. Mag. comparison.  Specifics of these two “worst” performers by Winchester can be found below.  The “worst” 165 grain factory loaded performer for the 300 WSM was Winchester’s 165 grain Supreme Fail Safe:

 

Muzzle Vel./Energy = 3125 fps/3577 ft-lbs.

100 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2846 fps/2967 ft-lbs./+1.4 in.

200 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2584 fps/2446 ft-lbs./0.0 in.

300 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2336 fps/1999 ft-lbs./-6.6 in.

400 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2102 fps/1619 ft-lbs./-19.6 in.

500 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 1882 fps/1298 ft-lbs./-40.6 in.

 

The “worst” 165 grain factory loaded performer for the 300 Win. Mag was Winchester’s Supreme Fail Safe:

 

Muzzle Vel./Energy = 3120 fps/3567 ft-lbs.

100 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2807 fps/2888 ft-lbs./+1.5 in.

200 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2515 fps/2319 ft-lbs./0.0 in.

300 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2242 fps/1842 ft-lbs/-7.0 in.

400 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 1985 fps/1445 ft-lbs./-20.9 in.

500 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 1748 fps/1120 ft-lbs./-43.6 in.

 

180 gr. Factory Loads

There are currently ten 300 WSM factory loads 180 grain bullets on the market today.  The 300 WSM 180 grain loads include four from Winchester and six from Federal.  The “industry average” is as follows:

 

300 WSM Avg. Muzzle Vel./Energy = 2979 fps/3547 ft-lbs

300 WSM Avg. 100 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2748 fps/3021 ft-lbs./+1.6 in.

300 WSM Avg. 200 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2530 fps/2567 ft-lbs./0.0 in.

300 WSM Avg. 300 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2323 fps/2174 ft-lbs./-7.1 in.

300 WSM Avg. 400 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2129 fps/1836 ft-lbs./-20.9 in.

300 WSM Avg. 500 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 1949 fps/1548 ft-lbs./-42.8 in.

 

The ten 300 Win. Mag 180 grain loads include two from Winchester, two from Federal, three from Remington and three from Hornady.  The “industry average” is as follows:

 

300 Win. Mag. Avg. Muzzle Vel./Energy = 2986 fps/3564 ft-lbs.

300 Win. Mag. Avg. 100 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2742 fps/3063 ft-lbs/+1.7 in.

300 Win. Mag. Avg. 200 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2561 fps/2622 ft-lbs./+0.2 in.

300 Win. Mag. Avg. 300 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2363 fps/2233 ft-lbs./-6.5 in.

300 Win. Mag. Avg. 400 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2174 fps/1892 ft-lbs./-17.8 in.

300 Win. Mag. Avg. 500 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 1994 fps/1593 ft-lbs/-39.9 in.

 

Based off the “industry average” it appears the 300 Win. Mag. is the better performer with 180 grain bullets than the 300 WSM.  Again, this is not by a large margin.  Velocity differences between the 300 Win. Mag. and 300 WSM were less than 45 fps.  Energy differences were less than 59 ft-lbs.  Trajectory differences were less than 3.1 inches.  This time around, it was solely Remington who made their “dead-on” range something other than 200 yards.  Again, why they did this is questionable.  Another interesting note is that there were just as many 300 WSM offerings with 180 grain bullets as there were 300 Win. Mag. offerings – ten each.  Comparing the “best” 300 WSM performer with the “best” 300 Win. Mag. performer showed that up to 300 yards, the 300 WSM was a better performer but beyond that the 300 Win.Mag. was the better choice.  Out of the ten 300 WSM 180 grain factory loaded offerings, the Winchester Supreme 180 grain Accubond CT gave the most impressive ballistics:

 

Muzzle Vel./Energy = 3010 fps/3622 ft-lbs.

100 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2822 fps/3185 ft-lbs./+1.4 in.

200 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2643 fps/2792 ft-lbs./0.0 in.
300 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2470 fps/2439 ft-lbs./-6.4 in.


400 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2304 fps/2121 ft-lbs./-18.5 in.

500 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory =  2144 fps/1837 ft-lbs./-37.2 in.

 

For the 300 Win. Mag, the “best” performer out of the ten factory offerings was Winchester’s 180 grain Supreme Partition Gold:

 

Muzzle Vel./Energy = 3070 fps/3768 ft-lbs.

100 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2859 fps/3267 ft-lbs./+1.4 in.

200 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2657 fps/2823 ft-lbs./0.0 in.

300 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2464 fps/2428 ft-lbs./-6.3 in.

400 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2280 fps/2078 ft-lbs./-18.3 in.

500 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2103 fps/1768 ft-lbs./-37.1 in.

 

Similar results can be found when comparing the “worst” 180 grain factory offerings for the 300 WSM and 300 Win. Mag. At the muzzle, the “worst” 300 WSM loading seems to outperform the 300 Win. Mag.’s “worst.”  However, this is short lived as from 100-500 yards the 300 Win. Mag. is by a large margin the better performer with as much as 594 fps more velocity, 705 ft-lbs. more energy and 25.6 inches less bullet drop than the 300 WSM.  Why this Federal loading is so grossly unrepresentative of the rest of the 300 WSM’s 180 grain offerings remains to be seen.

 

The “worst” factory offering in 180 grains for the 300 WSM was Federal’s 180 grain Soft Point:

 

Muzzle Vel./Energy = 2970 fps/3525 ft-lbs.

100 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2520 fps/2539 ft-lbs./+2.0 in.

200 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2113 fps/1784 ft-lbs./0.0 in.

300 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 1747 fps/1219 ft-lbs./-9.9 in.

400 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 1431 fps/819 ft-lbs./-31.5 in.

500 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 1189 fps/565 ft-lbs./-71.0 in.

 

The “worst” factory offering in 180 grains for the 300 Win. Mag. was Federal’s 180 grain Nosler Partition loading:

 

Muzzle Vel./Energy = 2960 fps/3502 ft-lbs.

100 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2697 fps/2906 ft-lbs./+1.6 in.

200 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2448 fps/2395 ft-lbs./0.0 in.

300 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 2213 fps/1957 ft-lbs./-7.5 in.

400 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory = 1991 fps/1585 ft-lbs./-22.1 in.

500 Yard Vel./Energy/Trajectory =  1783 fps/1270 ft-lbs./-45.4 in.

 

200 gr. Factory Loads

At this time, there are only 200 grain factory loads for the 300 Win. Mag. and only three of them at that.  There are no 200 grain factory loads for the 300 WSM.  Whether this will change in the future is unknown.  As such, there was no basis of comparison for 200 grain loads between the two calibers.

 

Reloading

 

Of course, many of us roll our own ammunition for our rifles, myself included.  Therefore, some research on reloading for the 300 WSM and 300 Win. Mag. is warranted. 

 

Reload Ballistics and Pressure Considerations

The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturer’s Institute (SAAMI) gives every cartridge a maximum average pressure rating given in pounds per square inch (PSI).  There is a small difference between the 300 WSM and the 300 Win. Mag. For the 300 WSM, SAAMI has a maximum average pressure rating of 65,000 PSI and the 300 Win. Mag. has 64,000 PSI rating.  I examined the estimated pressures of different loads for both calibers using Hodgdon’s and IMR’s online data available through their website. 

 

Between these two manufacturers, there were seven ratings for 150 grain 300 WSM loads and 13 for the 300 Win. Mag.. Charges for the 300 WSM 150 grain loads ranged from 51.0 – 70.0 grains, depending upon powder, and gave pressures ranging from 53,400 – 63,800 PSI.  Charges for the 300 Win. Mag. 150 grain loads ranged from 35.6 – 85.0 grains with pressures ranging from 46,260 – 54,000 PSI.  It appears that with 150 grain loads, the 300 WSM starts out with roughly the same amount of pressure that the 300 Win. Mag. tops out with.  Velocities averaged from 2972 – 3174 fps and ranged from 2907 – 3240 fps for the 300 WSM’s 150 grain loads.  Velocities averaged from 2821 – 3134 fps and ranged from 2331 – 3365 fps for the 300 Win. Mag’s 150 grain loads.  For sure, the 300 Win. Mag. has a longer history of reloading but it still has listings which outperform the 300 WSM by a small margin.

 

I also examined the 165 grain load data for both calibers between the two aforementioned manufacturers.  The 300 WSM had seven loads listed.  Charges for 165 grain loads ranged from 51.0 – 67.0 grains depending on the powder with pressures ranging from 54,000 – 63,200 PSI.  Charges for the 300 Win. Mag. 165 grain loads ranged from 64.4 – 79.3 grains and pressures ranging from 54,000 – 61,000 PSI.  Unlike the 150 grain loadings, the pressures between the two calibers with 165 grain loads are similar.  For the 300 WSM, velocities averaged between 2839 – 3028 fps and ranged from 2763 – 3080 fps.  Velocities averaged from 2796 – 3107 fps and ranged from 2790 – 3110 fps for the 300 Win. Mag..   Again, the 300 Win. Mag.’s listed reload velocities are faster than the 300 WSM albeit by a small margin. 

 

Finally, I compared the 300 WSM 180 grain listed reloads with those of the 300 Win. Mag..  For the 300 WSM, there were six listed loads with charges ranging from 57.0 – 70.0 grains depending on the powder used.  Generated pressures ranged from 52,000 – 64,000 PSI.  For the 300 Win. Mag., charges ranged from 55.8 – 89.0 grains with pressures ranging from 38,900 – 61,000 PSI.  It is obvious that with 180 grain loads, the 300 WSM generates higher pressures than the 300 Win. Mag..  For the 300 WSM projected velocities averaged between 2735 – 2939 fps and ranged 2643 – 2970 fps.  The 300 Win. Mag.’s 180 grain loads velocities averaged 2646 – 2940 fps and ranged 2561 – 3042 fps.  For 180 grain loads, average velocities for both calibers were similar.  However slightly higher velocities were listed within the range of the 300 Win. Mag. 

 

Case Capacities

The 300 WSM has a case capacity in the range of 79.0 – 82.6 grains and the 300 Win. Mag. has a case capacity in the range of 88.0 – 90.4 grains of water (depending on whose numbers you go by).  Regardless, it is obvious that the 300 Win. Mag. has a greater capacity than the 300 WSM.  On average, the 300 Win. Mag has around 8 more grains of case capacity than the 300 WSM. 

 

Rifles

Finally, we come down to the rifles themselves.  I examined the websites of Browning, CZ-USA, Howa, Kimber, Ruger, Remington, Sako, Savage, Tikka, Weatherby and Winchester to see what bolt action rifles they had currently available for the 300 WSM and the 300 Win. Mag..  For the 300 WSM, there are currently 67 different models available from these manufacturers.  For the 300 Win. Mag., there are currently 43 different models currently available.  As can be expected, the number of models available will vary from year to year but I was more interested in seeing the differences in weight, length and price between the two calibers.

 

I suspected that there would be a difference in weight between rifles chambered in different calibers, especially since the 300 WSM is a “short action” chambering and the 300 Win. Mag is a “long action” chambering.  Indeed there was a difference.  There were 34 models offered by manufacturers that were chambered in both the 300 WSM and the 300 Win. Mag.  Of those, there was a difference in weight for 25 of those models. In other words, roughly 74% of same models varied in weight from one chambering to another.  The differences in weight could be attributed to such things as shorter action and shorter barrels.  However, nine models showed no difference in weight and there were five models in which the 300 WSM was actually heavier!  Browning’s A-Bolt M-1000 Eclipse chambered in 300 WSM is listed as being heavier than it’s 300 Win. Mag. version equipped with a BOSS device.  Similarly, Weatherby showed a consistent 4 oz. weight difference between four of its models:  the Vanguard Sporter, Vanguard Sporter SS, Vanguard Sub-MOA matte and the Vanguard Sub-MOA stainless.  For all four of these rifles the 300 WSM weighed more.  The lightest 300 WSM was the Browning A-Bolt  Titanium which was listed as weighing 5 lbs. 8 oz..  The heaviest 300 WSM listing was Savage’s 12 BVSS which came in at 10 lbs..  For the 300 Win. Mag., the lightest listing was Tikka’s T3 Lite and Lite Stainless which weighed 6 lbs 6 oz. each.  The heaviest 300 Win. Mag listing was again Savage’s 12 BVSS which weighed 10 lbs. 4 oz.  So, it appears that the notion that the 300 WSM is always lighter than the 300 Win. Mag. in your favorite model rifle isn’t necessarily true.  If weight is a consideration, you might want to check the weight of the 300 WSM compared to the 300 Win. Mag. as only Howa’s 1500 Lightning Rifle and Hunter Rifle, Ruger’s M77 Mark II All Weather, Tikka’s T3 Battue, T3 Battue Lite, T3 Varmint, and T3 Varmint Stainless, Weatherby’s Vanguard Synthetic and Vanguard Stainless showed no difference in weight between the 300 WSM and 300 Win. Mag.. 

 

Prices varied extremely.  Suffice it to say that one can find one chambering at a comparable price to the other.  In fact, the only company which had a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) that varied in price from the 300 WSM to the 300 Win. Mag. in the exact same model rifle was Winchester.  All other manufacturers had the same price for either caliber.  Winchester’s Model 70 Classic Stainless in 300 Win. Mag. was listed as being $18 higher than the WSM version.   Yet in the Model 70 Classic Super Grade III the 300 WSM was $31 higher than the standard mag version.  Why this is the case remains to be seen.  The lowest MSRP for the 300 WSM found was for Weatherby’s Vanguard Synthetic at $476 whereas for the 300 Win. Mag., it was Remington’s 710 at $426.  The highest MSRP for the 300 WSM found was for Kimber’s 8400 Super America at $1,799 whereas for the 300 Win. Mag., it was Weatherby’s Mark V Ultralight at $1,752.  Based on these findings, it appears that there’s no discernible difference in price to warrant the purchase of one caliber over another.  

 

Conclusions

This whole little study has been quite an undertaking!  I’ve looked at enough websites to make a man go blind.  But, it has put to rest some misconceptions I’ve had about the 300 WSM and the 300 Win. Mag.

 

Comparing factory ammunition ballistics has shown that there’s little difference between the two calibers.  At shorter ranges or with lighter bullets, the 300 WSM might be the better choice.  At longer ranges or with heavier bullets, the 300 Win. Mag. might be the better choice.  There isn’t a huge difference one way or the either when comparing, on average, the velocity, energy or trajectory of either caliber. 

 

Considering reloading aspects, there’s small differences between the two.  The 300 WSM definitely generates more pressure than the 300 Win. Mag. whether using 150, 165 or 180 grain bullets.  How this affects barrel life is an entirely different debate but I’m sure the higher pressures promote quicker wear.  Whether this wear is significant or not is another study!  The 300 Win. Mag.’s reload history shows it to be a higher performer than the 300 WSM but that’s probably to be expected.  Give the 300 WSM as long a life as the 300 Win. Mag. and I’m sure we’ll probably be looking at higher velocities and energies as well as flatter trajectories in the reload manuals of 2050.  For sure, the 300 Win. Mag. has a higher case capacity.  Yet, the smaller, fatter 300 WSM appears to have some sort of attribute to obtain the velocities it shouldn’t be seeing in a conventionally sized 300 Win. Mag. case with the same amount of powder and same projectile.

 

As far as rifles go, that’s entirely up to the purchaser.  There’s one for every style, weight, and price that pulls on the rifleman’s heart.  For sure, in these “early years” of the 300 WSM, there appears to be plenty of offerings available and even more than the classic 300 Win. Mag..  But, surely there’s one model out there that tickles each gunner’s fancy.

 

The bottom line for me is this.  I don’t think that the 300 WSM is a huge advancement in ballistics for a 30 caliber magnum.  For sure, the 300 Win. Mag. and it’s kin have, can and will outperform the 300 WSM or at least perform as well.  Though there are some legitimate reasons to purchase a 300 WSM, depending on your tastes, wallet, ballistic needs and so on, I’ll be sticking with the 300 Win. Mag..  Now, as for the other WSM’s, I don’t know.  I think I may look into a 7 WSM for a lightweight western rifle. Ha!



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 Posted: Fri Mar 18th, 2005 09:05 PM
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The_Mountaineer
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If anybody wants my spreadsheets that I used to compose this nightmare of a report, just let me know by shooting me a pm!



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 Posted: Fri Mar 18th, 2005 09:25 PM
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klallen
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Good Grief, MOUNTAINEER  >>  You don't mess around when you're researching for a new rifle, do ya?  :thumbs:

I really enjoyed my .300 WinMag     ...     before it was sold to make room for a nasty 7mm STW craving that I was experiencing.  Certainly can't fault ya for leaning this way.  Plenty of power, accurate, and as comfortable of a magnum cartridge to shoot as you'll find; least I thought my Ruger M77 Mark II was.

Good luck with the purchase.  >>  klallen 



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 Posted: Sat Mar 19th, 2005 06:53 PM
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bea175
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I don't think you could go wrong with either the 300 long or short. It would come down to where you prefer a short or long action rifle. Give me the choice and i will take a short action anyday as long as i can seat the bullet out where it belongs . If i was going to use the Nosler 200 gr Part . as my primary hunting bullet i would prefer the 300 Win Mag. with 180 gr or less the 300 wsm. :thumbs:



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 Posted: Sun Mar 20th, 2005 04:24 AM
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longhunter
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Problem is though that the short mag actions are so short that you cant seat the bullet out far enough to take advantage of its case capacity when using bullets heavier than 165gr. If you want to single load them yes, otherwise youre limited by the mag length. 



 Posted: Mon Mar 21st, 2005 04:37 PM
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dakotasin
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a common 'theme' that pops up here is people will start popping in w/ their handloaded numbers, and make the claim that factory published ballistics hold no merit when comparing a h/l'd cartridge to a factory loaded cartridge... also, there are so many variables when developing a killer load that even still, it is difficult to make a decision, eg, what if the particular rifle you wound up w/ develops pressure signs 'early', thus you can't load to 'full potential'.

at any rate, when i started racing, the saying was 'there is no replacement for displacement' when trying to get cheap horsepower. that axiom fits w/ cartridges, too. the win mag holds more powder. however, the fly in the ointment is the whizzum is loaded to higher pressures, making the 2 appear to be identical.

so, here's where i'm at currently... i have a hotrodded 300 whizzum. spits 180's out far faster than any of the published data you have posted (and i do mean significantly faster). i also have a new 300 win mag w/ a 24" barrel (same as the wsm) that i just started working on. we'll see how the two stack up when each is properly handloaded for best accuracy, rather than loaded for velocity (i can get even more velocity out of the wsm, but accuracy goes to hell, and i took it up to primer-popping pressures looking for the next node).

i'm thinking that when each is loaded to its full accuracy potential, the win mag will shine a little brighter - but we'll see what happens for real.

the wsm short actions... my wsm is a winchester, and i find their short actions to really be quite long. so... w/ 180's, i have no troubles seating the bullet all the way out, and maintaining reliable feeding.



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 Posted: Mon Mar 21st, 2005 05:46 PM
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Great thread here Mountaineer..:thumbs:Lots of thoughts on the standard 300 WM versus these short action wonders..

Dakotasin,glad to see you around here bud..Don`t be a stranger,I enjoy your commentary on the magnums..

Gene

Last edited on Mon Mar 21st, 2005 05:46 PM by Timberghozt



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 Posted: Tue Mar 22nd, 2005 03:52 PM
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thanks folks.

I think this validates my decision for a 300 Win. Mag.

I've had that bastard 7 STW re-chambered on a long-action M70 7 Rem Mag with it's neutered 22 inch barrel for some time.  Wanting a big 30+cal. for big game up to 300-400 yards, the 338 and 300 Win. Mag seemed like good choices.  AND they'd work on the 7 STW action more properly.  The 7mm Rem Mag, 300 Win. Mag, 338 Win. Mag and some of their variants will work on most 30-06 sized long actions without much more than a re-barrel job and a bolt face job.  This one already has the magnum bolt face so nothing more should be required. 

Now that I've got the idea confirmed, guess I'll have to wait.  I have yet to buy my inline muzzleloader and a gun safe!  After that, I suppose I'll be able to get back into buying rifles!



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 Posted: Sat Feb 16th, 2008 07:14 PM
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confused
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Both of the cartridges are good I own both.  I've had the short mag longer and I just got the win mag and am in the process of load devolopment.  Going with 180g barns tsx on top of reloader 22 and cci 250 primers.  Not sure how much powder yet, not sure if it likes it hot or not.  The short mag I'm using speer mag tips on wrx powder going at 2950fps not sure of the load right now but it will go faster but it shoots good so I'm not worried right now and I've got 150 rounds left.  Going to see how the wsm shoots with reloader 22 when I get low on ammo.  Both are good and have there advantages, if you like a short action or if you like it faster, take your pick. 



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 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2008 03:54 PM
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sako06
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When I was hunting in CO from 1984 thru 1999 the small towns had ammo in their hardware stores for the most popular chamberings that the local & visiting hunters used .I was in a hardware store in Meeker when a hunter came in looking for ammo for his rifle that he forgot to bring with him,he was told the only source was in Denver a minimum 3 hour drive each way.I have rifles chambered in 30-06,300win mag,243,45-70 (readily available in small towns or in out of the way locations)& SW460mag(I bring my ammo with me for this caliber).

Last edited on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 04:07 PM by sako06



 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2008 04:16 PM
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I've hunted southern Colorado for elk the last two years & have seen more rifles chambered in .300WSM than anything else, so it seems pretty popular there (Bayfield area).

Last edited on Sun Feb 17th, 2008 04:17 PM by Oddbod



 Posted: Mon Feb 18th, 2008 01:30 AM
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This was a very interesting and informative post, I enjoyed it very much. However, i have a .300 RSAUM, which i like very much, but am worried about the availability of cases in the future. Just to show you how my luck goes, i also have a model 88 in .284 winchester.



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 Posted: Mon Feb 18th, 2008 05:27 PM
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"Problem is though that the short mag actions are so short that you cant seat the bullet out far enough to take advantage of its case capacity when using bullets heavier than 165gr. If you want to single load them yes, otherwise youre limited by the mag length. "

Absolutely correct, except..... You can get around this very real problem by going to the Montana Rifle Company action which is a M-70 and M-98 combined. The missing center screw in the one piece triggerguard gives you the overall length in the WSM to use the heavy bullets. I own two of these guns. I can do 3200 FPS with the 168 and 3050 with the 180. I use VN560. This was the cartridge I took to Africa in an MRC action.

I also own a 300 Winnie. Were I to choose between the two, it would be the 300 Win Mag. The WSM must strain to get to the 300 WM stats, when the 300 is just crusing along. Not exotic, but very sound choice.

Ed



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 Posted: Mon Feb 18th, 2008 05:37 PM
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Man what great info. I too have started the search for a 30 cal rifle. I have a good friend that has a 300 rem SAUM that he loves but I see Remington has limited availably of the caliber. I actually think they offer more models in the win 300 WSM than they do their own SAUM. I love my Remington 700s so I would like my next purchase to be a 700 also.

Will need alittle more time to digest all that data but it seems that if you are looking at loading 180g or less the WSM is the ticket.



 Posted: Wed Feb 20th, 2008 02:29 PM
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Wow, I hadn't seen that thread in a while!

I still believe the grand ol' 300 Win. Mag. to be superior.  However, it really boils down to what you want. 

For now, my 30-06 is doing the majority of the work these two calibers would be doing if I had them. 

With my 338 Win. Mag. project nearing completion, it will also serve duty for what I'd ask of the 300 mag's.

Not sure when I'll get around to getting a 300 magnum, probably no time soon.  But, even when I do, I'm still not sure which of the two I'll end up going with. 



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 Posted: Wed Feb 20th, 2008 05:01 PM
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sako06
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If lead ammo is banned I wonder how long the WSM & such will survive since copper bullets are much longer & have to be seated deeper in the case limiting capacity.When I contacted Nosler reps at the SHOT show about load data for their E Tip bullets I was told to start low and work up slowly but not go beyond the midrange load data & they haven't published any data and there is no mention of their E Tip bullets in the new reloading manual.No reload data on the SW460mag,very little on 45acp ,45lc in rugers and tc contenders etc

Last edited on Wed Feb 20th, 2008 05:09 PM by sako06



 Posted: Wed Feb 20th, 2008 11:25 PM
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The_Mountaineer wrote: Wow, I hadn't seen that thread in a while!

I still believe the grand ol' 300 Win. Mag. to be superior.  However, it really boils down to what you want. 

For now, my 30-06 is doing the majority of the work these two calibers would be doing if I had them. 

With my 338 Win. Mag. project nearing completion, it will also serve duty for what I'd ask of the 300 mag's.

Not sure when I'll get around to getting a 300 magnum, probably no time soon.  But, even when I do, I'm still not sure which of the two I'll end up going with. 

I have had  the 300 WSM,I prefer the 300 WM for all the reasons listed in the above posts.I shoot the Hornady 190 BTSP and get 2950 fps out my Remington 700 300 Win mag without pushing it. The best thing is that it will keep them under an inch at 100 yds.



 Posted: Mon Feb 25th, 2008 06:10 PM
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varmintcaller, i am a 7mm junkie and i would be pleased to help you get out of your "bad luck" if you want to rid yourself of the .284/88 winnie. hehe. carl



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 Posted: Fri Mar 14th, 2008 10:43 PM
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I am new to this forum but am an older generation shooter /reloader from the hunting, high power, Rifle Sillhouette and Benchrest sports. My first press is a circa 1967 Pacific Pro O still going strong as is my C H.   Both my son and grand son are reloaders--. Since I have a 300wsm for 1,000 yard uses and use pressures that are not for the faint of heart with 210gr Bergers, I am strongly in favor of that cartridge not becasue of "new" but because of its inherent acuracy potential and its reloading abilities;  No belt!  As an aside, I do also shoot a custom AR 10T in 300wsm with 155 gr SMK's that are supersonic well beyond 1,000 yards.  I do have a M-70 chambered for this round also and totally agree that this is the optimum action for this cartridge; however, I do have a Remmy 700 with a custom ( Wyatts) magazine that allows longer cartridge lengths so  the "too short" problem is D.O.A. if you use that magazine, now through Brownells--.   I strongly urge the advanced reloader to become familiar with the dangerous potential 27% increase in chamber pressures from primer changes now that they are in short supply.  I go with CCI's and now Wolf to keep my pressures and SD's low- both are in distributrion channels now. Cordially, Overbore



 Posted: Fri Mar 14th, 2008 11:09 PM
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I know what ya specified but have you seen the 300 RCM? same level of performance with a 20" barrel.....I'm drooling for one but i ain't recovered from the Glock i just bought!

if you wanna check it out look on Hornadys site...plenty of hype there...



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