I've been working on a hunting load for this fall's whitetail season and would like to get yall's opinion.
Rifle: Remington 700, 26 inch Barrel
Caliber: 7mm Remington Magnum
I have developed two different loads that both I and the rifle seem to like but can't seem to make up my mind as to which to go with.
Load #1 168 grain Berger VLD Hunting at an average MV of 3060. SD of about 50
Load #2 162 grain Hornady Amax at an average MV of 3020. SD of less than 10
Both loads will shoot consistent 3 inch groups at 650 yds. The Amaxs are a bit more vertically consistent than the bergers and quite a bit cheaper to shoot. The Amaxs also seem to have less recoil, making them more manageable during practice sessions. The Bergers leave a 1/4 inch crater in the 1/2 inch mild steel plate at 650 yds whereas the Amaxs simply remove the white paint and leave almost no crater whatsoever. The Bergers are loaded pretty hot whereas ladder testing for the Amaxs yielded a second accuracy node at a velocity of around 3150, but i haven't tried refining that load yet because the lower velocity is shooting so well.
So, if whitetail deer is my primary game animal, which bullet do yall think will give me the shortest blood trails?
With a 7mm Rem Mag, I do not think it would matter much what bullet you used. What are the average weights of the whitetails that you are hunting?
What ever round you use it should wad the deer up nicely. Honestly, I would use a heavier bullet and slow the MV down a bit. I have a relative here in Oklahoma that use to run a similar set up out of his 7mm Mag and we noticed a tremendous amount of damage to the meat, especially at ranges under 200 yards. We went to a heavier bullet and slowed the muzzle velocity down and seen better results as the meat was concerned after the shot.
It's funny you mention going to a heavier and slower bullet because I just told told my shooting partner today that I was strongly considering trying a box of the 180 grain Bergers when I finished up the amaxs I already have. The only reason I have not already tried them is because I'm concerned that my rifle may not be able to stabilize them with a 9-1/4 inch twist rate. Any thoughts?
The doe in my area average around 95 lbs with 80 lbs being on the small end and 130 lbs being unusually large. A 2-1/2 year old buck weighs in around 160 lbs with a trophy size animal weighing between 190 and 215 lbs.
We hunt huge bean fields with the average shot being around 300 yds but numerous opurtunities out to 600 yds. We have to really look hard to find a shot longer than about 650 yds.
Are you working these loads up with same powder? If you mentioned it I missed it. If different, then all things being equal I would choose the load with the more temperature stable powder. Otherwise I prefer Berger of the two listed.
Also, if you are potentially going to get close shots, you may want to go with a partition or similar.
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162 amax gets 71.5 grains of Retumbo and the 168 grain Bergers are getting 73 grains of Retumbo. I've tried RL-22 and H4831SC but get the tightest groups with Retumbo. Been through almost 6 lbs of Retumbo since February with this rifle and it just loves it for whatever reason. I typically take neck shots on anything less than 200 yds so I'm not too concerned with bullet performance at the closer ranges.
I was having the same problem but being able to buy bergers in lots of 500 or more was the deciding factor for me. Bergers of the same lot are so consistant weight and bearing surface wise I dont really bother to sort them anymore. THe amax you cant buy by lot# so every box is different. I did bearing surface comparisions on bergers, noslers, and swift. Every brand has a pretty big difference when comparing one box to another of the same brand and model# nosler and berger were ok but swift was horrible. Buying bergers in 500 or more solved that problem for me.