This always turns into a 30 cal vs 7mm thread. Ive started them and researched it till I couldn't retain any more information. Ive always been a 30 cal guy and still hunt with them, but my long range gun is a 7mm Mag. Based on the criteria that I established, ( 1000 lbs of energy on impact and still supersonic, with no muzzle brake) the opinions I got here, and the research that I did, led me to the 7mm choice hands down.
** Im not trashing the 30 cal here guys, or arguing the effectiveness of putting meat in the freezer, just my train of thought on my recent purchase.
Here's some of my reasoning:
1. Recoil -- to push a 30 cal bullet at the initial velocity needed to meet my criteria, I feel would have produced a rifle that was not "fun" to shoot, and therefore my level of proficiency would suffer due to not shooting as much. I dont want to have to use hearing pro in the field, so the muzzlebrake was out for me.
Energy/ velocity -- Run the numbers on a .284 168 Berger out of the 7 mag, and will retain more energy and velocity than the .308 180 Berger from a 300 win. ( I know the 300 Ultra and 30-378 will get them there, but remember my muzzle brake criteria?)
I guess the deciding question is how long of a shot are you wanting to take? If its past 700, i say go with the 7, otherwise, the 30 cal has served me well thus far out to 500.
Goodluck and let us know what you decide.
so what size barrel for the 7 mag is recommended? would a 24" be too short or is the difference in performance between a 26" and 24" barrel minimal or very noticable or what?
Personally I don't like a 24" barrel on a 7mag (plenty of other calibers also) it can hamper velocity, increase recoil and muzzle blast. I kind of see the difference between a longer barrel vs a shorter barrel as free velocity, with some other benefits.
Keep in mind the animals we shoot for food and display are not bullet proof. Contrary to popular belief, they bleed and die just like they did a hundred years ago. Being competent with a given rifle is far more important than impressive ballistics and poor shootability. High velocity misses never put a steak in the freezer.
I just went through this same issue and having had a 7mm mag, and a 300 win and still owning a, 7 wsm and 300 WSM, all custom. I did a lot of research, talking mostly with guys that have extreme amounts of experience with shooting these caliber of rifles, I was going to go with the 300 win shooting 210 Bergers, but setted on re-barreling my 7 STW into a 7mm mag shooting 180 Bergers. This decision was all based on ballistics and what I thought would be best for me. It may not fit everyones criteria, but taking everything into consideration, recoil, bullet selection, long range ballistics, the 7mm mag is the caliber I choose. Based on everything I've researched, if I had to keep one of the above listed rifles and sell the rest, I would stay with the 7mm mag, just my personal perfrence, it would not work for everyone, but it does for me. I am just talking about the above listed calibers, nothing else. I have several other long range 338's for extreme distance, which I love.