Certainly appreciate all your thoughts, a lot for me to soak on . . . Perhaps just a little more clarification as someone earlier mentioned.
I live and hunt in Louisiana exclusively. Buck I routinely kill range from 190 - 240 lbs (2 so far this year @ 380 & 420 yds). Have no interest in competitive long range target but lots of energy to build a new improved deer killing machine.
The 7mm barrel I mentioned I already own NIB. SS, #6 contour, fluted, .75 muzzle, 9" twist, finished length of 26" plus muzzle brake
. Will be installed on a fully trued 700 long action, McMillan stock, etc. I like heavy guns so I expect it to end up around 11 lbs.
It would seem that after reading your collective contributions that the STW and RUM are no longer on my short list of chambering options as they do not support barrel life for the resulting benefit. On the other hand, it does seem that the WSM, SAUM or straight 284 could achieve the 3,000 - 3,200 fps mark without much trouble. So, I guess lastly would be the "hunting" bullet of choice in the 160 - 180 gr range? I'm not interested in going down the Berger road as I prefer exit holes in my deer. That being said, what's your preference in terminal performance?