I would say if your getting much over 3300 fps in a 30" barrel in an STW, your pushing things pretty damn hard with a 162-168 gr class bullet. Not saying it is not possible, certainly is, your just cranking the pressure up.
Interestingly enough, often times, you will find very good consistancy and accuracy at these very high pressures if the bullet is made to handle them but non the less you have very high pressures.
You state you see no benefit using the Lapua case as you can get the same performance but with 1/4 the powder in a 34" barrel. Seems like an odd statement to me.
From your own words, you use 74.5 grains of powder to get the 180 gr Berger to 3100 fps in a 34" barrel.
I use 102.0 gr of powder in a 34" barrel to drive the 200 gr ULD RBBT to a VERY comfortable 3340 fps.
So yes, one part of your comment is correct, I use 25% more powder in my chambering but I can drive a 20 grain heavier bullet nearly 250 fps faster with less chamber pressure I am sure in the same length barrel. Then you figure in the BC of each bullet, the Berger is a bit less then .7 from my bullet drop testing and the 200 gr ULD RBBT is between .89 and .91 depending on where they are tested and the velocity they are driven to.
How do you not see any ballistic advantage there, espeically when I am sure both rifles would shoot around 1/2 moa?????
All you have to do is plug in the numbers into a ballistic program and it will tell you exactly the same thing I am.
Now your comment about needing an extremely long barrel with these big chamberings is also laughable. Hell, in your post you state you use a 34" barrel to get the performance you are. I have only built a few rifles with barrels over 30" in my 7mm.
In a 30" barrel, you will get right at 3300 fps with the 200 gr ULD
The 180 gr Berger can be driven to 3450 fps easily in a 30" barrel
The 160 gr Accubond can be driven to right at 3600 fps in a 30" barrel
All with pressure levels that have yet to ever come close to loosening a Lapua primer pocket.
What about even shorter barrels??? In a 27" barrel, I can get the following with extremely comfortable loads:
160 gr Accubond...............3485 fps
180 gr Berger....................3270 fps
200 gr ULD RBBT................3195 fps
So with a conventional sporter length barrel of 27", my 7mm will drive the 180 gr Berger to nearly 200 fps higher velocity then your 34" barreled STW will. HOW IS THIS THE SAME LEVEL OF PERFORMANCE???
To that same point, it will drive the much higher BC 200 gr ULD RBBT to roughly 100 fps higher velocity in 5" less barrel length. Figure in the added bullet weight and the down range terminal performance far outways anything the STW can offer no matter how hard you push it.
I am stating this simply to point out your error and lack of open mindedness on the subject. I am certainly not saying the 7mm AM is the best choice in every situation because it is not but from a shear ballistic and terminal performance stand point at ranges past 700 yards, there simply is no comparision.
There is no comparision at any range for that matter but I believe that at closer ranges, its simply a waste of the abilities of the 7mm AM.
If your to hard headed to see the numbers in front of you and still say there is no ballistic advantage for the 7mm AM, just tells us that you have a personal agenda here because you can not even see the facts when they are put in front of your face.
These are not my numbers only, these are the numbers from dozens of guys out there shooting my 7mm AM. it works and it does what its advertised to do. It is not perfect by any means, its hard on barrels for sure but its designed for big game hunting where 1000 rounds of useful big game accuracy life is more then enough for even serious big game hunters to use the round for a life time.
I would say I recommend the 7mm Rem Mag, 7mm WSM
, 7mm Dakota, STW and RUM about 5 to 1 over my 7mm AM as I do with all standard chamberings compared to my recommendations for my Allen Magnums. But for those that come to me wanting the most ballistic and terminal performance they can get for a given caliber, in many cases, my rounds are that choice. The numbers will tell you that if you bother to read them and I assure you its carried out in the field as well.
I am sure you read the comments about the AM hitting rocks harder at long range then the STW as a joke and how could we possibly know that. Well my friend, unless you have experienced it, you will not understand what is being discribed. There is not a bit of a difference, there is not a sizable difference, THERE IS A DRAMATIC difference you can see, hear and almost at times feel as that impact sound comes back to you. On game performance is no different. You would never believe a 7mm could hit game that hard until you see it first hand which you have never done but still seem hell bent on discrediting anything I do. So be it, I sleep well at night and I assure you I never Choke when I see your name, something you can not say, at least from your own printed words.
back to the topic at hand, if you will be shooting out to 600-700 yards on big game, any 7mm magnum will work great. If you want to seriously reach past this range and past 1000 yards, the 7mm AM has a distict advantage but it comes with some baggage which I have never tried to hide.
If you want to shoot elk at ranges past 1/2 mile, I recommend increasing bullet diameter to 30 cal as a min and for 1000 yards and beyond, I recommend a 338 caliber just for their improved terminal performance on heavy game. There are dozens to choose from, take your pic and yes, the AMs and AXs will be at the top rung of those caliber families as well and offer ver good barrel life for performance level ratios.
Take care, seems your aggenda is becoming more clear the more I read here and elsewhere. If you can not see the facts in front of you, so be it, just tells volumes about you.
Again, please do not choke, I am about to sign my name.