1. highcountryhunter

    highcountryhunter Member

    Mar 1, 2008
    I'm new to the site and not trying to drum up old questions but could not find this topic. I'm from N. California and used to hunt mostly on private property. The 7mm-08 that I used put all the deer down but was only shooting at marginal distances. Due to obvious reasons that most other California hunters are running into, I am now going out of state for most of my hunting. Now onto the question.....Which would make a better long range mule deer rifle. I am looking at two, both Rem. 700's. One is a 7mm Mag and the other is a 338 Win mag. I would be looking at probably 160 grn for the 7mm and 180ish for the 338. My shots would not be more than about 600 yards give or take and mostly in high desert areas. Thanks in advance for the input.
  2. anachronism

    anachronism Well-Known Member

    Mar 26, 2005
    Of those two choices, I'd recommend the 7 Mag. I tried 180 gr Ballistic Tips in my 338, and felt the recoil was excessive, as was the bullet drop. The ballistic coefficent just isn't really there for the bullets I was shooting. Either way, you're going to be looking at about a five foot drop if you zero your rifle at 100 (so don't do it) if you plan to shoot at 500 yards. I just went through this with a guy at work.

  3. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

    Jun 12, 2004
    SInce you are limiting your game size to mule deer and your range to 600 yards and less, there is really no need for the 338 caliber for your use. In fact, a good bullet in the 7mm Rem Mag such as the 160 gr Accubond, or 162 gr A-Max or 168 gr Berger or 180 gr Berger would whip the old 338 Win Mag as far as trajectory and wind drift.

    I fully admit a 338 WM will drive a 180 gr bullet to higher velocity then the 7mm RM will drive the same weight bullet but the ballistic performance of the 7mm will far outperform the 338 at longer ranges.

    Both have plenty of power to cleanly take mule deer size game at much longer ranges them you are talking about so that point is moot.

    Look at the numbers for the two rounds at 600 yards. This is with a 250 yard zero for each and a 10 mph crosswind:

    7mm Rem Mag
    180 gr Berger @ 2900 fps
    Velocity.........2226 fps
    Energy...........2074 ft/lbs

    338 Win Mag
    180 gr Accubond @ 3050 fps
    Velocity.........1851 fps
    Energy...........1369 ft/lbs

    As you can see, there is not a single catagory except muzzle velocity where the 338 outperforms the 7mm with the 180 gr bullet. The drop is not dramatically different but still the 7mm has 7" less drop.

    The 7mm also has 1/2 the wind drift which is critical even for 600 yards for accurately placing your shots in the vitals.

    What may surpise some is that even though the 338 has an initial muzzle velocity advantage, that quickly swings in favor of the 7mm. At 600 yards, the 7mm has nearly 400 fps more velocity then the 338. This cuts flight time down dramatically.

    Even more suprising to some is kenetic energy payload. The 7mm retains over 700 ft/lbs more energy then the 338 at 600 yards with the 180 gr bullet weight.

    Both certainly have plenty of power for mule deer, no question, but the 7mm is a far superior weapon ballistically and in the area you will be hunting in, that will be far more valuable.

    Now the larger diameter 338 bullet will certainly make up for some of the velocity and energy loss but still, for your goals, I would say the 7mm RM would hands down be the best choice for the job at hand.

    Kirby Allen(50)
  4. D.Camilleri

    D.Camilleri Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2004
    How about making this comparision a little more fair. The 180 Berger is a very high BC bullet for caliber while the 180 338 is pretty low. 2900 fps with a 7 mag is fairly hot load, while 3050 with a 180 338 is pretty mild. The 338 win is capable of 3200 with a 180, but this really doesn't matter. The 180 grain bullets should be limited to closer shots. For the longer shots, step up to the 225 gr Accubond driven at about 2900. That bullet has a bc of .550 and will buck the wind and retain more energy to make the comparision a little more fair. If you haven't noticed, I am a 338 fan, but I shot a 7mm for many years and I just like the horse power that the 338 has in comparision. Also, if you are venturing out of state for mule deer, it is only a matter of time before you will want to pursue elk. On another note, a 300 ultra would fit the bill very well also. None of this is to argue with fiftydriver, just another point of view.
  5. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

    Jun 12, 2004
    I simply responded to the question at hand. I would not say the loads I listed were out of the norm for either chambering from what I have seen with the rifles I have built anyway.

    Yes the 7mm 180 gr has a huge advantage over the 180 gr 338 bullet ballistically. That is very true, but there is really no comparision ballistically for any comparision between them unless you get into the 300 gr SMK class in the 338.

    Even if you drop to a 160 gr Accubond in the 7mm, it will nearly match the BC of the 225 gr Accubond but again the velocity advantage of the 7mm will have an advantage down range. At 600 yards here are the numbers for your "fair" comparision. THese velocity numbers are taken right out of the Nosler loading manual just to be fair.

    7mm 160 gr @ 3100 fps
    600 yard drop..............-50.1"
    velocity......................2213 fps
    Energy.......................1740 ft/lbs

    338 225 gr @ 2900 fps
    600 yard Drop..............-57.3"
    Velocity......................2077 fps
    Energy........................2155 ft/lbs

    You are correct in that these comparisions are much closer but the 7mm still has less drop, slightly less drift, much more retained velocity.

    Yes the 225 gr 338 has more energy but we are hunting deer and that was the game in question, not elk.

    Some would tell you the 338 has more penetration, I would question that. Both bullets are made of very similiar design, the 7mm has a slightly higher sectional density so penetration charateristics for all intent and purpose would be identical.

    The final fly in the soup for this comparision, if your hunting deer at these ranges, why would you want to put up with the dramatically increased recoil level of the 338 for really no more effectiveness on deer size game at 600 yards.

    Now if elk has been on the menu, I would have certainly recommended a 30 cal chambering for this range. Nothing wrong with the 338 either and if you have read any of my posts in the past concerning elk hunting at long range, there is nothing better then a 338 and that is what I recommend every time but elk were not in the question in any way.

    I generally try to answer the question at hand and not inject my additions that may or may not be associated to the question. I give my opinion concerning the specific question at hand and thats it.

    For deer hunting out to 600 yards, I have never seen any advantage to a 338 over a properly sized 7mm with an appropriate bullet for the game being hunted. In fact in the best comparision for the 338, it only matches the 7mm and in the best comparisions for the 7mm, it far exceeds the ballistic performance if this class of 338.

    Add in the dramatic increase in recoil from the 338 and I see no reason to jump up to the 338 when deer are the target to be hunted and 600 yards is the max range that will be shot.

    Would the 300 RUM be more impressive then either of the mentioned rounds, certainly, but it was not asked about.

    Kirby Allen(50)
  6. James Jones

    James Jones Well-Known Member

    Jul 1, 2002
    For deer out to 1000yds , I like my 260 with a 140gr Berger at 2800+fps , took a fair size doe at 944yds with no trouble at all , i think the 7mm Rem with a 162 A-max would be a great deer gun out 1000+yds easy , awsome balistics , alot lower recoil than any of the big 30's and 338's