.300 Win Mag vs .300 WSM


Active Member
Oct 22, 2004
Sydney, Australia
Hi all, I address this to those of you who have SHOT both these cartridges. Given that the WSM case is more efficient,i.e. you get similar velocities by burning less powder, other issues that I'm sorting out are:-

1) Is there any appreciable difference in felt recoil?
2) Is there any appreciable difference in accuracy?
3) Is there a difference in case and barrel life given that the WSM operates at higher pressure?

I don't own a rifle in either of these cartridges so the "Is it worth switching?" question doesn't arise. All experienced advice is greatly appreciated.
I've had them both and to answer your questions:

1) Yes, Recoil is much stronger in the 300WSM but, it is a much lighter Short Action Rifle which is the main reason for this.

2)In Theory, the better efficiency and lower SD of the 300WSM allows for better accuracy but, we all know that accuracy has too many variables for one cart. to have an Appreciable advantage over another. In my case, the 300 WSM is more accurate but, that has nothing to do w/ the what cart. it is.

3)Can't help ya too much on this one. I haven't put enough rounds through the 300 WSM to know if there will be a difference but, I strongly believe that there will be very little if any difference in Barrel life between the two mentioned carts.

If every variable was the same between two custom rifles the 300WSM would probably be a better choice w/ bullets of 180 grains and less.

Good Luck!


[ 10-25-2004: Message edited by: Reloader ]
No Way, No How the WSM has as much recoil as a 300WM.

I can't see that this is even close.

The WSM accomplishes it's duties with faster powder and less of it. To me perceived recoil is much less too.

As far as accuracy... They're both as accurate as you're willing to make them. It might be several more years before the Long Range Benchrest guys can give us a definitive answer on which is more accurate.

Barrel life.... Dunno. I haven't worn out either yet but I'm betting the difference will be very hard to measure.


[ 10-25-2004: Message edited by: LDHunter ]
Hi Reloader and LDHunter,

I had to laugh a little when I saw both your responses! I don't know of any other subject that brings about so many different perceptions of the truth! I'll take it that in rifles of equal weight, the recoil is much of a muchness, the difference in barrel wear is negligible and so is accuracy!

So, if I were to stick to bullet weights of 180gr or less, the WSM is probably the better option as the larger case of the .300 Win allows for use of heavier bullets.

Appreciate your replies.
It's a well known and often mentioned observation that all the WSM's furnish less perceived recoil than the belted magnums of the same relative caliber and performance.

Quoting Bryce Towsley from an article referenced in another thread....

"For reasons that have never been completely explained, the perceived recoil from the WSM cartridges is much lower than that of the similarly performing belted magnums."

His article can be found here....

It's really a shame that Remington won't chamber the WSM line in Varmint Synthetic rifles (short action version of the Sendero) or in their PSS line...

I have a 300 WSM with 2200 rounds through the barrel and still shooting 6-8" 10 shot groups at 1000. the throat has moved forward about .075, so yes I think there is a difference in barrel life with the advantage to the WSM.

The 300 WSM is equal to the 300 win mag with 190s and under in my opinion.


I have read much the same about the perceived recoil being less with the WSMs. Something to do with the way a short, fat column of powder burns and peaks its pressure. Yes, I too am really disappointed that Rem won't chamber the WSMs. Their VSSFs and PSS series are amongst my favourite models for long range rifles.


Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm surprised (happily) that you reckon that the advantage in barrel wear goes to the WSM given that they do operate at higher pressures. What model is your .300 WSM?
I think the difference in recoil is the "type" on is more of a hard slow push (WM)the other is a quick hard push...(WSM)

I think that you will find the WSM will eventually outshoot the WM mostly because of the Belt.. not saying it effects accuracy the way many have argued but because of the belt on the WM, the WSM is easier to reload for.

Barrel life I have no idea... I do like the fact my WSM is built on a short action though!
Longreach, I purchased a win model 70fwt in 300wsm last year and afew months ago a tikka t3 300wsm. The fwt was not fun to shoot even with a past pad tikka on the other hand wasn't as bad and I could shoot it without the use of a pad. I don't want to get into a stock thing or anything else this is just me walking in and buying two different type rifles in the same caliber and I understand the recoil wouldn't be the same. I only kept the action on the fwt and had a custom 300wsm build to go along with some other customs in 300winmag and 30-338. My nephew took a pretty nice 5x5 bull and 4x4 buck in Colorado first season combination hunt last week with the 300win mag. All three of those rifles will give groups about 1/2" for 5 shots at 100yds. The fastest is the 300wsm mainly because of the 5r rifling and I'm right up there with my 300wby. I think it's alittle too early to say how the 300wsm will hold up at the 1000yd matches but the 30-338 and 300win mag are already a proven round. This is just me but with the design of the 300wsm case I think will have a pretty good barrel life and think a 200gr bullet may be about max. I also think a rifle could be built and throated for the 240gr bullets along with the right twist. To be honest I use appr 6/8gr of powder less with the 300wsm over the 300winmag and you use just about all the case capacity with the 300wsm. My only complaint with the 300wsm is on a short action getting those interbond type bullets out far enought to work in the magazine. Well good luck.
Ric and Roper,

Thanks for your replies. For simplicity's sake, I'll accept that the difference in recoil isn't a significant factor. I have shot a Sako 75 in .300 Win and found it quite manageable (and accurate) so I don't expect any problems in that regard with a WSM.

Roper, nice results from your nephew and great accuracy from your rifles too. Are you using a 24" barrel in your WSM rifle? I don't expect to use bullets any heavier than 190gr in a .300 as I'm of the opinion that, hunting wise, if I need to go heavier I'd like to use a bigger calibre. It will be interesting to see how the WSM does perform in 1000yd matches.
Longreach and Roper

The 300 WSM is a proven 1k BR round with over a 3 year track record here in VA and NC areas. It seems to give very good accuracy with 190 and 210 custom bullets and longer barrel life than other magnums. Powders seem to be MRP and H4350. I shoot a BAT action with spencer barrel now in HG. I am getting 2980 fps with 210 JLKs.

Just built a new Python (LG) with Broughton barrel (5C rifling) to shoot the BIB 187 Flatbase bullets. Should be around 3050 fps. Have not had time to shoot it yet.

I have shot the 300 Win and WSM in comp. I will take the WSM from now on.

I also have a 300 WSM in a Win Coyote I use in the factory class sometimes. Seems to do about 10-16" at 1000. Not bad for off shelf hunting gun.

We have quite a few WSM comp guns and they are getting more barrel life than the Win mags.

Longreach, Both 300wsm have 24" barrel. I'm with you on what to use with heavier bullets I'm playing with a 300rum for the 200gr bullets.
BountyHunter, I've got a Broughton 5(c) barrel and so far really like it may get another for a future project.

The Recoil of the 300 WSM is DEFINITELY more in alot of rifle makes. I have shot my fair share of 300 Winnies and their recoil hasn't ever bothered me. Then, I purchased a Savage Model 16 WW in 300WSM and recoil was definitely an issue. The first time I went to the range w/ the WSM I brought several loads to see what the rifle liked best. My first loads where w/ 165s @ 3275fps and let me tell you, that little dude would knock your socks off if you didn't hold on just right. W/ all loads tested at that first session the scope touched my shooting glasses every time I fired a round. It was not a pleasant day at the range and I felt it for a few hours afterwards. I have shot some pretty light 300 Winnies and recoil was hardly ever a bad issue. I purchased a Sims pad and curred the problem w/ that particular rifle but, I don't think we need to mislead anyone about the recoil of some of these Short Action WSMs.

Regardless of what the articles said, If you don't believe me, come on down here to Louisiana and I'll let you shoot a WSM you will not forget.

When you are shooting Short Action WSM rifles that are generally much lighter than the LAs and you are launching projectiles at the same speeds they are definitly gonna kick alittle more.

Good Luck and God Bless!

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