Best Cartridge for out to 500 yds???


New Member
Nov 9, 2002
I am trying to decide on which cartridge is best for both bench rest and game hunting out to 500 yds. I have it down to three. The 7mm Rem. Mag, the .308, and the 7mm Rem ultra Mag. Which of these is the "best" in your mind? I am looking for "fast and flat".
flat shooting goes hand in hand with wind drift.
even cartridges with rainbow trajectories can be accurate.
at 500 yds, all calibers have to be adjusted for drop.

To put it in your tems, "flat" goes hand in hand with "velocity".

"Accuracy" goes hand in hand with "consistency".

The .308 has proven itself in the accuracy department. It is one of the most consistent ronds that delivers superb accuracy and game killing power, in a user-friendly package.

Ther are more accurate rounds, more powerful rounds, flatter shooting rounds. But the .308 is one of the best "jack of all trades" cartridges around. A benefit of that, you can fing .308 ammo off-the-shelf for any practical application. Precision, varmint, big-game, and dirt cheap NATO surplus ammo for plenty of cheap shooting. Then look at the available options for reloaders, nearly endless, bullets for every application imaginable.

You can't go wrong with a .308 for a 500 yard rifle.


A .308 is a great teacher & surely capable at 500. Since wind does have a bigger effect on it, you have to pay closer attention, but will do the job.

That being said, if you're looking for fast & flat, but with super accuracy, you might consider a 300WSM or 6.5-284. I do shoot a 7mmRUM for LR & the wind hardly effects it at 500, but the WSM & 6.5 will do wonders out to that distance. Past there, the RUM & other big mags walk away from them a bit.

Speed reduces time-of-flight, generally ups the ballistic coefficient, is more forgiving for a distance estimation error due to the flatter trajectory, & reduces lead time with moving targets. It doesn't necessarily produce a more accurate cartridge, as many Palma shooters (800, 900, &1,000 yards with iron sights) have smoked guys shooting magnums with scopes.

Depending on what you're hunting, you might do well to consider a smaller/ lighter recoiling piece for starters, then once you get wind/ mirage/ distance reading down, go to a boomer. Just my $.02.
I don't see where the 308 has anything over the other cartridges, except good bullets. It's marginal even for 500 yards, if you want fast and flat. The only thing it has over the 7mm's is good bullets. But the 6.5's and other 30's would be much better, especially with powders available today with the near perfect burning rates.
Out of the 3 you have listed my vote also goes to the .308win. my oldest son shoots a custom 308 built on a remmy model7 youth action, in 600yrd IBS,. and i dont know of any other rifle that will out shoot it, when he does his part. now i have to confess to my love of the .284in bullet, and will never be without a 280AI, in my safe. the 308win is one of those cartridges that will always be a favorite among shooters and will always be availible any corner of the earth.
the 308win is one of those cartridges that will always be a favorite among shooters and will always be availible any corner of the earth.
That's the up-side to the .308. Ammo everywhere. But the more I look at that 6.5x284, the more I like it. I am really looking for something with a little more wallop, if you will, though with the amazing accuracy of that 6.5x284.

I'm really wanting to do something like a 7mm-376Steyr. As long as I can push the Wildcat 200g bullet and find nodes from 2800 to 3000, barrel life should last (not as long as some obviously) and I'm hearing that case is a good one, almost identical to that 284 Win, just a little longer for more case capacity... Also, that 200g 7mm bullet should snot-knock anything as far as I care to shoot. We'll see.

That said, my .308 is sub MOA as is my '06, but I don't think I'd shoot either at an Elk at 500. Who knows until faced with a monster out there... so that 7RUM might be the way to go? gun)
I'm going to throw another in the fire that will give you flat and accuracy with little recoil, and loaded properly should knock anything down to 500yards (assuming grizzly, African animals, and polar bear are not on the list). Just from what I have been reading, and from the possibilities in animals that can be harvested, I would consider the .243 Winchester.

It has bullets that will allow you to shoot paper accurately to 1000yrds. It will give you bullets to laser fire light projectile for annihilating varmints, and heavy enough bullets to knock elk down with it reason (200 to 400 yards). The only reason I say this (please don't beat me up for this), guys that live in the areas people drive thousands of miles for an elk use 243's and larger to harvest them at those distances. The other reason I am suggesting this is due to the fact that you want to be a target shooter at that distance.

Placing a shot in the boiler room of any animal with this caliber is going to drop it. Now for heavier game you will need to shoot 100grain class bullet for that distance.

As far as your choices are concerned, I would choose the .308. The reason I would is because that is what I did when trying to choose. Because you are shooting paper, you won't waste as much powder trying to punch holes, and when you need some punch you can load it hot and heavy. So, take your pick.

After some thinking another caliber that would be consistent in burn rate, usefulness as a target rifle, and won't break the bank in the reloading arena is the 7mmWSM. This would give you the hit of a 7mmRM and has a nice selection of bullets to go long range. 160 Accubond, 168 Berger, or 162 A-Max will accomplish all your requirements.

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Am I wrong in thinking that "flat" goes hand-in-hand with "accuracy"?

Yes, you are absolutely wrong thinking that "flat" and "accuracy" go hand in hand. Most of the competition cartridges don't even break the 3000 fps. mark.

Other cartridges that would really work for you is the 6.5X47 Lapua or the 260, both of these have better ballistics than the 308 with less recoil. Otherweise my vote goes to the 308.

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