Short action caliber of choice.....


Aug 27, 2008
First off, I just wanted to thank the moderators and admin for providing such a wonderful site.

I have been shooting to 1,000 with a surgeon .308 for a couple of years now fairly heavily and have been competing with said rifle for a while also. I have had great results on whitetail to about 400yds, but want to go further. A new hunting area has opened up 1,000 yard whitetail possibilities.

I am going to get a new barrel or barrel/bolt in the near future to get a more competitive edge as well as increase my hunting range, but want to retain the action for a switchbarrel setup. When looking for a replacement for tactical comps I was set on the 6.5x47L running 139s with the promising new RL17 or Norma URP powders. Now that the new hunting grounds have appeared, I am looking at the 7WSM and 162AMAX. The 7WSM has everything that I would ever want ballistically, but at the expense of barrel life, magazine capacity, and powder cost.

So now I get to my question:
What short action calibers would you consider for wimpy southeastern whitetails up to 1,000yds (providing that good shot placement is neccessary)? Would you feel comfortable with any of the .308 derivatives, or would you step on up to the 7WSM?
7WSM is a good choice, I'm a big fan of the 7mm's However, with your experience with the .30 bullets, don't overlook the 300WSM, especially if you reload.

Neither is a poor choice by any means.

Another option would be a long action caliber used as a single shot.

Yeah, I'm trying to stay with the short action and do a switch barrel. If I could go with a .243, 6.5x47, .260, or 7mm-8 or it would be a better fit due to less powder, more mag capacity, and better barrel life than the 7WSM. Reloading isn't an issue at all.

My question is if any of those are a adequate, or do I need to step up and get the 7WSM setup.
How about a 284 win and save the expense of the extra bolt? I was amazed at the velocities they are getting with the 180 bergers.
Eddybo, you beat me to it. (but you had a real short message, ;-) )

I think if you are going to go with the expense of another barrel and want to save the expense of a new bolt, about the best you can do in a short action 7mm with that boltface would be the 284Win, you'd probably be able to get near 3000fps from a 26" barrel. This is a little short of the 7WSM where you'd be able to get as high as 3200fps. The 284Win is a little fatter than the 308, but just a little and it might not affect your magazine capacity.

I've never played with the 284Win personally, but according to my references here, it's about as good as you will do without changing the bolt (unless I missed a cartridge somewhere).

I'm leaning awful hard to the 7WSM. I just wanted to pick everyone's brain as to the merits of the "lesser" cartridges.

A new bolt is fine, I'm trying to avoid having to buy another S&B by utilizing a switch barrel setup. 308 practice in the same rifle will be cheap as well.
If you want to get the most out of a short action, I would pick the 300 WSM over the 7mm WSM. The 300 has more power and out of a 26" barrel you should be able to push a 180 gr bullet at 3100 fps plus. A 180 gr E-Tip has a BC of .523 and with an MV of 3100 will get you to about 800 yds with a velocity of 1800 fps. Beyond that your bullet is not likely to open but with smaller whitetails it might be effective on them anyway.

Something to consider.
I'm leaning awful hard to the 7WSM. I just wanted to pick everyone's brain as to the merits of the "lesser" cartridges.

A new bolt is fine, I'm trying to avoid having to buy another S&B by utilizing a switch barrel setup. 308 practice in the same rifle will be cheap as well.

Or, you could go with a switch scope setup. Some of the quick detach rings/bases are pretty good. Either way, you'll end up verifying your zero.

Just a thought.

If the expense of the extra bolt is no hassle go with the WSM. If you are using a detachable mag system like the HS you could maybe have mags for each different round. Just swith the barrel bolt and mags and be ready to go.
I like AJ's suggestion of scope swithing also. It is a lot quicker to switch scopes than barrels. I used a single scope for several barrels on an encore and was able to write down the adjustments for each barrel. I could switch them and be zeroed pretty darn close without ever firing a shot.
Plus in my mind an extra rifle is a better investment than an extra barrel and bolt for your current rifle.
Thanks guys, 7WSM it is.

180 Berger or 162 AMAX? The Berger will carry more energy downrange, but will the AMAX have better delivery of energy at lower velocities?
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The 7mm bullets have a higher BC in the weights your wanting to
use .

So for your purpose I would go with the 7 WSM the 270WSM would work
but bullet selection is poor .

Also I would recomend the 160 accubond for hunting and at these distances
they will still perform, also at moderate ranges they work very well.

The 7mm WSM has a slight edge over the 7 rem mag with 140 and 160gr

I can't believe no one has mentioned the 6.5-284. Same bolt face as the 308 and some bullets with serious BC (around .6) from Berger in 130-140 gr, the 142 gr SMK and also some really high BC bullets from JLK. Should have plenty of punch at 1K for deer sized game from what I gather from guys who post here.
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