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300 Winchester Magnum

300 Winchester Magnum

The 300 Winchester Magnum (300 Win Mag) is quickly becoming one of the most popular, most trusted, and most proven 30 caliber hunting cartridges the world over. It was introduced by Winchester in 1963. At the time of its introduction the 300 Win Mag was the most powerful factory available 30 caliber cartridge in a standard long action. It briskly surpassed the potency of the 300 H&H (though the 300 H&H had been around for roughly forty years). The 300 Weatherby had also been around for roughly nine years but it was not sized for a standard long action and was somewhat of a proprietary cartridge.

About 10 years ago an Arizona based friend of mine was looking at hunting brown bear in Alaska. He was told his 300 Win Mag was too small to take an Alaskan Brown Bear. He made this statement; “To small!? How is it too Small!!?? Man there isn't an animal I can’t kill with my 300 Win Mag!” That pretty well sums up the feelings of most of the people that hunt with a 300 Win Mag. (Just for the record, another friend of mine took an Alaskan Brown Bear with one shot from his 300 Win Mag using a Barnes X-bullet in 2012. This bear was not a monster, but it measured eight and a half feet).

In the minds of some, the purpose of the 300 Win Mag was to “out do” the venerable 30-06 Springfield... That right there is saying something.  But by today's standards, technology and performance, one really has to start looking at the range of ballistics it offers.  Some prefer to achieve greater velocity and flatter trajectory than the 30-06 by loading the 300 with bullet weights of 150 and 165 grains . The 300 Win Mag can achieve a velocity of 3,400 ft/sec (+320 ft/sec over the 30-06) with a 150 grain bullet and a 165-168 grain bullet can achieve 3,250 ft/sec (+235 ft/sec over the 30-06). When loading the 300 Win Mag with 180 grain or heavier bullets one can achieve 3,900 ft-lbs of energy where the 30-06 maxes out at 3,300 ft-lbs.

So on paper it is arguable that the 300 Win Mag improvements in energy over the 30-06 become most impressive with heavier bullets. Whatever the intent of its creation, the 300 Win Mag does offer appreciably greater velocity and energy than the 30-06, that is a given. But is the 300 Win Mag the best choice of all the 30 calibers offered? That can become a furious debate. However, when someone finds a comfortable fitting rifle, coupled with a great cartridge and a good performing bullet, they have found something of pure beauty. One knows they have found this “perfect combination” when they can confidently say; “There isn’t anything I can’t kill with this rifle!” This is truly a magnificent achievement. And it just so happens that a lot of hunters are saying this about their 300 Win Mag all around the world.