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Among those who believe nothing short of a magnum cartridge is acceptable for big-game hunting, the 7mm Rem Mag vs 300 Win Mag squabble has been raging decades. Among the most popular and proven magnums ever devised, the two cartridges have gone head to head now for more than 60 years, and the debate is sure to continue without any real hope of determining a true winner. I’ll doubt I’ll end the argument here, but what I will do is give you some considerations that might help you decide which of these two magnums is right for you.

7mm Remington Magnum Overview

The 7mm Rem Mag is not a particularly powerful magnum, but it’s relatively light recoil and flat trajectory has made it extremely popular. Remington

When I was in my teens, the 7mm Remington Magnum was the cartridge my best friend used, and he swore by. I was a 270 Winchester man in my younger days and never took to the Seven Mag. But my lack of affinity for it does not diminish its usefulness. Though now somewhat overshadowed by the glimmering new 7mm PRC, the 7mm Rem Mag is just as useful and effective as it ever was. My friend and colleague, Field & Stream’s opinionated rifles editor, Dave Petzal think the Seven Mag is “a week-kneed and flaccid excuse for a magnum.” But that doesn’t diminish its usefulness either.

Remington introduced the 7mm Rem Mag in 1962 to go with their new Model 700 bolt action rifle, and both have since become iconic hunting tools. The Seven Mag was launched to compete with Winchester’s 264 Winchester Magnum, which is now almost as forgotten as Hubert Humphrey. Many big-game hunters preferred the heavier 7mm bullets, and as a result, Remington’s magnum ultimately put the 264 out to pasture. Winchester fired back with their 300 Magnum in 1963, but to this day many hunters still prefer the lighter recoil and flatter trajectory of the 7mm Rem Mag. I’ve used it a good bit on a variety of big game animals. I once shot a big bodied Saskatchewan whitetail with one, and the buck hit the ground so hard he bounced.

300 Winchester Magnum

The 300 Win Mag has more thump and a stellar reputation for accuracy. Federal Premium

As with the 7mm Rem Mag, the cartridge case for the 300 Winchester Magnum is based on the famous 375 Holland & Holland Magnum, with its distinctive belt. But also like with the 7mm Remington Magnum, the 300’s overall length of only 3.34 inches, allows it to work in the same size action as a 30-06 Springfield. I’ve used the 300 Winchester Magnum in North America, Africa, and New Zealand. In a 9-or-so-pound rifle, it’s recoil is not overly offensive, but at practical shooting distances, I’ve not seen it kill big game any deader or quicker than the 7mm Rem Mag, or even the 308 Winchester for that matter.

The author with a New Zealand tahr taken with a 300 Win Mag. Richard Mann

Also like Remington’s 7mm Magnum, the 300 Win Mag really shines is when you increase the range beyond 300 yards. From a kinetic energy standpoint, anything you can do with a 308 Winchester at any distance, you can do with the 300 Winchester Magnum 150 yards further out. To reference my colleague again, Petzal calls it one of the “most popular and useful magnum cartridges,” and, “one of the premiere long-range cartridges in the world.” Though I’m not much of a magnum kind of guy, I have of agree. Of all the magnum 300s, it’s my favorite. I once owned a tack-driving Heym SR 21 in 300 Win Mag and sold it to pay for something I’m sure I didn’t need. I still regret it.

Related: 30-06 vs 300 Win Mag: Battle of the Big Gamers

7mm Rem Mag vs 300 Win Mag: Ballistics

The great thing about cartridge comparisons is that we have a number-based science known as ballistics to work with. Generally, ballistics make cartridge comparisons easy, usually weighing four considerations. These include velocity, which indicates the speed of the bullet; kinetic energy, used to rate power; and aerodynamics, which determines trajectory and wind drift. The fourth ballistic consideration is terminal performance, but it is a much harder science to understand and quantify, as it varies monumentally based on bullet design. Still, from a ballistics standpoint, 7mm Rem Mag vs 300 Win Mag is fairly straightforward. This chart shows a quick breakdown of muzzle velocity, muzzle energy, and recoil. We’ll take a deeper dive into each ballistic consideration below.

Richard Mann

7mm Rem Mag vs 300 Win Mag: Velocity

The 7mm Rem Man and 300 Win Mag cartridge cases are similar in size, but the 300 case has a capacity advantage of about 6 percent. So, with the same weight bullet, the 300 will have a slight velocity advantage. However, velocity is not a constant, and as a bullet travels downrange, it slows at a rate determined by its ballistic coefficient (BC). If you compare the Remington 150-grain Core-Lokt load for these two cartridges, the 7mm bullet with its 0.346 BC, overtakes the 0.30-caiber bullet with a BC of 0.294 at around 350 yards. Because 7mm bullets of the same weight as 0.30-caliber bullets are longer and slenderer, this is true across the board—although at different distances—with all bullets of the same style. In the end, neither cartridges can claim a considerable velocity advantage.

Winner: Tie

Related: Best Long Range Rifles, Tested and Reviewed

7mm Rem Mag vs 300 Win Mag: Energy

The two key factors in kinetic energy are bullet weight and velocity. Faster velocities can make up for lighter bullet weights, but lighter bullets generally have lower BCs and slow down sooner. As a result, what might appear as the harder hitting cartridge/bullet combination at the muzzle, might not be the hardest hitting down rage. However, because kinetic energy calculations favor velocity, an extreme kinetic energy advantage is hard to overcome with a heavier, higher BC bullet. You can find 7mm Remington Magnum loads that hit harder than 300 Winchester Magnum loads, but in most cases the 300 Winchester Magnum has the advantage in terms of raw power.

Winner: 300 Winchester Magnum

7mm Rem Mag vs 300 Win Mag: Trajectory

Because of gravity, all bullets, regardless of weight and velocity, fall to Earth at the same speed. The difference is how far a bullet can travel in the time it takes gravity to pull it into the dirt. This distance is primarily controlled by two factors: velocity and ballistic coefficient. As noted, if comparing bullets of the same style, the higher BC of the 7mm bullet will almost always have the advantage, at least when the distance to the target is excessive. On the other hand, with the 300’s ability to shoot heavier bullets with high BCs, the advantage the 7mm Remington Magnum has at extreme distance can be nearly overcome. At practical hunting ranges, there’s not enough distance to fret over.

Winner: Tie

Richard Mann

Terminal Performance & Recoil of Both

There are so many factors to consider when it comes to comparing terminal performance, it’s very difficult to give an edge to either cartridge. This is where hunters must make a choice between light and fast bullets or slightly heavier and slightly slower bullets. The truth is that when using a good bullet, a good shot made with either cartridge will do what needs to be done. If there is a difference in how well either cartridge kills, I’ve never been able to see it.

There are plenty of variable with recoil too—including the weight of the gun and ergonomics of the stock, but all else being equal, the Seven is the lighter-kicking round. To be more precise, by almost any measure, the 300 Win Mag will recoil with somewhere between 15 percent and 20 percent more force than the 7mm Rem Mag. How your rifle might translate the impulse to your shoulder, and how you might feel about it, will vary from shooter to shooter.

Winner: 7mm Remington Magnum

And the Winner Is?

So, which cartridge gets the nod in the age-old 7mm Rem Mag vs 300 Win Mag debate? For me, it’s the Seven. From a hunting perspective, I don’t think there’s much that can be done with one that cannot be done with the other, especially with today’s excellent bullets. And if you can get the same job done with less recoil, I say do it.

The truth is that I’m not much of a 7mm kind of guy, regardless of the cartridge. But still, if I had to choose between the 7mm Rem Mag and the 300 Win Mag, I’d most likely go with the Seven. I’m sure this places me on Dave Petzal’s naughty list, and it will give us something to argue about the next time we’re at the campfire. And that brings us to the real truth, which is that there are more differences between these two cartridges around the campfire than anywhere else. Ultimately, my advice would be to get a 308 Winchester, avoid the recoil and hell-bending muzzle blast, and get a little bit closer before you shoot.

Read Next: 300 PRC vs 300 Win Mag: Which is the Better .30-Caliber Magnum?