.300 WinMag for Whitetail?


September 20, 2005, 11:57 AM
Is .300 winmag too much gun for whitetail? I'm likely moving back east, but the move is scheduled for two years. In the meantime, I'd like to hunt here in Utah for Elk and Mule Deer next year. I'm contemplating either a .308, or a .300winmag.....

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Father Knows Best
September 20, 2005, 12:02 PM
It's definitely a lot more gun than is needed. Heck, even a .308 is more gun than you need for whitetail. Is it "too much" gun? Probably, but you could make it work.

September 20, 2005, 12:17 PM
In my opinion the 300 winchester( the "long" or short) will pretty much cover you for all North American game. A 30-06 is a good allaround caliber even though its 100 years old. The 300mag will be a bit flatter and handle heavier bullets a little better than 308's and 30-06's, but it will come down to what you shoot best. 308's are the most economical to shoot, followed, by the 30-06 and then the mags. If you plan on being in bear country with low shot capacity I might opt for the mag. You can never have too much gun.... just be sure of your backstop.

September 20, 2005, 12:31 PM
no such thing as too much gun, as long as you don't go to extremes. 300 win mag is fine.

however... i suggest you pick the rifle first, then do caliber.

308 and 300 win mag have a lot of overlap, and really, are not a similiar comparison. so, go find a rifle you like the feel and weight of, then account for everything else.

i've used about everything from 25-06 on up thru 338 win mag for mulies and whitetails. in my experience, the most efficient killers are 7mm's - 7 rem mag, 7-08, 7 rum, 280, etc etc. that said, the cartridge wasn't the over-riding reason for picking a particular cartridge - it was the rifle platform. in thick-n'-nasty, i want a very short, quick gun. in very open country, i want a hard hitting, light-to-moderate weight gun. in river breaks, i demand a very light gun...

anyway, look at the platform first - most any cartridge from 257 roberts up to 338 win mag work well on deer, and there really aren't any bad choices. once you decide on the platform, by default you would've decided on the action length. then it is just a matter of picking a cartridge that fits that action length... a 308 win (short action) and a 300 win mag (long action) are worlds apart in feel, but close enough ballistically for under 300 yards shooting that it is the rifle, not the cartridge, that makes the difference.

September 20, 2005, 12:45 PM
a .300 M is two steps up from a .308.

Figure out your priorities, then decided the caliber. The .300 will work fine as a whitetail cartridge, as long as you choose heavy or well-constructed bullets. Otherwise, if you choose a fairly lightweight, lightly constructed bullet, you're going to waste a lot of meat.

If your primary mission for this is as deer gun, I suggest a .270, .308 or .30-06 instead. You'll still have plenty of range and power, but less recoil than with the WinMag.


September 20, 2005, 01:00 PM

Assuming "back East" means Virginia, you're going to find that 300WM a bit much for public land hunting. The area you mentioned in other threads is hilly to mountainous in nature and brushy. Most of the folks I hunt with have never taken a shot at game further than 150yds. The deer I shot last year was at 50yds, I saw others closer than 100yds (yet, still not clear shots). You won't get many opportunities to take advantage of the 300's flat shooting abilities. Where I hunt, it's hard to see further than 150yds, much less get a clear shot. I like the idea of choosing the platform first, then cartridge.

That said...

I know a guy who hunts whitetail with a 338WinMag, but he's also been known to take a black bear when the seasons overlap, so his gun does double duty (he got his last bear while out deer hunting). Most others in my group use a 270 or 30-06. I'm the oddball with the 6.5Swede...


September 20, 2005, 02:08 PM
It's more than necessary, but not too much. I use it a lot. I suggest premium bonded-type bullets to reduce the mess.

September 20, 2005, 02:19 PM
The platform would be a Savage package gun. Either the 11 or 111 series, depending.
I might just go with the .308. Less expensive ammo means more practice, and if for some reason I end up staying here in Utah, well then its an excuse to buy another rifle in a few years.
You're exactly right. I'm planning on hunting next year and the year after here, though, likely for Elk.

September 20, 2005, 02:36 PM
The .300WM is a great round. It will do what you want but you have to ask yourself if the extra cost of ammo, the extra recoil, etc. is worth it. I have gotten nearly all of my hunting done with a .270Win or .30/30. YMMV.

September 20, 2005, 02:45 PM
I wouldn't hesitate to hunt deer with one.

As somebody said above, use the right bullets (No Nosler BTs unless you're shooting at long ranges).

September 20, 2005, 02:47 PM
Used a 300 winchester mag for years and liked it. That said, use a 270 now. In ruger #1. With a 2x7 leupold scope. Works great on anything,but prefer larger/more powerful stuff if I happened across smokey. :rolleyes:

September 20, 2005, 04:03 PM
no not to much for white tails one of my hunting partners used h 300 win mag for years, he specialized in head and neck shots. that said he now uses a 25-06. lol

September 20, 2005, 06:15 PM
Have taken my last 20 whitetails with .300 WBY and .300 Win using 180 PSPCLs. Average distance about 150 yds, field hunting. One hit required per deer. Have also used .300s, with different 180s, on moose and elk. I really like being able to use one rifle on all non-dangerous game to any reasonable distance. The .308 and '06 are great rounds, but they do nothing that a .300 cannot do better.

I see no reason not to take advantage of the trajectory advantages the mags have to offer over the standard rounds. The caveat is that bullet construction and placement are important. If you use a Spierraday Splash-point and hit a shoulder from 20 yards out, don't be surprised if the quarter is mush. But chest and neck hits are fine with such bullets. If you're going to take shots as they come, from various angles, consider a premium controlled expansion bullet.


September 20, 2005, 06:52 PM
I most often use a Win M-70 in .300 Win Mag to hunt whitetails. I hunt the thick woods in SE Arkansas mostly where timber companies raise pine trees. I find the combo works wonders on them. I use it because it is a very flat shooting caliber in a very reliable and accurate gun. The accuracy and very flat trajectory allows me to do make some 'precision' shots through tiny holes in the thick brush/timber and place the bullets exactly where I want. A 3-9 scope is on the gun and is very necessary to pick those clear shooting spots AND to make sure the deer is a legal one (a 3-point-on-at-least-one-side rule is in effect here). Ranges usually average short-last year, I took a good 4 X 4 at about 30 yards! I have also taken deer at up to about 200 yards with it, but most are from 90-150 yds. I have not 'blown up' any deer. Most are double lung shots through the ribs. Very effective without ruining much edible meat.

I use handloads with 150 grain bullets at good .300 mag velocities but do not try to eek each and every last possible FPS out of the loads. If you want a .300 for use now and then later for whitetails, do not fear. It will do quite nicely indeed! Good luck and have fun!

September 21, 2005, 08:02 AM
The question wasn't whether 300 Win Mag will kill a deer. The answer is that anything a 300 Win Mag can do to a Whitetail, a .243 can do just as well and a lot more sensibly. ;)

September 21, 2005, 08:52 AM
I'm sure a freaking .22lr will kill a whitetail, but I'm in Utah for two more years and I want to hunt elk next year. I'm not interested in just pissing the elk off with a .243.

September 21, 2005, 09:08 AM
IMHO, a 300 Mag is more than what is needed for deer. You throw in bigger Elk, or longer range shots that you can get out west, it makes more sense though.

Around here? I love my 6.5 Swede. Great gun for deer hunting, I would not feel underpowered hunting elk with it either. Plenty capable of any of the longer range shots I will ever have the opportunity at in MI, maybe even so out west.

Here, I'd consider a .243, .270, '06, .30-30, 6.5 Swede or so on before anything ending in any combination of mag, short or super. But, I can see the logic in doing so where you are at. Just know that you will lose quite a bit more meat in doing so.

September 21, 2005, 09:17 AM
I see no mention of 243 in the original post.

If you're going to be shooting at Elk, then the 300WM sounds like a good idea to me.

September 21, 2005, 05:26 PM
In the "one rifle for everything" category, the .300 WM is a good choice and will take any game on this continent. That said, the problem with using it for small whitetail deer are either the bullet is too heavily constructed and passes through causing less damage or the lighter bullets are moving at such phenomenal speeds that they blow out the backside of the deer and coagulate blood halfway up the neck. Yes, it will effectively kill small deer. But there are cartridges better suited to game animals in the 100-250 lb range. If I were planning to hunt whitetail, I would use my 6mm or .25-06.

When I bought a rifle for my sister, the "one gun" logic was used, as it will likely be the only rifle she has for a good long time. It had to be suitable for antelope, mule deer, black bear and elk (possibly even moose). Considering the smallest antelope at about 120 pounds to the largest elk at over 800 pounds, I opted to get her a Ruger M-77 MkII in .280 with a Nikon Pro-Staff 3-9x. We can load anything from 130 grain for antelope to 175 grainers for large elk and moose. There are even ultra-light varmint bullets available. A 7mm Rem Mag offers the same bullet selection, but there again you start to run into problems with severe damage on smaller animals imparted by blistering velocities. The .280 will kill anything the 7mm RM will with less recoil, albeit you sacrifice a little bit of trajectory and range. But a friend of mine took is last 480 pound cow elk at 528 yards with a 280 using 150 grain BT. The .280 is probably the most mild mannered cartridge out there that is truly versatile for the lower 48 states. heavier bullets and slightly more energy than a .270, but better trajectory than a .30-06.

We load her .280 with 150 grain Sierra Gamekings at 3040 FPS, since we hunt mule deer and elk at the same time (the largest mulies can be nearly the size of small bull elk anyway).

September 21, 2005, 09:15 PM
Is .300 winmag too much gun for whitetail?

IMO, yes definitely way more than is necessary. However, you have to ask, why not? Nothing wrong with using it. It will work and work fine, so go for it if you don't mind the recoil & expense (I do personally). Less tracking is always better than more tracking. But like someone said, if you do use it, a heavier bullet will result in less explosive impact and therefore less meat destruction. Watch your backstop though, cuz a heavy bullet .300 mag will be dangerous for a loooooooong distance. Or reload some reduced loads for it. For the smallish whitetails around here, I consider the 6.5 swede or .25-06 to be the max necessary for even big bucks (as always, assuming good shot placement, of course).

September 22, 2005, 06:28 PM
I can't see using one unless there are going to be shots over 300yds. That is the only reason for having one. It can't do a darn thing that a 30-06 cant do except shoot flatter, and an 06 can shoot out to 250yds point blank range.

September 23, 2005, 12:49 PM
Just know that you will lose quite a bit more meat in doing so.

I am going to respectfully disagree. My father in law has used .300 for the last two years. Prior to that, he used (an occasionally still does) a .350 Rem Mag. I use a .308 or a 7mm-08. Comparing the deer I have shot with his, I haven't noticed any major difference in loss of meat.

September 24, 2005, 04:11 AM
I would chose a nice .30/06 or .308 for whitetails. Cheaper ammo less recoil.

September 24, 2005, 07:59 AM
The original question:
Is .300 winmag too much gun for whitetail?
answer: NO
it's not too much gun for cottontails either, as long as you control your shot placement and use the right bullet/load. Let's not make this so complicated.
I have shot whitetails with the .300WM and not ruined more than a couple ounces of meat.
My truck will pull 12,000 pounds down the road with no problem. It does OK with just me, the dog and my coffee thermos too.

September 25, 2005, 11:42 PM
A lot of folks around here use the 300 Win Mag for whitetail. I see no problem with using it, as long as you realize and accept it's faults - heavy recoil, expensive factory ammo, and lots of power. If, however, you choose to reload, those factors are non-existent, as you can tailor the ammo to suit your needs at the moment.

If I were going to choose one caliber to hunt elk, mule deer, and whitetail deer with, I personally would choose the 300 Win Mag, and choose the ammunition appropriately.

September 27, 2005, 01:48 PM
I have shot about as many deer with the .300 as I have with the .30-06, and in my experience, deer shot with the .300 fall down much faster; 99% of them within 1 step of where hit, assuming a good hit. With the '06, about 50% of my well-hit deer fall down right there, and the other 50% go less than 100 yards. :rolleyes:

September 27, 2005, 07:38 PM
It's a good Whitetail load, especially the big ones. It's on the heavy side but if you're hunting Elk as well, it's a dang good choice.

The 300 Win Mag falls somewhere between the 300 H&H Mag and the 300 Weatherby Mag. 180gr bullets are the most popular and there's a good choice too choose from using factory loads or handloading. Zeroed at 200 yards, a 180gr Power Point Plus for example, will rise about 1 1/2 inches at 100 yards and drop about 6 1/2 at 300 yards. Very similar trajectory to a 130gr .270 Winchester except it puts out roughly 3070 fps at the muzzle and 3768 ft lbs. It's the best selling 300 Magnum. You also have the 300 WSM which is a short action cartridge with almost exact ballistics as the 300 Mag, if you like short action better.

Plan on paying around of $25.00 per box of 20 for the PP Plus. Regular Power Point will save you $5.00 per box.

For comparison, 30-06 will cost you somewhere between $14.00 - $15.00 for standard factory ammo and $20.00 a box of 20 for some 180gr Hornady Light Mags, which by the way have about the same ballistics as the 300 Win Mag above, even out to 500 yards. Chew on that thought for a while. ;)

Good luck whatever you buy.

Blue Line
September 27, 2005, 07:59 PM
I think you'll do fine with the 300 if your comfortable shooting it. You know the old saying"Beware the man who has one gun- he probably knows how to use it". The 300 can be loaded up or down as needed if you take up handloading as well as all different types and sizes of 30 cal bullets available. You can cook up a load for just about anything that walks with the 300. That way your covered for the deer and elk. Its easier to download the 300 that push the other caliber to upper presure limits.

cracked butt
September 27, 2005, 08:11 PM
Its only too much gun if it causes you to flinch and not shoot it accurately.

If you reload, you can reduce the loads somewhat for whitetails- it doesn't take much to kill them. I don't even shoot full power loads through my .308 for whitetail hunting.

Byron Quick
September 27, 2005, 08:38 PM
Good points here. Some I learned on my own. Such as stay away from the lighter bullets. 150 grain bullets are varmint rounds. I've never seen such a mess in my life.

Recoil? Yes, on the bench. I've never noticed recoil when shooting a deer or hog in my life. Maybe y'all have.

September 27, 2005, 08:47 PM
When you get down to brass tacks, the difference between a 308 and a 300 is about 115 yards. Whatever teh 308 will do the 300 will do 115 yards farther.


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