Why not not use a 7mm08 on deer?


June 22, 2006, 08:56 AM
I've been given the advice by so many that the 7mm08 is a great cartridge for white tail and mule deer. I've been leaning towards something larger (270wsm of 7mm mag) but the great group hear suggested many others like the .30-06, .270 and 7mm08.

So...what would be a good reason NOT to trust the 7mm08 for all my deer needs? What is it lacking?

(leaving out all shooting skills and difference between guns)

You all at THR have been great to me, truly helpful.

Thanks again!

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Gary G23
June 22, 2006, 09:07 AM
I think it would be perfect. Considering the size of deer and the distance you would be shooting them at I see no need for a 7mm Magnum.

June 22, 2006, 09:16 AM
Reread above statement. For me, in Louisiana, 80 yards is a far shot in the swamp, so a .270 works fine. Remember your hunting, don’t just take a shot at the dear and expect the round to put it down no mater ware you hit it (I used to be like that :rolleyes: ) Take your time and get a good solid shot

June 22, 2006, 09:32 AM
The 7mm08 has all the power needed to cleanly take whitetail out well past 300 yards. A 140gr bullet from a 7mm08 will step out at around 2800fps and not drop below 800ft-lbs of energy until past 500 yards. It also has a decent trajectory; that same 140gr bullet will provide a 250+ yard PBZ given a kill zone of 6", and with a max rise of 3" at 150 yards will be down 6" at 300 yards. Not *quite* as flat as a 270, but close enough that inside of 300 yards you'd never notice the difference. The selection of 7mm bullets is also superb; not quite as slippery as the 6.5mm stuff but capable of pushing seriously constructed 175gr bullets to decent velocities for dealing with tougher animals.

270WSM isn't *larger* in bore/bullet diameter, by the way - it's actually a wee bit smaller than 7mm. The 270 WSM just has a fatter case and therefore more powder behind the bullet. It'll hit higher velocities than the 7mm08 for the same bullet weight, but at the expense of a lot more powder and blast and cost. 270, 270WSM, and 7mm Mag are all useful for pushing really heavy bullets in pursuit of large-boned animals, or for shooting at extended ranges. None of that capability sounds like it's needed for your proposed use.

I have a 7mm08 and I like it a lot. I also have flatter/faster/bigger chamberings, but they don't do anything for whitetail that the 7mm08 doesn't also do.

June 22, 2006, 09:34 AM
Is there a reason not to trust it?

Nope. Fine cartridge for deer. Low recoil, built in many good solid guns, easy to reload.

If deer were what I was after, 7mm08 is one I would consider.

I have elk and moose on my list as well so I use an '06, but I feel you should use what you like.

June 22, 2006, 09:47 AM
Okay, I'll play. But I'm really reaching to come up with something that makes the 7mm08 less than excellent for deer. (I love my 7mm Mauser which is basically the same performance in a long-action)

Umm... it doesn't have the satisfying and ear-shattering blast of the magnums. Boom fun. :evil:

If you're planning on shooting deer beyond X yards (not sure what that might be--a lot farther than I could ever expect to see a deer where I hunt. Let's call it 500yards), it might not have enough umph.

A .308 can (okay, almost all can safely) shoot cheap(er) surplus ammo for practice. A 7mm08 is limited to more expensive factory ammo or handloads.

It's lacking the history of the .30-06/8x57/7.62x54R/.30-30/etc. None of that will matter to Bambi.

Okay, I give up. There's nothing wrong with the 7-08. I'm a fan of the .30-06 myself, but for deer anything from the .243 (heck, even the .223, but in VA it has to be >.224" for big game) to the .375 H&H could be (and has been) used to good effect. Some perhaps better than others, trade-offs blah, blah... pick the one that strikes your fancy in a gun that strikes your fancy in a recoil-class you can handle and go for it. If you can handle the recoil of the magnums (and the price of the ammo/gun) go for it. But you (probably) wont need it for deer. If you're going to be doing some long range shooting (either hunting or target/plinking) as well, the magnums might be a good idea.

Happy Hunting

You know, there's nothing like a good gun discussion to make this preacher's kid a raving moral-relativist. :)

June 22, 2006, 10:01 AM
Great help guys. Most of my shots (again) will be 200 or less, maybe the occasional 300 yard field shot. But 95% of the 30 plus deer I've taken with my 12ga, 3 inch sluggies and 30-06 have been under 100 yards. ((that's 1.5 deer a doe and a fawn for you math majors-figuring that (%% is 1.5 deer)):D

If the cartridge is very accurate( out of the Tikka T3 I'll be buying:evil: ), light recoiling, less blast and more than plenty for deer I really need to get just that.

Under 200 yards, would the .270, .308 or .30-06 have any advantage over the 7mm08 for ~200# white tails?

June 22, 2006, 10:04 AM
Under 200 yards, would the .270, .308 or .30-06 have any advantage over the 7mm08 for ~200# white tails?They give you the joy of spending more money on ammo, they make bigger BOOMS at the range, and they liquefy more of Bambi's insides for you. What's not to love? ;)

June 22, 2006, 10:21 AM
I must add that I do not wish to use my 30-06 anymore (7400 auto). I want my first bolt gun to be an ideal deer slayer. Not just enough, not WAY too much, and still a good knock out punch with a good shot.

Ol` Joe
June 22, 2006, 11:00 AM
I have shot 3 deer with my 7-08 here in Michigan and all were bang/flops. I`d still be useing it except I`ve a Kimber M84 in 260 Rem that I like more then the M700 that I was useing. (It`s now taken 5 deer) This is strictly a gun preference not anything to do with the cartridge. I would have no problem useing either on deer to 3-350 yds on whitetail. Anything a 308 will do, I feel a7-08 will also, within reason. I`ve heard others talk of hunting elk with the 7-08, they claim it does just fine.

What more reason do you need??

Brian Williams
June 22, 2006, 11:04 AM
My 2 deer killers in SE Pa are the following a Winchester Compact Classic in 7mm-08, shoots factory rem 140 Coreloks at 1moa all day, box of 20 is $13.40 at wally world, but I reload for less. And the second one is a Marlin 1894C in 357 with my own cast LSWCGC 165gr over 15gr of Lil' gun it makes for a nice thump.


June 22, 2006, 11:08 AM
I'm going to play devil's advocate here. But I must say the following. The 7-08 will cleanly take deer for the ranges you want with light recoil. Absolutley nothing wrong with it as a deer round and I use one combined with a 7saum and 7 Rem mag. I use the 7-08 in the woods, heavy barrel 7 rem mag for the box blinds in fields and the 7 saum as a general gun. I would not hesitate to use the 7-08 for most situations. If you want a lighter recoiling gun I would look at the 308 instead of 7-08 due to wider selection of bullets that you can get anywhere.

Now, I'll throw out some arguments and opinions.

If I remember correctly, you want a Tikka, don't reload, and would rather be over gunned than under. Since Tikka only comes in long action you might as well use that action space for a bullet other than filler. Secondly, 7-08 ammo is a little hard to find (at least around here) so you might be limited or have to mail order. Lastly, you can load down a 7 Rem mag (Remington managed recoil ammo) but you can't load up a 7-08. When taking a quartering shot or a shoulder shot I like to have all the power I can get. It might be to much but I don't want to worry when that big buck is out at 200 yards.
Now for some opinions and hearsays. Dead is dead. Some deer die quickly and some take a little longer, even with the same shot. However, to me and several friends, the more power the gun has the quicker the animal goes down. Generally speaking of course. A farmer friend, who kills dozens of deer a year, switched from a 270 to a 7Rem mag. His reason, I don't have to chase them into the briars with my 7 Rem mag. Another gentleman who has more guns than most gun stores also uses the 7 Rem mag. He taught me to shoot with a 308 so I asked why he used the 7 Rem mag. His reply was "it does the job faster and with more room for error." With fringe vitals hits I do prefer more power.

Having the extra power makes me feel better and more confindent which is what it comes down to.

June 22, 2006, 11:48 AM

That's exactly where I was a few months back and started this search-leading me to the 300wsm. But the massive recoil turned me off. The 7mm08 seems to be quite able, but just as you stated, a little room for error is a very big positive. Bad shots are bad shots, but I often aim at the edge of the shoulder and vitals. I want (hopefully) to catch both, for a drop (broken shoulder blade) and kill (vital shot). The larger cals and mags seem to have a little more room for that error.

I just don't want that "little extra" to cause a BIG problem, poor shooting, recoil flinch or accuracy issues.

June 22, 2006, 12:11 PM
So...what would be a good reason NOT to trust the 7mm08 for all my deer needs? What is it lacking?

No reason at all to distrust it.
The only possible thing it is lacking is abundant ammo choices. As long as you have suitable ammo, go for it.

June 22, 2006, 12:25 PM
Anything from .243 on up to 30-06 will fit the “not under gunned to not over gunned”. I hunt with a 30-06. That said I hunt just about everything with a ’06. Is the ’06 over kill for most deer? I think so. But, I have been shooting that round since I was 15, have taken every thing from woodchucks and coyotes, up to large black bear, and thus have enormous confidence in my rifle/caliber selection. I have cheap mil surplus for plinking, then bullet weights from 55 grains up 220, and every bullet type from FMJ, to ultra match and every hunting bullet type known to man. My brother hunts everything with a .308, and has since he was 16, and swears by it. My friend’s wife has taken more deer than almost everyone I know put together with a .243 in a youth rifle.
Just find something that you like, that you can find a good selection of bullet types and weights for and practice, practice, and then practice some more. The most important thing is confidence. I know that if I do my part, my rifle will do its part each and every time.
Just a thought.

June 22, 2006, 01:25 PM
Have you shot a 300WSM and in what type of gun?

If you are used to a 30-06 with 180 grain bullets and don't feel like recoil is a problem, you should be able to handle a 300WSM. The problem is probably more the style of gun does not fit you or the gun is to light. Both will increase felt recoil. Also, some factory recoil pads don't do much in cushioning the recoil. Personally, I feel the 300 WSM is to much for deer.

If I may make a suggestion. It seems you want more power and speed. Nothing wrong with that no matter what some people are telling you. If you get something less you will always be wondering.

I would say get the 270 WSM. Get a good recoil pad if the rifle doesn't come with it. Go hunting and don't think twice. The 270 WSM will match the 7 Rem mag with lighter bullets. Lighter bullets will reduce felt recoil. It is a flat shooting round and usually 200fps faster than a standard 270. Meaning more power at point of impact. Recoil is not bad and about equal to a 30-06. Just use a premium bullet because at close impact ranges you want something a little more stout because of the speed, plus you like shoulder shots. Many people use the 130 tsx and 140 accubonds with good success. Ammo is getting more plentiful and I can find them at Walmart. I don't feel it is over gunned for deer unless you are regularly shooting in bow ranges. It fits all of your criterias. But just about any caliber you pick will be good for deer, it comes down to what you want and have confidence in. That way, when the time comes and it is a difficult shot, you won't be wondering about your equipment.

Bwana John
June 22, 2006, 02:33 PM
So...what would be a good reason NOT to trust the 7mm08 for all my deer needs? What is it lacking?
It dosent have the cool factor:cool: that a 7mm X 57mm Mauser gives you.:D
Same exterior ballistics, but the 7mm Mauser has aura and mystique of Bell shooting elephants, San Juan Hill and Spaniards shooting at T.R., and the oldest smokeless cartridge still being used going for it.

So... you are worried about 7mm08 not being enough for deer, try reading about one of the most prolific elephant hunters of all time killing them with basicly the same round.

Its not the caliber... its the shooter. If you wernt happy with 30-06, I dont think a bigger, faster, flatter, supermag is going to work any better in actually killing animals.:banghead:

June 22, 2006, 04:26 PM
The 7mm08 and the 6.5 Swede, which I shoot, along with the .260 Remington are ballistically very close. I also like the .257 Roberts in this class, though ammo is harder to find. They exert less chamber pressures than the .270, less noise and recoil than the venerable .06, and do the job just as well. All of the calibers I have mentioned thus far are great deer calibers. Also, I would consider the .308. It is a ubiquitous round, to be sure, and versatile.

The 6mm is a great caliber for groudhogs and deer, but not ideal. The 25.-06 is too blaming LOUD, as is the .264 magnum. By the way, the magnum calibers, as far as deer go, are called for unnecessary roughness on the shoulder of the shooter!

A friend of mine wanted to buy his first time deer rifle. He wanted the "perfect caliber" in a not too expensive gun. We went out and purchased a new Savage synthetic bolt action in 7mm.08. He has been imminently pleased, and I might add, except for his first ever deer (nerves) very successful with one shot.

If you lived in PA I could show you a most excellent deer rifle which I am sure would meet your every needs....But, that aside - I can think of no reason NOT to pick the 7mm.08 as an optimal choise for deer and bleack bear. You can knock off some varmits with it as well.

June 23, 2006, 02:13 AM
Don't forget the .284 Win.


30-06 lover
June 23, 2006, 03:11 AM
For deer only at ranges of 200 yards of less...there is no advantage of a bigger caliber or stronger load, in fact there are disadvantages to having a 30-06 270 etc. The bigger bores and stronger loads cost more than the 7mm-08 will, the recoil will be higher which can mess with accuracy (Which ultimately leads to little confidence), the rounds are noisy so if you blow a shot, more animals know there is a hunter in the area, etc. I have seen the 7mm-08 used on deer many times, and the deer all have ended up the same way...dead.

June 23, 2006, 07:29 AM
The chambering for your deer rifle is definitely a secondary consideration IMHO. Far more important is decent rifle, with decent sights and practice. Everybody has a favorite and anywhere from .243 on up, they will ALL get the job done so long as you do your part. Your part is selecting a bullet and load that are well matched and suitable for deer, and making a good shot. There is NO reason the 7mm-08 should not be considered an ideal deer round, and many reasons to pick it. My personal practically perfect deer rifle is a Ruger M77 lightweight in .270 Winchester. It would be just as favored were it a 7mm-08, or 6.5x55, or 7x57 or .308 or .30-06, or .280 Remington....You get the picture.

June 23, 2006, 12:16 PM
the 243 and 308 are popular deer cartridges and the 7mm is built on the same case and falls right in the middle of the two.......chris3

June 23, 2006, 05:49 PM

This cow elk had a live weight of about 600lbs. It fell to two (2) well placed 35 Remington bullets. These 200 grain Remington core-lockts damaged the chest organs considerably.

In contrast, a really big muley buck might weigh 300 lbs. I've toppled many mulies with the popular 30-30 cartridge and none got away. The 7mm-08 packs considerable more horsepower at longer distances than either 35 Remington or 30-30. The 7mm-08 will do well if you do your part.

Good hunting to you.

June 23, 2006, 06:38 PM
Yes,the 7-08 will work on deer and so will the 260,270, 25-06 and on and on.

Like I mentioned in the other thread,you need to decide what about your current rifle setup do you not like? The rifle ? The cartridge ? Both ? Or are you just wanting something different ?

I guess I'm just a little confused.Everything you say you want,you've allready got.The 30-06.

By the way,stepping down to the 7-08 is akin to dropping down to the 280.
308 necked down to 28 cal.=7-08
30-06 necked down to 28 cal.=280

June 24, 2006, 10:06 AM
I am of the opinion that hunters should pay more attention to comeing up with a gun that had a decent trigger,good peep sight or good quality scope and solid mounts ,a stock that fits their choice of sight/scope and their body size. I don't hunt much ,but I shoot lots and I can't tell you how many times one of my bonehead club members have shown up at the club range with some kind of new wonder gun that they can't hit with because it has a scope mounted too high or to low or the gun has a 12lb trigger pull or they have put a $37 Wall-Mart scope on a $800 gun. Other stupid move is when they can't hardly stand to sight in the new magnum wonder-gun because it is wacking them so hard! Looking at the average "hunter" at my club and how poorly they shoot it is a wonder there aren't more deer in my state than there is.
Don't sweat any reasonable caliber,your 7mm08 will do fine,just find out how to shoot it fairly decent and you will be fine!

June 24, 2006, 10:30 AM
A few years ago I moved from PA to CO. Took my 7MM-08 with me. Its gone from a Whitetail rifle to a Mule Deer/Elk rifle with no problem. If you reload you can tailor loads for all different applications. Great round as is the 7MM Mauser which as others have said is ballistically similar.

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