.300 Win Mag for whitetail


November 23, 2007, 02:01 PM
Alright, here's the deal

I'm looking for a new rifle for hunting. I mostly hunt whitetail deer in the upper peninsula of Michigan. I would also someday want to hunt elk or moose with the same rifle. I was just wondering if the .300 Winchester Magnum would be absolutely too much gun for whitetail.

If you enjoyed reading about ".300 Win Mag for whitetail" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
November 23, 2007, 02:16 PM
.300 win mag would work...especially if you reload and can tone it down a bit for up here. I switched over to a .44 mag blackhawk cause of the thicker woods up here and haven't yet come across a deer that was too far away to shoot. .270 is adequete for elk as long as you are a decent shot. .30-06 would do everything you need to do. you pays yer money and takes yer pick.

November 23, 2007, 02:17 PM
I shot a browning a bolt II 300 win mag for years from the bench and in the deer stand. the recoil is appreciable and requires practice to master. after I got older and gave up my other hobby of weight lifting I traded that mag for a 7mm08.......

November 23, 2007, 02:24 PM
Well I'm a pretty big guy (6'5 270lbs) so I think I'll be able to manage the recoil. I was just concerned because I've heard that the .300 WM was "too much gun" for whitetail, but I've never really heard why.

November 23, 2007, 02:28 PM
i use the 300 win mag quite a bit for whitetail, antelope, and mule deer. it isn't too much, its about right.

don't know what the lay of the land is there but if the shots will be close, you'll want to load 180 grain bullets, or 165 barnes x's to prevent bullet blow up.

November 23, 2007, 02:29 PM
welcome to the forum Alx98,
Nuthin wrong with the .300 for whitetail, I've used it myself, but a 30-06 is certainly adequate for your stated purpose and has the advantage of being less noise, less recoil, less expense. I would also consider the .270

cracked butt
November 23, 2007, 02:38 PM
The 300 wm isn't too much gun for whitetail, just make sure its not too much gun for you though.

November 23, 2007, 02:49 PM
Thanks for your input guys. I guess it's going to come down to whats available for purchase and if I get a chance to shoot a 300 wm soon.

November 23, 2007, 03:31 PM
I use a 300 WM for whitetail, although out in South Dakota where the range is a lot greater than in the U.P. It will work just fine, the one thing you need to pay attention to is shot placement and range. Too close the bullets are traveling too fast and don't expand and do any damage in the deer. One way that I get past this on the close shots is to aim for bone (sholder). That has worked well for me. This year I switched from 180 gr to 150 gr. bullets in the Winchester XP3 and they did really well.
I get looks at the range when I am shooting, but who cares, a dead deer is all that matters.
It might be considered by most to be overkill for the UP, but for future elk and moose, it would be ideal. I say go for it!
I'd let you shoot mine if you are in the Detroit area sometime. You should definitely try it before buying as the recoil can be enough to scare some people away.

November 23, 2007, 06:49 PM
I use .300 Wins and Wbys for whitetails. They are not too much. There are equally flat rounds of lesser power. There are equally powerful rounds with less flatness. If you need to reach out someday, the combination of flatness and horsepower will cheer you. Bullet selection is important. I like 180s, and have had great results with those inexpensive Rem PSPCLs.

All my .300s (have 4) shoot under 1 1/4 MOA for 5 rds. A couple do considerably better than that.

The nice thing about .300s is that you don't need to step up to anything bigger for the occasional elk or moose. A synthetic stocked gun of 8# loaded is about perfect.


November 23, 2007, 07:55 PM
Hi Alx...

Yes, the 300 Magnum is without question too much gun for deer. So is the 30 '06.

Lots of people have killed deer, elk, moose, bison and all the types of bears with the .270 Winchester. If you just want a newer cartridge you can get the 7mm/08 which will take any game on the continent too. There is absolutely no need at all to use any .30 caliber cartridge in North American hunting. None. Ever.

HTH :)

November 23, 2007, 07:57 PM
Well, if it is too much gun, then what are the consequences of using it? I keep hearing its too much gun, but I haven't heard why.

November 23, 2007, 08:07 PM
Shooting the 300 means a lot more cost, lot more recoil, and lot more muzzle blast than shooting the .270 and yet the 270 gives you all the power and accuracy and bullet designs you'll need for anything. :)

Using a 300 Mag in North America is like using a snow shovel to eat your morning cereal. :D

November 23, 2007, 08:15 PM
This is a little off topic, but what do you guys think of the Ruger M77's?

November 23, 2007, 10:34 PM
The .300 Winmag is a fantastic cartridge. For 1000 yard shooting competitions, Elk & Bison hunting. Unless your Whitetails live next to a nuclear plant and weigh in excess of 800 pounds, there is absolutely no reason to use that much gun, unless you just happen to love that cartridge/gun combo. It is certainly not needed in any way, shape or form for deer.

I have shot about 100 deer with a .25-06 - pretty puny compared to the .300 - and I have never, EVER had one walk more than 4 or 5 steps. Neither have I ever had to shoot one more than once. Too much? Shot through the lungs and careful about meat damage, I don't think a .416 Rigby would be too much... but I sure wouldn't want to shoot it much! :D

November 23, 2007, 10:59 PM
Hi Alx98.

I don't know anything about your level of expertise, but basing your capacity to deal with recoil on your body size or shape is bad mojo.

One of my hunting buds is well beyond your weight class (he's a monster), and he can't shoot big guns nearly as long as I can. We were shooting a variety of .30-06 ammo recently (trying to find that magic bullet:rolleyes:) and after about six groups he looked over at me and said, "I'm sorry dude. I can't do this anymore." He went over and started fiddling with his AR while I shot another several groups. I'm 5'6" and 160 lbs.

I've seen some pretty big guys be afraid of their guns. A .300 WM is one that more than a couple people flinch with. I would never sacrifice accuracy for pride. That's why I'll never own anything beyond the big .300 class.

November 23, 2007, 11:10 PM
Alx, let me explain. If you are reasonable in your gun selection, there is no such thing as "too much gun". By this, I mean don't hunt squirrel with a .375 H&H. I've guided big game for years and the only time there is a problem is if it's "not enough gun". The phrase "too much gun" has always confused me, and it should confuse you as well. I have a Browning A-Bolt .300 Win Mag and it shoots great. I can kill anything I want with it. I guess the White-tail are 200% dead and the Axis are only 120% dead. I mostly shoot my Rem 700 7 STW, which is also a boomer and it kills them just as dead.

My suggestion is that if you just love the way the gun feels and it seems to become part of you when you snug up to it, hunt everything with the thing. My STW feels like it shoots all on its own. I mostly head and neck shoot, but don't shoot a smaller caliber because I don't want to and I have confidence and love the gun. If it is a bit too much for you (either cost or recoil), and it's not enjoyable to shoot then look for other alternatives based on that.

.300 Win is a not a bad round at all if you are looking to get something you can use across the board and get almost any ammo variation your little heart desires. I admit, .308 is a great round and .270 is fine as well. It all boils down to you and your gun. Will you have confidence in the gun no matter what walks into your hunting area? Does it feel good and shoot well? These are the things you should be concerned about, not what someone's opinion is on level of gun vs game animal. Make yourself happy and shoot the heck out of whatever you buy. Just make sure and get a quality scope for goodness sake. Don't spend good money on a good gun and put crappy glass on top. Your shooting experience will increase 10 fold with good gun AND good optics with solid mounts.

November 23, 2007, 11:30 PM
Get a 270, 308 and '06 or look at some of the 7mm's.

God, how I miss hunting whitetails in the UP. I bagged a few using my Ruger M77's - 243 and 7x57 back in the 80's.

Shell Shucker
November 23, 2007, 11:52 PM
I have to agree with Bensdad; your physical size has little to do with your ability to handle recoil. It may even work against you. A smaller person has less inertia for recoil to overcome and will "roll with the punch" easier than a large person with a lot of inertia to overcome who remains stationary longer and thus "takes the hit". Recoil tolerance is an individual thing.

I believe it is a hunters responsibility to us "enough gun" to reasonably take an animal cleanly. A hunter should not shoot more gun than they can shoot accurately. If they cannot shoot the "minimum" accurately they should not be hunting. That being said: no sporting caliber is to much if the hunter can shoot it accurately. I'm not a fan of recoil and prefer the lighter loads.

November 24, 2007, 03:52 AM
So I bought a 338WM. Then gave in to owning more than 1 rifle. The 300WM with lighter constructed bullets tends to overdrive the bullets ability to hold together resulting in a lotof meat destruction. Or going with a heavier bullet construction, little expansion. I thought I saw someone is offering a new line of cartriges for magnums with the sales pitch of 1 caliber & 3 distinctly different purposes. Perhaps this may help. 1 gun hunting is good from the sense of developing shooting familiarity and "comfort" with a given rifle, but like most things in life pretty much all calibers are a compromise when considering a wide variety of game quarry.

Be safe and have fun looking for your weapon of choice!


November 24, 2007, 08:22 AM

The reason many regard the .300winmag to be "too much" for deer relates to "what does it take" to put down a deer, vs. whats excessive and "over kill". Or put another way, do you plan to eat the deer you kill?

Having taken (legally) deer with most every thing from .22rf to .45/70 loaded to near .458winmag level, to include 20ga and 12ga shotgun w/slugs and buckshot........(except for anything with 6.5mm bore)

You can certainly kill deer with a .300, but if you don't use certain discresion in choosing bullets/loads, you can end up with a badly shot-up deer.

A 150gr bullet with a frontal shot to base of the neck will ruin approximately 40% of the edible meat, and if deer isn't taken directly to cooler, or butchered immediately, will ruin the whole carcass (ask me how I know........ 25yrs experience as a gamewarden/wildlife biologist and over 300 deer taken not to include those shot as depredation/population control/research). I've seen many-many deer taken by hunters besides those I killed myself (literally thousands...)

If you DO intend to go elk,moose, bear hunting; the .300winmag may be the best rifle for you. However, if you "might some day" go hunt the aforementioned game, something with less recoil and expense will be better.

I loaned what I consider my "go too" rifle for ANY N. American biggame to a close friend to go on a "hunt of a lifetime" for ELK. He took (cleanly!) a 1,200lb 6x6 elk with my Remington M7 in 7mm-08. He declined to use my: .338/06, .300RUM, .30/06, because of an old sports injury to his "gun-shoulder. That and at 10,000' elevation, a 11lb rifle is MUCH heavier than a 7lb rifle after walking 7-12mi. BTDT too....

For your purposes, I'd suggest a .30/06. You can never go wrong with the ole '06. But the 7mm-08, .270, 7mmMag, ect. do just as well.

If you do get the .300winmag, use a 180gr bullet(or heavier) and avoid "lengthwise" body shots on your deer, unless you are shooting at a "trophy" and don't care if the meat is "pre-tenderized". The 150's are just a bit too explosive for close range shooting on "meat" deer.

Will Fennell
November 24, 2007, 08:44 AM
I get asked this question a lot in my hunting circle, and here is my answer...

The question should be "is a 300 mag too much for the shooter?" There is nothing magical about a 300 WM.....it is just a 30/06 with a bit more velocity......just think of it as an '06 with another 100-150 yards of usuable range. But the price you pay is NOTICIBLY more recoil. And as the above poster mentioned, with the wrong bullets and short ranges, it can destroy a bit more meat.

I take a lot of folks hunting on my farm, and its a given that we see more deer MISSED with big bore magnums than .270's, and .308's and other, milder cartrigdes.

I would think about buying a nice deer rifle, in a nice cartridge that you can shoot comfortably, and a good scope for it.......then when that "someday" rolls around and you get to head off on a Elk or Moose trip, if you think you still need a bigger rifle.....get one, and just move your scope over to your new big bore for that trip.

November 24, 2007, 09:19 AM
This is a little off topic, but what do you guys think of the Ruger M77's?

I have one in 7mm Rem Mag and its a pretty good shooter. Stainless leftie model. Before deer season this year I was getting 1.5" groups with it using a couch cushion as a rest (not a good rest). I think it (and I mean me) could do better if I had a real rest.

Well, if it is too much gun, then what are the consequences of using it? I keep hearing its too much gun, but I haven't heard why.

I think this generally refers to meat destruction. I'd imagine the 300 WM can punch through both front shoulders pretty well which could result in the loss of a good amount of deer meat. Granted the front shoulders don't have as much meat as the rear legs do, but you'd still lose some. Smaller rounds might not make it all the way through and thus save you a shoulder.

Have "too much gun" doesn't necessarily mean that the deer die any faster either. The doe I shot a couple weeks ago crawled about 15 feet with a baseball sized exit wound that broke the far leg. One lung and the heart were gone when I field dressed her (7mm Rem Mag). On the flip side, last year, I shot a decent sized 7 pointer with a .25-06 and he dropped on the spot (same shot placement).

The 300 WM will easily meet your requirements of a whitetail, elk, and moose gun, but you could do that with a .30-06 or another caliber and save money, rifle life, your shoulder, etc.

November 24, 2007, 09:23 AM
The .300 Win Mag is almost as-good-as the .300 Wea. Mag that I used to use. I currently use a Weatherby Mark V, blued, synthetic, with a Leupold 4.5-14 scope, chambered in .300 Win Mag. The cost of ammo is so much more reasonable.


November 24, 2007, 12:06 PM
Thanks everyone for your input. I have my eye on a Ruger M77 in .300 win mag, but with the info you guys have provided, I'm going to try and find one to shoot before I buy for sure. I definitely understand the reason for accuracy over velocity. Nothing I hate worse than a wounded deer.

November 24, 2007, 12:12 PM
If you worry about the recoil, maybe a Knoxxs reduce recoil stock will help you out. That is the route I am taking for my future 300 Win Mag hunting rifle.

November 24, 2007, 12:18 PM
I have a .300 WSM that I use for whitetails. Everyone harassed me and said it would ruin too much meat. If shot through the ribs and both lungs, it doesn't ruin any more meat than a .308 or .30-06. I wouldn't want to hit a shoulder, it would be destroyed. (same with any rifle)

November 24, 2007, 12:27 PM
I recently bought a 300 Mag for whitetail and I am very pleased with its performance. I got the gun and a cheap Tasco scope for around $380 with a box of shells (Federal Power Shok 180gr.). So far I've taken two deer and a turkey with it. Doesn't mess the meat up any worse than my .270 or 7 Mag and the recoil is about the same as the 7mm. As far as bullets, Wal-Mart has the Federals for $14 a box. Compare that to the Winchester Silvertip Ballistic tips i shoot out of the 7 and .270, less that half the price. I pay $38 for the silvertips in my 7 Mag, so price isn't the issue for deer, only for Elk or Moose you might have to pay some money for a good round.

Get the 300!!

November 24, 2007, 12:29 PM
Oh, I forgot to mention one thing about the recoil. Mine is a Stevens Model 200 and every bit of 7lbs with bipods, scope, and full magazine. I'm only 5'6 and 170lbs and can withstand multiple shots with a tee shirt on. Recoil is not an issue with you.

November 24, 2007, 01:56 PM
If you can handle the recoil and shoot it accurately sure. Do you need that much power for deer, no. I occasionally shoot my 300 Wby for deer. I shoot a 180 grain Nosler Partition at 3,100 fps. As I don't want to ruin the front shoulders I always go for a lung shot. The 180's always go through and through and turn the lungs to jelly. It is a beast to shoot, and I never over do it at the range. You could get by with an 06 for Deer, Moose and Elk with no problem, but it's nice to have the flater shooting round just in case. I pole axed my one and only Elk and have never shot a moose, but I have killed critters in Africa that were every bit as big. If you want to save meat use the lung shot. If you don't care, go for the shoulders, you'll smash them both.

November 24, 2007, 02:41 PM
I have a Ruger 77 in both a 300 and a 30-06. I shot a Whitetail last year at 30yds. It ran about 40yds. Damage wasnt anymore than my 30-06. I do grab the 06 more because it's lighter the barrel is 2in shorter,thinner and its not as top heavy.

November 24, 2007, 04:10 PM
I bought a Winchester Model 70 in 300 Win Mag.I am using the Remington Reduced Recoil loads for deer.They group surprisingly well. Next year I'll load or buy some full strength loads for an elk hunt.The full recoil is more than I like out of a tree stand, especially with the occasional opposite hand shot.

November 26, 2007, 08:12 AM
Don't let all the massive recoil talk scare you. I am 6'-0" 160lbs (aka bean pole) and I can tell you that every time there is a deer in the cross hairs of my scope and I pull the trigger I don't feel a thing. At the range it might hurt if I went through a couple boxes of shell, but hold on tight to the gun (I wrap my forearm in the sling) and roll with it.
On a humorous side note, when you are hunting your buddies will always know when its you taking a shot because the report is so much louder than standard calibers. :)
I still think the best thing would be to shoot one before you buy it if you can. I love mine and wouldn't trade it for anything.
Do some research on bullets too, there are a lot of new bullets that expand great and hold together at the higher velocities without breaking apart. As is preached around here all the time, shot placement is key so as long as you can hit where you are aiming at there won't be any issue with meat damage. Since you can get identical bullets as the 30-06 I don't see how the 300WM could cause more damage than the 06? The extra velocity isn't going to make that much difference.
Don't let the nay-sayers deter you, if that's the gun you want, then go for it.

November 26, 2007, 08:24 AM
bang_bang said it well. The .300 Win Mag really does not have a lot of harsh recoil. As most people who have read my posts know, I do have an electronic stimulator implanted into my spine. Even with that implant, at a mere 5'9" and 170 Lbs, I can tolerate the recoil of the .300 Win Mag with zero issues. If you find the recoil too much to shoot pleasantly, have a break installed. They are inexpensive and will reduce the recoil of a .300 Win Mag to the level of a .270 Win. I suggest hand loads with 180 Gr rounds for 100 yards or less, and 165 Gr loads for distance. Just as an FYI, I hunt Michigan's open bean fields, and so I set my zero at 300 yards. At 400 yards I am about 10" low and at 500 yards I am about 20" low. Between point blank distance and 350 yards I hold a normal point of aim. At 400 yards I aim off of the deer's spine, and at 500 yards I use the duplex post which measures 18". In closing, assuming your rifle does its part, you do your part, the .300 Win Mag will do its part easily to 500 yards on whitetailed deer.

Cocked & Locked
November 26, 2007, 09:41 AM
I whitetail deer hunt often with my .300 Winchester magnum. The rifle is a Remington 700 with a detachable magazine. The scope is a Burris 3.5 X 10 X 50.

150 grain Sierra Game King bullets (PMC Silver factory load) are my favorites. I don't notice excessive meat damage if shot just behind the shoulder or in the neck. I do notice a nice exit wound and lots of blood.

When I first got this rifle, I bought several boxes of Hornady ammo loaded with 165 grain soft points. I looked for MANY deer I had shot...not much of a blood trail. These factory loaded 165's were too hard for deer. They were not expanding, but they did penetrate fully making an exit hole the size of a pencil and leaving minimal internal damage.

Count the notches on the recoil pad...:D


November 26, 2007, 11:15 AM
I'd shoot a .300WM first before you buy. It's a big boomer, it's accurate, and it will certainly get the job done if shot well, plus it can take anything short of a grizzly or big bison. However, many people on here complain about the excess recoil versus a standard-length cartridge. I'd shoot it and see what you think of it first....you don't want to flinch and have a wounded animal.

November 26, 2007, 02:20 PM
(ref post #28) "300 Mag for whitetail and I am very pleased with its performance. I got the gun and a cheap Tasco scope for around $380 with a box of shells (Federal Power Shok 180gr.). So far I've taken two deer and a turkey with it."

My question, how did the turkey do after getting nailed by a 300 mag?

November 26, 2007, 04:15 PM
I shot the turkey at the base of the neck at around 40 yds. I barley nipped the far side of the breast upon exit. Surprisingly it didn't decapitate the turkey, just blew most of its next off. I cut the breasts out of it and only ruined a small amount of the nipped side. An inch higher on the neck and nothing would of been ruined.

November 26, 2007, 06:34 PM
ABSOLOUTLY NOT to much gun, i have shot several with mine. i only had to chase one, about 70 yards. it turns out that the cause of this was a 3" sapling that got between me and the deer! all the rest droped right where i shot them. one even flipped over backwards! i have no idea why this happened, maybe nerves?!? anyway, its got lots of stopping power, for anything you are likely to hunt. except in africa. and then there are those who would use it there. fred bear hunted rhino's with 2 sticks and a string!

November 26, 2007, 06:44 PM
My pops has been shooting 300 Weatherby Magnums for as long as I can remember hunting with him. This being on whitetail, mule deer, elk, black bear, and the occasional yodel dog out there at 500yds. Of course, he has always reloaded his own rounds and shoots the appropriate rounds per the game and terrain as well.

Of course, this year he did end up selling one of his Weatherbys and ended up shooting his deer and antelope with my Browning BLR in .308. Fortunately I bought this gun from him before hunting season for $400 LNIB, because now he wants it back...:what:...ain't happennin' pops :neener:


November 26, 2007, 08:12 PM
I've fired A-Bolts back-to-back in .270, .30-.06, and .300 Win Mag. The .300 Win Mag had the least recoil in my opinion. The .270 and .30-.06 got sold.

November 27, 2007, 09:54 PM
I must say, just in the last month or two that I have had my 300 Mag, it is becoming my favorite rifle for big game. I am only 19 and have been shooting .270's and 7mm Mags since I was about 12. I've always been small in size, but never let that get in the way of shooting a gun. I've had the 7 Mag bloody my nose and bruise my eye and now kinda feel a bit of a flinch when I shoot it at targets. The 300 Mag doesn't kit near as hard or bother me shooting it. I can hit a quarter-sized circle at 80 yds with bipods with a $300 gun and a el-cheapo scope. I should of got one of these years ago!

November 29, 2007, 09:48 AM
Perhaps least FELT recoil. Physics is physics and a bigger bullet moving faster creates more energy - in the front and in the back.

Cartridge (Wb + type) MV (fps) V @ 200 yds ME (ft lb) E @ 200 yds
270 Win. (150 Sp) 2850 2183 2705 1587
7mm Rem. Mag. (150 SpBT) 3110 2751 3221 2520
.300 Win. Mag. (180 Sp) 2960 2540 3501 2578

November 29, 2007, 10:56 AM
The 300 Win Mag is not too much for deer. I've not seen different degrees of dead. If you reload, it's a very versitle round, as you can load it light for practice or less meat loss if you're hunting areas were the shots are close.

If you don't reload, then it's still versitle. Remington makes a reduced recoil ammunition that makes it more like a 30-06 or 308. You can use it in timber for close in shots, or stoke it up with the full power fodder for open range or larger game.

I see nothing wrong with your choice if you're confident in it.

November 29, 2007, 11:07 AM
300wm isn't too much. My dad uses it alot. I use of course 7mm. Love it. Recoil quite a bit less than 300wm. ruger 77 all the way. My neighbor uses 338wm for white tail just uses harder bullets that expand less.

November 29, 2007, 02:01 PM
Hey 7mm, I'm also considering a used weatherby mark V synthetic in 7mm rem mag. I've heard good things about both the caliber and the gun. Plus this gun's only 500 bucks.

November 29, 2007, 06:27 PM
What do I think of Ruger M77?


What do you think.

November 30, 2007, 08:35 PM
The 300win will do what you want it to, if you shoot it straight.

November 30, 2007, 09:03 PM
weaterby makes a nice rifle.

December 4, 2007, 11:34 PM
Thanks for all your help guys. I think I've decided on a Browning A-bolt medallion in 7mm Rem Mag. It looks to be a gorgeous rifle, and its only 500 bucks.

December 5, 2007, 06:29 AM
Using a 300 Mag in North America is like using a snow shovel to eat your morning cereal.

I completely agree. However, I also drive a pickup truck with over 380 hp to get to work, have way more guns than any person might ever need, and have a larger house than a family of 4 could ever justify.

Vive la excess, and welcome to America!

If you enjoyed reading about ".300 Win Mag for whitetail" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!