.300 Win Mag vs. .308 - practical differences?


January 22, 2009, 10:13 PM
I'm wanting to buy a new rifle and I've narrowed my choices down to the .308 Win and the .300 Win Mag - I finally decided against the .300 RUM simply because of the expense of ammo and the limited availability. Until I get into handloading, it's not practical for me to have a specialty cartridge like the Ultra Mags.

I'm leaning towards the .300 Win Mag because it's a widely available cartridge that's relatively (strong emphasis on the word "relatively") affordable and I like the fact that I can go as light as 150 grains and as heavy as 200. It seems to have a lot of overlap with the .308 and the .300 RUM and is plenty of gun for any big game animal here in North America. Once I get into hand loading I'll revisit the .300 RUM and my old favorite the .375 H&H for "too much gun!"

For an all-around big game and relatively long-range hunting/target gun, is there any reason why the .300 win mag would be a bad choice? Is there any significant practical difference between the .300 win mag and the .308 win in terms of accuracy and capability for hunting and target shooting out to 400-600 yards, with the proper loads?

If the .308 has a strong advantage over the .300 win mag, in your opinion, can you tell me what that is and how it applies?

I will, most likely, be buying a Remington 700 Sendero SFII if I go with the .300 win mag and a Remmy 700 VTR if I go with the .308.

Looking forward to hearing some of y'all's thoughts on the differences between the two calibers.


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January 22, 2009, 10:23 PM
A .308 barrel will last longer.

January 22, 2009, 10:23 PM
About 400 fps.


Big Bill
January 22, 2009, 10:31 PM
Why did you not consider the .300 WSM?

January 22, 2009, 10:39 PM
The way I always consider magnums vs. standard calibers is this: the 300 Win. Mag buys you 50-60 more yards of maximum point blank range for a given bullet weight versus the .308. The question therefore is whether this is worth the additional recoil and ammo expense.

Plus, don't forget that there's also a whole lot more factory loaded ammo available at all price points for the .308. And I personally like having a short action caliber as opposed to a long action or especially a magnum length action if at all possible.

But, if you're talking larger game like elk or moose at longer ranges, there's no substitute for a magnum. If I get the dream hunt of a lifetime for elk, I'd pony up for a big boy gun for certain just to be safe. I personally don't think magnums are worth it otherwise.

January 22, 2009, 10:45 PM
I do most of my hunting with 7x57, 30-06 and .308, but I also have a .300 Winnie. For me they excell at pushing heavy bullets fast or 150's really fast, recoil is a lot more than a .308, but not nearly as bad as the RUM. To me it's about the maximum practical .30, if I need more than a .300 Winnie I break out a .338, or the .458 for the big boys.

January 22, 2009, 11:12 PM
I have a Remington 700 Sendero in 300 winmag Its a great shooting rifle. I also have a Remington 740 in 308. If I am shooting under 600 yards I don't feel the need to punish my self with recoil. I'll shoot my 308
If I'm shooting 700 to 1000 yards or more I'll use the 300 winmag.
either round is excellent
by the way both rifles are using zeiss scopes and shooting 1/4 inch groups at 100 yards

January 22, 2009, 11:14 PM
The type of hunting that REQUIRES a .300 Win. Mag. is about as much more physically demanding as the .300 Win. Mag is more powerful than .308 Win.

January 22, 2009, 11:22 PM
Split the difference and get a 30-06.

January 22, 2009, 11:41 PM
Are you set on a .30 cal? I am a really big fan of the 7mm rem mag.

January 22, 2009, 11:46 PM
Ammo is much,much cheaper and more readily avaliable for the .308 this alone is a huge deal in these challenging times...........

January 22, 2009, 11:47 PM
Don't "split the difference" for an '06. Great old cartridge but it won't do much of anything a 308 wont and requires a longer heavier rifle and more powder to do the same thing. If you really want long range like over 600 yards then you need a magnum. Either a 30 or a 7mm will do the long range thing on medium game up to and including elk. Griz are another matter altogether and I wouldn't feel comfortable with anything less than 375 cal. and 250 to 300 grain bullets. Griz are not normally shot at extreme range anyway, a 450 Marlin or 12ga slug would work fine out to normal distances.

January 22, 2009, 11:55 PM
Big Bill - I'm not really interested in the .300 WSM because I've got a .25 WSSM and, even though I love the rifle, it's hard to find ammo for it unless I can get to certain stores that are farther away. Once I move back to the small town where I hunt and guide, I'll have to drive at least an hour to get ammo for my .25 WSSM. I'm looking to buy a rifle in a widely available caliber, with a broad load selection that includes a good heavy load- like the 200 gr rounds available for the .300 win mag. It's a VERY popular cartridge in South Texas and even the local hardware and convenience store carries it.

Once I have rebuilt the core of the gun collection we had to sell when my dad was dying and I begin reloading again, I will start looking at some of the more 'wildcat' cartridges.

Browningguy - What .308 do you shoot- a Browning, I asume? Which one? What 150 gr have you been shooting- have you tried Remmy's "reduced recoil" rounds? if so, what did you think.

It sounds like recoil is the main objection people have to the .300 win mag but that's not an issue for me. I grew up shooting considerably bigger rifles with a lot more 'kick.' And I would always rather have 'too much gun'- especially when I'm hunting bigger stuff like Elk, Mule Deer, Nilgai & Bear. All of which I'll be hunting this year. It doesn't seem like there's a lot of accuracy advantages of one over the other and that's my bigger concern. So, since it seems I can get comparable accuracy with both (even out to long range) I think I'm going to go with the heavier .300 win mag. Eventually I'll probably get a .308 as well; but, for now, I'm still leaning towards the .300.

January 22, 2009, 11:59 PM
I enjoy the .308/7.62 as it is light on recoil and enjoyable to shoot. If you throw a moderator on the gun it is even more enjoyable as you can shoot it without ear pro.


January 23, 2009, 12:05 AM
Aren't the Marines using 300 Win Mags? That says a little bit about it's accuracy.

They're great, versatile rifles. Can load light for varmints, or heavy for larger game animals. Recoil isn't bad, more of a quick pop than anything. I love mine for whitetails. Gonna try some 110 grain loads this summer for groundhog. :neener:

January 23, 2009, 12:49 AM
If we are that's news to me.

from what I've seen .308/7.62 NATO is still the standard for the DMR/Recon crowd.

Big Bill
January 23, 2009, 01:10 AM
Cartridge Information

Index Number Cartridge Type Weight (grs.) Bullet Style Primer No. Ballistic Coefficient
R300W1 Remington® Express® 150 Pointed Soft Point Core-Lokt® 9 1/2 M 0.294
R300WSM1 Remington® Express® 150 Pointed Soft Point Core-Lokt® 9 1/2 M 0.294
R308W1 Remington® Express® 150 Pointed Soft Point Core-Lokt® 9 1/2 0.314

Velocity (ft/sec)
Cartridge Type Bullet Muzzle 100 200 300 400 500
Remington® Express® 150 PSP CL 3290 2951 2636 2343 2068 1816
Remington® Express® 150 PSP CL 3320 2977 2660 2364 2087 1830
Remington® Express® 150 PSP CL 2820 2533 2263 2009 1774 1560

Energy (ft-lbs)
Cartridge Type Bullet Muzzle 100 200 300 400 500
Remington® Express® 150 PSP CL 3605 2900 2315 1828 1425 1098
Remington® Express® 150 PSP CL 3671 2952 2356 1861 1451 1116
Remington® Express® 150 PSP CL 2648 2137 1705 1344 1048 810

Short-Range Trajectory
Cartridge Type Bullet 50 100 150 200 250 300
Remington® Express® 150 PSP CL 0.0 0.5 zero -1.6 -4.4 -8.7
Remington® Express® 150 PSP CL -0.1 0.4 zero -1.5 -4.3 -8.5
Remington® Express® 150 PSP CL 0.0 zero -1.2 -3.9 -8.4 -14.7

Long-Range Trajectory
Cartridge Type Bullet 100 150 200 250 300 400 500
Remington® Express® 150 PSP CL 1.3 1.2 zero -2.4 -6.3 -18.9 -39.5
Remington® Express® 150 PSP CL 1.2 1.2 zero -2.4 -6.2 -18.6 -39.0
Remington® Express® 150 PSP CL 2.0 1.7 zero -3.4 -8.8 -26.2 -54.8

Note: These ballistics reflected a test barrel length of 24" except those for 30 Carbine and 44 Remington Magnum which are 20" barrels.
Specifications are nominal. Ballistics figures established in test barrels. Individual rifles may vary from test barrel results.
“zero” indicates yardage at which rifle was sighted in.
* Inches above or below line of sight. Hold low for positive numbers, high for negative numbers.
1 Bullet does not rise more than 1" above line of sight from muzzle to sighting-in range.
2 Bullet does not rise more than 3" above line of sight from muzzle to sighting-in range.
† 280 Remington and 7mm Express Remington are interchangeable.
‡ 6mm Remington and 244 Remington are interchangeable.


January 23, 2009, 01:31 AM
As for our military using a 300 Win Mag, some do.


There is a short article I was able to pull up.

January 23, 2009, 04:08 AM
SouthTXBowhunter, I have both calibers and there's one aspect that no one has mentioned so far and that's the time to get back on target after a shot. That's the only consideration for me related to recoil since neither one even comes close to my .300 WSM (weighing in at 8lb including the scope, rings and bases) or my .45-70 Marlins. The slow powder in the .300 Win Mag cartridge gives me more of a push than a punch. In the coming months I'll be shooting some long-range tactical matches and two of the courses of fire require 10 shots in 60 seconds (200 yards) and 10 shots in 70 seconds (300 yards). I don't think I'll stand a chance if I use the .300 Win Mag and that's WITH an AICS and heavy MTU contour barrel. I don't lose the target at all with the .308 Win in the same AICS stock and similar barrel. For one-shot, one-kill scenarios, I'd take the .300 Win Mag over the .308 Win every time. For long-range shooting from 800 yards and out, I'd still take the .300 Win Mag. However, if rapid fire is expected I'd take the .308 Win. I'm not sure what you have planned for the rifle in the future (other than hunting and target shooting) but you may want to consider the above.

As for bullet choices and the .300 Win Mag ... I've just started shooting Hornady 208gr A-MAX bullets and they're OUTSTANDING with a BC of 0.648. Most .300 WM will have a 1:10 twist which seems to do a great job of stabilizing the heavier bullets.

My vote by the way ... .300 Win Mag ... it's just a really, really cool caliber. I reload for about $0.70/round.

Good luck with your choice.


January 23, 2009, 05:23 AM
If you reload you could always purchase the win mag and "download" it to .308 power.

January 23, 2009, 08:09 AM
[QUOTE][A .308 barrel will last longer./QUOTE]
i have had my 300 win mag for twenty + years, i have hunted with it and shot it quite a bit ( a minumum of a thousand rounds) at targets. the barrel of an average gun will not wear out in his/her lifetime.

Why did you not consider the .300 WSM?

because it is simply hype. a new and improved same old same old that does nothing the standard 300 win mag can not do.

there's one aspect that no one has mentioned so far and that's the time to get back on target after a shot.

in a bolt action HUNTING rifle, throwing the bolt is going to be most of the time and re aquireing the target will be thrown off by this action alone, so basicly forget about the recoil. if we were talking semi-auto, THEN it would be a good point.

and as far as the 30-06, it is balisticly the same (for all real purposes) as the 308. if you want THE largest selection of ammo, the 06 IS THE ONE!
so, IMO, your decision really needs to be based on 1) how far will you be shooting? if you WILL be shooting at distances OVER 300 yards, then the 300 win mag is definitly a good choice. or if you intend to shoot brown, grizzley, or polar bear, then the extra power would be a nice addition. however, if none of those things are gojng to be in your future, then get an 06 or 308. your shoulder will like you at the range (which really is going to be the only place you will realize the recoil difference anyway) and they are cheaper to shoot. basicly, if you are an average deer hunter, the 30-06 or 308 is more than enough for these critters. but if you are going to go after the big stuff, at extended ranges, then the 300 win mag is the way to go. personally, i own a 300 win mag, but experience is a really good teacher. i realize now, that in very few cases, have i ever NEEDED the extra punch of the magnum. but, i can (and do) download to 30-06 levels all the time for range use. but i still hunt with full power loads. i am hurt, so chasing an animal is very difficult for me. so i try to hunt and shoot close to the truck. i really do not mind the recoil, so that is not an issue for me. good luck with your decision. either way you go, you will have a fine hunting rifle.

January 23, 2009, 09:41 AM
I own a .308 and .300WSM.
I find the .308 kicks harder than the .300 belive it or not.
One upside to the .308 is the availability of ammo and its half the price of .300WSM ammo.
The biggest thing that ticks me off with the .308 is it is impossible to find new brass at any local gun stores, tons of .300wsm brass though. No worries if you dont reload though.

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