300WSM vs. 300 Win Mag


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elktrout
February 14, 2009, 10:49 PM
[B] I have seen conflicting posts about the comparison of recoil and ballistics of these two calibers. The ballistics do not look much different and choosing between the two cartridges likely boils down to personal preference.

However, there seems to be disagreement about the recoil of each. I noticed in some loading manuals that the short mag uses 5 or 6 grains less powder in most situations.

Do any of you have both calibers in the same or similar rifle models that you can report an "apples for apples" comparison of recoil, etc?

I am strongly considering the short mag in a Kimber 8400, but I have not totally ruled out the belted mag if rifle availability becomes a problem.

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browningguy
February 14, 2009, 10:59 PM
The .300 WSM is almost as fast as the 300 Winny with light loads, not so much with heavier loads. If you compare the same bullet, the one with the highest velocity will have the greatest recoil. So the .300 Winny does have a little more recoil, but to be honest I haven't noticed much of a difference between my Winnie and a friends WSM. It could be 10% lower, but that isn't enough for me to tell a difference.

If you decide on a WSM stay with the 150-165 gr. loads as they seem to work best with the case length, and go ahead and buy a reloading setup. The only ammo harder to find than WSM is RSAUM, neither seem to be in abundance around the shops I visit. You can start cheap with a Lee single stage kit. I still load 6x45 and .458 Winnie on the single stage with no problem, takes about 15 minutes to load a box of ammo.

RonE
February 14, 2009, 11:26 PM
I prefer the .300 Win Mag over the WSM. As stated, the WSM will not produce the velocity's of the Win Mag. In my opinion, it is a worthless cartridge, it is not the second coming and it is designed to have something for the gun writers to tout...Sell more guns and ammo...but for what purpose? With the .300 WSM, you are buying something that has less performance than it's predecessor but not enough difference in felt recoil to notice. With modern powders you can make the 30-06 preform up to the ability of the .300WSM with 180 gr bullets.

dakotasin
February 15, 2009, 12:12 AM
i have both, and i handload for both.

my preference is for the 300 win mag. by far. but that is from a performance and fun perspective, not from a recoil perspective.

that said... the 300 wsm does indeed have less recoil. however, it still produces noticeable recoil. the difference being worth maybe 5-7 shots at the bench.

i'll go ahead and develop my thoughts one step further... i also have a 338 win mag (that i also handload for). fwiw, i tend to load my rifles warm to downright hot.

from the bench and from a recoil perspective, i would rather shoot my 338 win mag 30 times from the bench, than 20 times from either of the 300's. between the 300's, i would rather shoot the wsm 20 times.

the wsm does produce enough recoil to kill low end scopes off in a hurry. i know this from experience.

sourdough44
February 15, 2009, 06:50 AM
The ballistics difference between the 2 is not worth debating, not enough to matter. The real thing to look at is if you want that slightly more compact action(&possibly gun). To many that may not be anything to get excited about. There are a few manufacturer's that have made a 300WSM with the same action length as the 300 mag, sorta defeats the purpose. I handload for my 300WSM usually at a level just above your average 30-06, so maybe I don't NEED a 300wsm either. I didn't get a WSM because no other gun could do that job, I just wanted one. We could get rid of 90% of the chamberings available & all hunt with a 30-06. We wouldn't want that, would we?

elktrout
February 15, 2009, 09:05 AM
Dakotasin,

A few questions, if you don't mind. Are your rifles in 338 and 300 approximately the same weight and stock configuration? I have heard some opinions similar to yours but many others that strongly disagree.

What weight bullets are you shooting from each?

Are any of the three more finicky about load development versus the other?

I seriously considered the 338 until recently. Comments from a number of shooters led me to believe the 300 was more versatile and easier shooting.

I appreciate your feedback.

elktrout
February 15, 2009, 09:09 AM
What about case life for reloads? Are any of you seeing a difference in case life when you reload the WSM vs the Win mag?

ArmedBear
February 15, 2009, 09:17 AM
I seriously considered the 338 until recently. Comments from a number of shooters led me to believe the 300 was more versatile and easier shooting.


That could be said for the .30-06, but even more so. Therefore, I'm guessing those aren't your primary criteria, i.e. you have a reason to want something like a .338.:)

If you have a need for .338, e.g. for elk hunting, you might want to get a .338, not something else. At least get the .300 Win Mag, which can be loaded with heavier bullets.

If you just want to spend a lot of time shooting a heavy-recoiling rifle off the bench, like apparently some people above do, I can't make any recommendations.

dakotasin
February 15, 2009, 10:28 AM
Are your rifles in 338 and 300 approximately the same weight and stock configuration? What weight bullets are you shooting from each?


the 300's are similiar, the 338 has a 26" vs. the 24" barrels of the 300's, and is a heavier rifle all around. the 300's run 180 grain bullets, and the 338 runs 225's.


Are any of the three more finicky about load development versus the other? What about case life for reloads? Are any of you seeing a difference in case life when you reload the WSM vs the Win mag?


load development is pretty straightforward for all 3. in my rifles the 338 is the most forgiving, and the 300 win mag was the easiest to find an accurate load in. in my rifles the 300 wsm has the shortest case life, but from similiar threads to this it seems that is atypical; i wouldn't consider case life to be a big factor in this process.

in all seriousness, if you are looking for a killer hunting rifle that will get the job done, have a serious look at the remington 700 ti or kimber montana in 308 win.

last year my primary hunting rifle was my 338, but once elk season was over, i went back to my pre-64 win 70 fwt in 308 and decided i needed a true lightweight version of the same gun - kimber - to handle 100% of my hunting needs (i do not anticipate a moose or brown bear hunt, and carry a 41 mag revolver when in bear country here in wyoming).

if i was in your position, i would be looking at a 5-6 pound 308 first. good luck!


If you just want to spend a lot of time shooting a heavy-recoiling rifle off the bench, like apparently some people above do, I can't make any recommendations.

apparently this is a shot at me because nobody else responded regarding recoil from a bench... however, i would like to point out that in doing load development, i have found it is far easier to bench and bag the guns and shoot from a concrete bench than it is to do it offhand or any other hunting simulation-type activity. once the load is developed, then i spend very little time from the bench. someday, though, i will be a good enough shot to do load development offhand... well, probably not. that's ok - i am totally comfortable with developing loads from the bench, and cannot find a fault in the practice.

ArmedBear
February 15, 2009, 10:48 AM
I apologize; I didn't notice your screen name. I should have recognized it, and would have known that you'd be working up loads, etc.

I certainly have no problem with a concrete bench for doing load development, sighting in at various ranges, etc.

I hate having to do it, but it's what you've gotta do.:)

Still, if I really have a use for a .338, then I do, and if I don't, I don't. Whether it's more or less pleasant to test is secondary -- quite unfortunately, sometimes.

robctwo
February 15, 2009, 11:01 AM
For recoil control and improved accuracy the BOSS muzzle break system on my Browning BAR Stalker 300 WSM is great. As far as getting along with others on the firing line, not so much. The 300 WSM with BOSS is much easier on my shoulder than the .308, same gun without BOSS. I can't get the .308 to group like the 300 WSM either.

I had a Ruger 300 Win Mag, didn't care for the recoil, added a break, didn't care for the gun. Sold it and went with Browning. In all fairness I was not reloading for the Ruger, and have been reloading since getting the BARs.

elktrout
February 15, 2009, 11:11 AM
Dakotasin,

We are on the same wave length. I have lugged my Weatherby Mark V with 4.5-14x variable all over the mountains the past few years of elk hunting. Even though I get myself into great physical condition (running 15 miles or more a week), my age is catching up with me. Carrying the necessary day pack with appropriate gear (kept to a minimum) plus that heavy Weatherby rifle is starting to get old.

Don't get me wrong. The Mark V is a great rifle. It shoots like a charm and hits hard when it gets there (7mm Wby mag). But, by the end of the day, it feels like it weighs 20 pounds.

I have considered going to the 308 in the Kimber also. Then, I thought maybe the 300 WSM in the Kimber would shoot a little flatter than the 308. I know, that opens another topic for discussion and gets lots of posts on both sides of the discussion.

Thanks for your feedback. The 338 sure is an interesting round. But, I think it would necessitate another heavy rifle that would wear me out on those steep slopes.

freakshow10mm
February 15, 2009, 11:16 AM
There is nothing wrong with the .300 Win Mag. The WSM is an answer to a problem that never existed.

Savage99
February 15, 2009, 11:22 AM
elktrout,
You wrote:

"What about case life for reloads? Are any of you seeing a difference in case life when you reload the WSM vs the Win mag?"

The case life with the WSM will be much better than that with a belted magnum. The belted magnums headspace on the belt for the first shot and stretch the expansion web quite a bit at that time. Both the thickness of the expansion web on a belted case and its safety and case life will always be a concern.

Velocity wise the two cartridges will be similar. The 8400 Kimber has a good long magazine for the WSM's and longer heavier bullets can be seated out further for that rifle and still work well in the magazine.

The Kimber 8400's and in particular the Montana models chambered for the WSM's are unique rifles. They weigh quite a bit less than other factory 'magnums' yet deliver excellent performance and nominal recoil. The recoil pad and their stock design fit me so well.

Runningman
February 15, 2009, 12:06 PM
I've owned two 300 Win Mag still own one. Bought a Tikka T3 in 300 WSM about two years ago. Biggest reason I went to the 300 WSM is I wanted a lighter rifle with power close to the 300 Win Mag and to try something a little different. Either one are fine calibers. As far as recoil I would say the recoil is a tad less with the 300 WSM than the 300 Win Mag but difference is so minor I'm not sure it should be in the picture.

I will tell you from my own experience there is more felt difference in recoil with stock design and materials, than between the two calibers. As an example my 1st 300 Win Mag was a wood stock Remington 700 BDL I got back in the early to mid 80s. I was having a hard time getting it to group better than 1 1/8" - 1 1/4" @ 100 yards. After about 4 years of frustration in desperation I bought a McMillan synthetic stock for it. Long story short... it only group slightly better but I was very surprised at the difference between the two stocks in felt recoil at the bench. The McMillan stock was much more pleasant to shoot off the bench.

I've handload for my hunting rifles for decades. I do think case life is much longer for the 300 WSM than the 300 Win mag from my experience with both so far.

jmr40
February 15, 2009, 02:28 PM
I'm going to vote 300WSM in this case because it fits the rifle you have in mind better. While the 300 WM is a good cartridge if both were introduced at the same time the WSM would win out while the WM would die off.

It is true that a hot loaded 30-06 is pretty close to the 300WSM but that is not a problem to me. It is my opinion that if a 30-06 cannot do the job a faster 30 caliber bullet is not going to help much. It is time to move up to a larger caliber.

Another reason the 300 WM would die if introduced later or at the same time is because of the useless belt that was added just for decoration.

I was leery of the WSM's when first introduced but feel the 300 has something to offer, especially in a lightweight Kimber. With most of the other rifles being made the short mags are just as heavy and long as the traditional magnums and I can see where someone would want to stay with slightly more powerful, readily available ammo. Of all the WSM's the 300 is the most available and usually only around $2 more per box. Handloading should be the same for either round.

nksmfamjp
February 15, 2009, 03:27 PM
Some design things to think about:
A 300 WSM has that "more ideal" short fat case shape for good powder burn efficiency. That is why with 5 - 6 less grains it gets almost same velocities.

A 300 WSM has a shorter neck. Enuf shorter to matter. . .IDK.

A 300 Win Mag has the belt for positive headspacing regardless of chamber to ammo fit.

A 300 WSM has ideal headspace design for alignment to bore center. That is a flat head pushing a coned shoulder to it's center line.

A 300 Win mag usually holds on more round in the gun. 300 Win mags fit in smaller ammo boxes and smaller belt cartridge holders.

A 300 WSM is a short action cartridge which allows a shorter stiffer action.

So, if ultimate accuracy is the main goal, I like the 300 WSM. If a good accurate hunting rount is more what you want, I would say 300 Win Mag is more ideal. Frankly, you can make either round do both jobs well.

Savage99
February 15, 2009, 08:36 PM
nksmfamjp,

You wrote: "A 300 WSM has a shorter neck. Enuf shorter to matter. . .IDK."

This is incorrect. The Nosler manual shows the 300 WSM neck .295" long and the 300 WM .264" long. The Sierra shows the 300 WSM's neck .298" long and the 300 WM .254" long!

You wrote: "A 300 Win Mag has the belt for positive headspacing regardless of chamber to ammo fit."

That is not correct. The tiny belt raises up so little from the case diameter. Its a small headspace area.

GJgo
February 15, 2009, 09:42 PM
While I've never owned a 300 WM, the only one I've shot (brand unknown) kicked quite a bit more than my Weatherby 300 WSM. The recoil pad on it makes it kick less than my Savage .308 with the cheap plastic stock.

My WSM is pushing 180 gr TSX out of the barrel at 3050 (handloads), shoots consistent .75 MOA, and I'm getting 8-10 full house reloads out of my Norma brass. It kills big game DRT. That's good enough for me. :)

nksmfamjp
February 15, 2009, 10:23 PM
Thanks for the correction on the neck lengths. My error. I was sure that was why I wanted a 300WM! My mistake.

I will take issue with you on the headspace. Regardless of your or my opinion on belted cases, that is why they are there. The belt is there to provide positive headspacing and ultra reliable ignition. Now, modern loading practices can make it headspace on the shoulder, but by design, it still uses the belt. The reason is belt to case head is a much more controllable dimension that belt to shoulder. This control ensures that a firing pin will always solidly hit the primer instead of just touching it.

1858
February 16, 2009, 03:05 AM
elktrout, I have a Remington 700 Alaskan Ti in .300WSM and a Remington 700P in .300 Win Mag (now has a Krieger barrel and an AI stock). The Alaskan Ti is so light that recoil can be an issue but it's designed to be carried more than shot and it would be my choice for hunting. However, load development can be trying with such a light rifle. The .300 Win Mag in original form with the H-S Precision stock was never a problem for me in terms of recoil and now with the AI stock I could shoot it for days on end with no problem at all. As for the cases, I haven't noticed any issues in terms of case life. I've loaded some .300WSM cases six times now and they look fine. I'm up to five loads with some .300 Win Mag cases, also no problems.

So what's my point here, the weight of the rifle will make a HUGE difference to felt recoil ... but you already knew that. A heavy barrel and heavy stock go a long way to reducing felt recoil. Anything primarily designed for hunting (non-varmint) will most likely have a lighter barrel and lighter stock so you're definitely going to feel it.

:)

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