Help me with 7mm-08


March 30, 2013, 06:44 PM
Now that I have my magic powder (H380) I finally have options on what I can use in my 7mm-08 and would like some help picking a load for deer hunting. All of these shot .85" or better so accuracy is pretty much a wash except the 120 Pro Hunters that managed to drill a beautiful one hole group.
120gr Pro Hunter at 3100fps,
140gr Game King at 2900fps
150gr Ballistic Tip at 2750fps
160gr Deep Curl or Game King at 2600fps
I tend to use heavy for caliber bullets but that little 120 has accuracy that is awe inspiring, Game Kings have always done well for me but I have never used them in a 7mm, 150gr Ballistic tip is sure to be effective and the external ballistics are really good, and last but not least the relatively slow moving, wide opening, bonded 160gr Deep Curl is sure to be a hog charmer as well should one cross my path.
Deer around here are mostly 170lbs or less and shots where I am hunting now usually don't exceed 200 yards.
Which would you pick?

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March 30, 2013, 07:27 PM
personally i'd chose the 140 grainer for deer if accuracy was really a wash like you say. but with the 120 grainer being the most accurate I see no reason not to use that. 140 grin 7mm seems to be the sweetspot for deer

March 30, 2013, 08:02 PM
My only reservation about the 120 and 140gr is they can be a little explosive on close ranged shots, not much left of a smallish southern whitetail if that happens. The 160gr DC or SGK would likely tone that down a bit especially the bonded Speer seeing as they are nowhere near explosive speed, do you need that much penetration on deer....absolutely not, but one of those trophy hogs rolls around and they are ideal for him, seen a guy shoot a 160gr DC 7mm-08 through the shoulders of a moose (DRT), I imagine that is good enough for anything around here. The Ballistic Tip is a tried and true favorite, good BC and solid terminal performance in my other calibers, the modest 2750fps should be slow enough to prevent any over expansion not that that has ever been an issue for me in the past. I don't doubt they would all work, I just wanted to see what everyone though would perform best.

Art Eatman
March 30, 2013, 08:04 PM
The 140 might be a tad flatter if you have to take a longer shot, and might do a little better for penetration.

I've always sorta figured that the 140 in a 7mm08 just makes it a .308 with ten grains less bullet weight. No big deal, really.

March 30, 2013, 08:23 PM
BTW is anyone needs a light kicking deer load for a youth/female hunter that little 120gr was about the lightest kicking thing I ever shot north of a rimfire at the starting load (47.5gr@2950fps) right up there with the 243 and 6.5x55 on the sissy kicker scale, I was really surprised when I shot it. Max load was barely any harder.

March 30, 2013, 08:35 PM
Deer around here are mostly 170lbs or less and shots where I am hunting now usually don't exceed 200 yards.
Which would you pick? The most accurate load. A 120 grain bullet is fine.

March 30, 2013, 09:35 PM
The most accurate bullet will give you confidence that improves success.

March 30, 2013, 11:12 PM
No lover for the heavy 150-160gr bullets? There was a time when a hefty bullet out of a 7x57 (very similar to the 7mm-08) was considered one of the finest hunting rifles around, have the bullets changed that much or just our perceptions? The 160s back in the day drew the highest of praise even from the likes of Jack O'Connor.

March 31, 2013, 09:25 AM
I'd shoot the 120's. It would work just fine as long as you don't make a habit of shooting deer in the butt and trying to get a bullet to the vitals. If that were my intentions I'd still use 120's and use one of the solid copper bullets as long as they shot well in my gun.

March 31, 2013, 01:36 PM
The TSX is a hard bullet to work with, they even gave me a little trouble in the Tikka and that gun shoots everything well, they were very picky on seating depth, still no luck with the 150gr in the 308 or 30-06 but I have only had one range day with them. The heavy bonded Deep Curls have been MUCH easier to work with for a deep penetrating bullet, they open very wide with split peddles much like the TSX, real world weight retention on game is around 90% at close range 7mm-08 speeds, and about 70% at close range with full bore 7mm Rem Mag, so basically it seems to be a poor man's Partition at about 1/3 the price, just wish they made a 140 or 150gr for the 7mm in my mind 160s are about as heavy as the 7mm-08 can effectively wield, though some say 150gr is about it.
Running the numbers on the 160s I have an effective range (2000fps and 1000ft/lbs minimums) of 325 yards and I would go below the bare minimum 1800fps at about 460yd. Not that I need that kind of range as I said around 200yd is tops where I am hunting now. At 200 yards I would be pushing 2245fps and 1791 ft/lbs the energy is clearly there but I don't know the expansion of the DC bullet at that kind of speed, I imagine it would be fine since most rifle bullet do good as long as you keep them over 2k on impact. Penetration on a heavy for caliber bonded bullet should be enough even for the largest of hogs around here, not that I have ever run into one of those 500-700 pounders, but they have been killed in this area.
140 SGKs would carry me well beyond the ranges I need to shoot, with an effective range of 425yds and I don't go below bare min 1800fps until I pass up the 500 yd mark. At 200yd I am pushing 2466fps and 1891 ft/lbs, like the 160 it is pushing plenty of energy and with a little more pep in it's step and I know from experience that the SGKs expand very well at that kind of speed, not a mile of penetration with that bullet but energy transfer is to die for, or so the deer have told me. Only real problem is SGKs can be very destructive at that speed on a close range shot, but tracking has never been an issue on any vital hit deer with SGKs in my 30-06.
The 150gr Ballistic Tips speed and energy figures are great at range though thanks to the very high BC. 200yd figures are 2393fps and 1907 ft/lbs. Effective range is 425 yards and it does not drop below 1800fps until 575 yards, mind you I will never be shooting one at that range given the 81" of drop (@100yd zero) but dang you gatta love good external ballistics. This can also be a messy bullet but a modest 2750fps at the muzzle I doubt excessive expansion will be an issue.
And last but certainly not least the peppy little tack driving 120s that are sure to be hell on the smaller deer, effective range of 400 yards with 200 yard figures 2541fps and 1720 ft/lbs, this one is a toss up some say the penetration is a little on the light side, others say it holds together just fine at 7mm Rem Mag speeds, but pretty much everyone I have talked to agrees it is a formidable deer thumper for only 120gr.

March 31, 2013, 07:03 PM
That 120 grain round will kill deer all night long (joke). If it shoots the best, use it. 20 grains of difference won't matter much. And I wouldn't expect a 120 to blow up at close range, it's gonna zip right thru, just like a 130 or 140 or 150 grn will.

March 31, 2013, 08:39 PM
I used 140's in my 7mm-08 for years but a few years ago tried the 120gr BT on multiple recommendations from hunter's that I trust and I'm glad that I did. The accuracy in my rifle was too hard to ignore and performance on deer, hogs, and 2 speed goats has been outstanding. I have no experience with the 120gr Pro hunter but would have no reservation about using accurate 120's for deer.

March 31, 2013, 09:35 PM
I would lean towards a 140 myself the 7-08 was designed around the 139 to 140 grain bullet. The 120 will also work I'm a believer in bigger slower not smaller and faster. On the other hand if you were shooting longer distance you might want something smaller and faster but out to 200 yds the prohunter should do fine I'm a fan of the Remington coreloc myself. Although ive used the prohunter in my 06 with great success.
Nosler also makes the BT in a 140 grain if you want to go that way I'm loading them in my 7-08 Encore with a 15" tube.
My 7-30 gets fed a steady diet of the 120's I can't push them fast enough for the 140's for reliable expansion out of a short tube.

March 31, 2013, 10:04 PM
The 160s back in the day drew the highest of praise even from the likes of Jack O'Connor.
Are you kidding? Jack O'Connor never said anything nice about a gun unless it was a pre-64 Model 70 in .270 caliber ... well maybe another gun, as long as it was a .270. ;)

March 31, 2013, 11:31 PM
Actually, Jack O'Connor liked the 7x57 quite a bit. Here is one of my favorite writings of his regarding the cartridge.

"For almost forty years I've been having an off-and-on romance with a sweet little cartridge known as the 7X57, the 7mm Mauser, and the 7mm Spanish Mauser. There is nothing spetacular about the 7X57. It does not have a big case. Even when the charge is tightly compressed it is possible to get only about 53 grains of 4350 or 4831 powders into the Western 7X57 case, which is roomier than Remington's. This modest little cartridge does not have a belt. It isn't a magnum. It doesn't bellow like a 105 mm howitzer and scramble the brains of the firer. It doesn't shoot through three elk, one moose, two grizzlies, and a forest ranger and then mow down a grove of jack pines on the far side. The hole in the barrel is so small that even a small, thin, underprivileged mouse would have difficulty in entering, and the cartridge itself isn't as long as a maiden's arm.

Yet I think I have seen more game killed with fewer shots from this modest little cartridge than with any other. The explanation for its deadly efficiency does not lie in blinding velocity, in big bullets, in a frightening number of foot pounds of energy. It lies in the light recoil, coupled with the excellent hunting accuracy of so many 7X57s. Those who use it are not afraid of it and, as a consequence, they tend to shoot it well-and to place their shots well. In case no one has told you, the most important factor in killing power is putting that bullet in the right spot."

April 1, 2013, 10:25 AM
Jack didn't hunt with that gun; his wife did.

My favorite rifle for 30 years was a 7x57 improved. I shot North American and African animals with the Nosler 140 gr. partition. Unfortunately, I lost that gun in a swamp during a thunderstorm.
One of the things I hated about O'Connor was his stubbornness to acknowledge the merits of other calibers. If his wife didn't shoot a 7x57, he would have said bad things about it. ;)

April 1, 2013, 10:43 AM
140's, or there abouts, out of my 7mm08 hammer the Whitetails here in Texas! I'd go with it. Though I'm not real fond of Gamekings! Mine likes 139 grain Hornady soft points.

April 1, 2013, 11:49 AM
Fair enough ;)

April 2, 2013, 02:36 AM
My rifle HATES the Hornady bullets for some reason, which is weird because my other rifles love them. I tried both the 139 and 154gr version with the same lackluster results. Have not tried the Partitions yet, but honestly for almost a dollar each they can keep them, always have loved my Noslers but they have lost their mind with this price hike, before the panic hit I was buying partitions for $26 a box now they run $40/50ct!! I still get SGKs for under $30/100ct, Pro hunter and Deep Curls only run me $24-$26 per 100 and I have plenty of them.

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