Best western hunter / target cartridge

What cartridge?


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LJT88

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I’m looking to build a rifle that will double duty as a western hunter, elk and mule deer, and will also be used as a range rig. Probably end up in the 10ish lb range. I would like to stick with 7mm but could possibly be talked into a 300prc

I don’t hand load at the moment but would eventually like to get into it. So available factory loads are a must.
 
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Hondo1

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  • Jun 2, 2014
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    With the information given to date on the 7mm PRC it looks like it’s going to be the Goldilocks chambering for what you are wanting. Availability is going to be the biggest question.
    6.5 prc / 6.5 saum is no slouch either
     

    st1650

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    That’s crazy to do a 10lbs 300PRC for hunting. Don’t do it

    A 308, 7mm08 and a well placed 6.5 will drop elk with proper shot placement and proper bullet.

    A good 7mm bullet in the 150-180 range, shot at 2600-3000 FPS at the right place will kill anything on this continent. I mean a 243 will easily kill a mule dear.

    If factory ammo is important to you get the 7 Rem Mag is probably easy choice but if you can find 280ai easily then for me it’s the best choice for all around cartridge in a long action, I’m recoil averse on hunting rifles, 280 AI performance loss vs as 7 REM mag is very little but you get less recoil, better inherent accuracy.

    Personally I went with a 7SAW (similar to a 7mm-08 AI) but my hunting rifle is in a short action. Gets me 2725 out of 162s with a 22in barrel. Friend of mine likes his 7-6.5PRC, perfect for tikka length action but even out of that bigger case, not that much better performance than my SAW and uses 20 more gr of powder, is it really that worth it for an extra 100-150 FPS ? That’s for you to decide

    7 PRC is great too but finding ammo will be harder initially. Took a while to get 6.5 PRC and it’s still kinda hard to get.
     

    BullGear

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  • Nov 29, 2017
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    If hunting is important to you, the 7mm mag will be your best bet. However, for target practice, it's going to be a little much. You will need to determine what's more important to you.

    Will you be handloading or using factory ammo? This is also an important factor in your decision. I like the 7mm mag. You can go anywhere and find ammo. Probably find it in Mom's hardware store deep into God's country.

    Good luck!
     
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    LJT88

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    Thank you for the responses.

    I should have added that I have a Rem model 7 in 308 that I’ve used to take many many whitetail and mule deer. A 6.5cm, 7mm-08, etc would be pretty redundant. I also have a Tikka Tac A1 in 6.5 that I have set up for comps and range duty.

    This rig I want to me more of a heavy hitter for elk and for those range days were ranges are 1200+.
     
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    rope

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    Seems like you have some caliber variety. For the western states be aware of bears and carry a caliber that your glad you are carrying if a situation arises.
     

    Schw15

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  • Jul 21, 2019
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    What ranges are you planning on shooting for range time? Factory ammo in my opinion leaves only one good option 300 prc with the hunting and match ammo. I live in Colorado and elk are not invincible but tough and I'm a firm believer in some power for elk 7mm or 300
     
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    nightman89

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    I'd say that 7mm mag is your best bet since you don't handhold. As others have said, it's more than capable for the animals you plan to hunt.
     
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    LJT88

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    What ranges are you planning on shooting for range time? Factory ammo in my opinion leaves only one good option 300 prc with the hunting and match ammo. I live in Colorado and elk are not invincible but tough and I'm a firm believer in some power for elk 7mm or 300
    Ranges I would be using this for would be probably anything beyond 1200. I have my 6.5 to take the lions share of range duty and I can get it out to 1000 and even 1200 with decent success.
     

    Schw15

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  • Jul 21, 2019
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    Ranges I would be using this for would be probably anything beyond 1200. I have my 6.5 to take the lions share of range duty and I can get it out to 1000 and even 1200 with decent success.
    I think 1200 and beyond to 1 mile with factory ammo the 300 prc is best options. If you decided to handload it opens up way more options
     

    Mike Casselton

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  • Nov 25, 2007
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    That’s crazy to do a 10lbs 300PRC for hunting. Don’t do it

    A 308, 7mm08 and a well placed 6.5 will drop elk with proper shot placement and proper bullet.

    A good 7mm bullet in the 150-180 range, shot at 2600-3000 FPS at the right place will kill anything on this continent. I mean a 243 will easily kill a mule dear.

    If factory ammo is important to you get the 7 Rem Mag is probably easy choice but if you can find 280ai easily then for me it’s the best choice for all around cartridge in a long action, I’m recoil averse on hunting rifles, 280 AI performance loss vs as 7 REM mag is very little but you get less recoil, better inherent accuracy.

    Personally I went with a 7SAW (similar to a 7mm-08 AI) but my hunting rifle is in a short action. Gets me 2725 out of 162s with a 22in barrel. Friend of mine likes his 7-6.5PRC, perfect for tikka length action but even out of that bigger case, not that much better performance than my SAW and uses 20 more gr of powder, is it really that worth it for an extra 100-150 FPS ? That’s for you to decide

    7 PRC is great too but finding ammo will be harder initially. Took a while to get 6.5 PRC and it’s still kinda hard to get.

    What is so crazy about having a 10lb 300 PRC?

    Are you saying it's too heavy?

    Are you saying it's too light?

    If you're afraid of recoil, I understand, but I don't sympathize.
    A 10lb 300 Win or PRC would be about 1-1/2 lbs MORE than I would want to carry.
    More weight is just not necessary. Although, it does help to settle the rifle a bit better.

    The OP has been using a model 7 in 308. I don't think a 300 PRC in a 10lb setup would be any worse with recoil.
     

    moosemeat

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    I voted 7rm but you could sub in 7prc.
    As a all around hunting caliber I would feel pretty confident shooting a
    175 accubond at 2900fps on most anything that walks in the US, the one exception being big brown bears. If I am hunting where grizzlies roam I would feel much better with something larger that breaks heavy bone and has penitration measured in feet. Then again I'm scared of becoming bear scat.
     
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    Wiillk

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    I'm voting for two. Compromises rarely if ever work well in either venue leaving the owner unhappy at both. Optimization for hunting will be too light and flighty for target work. Optimized for target work will be too ungainly and probably too heavy to be a decent hunting rifle.

    Its even better to purchase two of the least expensive. In today's market, rifles such as the Ruger American make far better hunting rifles than a half way decent target rifle and likewise, an RPR and other popular brand precision rifles make far better target rifles than even a nice hunting rig. Then, you don't have to worry with a compromise caliber. Get what you need and get the job done.
     

    LJT88

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    What is so crazy about having a 10lb 300 PRC?

    Are you saying it's too heavy?

    Are you saying it's too light?

    The OP has been using a model 7 in 308. I don't think a 300 PRC in a 10lb setup would be any worse with recoil.

    Im wondering the same. It will have a break or suppressor on it. My model 7 with optic is less than 7lbs, it’s actually a pretty lively little thing to shoot. I’ve never shot a 300prc before but I feel like a 10-12lb 300prc would be doable.
     

    GoForBroke

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    It depends on your self imposed range limits. Out here you could be walking in the woods (close range) or in clear cut (400 yards) or the desert with long shots 700 yards plus. 7mm rem mag or 300 win mag would serve well for longer shots and possible ammo availability. If you have a range limitation of 300 yards and in or hunt mainly forest a 308 win, 7-08, 280 Rem, 30-06 will serve you fine.
     
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    Mike Casselton

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    Im wondering the same. It will have a break or suppressor on it. My model 7 with optic is less than 7lbs, it’s actually a pretty lively little thing to shoot. I’ve never shot a 300prc before but I feel like a 10-12lb 300prc would be doable.
    I've shot my buddy's 9lb PRC and it's a big pussycat.
    It's suppressed and honestly my 308 kicks much harder.


    Think about this though, how many times do you read about people complaining about the recoil of their 6.5 Manbun?

    I understand if it's a gun movement thing in PRS.
    Most of the complaints are sore shoulder issues. WTF? Are they really serious?

    Yes, a 7 mag, 300 Win/PRC kicks a little bit, but damn, it's not gonna maim or kill a person.

    Shoot 3-5 your first session.
    Shoot 5-7 the next week.
    Keep increasing the round count and before you know it, you've gotten used to the higher level of recoil.

    Don't shoot the damn thing if you're sore from the previous session. It'll just cause you to flinch.
     

    4O6shootist

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    7mm is hard to beat, excellent ballistics, manageable recoil. I like the idea of the 7prc. But its just a belt less 7 rem mag performance wise. My favorite it the 7saum. 180 hybrids at 2930 from a 26" barrel will kill everything. Excellent barrel life and stays in accurate tune for a ling time running H1000.
     

    davsco

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    you prob don't want to schlep a 10# gun around in the mountains at elevation. esp since you already have a 6.5cm for range/prs/etc, i would go .300 something. my light tikka 300wsm with a hellfire brake is a pussycat.
     

    sodakhunter

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    Lots of good options and advice here.
    My two cents. Depending on what volume you shoot in the off season the 7 LRM likely fits what you want other than factory ammo but you could buy the Gunwerks stuff. Recoil pulse seems to be alot friendlier than the 7 RM.
    if youre going to shoot a lot 280AI as recoil is a bit better and wont chew through as many components.
     

    The D

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    If you’re building from scratch, do yourself a favor and buy an action that accepts prefit barrels without needing to be worked over first. That makes your initial question moot. You can buy barrels in whatever chambering you want that shares the original bolt face. Or, if your action has replaceable bolt faces you can choose from dozens of options.

    But starting with factory ammo; 7RM will have more than enough horsepower to hunt anything on this continent. Save your brass and start collecting tools and components to learn reloading, then you can graduate to some premium components(or just start with the good shit at square one).

    When you start reloading and getting a bit deeper into long range shooting you’ll want to get a better barrel cut with a longer throat to really take advantage of what the 7RM has to offer
     

    fdkay

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  • Nov 27, 2009
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    I haven't read all of the replies, but I'll take a stab at it.
    For some reason, ammo manufacturers have intentionally limited the 7mm mag in performance.
    Most commercial loadings are in the 139-150 grain range when they should be in the 160-180 grain range.
    Hornady has finally, after MANY years of making good 7mm bullets, decided to offer the 7mm magnum in the 162 grain eld-x in factory ammo, which would give you the long range you desire for range work. Nosler does offer some high bc loads as well.
    The 7mm PRC is a rather poorly executed design that has almost none of the benefits of the 7mm LRM from which it drew inspiration, however, they will offer heavier bullets in the factory ammo and will likely offer ammo in the 160 grain range.
    The .280 AI is an excellent choice, there are some very good loads available, they are spendy, just over 2 bucks every time you pull the trigger.

    There are several custom ammo companies that will load what you want, Copper Creek comes to mind.

    The real answer is to learn to reload, unless of course, you have the disposable income and don't mind paying the money.
     
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