Short Action Magnums

rybe390

Private
Full Member
Minuteman
Dec 13, 2017
151
181
Help me pick a short action magnum, please!

Alright folks, so I'm looking to build a dedicated hunting rifle sooner than later this year so I can get time on it before season starts.

I'm actively looking at short action magnums, as I believe they offer incredible performance in a small package, and give a bump to terminal ballistics. I am a Colorado mountain hunter, going after mule deer and elk, with goat and sheep on the horizon. My shots are 500 yards and in, with potential for 600 if the conditions are right. Anything past that is a no-go.

I'm straight up split on cartridge selection, they all seem like they'd take game well. I am looking at the 6.5 prc, the 7mm rsaum, and the 300 wsm. I'd be sticking with a short action, as I don't want to mess with medium actions for loading length, or stock selection etc. They all seem like they hit the 1500ft lbs at 500 yards easily, with a clear nod to the 7mm and 300wsm for energy.

Considerations for me, in order of importance, are below.
Energy on target/effectiveness on game.
Ammo availability.
Short action performance.
Brass availability(I am absolutely willing to reload).
Supersonic range/extended performance(short action mags could be a fun range toy sometimes)

Looking at my considerations, it seems like the 300wsm is the clear winner. Hammer in terms of energy, factory ammo on the shelf, and handloading is on the table with brass availability. A 30 cal going fast has a tendency to make things dead.

The 7mm saum seems like it'd be hamstrung by a short action, and hard to find anything for.

6.5 prc seems to be last on energy, which is my main criteria.

Holler with your opinions, however wrong or right they may be. Looking for input and guidance!
 

wyliecoyote

Supporter
Supporter
Full Member
Minuteman
Jun 23, 2018
389
143
New Mexico
I'll second the 7 SAUM. Less recoil and better ballistics than the 300 WSM (another excellent choice). It still works very well out of a short action. You'll be seating 180gr+ bullets deeper into the casings but it's really not that much of a hindrance. If you're patient, you can back order 7 SAUM ADG brass or find other types in the PX here. I like the 7 SAUM so well, I've got two more in the works with the gunsmith, one short action, one long action, both Mausingfields.
 

Punkur67

Supporter
Supporter
Full Member
Minuteman
Supporter+
  • Oct 11, 2019
    830
    1,392
    I just ordered a 6.5 SAUM barrel and found Prime ammo in stock online. I am excited to see how it performs
     

    Franko

    Supporter
    Supporter
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Supporter+
    May 19, 2018
    634
    531
    Southern California
    My pick of the three is the 6.5 PRC. It's got enough energy at 500 yards and the recoil is manageable. The 300 WSM has better terminal performance and better factory ammo support but will be much harder to shoot well in a flyweight mountain rifle. The 7 SAUM splits the difference but is limited by mag length and is basically dead as far as factory ammo availability.
     

    DeathBeforeDismount

    Pretty much Infantry
    Supporter
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Nov 20, 2021
    1,364
    1,815
    West Coast
    I have done a ton of research on the subject and keep coming back to the 7 Sherman Short. Better optimized for running out of a short action than the SAUM. More ass to spot splash than a 6.5PRC. Should be able to push the 195 Bergers with a mild load past 2800fps.\

    Oh and you can actually buy brass for it today. Good luck finding saum brass.
     
    Last edited:

    Whhood

    Sergeant of the Hide
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Feb 27, 2018
    111
    33
    Do you care about barrel length, recoil, or rifle weight? Suppressed? Brake? Out to 500 the WSM is the easy winner to me. Factory ammo, load 125s-200s, more energy, easy to load for, only shooting to 500 the bc won’t matter as much, and lastly it may be negligible but it does start with a larger hole. My WSM is under 9 lbs with the suppressor and 8.2 without and the recoil isn’t bad. Recoil is the only category that I see it losing out to 500 yards.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: GregMow

    Jigstick

    Horta loves my chili dog
    Full Member
    Minuteman
  • Jul 21, 2017
    1,852
    2,084
    Pittsburgh PA
    6F997966-8B60-4CD3-9683-6CAC131C70CF.jpeg


    Defiance Rebel Sheep Port intermediate length
    Proof carbon fiber barrel 24in
    Manners carbon fiber stock
    Jewell trigger
    Talley rings
    Leupold VX5HD 3-15x44
    300WSM

    Under 8lbs as it’s sitting. Absolute hammer
     

    chutinlead

    Gunny Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Apr 10, 2018
    646
    279
    Wyoming
    I'll second the 7SS. I'm building one on a:
    Terminus Apollo Lite
    CarbonSix 20"
    MDT HNT26

    If you aren't scared of reloading/wildcats(albeit well established), the 7SS gives you great brass, available now, un-gimped 7SAUM performance in a short action. The only thing hard to find is heavy for caliber 6.5 or 7mm bullets. Bullets will be easier to find for the 300WSM, but the brass selection is worse.
     

    UpSideDown

    ↑ → ↓
    Supporter
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Sep 24, 2019
    1,306
    1,034
    I decided a .308 with quality bullets would be my go-to round for 500yds and in. It keeps the barrel short and handy and my 180gr Black Hills loaded Accubonds have been awesome ballistically.

    I'm going through the same exercise again getting ready for this years' eastern Oregon Elk season where you can sight animals farther than you can shoot. I'm going with a 300WSM. Norma Bondstrikes, Barnes TTSX's if Ito try solids, Accubond / ABLR's, Sciroccos, lots of great options.

    6.5 rounds are constantly lauded as being ballistically superior, but once you look at the selection of bullets most guys would consider to be reasonable against an Elk, most of those awesome 6.5 rounds don't make the list. I would never shoot an Elk with an ELD-x round, which is what usually makes the list as a good BC hunting round. The 135 Bergers have awesome ballistics but you're still looking at a pretty explosive round. A better 6.5 like the Sherman may do what you want, but choosing the appropriate bullet and range requirement drives the beginning of this discussion. Guys kill elk with 6.5's, but guys also lose a lot of Elk with 6.5's which is why it's laughed at so often in the hunting community.

    We can't treat hunting like a benchrest experience. The thought of getting an animal to give us a perfect lineup, stand there, let us get into an ideal position, and then getting the bullet there without much atmospheric interference is just not a winning game plan. Especially elk season where the weather usually sucks, you're cold, and the only good shot might be straight into the shoulder, those high-BC 6.5 bullets are not up to the task of breaking that bone. A 185gr+ .30cal bullet is absolutely superior in giving you more tolerance to be a human and ethically kill an animal.

    I won't give specific chamber recommendations, but I would look at what bullets you would use and what you can shoot them with. 6.5's met the technical velocity/energy requirements for a couple bullets I would trust but I still felt they were living on the edge and it would be better to either go 300WSM or stick with <500yd shots with my .308.
     
    Last edited:

    HaydenLane

    Supporter
    Supporter
    Minuteman
    Jan 14, 2022
    89
    67
    North Dakota
    I would determine what your pick would be if energy on target wasn’t a consideration at all, and go with that one.

    I personally wanted a 7 SAUM, but went 6.5 PRC due to the availability of components. I was able to round up 250 rounds of factory ammo and 200 pieces of ADG brass in a month or so of searching.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Laskey0104

    Choid

    Anti Bodyfat Activist
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Feb 13, 2017
    5,466
    3,677
    Honestly, they are uniformly great cartridges minus any weird feeding issues. I hunt with a 300 WSM in MT on an Impact action, and before that used a 6.5 SAUM on the same. I prefer 30 cal on elk, but a lot of people feel otherwise. I'd be more than happy to load for it, but the 200 grain ELD-x factory stuff just hammers from my barrel, and will kill just about anything out there.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: GregMow

    wpeach1912

    Sergeant of the Hide
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Apr 7, 2020
    447
    384
    300 wsm for effectiveness on target. .308 is a significant step up in frontal area over 6.5mm rounds. 300 wsm with 180-200s should fit in a short action alright too. If you're wanting to load heavies and shoot farther, you'll need to go 7ss or 300ss for a true short action magnum
     

    ubettcha

    Private
    Full Member
    Minuteman
  • Dec 23, 2017
    1,566
    8,390
    If you are going with a 700 based action look at a Baney box from Wyatts. The 3.100 box will get you in a much better position to run 180-195 in a 270-7mm wsm or saum or a 300wsm. I'd go with a wsm over a saum just because in the baney box you can take advantage of the bigger capacity. In a stock sized box you can flip a coin as to which is better. The Shermans are great no doubt. I looked hard at the 7ss for an F-class rig but decided to repurpose that action for a hunting rig in 270wsm
     

    Wannashootit

    Gunny Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Sep 3, 2010
    2,002
    374
    FL
    There's a reason the .300 WSM is as popular as it is...
    Your requirements are as generic as they get, I don't see the reasoning/rationale for a wildcat like the Shermans unless that's what floats yer boat.
    If there's a possibility you might ever sell the rifle, all the more reason to go with the WSM.
     

    300rem7

    Private
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Feb 14, 2017
    14
    7
    Why not a 270wsm? No, high bc bullet selection is not there, but if you are looking at 500 yards and in. The 270wsm checks all the boxes with less recoil in a light weight platform.
     

    b6graham

    MMPRL
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Supporter+
  • Jul 29, 2014
    6,792
    5,831
    Boston
    Why not a 270wsm? No, high bc bullet selection is not there, but if you are looking at 500 yards and in. The 270wsm checks all the boxes with less recoil in a light weight platform.
     

    chutinlead

    Gunny Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Apr 10, 2018
    646
    279
    Wyoming
    Why not a 270wsm? No, high bc bullet selection is not there, but if you are looking at 500 yards and in. The 270wsm checks all the boxes with less recoil in a light weight platform.
    If you're willing to go 270WSM, why not 6.8Western? Its perfect for the inbetweeners that think 6.5 is too small and 7mm is too much recoil lol. The perfect goldilocks
     

    UpSideDown

    ↑ → ↓
    Supporter
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Sep 24, 2019
    1,306
    1,034
    If you’re dropping yourself down to 500yds max range why do a magnum at all? That’s .308 range.
     

    rybe390

    Private
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Dec 13, 2017
    151
    181
    There's a reason the .300 WSM is as popular as it is...
    Your requirements are as generic as they get, I don't see the reasoning/rationale for a wildcat like the Shermans unless that's what floats yer boat.
    If there's a possibility you might ever sell the rifle, all the more reason to go with the WSM.
    I'm thinking this may be the route to go. If this was a fun rifle I'd be looking elsewhere, but as a hunting gun, I'm finding it hard to dismiss the 300 wsm over the other options for energy, ammo, brass, etc. It all just seems to be right.
     

    rybe390

    Private
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Dec 13, 2017
    151
    181
    Something to maybe add, as I'm leaning towards .300wsm based on replies. Those of you who went .300wsm, why did you do so, over the other choices?
     

    fdkay

    Gunny Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
  • Nov 27, 2009
    6,472
    3,381
    59
    Ingleside, Tx
    If you're talking 600 yards as max range, a 7-08 loaded with 162 eldx and RL19 will do the trick nicely. To be different you could go .284 win and pick up another 150 fps or so.
    Flatter shooting than the .308 with very good energy on target.
    Of course the 7 saum with the 162 is a potent combo in a short action.
     

    SmolPP

    Private
    Minuteman
    Aug 3, 2021
    31
    51
    Maryland
    Thanks for starting this thread.
    I'm also looking to build a short action magnum rifle and I've been leaning towards the 300 WSM myself due to the availability and variety of bullets on the market.
    I really appreciate the input from all of the other members in this thread.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: JCARL

    JeffLebowski

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Mar 18, 2008
    1,276
    786
    VA
    I decided a .308 with quality bullets would be my go-to round for 500yds and in. It keeps the barrel short and handy and my 180gr Black Hills loaded Accubonds have been awesome ballistically.

    I'm going through the same exercise again getting ready for this years' eastern Oregon Elk season where you can sight animals farther than you can shoot. I'm going with a 300WSM. Norma Bondstrikes, Barnes TTSX's if Ito try solids, Accubond / ABLR's, Sciroccos, lots of great options.

    6.5 rounds are constantly lauded as being ballistically superior, but once you look at the selection of bullets most guys would consider to be reasonable against an Elk, most of those awesome 6.5 rounds don't make the list. I would never shoot an Elk with an ELD-x round, which is what usually makes the list as a good BC hunting round. The 135 Bergers have awesome ballistics but you're still looking at a pretty explosive round. A better 6.5 like the Sherman may do what you want, but choosing the appropriate bullet and range requirement drives the beginning of this discussion. Guys kill elk with 6.5's, but guys also lose a lot of Elk with 6.5's which is why it's laughed at so often in the hunting community.

    We can't treat hunting like a benchrest experience. The thought of getting an animal to give us a perfect lineup, stand there, let us get into an ideal position, and then getting the bullet there without much atmospheric interference is just not a winning game plan. Especially elk season where the weather usually sucks, you're cold, and the only good shot might be straight into the shoulder, those high-BC 6.5 bullets are not up to the task of breaking that bone. A 185gr+ .30cal bullet is absolutely superior in giving you more tolerance to be a human and ethically kill an animal.

    I won't give specific chamber recommendations, but I would look at what bullets you would use and what you can shoot them with. 6.5's met the technical velocity/energy requirements for a couple bullets I would trust but I still felt they were living on the edge and it would be better to either go 300WSM or stick with <500yd shots with my .308.
    Spot. Fucking. On.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Whhood

    Dobbs02si

    Sergeant of the Hide
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jan 24, 2020
    174
    95
    I've been thoroughly impressed with my hand spun 7/300wsm and 180gr hybrids. Shoots like a laser and bucks the wind rather well. I would love to say the 7saum but requiring factory ammo seals the deal with the 300wsm. I'm not big on 30 cals but the ammo availablity is unquestioned.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: SmolPP

    Smitty192

    Stand-up Philosopher
    Supporter
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Feb 23, 2017
    1,046
    894
    Deep East Texas
    Good information on here. I'll add a question for those with exsperience with the 300 WSM: What is the velocity benefit for going to LA over SA with the 300 WSM? What is the OAL used in a LA?
     

    SonoranPrecision

    Sergeant of the Hide
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Sep 12, 2019
    376
    414
    Phoenix, AZ
    Good information on here. I'll add a question for those with exsperience with the 300 WSM: What is the velocity benefit for going to LA over SA with the 300 WSM? What is the OAL used in a LA?
    If you go with a long action, you need to make sure your gunsmith uses a throat appropriate for a long action. The saami throat on 300wsm is basically zero. So your oal will be very dependent on how much throat you have.

    As far as velocity goes, I’m running 208 eldms right at 2700 fps out of a 20” barrel on a short action.
     

    BJames

    Sergeant of the Hide
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jan 20, 2014
    271
    194
    Alaska
    I shoot both 300 wsm and 7 saum. SA all the way, no need to get complicated if loaded with the correct powders. SA rifles are slightly lighter and handier too. My 300 wsm is a hunter, shoots everything well, the 200 eldx’s hit animals hard. Current hunting load is 176 A-tips at 3100 with RL26, haven’t shot anything alive with them yet, though friends have.

    My next hunter, planning for 8 lbs all up, will be in 7 saum. I’ve fallen in love with this round. Flatter trajectory, enough energy to get the job done and then some, inherently accurate, less recoil. Great brass option if you're patient and pounce on it. The kicker is no factory ammo available.

    If factory ammo options are a requirement, 300 wsm is really hard to beat. Though at the ranges you're talking about, any of your listed calibers will work.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: UpSideDown