Developed to up gun the 30-06 Springfield, then taken over by massive numbers of hunters in the American west, the 300 Winchester Magnum has become a benchmark of American high power rifle cartridge design. When long range is the game the 300 Win Mag is the name, and the following information will give you some idea to exactly why this is the case.
The Winchester 300 Magnum ( Win Mag ) was developed in American in 1963, back in those days the advancements of the super cartridges was still in its early stages, but when the big 300 hit the sporting good store shelves, and gun writer finished reviewing the new cartridge both the Model 70 Winchester and that new super cartridge took off like wildfire.
Based on the 375 H&H Magnum case, but necked to a 30 caliber bullet, the 300 Win Mag was quickly found to be a very flexible ultra long range cartridge. In our hunting camps of the day ( 1960’s ) in Wyoming’s Hole In The Wall area, we used the big 300 and its buddy the 7mm Remington Magnum as follow up rifles in the event an animal was hit and leaving the area still under power.
I will not mix words here. I have very few rifles that I consider very special to me and my custom shop built CZ American in 300 Win Mag is one of them, as well as my ArmaLite Chassis sniper rifle. The CZ is my game rifle, the Armalite is my ultra long range 1500 yard steel plate target rifle.
In so far as I have reviewed quite a number of different rifle brands and actions here. I must say that when most of these rifle types and brands are chambered in 300 Win Mag they jump to the head of the pack intently.
There is an old saying among rifle shooters and that is “history will calm the best”. Because the 300 Win Mag has withstood over 40 years of dealer shelve competition by other cartridge sales and not been set aside by anything else the best of the best is obvious.
Oh, I know that there are a pile of new loads in production today, and many of them are being well received and used in the field. However, it will be history and time that will dictate just how strong a given cartridge and rifle are. In this case, the 300 Win Mag need not share its fame or value with anyone or anything, because it has earned its place in the best of the best ever cartridge designed for a rifle chamber.
Why The 300 Win Mag?
When the folks at Hornady Ammunition developed the first ELD bullets that have come to be known as ultra efficient high BC projectiles, it was the 300 win Mag that got the call for the first commercial loadings, test runs, and being I was there seeing first hand the net effects of the cartridge when applied to long range big game animals.
So, why the 300 Win Mag? Because Hornady knew full well that one pile of hunters shot the cartridge and paired rifles, and it would be accepted if the 300 Win Mag handled it well. Range shooting with a spotter to 1500 yards, and warm target big game hunting here in South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation tended to prove to me that the new bullet was outstanding and upgraded the 300 Win Mag still another notch due to that high BC ( Ballistic Coefficient ) retained by the new Hornady projectile.
When turning to some additional review information regarding the 300 Win Mag and so as to answer several questions about the cartridge and paired rifle. I will start with answering the question as to what is the best 300 Win Mag you can buy? I would not be wrong if I started to buy a rifle hand built by Slatterns Arms located in Dead Wood South Dakota. Satterlee builds some of the very best Mauser rifles out of pure titanium from a scratch piece of steel, cut rifled barrel that shoot sub M.O.A., and stocks that are to die for in terms of quality and fit.
The only issue with my choice here is that these rifles start at about $15,000 and quickly move up to about $25.000 in no time flat. Nice rifles but a bit out of my wheelhouse, and in many cases yours as well I would tend to believe. The real answer to this question is select a name brand rifle with a history of quality.
An example of several rifles are Winchester Model 70’s of current construction. Anything in the Browning line of bolt guns or for that matter lever action rifles. Remington rifles with Model 700 actions, and last but not least Ruger’s line of M-77 receiver style bolt action rifles.
Best 300 Win Mag Rifles
Please be advised my friends I have shot in terms of writing field testing everything from the Mossberg bolt actions at a working guys price, right up to my Weatherby’s in bolt guns. I have never had one that shot bad enough so as to pull it from the rack and put a for sale sign on it.
My 300 Win Mags include the Ruger Hawkeye in the long range model ( heavy target ) the Ruger Precision chassis rifle as a long range steel target rifle.
1. Ruger In The Hawkeye
The Ruger can also be obtained in the chassis rifle design like the Armalite I own, but the Ruger in the Hawkeye model as either a heavy sportier or a varmint target rifle is very hard to beat for the money.
If you check back into my reviews on other big game and military style centerfire rifles you will see a pattern present itself here. Rifles in 30-06, 6.5 Creedmoor, and many others all can support the 300 Win Mag very well.
If you strip the whole subject down to bare bones the 300 Win Mag is a 30-06 on asteroids. If a rifle feels right, shoots straight, and you bond with the metal, wood, or polymer stock, this is the best rifle you can buy.
2. Browning BLR
This rifle is fast to handle, easy to carry, and has balance for that occasional off hand shot, or setting down over a rock, or off shooting sticks for the long Polk across a canon.
3. Browning Bar
While a second choice in a fast shooter would be again the Browning, but this time the BAR model ( semi-automatic rifle ).
In almost all cases that kind of speed is not necessary when you’re taking your best shot under controlled conditions in the field. As a final option, the old gold standard bolt action rifle steals the day in my book. I have all of my real field rifles that are used for big game built as bolt action rifles.
If you know how to hunt, have learned to shoot, and can keep your wits together when it is time to go to work, the bolt action will do the deal every time. Make that first-round count and the rest of the story takes care of itself.
4. CZ 550 American
My Armalite is a dedicated sniper rifle that will be covered a bit later as a part of this review, and my the CZ custom shop American chambered in the 300 Win Mag.
In so far as field hunting for deer and antelope here in the American west the CZ American bolt action gets the call most of the time.
5. Reminton M2010 Chassis
Today largely because of the military application of the 300 Win Mag and the M-2010 chassis rifle built by Remington Arms, the list of chassis rifles is endless in terms of them being offered in 300 Win Mag.
I was issued the M-2010 for a full month prior to its release to the US Army for my testing. Photo, and published findings. The rifle was set up with a suppressor, night vision system, and a complete set of tools so as to allow the sniper the ability to make any necessary adjustments or field repairs himself. The price of this rifle as it was presented to me was upward of $25.000 and change.
I was able to by way of my private 1000 yard range as set up for the use of portable steel targets to make this 300 Win Mag effective well out to 1200 yards at first, and with special high BC bullet hand loads, push the range to 1400 yards against a man size target. All of this work was done shooting the Armalite rifle, and the Ruger chassis rifle in the precision series.
Currently, there is special ammunition being commercially loaded for the M-2010 in 300 Win Mag that is not available to the general public. This ammunition is well over SAMMI specifications, and as such manufactures would not back their rifle chambering these rounds. In combat, snipers would set their rounds out in the hot sun so as to build additional burn rate and pressure when trying for the ultra long shots.
Today the 300 Win mag as a military standard makes use of a bullet/cartridge that will not need that additional push if you will. The company that developed the special 300 Win Mag ammunition is located right in my back yard, the Black Hills Ammunition company in South Dakota.
How Good Is The 300 Win Mag
As a final answer to the question about how good is the 300 Win Mag and what rifles fit the task at hand? We turn to the military application of the cartridge and a new set of paired rifles.
Because the 300 Win Mag is so outstanding in the field this fact did not go unnoticed by the American military. Just within the past few years the cartridge has been considered and adopted by the US Army as the replacement round for military sniper field ( M-24 ) and also the new 2010 chassis rifle now inservice by the government. Previously the 7.62 NATO ( 308 Win ) was the accepted cartridge used by special operation snipers and even squad level riflemen.
However in combat, it was found based on the wide open shooting so evident today in the sandbox of the Middle East that the 7.62 just lacked the necessary energy to be used as a stand off weapon against mortar crews, and counter sniper operations in combat.
Enter the 300 Win Mag that allows an additional 400 yards with the correct bullet to the equation. When the bad guy set up they are in range and when they pull back they are out of range, but so are the targets they want to hit as well. I do not base my information on my experience. But that of several active snipers I have interviewed for one of the three books I have written regarding long range shooting both on steel targets, and warm as well.
In my opinion, the best bang for the buck in a military style rifle is the Ruger Hawkeye long range rifle.
This rifle is very much a look alike to the US Marine Corps first generation turn bolt full stocked sniper rifles M40A6. And it is a darn nice varmint rig, or long range target gunning system as well. This rifle comes in at an MSRP of a grand, but you can shop and buy them for much less on the open market.
As a side note, the US Marine Corps has recently upgraded to the new MK13 MOD 7, which is a 300 Win Mag as offered in a chassis rifle.
At first, the US Army unlike the Marines made the decision to re-barrel all the old M24’s in 308 they had in inventory. That idea went by the way of the buffalo however, and today that previous discussed M-2010 is the new boss in sniper ranks.
Regardless of how you view the topic, the 300 Win Mag is the top dog among a wide range of hunters and military types alike.
I have been writing firearms and outdoor material of over 50 years to date. I have hunted across the world including Russia and a great deal of time professional hunting in Australia. I currently live in the American west and hunt all across the Black Hills of South Dakota, and the Big Horn mountains. I have specialized much of my work as a load developer in shotguns and rifles. I have run a small company that builds suppressor barrels of my design, and load tests for writing purposes and consulting. My commercial names include Ballistics Research & Development / Metro Gun Systems.TM.