Long range short mag caliber

May 25, 2013
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#1
My one and only bolt gun right now is a 16.5" 700 in .308 sitting in a KRG X-ray. While I've enjoyed the rig, I'm nearly done with my large frame AR build (12.5" .308 and 18" 6.5 Creedmoor uppers) which I feel makes my bolt gun somewhat obsolete. I'd like to have the factory action trued and rebarrel the action with a 20"-22" proof barrel for a long range hunting rig chambered in some sort of short mag. While I do plan on setting up for handloading at some point in the future I currently shoot factory ammo so that is a requirement. Primary game would be pronghorn, whitetail and mule deer, but if funds allow at some point I'd love to go for moose and/or elk.

6.5 PRC
270 WSM
7 SAUM
7 WSM
300 WSM
300 SAUM

With the intent of hunting medium to large game at ranges of up to 800 yards and the ability to purchase factory ammo, at least initially, which of these would you choose?
 

R_Swanson

Sergeant of the Hide
Feb 20, 2017
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#2
I am wondering about this same thing, but with elk in mind as well.

I'd like to build up an origin action in a 243/6mm and one of the short mags for barrel swaps between coues deer and mulies/elk at long ranges.
 

hlee

Sergeant
Jul 14, 2012
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#3
In my mind, the benefit of a hunting rifle in a caliber with factory ammunition available is that you can find it locally if your ammo gets lost by baggage handlers. That means, essentially, can you get it at Walmart? That’s a no for all of your suggestions.

That said, I know that there are very successful hunters posting in the hunting section their 6.5 creedmoor elk kills every year. But, when you throw moose into the equation I feel you can't be overgunned. That and "long" mags do everything short mags do, but better.

Any of the calibers mentioned are more than sufficient for deer sized game. The argument will start with elk at long range. My own personal opinion is that you're not hunting if you can't get to within 100 yards of your intended target. And, an arrow will kill the biggest moose dead dead, with less kinetic energy than a pistol round.
 
Dec 22, 2017
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#4
300 WSM can be bought just about anywhere atleast here in Alaska.
Moose are not tough to kill IME. I have both 300 wsm and 7 wsm. But the 300 wsm has a dozen or more of choices for factory ammo at SW or Cabelas whereas the 7 wsm only has 2-3 choices.

But I like my 7 WSM more ;)
 

Conrad

Gunny Sergeant
Apr 28, 2006
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#5
You would also need your boltface opened up for the short mags and the WSMs aren’t ideal for a short action when it comes down to optimizing hand loads. Given the expense of truing and bolt face work you might be better off selling that rifle and putting funds toward a long action, especially if it is just going to be a hunting rifle. Grab a Tikka T3 lite.
 
Mar 26, 2006
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#7
If you care about factory ammo, the only one which makes ANY sense from that list is the 300 WSM.

Factory ammo...22 inch barrel...squeezing a WSM into a short action....this is really not optimal for a "long range" rig. And out to 800 yards, the ONLY one I'd consider is the 300 WSM. I have shot elk to such ranges and I set the 300Win aside for a 338 Edge. The difference in performance on game is night and day. You can kill elk with a 22 but that doesn't mean you should.
 
Likes: Hondo1
May 25, 2013
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#8
There might be a bit of confusion when I say I need factory ammo to be available. It doesn't have to be on a shelf in some remote location, it just has to be available. Half the ammo I purchase is mail order. I don't care if I can get it down the road as long as I can get it. 6.5 PRC and 7 SAUM seem to have the least options currently. One because it's new and the other because it's nearly dead. I already have the action and I really like my chassis so I want to work within the constraints of what I already own.
 
May 25, 2013
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#9
As far as the range. I'd like something capable of cleanly taking big game at 600-800. Would I take a shot at an animal at that range with my current skill set? No, but that is the benchmark I'm using for this build.
 
Mar 26, 2006
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#10
I still say 300WSM. You can cleanly take deer sized game at that range with a 7mm, but I am NOT a fan when you move to larger game. You can shoot the 180s at short action length and it will work.
 

BCX

Sergeant of the Hide
Mar 18, 2018
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#11
I would 2nd a 300wsm. Hard to beat a 30 cal for hunting.!!! One of my favorites is a 325wsm w Barnes Tsx and TTSX but that caliber is getting hard to get.
 

BCX

Sergeant of the Hide
Mar 18, 2018
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#12
Im building a PRC if that doesn't pan out the way I'm hoping than its getting a 30 cal or 8MM barrel.
 

jbuck88

Full Member
Oct 25, 2010
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#13
I am pretty much doing this now. I have a Winchester M70 WSM action to build on. Everything I am considering is on your list. I am figuring deer out to 700-800yds and elk at 450'ish. I passed a decent mulie at 650yds last year that was walking on the other side of a canyon.

I am leaning towards a 6.5prc or a 300wsm. I would eventually like to build a 300NM for elk so that has me leaning towards the 6.5prc but I'm still looking for a Proof 24" 1:7 sendero lite. If I can't find one soon I'm going to default to a 22" 300wsm.
 

BCX

Sergeant of the Hide
Mar 18, 2018
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#14
I spoke w Proof they will build you a 1-7 but most stock a 1-8 on the 6.5, i went w a Bartlein as they always shoot for me!
 

jbuck88

Full Member
Oct 25, 2010
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#16
I just looked they only had the sendero lite in 22". I was looking for a 24" for the prc. I don't want to order one as I don't want to wait.

Edit:
Already picked up a McMillan HTG adj Edge with a Rem Varmint contour inlet.
 
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Oct 8, 2012
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#17
6.5 SAUM or 7SAUM

Or...…..

Get into handloading....

6.5 SS or 7 SS. (Sherman Short Mag)
My 6.5 SS is a laser beam. Fast as hell, flat, super accurate.

Basically, a 6.5 SAUM (or 7 SAUM), slightly shortened w. 40* shoulder and slightly longer neck.

Pushes a 150 SMK @ 3156fps easily.



6.5 SAUM (L) vs. 6.5 SS (R)
The 6.5 SAUM w. 140 HVLD is at that rifles best seating depth, w. .100" jump. The 6.5 SS w. 150 SMK is touching the lands, where my rifle likes them.

 
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Likes: Bender
May 25, 2013
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#19
Since handloading in the future is likely, but not guaranteed i think I'll go along with the majority here and do the 300 WSM. When completed, my 18" 6.5 Creedmoor AR-10 will be longest range rig in the safe. I've looked over the ballistics on some factory options and it looks like it'll give me enough of a bump up in energy at range to justify the cost. I appreciate the advice fellas.
 

dannySH

Sergeant of the Hide
Feb 13, 2017
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#20
Long range hunting, medium/large animals, factory ammo available. From your list another vote for 300 WSM
 
Jan 15, 2005
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#21
With factory ammo being a consideration the two SAUM's can be crossed off your list as that ammo is very hard to come by, you certainly aren't going to find any sitting on shelves in a store in a pinch.

I'd cross 270 WSM off as well for the same reason although your more likely to find it than SAUM. There also aren't many options for high BC hunting ammo for LR hunting or even .277 bullets once you load.

The 7 WSM suffers the same ammo fait now but there are excellent bullet options available once you start loading.

300 WSM you can find in walmart in a few of the typical hunting flavors. Most Cabelas carry the HSM and Hornady Precision Hunter loads too. Yes Hornady loads Precision Hunter for 270 WSM and 7 WSM too but I've never seen it in a store and for a hunting rifle being able to get something in a pinch is critical. 300 WSM has more than twice the available factory ammo options than the two others.

6.5 PRC is very new and I'm not currently aware of any factory ammo aside from Hornady but every time I've been in Cabelas they have had both the Match and Precision Hunter on the shelf. Dicks also carries it although I would cancel a hunt before I'd darken their doorway again. I'd have complete confidence that I could find it if you need to and that other manufacturers will be picking up the round and making ammo.

So for me it would come down to 300 WSM and 6.5 PRC and I don't feel that you could go wrong with either.
 

Ledzep

Chancellor
Jun 9, 2009
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#22
If factory ammo is something you want, 6.5 PRC or 300 WSM.

I think 6.5 or 7 saum would be the way I would go with the intention of reloading from the get go. Personally I shoot 6.5 saum but some people like a little more bullet. As stated above, brass and ammo sourcing is the issue here, and the future is uncertain. My next magnum barrel will probably be a 6.5 PRC.