What cartridge for a one mile shoot?

Jul 11, 2010
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#1
Have a local LR match run on a family farm that has increased in range over the past few years from 1,000yds to just under 1,200yds.

This past year they started playing around with overhead imagery of their property and doing some ground surveys and have laid out and cleared a path for a one mile shoot. Plan is to have a check target around 1,000yds and then one at 1,760yds.

No way I'd consider my 6.5x47 Lapua a real one mile rig, though I'm sure I'll give it a go, so it's got me thinking about putting together a rifle specifically for doing ELR like this match with the pipe dream of doing an ELR Haj with some buddies out west one year.

So, without getting into a .50BMG or the super exotics like the Cheytacs, what's available? 338LM immediately comes to mind and I'm guessing long loaded 300WM might get it done with the right optic mount and bullet to get the hold overs needed. Are there heavy enough 6.5mm bullets available to take something like a 6.5 Weatherby or 6.5-284 that far?

Any other caliber ideas? Figure I'll research that before getting into the barrel, chassis, and optic.
 

Fursniper

Captain, USMM (retired)
Feb 13, 2017
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#2
Certainly 338 lapua & 300WM as you mentioned . Some other considerations would be 28 nosler, 7mm/300WM, 300 Norma, 7mm/300NM, 338 Norma, 6.5 Saum (Sierra just came out with a 150 gr 6.5)., 300WSM, 300RUM, 7mm Rem mag. These come to mind right off the top of my head, there are others for sure
 

TripleBull

This one goes to 11
Feb 13, 2017
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#3
Numerous folks have stretched a 6.5 CM to a mile, so you don't have to go for a big magnum. If you do go with a 300WM or 338LM, it's a very manageable process to shoot a mile with a reasonable hit frequency. Do you handload?
 

W54/XM-388

Online Training Member
Oct 1, 2005
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#5
Do you already have anything you already own that you want to work with?
.338LM or .338NM with a heavy bullet will get there easily
.300wm with a heavy hot loaded bullet will get there
lots of the 7mm/300 and similar will get there

If you are going to build something new specifically for that, the .375 caliber range has some very good options that will get there easily & can push out even farther. The only issue is some of them get a bit on the heavy side.

The .338LM is a nice option that you can get rifles for readily and get good factory ammo for & you can get a rifle all in with optics at around the 20 pound range that will perform well.

Of course the .50bmg will get there, but also the .416 barrett will get there even better, but now we are in the 30 to 45 pound range.
 
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#6
I have a similar goal and chose 300 Norma Mag. Living in Napa, my shooting range was destroyed in the fire. This has prevented me from being able to work on the load development needed to get there. One HUGE surprise is how comfortable my 12 lb. rifle shoots. Because of physical limitations, Big recoil is not an option. With everything that I have researched, the 300 NM should work well on this distance while giving me a general purpose rifle for other pursuits.

Others more knowledgeable than me will suggest other calibers but for my needs this is perfect.
 

Fursniper

Captain, USMM (retired)
Feb 13, 2017
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#8
the higher your velocity at the intended target range, the more predictable your shots will be, that is the easiest rule of thumb to follow
Frank, I hate to take issue with the commander of this outfit but for a new members 1st post, focusing the op on velocity alone seems to me to be misleading. My 22-250 shoots just under 3800fps but I wouldn't want to enter a one mile competition with it! That's what I mean. Without consideration for BC it could steer him down the wrong path, could it not? Perhaps I am wrong but I have always felt BC trumps velocity (within reason of course). Unless one is shooting within a vacuum, am i wrong here?
 

Fursniper

Captain, USMM (retired)
Feb 13, 2017
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#10
He said velocity at the target range. Run the numbers on your 22-250 load at a mile. I don't think it will be doing so hot out there.
You are correct. I was reading Frank's post (obviously not carefully) and thinking something completely different. I stand corrected. Ah, open mouth, carefully insert foot lol.......
 
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Tjfarmer

Farmer Guy
Feb 15, 2017
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#11
They are doing nice things with the 7mm bullet. If I was going to show off and didn’t care about barrel life, a 28 nosler comes to mind, for common cartridges. I shoot 6.5 cm, 300 wm, and 338 Lapua, all will hit the target, but each step up will shoot groups inside the lesser guns group with ease. Like Frank said speed at target is king for consistent group
 
Jul 11, 2010
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#13
Frank, I hate to take issue with the commander of this outfit but for a new members 1st post, focusing the op on velocity alone seems to me to be misleading. My 22-250 shoots just under 3800fps but I wouldn't want to enter a one mile competition with it! That's what I mean. Without consideration for BC it could steer him down the wrong path, could it not? Perhaps I am wrong but I have always felt BC trumps velocity (within reason of course). Unless one is shooting within a vacuum, am i wrong here?
First post, but not my first trip into long range shooting and understanding the relationship between velocity and BC.

Thanks for ensuring I didn't wander off course though and just look for the fastest shooting cartridge available.

As you mentioned, I'm looking for a balance between velocity and BC, but also cost, weight, and barrel life.

338LM or an AI version of it was my first thought, but doing some more research into the big 7s with the Berger 195s also look interesting and would keep weight and recoil down. Something like a SAUM built on a long action so I could have a DBM but stil load long is holding my attention at the moment vice going all in on the lines of a 338LM. I guess the same SAUM built on a long action, but in 6.5 could also be a nice balance, though I'm sure that's going to cook a barrel fairly quickly.

ETA: in the big 7s, are there any which come to mind that would allow for 1,500+ accurate/warm 195gr rounds down the pipe? Haven't done a ton of research into barrel life experienced by others, but something like the 28 Nosler, 7/300 Win Mag, and 7/300 Norma Mag would seem to be real barrel burners.
 
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Lowlight

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#14
"At the Intended Target Range" ....

Your 338LM will be the easiest to work with, the Norma variants I think tend to be more efficient and give you just a tick more MV. The BC is not the biggest factor, looking at the 338LM, the 300s while they do well, are often better in real world applications by going a tick lighter and faster bullet wise. The 300s are too heavy for a standard 338LM and that caliber does better keeping the speed over 2800fps with stuff like the 285s. Also I have seen the 250s at 3000fps do better. The 300s need just a bit more velocity to get the results the numbers suggest. So unless you can get them over 2800fps, better yet is over 2850fps, it's smart to drop the weight down or use a better bullet like the Warner Tools or Cutting Edge.

My 300NM at 2960fps with 230s is a much better choice and I have seen great success out of my 7WSM, though that is right on the edge of acceptable as my load is 175gr at 2900fps vs doing the heavier bullet either faster, guys were running the 180s at 3050, or doing the 195 a bit slower.

Barrel life is, you are not gonna get around that much unless you stick to a 338, if you do, consider the Norma over the Lapua.

BC, Bullet Weight, and MV is THE consideration and understand BCs are velocity dependent. You need to be over 2800fps to get that advertised number. When truing at slower velocities you will certainly see a drop in BC because the velocities are down. Guys who go, 100fps or more below that speed will not see the same results, sure they may only remember their positive results, but I guarantee they are missing more than reported.

Using a better bullet, with a high BC even lighter in weight, going faster will certainly give you good results when compared at the target range. I have gone 4 out of 5 at 1780fps with the 122gr Warner Tools. Similar results with the 160gr 308 variant because you make up for the weight with the speed. In my case these stay supersonic to over 2k. That gives you the predictability you want at these distances.

John Armstrong at the WR Event in Las Vegas demonstrated this using his 7mm STW scoring 3x3 at 1500 and 2 out of 3 at 1 Mile. A good load with a single digit SD scores hits vs floating rounds out there hoping for a few touches. At these distances, it all matters.
 
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#15
Thanks for the insight on the 250-300gr 338LM projectile selection.

Looking for data now on the 180gr ELDs vs the 195gr Berger for the same reason.
 
Jul 11, 2010
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#16
Certainly 338 lapua & 300WM as you mentioned . Some other considerations would be 28 nosler, 7mm/300WM, 300 Norma, 7mm/300NM, 338 Norma, 6.5 Saum (Sierra just came out with a 150 gr 6.5)., 300WSM, 300RUM, 7mm Rem mag. These come to mind right off the top of my head, there are others for sure
Thanks for the multiple ideas to research, haha.

I did notice 7LRM wasn't on your list. Was it just a flash in the pan caliber that didn't catch on? Finding posts here and elsewhere from 2015-16 saying it's a great round, but haven't dug into all the details.

Would seem to fit somewhere between the Win, Rem, and Norma Mags and the 28 Nosler all while being designed to run the long bullets at mag length.
 

Switchbarrel

Benchrest Shooter
Apr 26, 2003
63
4
8
Northern CA
#17
Of all the choices mentioned above, I can say the 28 Nosler shooting a Berger 195 @ ~3180 fps
does a real nice job @ 1mi.

It’s downside would be brass price & availability. I know everyone assumes barrel life will
be short & I’m expecting it. So what, when it goes I’ll get another one.

Single shot = no mag restrictions. Freebore on mine is .270”, I know others are at .300-.310”
to seat the Berger 195’s & Sierra 197’s way out there.

My buddy next to me was shooting a .338 LM. He was impressed with the accuracy & how
quickly (relatively speaking) the bullets reached the target vs. his 300 gr. / .338’s
98244404-4876-4379-B99A-F4065E47D0A3.jpeg
The target is about 3.5’ wide X 5’ tall. Plate in the middle is about 12”w X 18”t.
 

Fursniper

Captain, USMM (retired)
Feb 13, 2017
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#19
Thanks for the multiple ideas to research, haha.

I did notice 7LRM wasn't on your list. Was it just a flash in the pan caliber that didn't catch on? Finding posts here and elsewhere from 2015-16 saying it's a great round, but haven't dug into all the details.

Would seem to fit somewhere between the Win, Rem, and Norma Mags and the 28 Nosler all while being designed to run the long bullets at mag length.
I'm not terribly familiar with the 7LRM. I know it is not belted so there's that. It's not a Saami spec cartridge so a build will require a custom reamer, yada, yada. IMHO there are cartridges in the mainstream that will give you better performance without the hassel. Really, a mile is no big deal, many calibers will get you there. I run a .338LM AI version that gets me to a mile with ease. If I were you, I'd go with any of the 338's (lapua or Norma) or a 28 nosler or possibly a 300Nm necked to a 7mm. My only reservation with the 195 7mm bergers (a hunting bullet) is the jacket comes apart at the higher velocities. I've heard somewhere (I think) that Berger is going to come out soon with a 195 grain target version of that bullet. That should solve the problem. At that point I would look harder at the 7mm's.
 
Feb 19, 2017
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#20
I was reading URSA at calguns. There is female shooter got 2nd place in their recent shooting.

She was shooting 6.5CM out of a Savage LRP at 2068 yards... impressive.
 
#23
Of all the choices mentioned above, I can say the 28 Nosler shooting a Berger 195 @ ~3180 fps
does a real nice job @ 1mi.

It’s downside would be brass price & availability. I know everyone assumes barrel life will
be short & I’m expecting it. So what, when it goes I’ll get another one.

Single shot = no mag restrictions. Freebore on mine is .270”, I know others are at .300-.310”
to seat the Berger 195’s & Sierra 197’s way out there.

My buddy next to me was shooting a .338 LM. He was impressed with the accuracy & how
quickly (relatively speaking) the bullets reached the target vs. his 300 gr. / .338’s
View attachment 6871226
The target is about 3.5’ wide X 5’ tall. Plate in the middle is about 12”w X 18”t.

What’s the load recipe for your 28 Nosler?
 

Conrad

Gunny Sergeant
Apr 28, 2006
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#24
There are probably better options for pure performance in some of the larger cartridges, but for what it is worth...

I started load development on new long throated 7 SAUM. R26 is pushing a 180 ELDM at 3070 FPS safely. Took mild break in load at 2860 to 700 and bullet was hitting point of aim spot on so BC seems to be true with my 1:8 twist barrel. Will continue to verify that as I stretch it out, but increased velocity will only help.
 
Apr 10, 2017
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#26
"At the Intended Target Range" ....

Your 338LM will be the easiest to work with, the Norma variants I think tend to be more efficient and give you just a tick more MV. The BC is not the biggest factor, looking at the 338LM, the 300s while they do well, are often better in real world applications by going a tick lighter and faster bullet wise. The 300s are too heavy for a standard 338LM and that caliber does better keeping the speed over 2800fps with stuff like the 285s. Also I have seen the 250s at 3000fps do better. The 300s need just a bit more velocity to get the results the numbers suggest. So unless you can get them over 2800fps, better yet is over 2850fps, it's smart to drop the weight down or use a better bullet like the Warner Tools or Cutting Edge.

BC, Bullet Weight, and MV is THE consideration and understand BCs are velocity dependent. You need to be over 2800fps to get that advertised number. When truing at slower velocities you will certainly see a drop in BC because the velocities are down. Guys who go, 100fps or more below that speed will not see the same results, sure they may only remember their positive results, but I guarantee they are missing more than reported.


Frank can you please elaborate on this. Your stating you need to be over 2800fps to get the advertised BC is this just for these 338 bullets you are referring to? Looking at the new 6.5 150g sierra matchkings they state .713 BC at velocities over like 1750 fps well short of your 2800FPS. This would imply that someone shooting them from a 6.5 creedmoor with correct twist that gives them sg over 1.5 @ 2700fps is getting max bc at least until transonic range or not?? Looking to learn thanks.
 

Switchbarrel

Benchrest Shooter
Apr 26, 2003
63
4
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#27
What’s the load recipe for your 28 Nosler?
Nosler case, CCI 250 primer, Berger 195, 84.9 gr RL33 powder is what I was shooting that day.
I’ve taken it to 86 gr. & 3225-ish FPS with no ejector mark or swiping.

Wasn’t sure how much the bullets could handle so, just went mild on the load that day. ~52 MOA up from 100 yard zero to the target which is actually at 1807 yards.

Loaded to just touch the lands. Still need to do seating depth/accuracy testing & tuning. Looking forward to trying
the Sierra 197 too.

-Rick

4E29ECF8-D8DF-41DF-99B4-E2680018E349.jpeg 80A98A4A-F9B4-4403-8109-B702A715EBBA.jpeg
 
Jul 11, 2010
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#29
Have those using RL33 noticed any temp instability or pressure issues which correlate to increased ambient temperatures, as others have noted previously?

As I start researching all facets of getting into something like this, being able to have good loads across a wide temp range would be crucial in Northern VA.
 
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#30
sure you have, but just keep in mind they prob don't want us banging their regular 200-1100yd steel with any monster calibers used in the 1 mile shoot. but guessing you already have a gun or guns for that.
 
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#31
sure you have, but just keep in mind they prob don't want us banging their regular 200-1100yd steel with any monster calibers used in the 1 mile shoot. but guessing you already have a gun or guns for that.
Haha, do you shoot at the farm?

Yep, already have a few rifles for the normal course of fire....but I want to eventually get into something built for 1,500 and beyond.
 

Fenix Mike

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Aug 19, 2012
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#32
If youre hand loading and not scared to push the rounds, 300 win was more consistent for me at 1 mile than 338 Lapua, mainly because it was so much easier to shoot the win mag, where as at least 1 out of 5 rounds, I felt myself flinch on the 338. In my defense, my 300 win is suppressed, and the 338 had a big ol brake since my can was still in jail at the time. In 338 Lapua I had 300 gr Bergers at 2900 FPS that were not only easy to put on target, but made a loud enough "Thunk" to be heard hitting from my shooting position, and ive put 208 ELDs at 3,000 fps as well as 225 ELDs at 2930 FPS on at 1 mile with ease, and if you have active ears, you can hear those hits as well. FWIW, my 225 ELD at 2930 fps has the exact same elevation dope as 300 gr Bergers at 2900 (15.5-16 mils depending on temp that day), with the Lapua having about 450-500 lbs more energy on impact. Largest reason for keeping the win mag was cost per round, which is about 1/3 the cost of 338 Lapua when factoring brass, bullet cost and powder charge per round. If someday I push to 2,000m, I will probably go back to a big bore, but for now im really enjoying the win mag, and hoping to try some of the new Sierra 200 gr Match Kings to see if I can get 3100 FPS, which shows even less elevation dial.
 
Likes: Vinvan406
Mar 4, 2012
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#33
I use RL33 with my .338. Using a Berger 300g with a muzzle velocity of 2800 FPS, I was just over 1,300 FPS at the mile target and still super sonic at 2,000 yards. A mile shot pretty repeatable with that combination.

I have not noticed any more temp stability issues with RL33 than any other power I use.
 
Jul 11, 2010
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#37
If youre hand loading and not scared to push the rounds, 300 win was more consistent for me at 1 mile than 338 Lapua, mainly because it was so much easier to shoot the win mag, where as at least 1 out of 5 rounds, I felt myself flinch on the 338. In my defense, my 300 win is suppressed, and the 338 had a big ol brake since my can was still in jail at the time. In 338 Lapua I had 300 gr Bergers at 2900 FPS that were not only easy to put on target, but made a loud enough "Thunk" to be heard hitting from my shooting position, and ive put 208 ELDs at 3,000 fps as well as 225 ELDs at 2930 FPS on at 1 mile with ease, and if you have active ears, you can hear those hits as well. FWIW, my 225 ELD at 2930 fps has the exact same elevation dope as 300 gr Bergers at 2900 (15.5-16 mils depending on temp that day), with the Lapua having about 450-500 lbs more energy on impact. Largest reason for keeping the win mag was cost per round, which is about 1/3 the cost of 338 Lapua when factoring brass, bullet cost and powder charge per round. If someday I push to 2,000m, I will probably go back to a big bore, but for now im really enjoying the win mag, and hoping to try some of the new Sierra 200 gr Match Kings to see if I can get 3100 FPS, which shows even less elevation dial.
Thanks for the first hand insight.

This thought process is what has me leaning towards an overbore 7mm vice the heavier recoiling and more expensive to feed 338. Guess the big 30s fall in between, but this would be a prone gun, so I don't mind getting a longer tube to boost velocity and help cut wind drift on the 7mm side of the house.
 

Tjfarmer

Farmer Guy
Feb 15, 2017
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#38
With 15 reloads on my once fired 338 Lapua brass I bought . ..70cent bullet, and 2500-3000+shot barrel life, I don’t feel it’s so expensive. Matters how much you shoot I guess. We shoot a lot.
I own a 300 win mag and 2 338’s for big bores, all are only braked since I live in the great state of IL, no suppressors, but my wife and I both will shoot much better groups with the 338’s. at 1600-1760 yards...At 1000yards the winmag is most accurate gun I own.this is at 630-650’ elevation...
And for some reason, here, 300 shoot better then 250’s in both 338’s. Both being Berger bullets. Or hornady 285eldm’s, I find the 4dof pretty close with my inputs and conditions it shows 300 the fastest at target? Maybe it’s the different air, maybe it’s wrong, compared to Franks results/ numbers, not sure.
 
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#39
I'd be shooting suppressed no matter what caliber as I already own an AAC 338 Titan-Ti, but I am at a similar elevation here in NoVA, so I won't be blessed with crazy high DA numbers on my local range or the mile shoot location.
 
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Jul 11, 2010
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#41
The one thing about using a 6.5 bullet in my mind is the lack of a real heavy weight that brings the BC up to something like the heavy 7s, 30s, and 338s.

I'm sure the velocity generated with a 143gr ELD-M in a 6.5 SAUM case looks impressive, but I'm afraid the wind would just push it all over the place at distance.
 
Dec 13, 2017
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#42
When the snow melts here in the catskills I'm going to load up some Flat Line solids in my 6.5 Creedmoor as well as 308, try to stretch my legs out to 1 mile from my farm to the next we have a clear sight past 1 mile of fields. Thanks to Frank's review of the Flat Line solids they look like a great choice for me my RPR in .308,6.5 creed . Still going supersonic @1650 yards in .308 sounds to good to pass up. Jack
 

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Dfin

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Jul 4, 2017
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#45
The one thing about using a 6.5 bullet in my mind is the lack of a real heavy weight that brings the BC up to something like the heavy 7s, 30s, and 338s.

I'm sure the velocity generated with a 143gr ELD-M in a 6.5 SAUM case looks impressive, but I'm afraid the wind would just push it all over the place at distance.
I'm thinking a 6.5 SAUM pushing the 150SMK (.713BC) in a 1:7.5t may be the ticket.
 

steve123

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Mar 16, 2008
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#48
I'm thinking a 6.5 SAUM pushing the 150SMK (.713BC) in a 1:7.5t may be the ticket.
I've only shot to 1782Y once with my 6.5Saum, there were normal winds, 140 hybrids at 3175 fps did much better than I expected compared to my big 30 cal with 230 hybrids shot in similar conditions. The 30 has a slight advantage in that you can get more feedback on hits/sound coming back and splash in the dirt, both due to the extra energy. A little farther away and the 30 is superior.
 
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Blasst

Sergeant
Jul 17, 2006
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#49
If youre hand loading and not scared to push the rounds, 300 win was more consistent for me at 1 mile than 338 Lapua, mainly because it was so much easier to shoot the win mag, where as at least 1 out of 5 rounds, I felt myself flinch on the 338. In my defense, my 300 win is suppressed, and the 338 had a big ol brake since my can was still in jail at the time. In 338 Lapua I had 300 gr Bergers at 2900 FPS that were not only easy to put on target, but made a loud enough "Thunk" to be heard hitting from my shooting position, and ive put 208 ELDs at 3,000 fps as well as 225 ELDs at 2930 FPS on at 1 mile with ease, and if you have active ears, you can hear those hits as well. FWIW, my 225 ELD at 2930 fps has the exact same elevation dope as 300 gr Bergers at 2900 (15.5-16 mils depending on temp that day), with the Lapua having about 450-500 lbs more energy on impact. Largest reason for keeping the win mag was cost per round, which is about 1/3 the cost of 338 Lapua when factoring brass, bullet cost and powder charge per round. If someday I push to 2,000m, I will probably go back to a big bore, but for now im really enjoying the win mag, and hoping to try some of the new Sierra 200 gr Match Kings to see if I can get 3100 FPS, which shows even less elevation dial.
Interesting to hear. I'll have to give it a try. Don't have a 300 win mag but I can borrow one. I have a suppressor on my 338 I could move over. It would be a significant savings in powder and lead :)
 
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