300 Winchester Magnum Rifles · Browning X-Bolt Hells Canyon Long Range Burnt Bronze Cerakote Bolt Action Rifle - 300 Winchester Magnum · Weatherby Vanguard. As a hunting cartridge the.300 Winchester Magnum remains immensely Loaded with frangible long range bullets, the.300 Winchester Magnum is truly. For shooting elk or similar sized critters a 160 to 180 grain bullet is just about ideal. A popular long range load for the 300 Win Mag near.
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Without a doubt, two of the most popular cartridges for big game hunting are the .300 Winchester Magnum (.300 Win Mag) and the .308 (7.62 NATO).
Both are known for stopping power, range, accuracy, and ease of use.
Both rounds share a lot in common, but their differences put them worlds apart.
To break down these two rounds, it needs to be clear that both fill different roles. One is not necessarily better than the other. However, hunters/shooters want to make sure that you use the right tool for the right job.
This comparison between the two rounds should serve as a great way for the end-user to decide what round might work best for them.
The .308 came into being in 1952 when the Nations that made up NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) decided on a standardized round for the military.
Winchester saw an opportunity to market this for civilian use, and it has since become the most popular short-action, big-game hunting cartridge in the world.
Hunters, target shooters, military snipers, long-range shooters, and combat shooters worldwide turn to the versatile .308 for its availability and history.
The .308 was developed after the .30-06 used by the United States Military since just before World War One. The .308 has a little more drop in range when compared to the .30-06; this is due to the round being shorter and packing in less powder.
The parabolic arch produced by the .308 gets pretty significant at ranges beyond 300 yards. At a 100 yard zero, the shooter will need to hold off about 2 inches above the target to hit center bull at 200 yards. At 300, the shooter is required to hold off of nearly 15 inches (depending on bullet grain size).
Most hunters zero their rifle at 200 to help mitigate the hold off needed for longer range shots.
Having less powder does create a benefit, lower and more manageable recoil. This allows shooters of the .308 to re-acquire targets faster while having more comfort from reducing the rifle bucking in the shoulder. Less recoil also helps with your optics; some lower-end optics will start to lose their zero due to recoil.
This is why it’s crucial to invest in good glass, especially when dealing with hotter loads.
The popularity of the .308 is largely due to its availability. Since armies around the world adopted the round, factories cranked out millions of rounds in .308.
With the ammo being in somewhat abundant numbers, the cost of the round is pretty low. Decent quality but economically valued hunting rounds up to match grade quality rounds are pretty easily found in most local stores.
It is popular because it works, stopping the big game in their tracks with a single well placed shot.
.300 Winchester Magnum (.300 Win Mag)
Magnum rounds have been around for rifles as early as 1913 with the .30 Newton.
The desire for more power, a flatter parabolic arch, and faster velocities in the world of sport shooting resulted in a series of magnum rounds developed.
In 1925 we saw the .300 H&H Magnum; in the 1940s, we see the .270 Weatherby Magnum and .300 Weatherby Magnum.
Winchester decided to throw their hat in the ring in the late 1950s with several magnum rounds, including the .338 Winchester Magnum and the .458 Winchester Magnum.
It was not until 1963 did the .300 Winchester Magnum come to pass and lived to become the most wildly available Magnum Round. The others still exist, but the ammo is a lot more expensive and harder to find.
The .300 Win Mag is one of the most popular long-range rounds on the civilian market. The round itself is the exact size and diameter of the .308.
However, behind it is a much larger brass casing filled with far more powder.
This creates a much faster muzzle velocity, which translates down range to a much lower parabolic arch at ranges further than 300 yards.
With a 100 yard zero, the .300 Win Mag will have the same 2-inch drop at 200 yards that the .308 has, but at 300, the drop is only a mere 9 inches.
For a hunting round, this gives you a lot of room for error at longer range shots. With a properly dialed in scope, it is not uncommon for hunters/shooters to reach out well beyond 800yards.
In fact, the .300 Win Mag round is used by many competition long-range shooters extending out to 1,000 yards.
Having all that power comes with the side effect of a lot more recoil. This round was designed for maximum power and accuracy combined into one package. The idea being you make that first shot count, and at any range, you will have no doubt that your target will be down.
Elk hunters in Montana prefer this round as most shots on Elk are taken at ranges 300+ over rugged terrain, not a place you want to chase a wounded animal for any period of time.
Now, this round comes at a higher price point than the .308. However, as far as magnum rounds go, this one is popular. This means the markets are not without a supply, and generally, the prices are a lot more affordable than the multitude of other magnum rounds.
So if you want to do a lot of long-range shooting and enjoy a good performing round, the .300 Win Mag brings a lot to the table but won’t cripple your wallet.
.308 vs .300 Win Mag
The .308 is a great round, used the world over as a sporting and hunting cartridge. With a lot of practice and good glass, a .308 rifle can reach out as far as the .300 Win Mag, but with a lot less energy and a lot more hold-off.
The 300 Win Mag will have a lot more recoil but will be able to reach out to longer ranges with a lot more ease.
Since the .300 Win Mag is a lot hotter of a round you will want to consider barrel life. With the .308, the barrel life is considerably longer, meaning it will last a lot longer than the .300 Win Mag due to the lower power and velocity.
As the round passed down the barrel, the rifling is stressed a lot more with the much hotter .300 Win Mag round.
The .308 round is less costly to manufacture and is abundant all around the world. So the cost is a lot lower than the .300 Win Mag. That said, the .300 Win Mag won the popularity contest of the Magnum rounds, so it’s not as scarce or costly as other Magnum rounds.
So while it does hit the wallet harder than the .308, it’s not as bad as other options on the market.
When shopping for what works best for you, consider what you want the rifle to do.
Both are adequate big game rounds and have a home in the long-range shooting community. To say one is better than the other would be dishonest.
They are different rounds designed for different applications. At the end of the day, pick what works the best for what you need it for.
I have hunted with and shot targets with both rounds, and enjoy both rounds immensely. I tend to carry my .308 a lot more out in the field than a .300 Win Mag. This is purely an economical choice more than anything.
You cannot go wrong with either, and I recommend having both in your inventory.
C. Top 5 .300 Win Mag Rifles
1. Winchester Model 70 Super Grade
The first rifle on our list of best .300 Win Mag rifles is the Model 70 Super Grade from Winchester. This bolt action rifle is extremely sleek looking, with classic walnut styling with an ebony forearm tip.
The barrel has a polished blue finish, and the wood parts have a satin finish. The two-tone walnut is very aesthetically pleasing. The weapon has a 26 inch barrel, weighs 8.5 pounds, and has a 3 round magazine capacity.
The pros of this weapon are the looks, the accuracy, and the reliability. The accuracy of the weapon comes from a few things. First, the hammer forged barrel is free floated. Second, the MOA trigger system allows for a very precise trigger pull.
Third, the steel receiver has an integral recoil lug that is bedded in the front and rear to prevent the bolt from shifting at all. Last, the stock has a solid steel piece for added rigidness. All of these factors increase the accuracy of the weapon. The reliability comes from the steel receiver and the controlled round feeding and extracting mechanisms.
The cons of this weapon are the price, limited magazine capacity, and the weight. This is not the most expensive on our list, but it is still pricy. However, it is also the highest quality weapon on the list.
It is also a very heavy weapon, which is something to consider if you are looking for a hunting rifle. As far as uses go, it would excel in any role, but the weight and longer barrel may limit its uses to target shooting and hunts where you don’t have to travel far.
Suggested Retail Price: $1599
- As mentioned before, multiple factors add into the accuracy.
- Steel receiver, controlled round feeding and extracting.
- Pre drilled and tapped for scope mounts.
- Sleek looking.
- High quality weapon at a reasonable price.
2. Weatherby Mark V Ultra Lightweight
Next up is another bolt action rifle. The Mark V Ultra Lightweight variant is one of Weatherby’s best rifles. As with all Weatherby weapons, this rifle is extremely high quality and very accurate. The barrel is 24 inches long, the weapon weighs 6.75 pounds, and has a 3 round magazine capacity.
Due to the extreme light weight and accuracy, this is the best .300 Win Mag rifle for hunting. If you are looking for a precision rifle, we highly recommend checking out some of the other variants of the Mark V or some other weapons made by Weatherby, although the Ultra Lightweight is accurate enough to work in this capacity.
The pros of this weapon are the accuracy, light weight, and the smooth action. The accuracy comes from the hand lapped barrel and the excellent LXX trigger. The LXX trigger is extremely precisely made, and offers a wider face for more contact between your finger and the trigger.
The trigger is also completely adjustable, all the way down to 2.5 pounds. The LXX trigger goes a long way in increasing the accuracy of the firearm as a whole. The light weight comes from the lighter 6 lug action, composite stock, and a slightly smaller forearm.
The cons of this weapon are the smaller grip, limited magazine capacity, and the price. The smaller grip helps a lot in decreasing the weight, but takes a little getting used to. While this is one of the highest quality rifles on our list, it is also the most expensive.
Suggested Retail Price: $1999
- Weatherby guarantees .99 inch groups at 100 yards when using their ammunition.
- LXX trigger. Increases the accuracy, but is also an excellent trigger. One of the best on the market.
- Stainless steel barrel and composite stock will be resistant to the elements.
- Extremely strong action.
3. Browning X-Bolt Stainless Stalker
The Stainless Stalker is one of the variants of Browning’s X-Bolt rifle. They are all high quality firearms, but the Stainless Stalker has some added features that make it an excellent option as a hunting rifle.
The rifle has a 26 inch barrel, weighs just under 7 pounds, and has a 3 round magazine capacity. While other variants of the X-Bolt may function better in other roles, the Stainless Stalker is another one of the best .300 Win Mag rifles for hunting.
The pros of this weapon are the durability, adjustable trigger, short throw bolt, and reliability. The durability comes from the stainless steel barrel, bolt, and receiver paired with a composite stock coated in Dura-Touch Armor Coating.
This makes the weapon extremely resistant to the elements. Additional grip has been added to the forearm in order to allow for plenty of grip strength in adverse conditions. The adjustable trigger makes the weapon slightly more accurate, and the short throw bolt allows you to chamber the next round and fire quicker.
The cons of this weapon are that it is not as accurate as some of the others and has a limited magazine capacity. However, this is an excellent rifle for hunting.
Suggested Retail Price: $1099
- Stainless steel parts and composite stock.
- Adjustable trigger.
- Pre drilled and tapped for scope mounts.
- Light weight. Not as light as the Mark V Ultra Lightweight, but still a manageable weight.
- Comfortable pad that absorbs recoil well.
- Stainless steel parts increase the reliability significantly.
4. Savage Arms 110BA Stealth Evolution
While Savage Arms is generally known for their affordably priced bolt action rifles, the 110BA Stealth Evolution is cut from a different cloth.
This is still a reliable bolt action rifle, but has been given a modern, tactical look. It has an AR-15 style handguard with multiple picatinny rails to go along with a fully adjustable stock.
It also has a detachable box magazine that has a 5 round capacity. It has a 24 inch barrel and weighs around 7 pounds. With a little work, this could function well as a precision rifle. In our opinion, it is the best .300 Win Mag rifle for target shooting. It could be used for hunting, but there are better options out there.
The pros of this weapon are the picatinny rails, adjustable trigger, a manageable weight, and the modernized look. The picatinny rails allow you to mount any number of accessories on the rifle.
It also allows you to use a wider variety of scopes and optics. Savage Arms’ AccuTrigger is fully adjustable, and greatly increases the accuracy of the rifle. Adjusting the trigger pull will go a long way in increasing your shot.
The look of this weapon is nice, but some of the features that come along with it are even nicer. For example, the adjustable stock, pistol style grip, and the detachable box magazine look nice, but also add a lot to the weapon.
The pros of this weapon are limited to mostly the cost. As mentioned, this is a good frame to start off, but to make a competitive rifle, it may take a little work. As far as the cost, this is a quality rifle, but given the reputation of Savage Arms, some people will struggle to pay this for one of their rifles.
Suggested Retail Price: $1099
- Increased magazine capacity. Dependent on your use for the weapon, this may be a nice feature for you.
- Modern look and features that go along with it.
- Increases the accuracy of the weapon.
- Reliable and smooth action.
The last entry on our list of best .300 Win Mag rifles is the Compass from Thompson/Center. While this is an extremely affordably priced and basic rifle, there are also some great features to see at this price point.
The rifle has a 24 inch barrel, weighs 7.5 pounds, and has a 4 round magazine capacity. Due to some of the added features, this is the best .300 Win Mag rifle for the price. It would function well as a hunting rifle, but could also be the starting point for an entry level precision rifle.
The pros of this weapon are the short pull, increased magazine capacity, adjustable trigger, and the perice. This weapon actually has one of the shortest pulls on our list, which is surprising in such an affordably priced weapon.
Another surprise for an affordably priced weapon is the adjustable trigger. Usually this comes at an added cost. Having the extra round that most of the other rifles don’t have is another plus.
The cons of this weapon are hard to complain about considering the price. However, this wasn’t the most accurate rifle on the list, and is one of the heavier ones.
Suggested Retail Price: $350
- Hard to beat this price, especially given some of the added features.
- Adjustable trigger. You usually don’t see an adjustable trigger at this price.
- Grip and stock. The composite grip and stock offer plenty of grip strength and are resistant to the elements.
- As with most bolt actions, this weapon is smooth and reliable, shot after shot.
As you can see, there are a plethora of options available for .300 Win Mag rifles. While there are many factors to consider, thinking about your use for the weapon will help you narrow down which features are important to you. Once you’ve identified that, the list of best rifles for you will start to shrink.
If you’re looking for a hunting rifle, the Weatherby Mark V Ultra Lightweight is an excellent option. If you’re looking for an overall excellent quality weapon, the Winchester Model 70 Super Grade is definitely something to look into.
However, if you are on a tighter budget, the Thompson/Center Compass is probably what you’re going to want. No matter which weapon you choose, .300 Win Mag is an excellent cartridge, and you will likely be happy with your purchase. Hopefully our list of best .300 Win Mag rifles has helped narrow down your search for you.