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.300 Winchester Magnum
.300 Winchester Magnum flanked by its parent cartridges: the .338 Winchester Magnum (left) and the .375 H&H Magnum (right).
Type Rifle, Large game
Place of origin USA
Production history
Designer Winchester Repeating Arms Company
Designed 1963
Parent cartridge .375 H&H Magnum
Case type Belted, bottleneck
Bullet diameter .308 in (7.8 mm)
Neck diameter .339 in (8.6 mm)
Shoulder diameter .489 in (12.4 mm)
Base diameter .513 in (13.0 mm)
Rim diameter .532 in (13.5 mm)
Rim thickness .049 in (1.2 mm)
Case length 2.62 in (67 mm)
Overall length 3.34 in (85 mm)
Rifling twist 1:10
Primer type Large rifle magnum
Maximum pressure 64,000
Maximum CUP 54,000 CUP
Ballistic performance
Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
165 gr (10.7 g) GMX 3,260 ft/s (990 m/s) 3,893 ft·lbf (5,278 J)
180 gr (11.7 g) BT 3,146 ft/s (959 m/s) 3,972 ft·lbf (5,385 J)
190 gr (12.3 g) BTSP 3,083 ft/s (940 m/s) 4,027 ft·lbf (5,460 J)
200 gr (13.0 g) Partion 3,029 ft/s (923 m/s) 4,092 ft·lbf (5,548 J)
220 gr (14.3 g) Sierra MatchKing (HPBT) 2,850 ft/s (870 m/s) 3,908 ft·lbf (5,299 J)
Test barrel length: 24 inches (61 cm)
Source(s): Accurate Powders load guide v3.5[1]

The .300 Winchester Magnum (also known as .300 Win Mag) is a popular, belted, bottlenecked magnum rifle cartridge that was introduced by Winchester Repeating Arms Company in 1963 as a member of the family of Winchester Magnum cartridges. The .300 Winchester Magnum is a magnum cartridge designed to fit in a standard length action. It is based on the .375 H&H Magnum, which has been blown out, shortened, and necked down to accept a .30 caliber (7.62 mm) bullet.[2]

The .300 Winchester is extremely versatile and has been adopted by many shooting disciplines. The cartridge has found use by hunters, target shooters, military units, and law enforcement departments. Hunters found that the cartridge was an effective all round hunting cartridge. The .300 Win Mag remains the most popular .30 caliber magnum with American hunters, despite being surpassed in performance by the more powerful .300 Weatherby Magnum and the newer .300 Remington Ultra Magnum.[3] It is a popular selection for hunting moose, elk, and bighorn sheep as it can deliver better long range performance with better bullet weight than most other .30 caliber cartridges. Military and law enforcement departments adopted the cartridge for long range sniping and marksmanship. As a testament to its accuracy, since its introduction it has gone on to win several 1,000-yard (910 m) competitions.[4]

Cartridge history

Prior to the design of the .300 Winchester Magnum there were several cartridges that provided what could be best described as a magnum level of power. The heritage of .30 caliber (7.62 mm) magnums can be traced back to the .30 Newton in 1913 and to the .300 H&H Magnum in 1925. Beginning with the .270 Weatherby Magnum in 1943, Roy Weatherby introduced a line of cartridges based on a standard length (2.5 in [64 mm]) magnum case. This was accomplished by taking the .30 Super Belted Rimless H&H case and having it blown out (reducing the taper) and shortened so that it could be cycled through a standard length bolt action rifle. Then in 1944 he designed the .300 Weatherby Magnum, which essentially was an improved version of the .30 Super Belted Rimless H&H, a close variant of the .300 H&H Magnum.

The Weatherby's standard length magnum case was soon noticed. In 1958 Winchester introduced three cartridges – the .264 Winchester Magnum, .338 Winchester Magnum and the .458 Winchester Magnum, all based on the shortened and blown out .375 H&H Magnum case. The popular .30 caliber's omission from that lineup was not missed. Wildcatters soon produced the .30-338 Winchester and Norma Projektilfabrik, who were by now manufacturing ammunition for Weatherby, took the standard length basic Weatherby brass and necked it down to .30 caliber (7.62 mm) and called it the .308 Norma Magnum.[5]

The .300 Winchester Magnum was introduced in 1963 by Winchester for use in the Model 70 rifle. The introduction of the .300 Winchester Magnum was not unforeseen; rather, its introduction was anticlimactic. Winchester developed the .300 Winchester Magnum by taking the .338 Winchester Magnum, which was introduced in 1958, and moved the shoulder forward by 0.156 inches (4.0 mm) and lengthening it by 0.120 inches (3.0 mm). This caused the cartridge to have a neck shorter than the diameter of the bullet. There has been some speculation that if the cartridge was released earlier, the dimensions of the cartridge would have matched the .30-338 Winchester wildcat cartridge. Since its introduction the cartridge has remained extremely popular.[6]

The .300 Winchester Magnum's high availability in popular rifles such as Winchester's Model 70 and Remington Model 700 made the cartridge a popular choice among the shooting public. Although the .300 H&H Magnum, .30-338 Winchester Magnum and the .308 Norma Magnum had a head start on the .300 Winchester Magnum these cartridges soon faded into obsolescence. Only the .300 Winchester Magnum was to survive as a readily available cartridge. Other catridges, while available, are more expensive.

Design and specifications

The .300 Winchester uses the same case head design of the .375 H&H Magnum, its parent cartridge. The taper of the cartridge was reduced to provide the cartridge with more volume so as to increase its potential powder capacity. The lengthening of the case and the move of the shoulder forward over the .338 Winchester Magnum allowed for the reaming of the .308 Norma Magnum or .30-338 Winchester chamber to dimensions of the .300 Winchester Magnum. The down side was a neck which was shorter than the caliber of the bullet it fired, which meant that the bullet had to be seated more deeply in the case.

300 Winchester Magnum Schematic

Both SAAMI and CIP have provided specifications for the .300 Winchester Magnum cartridge. No divergence between CIP and SAAMI dimensional values exist for this cartridge. SAAMI recommends a bore diameter of 0.300 inches (7.6 mm) and a groove diameter of 0.308 inches (7.8 mm). SAAMI recommended a six-groove barrel with each groove being 0.110 inches (2.8 mm) wide. Recommended twist ratio is 1:10.

While case volume will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, the typical Winchester case capacity is of 93.8 grains of H2O (6.08 cm3). The maximum pressure of the cartridge given by CIP is 4,300 bar (62,000 psi) and SAAMI recommended maximum pressure is 64,000 psi (4,400 bar).


Velocity over distance comparison
400 Winchester Magnum bullet velocity
400 Winchester Magnum bullet energy levels

The Winchester's factory ammunition for the .300 Winchester Magnum is capable of 3,260 feet per second (990 m/s) with the 150-grain (9.7 g) bullet and 3,000 ft/s (910 m/s) with the 180-grain (12 g) bullet. The maximum point blank range for the 150 gr (9.7 g) bullet is 318 yards (291 m) yards when zeroed at 270 yards (250 m). The maximum point blank range for the 180 gr (12 g) bullet is 300 yards when zeroed at 254 yards (232 m). The ability to zero the .300 Winchester Magnum and shoot without hold over to 300 yards (270 m) makes the cartridge one of the flatter shooting cartridges.

Cartridge Criteria Muzzle 100-yard (91 m) 200-yard (180 m) 300-yard (270 m) 400-yard (370 m) 500-yard (460 m)
.308 Winchester (Winchester – SXP308) 150 gr (9.7 g) Velocity 2,825 ft/s (861 m/s) 2,616 ft/s (797 m/s) 2,417 ft/s (737 m/s) 2,226 ft/s (678 m/s) 2,044 ft/s (623 m/s) 1,871 ft/s (570 m/s)
Energy 2,658 ft·lbf (3,604 J) 2,279 ft·lbf (3,090 J) 1,945 ft·lbf (2,637 J) 1,650 ft·lbf (2,240 J) 1,392 ft·lbf (1,887 J) 1,166 ft·lbf (1,581 J)
.30-06 Springfield (Remington – PRA3006B) 165 gr (10.7 g) Velocity 2,800 ft/s (850 m/s) 2,597 ft/s (792 m/s) 2,403 ft/s (732 m/s) 2,217 ft/s (676 m/s) 2,039 ft/s (621 m/s) 1,870 ft/s (570 m/s)
Energy 2,872 ft·lbf (3,894 J) 2,470 ft·lbf (3,350 J) 2,115 ft·lbf (2,868 J) 1,800 ft·lbf (2,400 J) 1,523 ft·lbf (2,065 J) 1,281 ft·lbf (1,737 J)
.300 Winchester Magnum (Winchester – SXP300WM) 180 gr (12 g) Velocity 3,000 ft/s (910 m/s) 2,819 ft/s (859 m/s) 2,646 ft/s (807 m/s) 2,479 ft/s (756 m/s) 2,318 ft/s (707 m/s) 2,163 ft/s (659 m/s)
Energy 3,597 ft·lbf (4,877 J) 3,176 ft·lbf (4,306 J) 2,797 ft·lbf (3,792 J) 2,455 ft·lbf (3,329 J) 2,147 ft·lbf (2,911 J) 1,869 ft·lbf (2,534 J)
.300 Weatherby Magnum (Weatherby – N300180ACB) 180 gr (12 g) Velocity 3,250 ft/s (990 m/s) 3,051 ft/s (930 m/s) 2,861 ft/s (872 m/s) 2,678 ft/s (816 m/s) 2,503 ft/s (763 m/s) 2,335 ft/s (712 m/s)
Energy 4,223 ft·lbf (5,726 J) 3,721 ft·lbf (5,045 J) 3,271 ft·lbf (4,435 J) 2,868 ft·lbf (3,888 J) 2,505 ft·lbf (3,396 J) 2,179 ft·lbf (2,954 J)
Values courtesy of respective manufacturers

The .30 caliber is the most popular caliber in the United States. So it is not surprising that the widest range of bullets available is in the .30 caliber. The most useful bullet weights for the .300 Winchester Magnum are those weighing between 150–200 grains (9.7–13.0 g). However, bullets weighing between 110–250 gr (7.1–16.2 g) are available to the reloader for the .300 Winchester Magnum.

Compared with the 30-06 Springfield the .300 Winchester Magnum provides about 300 ft/s (91 m/s). This translates to about 20% greater energy advantage over the 30-06 Springfield cartridge. Due to the short neck, heavier bullets particularly those weighing greater than 200 grains (13 g) and mono-metal bullets such as the Barnes X bullets will need to be seated more deeply into the cartridge. As the bullet will take up volume which could have been taken by the propellant velocity advantages diminish as the weight of the bullet increases.

The .300 Winchester Magnum is known for its accuracy and has been used for 1,000-yard (910 m) and 1,000-metre (1,100 yd) competitions. While in hunting situations such accuracy is unnecessary, such accuracy does aid in the extending the range of the cartridge. Taken together with its performance it remains one of the most useful and popular cartridges today.

Although cartridges such as the .30-378 Weatherby Magnum, .300 Remington Ultra Magnum and the .300 Weatherby Magnum all exceed performance of the .300 Winchester Magnum none of these cartridges can be chambered in a standard length action. Few .30 caliber (7.62 mm) standard length cartridges can match the performance and versatility of the .300 Winchester Magnum.

The down side to this performance is recoil. The amount of recoil the cartridge generates is a step up from the non-magnum .30 caliber (7.62 mm) cartridges. Its recoil is about 30% greater than that of the .30-06 Springfield,[7] which is known as a 'stout' cartridge. This would put the .300 Winchester Magnum at the upper limit of what most shooters can shoot comfortably for extended shooting sessions. As a rough comparison, the recoil of the .300 Winchester Magnum is roughly comparable to a 12 gauge shotgun shooting 1 oz. slugs. This greater recoil can make the .300 Winchester Magnum, despite its accuracy advantages, a harder cartridge to shoot actually accurately, when compared to non-magnum 30 caliber cartridges such as the .30-06 Springfield or the .308 Winchester. On the other hand, recoil is subjective (some are more sensitive to it than others) and one can get used to it with practice. Also, many rifles available today now have effective recoil attenuating features built into them, such as muzzle compensators and energy absorbing stocks and butt-pads, that can significantly lessen recoil as it is felt by the shooter.

Sporting applications and usage

The .300 Winchester Magnum has more than enough power to hunt all species of ungulate. It is particularly useful when hunting the members of the ungulate family such as elk and moose and is a popular cartridge among hunters for these big game species. Elk can weigh as much as 1,000 pounds (450 kg) and moose 1,400 pounds (640 kg). Bullet weights of 165–200 grains (10.7–13.0 g) are the preferred choices for these game species. Controlled expansion bullets such as the Nosler Partition or Barnes X are preferred rather than more lightly constructed bullets for these larger species of ungulate. Bullets weighting 150–165 gr (9.7–10.7 g) are adequate for smaller deer such as the mule deer and white tail deer.

The .300 Winchester Magnum is an excellent cartridge for the hunting of sheep, as long range shooting circumstances can present themselves. With its velocity, low bullet drop and ability to retain usable energy at an extended range, the .300 Winchester Magnum comes into its element when hunting sheep. Be it for chamois in the Alps, bighorn in the Rockies, argali in the Pamirs or mouflon in the Caucasus the cartridge is an excellent choice for the sheep hunter.[8]

The cartridge is one of the more favored cartridges for African plains game. Its ability to shoot flat and carry its energy efficiently with bullets of good sectional density and ballistic coefficients provides the cartridge the long range performance necessary to take these game species at extended ranges. The .300 Winchester Magnum can be used to hunt everything from the dik-dik to the giant eland. It is an excellent cartridge choice for all plains game under 1,500 pounds (680 kg).

The .300 Win Mag is a cartridge for big game hunting and long-range shooting. It sees use in long-range benchrest shooting competitions and has been adopted by law enforcement marksmen and by a few specific branches of the U.S. Military for use by snipers. Maximum effective range is generally accepted to be 1,210 yards (1,110 m) with ammunition incorporating low-drag projectiles. Sub 1 minute-of-angle (MOA) accuracy out to 1,000 yards (910 m) is not unusual in precision-built rifles firing match-grade ammunition.

Recoil from the .300 Win Mag is higher than the well-known .30-06 Springfield, which owes its popularity in part to the fact that it represents the upper limit of recoil that the typical shooter can manage without discomfort. Remington has made low-recoil rounds called "Managed-Recoil" available for the .300 Win Mag, which recoil less and provide performance similar to the .30-06 Springfield.

Military and law enforcement applications

M24E1/XM2010 reconfigured Sniper Weapon System chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum.

The U.S. government purchased MK 248 MOD 1 .300 Winchester Magnum match-grade ammunition in 2009 for use in adapted M24 Sniper Weapon Systems and other .300 Winchester Magnum sniper rifles like the U.S. Navy Mk.13s. This ammunition was developed as a .300 Winchester Magnum Match Product Improvement (PIP) and uses the 220 gr (14.26 g) Sierra MatchKing Hollow Point Boat Tail (HPBT) very-low-drag bullet fired at a nominal muzzle velocity of 2,850 ft/s plus or minus 50 ft/s (869 m/s ± 15.2 m/s). According to the U.S. Navy this ammunition should increase the maximum effective range of .300 Winchester Magnum sniper rifle systems to 1,500 yards (1,370 m), decrease wind deflection on bullets in flight and use Hogdon H1000, a reduced muzzle flash propellant that remains temperature stable across an operational temperature range of −25 °F to +165 °F (−32 °C to 74 °C).[9][10][11]

Several companies, among them HS precision, Kimber and Remington manufacture rifles chambered for the .300 Winchester Magnum specifically targeted at law enforcement agencies. The Chattanooga Police Department[12] and Minot Police Department S.W.A.T units[13] and the L.A. County Sheriffs Department's Special Enforcement Bureau[14] which have adopted the .300 Winchester Magnum in some capacity. Due to the power and performance of the .300 Winchester Magnum cartridge the cartridge is more likely to be employed by specialist units within a police department rather than as a general service weapon issued to law enforcement agents.

Military and law enforcement platforms

Standard issue Bundeswehr G22


The .300 Winchester Magnum was designed with a neck which is shorter than the diameter of its bullet. If Winchester had released the cartridge prior to 1960 the cartridge would have been similar to the .30-338 Winchester wildcat cartridge.[15] However, by the time Winchester got around to designing their own .300 the .308 Norma Magnum and the .30-338 were already on the scene. To help differentiate it from the other .300 magnums and to allow for the chambers of the standard length .300 magnums to be rebored to the .300 Winchester Magnum chamber dimensions, Winchester moved the shoulder forward and lengthened the cartridge slightly. This created the long criticized short neck of the .300 Winchester Magnum.

The short neck was thought to hinder accuracy because it would prevent the alignment of cartridge to the bore but this is rarely an issue either today or when the cartridge was designed. The fact that the cartridge has gone to win many 1,000-yard (910 m) matches puts this criticism to rest.[4]

However, the short neck with the shoulder moved forward does cause some real problems. Since the .300 Winchester Magnum is designed to work out of a standard length action, heavier bullets will need to be seated deeper into the case. Since many heavier .30 caliber (7.62 mm) bullets have a long taper, and these bullets will be required to be seated deeper into the case, the neck will end up being positioned in the ogive rather than on the shank of the bullet due to the fact that Winchester had moved the shoulder forward.[4] This prevents the case from having a good grip on the bullet. Under recoil such loosely held bullets in the magazine will be pushed back into the case. Also, if using a highly compressed load the cartridge might “grow” in length and may not be able to fit into the magazine. For these reasons bullets weighing over 200 grains (13 g) are not recommended.[16] Norma goes further recommending that bullets heavier than 180 grains (12 g) not be used with the cartridge.[15]

See also


  1. Accurate Powders load guide v3.5
  2. 2002, Lyman Reloading Handbook, 48th Edition
  3. Haviland, John (September 2007). ".300 Winchester Magnum". pp. 34,101. ISSN 0162-3583. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Hermansen, Carl (July 15, 2008). "Shooting: The .300 Winchester Magnum". Christensen's Hunting Illustrated. Retrieved October 24, 2010. 
  5. Barnes, Frank C. (2006) [1965]. Skinner, Stan. ed. Cartridges of the World (11th ed.). Gun Digest Books. p. 66. ISBN 0-89689-297-2. 
  6. Johnson, Steve, ed (2007). "300 Winchester Magnum" (Hardback). Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading (7th ed.). Grand Island, NE: Hornady Manufacturing Company. pp. 978. Archived from the original on July 27, 2010. Retrieved September 30, 2010. 
  7. Hawks, Chuck. "Rifle Recoil Table". Rifle Information Page. Guns and Shooting Online. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  8. Boddington, Craig. "The Sheep Rifle". Rifle Shooter. Petersen's Publishing. Retrieved October 8, 2010. 
  9. DETAIL SPECIFICATION CARTRIDGE, .300 WINCHESTER MAGNUM MATCH, MK 248 MOD 1 DODIC AB43, NSN 1305-01-568-7504 Revision A March 17, 2009
  10. U.S. Navy Small Arms Ammunition Advancements
  11. $49.9M U.S. Contract for 300 Winchester Magnum Ammo
  12. "Special Weapons and Tactics Team". Retrieved September 28, 2010. 
  13. Anderson, Dave (August 2009). "Magnum force: Kimber's police tactical rifle now chambers the potent .300 Winchester Magnum". Archived from the original on July 13, 2012. Retrieved September 30, 2010. 
  14. Eugene Nielsen (2000). "Barrel Length and Precision Rifle". S.W.A.T.. Archived from the original on October 24, 2010. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 "300 Winchester Magnum". Norma Precision AB. Retrieved October 24, 2010. 
  16. Hawks, Chuck (2004). "The .300 Winchester Magnum". Guns & Shooting Online. Archived from the original on October 10, 2010. Retrieved October 24, 2010. 

External links

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