Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Thousand Yard Conspiracy - Part 2: .300 winmag vs. .300 wsm

I've chosen to chamber my 1000 yard rifle in .300 winmag, for various reasons I listed in part 1 of this series.

I've had a couple comments, and more than a couple emails, trying to convince me the .300 wsm is the better choice.

Seriously, I'm being lobbied behind the scenes by hardcore WSM boosters guys. These folks are PASSIONATE about their choice.

So, I'm willing to listen. Let's talk about this and come to a conclusion.

First, lets just look at the plusses and minuses of each, as I see them:

.300 Winchester magnum
  • Well known and proven performer at all ranges within my envelope
  • Lots of great load data and accessories
  • Lots of great factory match grade ammo in heavy weight loadings
  • Lots of great long and heavy bullets
  • Feeds reliably
  • You can find good quality ammo almost anywhere
  • Belted magnum cases are a pain for reloading
  • Longer
  • Heavier
  • Slightly more recoil
  • Actions are slightly less rigid
  • Slightly less effective barrel length because it's longer
  • Slightly lower performance with shorter barrels
.300 wsm
  • Lots of new benchrest, competiton, and hunting data
  • Can also use most .300 winmag data
  • Can generally use the same bullets as .300 winmag
  • Shorter
  • Lighter
  • Actions slightly more rigid
  • Slightly better performance with shorter barrels
  • Slightly more effective barrel length because it's shorter
  • MAY be very slightly more accurate
  • Easier to reload
  • Far less available commercial march grade ammo
  • Long and heavy bullets may need to be seated deeper than optimal
  • Limitations on length to feed from box magazine
  • Problems with feed reliability due to fat case with steep shoulder, and long cartridge for action
  • No factory loadings above 180gr
  • Ammo is much less available than .300 winmag

As of right now, my choice is winmag, based on feed reliability, the ability to use long and heavy bullets in a repeater without seating too deeply, and the availability of good factory ammo, nearly everywhere.

So, while I can still change my order if I want to, somebody convince me one way or the other; that I should go with the wsm, or the winmag.