The 300 Winchester Magnum is one of the most popular magnum rifle cartridges of all time, owing this impressive status to the extreme versatility of the round and its adoption by a wide range of users, including hunters, target shooters, military units, and law enforcement departments.
The .300 Win Mag (or 300WM) was designed and introduced by Winchester in 1963 to fit into the standard rifle action. The ammunition company designed this rifle cartridge based on the .375 H & H Magnum, essentially, with variations in the case length and neck dimension, to contain .30 caliber bullets.
It is a popular choice for hunting moose, elk, and bighorn sheep as it can deliver better long-range performance with a better bullet weight than most other 30 caliber cartridges. The military adopted this round for long-range sniping and marksmanship. This is possible because it also boasts impressive accuracy, a fact alluded to by the several 1000-yard (910) competitions it has gone on to win.
The 300 WIN MAG's specifications
The case of the .300 WM is belted and bottle-necked. Its length stretches to 2.62 inches, just 0.1 inch longer than its parent cartridge, the .375 H & H magnum, while having a reduced neck dimension of 0.264 inches. The taper is also reduced, providing the cartridge with more volume for the powder. All these help the 300WM fit into the standard rifle.
As said earlier, it is a 30-caliber cartridge, with the bullet diameter of 0.308 inches. There are different bullet weights due to the multiple types that shoot extremely well with the Winchester 300 Win Mag. This cartridge easily carries light and heavy bullets over a distance of 200–300 yards with accuracy and power, from the flat-shooting Ballistic silvertip at 150 grains to the 200 grain Partition.
Typical ballistics for the magnum cartridge is a 180 grain bullet, which can be driven at a muzzle velocity of 3000 fps, creating nearly 4000 ft lbs of muzzle energy.
Rifles chambered in .300WM
This cartridge can be used in every standard rifle. That is literally what it was designed for. You don’t need to have a battery of rifles to hunt a lot of different animals when you have the 300 Winchester magnum. From hunter rifles to sniper rifles, the 300 Winchester Magnum is a good all-round choice.
However, the Winchester magnum cartridge can produce a nasty recoil, especially in a 6-pound rifle. Without a quality cheek pad and brakes, it could loosen a few teeth.
However, in terms of ballistics, the 300 Win Mag has been surpassed in performance by the more powerful .300 Weatherby Magnum and later 300 Remington Ultra Magnum. Nevertheless, because of its iconic and long-standing reputation across the world, as well as the broad availability of ammunition, it is a highly popular caliber and will, I believe, stay so for some time to come. In the munitions sector, it truly is the jack of all trades, master of none, and considerably superior to the masters of one.
It is now clear that Winchester magnum rounds are powerful rounds that exist for the extra reach and punch that many shooters demand. One of the most famous Winchester rounds is the 20th century 300 Winchester Magnum. It has reigned since its inception and will most likely continue to do so in the future.
However, the beginning of the 21st century saw the release of a new Winchester .30 caliber—the.300 Winchester Short Magnum.
The 300 Winchester Short Magnum, or .300 WSM, is a .30 caliber rebated (beltless) rim, bottlenecked centerfire short magnum cartridge that was introduced in 2001 by Winchester. Loosely based on a shortened .404 Jeffery, this short-action cartridge was purportedly designed to match the ballistics of its older Winchester sibling in a lighter rifle with a more rigid action.
Unlike its benevolent older sibling that covers a wide range of use, the 300 WSM is a hunting cartridge that is adequate for big games such as (but not limited to) moose, elks, white-tailed deer, black bear and mule deer.
This Winchester Short Magnum has an overall cartridge length of 2.860 inches and a cartridge case length of 2.100 inches. It is shorter in length than the 1965 Winchester 300 magnum, but makes up for it in volume. With a fatter diameter body of 0.555 inches, it gets the necessary powder volume of up to 80 grains for more uniform ignitions and, theoretically, inherent accuracy.
The .300 WSM has a ballistic diameter of 0.308 inches, which is common for 30-caliber cartridges. A typical bullet weight can be either 150, 180, or 200 grains, traveling at a muzzle velocity of 2800 fps–3300 fps, and creating muzzle energy of up to 3600 ft lb. This makes it reliable ammunition to take down game animals with plenty of killing power.
It also boasts impressive long-range accuracy and a ballistic performance nearly identical to that of the.300 Winchester Magnum, with a shorter action and burning 8–10% less gunpowder.
What rifle is best suited for this round?
Rifles that are suitable for the .300 WSM are short-action rifles. It is shorter, slightly lighter, more compact, and maybe a trifle easier and faster to handle, making it ideal for the round. The recoil for a cartridge producing the energy that the 300 WSM generates is not tame and a real kicker.
The .300 WSM cartridge has certainly proven itself—it has plenty of killing power and will truly take any game animal that a .30-caliber will take, but if your hunting rifle doesn’t feed right, you will end up frustrated. This has been a problem that has frustrated hunters, as well as the fact that due to its staunch shape, it takes up a lot of the magazine capacity.