Factory Ammo 300 WSM Mule Deer and Elk in one Idaho hunt?


Jun 28, 2019
I was lucky this year and drew an Elk tag in Idaho that is the same area where we already had a planned Mule Deer hunt. Deer opens Oct. 10 and Elk Oct 15th. So plan is to hunt deer first 4 days and scout at the same time for Elk. I have an X Bolt 300 WSM . It has Leupold VXi 3 4.5x14x 40mm CDS scope .The area we will be hunting is steep open areas. Not much timber/trees and the average shot for deer over the past 5 years is 250-300 yards with opportunities longer occasionally. The basecamp we day hike from is around 6200 ft. elevation and we quickly climb and hunt in the 7,000-8,500 ft. range. Often there is snow on the ground or at least close to cold enough for snow to fall most of the trip.

Wish I had time to load but won’t. So looking for factory ammo suggestions. Right now leaning towards Federal w/ 180gr Accubonds or 180gr Partitions, Winchester ABLr 190Gr, or same in Nosler Custom. Any other suggestions or confirmation of one I listed?
Thanks in advance!
jduck1":1c9fjgxk said:
Wish I had time to load but won’t. So looking for factory ammo suggestions. Right now leaning towards Federal w/ 180gr Accubonds or 180gr Partitions, Winchester ABLr 190Gr, or same in Nosler Custom. Any other suggestions or confirmation of one I listed?
Thanks in advance!
I think you are on the right track. The Federal Loads with the 180 gr. AccuBond & Partition would be a great place to start. The Nosler loadings with the same bullets would also be great. Nothing wrong with the Winchester stuff either but I would stay with the 180 gr. AccuBond or Partition. Best of luck!
Your problem is easy to solve, buy a box of the Federal in each loading, see which one shoots the best in your rifle and hunt that. You will have some ammo to practice with and plenty to hunt with. Either one will do the job on both animals, I have always preferred the 180 gr, and have used them on elk and deer back to back.
Thank you for the reply.
I guess that was my real question. Will either of the 180 gr AB or Part bullets or the 190 ABLR work for both Elk and Mule Deer for the type of hunt I have above?

I was leaning towards the 180's anyways but as long as I pick the one that is most accurate I will be fine, correct?

Any other rounds to throw in the mix that are worth a try?

Sorry for all the questions. Have only chased Blacktail in CA where a 150gr or less round of anything will drop the German Shepards with horns :p Want to be sure I am shooting the best combo of bullet/Caliber/Speed/weight.

You've received excellent advice. Any of the three bullets will work very well indeed for both elk and mulies. Looking forward to hearing about your hunt.
Don't want to throw a monkey wrench into the works as it sounds like your picks are great but don't discount the Federal load with the 180 grain Trophy bonded bullet. They are very accurate and work well on a wide variety of big game.
Have had great success on big game of several species with the 180 gr AccuBond in my 300 WSM, including elk and mule deer.
Have had great results with Federal ammunition loaded with AccuBonds and Partitions in various calibers (280 Rem to 338 Win Mag) over the years at various elevations and temperatures. Go forth with confidence if your rifle shoots either well.
Good Luck on your adventure!
If I was going after both with my 300 WSM on the same hunt I personally would us one of the 168gr Mono bullets. TSX, TTSX or E Tip or the ABLR. Just as stout and can be pushed faster therefore flatter for longer shots.
Finally was able to get to the range and tests some rounds. Rifle and scope all new so I had to shoot a few rounds at 25 to get close on paper. Then took it out to 100 yards. I held DC on all shots. Temp was in the mid 90's in CA and by the time I got to the AB rounds I had a decent cross wind right to left. I tried to let the barrel cool but with the outside temp it really didn't cool much. I was at a public range so we had 15 min to shoot and then a 5 min break to retrieve targets. My shot sequence was:

1st Bottom right corner of the pic Federal Fusion 180 gr
2nd Top Federal Premium Nosler Partition 180 gr
3rd Middle Federal Premium Nosler AccuBond 180 gr
4th Bottom Middle Winchester Expedition Nosler AccuBond LR 190gr

Hopefully the pic will show up but groups for the conditions were not bad. I felt a little rushed due to the timing restraints at the range. I found the first two groups were a little more consistent but also think the crosswind picking up and barrel never really cooling might have played a roll in the last two groups being a little off. May have been also due to getting a little fatigued in the heat and banging out 20+ shots in a couple hours.
In general I didn't really get a "this is the one" group. I might try and go back Saturday and shoot the same all over again and this time bring my friends lead sled instead of using the ranges front rest and rear sand bags set up. I do need to make the choice soon to get my CDS turret ordered in time to practice more before the trip in October.

Anything in the pics that stand out to anyone?


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I guess the top one, but to be brutally honest I wouldn't be happy with any of those groups at 100 yards.
In those conditions you describe it couldn't have been comfortable.
It would be ok shooting a deer or elk at 100 yards, but anything over 200 yards the spread would start to grow to such an extent wounding could occur.
Maybe get a friend to join you next time and see if he groups the same, it might be a number of things.
Best of luck on your hunt.
Thanks for the feedback. I did a little tweaking before heading out today. Got my factory 4lb trigger down to 3lbs. And read up on how to properly adjust my parallax side focus. Also borrowed my buddies lead sled. Got out early and took my time between shots. I cleaned my bore so fired a 3 round group of Fusion 150gr as a fouling group. Then shot the same groups in reverse order of last time. 1st Winchester Expedition 190 gr ABLR, 2nd Federal 180 AB, 3rd Federal 180 Partition, Last Federal Fusion 180. I then shot another group of 180 AB and 190 AB LR without my muzzle break on

Results at 100 yards with no crosswind high 80’s-low 90’s:

180 AB 3 shots almost touching 3/4” group

190 AB LR 3 shots just under 1”

Rest we’re 1 1/4” groups.

Groups without the break on bumped up to 1 1/2”

It still looks like as my barrel gets hot and can’t cool enough between groups that the group increases around 1/4”. Same results last week as my order to shoot was flipped.
So ballistics they are all close. Anyone of them better than the other or I can’t go wrong for Elk and Deer with any of the 4?

Nosler AB LR 190
Nosler AB 180
Nosler Partition 180
Fusion 180

Average shoots will be 250-350 range.
I've hunted nearly exclusively with the 180AB in my .300WSM since 2006.

I think in the WSM, the 180AB is perhaps the best "all around" bullet out there. I've shot stuff from small caribou and a wolf all the way up to bull moose and a bear from point blank to 400 yards. I've gotten good bullet performance on all animals at all ranges to date.

Hard to go wrong with this one.
It looked to me like the Fed 180 NP in group #2 shot the best. You shouldn't really be thinking about ballistics (BC, energy, or drop) in the 250-350 yard range, but you should see which one of the box ammo you have, shoots the best at those distances. Use the one that has the smallest group at 350 yards.


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Anything good for elk will "handle" a deer just fine. That 180 will work like a champ.