Load start for 300 WSM and 300 Win Mag Western Hunts?

jduck1

Beginner
Jun 28, 2019
11
0
Got through this season using factory ammo on my 300 WSM and 300 Win Mag. With this off season the goal is to develop loads for both rifles. I typically will go on an Idaho/Montana/Oregon Mule deer hunt each year where the area is steep, high elevation, cold, and shoots have been in the 300-900 yard range (mostly 350-450) in our hunting party. Then usually have a mid/late season Elk hunt somewhere with the same factors as the Mule deer hunts. Both rifles are Browning X Bolt Western Hunter models and both have Leupold VX5 3x15x44mm CDS Windplex scopes. I am getting MOA groups at 100 and 200 yards with factory ammo. On my WSM I tagged an Idaho Mulley this year at 350yds with factory AB 165 gr and the Win Mag tagged a Bull in Colorado 3rd season at 400 yards with AB LR 190’s in factory Winchester Ammo. I took the WSM for the elk hunt and got some factory 180 AB to shoot ok as a back up to the WIN Mag.
Looking for recommendations on what bullets and weight of bullets to load over the winter to work up a load for each rifle that will cover Western Big game without having to switch up hunt to hunt. Will ultimately choose the one that shoots the best out of each rifle but with so many bullets out there where to start? I was thinking of using the WSM for more of my deer set up and Win Mag for Elk but want both to be effective backups for each other.
Was thinking of WSM in the 180-190 range and Win Mag in the 180-210 range? Open to any suggestions weights or type/make (Nosler, Hornady, Berger, Barnes, etc). As long as the bullet is a good blend of an average to long range performer I will give it a shot.
I currently have a decent stock or IMR 4350, H4350, Hybrid 100V, H4831 SC, and H1000 between myself and hunting buddies to experiment with and access to a range out to 1000 yards to shoot on.
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,398
757
I’d look at the 180 and 200 AB and maybe the 190 ABLR or 210 ABLR myself. I haven’t ever had great luck on paper with the ABLR but if they shoot for you they cover a lot of ground.

If you can get one bullet to shoot in both you won’t see a nickels worth of trajectory or wind difference.

I’d try H1000 and H4350 myself if I was starting with 2.

Good luck and keep us updated.
 

HAWKEYESATX

Handloader
Aug 15, 2016
1,806
59
As stated above, you can't get any better advice.
I've also been given the advice of using 180 gr Nosler Ballistic Tips, and using RL-22.
I would also try the 200 gr Nos BT's.
H4350 will work well for you, as well, since you already have it on hand.


Hawk

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remingtonman_25_06

Handloader
Nov 17, 2005
2,646
12
I'd look at the 165g-180g AB in the 300 WSM and the 200g AB, 208g ELDM, or 210 VLD in the 300 win mag. H4350 for the WSM and H1000 for the win mag is where I would start.
 

jduck1

Beginner
Jun 28, 2019
11
0
So it looks like my thinking of going at least 180 gr on both is the recommended weight. What are the pro's/con's as far as performance with going heavy compared to light? I read that lower weight you can push faster and get good expansion further out. But then going heavier you get better stability/accuracy. Also heavier better expansion at closer distances with less worry of "penciling" through. Trying not to get caught up in hype or trends and want to learn from others experience what works in the real world of actually harvesting animals for the freezer :p Which is another point to think about. I want to harvest ethically but not at the expense of over kill or excessive meat loss/damage.
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,398
757
There is nothing the lighter Bullets will do better in my opinion. If you’re shooting out to 600+ the heavier Bullets will pass the faster started ones and I’m assuming if you’re shooting that far you’re using something to accomplish the drop. The difference in trajectory of a 200 going 2800-2900 from a 165 going 3100-3200 is very negligible at 400 yards while the speed and energy are always on the heavier Bullets side as range increases.

Any of the bullets you mentioned from the 165 AB to the 200-210 Accubonds will work excellent but the 180-200+ will be very good up close and out at the further ranges.

Honestly the 180 or 200 grain Accubonds are very good Bullets and lethal very far out there. There isn’t much that I can think of that I’d think twice about using up to at least moose sized animals.
 

jduck1

Beginner
Jun 28, 2019
11
0
SJB358
Thanks. Great feedback and confirmation of the info I have been gathering. The accuracy of each load will be the determining factor for me in the end but hoping the WSM will settle between 180-190 and the Win Mag in the 200-215 range.

Thanks again!!
 

remingtonman_25_06

Handloader
Nov 17, 2005
2,646
12
Heavy bullets will always work better both up close and further out. They hold together better up close ensuring deeper penetration, and they hit harder and buck the wind better at long range. Plus they are traveling faster than the lighter bullets beyond 500-600 yards anyway, so they still have no issues expanding. I load the 200g ABs at 2850fps out of the 300 Win Mag for several guys in our camp here in Oregon, and they've killed elk from 75 yards to 900 yards without any issues. I would probably just go with the 180g AB in the WSM and the 200g AB in the Win Mag, as an all around bullet from muzzle to 900 yards. They are tough to beat. The ABLRs are pretty soft up close, and I've never personally got any of them to shoot worth a damn out of any rifle. The regular ABs have always been super easy to get shooting 1/2 MOA. The ELDMs and VLDs are also great bullets, but geared more towards the longer ranges since they are also soft and expand to quickly for elk up close. If you want to use them, stay off the shoulder inside 300 yards.
 

jduck1

Beginner
Jun 28, 2019
11
0
remingtonman_25_06,

Again thanks for confirmation. A few years back I took my WSM on an Idaho Elk hunt. Had Factory 190 ABLR in the magazine but had only verified it to 300 yards. So when the bull was at 400 I ended up using my son in laws custom 300 Win Mag that he had dialed and killed several animals out to 880 with already. He loaded 215 Berger Hybrids. I hit the bull dead on the front shoulder. Went down immediatly but that Berger not only fragmented but fraged a bunch of bone and destroyed that shoulder and all the neck meat on that side. There almost wasnt enough meat that wasnt blood shot on that shoulder to pack out. Almost like leaving 1/4 of him on the hill and not in my freezer. I know it was where the bullet hit but that was way too much fragmenting and damage for me.

Last year I used the 165 AB on a Mule deer. First shot was a little high at 350 and then the 250 yd kill shot penciled through his neck like I missed but after skinning found that it went straight through. 3rd shot had to be taken to put him down and needed up with more than wanted wasted meat. A better first shot would have solved the issue but that often happens in real life hunting scenarios.
 

HodgemanAK

Beginner
Oct 23, 2020
210
110
I'd load 180ABs in both. I had great results with Hybrid 100V in my 300WSM and my friend's 300WM.

I've had a load string of successes with the 300/180 combo on caribou, bears, and moose...enough that I don't have any incentive to experiment. Mule deer and elk shouldn't be any different.
 

Elkman

Handloader
Apr 4, 2010
4,551
4
I have been loading and shooting big game with a 300 WM for over 40 years. My most accurate hunting load is 72 gr. of H-4350 with 180 Partition. There are newer bullets that will get the job done and better at longer ranges, so I would encourage you to look at some of those. The WM is an outstanding cartridge and one of the top 10 most used for elk in the US. You can get a little more velocity with other powders but I am running the 180 at about 3050, which has always been enough.. Longest confirmed one shot elk kill, 540 yards. I am sure there were a couple of more a bit farther but that was long before I had a rangerfinder on my belt.
 

DrMike

Ballistician
Nov 8, 2006
35,447
2,208
You've received excellent advice that will stand you in good stead. Your original inclination appears to have been spot on, as confirmed by those who've responded. I loaded 180 grain bullets in my first several 30 WSMs, and they always worked well for me on a variety of game. More recently, I've been loading 200 grain bullets. Velocity and accuracy are excellent, though I've not carried my WSM for a couple of seasons now.
 

mjcmichigan

Handloader
Dec 26, 2016
2,263
29
11f56ed48a8b6814d2ff8ea089b5a6d2.jpg


This worked well in my 300 WM.


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HAWKEYESATX

Handloader
Aug 15, 2016
1,806
59
I have some info here for the 300 Win Mag.
Hope you enjoy!


Hawk Screenshot_20201223-004648~2.jpg

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Double Dropper

Beginner
Jan 13, 2018
26
2
Long range 300 win mag loads....I would look at 75.5 grains of H1000 under a Berger 215 grain variety. Carries the energy waaaay out there. I would also look at 212 ELDX under 8133 (80 ish but confirm that its warm) if you plan to shoot out to 900 yards look to non bonded heavily constructed bullets.
 

hseII

Beginner
Jul 26, 2016
115
0
jduck1":19frlnns said:
So it looks like my thinking of going at least 180 gr on both is the recommended weight. What are the pro's/con's as far as performance with going heavy compared to light? I read that lower weight you can push faster and get good expansion further out. But then going heavier you get better stability/accuracy. Also heavier better expansion at closer distances with less worry of "penciling" through. Trying not to get caught up in hype or trends and want to learn from others experience what works in the real world of actually harvesting animals for the freezer :p Which is another point to think about. I want to harvest ethically but not at the expense of over kill or excessive meat loss/damage.

180 Accubonds in the WSM.
d0ecb590a3e23213570fd7ae1c741d05.jpg


200 Accubonds in the WM.
774b816d14068cb5de71a5a08f501222.jpg


Either of those going in the ~2,900fps will kill anything big enough to die for a long ethical distance.


H4350 for the WSM

H1000 for the WM.

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