The 7mm Rem Mag delivers a hefty 160-grain bullet at 300 yards with just a seven-inch drop, following on from a 200-yard zero.
The arrival of the 7mm Remington Magnum in 1962 conveniently coincided with Remington’s new and improved Model 700 series – a design which has stood the test of time, and to this day remains one of the most popular and versatile actions around. This fast, long-range calibre was by no means a new discovery, as its introduction and subsequent take-up by other manufacturers was some 40 years behind the .275 H&H, which had graced hunting rifles since 1912. Although this calibre was discontinued in 1939, future wildcats – including the 7mm Rem Mag – took inspiration from the calibre’s ability to accurately shoot a 175-grain 7mm bullet with a high muzzle velocity and a flat trajectory.
The 7mm Rem Mag is most at home in open country, plains, and mountains, where long-range shots and substantial down-range energy delivery is essential. It is undoubtedly the standard by which all long-range big game calibres are judged, and enjoys a healthy following, with few rifle manufacturers not chambering the calibre in one of their models.
The graph shows rather impressively that with Federal factory ammo, the 7mm Rem Mag delivers a hefty 160-grain bullet at 300 yards with just a seven-inch drop, following on from a 200-yard zero. Compared to the 708 Remington, the 7mm has a clear two-inch advantage, despite the 708 Rem being loaded with a bullet 10 grains lighter. Extend the range to 400 yards, and we can see 6.7in less drop. It achieves this with a whopping 1,778ft/lb, after leaving the muzzle with 2,989ft/lb of energy. Putting this in perspective: The 7mm Rem Mag will deliver a 160-grain bullet at 400 yards with energy almost equal to a 100-grain .243 Win as it leaves the barrel. That’s some serious clobber.
The wind-bucking ability of all three 7mm Magnums mentioned below is almost identical, with less than two inches separating them at 600 yards. With a manageable 4.5in drift over 300 yards against a 10mph wind, the 7mm Rem Mag gives the hunter very little excuse for not landing a decisive shot with every trigger pull. A quick scan of some of the USA-based websites lets you appreciate just what the calibre is capable of – many shooters boast of taking deer at 500 yards. I would never suggest that this was ethical, but it does illustrate what is possible. To add to its credentials, it was also used for some time as a sniper round by America’s secret service, although it has now been superseded by the .300 Win Mag.
On the downside, the 7mm Rem Mag produces some rather unpleasant recoil unless dampened with a muzzle brake, in which case you will end up deaf. But that’s where a moderator comes in – it does wonders for this hard-kicking cartridge, transforming it from a mere one-night-stand into dating material. As with all heavy-recoiling calibres, moderation has the tendency to pull groups in, and makes for a much more pleasant and accurate load development experience.
Like many of its magnum brethren, the 7mm Rem Mag also suffers from relatively short barrel life and hungry powder consumption. Throat erosion will start to become noticeable after around 1,500 rounds, with barrel life generally between 1,500 and 3,000 rounds depending on the load of ammo and make of barrel. That said, unless you are using your rifle for a lot of range days, this could quite easily stretch to 15 years of happy hunting.
The big question is: How does it compare to other 7mm Magnums? There is no denying that a straight comparison across wind drift, energy, trajectory, and velocity puts the 7mm Rem Mag at the bottom of the list. But the differences are barely worth mentioning. The Weatherby Magnum may be superior on paper, but its advantages are outweighed by even more severe recoil and shorter barrel life. To this end, and due to the greater availability of rifles in the 7mm Rem Mag, the Weatherby has never quite enjoyed the same success as Remington’s offering.
The much newer kid on the block, the Winchester Short Magnum, may just throw a spanner in the works. The jury is still out here, and it has not gained the same popularity despite proving to be more accurate for long-range shooting. As always, you have to ask yourself just how far you are going to be shooting game at. Out to 300 yards, which is generally accepted as the furthest distance for an ethical shot, there isn’t a hair between the calibres. What may be a swaying factor is the far superior availability of rifles and ammo for the Remington. BP