.300 Win Mag Ammo

.300 Win Mag

300 Win Mag: In Depth

The mere mention of big game cartridges is enough to get most folks rubbing their shoulders with sympathy pains. Others seem to delight in the hardest hitting, and biggest barking cartridges they can get their hands on; all in the pursuit of knockdown power. Back when African safari hunting was enjoying its classical period at the beginning of the 20th century, the .375 H&H was certainly among the more popular options for such an activity due to its massive muzzle energy (in excess of 4,300 ft-lbs w/ a 300-gr. bullet). It was big. It also featured a “belt” near the head of the case, which aided in headspacing the narrow-shouldered cartridge.

Many different cartridges based on the .375 H&H case arrived in the following decades. Holland and Holland’s own .300 H&H, .300 Weatherby Magnum, and .308 Norma Magnum were all .30 caliber offshoots released between the 1920s and late 1950s, and there were many more ranging in size from .243 all the way to .470 caliber! By the early 60s, Remington and Winchester had been locked in a years-long struggle for supremacy among North American big-game hunters, with every few years seeing a new release that spurred the other manufacturer back to action. .264 Winchester Magnum (released 1959) and 7mm Remington Magnum (released 1962) had each occupied “top spot” recently, as these cartridges were able to squeeze into “normal” length rifle actions (think .30-06 Springfield length) rather than the extra long, and therefore more expensive, magnum actions of some big-game rifles.

And so, eager to bump off the 7mm Rem Mag as soon as possible, Winchester released a competing cartridge the very next year, in 1963. The .300 Win Mag, short for Winchester Magnum, could handle a variety of bullet weights – commonly 150-gr. to 200-gr. – at speeds well over 3,000/fps. Though recoil was considerable compared to 7mm Rem Mag, the undeniable power advantage was still attractive to many. Notably, it also retained the “belt” that figured into so many of the .375 H&H-derived cartridges. Over the years, popularity of this round grew to the point that most of the other .375 H&H descendants were largely forgotten – ironically, not the 7mm Rem Mag, however. Both magnums have been part of the historic fabric of hunting culture in the US since the early 60s, and .300 Win Mag in particular has been a go-to for moose, elk and other large ungulates all the way up to grizzly bears. Since it shoots so flat, .300 Win Mag has also been popular for hunting at long distances (800 to 1000-yds or more), and is still used by US military and law enforcement organizations in various sniper programs. Overall, this is a cartridge for serious work that won’t be anyone’s first choice for plinking on a Saturday afternoon. Rather, this is a capable round that’s willing and ready for action against the biggest, farthest away, four-legged targets on the continent.

.300 Win Mag: Guns

Bolt-action and semi-auto rifles are both available in this chambering, with the former outnumbering the latter in a big way. Many rifles feature synthetic stocks, which make them lightweight and more ideal for lugging around during a hunt. However, be wary of going too light, since this cartridge definitely kicks. The round is big and powerful, but not so big that it needs an extra-long (magnum length) action. In fact, one of its original draws was that it could fit into the same-length action as a .30-06 Springfield round (long-action). Still, balancing rifle weight with recoil expectations should be a primary concern when you’re shopping for a .300 Win Mag gun. Pro training and careful attention to rifle fitment can help you avoid developing a flinch, which can be common with this round.

Bolt-Action Rifles

  • Winchester Model 70
  • Remington 700
  • Bergara B-14 HMR 
  • Ruger Hawkeye 
  • Browning X-Bolt
  • Tikka T3X

Semi-Auto Rifles

  • Browning BAR
  • Great Lakes GL-10

Why Choose .300 Win Mag?

This round is definitely among the more powerful big-game hunting cartridges out there. If you’re looking for one cartridge that will handle nearly any (non-bird) hunting in North America, and you’re not overly recoil sensitive, this is it. Obviously, it can be overkill for small or even some medium sized game at close range, but it will absolutely do the job! In fact, with the exception of the largest bears at full charge, there’s not many animals that can handle even a poorly placed shot from a .300 Win Mag, at least not in the US. Also, newer cartridges than this one now dominate most long-range shooting disciplines, but it’s still capable of incredible performance far beyond 1,000-yds with the right loading (usually with heavy-for caliber projectiles at or above 200-gr.)


  • Perfect for long-range shots on larger game like elk, moose, and bear. Pretty much anything in North America can be hunted with this cartridge.
  • Power to spare for whitetail deer and antelope, as well as any small-medium game or hogs.


  • Common cartridge for sniper programs across the US military and domestic law enforcement organizations.
  • Good to go out to 1,000-yds or more with standard loadings, can be pushed much farther before going transonic with heavy-bullet loads like Federal’s 215-gr. GMM (1,500-yds or more).

.300 Win Mag: Ammo Brands and Loadings

Most loads for .300 Win Mag are designed for long-distance shots on medium to large game. Most common to factory ammo are the 150-gr. and 180-gr. soft point or polymer-tipped bullets, but 165-gr. loads are also popular. The heaviest bullets are found in match (competition shooting) loads and feature polymer-tipped projectiles north of 200-grs. If you handload, you can also take advantage of light-for-caliber bullets in the 125-gr range. Overall, 180-gr. loads are still more-or-less the standard after decades and perform very well on large game.


Standard Loading

  • 180-gr. SP or Polymer-Tip @ 3,000/fps

Bullet Types

  • Polymer Tip / Ballistic Tip - Hunting, match
  • JSP (Jacketed Soft Point) - Hunting, target
  • HPBT (Hollow Point Boat Tail) - Match, target

Bullet Weights

  • 150-gr. - Medium game / standard loading
  • 165-gr. - Medium game
  • 180-gr. - Large game / standard loading
  • 200-gr. - Large game
  • 220-gr. - Match / competition


  • 150-gr. - 3,250/fps
  • 165-gr. - 3,050/fps
  • 180-gr. - 2,950/fps
  • 200-gr. - 2,750/fps to 2,850/fps
  • 220-gr. - 2,600/fps to 2,750/fps

.300 Win Mag: FAQ

Anything in North America! This is a do-it-all hunting cartridge for deer, elk, moose, bear (and anything smaller than deer if you want to turn it inside-out).

For an extended discussion of hunting with .300 Win Mag, check out this article by hunter and gun writer Phil Massaro, which is full of specific tips for a variety of animals under different circumstances.

The recoil is significant – more than 7mm Rem. Mag, for instance. However, since this is not a plinking cartridge, the amount you shoot is likely to be low, especially when you’re actually out in the field hunting. Recoil during hunting won’t be an issue.

However, if you’re using this cartridge to shoot long distance competition or otherwise target shooting, get the weight of your rifle up as much as possible to help with felt recoil, and pay close attention to your body mechanics and rifle fitment. High-volume shooting with this round will punish you if you’re not careful.