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Has the 7mm Remington Magnum Lost Its Allure?

For most of its 60 years, the 7mm Remington Magnum has been the hunter's go-to, and it has not lost its luster entirely.

Has the 7mm Remington Magnum Lost Its Allure?

The 7mm Rem. Mag. may have lost some of its luster to new hunting cartridges, but new loadings are still being introduced for the old standby.

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Two major events in the shooting world occurred in 1962. First, Remington announced the new Model 700 bolt-action rifle. Second, the 7mm Remington Magnum cartridge was simultaneously introduced.

As most Shooting Times readers know, the 7mm Rem. Mag. is a belted, “short” magnum like the .264, .338, and .458 Winchester Magnums introduced a few years earlier. The 7mm Rem. Mag. is simply the .264 Win. Mag. necked up, but whereas the .264 Win. Mag. was offered with two bullet choices (a 100-grain JSP for antelope and a 140-grain, two-diameter JSP for mule deer), the 7mm Rem. Mag. was loaded with either 140-, 150-, or 175-grain Core-Lokt bullets. Although initial chamberings of the Model 700 included the .264 Win. Mag., the 7mm Rem. Mag. chambering soon overwhelmed the market, and the .264 Win. Mag. never recovered.

At first, the new round’s only serious competitors were the ever-popular .270 Winchester and .30-06. The .300 Winchester Magnum debuted just a year later. Since then, the 7mm Rem. Mag. and .300 Win. Mag. have dominated the magnum rifle cartridge market. After the Remington Ultra Mags (RUM), Remington Short Action Ultra Mags (RSAUM), and Winchester Short Magnums (WSM) came along around the turn of the 21st century, the magnum rifle scene slowly but surely changed. A belted case was no longer the ubiquitous sign of a magnum cartridge.

When the wildcat .280 Ackley Improved was sponsored by Nosler to become a SAAMI-standard cartridge, it further undermined the 7mm Rem. Mag.’s popularity. Even later, ironically, came the proliferation of the once-neglected 6.5mm (.264 caliber) cartridges. Eventually, the “slowest ever overnight success” 6.5 Creedmoor erupted into the hunting marketplace, and while it is not in the same class as the 7mm Rem. Mag., don’t try to convince the thousands of hunters who prefer its reduced recoil and myriad bullet options of that. Additionally, the recent popularity of the 6.5 PRC has accelerated the decline in popularity of older, proven rifle rounds, including the 7mm Rem. Mag.

I just returned from an Outdoor Sportsman Group editorial roundtable that interrupted my development of test loads for this column. I listened to several presentations about new products that suggested this venerable hunting round has surely slipped in popularity since its introduction 60 years ago. I actually noted new rifles not offered in 7mm Rem. Mag., while other line extensions were going to add the 7mm Rem. Mag. “soon.” But I’m writing this column to demonstrate that the fine old belted 7mm Rem. Mag. has not lost its luster entirely.

I haven’t hunted often, but the few times I’ve gone afield, I carried .270 Winchester, .270 WSM, or .325 WSM rifles. That said, I must have owned a 7mm Rem. Mag. rifle years ago because I have a set of RCBS dies dated 1981, and I purchased a Mauser M18 about a year ago to simply have one on hand for testing ammunition. It’s the rifle I used to develop the loads shown in the accompanying chart.

As for handloading the 7mm Rem. Mag., there is only one special step required to handload safe and top-performing ammo. Ignore the belt and size the case like you would any non-belted, bottlenecked cartridge! If you start with new cases, first enlarge the case neck diameter with a .30-caliber expander. Then incrementally size the neck back down to form a pre-shoulder just above the existing case shoulder so the case will snugly fit your rifle’s chamber. Finally, fireform with a reduced, faster burn rate powder charge topped with an inexpensive jacketed bullet.

When resizing fired brass, adjust the full-length sizer so that it just kisses the shoulder enough that the case will readily chamber. You should use the case shoulder—not the belt—to achieve proper headspace and also extend case life. If you simply resize and repeatedly set the shoulder back too far and then blow it forward when it’s fired, you’ll cause the head to separate sooner than you think it will.

Tens of thousands of rifles and myriad factory ammo and handload options for the 7mm Rem. Mag. are perfectly suitable for hunting any North American game animal. In fact, Remington just introduced a new load that features a polymer-tipped Core-Lokt bullet.

New cartridges have surely diminished the old standby’s popularity, but there’s no need to replace your trusted hunting rifle. Keep it and get one or more in the new “wonder-round” chamberings and then hunt with all of them.

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7mm Remington Magnum Accuracy and Velocity Results Chart



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