January 04, 2018
By Layne Simpson
Not long after Remington introduced the 8mm Magnum in 1979, I necked its case up and down to various calibers. At the time, the 7mm version made the most sense for a hard-hitting, super-fast, flat game taker. This was simply because the popular 7mm Remington Magnum and 7mm Weatherby Magnum cartridges were on the shortened Holland & Holland belted case, while our most popular rifles - the Winchester Model 70, Remington Model 700, and Weatherby Mark V - were quite capable of handling cartridges on the full-length case. I initially called that cartridge the 7mm Remington Maximum, but by the time the first rifle was built in the caliber, I decided to rename it the 7mm Shooting Times Westerner as a dedication to the magazine's readers.
Powders of super-slow burn rates required for maximum velocities from the cartridge were quite scarce, so the new wildcat languished until new ones arrived. Then came slow-burners such as IMR-7828, H5010, H1000, and Reloder 22, and it was time to see how fast the big cartridge could run.
7mm STW (Shooting Times Westerner)
Primer: Remington 9 ½
Max Length: 2.850 inches
Trim Length: 2.840 inches
OAL: 3.650 inches
Right from the start, the Nosler 140-grain Ballistic Tip and Sierra GameKing of the same weight proved to be extremely accurate. I have used both to take quite a few whitetail and pronghorn antelope at longish ranges and have even used the Ballistic Tip to bump off a caribou or two, but they are too soft to use on larger game.
Simpson's Favorite 7mm STW Loads
|Bullet||Powder (Type)||Powder (Grs.)||Velocity (fps)|
|Sierra 120-gr. SPT||VV N170||81.0||3611|
|Barnes 130-gr. XBT||H1000||80.0||3562|
|Nosler 140-gr. Ballistic Tip||Reloder 22||75.0||3378|
|Swift 150-gr. Scirocco||Reloder 25||82.0||3362|
|Nosler 160-gr. Partition||H50BMG||92.0||3128|
|Remington 160-gr. C-L Ultra||AA 8700||89.0||3220|
|Sierra 168-gr. MatchKing||Reloder 25||75.0||3102|
|Swift 175-gr. A-Frame||VV 20N29||93.0||3045|
|NOTES: Velocity is the average of five rounds measured 12 feet from the muzzle of a Rifles, Inc. Custom Model 700 with a Shilen 26-inch barrel. Remington cases and Remington 91/2 primers were used in all loads. All powder charges are maximum and should be reduced by 10 percent for starting loads.|
For elk, tougher 160-grain bullets such as the Nosler Partition and Swift A-Frame are better choices. Several Shooting Times readers have told me about using the Sierra 175-grain GameKing and the Speer 175-grain Grand Slam on elk and moose with complete satisfaction. I have no plans to shoot a brown bear with the 7mm STW, but if I were to change my mind, I would simply load the Swift 175-grain A-Frame in the neighborhood of 3,050 fps and head to Alaska.
As hunting seasons continue to come and go, I more often keep life simple by using a good 150- or 160-grain bullet on everything from mice to moose. The 150-grain Swift Scirocco, the 160-grain Nosler AccuBond, and the Remington 160-grain Core-Lokt Ultra are excellent choices. And when loaded to 3,200 fps and zeroed 3 inches high at 100 yards, they are just about dead-on-the-money at 300 yards and less than a foot low at 400 yards--where they are still packing more than 2,000 foot-pounds of punch. For long-range paper punching, the Sierra 168-grain MatchKing is extremely accurate in all my rifles.