Spomer on Shooting: Choosing Sevens

Ron Spomer
Ron Spomer

Seven millimeter calibers, better known as 7mms, throw .284-inch diameter bullets that are perfectly sized to terminate any game on Earth.

From the 120-year-old 7x57mm Mauser to the newest 28 Nosler, hunters are swamped with a dizzying array of centerfire cartridges in this bore size. This raises a challenge: how do you pick the best one?

Before you begin winnowing the field, consider this list of 7mm centerfires from the smallest to the largest, more or less. It’s not a complete list, either.

 

7-30 Waters

7x57mm Mauser

7mm-.08 Rem.

.284 Win.

.280 Rem.

7x65mm R.

7mm Sharpe & Hart

7mm RSAUM

7mm WSM

7mm Rem. Mag.

7mm Wby. Mag.

7mm Dakota

7mm STW

7mm RUM

28 Nosler

 

How do you begin whittling this list down? First, determine if you want to buy factory ammo or handload your own. Many of these rounds are hard to find. Even some of the brass is rare. Next decide how much you want to spend on ammo. 7mm-.08 Rem. and 7mm Rem. Mag. will be easier to find in a variety of loads/bullets and are reasonably priced as compared to less common rounds.

Consider rifle size next. The big cartridges require standard or magnum length actions and usually long barrels in order to cycle and reach velocity potential. The 7mm RUM, for example, hits its full potential in a 30-inch barrel, great for long range sniping, not so fun in woods and brush. It and the STW also require magnum length actions, harder to find, more expensive, heavier, and longer than standard or short actions.

A few of the 7mm centerfire cartridges line up to win your vote. The famous 7x57mm Mauser is on the far left, the 7mm RUM far right. The 28 Nosler is missing, as are several others.
A few of the 7mm centerfire cartridges line up to win your vote. The famous 7x57mm Mauser is on the far left, the 7mm RUM far right. The 28 Nosler is missing, as are several others.

The 28 Nosler is said to reach full potential in a 26- or 28-inch barrel. It fits through a standard length action, same as the 7mm Rem. Mag., 7mm Dakota, 7mm Wby Mag., and .280 Rem. For even less weight and a shorter overall rifle length, consider the short-action .284 Win., 7mm-.08 Rem., 7×57 Mauser, 7mm RSAUM, and 7mm WSM. Those last two match 7mm Rem. Mag. velocities in a short-action rifle, but ammo will be harder to find.

Your last worry, really, is power. No bullet from any of these cartridges is going to bounce off a deer or elk. Karamojo Bell shot 1,000 elephants using the little 7x57mm Mauser and 175-grain bullets.

Don’t worry about muzzle velocity and a flat, long-range trajectory if you use a laser rangefinder, either. Once you know your bullet’s trajectory curve and the precise distance to the target, you merely hold over the necessary amount to compensate for any bullet drop. Flat trajectory provides a reach advantage if you use the Maximum Point Blank Range system. In that case, the faster the better so long as you can tolerate the recoil of the harder-kicking big magnums.

The best news of all is that any of these 7mms, except the 7-30 Waters, which is the 30-30 Win. necked down, will handle all the game you’ll ever hunt so long as you use the right bullet and put it in the right place. Bullet placement isn’t everything, just most of it.

 

Shop Sportsman’s Guide NOW for a great selection of 7mm Ammo!

Shop Sportsman’s Guide NOW for a great selection of other Rifle Ammunition!

 

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