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Joined: 10/15/2008
Posts: 5
7mm Mag, 30-06 or ?

Currently, I have a Remington 742 in .30-06, but I'm looking into getting a "new" rifle, primarily for whitetails at this point, but the possibility of hogs or elk exists in the future. I'm looking for a Browning BAR, and found one on 7mm (Mag, I think; I'll have to go check it out closer). The problem is there are too many options and opinions! I've taken a few deer with the 30-06, once with 180gr and once with 168gr, both Winchester ballistic silvertips. The opinions out there are all over the place; some say the difference between the 7mm Mag and 30-06 is minimal, others say you'll shred more meat with the 7mm than 30-06. Looking at reloading data for the 7mm and 30-06, it appears as if the 7mm can be loaded down in a range similar to the '06. I'm sure either will work for deer, but I'd prefer to be able to take them quickly (humanely) with the least damaged meat at ranges of 50yds out to maybe 250yds, and most importantly, I'd like the rifle and/or cartridge to be accurate (more so than the 742).

If it matters, I am most likely to hunt in middle or eastern TN, but may hunt near home in MO at some point.

Thanks for any input.

Dave

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Location: Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Joined: 01/13/2007
Posts: 368
7mm Mag, 30-06 or ?

The Browning BAR in 7 Mag that I have is highly accurate although it has the BOSS on the end of its barrel. My deer load is a 150 gr Swift Sirrocco. Shoots under one inch groups at 100 yds. My only complaint with this rifle is that it is the Light Weight Stalker but I find it to be a heavy rifle to carry. If this is Brownings idea of light weighi, I would need a gun bearer to carry a regular weight model. I do much prefer the BAR over the Remington 742.

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Location: Misouri
Joined: 11/30/2005
Posts: 365
7mm Mag, 30-06 or ?

Nuttn matter with your 06. With todays loads and powder you'd be hard pressed to see much of a difference in external and terminal ballistics.

Don Fischer's picture
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Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3173
Re: 7mm Mag, 30-06 or ?

Welcome to BGH! Thumbs up

The subject of cartridge's, and bullets, is very confussing because they overlap so much. From deer to elk there are cartridges from 6.5 on up that will all do a good job. Much to do is made about ballistic advantages of one bore dia over another when speaking of bullets. Again, for the average hunter at normal hunting ranges, pretty much meaningless. The 180gr spitzer shape bullet, round nose bullet or most premium bullets used within 250yd to 300 yds will all accomplish the same thing when properly placed. The round nose won't fly as flat but more than flat enough. Neither will it maintain its velocity as well but it retains more than enough. The TSX type bullets will shoot thru a deer broadside at 300 yds but so will the others. The TSX type may shoot thru an elk broadside at 300yds, so might the others and for sure a properly chosen bullet will penetrate more than enough to get the job done. The elk will be just as dead with well placed shots.

I like 6.5's and 7mm's, non magnums. I like them because of reduced recoil and they get the job done. Opinions are all over the place because of manufacturer hype. What can a 300 WSM do that a 300 Min Mag can't other than go into a shorter action? Nothing. What can any magnum do that a standard cartridge can't? They can handle the heavier bullets better. The price is recoil.

I don't have a clue how accurate any auto loader is but if you want to have a better chance at better accuracy, I'd go to a bolt action rifle. A lot is made of the quick follow up shot ability of auto loaders but the truth is the best shot your gonna get is the first one, make it count!

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Joined: 10/15/2008
Posts: 5
7mm Mag, 30-06 or ?

Thanks for the input. I'm not necessarily looking to change caliber; It's more that I've been looking for a used BAR, found one in 7mm, and wondered if it would be ok for deer. Obviously, with proper shot placement (like any caliber), it'll do the job, I was mostly concerned about the magnum load being way overkill for a little whitetail, and a handful of people have said the 7mm Mag will cause more damage than a 30-06, although looking at the reloading books, I have a hard time understanding how a 150gr 7mm Mag running 2800-2900fps is THAT much more devastating than a 150gr fired from a 30-06 running 2700-2900. Now if you where comparing a 100gr from a 7mm running 3600fps at the muzzle to a 150gr 30-06 running 2700, I can see where you could get a lot more spoiled meat from the super fast light bullet pretty much exploding on impact... The last deer I took with a 168gr Winchester supreme 30-06 at 150+ yds (I'm amazed I didn't miss considering how inaccurate I've found the 742 to be) had a .30 entrance wound and a .50-.75 exit right through the rib cage.

Don, good point on the first shot is most important; to date, I've never needed to fire more than one shot to take a deer (all have been well placed in the rib cage with instant or near instant drop). I guess part of it is the reduced perceived recoil in an autoloader vs bolt or lever gun. I have a old 30-30 lever action and although it's been a while since I've fired it, as I recall, the perceived recoil is more than that of the 742 with factory hunting loads, although it could all be between my ears .

Old Professor, That's pretty much the level of accuracy I'm looking for in a big game rifle, which my 742 can't even come close to; I'm lucky to get a 1" group at 50yds.

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Joined: 12/03/2005
Posts: 1691
7mm Mag, 30-06 or ?

I agree with "the Donald"(second previous post) in that a bolt action is what you need for the best accuracy. I'd trade the semi 06 for a bolt, get into reloading and you can duplicate any factory load in 7mm mag has and then some. With an 06 and reloading gear you got it all covered.

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Joined: 10/15/2008
Posts: 5
7mm Mag, 30-06 or ?

Well, I found a NICE Browning BAR MkII 7mm Mag with a BOSS brake and scope mount & rings... I'd say with the exception of a few marks on the back of the foregrip where it probably got bumped or something, it appears in near new condition. I'd say the stock feels almost like it's barely been used. The checkering is still sharp (not smoothed down as can happen with use). How's $750 sound? Price on the tag was $960. It's on layaway, so as long as my wife ends up ok with it, I'll probably look at loading rounds with something in the 150gn area running 2700-2900fps with IMR4895 (Is that a good powder for a Semi-Auto rifle?). Had there been one in similar condition for similar deal in .30-06, I would've goe with that, but it came to price and availability.

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Location: Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Joined: 01/13/2007
Posts: 368
7mm Mag, 30-06 or ?

I think that is a fair price! With the BOSS, you can tune the barrel for great accuracy. My accuracy load is: 64 gr IMR 4831 Rem 9 1/2 M primer with the Swift Sirrocco 150 gr bullet. In my BAR w/BOSS, this shoots 7/8" 3 shot groups at 100 yds.

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Location: Montana
Joined: 10/24/2006
Posts: 448
7mm Mag, 30-06 or ?

I really like the BAR and is excellent saddle gun, $575 to 650 in my area

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Location: California
Joined: 09/06/2008
Posts: 1071
7mm Mag, 30-06 or ?

Sigman,

Personally I don't know that I would trade my 06 for ANY 7mm. Your 30 cal will do all that you are asking of both calibers with less recoil and less mess. In addition if the airlines ever lose your ammo on a hunt you can get 06 almost anywhere whereas the more exotic 7mm stuff is harder to find. Now having said that I will admit the 7 is a bit flatter shooting at long ranges and is much faster. It also retains more velocity than the 06 at extreme ranges. However ranges at which responsible hunters will take a shot generaly end before this variance comes in to play.
In the 1960's when Remington first developed it bullet choices were pretty much limited to soft or solid. The fast seven had a reputation for "cratering" on impact rather than penetrating to the vitals but with bullet technology what it is today I would have no worries in this regard. Just pick the right loads and either of these calibers will do what you need. Hell I say have both and don't tell the Wife!!

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Location: Umatilla Rez, Oregon
Joined: 12/10/2007
Posts: 150
7mm Mag, 30-06 or ?

Yep your 06 is just fine, unless you just want another rifle just to have. Ive got a few rifles that just sit in my locker collecting dust as I love my baby, her name is Springfield 300 Win Mag, but I call her Spring for short. She does great job on elk ;-)