Q: I hope you are well. I really enjoy your website and videos and I have a question that I would really appreciate your insight on.
I live in South Africa and been hunting from a young age. I currently own a Ruger M77 7mm Rem Mag and I have shot most of plains game in SA with my 7mmRM. I really love the rifle and the caliber. As you described in one of your videos that the 7mmRM is one of the best all-around cartridges and I agree with this.
One night I was having a discussion with some friends of mine and the question about why I shoot a 7mmRM came up. Most of these friends of mine shoot the “normal” hunting calibers that are popular are SA 308, 30-06, 270, and lately 6.5 Creedmoor.
Their argument is that my 7mmRM shoots flatter, kicks more, uses more powder, and burns barrels faster than their normal calibers but it would never outshoot their rifles. They can do with their rifles everything that a 7mmRM can do. They further argued that ammo and even reloading components for their rifles are more readily available than for mine.
Now I Iove my 7mmRM and I always believe that every rifle caliber was made for a specific purpose but from that night I started thinking maybe they are right. Do you really need 7mmRM to hunt in SA? Maybe I should buy a 308? The cost per round for 308 is cheaper, barrel life much longer, ammo and reloading components more readily available, and recoil is much less. So basically buying a 308 I will be able to shoot more on the same budget.
On the other hand, I don’t want to kick myself for selling my 7mmRM which to me is one of the best all-round calibers for hunting.
Your insight would be appreciated.
A: Dear Corrie, your friends have sown the seeds of doubt, but you don’t have to water them.
Yes, the other rounds you mention will suffice for the Africa plains game, but none match the potential of the 7mm Rem. Mag. Is it more powerful than you need? Maybe. But what if the 6.5 CM or 270 or 308 prove underpowered? I don’t believe they are, but when a 1,800-pound eland steps in front of you, a 175-gr. from the 7mm at 2,850 fps sounds a lot more desirable than a 143-gr. at 2,750 fps.
As for ammo prices and barrel life, how many boxes of ammo are you burning up each year? Are you shooting so much that you’re going to burn out a barrel? Sensibly shot, a 7 RM barrel should retain hunting accuracy for 3,000 rounds. That’s 150 twenty-round boxes of ammo.
As for ammo prices, yeah, you can probably save $ with 308 or 6.5 CM, but in the great scheme of things what percentage of your hunting budget is gobbled up by ammo as opposed to gas, food, etc?
My biggest reason for keeping the 7 would be its reach. If you rarely shoot beyond 300 yards, no advantage, but if you engage targets from 300 yards to 600 yards, the 7 gives a significant advantage. Less drop and drift, more retained energy. If you handload you should definitely stick with the 7 (unless recoil makes you flinch.) You can handload to make it shoot/recoil like a 7×57 Mauser or 7mm-08 Rem.
Maybe instead of trading for another rifle, you should keep the 7 and procure something like a 6.5 CM or even 243 Win for the smaller stuff. I’ve had good success taking the smaller antelope from red hartebeest on down with 243 Win, impala on down with 223 Rem. Both are low recoiling, inexpensive, and just plain fun. Play and train and practice with those, hunt with the 7mm where prudent.
I know you can take anything in Africa with your 7mm as well as the others you mentioned. It’s all about the right bullet in the right place. The 7 just makes putting it in the right place a little easier over a longer distance.
Dump 7mmRM for 308 or 6.5 Creedmoor? — Ron Spomer Outdoors is written by Ron Spomer for www.ronspomeroutdoors.com