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Thread: .325 WSM vs. .300 mag terminal ballistics

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    Member Valley Trash's Avatar
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    Default .325 WSM vs. .300 mag terminal ballistics

    I was in a local gun shop today, making my weekly unsuccessful search for powder. I should have just walked away while I had the chance, but in a moment of weakness I found myself peeking at the gun racks, specifically at the LH bolts. Although a 5% chance at best, the thought came up that I could draw a Kodiak Brown Bear tag in about a month, and It may not be a bad idea to carry something a little larger than my .300-win mag.

    Well, the salesman ended up putting a .325-WSM Savage 16FLHSS (stainless synthetic) in my hands. My first thought was "This is not my Grandpa's Savage!" They've really improved the feel and quality of these guns since I owned one back in the '90's. In fact, I'd dare say this gun fit me better than any I've held before. The length was perfect (although maybe too light for a magnum. I could go on, but I'll get to the point.

    Is there really enough advantage (terminal balistics) of the .325-WSM over the .300-WM to justify making a trade? They both drive a 200 grain bullet around the same speed. Would the extra 0.015-inch diameter make a difference on a 10-foot brown bear (A guy can dream!)? I'm thinking probably not, but not sure.

    They do make a .338-win mag in LH, but it is a little longer and a little heavier. I haven't had a chance to hold one yet, so maybe I'd like it as much.

    I do understand the availability and cost of ammo issues for the .325, so for the sake of this comparison (.325 vs .300) leave that out. I'm a reloader in training and would look forward to the challenge.

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    Moderator Snyd's Avatar
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    If you get the .325 you can load up some 220gr A-frames. I'm getting about 2750fps with 220 gr gamekings with my 325 with no pressure signs. I'm going to bump it up a little. I think I can break 2800 with the 220. A 220gr A-frame at 2800fps would do it. I would think a 200gr TSX would be another good option.

    As far as ammo availability goes. Heck, I was in SW here over the past few months and 325 was about all they had! Everything else was sold out!

    But, if you want a brown bear gun and already have a 300win mag why not just buy a 375H&H or 375 RUM or something BIG ?!

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    I handload 250 grain Barnes to about 2600 fps... I dont see an advantage getting the .325 or the .338. But to each his own,but to me the .300 mag. does it all, from 150 to 250 grain.

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    Moderator Snyd's Avatar
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    You must have a stash of those old 250gr 30 cal Barnes originals huh?

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    Premium Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valley Trash View Post
    I was in a local gun shop today, making my weekly unsuccessful search for powder. I should have just walked away while I had the chance, but in a moment of weakness I found myself peeking at the gun racks, specifically at the LH bolts. Although a 5% chance at best, the thought came up that I could draw a Kodiak Brown Bear tag in about a month, and It may not be a bad idea to carry something a little larger than my .300-win mag.

    Well, the salesman ended up putting a .325-WSM Savage 16FLHSS (stainless synthetic) in my hands. My first thought was "This is not my Grandpa's Savage!" They've really improved the feel and quality of these guns since I owned one back in the '90's. In fact, I'd dare say this gun fit me better than any I've held before. The length was perfect (although maybe too light for a magnum. I could go on, but I'll get to the point.

    Is there really enough advantage (terminal balistics) of the .325-WSM over the .300-WM to justify making a trade? They both drive a 200 grain bullet around the same speed. Would the extra 0.015-inch diameter make a difference on a 10-foot brown bear (A guy can dream!)? I'm thinking probably not, but not sure.

    They do make a .338-win mag in LH, but it is a little longer and a little heavier. I haven't had a chance to hold one yet, so maybe I'd like it as much.

    I do understand the availability and cost of ammo issues for the .325, so for the sake of this comparison (.325 vs .300) leave that out. I'm a reloader in training and would look forward to the challenge.

    IMO....the 325 WSM has no honest advantage over your 300 win mag. The sectional density and penetration will be slightly better than the 8mm bullet of equal weight and bullet design when compared to your 300. If you want to talk of an honest jump in performance.........pick up a 338 Ruger Compact mag. 250 grain bullets offered by EVERY major bullet manutfacturer......that is a real advantage and a real jump in performance when compared to the 325 WSM which to me......should be more compared to a 30 cal. than a 338 cal.

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    Member AKbarehunter's Avatar
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    Default Hype to retail

    IN MY OPINION: All the WSM, and most of the other "new" calibres are nothing more than a marketing ploy. You will be dazzled by the FPS, sectional density, and MOA, but it all means squat to the average hunter.

    The .06, and .300 WM have killed everything in Alaska that is huntable. If I was in "big brown bear" country I may go heavier. But again, I would stick with the "standard" cartridges. For example, if my pack came loose and all my 375 RUM ammo fell out, the hunt would be over because chances of finding someone in the field with that calibre is slim to none. However, if I lost my .375 H&H ammo I am sure someone I ran across would loan me a few rounds to continue the hunt.

    There is nothing that is going to make up for a less than adequate shot. Killing with the first round is always the most desireable. With that being said, NOTHING MAKES UP FOR SHOT PLACEMENT.

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    Member Valley Trash's Avatar
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    Default Thanks for the replies

    Every time someone comes on here and asks a question like "which gun should I buy, the Remington or the ........" There are always people who tell them, "get the one that fits you best." "try several and see which one you are most comfortable with, etc. etc...". Well that's what happened, I picked up this specific model and it fit like a glove, it just happened to be the WSM model.

    I understand that the larger calibers, like a .375, are better bear killers. But I don't want one. It would be used for my once in a lifetime brown bear hunt and then sit in my gun case while my .280 became my primary moose gun. If I traded my .300 for a .325 WSM, or possibly a .338 WM, I'd get much more use out of it. I consider myself a recoil weannie, but can handle my .300 just fine. If someone made a 35 Wheelen or .350-Rem mag, or even a .338-06 in LH, I'd have one. Left hand shooters are very limited, and local shops don't carry most of the options we do have.

    I'd really like to get one of the three calibers mentioned above (35 Wheelen, .350-Rem mag, or .338-06) for my T/C Encore....but a single shot on a brown bear hunt!...maybe that's a subject for another thread.

    So far the consensus (with the exception of Snyd, who does own one) confirms what I thought, that there really isn't an advantage in terminal ballistics of the .325 over the .300.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I have a 325 A-Bolt, I really like it. ultimately is there a situation where a 300 win wouldn't kill the same animal just as dead. Probably not. That said it doesn't beat me up too bad and the ballistics are pretty impressive, and it does make a slightly bigger hole

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    Quote Originally Posted by Valley Trash View Post
    Every time someone comes on here and asks a question like "which gun should I buy, the Remington or the ........" There are always people who tell them, "get the one that fits you best." "try several and see which one you are most comfortable with, etc. etc...". Well that's what happened, I picked up this specific model and it fit like a glove, it just happened to be the WSM model.

    I understand that the larger calibers, like a .375, are better bear killers. But I don't want one. It would be used for my once in a lifetime brown bear hunt and then sit in my gun case while my .280 became my primary moose gun. If I traded my .300 for a .325 WSM, or possibly a .338 WM, I'd get much more use out of it. I consider myself a recoil weannie, but can handle my .300 just fine. If someone made a 35 Wheelen or .350-Rem mag, or even a .338-06 in LH, I'd have one. Left hand shooters are very limited, and local shops don't carry most of the options we do have.

    I'd really like to get one of the three calibers mentioned above (35 Wheelen, .350-Rem mag, or .338-06) for my T/C Encore....but a single shot on a brown bear hunt!...maybe that's a subject for another thread.

    So far the consensus (with the exception of Snyd, who does own one) confirms what I thought, that there really isn't an advantage in terminal ballistics of the .325 over the .300.
    You might be looking at this from the wrong angle. What animal could tell the difference shot with a 300 or a 325. Probably none. The practical useful ballistcs of the two are so close to equal. We humans split ballistics hairs until we convince ourselves that one is better than the other. If you like the rifle and the caliber is adequate for your uses, go for it and try something new. As for ammo...if you can't hang on to your ammo when in the field, you need more help than a new rifle can bring you. I would never let the oddity or rarity of a caliber keep me from buying the rifle I like. Buy it, use it, believe in it.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Moderator Snyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valley Trash View Post
    ....So far the consensus (with the exception of Snyd, who does own one) confirms what I thought, that there really isn't an advantage in terminal ballistics of the .325 over the .300.
    Actually, I was in the market for a light rifle and was leaning towards a 300wsm or 300 SAUM and one day I walked into a store here in town and they had a 325 Kimber and it just fit right and felt good. It had all I was looking for. Light, compact, powerfull, etc. There was a Kimber 300wsm across town but it was priced a hundred bucks higher. The Rem TI 300 saum only held 2 in the magazine so I ended up with the 325 Kimber and it works good. I'd probably have been just as happy with the Kimber 300 wsm.

    But, there are those who will tell you the wizzums (especially the 325) are nothing but marketing hype, etc. I really don't care. I have a 7lb rifle including scope and sling that will fling 8mm 200 - 220 grain bullets 2800-2950 fps out of 23 inch barreled handy package sub moa at 100yds and will kill sheep, moose and bear just as dead as a 10lb 338 with a 26 inch barrel. I think the advantage of the wizzums are the compact light rifles you can get them in. I don't want a long barreled heavy magnum when the light handy 325 is just as deadly.

    If you like the 325 buy it and forget about all the naysayers. It will do the job. If you can save some dough and you find a 300wsm you like, buy it and forget about all the other naysayers. It's your money.

    My .02

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    If you can save some dough and you find a 300wsm you like, buy it and forget about all the other naysayers. It's your money.

    My .02
    Actually I have a brand new Kimber Montana 8400 in .300 WSM I may be willing to let go for a decent price. Comes with a Silver Leupold VX-II 3X9X40 and talley rings. Granted the setup isn't sighted in as I only shot it once to ensure it did not have and feeding problems that some Kimbers are known for. It feeds silky smooth both with and without fired rounds. PM me for more details if interested.
    Last edited by Alaska_Lanche; 06-27-2009 at 18:01.

  12. #12

    Default .325

    I'm kinda' right in the middle of all this. Just like Snyd, I have the Kimber Montana in .325 WSM topped with a VXI. Love how it shoots, how it packs, how it performs. One problem, I'm a lefty, Kimber doesn't make a lefty. Grew up shooting lever guns and model 70's. Been spending some money on guns recently. Picked up a couple of the left handed, stainless, 20" barreled .375 rugers (just like the Alaskan but with a laminate stock, and rumored to be limited at only about 100 made) I have all the reloading gear for the .325 , hundreds of rounds of brass, have a couple favorite loads and just all around like the round. Is it better than the .300 WSM or .300 WM or the .338 WM? Hard to say. Lots of choices as to what to buy, a guy has to pick the rifle he likes, pick the round and go. I like the .325 enough that about six months ago I ordered the Montana Rifle Co. equivilant of the Kimber. Have a Lone Wolf Stock coming for it, it should all be here this week. Will give you a range report soon.

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    Member BrettAKSCI's Avatar
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    It's a marginal advantage, but the .325 will have a larger wound chanel and not just .15 larger, but bigger than that when it expands. Another thing is that the sectional density of an 8mm with 220 grain bullets will be much better than with a .30 calibre. That translates to better penetration I believe. The real advantage I see is that it comes in a short action which alows for a lighter rifle. My Kimber is in .325 and I love it. I don't think the recoil is an issue what so ever. (However I'm also 200lbs. and think my .375 isn't an issue either, so take that for what it's worth) The rifle weighs 6lbs. 3oz. and with a scope, rings, and sling it's a little over 7lbs. That's without a muzzle break fyi.

    Brett

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xtratuffs View Post
    I'm kinda' right in the middle of all this. Just like Snyd, I have the Kimber Montana in .325 WSM topped with a VXI. Love how it shoots, how it packs, how it performs. One problem, I'm a lefty, Kimber doesn't make a lefty. Grew up shooting lever guns and model 70's. Been spending some money on guns recently. Picked up a couple of the left handed, stainless, 20" barreled .375 rugers (just like the Alaskan but with a laminate stock, and rumored to be limited at only about 100 made) I have all the reloading gear for the .325 , hundreds of rounds of brass, have a couple favorite loads and just all around like the round. Is it better than the .300 WSM or .300 WM or the .338 WM? Hard to say. Lots of choices as to what to buy, a guy has to pick the rifle he likes, pick the round and go. I like the .325 enough that about six months ago I ordered the Montana Rifle Co. equivilant of the Kimber. Have a Lone Wolf Stock coming for it, it should all be here this week. Will give you a range report soon.

    Sounds like one heck of a rifle. Montana makes some very nice and accurate rifles.

    Brett

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    Premium Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    Actually, I was in the market for a light rifle and was leaning towards a 300wsm or 300 SAUM and one day I walked into a store here in town and they had a 325 Kimber and it just fit right and felt good. It had all I was looking for. Light, compact, powerfull, etc. There was a Kimber 300wsm across town but it was priced a hundred bucks higher. The Rem TI 300 saum only held 2 in the magazine so I ended up with the 325 Kimber and it works good. I'd probably have been just as happy with the Kimber 300 wsm.

    But, there are those who will tell you the wizzums (especially the 325) are nothing but marketing hype, etc. I really don't care. I have a 7lb rifle including scope and sling that will fling 8mm 200 - 220 grain bullets 2800-2950 fps out of 23 inch barreled handy package sub moa at 100yds and will kill sheep, moose and bear just as dead as a 10lb 338 with a 26 inch barrel. I think the advantage of the wizzums are the compact light rifles you can get them in. I don't want a long barreled heavy magnum when the light handy 325 is just as deadly.

    If you like the 325 buy it and forget about all the naysayers. It will do the job. If you can save some dough and you find a 300wsm you like, buy it and forget about all the other naysayers. It's your money.

    My .02
    Good point man, sometimes you just have to settle for that "gem". The fact that it was about a hundred or more dollars cheaper is enough reason to get the rifle. The 300 win mag, 325 wsm, and the 300 wsm will do the same thing to that game animal in the field so if you like one paticular rifle over the other ie price, fit, weight......buy it. Pinching pennies whenever possible nowadays.....is a darn good reason to buy one tool over the other.

  16. #16

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    I remember the first article I ever read concerning the 325WSM. It was to surpass the 338 Win Mag. The article had only the "projected" velocities as load work up was still in the works. In the end it fell a little short of the 338 Mag..Now here we are comparing it to the 300 Win mag. Does any of this hype and comparison stuff really even matter?

    When ever these "compared to things come up" in regards to different cartridges it usually goes no where! Both of these cartridges will kill anything walking if the shooter does his part. So maybe we should compare shooters because ultimately how they perform has more to do with the outcome of the shot than the difference in the cartridges.

    My first concideration when buying a rifle is the way it fits me. We have all picked up a rifle and said "Oh buddy, this feels real good". If that is not my very first impression then the gun goes back on the shelf. When I'm getting ready for a hunt I shoulder my gun a few times in preparation and it gives me that giddy feeling because it comes up so natural as though it was made for me. The confidence that this feeling gives me has more to do with the critter getting dead than an additional thousand footpounds of energy bolstered from a gun that feels awkward in my hands.

    It sounds like you have experienced that "Oh buddy" feeling already. So I'm thinking you need to buy it. In my opinion the 325WSM is the best of the WSM cartridges. It will kill the biggest bear in Alaska so who cares how it stands up to the mighty 338 mag or anything else!

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elmerkeithclone View Post
    My first concideration when buying a rifle is the way it fits me. We have all picked up a rifle and said "Oh buddy, this feels real good". If that is not my very first impression then the gun goes back on the shelf. ... so who cares how it stands up to the mighty 338 mag or anything else!

    Very true EKC! I bought my last rifle in a cartridge I was decidedly neutral about (oddly enough a .300 WSM) because the rifle fit me like it was custom made just for me. An awkward rifle is plain awkward no matter what its chambered in. Rifle fit is often ignored but vital to best performance.

    I'd take the .325 and roll with it.

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    Member BrentC's Avatar
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    So many people dog the WSM while completely ignoring the obvious benefits. More and more people are switching to the WSM because they perform well in a more compact offering, which in many instances is more comfortable for the backpacker and the shooter. Guys that have shot the WSM for a while are also getting a substantial increase in barrel life over the old timer magnums.

    I prefer the 300 WSM because of bullet options. IMO there just isn't enough available in the 8mm (325 WSM) offering for the handloader. I have seen great results loading 180's and 200's in the 300 WSM.

    Don't believe the naysayers that say case capacity is too limited with bigger bullets in the short case. The easy solution is to switch to a faster burning powder that utilizes less space.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrentC View Post
    IMO there just isn't enough available in the 8mm (325 WSM) offering for the handloader.
    ???? Obviously less than the .308s, but ?????????

    Barnes, Hornady, Norma, Nosler, Remington, Sierra, Spear, Swift, Woodleigh.... Not that you need to keep looking past Barnes and Swift, but never the less there are options.

    http://www.midwayusa.com/browse/Brow...**19785***9016***

    Brett

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brett Adam Barringer View Post
    ???? Obviously less than the .308s, but ?????????

    Barnes, Hornady, Norma, Nosler, Remington, Sierra, Spear, Swift, Woodleigh.... Not that you need to keep looking past Barnes and Swift, but never the less there are options.

    http://www.midwayusa.com/browse/Brow...**19785***9016***

    Brett
    More specifically, I meant bullet weight, not manufacturer. The 308 caliber just has more selection of high ballistic coefficient bullets in a wider variety of weights.

    For all intents and purposes the .323 line is great for hunting, but for my style of shooting I prefer the .308 selection.

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