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Thread: What makes a Magnum a Magnum

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    Member The Kid's Avatar
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    Default What makes a Magnum a Magnum

    I've been reading up on some of the short mags lately, trying to make myself like them. Interesting stuff, some of it. Like the article I read where Charlie Sisk chambered a barrel for the 300wsm, worked up some loads and chronoed them. Then cut the shank off and rechambered the same barrel to 300 H&H. Shooting the same charge of the same powder under the same bullet showed identicle speeds at lower pressure. But ask anyone off the street about the ol' SuperThirty and they'll tell you " aw heck with modern powders you can pretty much get the same performance out of the 06. Which is close to true, and yet the wsm is a magnum powerhouse. I know you can't get wsm speeds from the 06 case, but you can get pretty close.

    Then we have the 325Wsm, which I like the most of that family of cartridges and have seen in action many times. I know it works and works well, but some of the speeds folks are posting with 200gr bullets make me wonder. I can drive a 200 to the same speeds from my Whelen. I know it has a larger expansion ratio and all but, it uses substatially less powder to acheive the same speed. The BC and SD numbers aren't quite as good, but honestly how much do they matter to most of us in a normal days hunting?

    Makes me wonder if we are underrating the old 06 case or if maybe I'm just crazy and missing something. Just seems like people like to chose odd times and places to place great importance on 100fps.
    Just my thoughts.

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    The advantage of the WSM line in my opinion is they can be built into lighter rifles. If that isnt important to the shooter then they have limited appeal as the velocity gains, if any, are limited.
    For example, when I was trying to put together reasonably light weight rifles for sheep and blacktails the shorter action was 5 ounces lighter than the standard size ( Win 70's compared). When trying to go lighter every ounce matters. Other than this and I see no valid reasons for going to the "short magnums". Both my 270 WSM and 300 WSM are as light as I can handle and the 300 is a bear to shoot off the bench.

    For the most part still prefer what I call "Alaskan Rifles", that is they shoot fat bullets and go slow. IE, like most Alaskans
    Tennessee

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    Makes me wonder if we are underrating the old 06 case or if maybe I'm just crazy and missing something.
    No you are not crazy...
    The word MAGNUM was and is still a marketing ploy. It was originally used because large Campaign bottles, the ones that only the super rich could afford, were called Magnum bottles. The word Magnum or Magnus is Latin for GREAT or large.

    So while the unwashed masses used standard calibers, those who could afford the MAGNUM had their gun-bearer tote one of those across their back.

    There are many standard cartridges that have more power than similar magnum cartridges.

    Until recently nobody would market a cartridge as a MAGNUM unless the cartridge case had a MAGNUM BELT. The belt was originally used as a head-spacing method on the first so called magnum cases. Rimmed cases of course used their rims for head space and bottle necked cartridges used their case shoulders. For some reason the first magnums had a gentle shoulder and the belt was thought to be necessary. Eventually the Belt was thought to denote a Magnum cartridge, as people began to think that the belt added extra strength to the base of the case... Which is not so...
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    [QUOTE=The Kid;858930
    Then we have the 325Wsm, which I like the most of that family of cartridges and have seen in action many times. I know it works and works well, but some of the speeds folks are posting with 200gr bullets make me wonder. I can drive a 200 to the same speeds from my Whelen. I know it has a larger expansion ratio and all but, it uses substatially less powder to acheive the same speed. The BC and SD numbers aren't quite as good, but honestly how much do they matter to most of us in a normal days hunting?

    Makes me wonder if we are underrating the old 06 case or if maybe I'm just crazy and missing something. Just seems like people like to chose odd times and places to place great importance on 100fps.
    Just my thoughts.[/QUOTE]

    I think your spot on!

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    Float is 100% correct. Case in point: The Tokarev TT-30 drove a 90 grain bullet to 1700 fps. It was the fastest pistol in the world till the 357 Mag showed up. Both at the time had the same muzzle energy. Look at the modern loads in the 45-70..... You can get the same energies as magnum cartridges.

    Ron

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    Used to be it had to have a unneeded belt now the builder just has to call it so. I can remember a time when the name 357mag made the pistol unusable in LE hands as the minimum was 38cal like the 38spec and 357 ain't 38. Of course the old black powder revolvers were 44cal but shot 452.When Shooting Times came out with their new super duper shells they at least didn't call them mag
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    I don't think comparing the .300WSM to other .300 magnum cartridges is really a fair comparison. My .300WSM doesn't shoot 180s any faster than the .300 Win Mag or the .300 H&H but the rifle weighs considerably less than most rifles in those cartridges. The '06 can get very close to WSM performance in a 26" barrel with modern powders but again the barrelled action is heavier and longer. I can get a .300WM in that same long action and it shoots a fair bit harder than the '06 with heavier bullets. A .300 H&H takes a magnum action and the Weatherby can shoot a LOT faster than the H&H and it can utilize the heaviest of .30 bullets in that same action lenght for identical weight.

    In the same short action length you can compare the .308WIN to the .300WSM and the WSM is clearly much faster and capable of shooting heavier bullets to higher velocity. Comparing it to long action or magnum action rounds is something of a apples/bananas comparison in my opinion.

    I think the WSM line makes a great lightweight rifle built around a short action. Weatherby makes their long action into a reasonably light rifle but the barrel is fluted and soda straw thin and it balances somewhat oddly to the rear. My lighweight WSM has more metal in the barrel, balances better between the hands and still weighs 7.5lbs full up ready to hunt.

    When I bought my .300WSM I was skeptical of the round but I've come to like it quite a bit when I compare it to other short action rounds in featherweight rifles.

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    Another case in point is the 350 Remington Magnum , The Original Commercial Short Action Magnum, It basically has the same ballistics as the 35 Whelen.
    The same for the 6.5 Remington Magnum, which was the short fat 350 rem mag necked down to 264. It was about the same as a 6.5mm-06, actually a little less than the 6.5mm-06.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrassLakeRon View Post
    Float is 100% correct. Case in point: The Tokarev TT-30 drove a 90 grain bullet to 1700 fps. It was the fastest pistol in the world till the 357 Mag showed up. Both at the time had the same muzzle energy. Look at the modern loads in the 45-70..... You can get the same energies as magnum cartridges.

    Ron
    Energy charts don't tell the entire story but am curious, if you are comparing the 45-70 to other .45 caliber magnums, what are the other calibers you are comparing it to?
    Tennessee

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    It begs the question though, of when is a magnum no longer a magnum.

    If I'm shooting my 375 H&H with 300 grain cast bullets at 1200 fps, my 458 Winnie with 500 grain lead at 1200 or 350 grain jacketed at 1700, are they still magnums?

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    I like my .22 MAGNUM

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    Well, you can get a 250 grain bullet to go 2800 fps you have a 338 Win Mag. I can do the same in a 45-70. 300 grains to 2600 fps (winchester ammo page) you have a 375 H&H mag. I can do the same in a 45-70. The point I'm trying to make is Companies sell guns on numbers. Look at the Remington site when dealing with the Ultra Mags. Give it a belt, give it a bow, it a pink pair of shoes..... Numbers, unfortunately, sell the guns......

    Ron

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    I wish my 454 Casull came in a MAGNUM, I'd feel better about carrying it in bear country. :-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Kid View Post
    Makes me wonder if we are underrating the old 06 case or if maybe I'm just crazy and missing something. Just seems like people like to chose odd times and places to place great importance on 100fps.
    Just my thoughts.
    If you loaded a 30-06 to the same pressures as a 300 WSM Factory Load, I suspect the results would be surprising. (I'm not suggesting that one should do that.)

    Or, by the same token, loaded a 300 WSM to 30-06 Factory Load pressures.

    I say "FL" pressures, because obviously Handload pressures are all over the map, with many way too hot. I suspect that the WSM handloads are more likely to be over-pressure, since people strive to get FL velocity claims from them, and I understand, it can't be did with very many powders.

    Bottom Line, I think you're right. If 100 fps isn't that important, as many claim, then why is it a beegie when trying to justify a WSM over the now, Lowly 30-06?

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    Quote Originally Posted by travelers View Post
    I wish my 454 Casull came in a MAGNUM, I'd feel better about carrying it in bear country. :-)
    It does. It's called a S&W 460. ;-)

    On a more serious note to answer the OP: The word "magnum" in my opinion, and I agree here with the majority of other responses, is nothing more than an advertising gimmick. A 30-06 will make a big mammal dead at 200 yards if you put the bullet in the right place. If you use a 416 Rigby and put the bullet in the wrong place, you have to hunt another day. Concentrate on marksmanship and select a caliber that is "enough", not overkill. If it knocks you out of your socks, you have no second shot. Just food for thought.

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

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    It just seems as though lately and i'm sure it was the same in the 60's with Remingtons 6.5 & 350, that the name magnum is bandied about rather freely. What was once meant to mean very powerful for the times, now seems to mean, well it's alittle more powerful and will sell better if we call it this.

    One more question, if the 300wsm barely beats the 06, but it's still great because of the short action. Does the 308 in Hornadys new Superformance guise, which makes it equal the 06, get renamed the 300 shortMag part Deux or the 30 AlmostaMagnum.

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    If I recall correctly S&W got a copywrite on the name "magnum" way back in the 30s when the .357 was introduced. They protected the name for quite some time after that, the .44 was the second magnum handgun. I don't know when the copywrite expired but it must have been in the late 50s or early 60s - now everything is a MAGNUM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by travelers View Post
    I wish my 454 Casull came in a MAGNUM, I'd feel better about carrying it in bear country. :-)
    I wish it came with larger primers...

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    Watch SPACEBALLS in the section where Yogurt (Mel Brookes) explains Merchandising...
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    I read an article last week that asked this same question. The jist of the article was what made a magnum and a super or ultra mag. They kinda made since. Most magnums run 150-200fps fatser than the standered round. Like the 30-06 an 300 Win mag. Standard cartridge, magnum cartridge. The the 300 ULTRA mag steps in. It best the Win mag by the same margin. Following that logic there are several cartridges in the magnum class by performance if not name. The turm is pure markiting though.

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