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8mm Remington Magnum

History

 
In 1978, 39 years after RWS released the 8x68 S to the European market, Remington released the 8mm Remington Magnum. Unlike the 7mm Remington and .338 Winchester 2.5” length magnums or the intermediate length .300 Winchester Magnum, the 8mm Remington Magnum was based on the full length .375 H&H Magnum cartridge. The case design was therefore very similar to the .300 Weatherby Magnum but differing in shoulder shape and angle. The new cartridge was capable of launching heavy bullets at extremely high velocities, ideally suited to and marketed towards the hunting of large medium game including Elk and Brown Bear.
 
The 8mm Remington magnum initially received good reviews and during this time a small proportion of hunters purchased M700 8mm Remington Magnum rifles and developed a long standing trust in the powerful cartridge. But on the whole, most U.S hunters looking for big game cartridges had previously settled on the .338 Winchester released in 1958 as well as the .300 Weatherby released in 1944 which also paved the way for the popular .300 Winchester magnum released in 1963. Further to its demise, ammunition and reloading component projectiles for the 8mm did not feature the wide range of styles and weights available for the well established .300’s and the .338. The 8mm did not appear to throw greatly differing bullet weights to those available for the .300’s and offered less frontal area than the .338 for creating broad wound channels. In essence the 8mm Remington Magnum sat in no man’s land between the popular .30 and .338 bores. When the 8mm Remington magnum was promoted internationally, results were the same, those who bought it liked it immensely but for most hunters, the big 8mm offered nothing new. Remington offered two factory loadings for the 8mm, a 185 grain Corelokt at 3080fps and a 220 grain Corelokt at 2830fps, both very effective but at the same time under loaded, perhaps due to the accuracy destroying torque that was placed on the M700’s pressure point bedded wooden stock under heavy recoil. Due to poor demand, production of the M700 rifle chambered in 8mm Remington Magnum ceased during the mid 1980’s, after which it was made available as a chambering from Remington’s custom shop.
 
The 8mm Remington is now a very rare chambering and rifles are seldom seen or talked about in mainstream hunting circles. Factory ammunition is pretty much nonexistent outside of the U.S and not overly common within the U.S. By the same token, the 8mm is now a classic cartridge and further to this classic appeal it is an immensely potent cartridge.
 
During the 1990’s U.S gun writer Layne Simpson experimented with the 8mm Remington Magnum case, necking it both up and down. Necked up, Simpson created the .358 Shooting Times Alaskan, an immensely powerful cartridge which drives 250 grain bullets at velocities of 2900 to 3000fps. Necked down to 7mm, Simpson created his potent 7mm Shooting Times Westerner cartridge. The 7mm STW was adopted by Remington but unfortunately suffered the same fate as the parent 8mm cartridge, being discontinued as a rifle chambering after only a short period of time. In this instance, the retiring of the 7mm STW was deliberate due to Remington's adoption of the 7mm RUM during the race for non belted magnum cartridge designs. Regardless of trends, the 7mm STW has retained a degree of popularity and in doing so has helped ensure brass availability for the 7mm, 8mm and .358" cartridges.

The 8mm Remington Magnum is also the parent case design for the well balanced .416 Remington Magnum cartridge, introduced in 1989.
 

Performance

 
The 8mm Remington magnum is an extremely powerful cartridge. Loaded with light to mid weight bullets, the 8mm offers ample power for medium game hunting out to extended ranges. However, as its designers intended, this cartridge comes into its own when loaded with heavy bullets and used for the hunting of large bodied medium game including Elk and African plains game.
 
One of the finest aspects of the 8mm Remington Magnum is that it can utilize low BC bullet designs which boast optimum terminal performance in such a way that trajectories remain flat enough to take game at extended ranges. Further to this, highly traumatic bullet designs like the 196 grain Norma Vulkan can be used as an all-round bullet, offering fast killing not only on large bodied deer, but also lean bodied deer where other heavy bullet designs may cleave to their momentum, passing through lean game with little energy transfer.
 
The 8mm Remington Magnum also drives the Woodleigh Weldcore range of bullets at exceptionally high velocities, maximizing the effective ranges of these core bonded bullet designs for fast killing.
 
The ability to utilize high trauma bullet designs is a key strength of the 8mm Remington Magnum. There are many European bullet designs which place great focus on terminal performance with less emphasis on BC due to typical European hunting ranges. The 8mm Remington Magnum boasts increased performance by maximizing effective ranges. In an age where magnum cartridges and high BC bullets tend to go hand in hand, it is easy to overlook the inherent qualities of the 8mm Remington Magnum cartridges which offer exceptional performance whether bush (woods) hunting or shooting ridge to ridge.
 
The downside of the 8mm Remington Magnum is very high recoil. Cartridge power that cannot be harnessed in the form of accuracy is utterly pointless. In un-braked rifles sturdy bedding is extremely important as is optimum shooting technique. A second consideration is bullet stress. Some projectiles simply cannot cope with the full velocities of the 8mm Remington Magnum when used on large, tough bodied game. Bullet choice is therefore an important consideration when hunting large bodied game and unfortunately can become a major issue depending on projectile availability. At this time of writing, very few westerners utilize European bullet designs and low demand equals poor supply. 
 
Bullet diameter of the 8mm Remington Magnum is 5% larger than the .30 caliber bore and roughly 5% smaller than the .338. The .338 bore is certainly blessed with some excellent heavy bullet designs and can be put to use on very large animals. Nevertheless, as suggested, the 8mm Remington Magnum has its own appeal and can produce spectacular performance when its strengths are fully utilized.
 
Many heavy bodied animals (bovines) have been taken with the 8mm Remington Magnum yet this is not the forte of the 8mm bore. Many times I have seen a hunter hold a large cartridge in the palm of his hand and state that “this must surely be able to take down the largest of game”. I cannot here reiterate enough the importance of understanding the concept of game weight relativity. The .30 caliber and 8mm bores are to bovines as the .224 and .243 bores are to large bodied deer. Large heavy bodied animals are best taken with wide and heavy bullets if fast killing is to be expected. The more one hunts heavy game and physically observes internal wounding, the more this is driven home. For those who are intent on anchoring heavy game with chest shots using the 8mm Remington Magnum, the ability to place follow up neck or head shots if need be is imperative. Many a hunter has set such high expectations of too light a bore or bullet, only to stand like a stunned mullet when his death ray has not anchored his intended quarry. Low expectations lead to greater care with bullet selection and shot placement resulting in greater success. High expectations can be disastrous.
 
With the release of the .325 WSM and renewed interest in the classic 8x57 JS cartridge, new bullet designs are emerging that enable the 8mm Remington Magnum to be used at ever increasing ranges. Nevertheless, it is doubtful that any such bullet designs will cause a rise in popularity to the extent that the 8mm rivals the popularity of the well established .338 bore. The 8mm Remington Magnum simply is what it is, a somewhat rare cartridge with classic appeal offering its own unique level of performance.
 

Factory Ammunition

 
Presently Remington offer just one factory loading for the 8mm Remington magnum featuring the 200 grain Swift A-Frame at 2900fps for a realistic 2830fps from the 24” barreled M700. The 200 grain Swift bullet is extremely well suited for hunting a wide variety of body weights from 90kg (198lb) through to 450kg  (1000lb) with ordinary chest shots. The Swift is also far superior to the Nosler Partition at 8mm Remington Magnum velocities if close range shots are taken on large bodied game along with a degree of flexibility when used on game with body weights exceeding 450kg.
 
No other major manufacturers currently offer factory ammunition for the 8mm although ammunition has at times been produced by smaller semi-custom firms.
 

Hand Loading

 
Due to the scarcity of factory ammunition the 8mm Remington Magnum is for the most part, a cartridge which must be hand loaded. Remington brass is readily available for hand loading the 8mm and in the absence of this, cases can easily be formed from 7mm STW brass. The big eight does extremely well when loaded with slow burning powders in the H4831sc (ADI 2213sc)  range with 180 to 200 grain bullets and gives exceptional performance with 220 grain bullets using slower burning powders including H1000 (ADI 2217), Retumbo (ADI 2225), 7828 and similar burn rates. Most reloading manuals and also many hand loaders choose loads that are far milder than the big case is capable of delivering.
 
One of the major downsides of the Remington M700 BDL 8mm Remington Magnum factory rifles is that these were produced at a time when 24” barrels were in vogue. Furthermore, Remington adopted a rather light barrel contour for the 8mm. Recoil of the M700 BDL rifle in 8mm is therefore hard, fast and sharp. Many who have reloaded for the 8mm Remington Magnum will never know what it is truly capable of simply due to intolerable recoil. Modern shooters compound this further by adopting lead sleds to tame recoil, failing to adopt any form of fore end control - a hopeless mess. Ultimately, mild loads aid accuracy by minimizing recoil to the shooter as well as wear and tear to stock in un-bedded rifles. Nevertheless, full power loads, sound rifle bedding and optimum shooting technique allow the 8mm to truly shine.
 
From a 26” barrel of decent contour, the 8mm Remington magnum is comfortably capable of driving 150 grain bullets at 3600fps, 170 grain bullets at 3400fps, 180 grain bullets at 3300fps, 200 grain bullets at 3100fps, 220 grain bullets at 2900fps and 250 grain heavyweight bullets at 2600fps. From the 24” barrel of the M700 BDL rifle, velocities are often 100fps slower than these velocities, recoil being the main limitation as opposed to barrel length. In contrast to this, some M700 BDL rifles are capable of exceeding the velocities stated here by up to 100fps!
 
Twist for the M700 BDL rifle is 1:10, a generally good all-round twist rate for 150 to 220 grain bullets fired at magnum velocities. The 8mm Remington Magnum is not a long throated cartridge design however light or sleek projectiles must be loaded for concentricity and or magazine length concerns rather than close to the lands. In either case, bullet jump (free bore) is of no major concern.
 
Although capable of extremely high velocities, it should be noted that in some instances this velocity cannot generally be used to aid fast killing of lean game when using stout 180 to 200 grain 8mm bullets. Many 180 to 200 grain bullets tend to produce slow kills on lighter animals under 80kg (176lb), especially with meat saver / rear lung shots with speed of killing decreasing as range is increased. To this end, if using the 8mm on lean bodied game, best results are obtained by either matching bullet weights to game weights or by using European bullet designs which place great emphasis on maximum trauma. That said, matching bullet weights to game weights comes with its own set of problems in the 8mm Remington Magnum. Close range impact velocities of 3400fps with 150 grain bullets should in theory produce exceptional hydrostatic shock but in reality, bullet speed creates increased target resistance to the point that shock becomes nonexistent on light or lean bodied game. Bullet blow up is also common and although penetration on light bodied game is generally sufficient, the low sectional density of 150 grain 8mm bullets limits penetration and warrants caution at close ranges if one should happen to encounter tough bodied game.
 
While the 150 grain Hornady Interlock reigns supreme as a fast killing light to medium game bullet in the 8x57 JS, this bullet is too soft for general use in the 8mm Remington Magnum save for open country work where close range shots are unlikely. Both Speer and Sierra produce stout 150 grain bullets in 8mm but again, these bullets are designed for the 8x57 JS and cannot possibly be expected to produce the same performance in the 8mm Remington Magnum. Both are prone to suffer bullet blow up at close ranges, neither can be expected to produce hydrostatic shock (instant poleaxe) in a reliable manner yet both can be expected to produce clean killing on game weighing less than 80kg (176lb). Dead runs are generally short due to massive internal wounding. As ranges are extended, each bullet comes into its own, displaying more uniform performance at ranges of around 160 yards or 3100fps. Thereafter, the Sierra and Speer bullets prove immensely effective out to ranges of 400 to 450 yards with the Hornady bullet continuing to produce good performance out to ranges exceeding 500 yards. Furthermore, although the BC’s of the 8mm 150 grain bullets are rather ho hum, at full velocities the 8mm Remington Magnum produces an incredibly flat trajectory for general hunting, giving nothing away to the likes of the slick 7mm Remington Magnum.
 
The 165 to 170 grain bullet weight in 8mm is extremely well balanced for hunting light to medium weight game yet some of our current designs are left wanting. Traditional bullets (excluding the Norma 165 grain PPC) include the very soft Hornady round nose Interlock and Speer semi point Hotcor. While the Hornady bullet can be put to use as a light game bush / woods load without fuss, the Speer bullet deserves some consideration. To some extent this bullet can be exploited in the 8mm Remington Magnum. A combination of both high velocity, the semi point Hotcor bullet design and an acceptable BC of .311 enable the Speer bullet to achieve excellent results with an effective fast killing range of around 250 yards. Penetration is fair on light to mid weight game but the Hotcor tends to lose a great deal of weight in comparison to its usage in the 8x57 JS. Where the 8x57 JS makes best use of this bullet on game weighing between 90 and 320kg (200-700lb), the same cannot be said when driving the Speer bullet some 600fps faster than its German cousin if close range shots are to be expected. The Speer bullet can make for a very good light to mid weight game general purpose bullet but by the same token, once the Speer breaks 2600fps, it is much better suited to game weighing 90 and 320kg (200-700lb) and used out to ranges of around 400 yards. Readers are therefore asked to decide for themselves how the 170 grain Speer semi point might best serve their needs. 
 
The most recent mid weight bullet is the new Hornady 170 grain SST (untested at this time of writing). Based on past experience with the SST bullet, I estimate that 8mm SST will show its greatest strengths at impact velocities of between 3100 and 1600fps. From a muzzle velocity of 3400fps, this equates to a range of 130 to 980 yards - a basic 1000 yard load. The SST will hopefully prove ideal for light to mid weight game including Red and Mule deer. Time will tell.
 
The 175 grain Sierra Prohunter is at its best when used in the 8mm Remington Magnum, used on game weighing between 90 and 320kg (200-700lb), producing excellent performance out to a range of around 350 yards. A degree of penetration is compromised at close ranges however performance is generally fair. The Prohunter steadily declines in performance beyond 350 yards but can be classed as a reliable 400 yard bullet. The Prohunter also works acceptably well on lean animals at close ranges but as velocity falls away, the same delayed killing becomes apparent as occurs when using this bullet in the smaller 8mm cartridges. By the same token, the 8mm Remington Magnum is generally too hard on the 171 grain home hollow point version of the Prohunter with a risk of surface bullet blow up and shallow penetration. That said, there is room for a small degree of experimentation as a means to enhance performance. With its tip removed, a very shallow ‘dimple’ hole can be used to maximize energy transfer on light or lean bodied game with an effective range of 350 to 400 yards.
 
The 160 grain Barnes TTSX is ideal for hunting game weighing between 90 and 320kg (200-700lb). Driven at velocities of 3400 to 3500fps, the TTSX produces best performance out to ranges of around 350 yards and clean but sometimes delayed killing out to ranges of around 500 yards. Excellent internal wounding coupled with good meat recovery are hallmarks of the Barnes bullet designs, this particular bullet offering maximum energy transfer.    
 
The 180 grain Nosler Ballistic tip driven at 3300fps is another bullet that shines in the 8mm Remington Magnum. This bullet is best suited to game weighing between 90 and 200kg (200-440lb) at closer ranges with the ability to tackle larger bodied game weighing up to 320kg (700lb) as ranges at extended ranges. Both the Sierra Prohunter and Nosler Ballistic Tip share stout jackets but there are major differences in bullet behavior. The Prohunter mushrooms, the Ballistic Tip fragments. Bullet blow up is within the design parameters of the Ballistic Tip, its stout jacket attempting to delay at least some of this action in order to ensure penetration through vitals. The result is exceptionally fast killing. Obviously, a degree of penetration is sacrificed at close ranges necessitating a some caution with regard to its use on large bodied animals weighing above 200kg (440lb). At the opposite extreme, as the Ballistic Tip loses velocity as ranges are extended, a great deal of body weight resistance is needed to initiate fragmentation. Matching the Ballistic Tip to suitable game body weights is the key to success, allowing the Ballistic Tip to be used out to ranges of around 600 yards.
 
The 180 grain Barnes TSX does its best work on heavy bodied medium game. Performance differs from the lighter bullet in that this bullet is more reliant on body weight resistance to initiate energy transfer. This bullet is also best used within more moderate ranges. In essence, the 180 grain Barnes TSX work best when driven hard and fast into tough game.  
 
The 200 grain Speer Hotcor is an economical bullet but can be pushed to its limits in the 8mm Remington Magnum. The heavy Speer bullet can be put to use on Elk but on larger animals excessive weight loss can occur at close ranges. Bullet blow up is very rare but it can happen on large, heavy boned game. When writing about the 8mm-06 I recommended a weight limit for this bullet of 450kg due in part to wounding potential. In the 8mm Remington Magnum, I recommend the same 450kg (1000lb) limit, only in this instance penetration is a key factor. When matched appropriately to game, the 200 grain Speer is an exceptional performer out to ordinary hunting ranges of 300 to 350 yards and really has to be tried to be fully understood.
 
Like the 200 grain Speer, Hornady’s 195 grain Interlock bullet designed for the 8x57 JS is also pushed to the limits when employed in the 8mm Remington Magnum. Nevertheless, the Interlock makes for a good fast expanding load for large bodied deer including Elk. Furthermore this bullet can in a pinch be used out to ranges of between 500 and 600 yards thanks to its fast expanding nature. BC of the Interlock is only .410, however muzzle velocities of 3000fps and higher ensure than the Interlock can reach out to great distances. Although the Interlock is very fast expanding, it carries too much momentum to be a lightning fast killer of lean game weighing less than 90kg (200lb) with rear lung shots, especially at extended ranges. Nevertheless this bullet is more than capable of producing broad internal wounding and clean killing when used on light or lean bodied game.
 
The 200 grain Nosler Partition and Accubond 8mm bullets are extremely well suited to game weighing between 90 and 320kg but like the Speer, can suffer problems at close range magnum velocities if used on larger bodied game. The Accubond is prone to excessive weight loss and loss of SD during penetration when used at close ranges. This bullet is best suited to ranges beyond 150 yards. The Partition is equally prone to suffer problems at close ranges if used on very heavy animals and like the Hotcor, does its best work on game weighing up to 450kg (1000lb), whether limited by penetration or wounding potential. The Partition produces exceptionally good performance out to ranges of around 350 yards and with careful shot placement can anchor game at ranges of up to 500 yards. 

The 220 grain Sierra GameKing BTSP was designed specifically for the 8mm Remington Magnum. A long bullet with a relatively high BC of .521, this GameKing bullet does its best work, as intended, on large bodied deer including Elk. The GameKing is stout but frangible as a means to increase wounding at extended ranges. Used on large bodied deer up to the size of Elk, the GameKing has an effective range of around 700 yards however wounding tends to be much wider inside 400 yards. To some, the GameKing may seem somewhat lacking without any form of controlled expansion to ensure maximum penetration at close ranges. This design is certainly problematic if for example, hunting Brown bear at close ranges. But with an understanding of its design and intended application, the strengths of the 220 grain GameKing become apparent. When utilized appropriately in the 8mm Remington Magnum, the GameKing exhibits excellent performance. Readers are also cautioned as to the effects of age annealing with this bullet. The 220 grain GameKing bullet is not a high seller and therefore stock tends to sit for a very long time before selling. These lengthy periods of storage before usage tend to age anneal the GameKing, adding to its frangible nature.
 
Woodleigh’s three 8mm Weldcore bullets are the optimum choice for large and or tough bodied game. These bullets are available in 169, 220 and 250 grain bullet weights. All three are optimally suited to Elk through to Moose sized game and for those who wish to try the 8mm on heavy game, there is no better choice than the Woodleigh. 

Swift make both 200 and 220gr 8mm A-Frame bullets which like the Woodleigh bullets are suitable for hunting large and tough game including Brown bear. Both brands of bullet are more reliable than the Nosler Partition (and most other bullet designs) driven at magnum velocities when hunting potentially dangerous game. Both the Woodleigh and Swift bullets can be used to great effect out to ranges of around 300 yards.
 
If possible, those who own 8mm Remington Magnum rifles are also highly encouraged to try the RWS and Norma Vulcan bullet designs (see 8x68 S). Although these bullets do not have the same trajectories as U.S made bullets, the hunter can obtain increased game weight flexibility with regard to fast killing. As an example, Norma’s 196 grain Vulkan can be used for light or lean bodied game up to Elk sized animals, producing extremely high trauma and immensely fast kills. The Vulcan can be used out to ranges of between 300 and 400 yards with manageable wind drift and can make for a simple, general purpose all-round load. On heavier game, the 8mm Remington Magnum places a great deal of stress on the Vulcan bullet design therefore Elk should be considered its limit. 
 
A last word must go to the new match bullet designs available in the 8mm caliber. With its meplat trimmed and hollow points exposed, the Hornady 196 match bullet has an effective range of around 800 yards. Meplat (tip) width should be matched to game body weights, the lighter the animal, the wider the tip (up to 2.6mm / .100”).
 

Closing Comments

 
The 8mm Remington Magnum is now a somewhat forgotten cartridge, an oddity of the past. The .30 caliber and .338 bores certainly cover the same terrain yet the 8mm is exceptionally powerful in its own right and really is a classic in the same league as the wonderful V8 muscle cars of our past, a cartridge to be cherished.  
 
Personally, beyond my earlier formative research, I have not come across an 8mm Remington Magnum rifle for several years and I doubt I will ever get to test the new Hornady SST bullet in the 8mm Remington Magnum, having to interpolate data and make comments based on other 8mm test rifles. Nevertheless, I do hear about the occasional custom build amongst fans who wish to continue to utilize the 8mm Remington Magnum. Further to this, there are some very well cared for and attractive M700 BDL rifles in circulation. For those who own BDL rifles, I suggest metal filled epoxy bedding as a means to both enhance accuracy and preserve the handsome wooden stock long term. Recoil may be hell, but it teaches good shooting technique for those who are willing to learn.  
 
Australian Gun writer Nick Harvey has been a huge fan of the 8mm bore throughout his hunting career. Harvey hunted all over the world using the 8x68 S and 8mm Remington Magnum, adopting a wide range of bullets which he matched carefully to the job at hand. Harvey stated numerously throughout his career that if he were limited to just one cartridge for all game, either of these would be suitable.
 
In my experience the 8mm bore is at its best when used on game weighing up to 450kg (1000lb). That said, with suitable projectiles used out to moderate ranges and with optimum shot placement, the big eights can tackle larger game - often with relative ease.
 
 
Suggested loads: 8mm Remington Magnum Barrel length: 24-26”
No ID   Sectional Density Ballistic Coefficient Observed  MV Fps ME
Ft-lb’s
1 FL Rem 200gr A-Frame .247 .357 2830 3556
2 HL 150gr Speer Hotcor .205 .290 3600 4316
3 HL 170gr SST .233 .445 3400 4363
4 HL 200gr Partition .274 .350 3100 3378
5 HL 220gr Woodleigh RN 64C .301 .355 2900 4108
6 HL 220gr GameKing .301 .521 2900 4108
 
Suggested sight settings and bullet paths           
1 Yards 100 246 285 300 325 350    
  Bt. path +3 0 -3 -4.7 -7.6 -11    
2 Yards 100 150 333 374 400 425 450  
  Bt. path +3 +4.3 0 -3 -5.4 -8.1 -11.4  
3 Yards 100 150 322 364 400 425 450  
  Bt. path +3 +4.3 0 -3 -6.3 -9 -12.1  
4 Yards 100 150 275 314 350 375 400  
  Bt. path +3 +3.7 0 -3 -6.7 -9.8 -13.4  
5 Yards 100 150 253 292 325 350    
  Bt. path +3 +3.5 0 -3 -6.6 -9.8    
6 Yards 100 150 265 305 325 350 375 400
  Bt. path +3 +3.6 0 -3 -4.9 -7.5 1.6 14.1
 
No At yards 10mphXwind Velocity Ft-lb’s
1 300 8.9 2107 1971
2 300 6.7 2718 2459
3 300 5.4 2734 2821
4 300 8 2321 2390
5 300 8.7 2162 2284
6 300 5.6 2385 2778
 
8mm Rem Mag Final
 
8mm Rem Mag Imperial Metric 
A .532 13.5
B .513 13.03
C 25 Deg  
D .487 12.37
E .354 8.99
F 2.389 60.68
G .320 8.12
H 2.850 72.39
Max Case 2.850 72.39
Trim length 2.840 72.1
 
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Copyright © 2007-2011 Terminal Ballistics Research, Ballisticstudies.com
 
 

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