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Subsonic loads for 7mm08

08 Jun 2017
@ 10:00 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

I seem to be getting these same emails each week now. So will post today's below just to reiterate. My thoughts on this should read clearly.


Hi Nathan, I have a 7mm08 which I would like to try with sub sonic loads. Are you able to maybe tell me a powder, projectile and primer to start with. I will be guided by you even if you say the 7mm08 is not suitable for sub sonic loads. I realise it is only good out to about maybe up to 70 metres.


Hi ....., the 7mm-08 can be downloaded by using Trail Boss powder. Try an 85% case fill and see how you get on, increase or decrease your charge as needed, depending on chrony readings.

I still don't get why this is all the rage here. There are no copper jacket bullets that can expand at these velocities so you are basically shooting FMJ- its just plain physics- the nature of a copper clad or copper based bullet*. The net result is pin hole wounds unless the bullet destabilizes and tumbles.

I do use down loads, but mostly for either fireforming brass (also using this as an opportunity for snap shooting practice) and for youth target loads. I do down load hunting ammo for Riley but only so much, never subsonic. She is only 11 and already understands that the greater the power, the faster the kill- again, basic physics.

Over the years, many folk have taken the piss out of Americans for using the big Weatherby's, but this craze in NZ to own the smallest dick or suppressed cock in a sock is far worse. To my way of thinking, if you are going to do a job, do it right. There must surely be some men left in this country. Many folk talk about short and silent bush rifles but you'll find a portion of these guys are poachers and are quite simply full of shit.

If you really want to go full subsonic, use a wide caliber and use a wide hollow point (generally pistol bullets) designed to give at least some expansion / energy transfer at these speeds. The .44 and .45 calibers are ideal. Please see the Game killing section of the website for more info**.

Hope that helps.

Additonal notes for forum readers:

* Unless of a specialized / machined design such as Lehigh 30 cal which features deep and wide lengthwise cuts.

** My book, Long Range Cartridges goes into full detail on individual bullet range / velocity limitations.


08 Jun 2017
@ 10:26 am (GMT)

Bob Mavin

Re: Subsonic loads for 7mm08
Hi Nathan.
I agree mate.
I have used a 357mag subsonic culling Deer (head shots) in a vineyard in a residential area so the residents don't get alarmed.

I often get asked do silencers on rifles at supersonic velocities quieten them down. I have no experience other than with a rimfire, where the silencer made no difference to the loudness when shooting hi velocity rounds.

There seems to be a lot of them used on your side of the ditch. Maybe you could explain the advantage of a silencer?

08 Jun 2017
@ 12:06 pm (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: Subsonic loads for 7mm08
I have seen this come up bit, and I agree people just don't seem to understand how useless subs are.

I do load a 44 mag subsonic for a mate that uses it over bailing dogs to head shoot pigs, but I load the 300grain xtp, he had dogs go deaf in the past so he traded in his rossi 44 for a suppressed ruger 44 bolt action.

Another mate runs a 450 bushmaster using 416 grain cast projectiles I helped him set up a subsonic trail boss load.
After shooting a goat at close range with it, we are now playing around with 454 casuall/460 s&w data to get them faster as we weren't to impressed with the subs.

Bob suppressors are great with the extra girth on the barrel you can wrap the Mrs handbag straps around it for easy carrying so it almost feels like you have your balls back for a second.
We have major issues here with people handicapping there rifles by shortening them so there suppressors don't stick out to far.
The common fade is this whole bushpig idea a light tikka normally in 7-08 shortened to point where suppressor almost touches forend of a slippery light weight carbon fiber stock.
Also starting to see people running creedmoors with 16-18 inch barrels now to so you should start getting emails soon about them Nathan.

To your original question Bob they do take a bit of the bang out but not as much as you would think, people use them mainly for recoil reduction here.

08 Jun 2017
@ 02:22 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Subsonic loads for 7mm08
Hi Bob, it is as Thomas said. A supersonic suppressed load is quieter (mostly at the rear, not the front) and with less recoil. It is possibly fortunate that they are not or not yet allowed in Australia due to your extreme temperatures versus potential trapped heat in rifle barrels. A suppressed rifle can be very useful, but like many things there are pros and cons. Most hunters have no idea of the potential cons and how to avoid them prior to setting up a rifle or maintenance thereafter. Again, I went over this in the books. My advice is to treat them as a specialized tool, not a slap dash add-on like a kids toy with a happy meal. Do it right and you'll get the right results.

A suppressed subsonic rifle can be a bit of a moot point. The suppressor can hush a sub load to next to nothing but as you will already know, sub loads are not loud to begin with. Normally the bullet impact is quite loud and becomes a give away.

Yes, its very hard to get good subsonic killing performance. Even pistol bullets have their limits. This can leave us reliant on the blunt profile of the bullet and its wide diameter to obtain some measure of performance in lieu of expansion. A plain lead hollow point (no jacket) can prove the best- if you can find one.

This is a tough subject for me because in my attempt to try and educate, it often sounds as though I am dead against mufflers. I might say for example- "just get that crap off your rifle and learn to shoot straight before you start adding variables" or "I want you to let the rifle really talk to you, I want you to get to know it before you change anything". Ultimately, I have become somewhat polarized as I keep seeing the same soon to be traded in hack jobs over and over again.
08 Jun 2017
@ 07:22 pm (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: Subsonic loads for 7mm08
Subsonic ammo loves to ricochet so make sure that you don't have water or hard flat surfaces Behind your target. Identify your target beyond all doubt . Sight in your rifle and know the limit of the calibre and load your using. Cast lead bullets might be better than standard bullets unless you like sewing. Have a think of the animals welfare and the painful suffering from a slow miserable death if you get it wrong. ..........! Practice at the range and get good at hitting the target smack bang in the bullseye before you try and get some food for the freezer. Take care out there.
08 Jun 2017
@ 08:35 pm (GMT)

Bob Mavin

Re: Subsonic loads for 7mm08
Thanks guys.

I couldn't understand the use of full velocity loads with a silencer but notice heaps of guys use them on your side.

Subsonic muffled rifles have their uses. I was using my 357 mag with 180gn XPT's that have a big hollow point, mainly neck shooting big Rusa at a max of 60yds. Did the job well without disturbing the locals. You have to hit bone though.
11 Jun 2017
@ 11:51 am (GMT)

Zane Lewis

Re: Subsonic loads for 7mm08
Well from someone's who done it. It's just to see if I can. Plus to give me a quiet option to deal with possums around camp. Yes I know DOC legal and ethical issues plus recent disasters for our sport from people not identifying their target.

I shoot a 243, can't do it with light varmnt rounds. 100 gr will not stabilise in a factory barrel. 105gr Vld will work in my 1:8 barrel. I have also shot 2 goats using this round, projectile tumbled and did significant damage on both.
Would love to have a 358 win or similar and Load pistol projectiles for short range goats.

In response to silencers I use mine to save my ears. Plus Most of my shooting is on farms and anything that reduces the impact on neighbours is good.
Have had a 243 with an 18 barrel for a short time as a result of recown and cut back from age on a 20" carbine savage 99. It was a pig. Recoil ( steel butt plate) Jumped, spat fire, loud, plus velocity loss.
Managed to find a 22" unused factory barrel, different rifle now gives 1.5" groups at 100mt with 2.75x post X rail 1960's scope.
16 Jun 2017
@ 07:43 pm (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: Subsonic loads for 7mm08
great replies so far.
I load and use a specialty load for my 7.62x39mm and have kills somewhere around a dozen animals with them so have SOME idea what Im talking about here.
the cast pills we use come from Robert in Tokoroa,he sells on trademe.
they are a 151grn hollow point that looks pretty much like an upsized .22lr power point.
to help with expansion I add slits with a stanley knife to rim of front end either 3 or 4 evenly spaced about 2mm deep.
the only projectile we have recovered measures 14mm across!!!!!!
I use them for head shooting my house muttons which are pretty feral,ranges are 15-40ish yards and projectiles dont exit.
yip nothing a .22lr could do but the 151 grn vs 40grn thing gives a bit more authority.
cocked it up on one sheep and put pill sideways through nose...sheep carried on like nothing had happened,less than a minute later I did it right. the chance of taking off a jaw/wounding animal with a miss placed shot is higher with these than high velocity round as they pretty much pencil through...that said I would happily take or nanny goats or wallabies UNDER a hundred yards with them (as neither has great deal of body weight/resistance)

as to high velocity loads through a suppressor....... the felt recoil is less and my ears dont ring,the .270 winchester with full throttle loads FEELS like a .223 to shoot and sounds somewhere about .22 magnum or a bit more.
Im a bit of a whimp with rifle recoil if shooting at paper so it makes me feel "more confident" which in turn improoves my results.
there is article in latest NZ Hunter mag on the 300 blackout with subsonic lehigh loads.......worth a look if nothing else,keep in mind auther is shooting a lot of animals they are mostly undisturbed as dog has indicated them,and he has dog to help him out if he cocks up the shot.......
17 Jun 2017
@ 12:12 pm (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: Subsonic loads for 7mm08
A longbow, compound bow or a crossbow with broad head arrows or bolts will do all of this close up killing with more ftlbs of energy and less noise. 300 blackout = 850cc Automatic Mini towing a two tonne trailer Over the Kaimai's......... When you have a 5,700cc V8 ute at the ready! !!! Fads n gimmicks never have spun my wheels. Hence why I have a 35 Whelen admittedly still not bedded But it's the V8 One tonne utility vehicle that gets stuff shifted with no fuss. One accurate powerful shot and killed animal won't be alive to hear the noise. I know of farmers who won't let unsuppressed rifles on the farm because of the noise stirring up the stock. They still duck shoot though. Having enough gun for the job you'd think that would be a man like thing to like. ......
17 Jun 2017
@ 12:25 pm (GMT)

Bob Mavin

Re: Subsonic loads for 7mm08
300 blackout became very popular overnight. There's been a lot of them for sale on over the last 12 months
04 Jul 2017
@ 06:58 pm (GMT)

Rodney Middap

Re: Subsonic loads for 7mm08
Try the Lehigh sidewinder 30 cal made in 135gr and 180 gr for subsonic loads,I know guys shooting large Rusa with these projectiles all one shot kills ,rifle 308 and 300 blackout.


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