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Some 7mm Rem Mag Questions

10 Aug 2018
@ 07:24 am (GMT)

Luke Lahdenranta

Hello to all

To sum up a very frustrating and expensive few weeks. I discovered firstly that the pounding my old Tikka 30-06 was giving me for the last 15 years or so was due to a poor stock fit and NOT normal and secondly the darn thing just killed off yet another scope i had just mounted in just 4 shots... I'm really bitter with the thing and it has been demoted from pride of the fleet to languishing in shame at the back of the safe u til I figure what I want to do with it.

Anyway with hunting season rapidly approaching here what to do? I'd been thinking of a new rifle to play with so I decided nows the time and to get something different so a Remington M700 SPS in 7mm Mag that I've had my eye locally came home with me. I have to say having a chance to watch Nathan video on setting up M700 was a big factor in encouraging me to try a M700. I have been burned a couple times with recent years with Big Greens lack of quality control but I'm pleased to say this one looks like it will be a pretty decent rifle.

First a couple of initial impressions on the M700 SPS if I may. While I have had quite a few different hunting rifles this is my first M700. I can see why the M700 is probably the best selling bolt action around. The design is elegant in its simplicity. I must say that I really like it so far. Just a real honest, humble working rifle. I also really like the SPS stock, it fits me well and is very functional if nor pretty. I was also very surprised by how light it is even with 26" barrel. It's listed on the website at 7 5/8 lb but I weighed it bare at exactly 7 lb 2 Oz and now with Talley rings and Leupold 6x42 (my only spare scope) and sling and 4 rounds it weighs ready to hunt at 8 1/4 lb. That is perhaps a little light for a 7mm Mag? But I think it will be okay since it's primary use will be as hike in high country mule deer/black bear rifle and maybe spike fork moose or elk on the side. What a difference rifle fit makes!! I haven't had a chance to put many rounds through it yet only just going thru barrel break in (as per video) and getting it on at 100m but even though it moves me around a little, with the sling and a good grip on the forend I found it much more comfortable to shoot then my 30-06 that weighed over a pound more scoped.

Sorry for the rambling introduction on to the questions:

I have bought neck sizing dies but will shoot factory for now to get brass and save some time for this season. What brands do you like for 7 mag brass? I bought a couple boxes of Remington core lokt for initial break in and a box of Hornady American whitetail 154 gr.

Is there a factory load that tends to shoot well in the standard Remington chambers that's worth trying? I would be favoring heavier loads I'm not really interested in the 140 great and under loads.

I'm looking ahead to bullet selection for load development next winter/spring and reading over the knowledgebase and review the Cartridge books, I'm thinking about going with the Woodleigh pp in 160 gr and maybe the 175 gr? I don't really need long range performance right now but a hard hitting bullet to anchor mature mule deer bucks and black bear (possibly immature moose/elk) out to perhaps 400 yards max. The Woodleigh Id like to try out and they are quite a bit cheaper here in Canada then nosler partitions ore even accubonds.


10 Aug 2018
@ 08:14 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Some 7mm Rem Mag Questions
Hi Luke, yep, the little Tikka rifles can be a mongrel. If you can get into a groove with them, all good, if not, they have to be altered or moved on. The stock design is of course a major issue. Upgrades can work well- but then we have to get the bedding right which can be tricky. It all depends on how a guy wants to play it. In the Tikka vid, I worked with the gun as-is so as to not bust a guy's wallet having already laid out cash on his rifle. I worked with what I had in front of me. I proved that the barrel could shoot. Once we have an idea that yes- the barrel is OK, we can then consider whether we want to keep using it as is (see how it handles in field positions) or whether we want to bed the rifle / change stocks etc. Certainly not as easy as some folk would have others believe, just as I talked about in the trailer. And fitting a brake etc is no easy answer due to the small muzzle diameter and eventual swelling after cutting muzzle threads.

Another way to play it (or in addition to a stock upgrade), though it only suits some situations, is to fit a heavy 24x optic (obviously useless for a bush gun). Having the big optic can help increase the weight while a 30mm tube and large internals can prove more robust than what you have just been through, especially with a locked tracking mechanism.

Its one of those things you have to go through to really understand, just as you have done. You know darned well just how much the 06 Tikka boots. In my shooting book, you will have read my comments in the mil / sniper section about the .308 Tikka Lite versus transferable skills. Try running that sucker with Hornady 168gr SF ammo at 2820fps. Most of these so called expert sniper instructors cannot use this rig with a high degree of precision. We can learn a lot form these rifles. Whether we want to keep them and how they fit in with our hunting methods is another question.

Regarding the M700, just stick to the Whitetail ammo for now. Its what you have and it will be a good source of brass without mix ups. The chamber / leade angle design of the SPS is not ideally suited to the likes of the factory SST or ELD-X so stick with the Interlock style of jacket and overall bullet design for now. Later, when hand loading, you can perhaps try sneaking close or onto the lands with an SST or ELD-X in a such a way that during ignition the bullet is not slammed into the lands but rather starts at the lands.

The Woodleigh would be good to moderate ranges but if you have to reach out, it might be a bit lack lustre. It needs a mixture of high impact velocity and a relatively high level of resistance to produce wide wounding. Even the 160gr driven at over 3000fps and used at close to moderate ranges seems less prone to wide or over expansion than the likes of the .35 cal offerings. It certainly is a good bullet for tough situations but if you need to reach out or if lean animals crop up, wounding can be narrow. The Partition does not have the same level of insurance when it comes to penetration but it behaves in an extremely violent manner. These days, not many people have experience with the Partition. I am not even sure if the up and coming trend setters at Nosler really know it all that well anymore, enamored with new bullet designs. Its just one of those things which you have to see for yourself. But again, it has its limitations. SD is a key factor.
For what you have described, the Partition may be the middle ground, the place to start. Perhaps try it at 40 thou jump and see how you get on. But if you want to, start with the 180gr ELD-M (15 thou jump), do your load work, build confidence in you and your rifle, find a sweet spot then use this as start, sweet spot and end data for the Partition (or Woodleigh) to save money while working from a position of confidence in past loads. If you collect formative data on the 180gr, you'll find it correlates well with regards to pressures for the 175gr or with a 1 to 2 grain incremental increase in powder for the 160 grain.

Hope that makes sense. Should all come together nicely.
10 Aug 2018
@ 04:23 pm (GMT)

Luke Lahdenranta

Re: Some 7mm Rem Mag Questions
Thank you for the always helpful response again Nathan, as well as the load data you emailed me. I will probably end up just going to straight to that since I know it should work. You were spot on with your advice and data for the 30-06 with the heavy 200/208 gr bullets and Superformance powder. It was all coming together nicely... if a little painfully if I wasn't 100% on my game. Hence my disappointment at having things buggered up yet one more time and just before hunting starts. Sometimes you just need a break and something new to work with. I have time to think about what to do with my Tikka. I still would like to see the project through to completion, I think the 7mm mag and 30-06 could still play really well together. The 7mm running a 160ish bullet fast and flat for some reach and the 30-06 running +200gr @2700 fps for some thump.

A couple of other questions:

Would there be any sense in having a gunsmith open up the throat and change the leade angle just a tickle to help with the longer 160 gr and up bullets? I seem to remember reading that the 7mm Weatherby was basically just a 7mm Rem mag with a long free bore, maybe opening it up could pick up a bit of extra velocity, or at least less pressure at the higher sweet spots?

Has anyone worked at all with the new slow burning powders like the RL 26 or 33 or the new IMR eduron 7977 or 8133 powders? Do they offer any real advantage over the traditional go to 7mm mag powders? Maybe the extra slow burn powders could help with throat wear and barrel life?
10 Aug 2018
@ 11:53 pm (GMT)

Ryan Nafe

Re: Some 7mm Rem Mag Questions
Hey Luke, I don’t mean to get too off-topic from your initial post, but I was wondering if the Leupold you mentioned is the FX-III 6x42mm. That’s one of the two or three scopes I’m considering for the .450 Marlin build I’m doing on my old Savage short action. Do you like the scope?

I have an FX-II 4x32 with the German #4 reticle from their custom shop on my X-Bolt .308. I’ve been very happy with the scope for the last two years now and the FX-III seems like a great design for my new project.
11 Aug 2018
@ 09:06 am (GMT)

Luke Lahdenranta

Re: Some 7mm Rem Mag Questions
Hi Ryan

I like my 6x42 fx3 a lot. I have had about 5 or 6 years and I find it to be a very bright and clear scope as well as reliable scope. It works for my eyes out to 300-350 yards quite well.
11 Aug 2018
@ 09:59 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Some 7mm Rem Mag Questions
1. Hi Luke, I have tried throating the Rem Mag on two different barrels but it does not work so well. The jump is too long for the neck diameter and neck length. Just leave it as it is, it will be just fine. It just needs time. If you really want to ream it, go with the 7mm Practical.

2. Jim Mosely posted this in the LR thread:
180gr ELD-M
RL26 / 67.3 grs
Fed GM210M primers
Rem Brass
Length measure off the ogive / 3.750
.006 off the lands
MV / 3019 fps

You would need to start a lot lower and work up. This may be a fast barrel so don't expect 3019fps, I have seen other Rem Mags go at the same speed as the Practical with H1000 for the same reasons. Barrel dimensions tend to be the key as opposed to powder design as a sole factor.

The Rem cases can be about 2.5gr more in capacity than Hornady so tread carefully. Most Rem mags max right out once they get over 2950fps with a 175-180gr. A few go well at 2925fps, most at 2860fps.
12 Aug 2018
@ 06:22 am (GMT)

Ryan Nafe

Re: Some 7mm Rem Mag Questions
Thanks for the feedback, Luke. There’s another 6 power from Leupold, the FX-II 6x36, but since the larger 6x42 has a larger exit pupil and perhaps slightly better glass, I think it’s worth the extra money. Decent eye relief, too.

Part of why I like fixed-power scopes is because if you already know what level of magnification you need, the scope is generally as small and lightweight as you can get for the specific magnification. Plus my 4x32 has an 8mm exit pupil and makes low-light shooting dramatically better than I could do with just my normal vision. It really brightens the image well.
12 Aug 2018
@ 06:36 am (GMT)

Luke Lahdenranta

Re: Some 7mm Rem Mag Questions
If you are thinking low light performance than I don't think you will be disappointed in the 42mm fx3. It has the upgraded coatings same ad the v3i series. I also like the long I relief over 4 inches and it has a very forgiving eyebox and is easy to get behind. I also have an older M8 4x33 that has been a very faithful scope. I really like Leupolds fixed power scopes i fond them to be great value for the money. I would actually like to add a 2.5x20 and the 6x36 to my collection to have them all.


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