7mm-08 a not so hidden gem

Alexandro Faria

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A while back, I was chatting to a mate of mine about 308-derived cartridges and the topic ended on the little and obscure (at least in RSA) 7mm-08. Obviously the 243 win and the 260 were discussed to some extent, but with the proven track record associated with the 243 and the various 6.5's still being all the range in long distance, they need not be discussed here.

He was (is?) of the opinion that the 7mm is the ugly duckling of the family- neither here nor there (I'm paraphrasing). Well, I sort of got what the point his was making, but being an argumentative man, I did some digging and damn, I'm happy I did.

First, let me praise the champion that is the 308 win- short action, a fair bit of oomph and complete lack of originality (read "easy to get ammo and components), the little winnie is the boring cartridge that could. This versatility has been helped, substantially, by the myriad of awesome projectiles now available to us.

Moving on to the 7mm-08, I was playing with Sterlok the other day and the numbers coming out of the 7mil were damn impressive- hand loads with 160gr projectiles showed awesome velocity, retained energy and horizontal drift looked great. I spoke to a guy who had built an AI version for PRS type comps and I was really, really impressed.

All that said, I know practical and theoretical don't always gel, so I would love to here your thoughts and experiences. The man I mention above had some really hot loads (above 2800 ft/s with various 160 grainers) and with that kind of gas and the associated BC and SD values, I think this would make for an AWESOME short action allrounder.

The question is: Is the difference between the 7mm08 and 308 enough to sacrifice the universality of the latter or is this just another case of unnecessary splitting of hairs?

Cheers
 

gillettehunter

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The 7mm-08 is a great cartridge. The only time I have shot one was spotlighting jack rabbits 10-15 yrs ago. The rancher had one loaded with 120 gr bullets. The recoil was quite mild. Surprised me. Today we have a great selection of bullets and powders. Reloading helps this mild mannered cartridge really shine. Great for anyone that doesn't like heavy recoil. It can be loaded up to take most plains game. Great one to put in a light weight stalking type of rifle. Does better than what most people think it will.
Bruce
 

meigsbucks

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First, to answer your question, I feel the .308 is superior to the 7mm/08 for large critters due to the ability to handle heavier bullets. That said...
I have a love affair with the 7mm/08. Way back in 1980, I was at my local purveyor of firearms. A sales rep was there telling the owner that Remington was bringing out a new round, the 7mm/08. It would be available in the revamped M788, as an 18” barreled carbine, and in the M700 Varmint Special for the increasing number of metallic silhouette shooters.
I told the owner to get me a 788 and a couple of boxes of ammo as soon as it came out. I remember the rifle came in on a Tuesday, I mounted a scope on Wednesday, Thursday I sighted it in and on Saturday I was at a hunting preserve in SE Ohio on Saturday. I dropped a Barbarossa ram like a house fell on him. That is the only animal I’ve taken with a factory load. After that I used 140 gr Sierra Pro Hunters for years. It was a deer killing machine. I’ve since switched to the 140 gr Barnes TSX @ 2730 fps. Based on its performance I’d be confident to hunt hunt elk with it out to 250-300 yds.
The Remington M788 may be the ugliest rifle ever made. (Actually, IMO I think the Savage 340 holds that title) It’s not light considering it’s a carbine, the magazine protrudes and has a little rattle to it and a stained, non-checkered hardwood stock. On the plus side it’s spooky accurate and in 7mm/08... deadly. FYI: I considered restocking it for both aesthetics and weight savings, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
 

Ray B

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My first centerfire rifle was a newly introduced Rem 700 308 carbine. I carried it for years while deer and elk hunting and never felt undergunned until I read articles noting that for elk I really needed a 338 mag - but that's another story. A few years back I traded for a Sako 85 in 7/08. It became my go-to rifle for deer and elk (since in recent years where I hunt I'm limited to "spike" elk. So no need to be armed for an 800 pound 6 pointer. There are advantages to each bore .284 & .308 but for practical big game hunting purposes I don't see much difference.
 

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I have owned a couple of 7-08's and neither shot very well so lost interest in it as a round. It and the 7x57 are ballistic equals but the Mauser round has much more charisma.
 

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I was first introduced to the 7mm 08 back in 1986. While working in Mexico I became involved with a shooting club in Chihuahua, Chihuahua Mexico. Metallic Silhouette shooting was a big thing there. Targets were set at ranges from 200 to 500 Meters. The most prevalent caliber used for that application was the 7mm 08. My Mexican friends were convinced that 7mm ballistics were much better than those of 30 Caliber bullets. I thought about having a Savage Model 99 converted to 7mm 08 but never did. IMHO it should work just fine on the smaller Plains Game.
 

IvW

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A while back, I was chatting to a mate of mine about 308-derived cartridges and the topic ended on the little and obscure (at least in RSA) 7mm-08. Obviously the 243 win and the 260 were discussed to some extent, but with the proven track record associated with the 243 and the various 6.5's still being all the range in long distance, they need not be discussed here.

He was (is?) of the opinion that the 7mm is the ugly duckling of the family- neither here nor there (I'm paraphrasing). Well, I sort of got what the point his was making, but being an argumentative man, I did some digging and damn, I'm happy I did.

First, let me praise the champion that is the 308 win- short action, a fair bit of oomph and complete lack of originality (read "easy to get ammo and components), the little winnie is the boring cartridge that could. This versatility has been helped, substantially, by the myriad of awesome projectiles now available to us.

Moving on to the 7mm-08, I was playing with Sterlok the other day and the numbers coming out of the 7mil were damn impressive- hand loads with 160gr projectiles showed awesome velocity, retained energy and horizontal drift looked great. I spoke to a guy who had built an AI version for PRS type comps and I was really, really impressed.

All that said, I know practical and theoretical don't always gel, so I would love to here your thoughts and experiences. The man I mention above had some really hot loads (above 2800 ft/s with various 160 grainers) and with that kind of gas and the associated BC and SD values, I think this would make for an AWESOME short action allrounder.

The question is: Is the difference between the 7mm08 and 308 enough to sacrifice the universality of the latter or is this just another case of unnecessary splitting of hairs?

Cheers

Rather just get or build a 7x57 mm with hand loads it is a super cartridge, been so since its inception.....

Why would a South African want a 7mm-08.....
 

7x57Joe

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I had the 7x57 before the 08 was born so naturally, that is my preferred round but, if it wasn't for the x57 I would probably love the 7mm/08. Never been attracted to the .308 even though I've had some, they didn't stay long.;)
 

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I own a 7mm-08. I really like my 7mm-08. That said between it and a 308 (or 30-06, which is my 30 caliber of choice) the 308 wins for versatility. The 7mm-08 is a great medium game rifle, I love it for caribou, but you can get more out of the 30's if you need the bullet weight.
 

wesheltonj

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(1) a friend of mine says of the 7-08 is a solution looking for a problem.

(2) I bought one for my daughter and it’s still new in box. She’s now a Vegan and no longer hunts. Social media like Twitter and Facebook will be the downfall of civilization.
 

leslie hetrick

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i shot two prong horns with my rem 700 sps left hand(2.5-8x leupold scope) out west with 120 nosler BT,s at 2900 fps with varget. one was 280 yards and the other was 310 yards(distance with a range finder), shooting was prone with a harris bipod and both fell to one shot each with complete pass thru,s.

DSCN0334 (2).JPG
DSCN0025.JPG
 
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Alexandro Faria

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(1) a friend of mine says of the 7-08 is a solution looking for a problem.

(2) I bought one for my daughter and it’s still new in box. She’s now a Vegan and no longer hunts. Social media like Twitter and Facebook will be the downfall of civilization.

I'm actually heartbroken for you, that's rough, I'm sorry. As a agriculturalist, I wish people knew the actual facts.
 

Alexandro Faria

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Rather just get or build a 7x57 mm with hand loads it is a super cartridge, been so since its inception.....

Why would a South African want a 7mm-08.....

Logically, I agree with you, but I have a bit of a fetish for short action rifles. Just something about dynamite coming in small packages... Might have something to do with the fact that my 5foot gf is such a bomb.
 

Alexandro Faria

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First, to answer your question, I feel the .308 is superior to the 7mm/08 for large critters due to the ability to handle heavier bullets. That said...
I have a love affair with the 7mm/08. Way back in 1980, I was at my local purveyor of firearms. A sales rep was there telling the owner that Remington was bringing out a new round, the 7mm/08. It would be available in the revamped M788, as an 18” barreled carbine, and in the M700 Varmint Special for the increasing number of metallic silhouette shooters.
I told the owner to get me a 788 and a couple of boxes of ammo as soon as it came out. I remember the rifle came in on a Tuesday, I mounted a scope on Wednesday, Thursday I sighted it in and on Saturday I was at a hunting preserve in SE Ohio on Saturday. I dropped a Barbarossa ram like a house fell on him. That is the only animal I’ve taken with a factory load. After that I used 140 gr Sierra Pro Hunters for years. It was a deer killing machine. I’ve since switched to the 140 gr Barnes TSX @ 2730 fps. Based on its performance I’d be confident to hunt hunt elk with it out to 250-300 yds.
The Remington M788 may be the ugliest rifle ever made. (Actually, IMO I think the Savage 340 holds that title) It’s not light considering it’s a carbine, the magazine protrudes and has a little rattle to it and a stained, non-checkered hardwood stock. On the plus side it’s spooky accurate and in 7mm/08... deadly. FYI: I considered restocking it for both aesthetics and weight savings, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Cheers for this. We refer to those sorts of rifles as "warthogs"- ugly, tough and they definitely get the job done. A FA doesn't need to look pretty to get the job done.

It wouldn't be used for anything bigger than kudu, but I'm wondering if it's worth it considering how similar it is to the 308.
 

crs

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My grandson shoots a 7mm-08 and is quite accurate with it.

How about older folks?
Several years ago, some of us from the Dallas Woods and Waters Club took our first African safaris and naturally took rifles like ,300 Win Mag and .338 Win Mag for plains game All were successful and naturally planned return trips . Most of those that went back for more plains game took their 7mm-08 rifles and were quite pleased with the results. The 7mm-08 was plenty adequate and accurate and much lighter than the larger rifles.
I went back for Cape Buffalo and also took a lighter rifle - My Winchester 1895 .405 WCF and you may see the result in my Avatar to the left.

Heavier is not necessarily better,
 

Standard Velocity

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The 7mm-08 has a slight ballistic advantage over the 308 on medium size large game but not enough to worry about in my opinion. Neither are as capable with the heaviest bullets as the 7x57, 280 Rem or 30-06. I prefer mid to heavy weight bullets so a 160gr 7mm moving at moderate velocity sounds like a winner to me.

I hunt with either a 308, 30-06 or a 7mm Rem Mag most of the time. Unless you’re hunting really large game at long distance I don’t know that it’ll make much difference as long as you use a premium bullet.
 

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I was first introduced to the 7mm 08 back in 1986. While working in Mexico I became involved with a shooting club in Chihuahua, Chihuahua Mexico. Metallic Silhouette shooting was a big thing there. Targets were set at ranges from 200 to 500 Meters. The most prevalent caliber used for that application was the 7mm 08. My Mexican friends were convinced that 7mm ballistics were much better than those of 30 Caliber bullets. I thought about having a Savage Model 99 converted to 7mm 08 but never did. IMHO it should work just fine on the smaller Plains Game.
If you look around you should be able to find a savage 99 in 7-08. they made a few. I have one in 284 and just love it.
 

Buffalo1

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I have owned both .308 and 7.08.

The 308 enjoys the full range of 30 cal. bullets if you reload. I loaded the Sierra 165 gr. BTHP and never lost a deer. A good caliber.

The 7-08 is has less recoil and I found it to be more fun to shoot. I did not reload but found the 139 gr. Hornady a good round for the gun. I found that the Barnes 120 to be a super round.

Depending on what I was hunting would me my determining factor on caliber selection. 7-08 IMHO is good for whitetail & down. A.308 is good for whitetail, hog, and maybe elk (close range-200 yd or less).
 

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I have owned both-I still have two 7mm-08's-a youth model Marlin and one of the original Rem. 700's. My brother in law bought and loves the .308 which I always (and I love the description) thought was "boring." A nothing special caliber that does what it is intended to do. The little 7 I bought for my girls-liked it so much that I now use it as often as they do. It has killed everything from prairie dogs to cow elk. My buddy shot two big caribou with it with the sst bullet. Manufacturers hurt the caliber by putting short barrels and lightweight stocks on them and ammo manufacturers do it an even greater dis service. In the hands of a good hand loader it excels and has the same luxury of bullet choices that the .308 does. I wouldn't stretch to the 160 grains since IMO that is "big 7" territory but I have had great success with the 140 A frame and 145 grand slam. I've seen several antelope and mule deer (and the whitetail in the pic) killed with the nosler 150 ablr bullet.
IMG_5190.JPG


Its a personal preference is all, they are both very good cartridges and when loaded appropriately do their jobs without issue. Probably as hard to buy a 7x57 in the states as it is hard to find a 7mm-08 in Europe and Africa. . .
 

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