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7mm Mag. Deer caliber?

Old 09-18-2009, 11:17 AM
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Default 7mm Mag. Deer caliber?

I own a Rem.7mag, it shoots great, has plenty of distance, groups well, etc. However, I have had several people inform me that it isn't a good deer or (med. game) cartridge because "usually" the bullet won't expand well and deer will run off even with a good hit. I have taken 2 deer and 1 coyote with it that dropped in their tracks, but did have a deer run off last year that I hit just behind the shoulder, and never found him, not even a speck of blood etc. Has anyone found this to be a problem, what are your opions of the 7mm mag. cartridge. FYI. I shoot Hornady 154 gr SST now. Previously I was using Horn. 139 gr BTSP--was that my problem? Thanks for any advice.
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Old 09-18-2009, 11:24 AM
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I too have a 7mm Mag. Mine is an older Savage model 100. I use remington maybe 150 grain, not sure. Not sure about the ammo because a few years back I got a .308 and if I'm not bow hunting, I am using the .308. Not because the 7mag is not good, but man, it kicks. I think the 7 is perfectly fine weather your shooting the 130 something or 150 something grain. I can't explain your lost deer, but by the sounds of it, it is a freak case. I have shot several deer with my 7 mag and all but one dropped where it stood. the other ran about 30 yards and went down. IMO if you dont mind the recoil, stay with it.
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Old 09-18-2009, 02:01 PM
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The 7mm RM is my first choice when I am deer hunting...I have never had a deer go far, and most (all but one) have hit the ground where they were standing or running...

Hunting in heavily pressured, steep mountain terrain, I always try to put the bullet through the deers lead shoulder (both if the angle will allow it)...when that has been the case, every deer has dropped.

I started with the 160 grain Nosler Partition and found it amazingly destructive, as I did with the 150 grain Core-lok, and impressively destructive was the Winchester Supreme 150 grain Ballistic Silvertip that I now hunt with (and practice with out to 500 yards).

I have never heard anyone say the 7mm RM was not a good deer round...but every round that I have fired as exited, though the exit holes have been large to massive. I normally hear that the 7mm RM is overly destructive.
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Old 09-18-2009, 04:05 PM
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Anyone who tells you that the 7mm Mag isn't sufficient for hunting deer is a flat out moron. There is no kind way to state it and still be honest. The next time someone tells you that your 7mm Mag isn't enough for deer, you'd be best advised to turn and walk quickly away before they lower your IQ by osmosis.

That said, any deer can run a long way if hit poorly, no matter what cartridge you use, even if the hit will ultimately be fatal. You say that you lost a deer that you shot "just behind the shoulder," but what I hear this made I usually think that the shot was actually much worse than called. Unless you actually witnessed the hit, or say blood running from the hole that confirms the placement, I'd tend to think that you probably pulled the shot, or maybe had the bullet deflect off a branch resulting in a very poor hit or even a complete miss (hence no blood at all).

Anyway, if you place the shot into the vital organs with a 7mm Mag, the deer will die, and die fairly quickly. Any animal can run a ways after a ribcage hit that doesn't damage a shoulder. I've had deer run almost 100 yards with half its heart turned into blood jelly, but even andrenaline can only keep a so wounded animal moving for a very short time (it doesn't take long for a deer to run 100 yards). The 7mm Mag is more than enough for deer with any bullet weighing 140 grains or larger. Placed properly they will kill deer quickly, resulting in little if any tracking being required. If you are worried about too little blood for tracking, choose a premium high weight retention bullet like the Barnes TSX or Nosler Accubond that will virtually guarantee a passthrough on a broadside shot. If you want a high probability of a DRT hit, choose a rapid expansion bullet like a Nosler Ballistic Tip, Rem Core Lock or any of the less expensive non-premium soft points like the Winchester Super X Power Points or Federal Power-Shok "blue box." If you want a virtual guaranteed Dead Right There (DRT) hit, your best bet is to take shoulder shots. Destroy one or both front shoulders and it becomes physically impossible for the deer to stand, let alone run. Break the shoulders and they go straight down and die quickly. The downside is that you'll lose a lot of edible meat, especially with a high velocity round like your 7mm Mag. If you use a controlled expansion, non-fragmenting bullet like a TSX, expect to lose 50% of the shoulder meat. If you use a rapid expansion bullet that loses most of its weight to fragmentation, expect to lose the whole thing. Just the way it is.

Oh, and one last thing regarding the 7mm Mag not expanding because it's "going too fast." This is utter BS. The rate of bullet expansion is proportional to the energy the bullet has when it arrives, because it is the bullet own energy that causes it to expand. Higher velocity bullets, all else equal, will ALWAYS expand FASTER and often to a greater degree in a liquid medium than an identical bullet at lower velocity. In other words, your 7mm Rem Mag, pushing a 140 grain bullet at 3200+ fps will expand faster than a 7mm-08 fired at 2900. It's a bit counterintuitive, but it is the way it is.

IMO, the 7mm Mag is actually a bit OVERGUNNED for whitetails at normal ranges (under 300 yards), but the deer will still be very dead.


Last edited by driftrider; 09-18-2009 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 09-18-2009, 06:26 PM
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I use a 7MM Remington Magnum with 160 Gr Nosler Accubonds. Never had one to leave, after being shot. Shot placement is critical.
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Old 09-18-2009, 06:52 PM
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Lack of expansion sounds like more of a bullet problem then a caliber problem. Teamed with a fast expanding bullet 7mag will do just fine on deer (though it may be a bit overkill). I've had success with 140 grain and 150 core lokts.

The only problem I have ever had was a couple years ago I had a core lokt appear to blow apart when I shot a doe from 10 yards. She was perfectly broadside when I shot and hit her right behind the shoulder killing her nearly instantly. However when I got to the carcass it appeared that the bullet did a 90 degree turn and came out the front of her brisket and it was kind of a ragged exit hole. But I think this was just a freak incident at extremely close range, I've shot other deer with the same round at ~25-30 yards and the bullet worked flawlessly.
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Old 09-18-2009, 09:23 PM
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Your 7mm mag is just fine, whoever told you that is suffering from rectal cranial inversion.
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Old 09-18-2009, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by driftrider View Post
Anyone who tells you that the 7mm Mag isn't sufficient for hunting deer is a flat out moron.
Then I'm your huckleberry.

Once witnessed a high shoulder hit, broadside. NEVER have I seen so much damage from a shot before.

Both sides of the prime backstraps towards the front were toast. Both shoulders were a total waste as the bullet fragmented and not only was there physical damage, but the blood shot collateral damage was totally amazing. I have never seen so much damage to meat before in all my seasons.

So, I say a 7mm Mag isn't a sufficient deer caliber because it has way too much knock down power.... more than enough needed for a thin skinned, thin ribbed whitetail. Many deer have fallen from .223's, .243's and 30-30's that clearly shows calibers that have "sufficient" killing power.

Now if they're out there 300-600 yards, then, now we're talking 7mm Mag's and others.

Your 7mm Mag will work ok. Just keep it in the vitals, off the shoulder(in my opinion) and you should be eating some fine venison... and if you're lucky, a brute to put on the wall.

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Old 09-19-2009, 01:26 AM
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So, I say a 7mm Mag isn't a sufficient deer caliber because it has way too much knock down power.... more than enough needed for a thin skinned, thin ribbed whitetail.
You do understand that "insufficient" and "excessive" are opposites of one another (they are antonyms). Insufficient means "not enough," so if something works but is "way to much" then it is most certainly still sufficient. We're talking about whether it's sufficient to kill a deer, and even in your anecdote, it obviously got the job done in spades. The 7mm Magnum, as I believe I stated, is more than sufficient for taking deer. As I also stated, it is also quite capable of causing a level of damage to the animal that one may find excessive, hence it being overkill.

I think that you are confused between what is sufficient, ethically and practically, to kill a deer, and what is optimum.

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Old 09-19-2009, 05:41 AM
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i've killed a few deer with my savage 7mag. i use the hornady 139gn btsp. if you hit them thru the ribs you are fine,but everyone i've shot with a quartering away shot has went down on impact but not without totally distroying the shoulder on the other side. the first doe i shot had no leg or shoulder ,blown off completly. i would say the 7mag is a little more gun then i will ever need for whitetail deer.
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