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30-06 vs 7mm Rem Mag: Full Review & Comparison Guide

30-06 vs 7mm Rem Mag- Full Review _ Comparison Guide-

Two of the most popular cartridges for medium to big game animals are the 30-06 Springfield and the 7mm Remington Magnum. 

Both of these cartridges are EXCELLENT choices for hunting, as proven by their popularity with most hunters across the United States.

While both of these deliver great hunting performance, which cartridge is best for you?

Let’s dive down into the advantages and disadvantages of each of these cartridges.

Overview of the 30-06 Springfield

30-06

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Specifications:

  • Parent case: .30-03 Springfield
  • Primer type: Large rifle
  • Bullet diameter: 7.8 mm
  • Base diameter: 12.0 mm
  • Land diameter: 7.6 mm
  • Neck diameter: 8.6 mm
  • Shoulder diameter: 11.2 mm
  • Rim diameter: 12.0 mm
  • Rim thickness: 1.2 mm
  • Case length: 2.494 in
  • Overall length: 3.34 in
  • Case capacity: 68 gr
  • Rifling twist: 1-10″
  • Maximum pressure (C.I.P.): 58,740 psi
  • Maximum pressure (SAAMI): 60,190 psi
  • Maximum CUP: 50,000CUP

History of the 30-06 Springfield

The 30-06 Springfield story starts with the Spanish-American War in Cuba, which showed the US Military that the 30-40 Krag was inferior in design to the 7x57mm Mauser.

Not wanting to fall behind in terms of bolt action rifle and cartridge technology, the US military started developing a new cartridge to replace the 30-40 Krag in 1901.

While heavier bullets were preferred at the time, American generals noted that multiple European militaries were using high-velocity Spitzer projectiles in their bolt-action rifles. 

Adapting to this observation, the US Military created a similar design.

This new design had a Spitzer flat-based 150-grain bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2,700 fps and 2,429 ft-lbs of muzzle energy. 

This new design was the 30-06 Springfield, also known as the 3006 Springfield or simply as the 30-06.

The “30” in its name refers to the bullet caliber, while the “06” refers to its year of adoption.

On top of its original intended usage on the battlefield, the 30-06 is also incredibly popular among civilians.

The terminal ballistics and long range offered by the 30-06 impressed big game hunters, allowing them to shoot as they pleased without worrying about recoil impulse.

Now, it is the de facto hunting cartridge and the most popular of all centerfire rifle cartridges.

Its most popular bullet weights are between 150 – 180 gr. Of these bullet weights, the most popular loading is the 180-grain bullet.

However, bullet weights as low as 110 grain and as high as 220 grain are also available.

Popular 30-06 Rounds

These are just some of the different bullets for the 30-06 that can be found in most major retail stores:

  • .30-06 Federal Vital-Shok 165gr
  • .30-06 Hornady GMX 150gr
  • .30-06 Federal American Eagle FMJ 150gr
  • .30-06 Nosler AccuBond 200gr
  • .30-06 Federal Gold Medal 168gr

Overview of the 7mm Rem Mag

7mm

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Specifications:

  • Parent case: .375 H&H Magnum
  • Primer type: Large rifle magnum
  • Bullet diameter: 7.2 mm
  • Land diameter: 7.0 mm
  • Shoulder diameter: 12.5 mm
  • Base diameter: 13.0 mm
  • Rim diameter: 13.5 mm
  • Case length: 2.5 in
  • Overall length: 3.29 in
  • Case capacity: 82 gr
  • Rifling twist: 1/9 to 1/10″
  • Maximum pressure (C.I.P.): 62,366 psi
  • Maximum pressure (SAAMI): 61,000 psi
  • Maximum CUP: 52,000 CUP

History of the 7mm Remington Magnum

The 7mm Rem Mag was developed in the years after World War II, which could be considered a renaissance period for centerfire rifle cartridges. 

It starts with Winchester modifying its 375 H&H Magnum cartridge for its new line of belted magnum cartridges, which included the 264, 338, and 458 Winchester Magnums.

Remington eventually caught wind of this and decided to join in on the belted magnum game with the 7mm Remington Magnum.

The 7mm Remington Magnum, a.k.a the 7mm Rem Mag, 7mm Mag, or 7mm RM, was made by necking down the 375 H&H Magnum case for 0.284” diameter bullets.

A 25-degree shoulder was also added to increase case capacity. 

This allows the 7mm Rem Mag to fire bullet weights from 125 – 195 grains.

However, its most popular loadings are between 139 and 175 grains.

The 7mm Rem Mag is popular among big game hunters for its similar ballistic weight to the 30-06 factory loads, but with improved external ballistics.

Popular 7mm Remington Magnum Rounds

These are just some of the 7mm Rem Mag rounds that can be found in most major retail stores:

  • 7mm RM Nosler Trophy Grade AccuBond 140gr
  • 7mm RM Federal Nosler Ballistic Tip Vital-Shok 150gr
  • 7mm RM Hornady Superformance SST 162gr
  • 7mm RM HSM Trophy Gold VLD Berger 168gr
  • 7mm RM Winchester Expedition Big Game Long Range 168gr

A member of the belted Magnum family, the 7mm Remington Magnum is derived from the well-known .375 H&H Magnum.

Overall, the idea behind the belt is that it offers improved cartridge extraction, which is desirable if you want to deliver quick follow-up shots. 

However, veteran hunters often claim that the belt feature gives minor enhancements to the round.

In any case, after its introduction in 1962, the 7mm Remington Magnum quickly took over the market share of even the popular .264 Winchester Magnum.

It remains popular up until today!

7mm Rem Mag vs. 30-06 Springfield: Comparison of Features

Now, let’s get into the meat of it as we compare the two cartridges.

Both of these cartridges are solid choices for various shooting activities like hunting and range shooting.

But if you could only use one, which one would it be?

We’re breaking down the features of each one side-by-side to see which is truly the best!

Let’s find out.

7mm Rem Mag vs. 30-06 Springfield: Cartridge Specs

Let’s first look at the cartridge specs to see the general key differences between the behavior of these two big game cartridges.

  • The .30-06 has, as implied by the name, a .308 diameter bullet.
  • The 7 mm Rem mag, on the other hand, is slightly smaller at .284. 

While the difference in case’s length between these two cartridges is very small (.006”, to be exact), the 7mm Remington Magnum has a wider base than the 30-06.

This wider base allows it to take in more powder.

Furthermore, it allows the 7mm Remington Magnum to have an improvement in a lot of ballistic categories while shooting similarly sized bullets as the 30-06.

It also allows it to fit in a standard action receiver.

Here is a quick rundown of the differences in specs between the 30-06 vs. 7mm Rem Mag.

30-06 7mm Rem Mag
Caliber 30 caliber (0.308” diameter) 7.2 mm (0.284” diameter)
Case Length 2.494” 2.5”
Case Capacity 68 grains 82 grains
Base Diameter .471” .512”
Overall Length 3.34” 3.29”
SAAMI Max Pressure (psi) 60 200 61 000

7mm Rem Mag vs. 30-06 Springfield: Ballistics

For a better understanding of these two cartridges, here are the ballistics of some of the various loads from each cartridge.

Take not that this is all manufacturer information, and actual ballistics may differ.

7mm Remington Magnum: Muzzle velocity (fps)

Weight (grain) Muzzle (fps) 100 yards (fps) 200 yards (fps) 300 yards (fps) 400 yards (fps)
139 3190 2896 2791 2605 2427
140 3150 2930 2710 2510 2320
150 3110 2830 2568 2320 2085
154 3110 2830 2568 2320 2085
160 2950 2730 2520 2320 2120
165 2900 2699 2507 2324 2147
175 2860 2645 2440 2244 2057

Muzzle energy (fps)

Weight (grain) Muzzle (fps) 100 yards (fps) 200 yards (fps) 300 yards (fps) 400 yards (fps)
139 3141 2752 2405 2095 1817
140 3085 2660 2290 1960 1670
150 3221 2667 2196 1792 1448
154 3221 2667 2196 1792 1448
160 3090 2650 2250 1910 1600
165 3081 2669 2303 1978 1689
175 3178 2718 2313 1956 1644

30-06: Muzzle velocity (fps)

Weight (Grain) Muzzle (fps) 100 yards (fps) 200 yards (fps) 300 yards (fps) 400 yards (fps)
55 4080 3485 2965 2502 2083
125 2700 2412 2143 1891 1660
150 2910 2617 2342 2083 1853
165 2800 2534 2283 2047 1825
170 2000 1740 1510 n/a n/a
180 2700 2469 2250 2042 1846
220 2410 2130 1870 1632 1422

Muzzle Energy (fps)

Weight (grain) Muzzle (fps) 100 yards (fps) 200 yards (fps) 300 yards (fps) 400 yards (fps)
55 2033 1483 1074 764 530
125 2023 1615 1274 993 765
150 2820 2281 1827 1445 1135
165 2872 2352 1909 1534 1220
170 1510 1145 860 n/a n/a
180 2913 2436 2023 1666 1362
220 2837 2216 1708 1301 988

In terms of supersonic limit, or the point at which the flight of the bullet becomes a lot more unstable, the 30-06 Springfield has a limit at 1050 yards.

On the other hand, the 7mm Remington Magnum has its limit at 1292.1 yards.

7mm Rem Mag vs. 30-06 Springfield: Recoil

Recoil energy is the energy “bouncing back” towards the shooter after a round is fired.

While this may not be much of an issue for experienced shooters, less experienced shooters will need less recoil.

  • Less recoil energy allows shooters to be able to quickly sight back on their target for follow-up shots.
  • On the other hand, high recoil energy can cause shooters to have to pull back before pulling the trigger.

This may not seem like an issue at first, but shoulder fatigue can really be a problem during long-range shooting sessions.

Recoil can also affect accuracy, making it an important factor to consider for long-range shooting competitions and long-range hunting.

So how do these two cartridges perform in terms of recoil?

The 30-06 has less recoil than the 7mm Remington Magnum, with about 23 ft-lbs of felt recoil as opposed to the 7 RM’s 28 ft-lbs of felt recoil.

This is not so much of a significant difference, and the added recoil of the 7mm Remington Magnum can be easily resolved with a recoil pad or muzzle brake.

Winner: 30-06

30-06 vs. 7mm: Ballistic Coefficient

The ballistic coefficient (BC) represents how aerodynamic a bullet is. In simple terms, it measures how a bullet resists air resistance, wind drag, and wind drift.

High BC (more aerodynamic bullets) means that the bullet can buck the wind better. 

Generally speaking, heavier bullets mean a higher ballistic coefficient. This is because it’s harder to disrupt the flight of a heavier bullet as opposed to a lighter one.

However, weight is NOT the only thing that matters when it comes to BC.

BC is also dependent on the design and other factors. 

In terms of ballistic BC, the 7mm Remington Magnum is better than the 30-06 due to its more slender, aerodynamic bullets with a higher muzzle velocity.

To prove this, let us look at the ballistic coefficients of these bullets compared to each other.

7mm Rem Mag 30-06
Bullet Ballistic Coefficient Bullet Ballistic Coefficient
Hornady Superformance 162 gr 0.55 Nosler Accubond 200 gr 0.50
Berger Trophy Gold VLD 168 gr 0.618 Federal Gold Medal Match 168 gr 0.463

NOTE: While the 7 mm has a higher ballistic coefficient, that does not mean that the 30-06 has a bad ballistic coefficient.

Anything with a ballistic coefficient above 0.40 is very good and is better than most bullets.

It just so happens that between these two cartridges, the 7mm RM’s more slender and aerodynamic bullets allow it to resist wind drift better than the 30-06.

Winner: 7mm Rem Mag

7mm Rem Mag vs. 30-06 Springfield: Velocity

A bullet’s velocity is an important factor for both hunting and range shooting. 

A higher velocity, along with the right twist rate on the barrel, makes bullets less susceptive to outside factors. 

7mm Remington Magnum rounds consistently have a higher velocity on average than the 30-06.

To further prove it, please refer to the following table that shows the difference in velocity when comparing the 30-06 vs. 7mm Rem Mag.

Velocity (ft/s)

Distance (yds) 30-06 7mm Rem Mag
100 2601 2828
200 2391 2634
300 2191.9 2442.7
400 2001 2267
500 1828 2098.2

Winner: 7mm Rem Mag

7mm Rem Mag vs. 30-06 Springfield: Trajectory

Trajectory quantifies the flight path of a bullet as it travels downrange. This is measured in inches of bullet drop.

For longer ranges, a flat shooting cartridge is preferred as fewer adjustments are needed to compensate for bullet drop.

Additionally, a flatter trajectory is more accommodating of ranging/shooting mistakes.

Now let’s see how the 7 RM and 30-06 fare in terms of trajectory.

Both cartridges have more or less the same trajectories at short range (under 400 yards). 

At longer range (400 – 1000 yards), however, you can really see the difference in trajectory. 

To be able to really compare the 30-06 vs. 7mm Rem Mag, please refer to the table below, which sums up the average bullet drop for both cartridges at various distances.

Bullet drop

At 500 Yards At 1000 Yards
7 mm Rem Mag -38” -287”
30-06 -48” -398”

As we can see from the table above, the flat shooting 7mm Rem Mag is better for long-range shooting, especially at 1000 yards.

At 400 yards, the 7mm RM is truly impressive, even for factory loads. Its flatter trajectory gives a lower bullet drop than the 30-06.

Winner: 7mm Rem Mag

7mm Rem Mag vs. 30-06 Springfield: Sectional Density

Sectional density (SD) measures how well a bullet can penetrate a target.

This is a very important consideration when hunting big game as the bullet should be able to pass through bone, meat, and thick hive. 

A HIGHER sectional density means a deeper penetration of the bullet into the target.

NOTE: Sectional density is not the only factor to consider for penetration. Other factors affect penetration, such as bullet expansion and velocity.

While both cartridges have variations in SD due to bullet weight and design, there isn’t a significant difference between the 30-06 and 7mm.

Specifically, the smaller .284 “diameter bullets of the 7mm Mag have just a little more sectional density than the .30 caliber bullets (with the same weight) used by the 30-06.

No mule deer will be any the wiser with either of these cartridges.

Winner: Tie

30-06 vs. 7mm: Energy

Every time you fire a bullet, that bullet carries kinetic energy.

Upon impact, that energy is then transferred to the target, which results in a large amount of force that destroys tissue and organs.

The bigger a target, the more kinetic energy you will need to cause significant damage.

Both the 30-06 and Rem Mag can carry over 1000 ft-lb of energy over a distance of 500 yards; enough energy to take down most medium-sized game!

However, let’s take a close look at the average kinetic energies (in ft-lbs) of both of these cartridges over different distances.

Average kinetic energies (ft-lbs)

Yards 7mm Rem Mag 30-06
0 3140.8 2922.9
100 2733.8 2484
200 2372.5 2102
300 2051.7 1770.8
400 1766 1485.4
500 1513.3 1241.8

As observed from the above table, we can see that the 7mm carries more energy on average than the 30-06, especially at longer range.

Despite this difference, both cartridges are still excellent choices and carry enough energy to bring down a target within regular hunting ranges.

Winner: 7mm Rem Mag

7mm Rem Mag vs. 30-06 Springfield: Hunting

So how do these two cartridges compare for hunting?

Let’s take a look:

7mm Rem Mag

  • Slightly higher muzzle velocity than the 30-06.
  • Better at retaining energy over longer ranges.
  • Flatter trajectory 
  • Better at resisting wind drift than other bullets from the 30-06 with the same weight.
  • Slightly higher sectional density

30-06

  • Larger diameter bullets
  • 18% more frontal surface area than the 7mm
  • Bigger permanent wound channel
  • Lower recoil impulse

All in all, both are extremely VERSATILE choices for hunting cartridges.

Both cartridges offer lightweight bullets that you can use for varmint. Additionally, they can both offer a heavier bullet if you prefer elk and Brother Bear.

At the end of the day, however, no animal in a real-world hunting scenario will know the difference between a 30-06 and a 7mm Rem Mag.

Winner: Tie (depends on application)

7mm Rem Mag vs. 30-06 Springfield: Barrel Life

Due to the difference in bore diameter and case capacities, these two cartridges have a significant difference in barrel life.

In simple terms, putting and burning more powder in a certain space results in shorter barrel life. 

It is worth taking note that the 7mm Remington cartridge has a smaller bore size with a bigger powder charge.

In general, this means that the 7mm Rem Mag can wear down barrels quicker than the 30-06.

This may be a concern for serious target shooters.

However, hunters need not worry as the usual barrel life of these cartridges are good enough for many years without issue.

Winner: 30-06

7mm Rem Mag vs. 30-06 Springfield: Stopping Power

Stopping power is a very important factor for hunters.

There are several reasons that this is important:

  • Safety: A wounded animal can be dangerous. The right stopping power eliminates this danger as it quickly kills or immobilizes the animal.
  • Ethics: The right stopping power allows for a clean and humane kill without causing the animal more unnecessary suffering.
  • Lessens need for tracking: If an animal is killed and not simply wounded, you don’t need to track it down dangerous, unknown paths. 

Stopping power is dependent on multiple factors, including, but not limited to, penetration, bullet energy, bullet expansion, and shot placement.

We have covered bullet energy and sectional density (a big factor in penetration!) above.

Shot placement is already directly up to the shooter. 

In terms of bullet energy, the 7mm Rem Mag has been observed to have higher average energy, especially over longer ranges. 

The 7mm Remington Magnum also has a greater SD than the 30-06.

Aside from SD, penetration is also dependent on bullet momentum. 

The table below summarizes the average bullet momentum of these two cartridges.

Yards 30-06 7mm Remington Magnum
100 61.4 62.2
200 56.4 57.9
300 51.7 53.7
400 47.2 49.5
500 43.1 46

We can conclude that the 7mm Remington Magnum is better for stopping your target in its tracks.

Winner: 7mm Rem Mag

7mm Rem Mag vs. 30-06 Springfield: Rifle Availability

There are many rifles available for both the 30-06 and the 7mm Remington Magnum. Most of these are bolt-action rifles for hunters and marksmen that want high accuracy.

Some of these rifles that can be used for both cartridges include:

  • Remington 700
  • Savage 110 Hunter
  • Tikka T3
  • Winchester Model 70
  • Weatherby Vanguard

If you would prefer a semi-auto rifle, then we recommend the Browning BAR for both calibers. For the 30-06, the M1 Garand is also a GREAT option!

For a hunting rifle with some character, check out military surplus rifles such as the 1903 Springfield and re-barreled Mauser rifles for the 30-06.

  • It is worth noting, however, that the 7mm RM requires at least a 24-26” barrel to reach its full potential. 
  • The 30-06, on the other hand, can reach its full potential with even just a barrel length of 22”.
  • This shorter barrel is both lighter and easier to maneuver, which is great for long hikes. 

While there is a multitude of rifle options for both cartridges, there are simply MORE options for the 30-06.

For a quick rundown, here is a summary of some popular choices for rifles for the 7mm Rem Mag and for the 30-06 Springfield:

7mm Rem Mag

  • Browning X-Bolt
  • Winchester XPR

30-06 Springfield

  • Browning BAR Mark III
  • Mauser M18 in .30-06
  • Noreen Firearms BN36X3
  • Remington 783 Walnut 30-06 Bolt Action Rifle
  • Ruger American 30-06 Composite Stock Rifle
  • Ruger Hawkeye Hunter 30-06 Rifle
  • Savage Axis II XP 30-06 Rifle
  • Springfield Armory Model 1903
  • Springfield M1 Garand

Rifles that can shoot both 30-06 and 7 RM

  • Bergara B-14
  • Remington 700
  • Savage 110
  • Tikka T3
  • Weatherby Vanguard
  • Winchester Model 70

It is worth noting that for some hunts, a lighter rifle may be better.

Winner: 30-06

7mm Rem Mag vs. 30-06 Springfield: Ammo Availability

The 30-06 has been around for many decades; there are a lot of developments around this iconic cartridge.

This leads to a larger variety of ammo for the 30-06.

Regarding factory loads, it may be easier to get ammo for the 30-06 simply because it has been around longer. Ammo is also CHEAPER for the 30-06!

  • Practice ammo for the 30-06 can be found for as low as $1.30/round.
  • Premium hunting ammo, such as the Barnes VOR-TX, costs at least $3.00/round.

You can find practice ammo for the 7mm Rem Mag for as low as $1.30/round.

Meanwhile, premium hunting ammo like the Federal Premium Terminal Ascent 7mm Rem Mag ammo can be found for at least $4.00/round.

While the 7mm RM is a popular cartridge, it can be difficult to find factory loads for it in smaller stores.

Here is a quick rundown of the suggested retail price of 20 rounds of some of the most popular ammo for both cartridges:

7mm Remington Magnum Price (USD)
7mm RM HSM Trophy Gold VLD Berger 168gr 47.99
7mm RM Hornady Superformance SST 162gr 32.29
7mm RM Federal Nosler Ballistic Tip Vital-Shok 150gr 36.79
7mm RM Winchester Expedition Big Game Long Range 168gr 43.99
7mm RM Nosler Trophy Grade AccuBond 140gr 58.00

 

30-06 Springfield Price (USD)
30-06 Federal Vital-Shok 165gr 37.79
30-06 Hornady GMX 150gr 35.49
30-06 Federal American Eagle FMJ 150gr 24.99
30-06 Nosler AccuBond 200gr 59.00
30-06 Federal Gold Medal 168gr 37.99

From the table above, the average price for 20 rounds of 7mm RM ammo is USD 43.81.

The average price for 20 rounds of 30-06 ammo, on the other hand, is USD 39.05.

Therefore, the 30-06 not only gives you more options for ammo but also gives your wallet a breather!

Winner: 30-06

Let’s Recap

The 30-06 Springfield is the GOLD STANDARD for hunting cartridges.

It was the primary rifle cartridge for the US Military for WWI, WWII, and the Korean War, thus making it a trusted, proven choice against varmint with 2 – 4 legs.

The 7mm Remington Magnum, which was designed specifically to be a sporting cartridge, was Remington’s contribution to the Magnum era in the 60s.

Its design allows it to fire the same bullet weight as the 30-06, but with more ft-lbs of energy and higher muzzle FPS.

Additionally, it can keep these ballistic advantages at extreme ranges for both hunting and target shooting.

Final Verdict: Which Is Better?

It’s difficult to pinpoint which exactly is the better bullet choice, but we would personally choose the 7mm Rem Mag for its hunting prowess and longer-range capabilities.

The 7mm Remington Magnum is a BEAST of a hunting cartridge that can deliver a punch above its bullet diameter.

As Remington’s entry to the belted magnum craze, the 7mm Rem Mag can outperform the 30-06 in practically any ballistic category except one: recoil.

With an amazingly flat trajectory, this is an ideal cartridge for long-range shooting. 

However, we cannot discredit the 30-06 either for its affordability and recoil.

When to Use the 7mm RM

If you plan to hunt antelope or mule deer at an extended range above 200 yards, you’ll really appreciate the 7mm Rem Mag.

Its flatter trajectory and better kinetic energy retention make it an ideal choice for plains hunters, as it has a slight edge even when compared against .30 caliber bullets.

When to Use the 30-06 Springfield

If you plan to hunt medium-sized game like whitetail deer, feral hogs, and black bears below 200 yards, it would be best to use the larger diameter bullets of the 30-06.

While you can use the 7mm Rem Mag for this purpose, the 30-06 is more affordable and gives less recoil for a negligible difference in performance. 

This tried and tested cartridge has been on the market for over a century, staying true even s other cartridges come and go.

It is so good that other hunting cartridges use it as a benchmark. 

Final Words

The 7mm Rem Mag and the 30-06 are two very popular hunting cartridges on the market.

So which of these two cartridges is the best?

It really boils down to what you’ll be using it for.

Regardless of whether you choose the 7mm Remington Magnum or the 30-06 Springfield, no game animal will be safe from you.

Check out this guide to see how the 7mm compares to the 6.5 Creedmoor! For more comparisons, we took a look at the 38 Super and the 38 Special.

 

 

CHANGELOG:

July 24, 2022 - Updated article title, major updates to content
January 13, 2022 - Added new product links
September 14, 2021 - Reviewed and updated article links, updated article title

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