Power, flat shooting trajectory and a rifle that is easily carried. It’s stronger than a .308 and smarter than most available calibers when you need stopping power out past 700 meters. This is an article that will visit our picks from the broader market of the best .300 Winchester Magnum Rifles.
From a historical perspective, the .300 Win Mag has always been a powerhouse in the market, capable of taking elk in the field; used by the secret service and many law enforcement agencies as anti-personnel rifles and used for longer range flat shooting needs, when a .30 caliber is needed.
It’s got a lot more distance than a .308; it shoots a lot flatter than other .30 caliber options and it has down range stopping power. It’s a classic choice that can lend itself well to everything from hunting, to law enforcement, to target shooting to range duty; and while it does have recoil that’s just at the level of discomfort for the majority of the population, it’s something of a special cartridge.
In this article, we will talk about the different values espoused by each of our choices in the list, and how those values and characteristics can help you to choose a firearm in the segment of .300 Win Mag.
What about the newer calibers?
There are a lot of very interesting cartridges and caliber formats that have been introduced or reintroduced in the last 15 years and some of them are directly in the wheelhouse of the .300 Win Mag in one facet or another. But remember the .300 Win Mag was introduced in 1963.
The 6.5 Creedmoor was introduced in 2007. The 6.8 was introduced in about 2003-2004.
The .300 Win Mag is a belted Magnum; and it is a much bigger cartridge than either of these calibers. And the ballistics are solidly in favor of the .300WM. It’s not even close.
In fact, the people comparing the newer cartridges don’t understand the sheer power of the .300 WM. It’s almost be easier to compare a .300 WM to a .338 Lapua Magnum than to a 6.5 Creedmoor.
Unfortunately, these new flat shooting, hard hitting calibers for intermediate ranges get lumped together with the .300 WM because of historic comparisons to the .308. The .300WM is in a whole other league.
Here are some basic numbers:
A 180 grain projectile from a mid-range .300 Winchester Magnum cartridge can achieve 3250 fps velocities, and 4100 ft. lbs. of energy.
The effective range is well beyond 1000 meters and lethality is high to 800 meters under varying conditions (it’s far beyond that in ideal conditions).
As a duty gun for anti-materiel and anti-personnel needs, the .300WM is a powerful option. As a hunting gun for the largest game on the North American Continent, the .300 Win Mag can be dialed down or up to improve ballistics for situational use. You can even use it on smaller game at long distances with the right load.
What’s the point? The .300 Winchester Magnum is relevant. It is powerful. It is versatile. The following guns utilize their builds to take advantage of everything that the .300WM cartridge has. They are the best .300 Win Mag Rifles on the market.
Best .300 Win Mag Rifles
Ruger Guide Gun Bolt-Action Rifles
Based on the famous concept by Jeff Cooper, the Scout Rifle. This is a really well envisioned and superbly executed rifle. It is also a cannon. It’s got a very powerful cartridge with a relatively small size. It is also about as lean a configuration as you can get, and a more capable rifle than most factory bolt actions.
A laminate stock that is heavy enough to help with recoil a bit, but dense and strong enough to make it weatherproof and durable in the field, which means you get a very robust gun. The taper of the barrel and bulk of the receiver and bolt size show how robust the system is.
The scout concept is about a small footprint; iron sights; easy deployability; quickly and this gun offers it. It is not the truest version of a Scout Rifle, but it’s very close. Primarily, the .300 WM would be a bit too much cartridge; and the magazine is fixed, so it’s not exactly what the formula calls for.
That said, this gun can be used for any duty or field need in North America to 600-800 yards. With iron sights. How well you hit that target will largely be a representation of your skills at that distance with iron sights, but the ability to mount optics also exists.
The extractor is the round style Mauser design and it is phenomenal for loading and for extraction, especially given the belted base of the cartridge. The barrel is cold hammer forged and very accurate. It can be had in different lengths, but anywhere between 18-26 inches can handle the .300WM cartridge well. This is in stark contrast to some calibers that require longer length barrels to get out to those kinds of distances, like the 6.5 Creedmoor, et al., that need 26 inches to gather the velocity and stability needed.
The feature set is nice, even considering how spartan the gun looks on the surface. There are well placed sling swivels; stock spacers to dial in the length of pull; integral scope mounts already machined into the receiver. The sights are very tough and have good adjustability. This is an easy gun to shoot to 300-400 yards with open iron sights. The fixed magazine can be bottom unloaded, to avoid chambering the rounds left in the mag.
This is a good looking, simple, but proficient gun made at a good price point by a legacy rifle maker; based on a cartridge that can do basically any task needed by a high-powered rifle.
- Performs well in bad weather
- Versatile build and great features that are still subdued
- Small size compared to most competitors
- Without optics you lose some distance; with optics you lose some distance because it’s built for shorter ranges than many others with the .300WM chambering
Browning X-Bolt Hells Canyon Long-Range McMillan Rifles
Best .300 Win Mag Rifle for Hunting
McMillan pairing with Browning for ultra-long-range precision in a moderately priced rifle that can legitimately take shots on game (or other targets) at further than 1200 meters. This is a sub 8 lbs. rifle capable of any tactical or game task at more than 1000 meters with basic optics. It’s a strong contender for the best in class because it is a sub MOA rifle from factory at a reasonable price point that has a tiny weight class.
It is a lightweight design considering the rock-solid barrel (26 inches long) and the super stable composite McMillan stock. The smart camo pattern on the Hells Canyon means it fits in a lot of places, but it looks great in your safe too. The burnt bronze Cerakote is tough and durable; it is also well matched to the stock color and design.
The muzzle brake is proven to mitigate a large percentage of the recoil and the fluted barrel helps to cool the barrel better while stiffening the longitudinal rigidity and helping to keep harmonics in place, while cutting significant weight.
The short throw on the bolt allows quick follow up shots, and the muzzle brake makes it much easier to get back on target quickly with this ability to not have to lift your head as far from the stock to cycle the gun and manage the recoil.
There is a detachable magazine, with 3 shot capacity, allowing 4 shots of .300WM. The trigger isn’t the most amazing thing you have ever shot perhaps, but it’s more than adequate and does allow a lot of adjustability. You can move between 3-5 lbs. on the pull, and it matches well with the gun’s overall capabilities.
The recoil pad is something special too, with the INFLEX technology actually giving a legitimate decrease in felt recoil on the shooter. Of course, this works in conjunction with the muzzle brake and the solid mounting of the receiver into the stock bedding.
Rounding out the feature set is a pair of sling swivel placements that allows you to easily heft the 8 lbs. gun around all day wherever you need to move. It’s a very good hunting gun, and capable of duty use or for tactical needs too.
- Well finished
- Durable and weatherproof
- Super long-range capabilities
- Great weight profile
- Exceptional stock
- Could be seen as expensive
Remington Model 700 MDT TAC21 Centerfire Rifles
This rifle makes no attempt to hide its intentions. It is a purpose-built rifle for human targets at distance. Some would call it anti-personnel; some would call it a sniper rifle. It doesn’t matter what you call it, it is a long-range, precision rifle that is capable of shooting any sized target at long ranges (up to 1500 meters realistically).
Remington has made a concerted effort to push forward the military contract rifle submissions and the law enforcement models over the past 5-6 years. This is an ancillary product SKU that just so happens to have legitimate market value because of the flat shooting, hard hitting cartridge it is chambered in.
The value here is that you can get relatively close to the performance of a .338 Lapua (for moderate ranges) for less money and the costs per round is significantly lower. Of course, you aren’t going to get the 1800 meter performance that you get with the $5-7/shot .338 Lapua – but you are paying less than $1.50 a shot; and you are getting lethality at 70%+ of the same ballistic parameters as the .338LM.
A 24 inch barrel helps to squeeze out a bit of extra range for this tactical chassis that it sits in; but it doesn’t add excessive weight. Six rounds of ammunition is a heavy payload for the type of weapon this is, and the tactical design allows for accessorizing with optics and lights; lasers, etc. It is also built to be mounted on a bipod or other supportive device.
Note: this is a 12.25 lbs. rifle. It is not a lightweight firearm. It is meant for stationary, long-range shooting purposes.
It is a weatherproof system that utilizes Cerakote to help with durability and corrosion resistance; and the Magpul furniture is durable and proven. The PRS is a very nice adjustable stock for this type of stationery shooting.
The removable magazine is a huge tactical advantage and the ratchet mount brake offers some good recoil management. Paired with the 3.5 lbs. X-Mark Pro trigger means you get a well-integrated stationary anti-personnel rifle that is capable of taking out any target.
- High accuracy
- Good recoil management
- Strong feature set
- Good durability and weatherproofing
- Removable magazine
- $2750-3k or so
Barrett MRAD Centerfire Rifles
This is the absolute best rifle on this list. It is also the most expensive by a wide margin. This is, by build quality; feature set; and proven capabilities, the best rifle here, period.
It is expensive, but it is worth every penny, too. But you buy this gun because you absolutely need its capabilities and have to have the stability and integrative engineering that it can produce.
It is not a consumer-friendly firearm for a lot of reasons, and almost didn’t make it onto this list as a result of that, but the overall package is so strong that it simply could not be omitted. It’s not consumer friendly because it’s expensive. It is also very hard to find in stock. It is heavy, and big, and meant for tactical human target purposes. It just doesn’t fit with the historic marketing narrative of the bolt action as a hunting only gun.
Barrett is a military contractor. They provide guns for hardcore missions. They send these guns to the most difficult operations in the most difficult conditions and put them into the hands of the most credible and well-trained operators in the world to face some of the most difficult to kill targets in the world. They are proven in every scenario you can imagine. From their flagship BMG 50’s that have been in the hands of military snipers for decades, to the newest Barrett inclusion (this very gun); Barrett is making guns on a whole different level.
Can you use it for hunting moose? Yes. You can. But make no mistake, it’s made for interdicting terrorist threats and disabling engines; and perimeter protection in hostile environments wherever the US Military has a presence.
Seem a little too hardcore for you? It doesn’t need to be. Because this is a gun that simply provides a projectile down range, at a high rate of speed with high accuracy and with good stopping power. You can choose what you want to employ it for.
This is a fully machined, high quality Aluminum chassis with a long barrel that optimizes velocity and stability of the projectile. It offers a plethora of 20 MOA rails and has them positioned in the 3-6-9 positions allowing high customization via the rails and aftermarket optics and accessories. The bolt design and the upper receiver are well mated and offer very good clean shooting, that can be maintained easily and will help to keep accuracy where it needs to be for this rifle.
The overall design is a modular one and the barrels, triggers and some of the furniture can easily be implemented with accessory pieces from Barrett. It makes this a mission-critical package for those who have varying needs. There is a folding stock to help with transport. The magazines are ten rounds and offer exceptional reliability. The follow up shots are fast, despite it being a bolt action with a long action receiver. It is made for snipers and anti-material precision shooters – there are no bones about it.
The entire system is generally ambidextrous.
- Great muzzle brake and recoil reduction techniques
- Exceptional trigger and bolt for fast, smooth operation
- Ambidextrous build
- High capacity with a huge payload
- Modular and can offer different barrels, etc.
- The most expensive rifle on this list
A note: We left off the Accuracy International rifles [[LINK HERE]] from this list, as they are even more cost prohibitive and harder to find in-stock than the Barrett MRAD. It is also an incredibly accurate, proven gun that has been put into the hands of special forces operators and law enforcement personnel everywhere. If you want a high end firearm and are willing to spend up to $7k USD for the privilege, the Accuracy international Rifles have very few peers.
Browning – BLR Lightweight
What may be one of the most perfect dangerous game firearms in the backcountry of North America, this is a specialty firearm that should have much more widespread appeal. It is a fast first shot; fast follow up shot rifle with a massive payload of 4 rounds of .300 Winchester Magnum.
If you have ever shot a lever action you can understand the benefits of the platform, including the thin and light profile; the heavy cartridge capabilities; the quick follow up and simplicity of the firearm is important. In the case of this Browning rifle, this is a detachable magazine firearm that allows a pointed projectile cartridge to be used. This is a 4 round high-power rifle that is capable of taking any game in North America at ranges out to 1000 Meters. This is unheard of in the lever action segment.
The ability to take multiple shots; and to have it as a bear gun in dangerous game territory makes it even more useful than the venerable .45-70 which is arguably a 300-yard gun at best. The long action and belted cartridge does give some difficulty to the usually much more compact lever gun platform, but Browning, ever-innovative in the space offers a rack and pinion drive technology to improve the lever cycling and help to feed these rounds reliably, smoothly and with less effort than you might think would be necessary.
The bolt is also built differently because of the high pressure of the cartridge and the need for some help mitigating that pressure internally to keep the gun viable long-term. It features a rotating head bolt that helps to absorb some of the pressure to ensure cases aren’t ruptured and that the gun can stay in shootable condition despite the heavy wear and tear put on a firearm by such a heavy cartridge. This theme is continued with the button rifling that offers deep lands and grooves to ensure maximum life and predictable accuracy and consistency, where the normal barrel life for a .300WM might only be a few thousand rounds. This gun should easily be able to handle twice that.
The side ejection from the multi-lugged bolt face offers the shooter the comfort of knowing they wont catch an extremely hot piece of brass inside of the neck of their shirt as they go to take a second shot before the animal can move on a cross canyon shot, or other significantly difficult shot that is not normally possible with a lesser cartridge.
That is the beauty of the gun: brute force lethality; huge range potential and all this in a simple, svelte package that weighs under 8 lbs. and looks the part of a classy lever gun, because it is.
- Very good-looking lever gun
- Huge payload for this type of firearm
- Robust build quality and innovative features to ensure long-term use
- 1000 meter/yard capability in a lever action gun is substantial
- Could be seen as pricey
Our attempts at covering the broader market should be clear in our overviews of what we believe to be the best .300 Win Mag Rifle on the planet. But what we also hope comes though, is that there is a lot more approachability to the .300 Winchester Magnum cartridge now that it is accepted for what it is. It has always been a behemoth with a flat trajectory and exceptional stopping power out past 1000 meters.
We think this approachability is good for shooters of all types and allows the majesty of the .300WM to penetrate more than just the military duty market because more than it is a sniper round, it is a perfect round for anyone with long range precision needs that don’t want to pay to move up to the next level of performance only achieved by cartridges like the .338 Lapua Magnum or the .50 BMG.
At up to 1200 yards/meters, most shooters will be just as happy with the performance out of their more mainstream .300WM and much happier with the ammunition bill paying $1.50 a shot instead of $5-8 a shot for cheap ammo.
The above list represents the best .300 Win Mag Rifles on the market, we invite you to check them out further and see if one makes sense for you.