Developed to up gun the 30-06 Springfield, then taken over by massive numbers of hunters in the American west, the 300 Winchester Magnum has become a benchmark of American high-power rifle cartridge design.
But choosing the right 300 Win Mag rifle could mean the difference between spending a lot of money on a rifle that doesn’t fit your needs, or worse…
Buying a subpar firearm that fails you when you need it most.
But don’t worry, all rifles on this article are top of the line. Rest assured you’re in good hands.
Best 300 Win Mag Sniper Rifle
1. Ruger Hawkeye – Best 300 Win Mag Sharpshooter Rifle
|Ruger Hawkeye Specs|
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Coming in as the best 300 Win Mag sharpshooter rifle, we have the Ruger Hawkeye Hunter, the best bang for the buck in a military-style rifle.
Now, this rifle is a controlled round-feed Mauser action type, and it’s definitely a reliable one.
No more jamming… ever.
The feed-loading and cycling of the action is very smooth and slick, so you won’t need to worry about rigid movements with the bolt – it’ll just be smooth cycling round after round.
Additionally, it has a floor plate type magazine and a single-stage trigger that’s non-adjustable and does give a bit of creep, but it doesn’t detract from the rifle’s performance – plus, you get used to it quite quickly.
However, for those who prefer a light trigger that’ll let you snap away, this may not be the rifle for you.
What’s more, it has a cold hammer forged barrel that is capped and threaded, so you can handily put a brake or suppressor to its end for that extra addition to optimize your rifle and keep your shoulder pain to a minimum.
Not to mention, with a 3-position safety, you can be sure the rifle won’t go off when you don’t need it to.
No need to explain that one.
The Ruger can also be obtained in the chassis rifle design, but the Ruger in the Hawkeye model, as either a heavy sportier or a varmint target rifle, is very hard to beat for the money.
This rifle is very much a look-alike to the US Marine Corps first generation turn bolt full stocked sniper rifle M40A6. And it is a darn nice varmint rig or long-range target gunning system too.
And the best part?
As of September 27, 2023 our recommended supplier has the lowest price online for the Ruger Hawkeye. Just make sure to use the link below to get the low price and support the page at the same time:
2. Browning BLR – Best Lever Action 300 Win Mag Rifle
|Browning BLR Specs|
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As this rifle is made to be lightweight, it is fast to handle, easy to carry, and has the balance for that occasional off-hand shot, setting down over a rock, or off-shooting sticks for the long Polk across a canon. So on those hikes to the deer range or long treks in the field, you’ll be grateful for choosing this one.
What’s unique to this gun is that when it’s cycled, the trigger assembly drops down with the lever and prevents the trigger finger from being pinched when the lever is closed, so you won’t have to worry about that when needing to cycle fast.
The trigger itself comes in at around 4.5 to 5 pounds, so it’s no hair-trigger by any means but it is very well-designed and easy to shoot accurately. It’s got a short take-up, followed by a firm wall, and about 3/16” of travel before hitting a clean break. This way, shots will be safer and easier to control.
However, as it is a lightweight rifle, the recoil can be a bit much, especially with the 300 Win Mag cartridge. But when we added a limb-saver recoil pad, it exponentially improved it and was very easy to shoot with, almost like a not-six, so no need to worry about a bruised shoulder after your first session if you have that addition.
Now, many lever action rifles have a tubular magazine, but the BLR retains a detachable box magazine that allows you to use pointed-tipped bullets to increase your range, and you can run whatever load you want too.
The one downside, however, is that it doesn’t have a proper safety, but it does have a half-cock safety that will render it unable to shoot once in that position – it is a bit of an odd feature though that may need some getting used to. This works perfectly fine, but if you prefer more defined safety positions, especially if you’ll be moving around more often with your rifle, then another option might serve you better.
With a pistol grip, walnut stock, and Schnabel fore-end, it makes for one classic-looking rifle that is downright handsome. So, if you’re looking for an accurate and lightweight rifle with a fast and smooth action, the BLR is certainly worth a look.
3. Browning Bar – Best Semi-Auto 300 Win Mag Marksman
|Browning Bar Mark III Specs|
|Weight||7 lbs. 11 oz.|
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While a second choice in a fast shooter would be again the Browning, this time it’s the BAR model (semi-automatic rifle).
Coming in at a reasonable weight, the recoil-dampening gas operating system reduces the kick significantly, which is why Americans were sold on the first Browning BAR model to begin with. This auto-loader also comes with an inflex recoil pad to further cushion shots and avoid bad flinch, so you can get to fine-tuning your marksmanship skills.
Additionally, it has a DBM on a hinged floor plate for easy reloading and the rifle itself cycles very fast and very well, so no need to worry about any hitches in speed with jammed systems.
In a lot of cases, that kind of speed is not necessary when you’re taking your best shot under controlled conditions in the field, but it definitely comes in handy for those follow-up shots if ever the first doesn’t finish the job, or if you’re hunting down a pack of game.
Ultimately, this rifle is a straight-shooting well-manufactured piece of American history, and if you require speed and accuracy packaged in a beautiful rifle, the BAR is one semi-auto that’s hard to beat.
4. CVA Cascade – Best Budget 300 Win Mag Rifle
|CVA Cascade Specs|
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This amazingly cheap option is actually shockingly good, and so if you’re looking for something within the budget realm, the CVA Cascade is the chosen one.
Now, if you compare this rifle with all the others on the list, you can tell we’re quite used to the nicer things. So, it was a surprise when this ultra-cheap rifle turned out to be quite amazing.
Given its price, this rifle is quite remarkable. The 70 degrees bolt throw feels nice, the action is fluid, the trigger is better than normal, the feeding is absolutely excellent, and the fiberglass reinforced stock has a SoftTouch finish that just feels good. Honestly, you’ll have no trouble when cycling it round after round.
It also surprised us how accurate it is, and overall this rifle is a great budget option with nothing overly negative to say, and that’s quite an achievement!
However, one suggestion we have is to add a brake and tame that recoil. That will add to the cost as it doesn’t come with one, but it does come threaded and ready. When you’re out shooting more than a couple of rounds, you’ll thank us.
Due to its popularity, the CVA Cascade has been on backorder for months. As of September 22, 2023 they got a new shipment in and as of September 27, 2023 they have a few in stock.
5. CZ 557 American – Best Bolt Action 300 Win Mag Sniper
|CZ 557 American Specs|
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When it comes to field hunting for deer and antelope here in the American west, the CZ American bolt action rifle gets the call almost all of the time.
So, the CZ 557 is built around a Mauser action and the longer barrel length allows you to squeeze more velocity out of the chambered cartridge and send your rounds even further. Put that together with the built-in dovetails that allow you to mount your scope directly to the action, and you end up with a simpler and robust attachment method that can achieve CZ’s guaranteed 600-yard MOA out of the box.
With this rifle, you can sit pretty and take your time for that perfect shot, knowing it’ll achieve extreme accuracy to finish the job. And besides, if you know how to hunt, have learned to shoot, and can keep your wits together when it’s time to go to work, the bolt action will do the deal every time. Make that first round count and the rest of the story takes care of itself.
Now, for the other features this rifle holds, the hinged floorplate allows you to unload rounds quickly, and a fully adjustable trigger lets you tune weight, creep, and overtravel to your liking. Whether you want to hit the wall and shoot right away or have planned creep, you can adjust to your heart’s desire.
Overall, with a solid action, cold hammer forged factory-lapped barrel, beautiful American-pattern walnut stock, and strong pistol grip with a bit of palm swell, it’s one undeniable beauty and there’s very little to complain about other than there’s no left-hand model available.
6. Remington M2010 300 Win Mag Assassin – The One To Avoid
|Remington M2010 Specs|
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Today, largely because of the military application of the 300 Win Mag and the M-2010 chassis rifle built by Remington Arms, the list of chassis rifles offered in 300 Win Mag is endless.
We were issued the M-2010 for a full month prior to its release to the US Army for our testing. The rifle was set up with a suppressor, night vision system, and a complete set of tools so as to allow the sniper the ability to make any necessary adjustments or field repairs. And a factor to note – the price of this rifle as it was presented to us was upward of $25,000 and change.
So, we were able to make this 300 Win Mag effective well out to 1200 yards against portable steel targets at first, and with special high BC bullet hand loads, push the range to 1400 yards against a man-sized target. Extreme long-range capabilities, as expected from a weapon for military snipers.
Our real issue with this rifle is its price and just how it feels in the hands. Exclusivity is its major selling point, and it has a non-traditional design, which, call us old-fashioned, just doesn’t feel the same.
For a hunting rifle, it’ll definitely reach long distances and don’t get us wrong, it’s a great rifle, but at the end of the day, we’d personally skip this one.
Buyers Guide for .300 Winchester Magnum
When To Choose .300 Winchester Magnum
What the .300 Win Mag excels at is offering raw power on target, and that most often is required by hunters.
Hunting is when it’s golden – when you’re shooting with 150gr to 220gr at 3,260-2,900 fps muzzle velocity, it certainly packs a punch, so it’s no wonder why it remains the most popular .30 caliber magnum among American hunters.
When you really consider your choices for a hunting rifle cartridge to bring down all types of North American big game, the .300 Win Mag is what most people turn to, and this classic cartridge has been one of the top choices for 60 years. (1)
Plus, if you’ve seen our other reviews on big game and military-style centerfire rifles, you will see a pattern present itself here. Rifles in 30-06, 6.5 Creedmoor, and many others all can support the 300 Win Mag very well.
However, when it comes to long-range precision shooting, that’s a different story.
See, the most common amateur mistake we see is when someone buys a magnum for their first long-range (LR) rifle. And we can list a number of reasons why.
The powerful recoil, for one, makes spotting shots difficult, then there’s the expensive ammo, short barrel life, and the fact a magnum doesn’t really give you an advantage inside 1,000 yards shooting paper or steel – it all adds up to say choosing a .300 Win Mag for this sport and your precision rifle is not wise.
What Specs Matter Most
Now, you might think a lighter weight is better, but in fact, when you take into account the recoil of a 300 Win Mag, a little more weight can be more practical.
That weight will soak up the recoil, which leaves you with less flinch, better tracking after a shot, and overall more effective training.
However, with too much weight, those treks through the field can be an annoyance, so it really is up to you to be the judge of that trade-off.
If you choose lightweight, we recommend ensuring your barrel is threaded or comes with a brake, as that’ll make a load of difference.
This aspect isn’t too big of a deal. A longer rifle is longer and that just means less maneuverability in some cases, but what a Win Mag does is gives you a longer range. So while movement may be more difficult, you’ll get to do less of that if you can shoot from further away.
For Win Mag, the minimum is usually 24” for most. That’s not because a shorter barrel performs worse, but because if you’re shooting this cartridge, you should take advantage of that and achieve as much muzzle velocity as you can.
26” barrels are also available and can give an extra boost, but be warned – if you want to use a brake or suppressor, that will turn your rifle into something canon-like.
Essentially, there are two types: single-stage and 2-stage. The 2-stage trigger has more movement, with the first “stage” consisting of planned creep until it hits a “wall”. That wall will give your trigger firm resistance, and once you pass the wall, the rifle shoot.
Conversely, a single-stage starts immediately at the wall. This type is more suitable for precision shooting, while 2-stage is comparably safer, but both have their own uses and it’s up to preference.
DBM or Fixed Magazines
Choosing detached boxed magazines (DBM) or fixed magazines is really up to you. It’s easier to clear your gun with a DBM, where you don’t have to cycle the round for each bolt or have it drop from the bottom with a hinge. However, if weight is a concern, fixed magazines are what you’d want.
Why The 300 Win Mag?
When the folks at Hornady Ammunition developed the first ELD bullets that have come to be known as ultra-efficient high BC projectiles, it was the 300 Win Mag that got the call for the first commercial loadings and test runs, and we were there seeing first-hand the net effects of the cartridge when applied to long range big game animals.
So, why the 300 Win Mag? Because Hornady knew full well that one pile of hunters shot the cartridge and paired rifles, and it would be accepted if the 300 Win Mag handled it well.
So, what is the best 300 Win Mag you can buy? The answer to this question is to select a name-brand rifle with a history of quality.
Examples of several quality rifles are the Winchester Model 70’s of current construction, anything in the Browning line of bolt guns, or for that matter lever action rifles. There are also Remington rifles with Model 700 actions, and last but not least, Ruger’s line of M-77 receiver-style bolt action rifles.
How Good Is The 300 Win Mag
For a final answer to this question, we turn to the military application of the cartridge and a new set of paired rifles.
Because the 300 Win Mag is so outstanding in the field, this fact did not go unnoticed by the American military. Just within the past few years, the cartridge has been considered and adopted by the US Army as the replacement round for military sniper field (M-24) and also the new 2010 chassis rifle now in service to the government.
Previously, the 7.62 NATO (308 Win) was the accepted cartridge used by special operation snipers and even squad-level riflemen. However, in combat, it was found that, based on the wide-open shooting so evident today in the sandbox of the Middle East, the 7.62 just lacked the necessary energy to be used as a stand-off weapon against mortar crews and counter-sniper operations in combat.
Enter the 300 Win Mag that allows an additional 400 yards with the correct bullet to the equation. When the bad guys set up, they’re in range, and when they pull back, they’re out of range, but so are the targets they want to hit as well.
300 Win Mag vs 308
First off, both the 308 and the magnum cartridge are great for taking down big game in North America and are readily available in stores. But that’s where their resemblances end.
Advantages of Using 300 Win Mag
- Speed – This cartridge will send a 180-grain bullet (the higher end of 308’s abilities) at almost 3000 fps. This type of speed brings a nice and flat trajectory that makes long-range shots easier.
- Energy – The 308 can take down big game like moose, elk, and bear, but only at a reasonable distance, inside 350 yards. The 300 win mag, however, can bring the same energy at 600 yards, almost double the distance.
Advantages of Using 308
- Weight – This cartridge is in fact short-action, and also works for shorter rifles, whereas rifles chambered for magnum often have 2” longer barrels and more weight.
- Recoil – The 308 comparatively has a much lighter recoil, around 12-13ft-lb, while the magnum has a recoil of 17-18ft-lb. With a recoil like that, most beginner shooters shouldn’t be starting with the latter.
- Cost – More inexpensive rifles like the cheaper savage rifles are not available for the Winchester Magnum. Plus, ammo is also cheaper for the 308.
- Magazine Capacity – Definitely holds a higher capacity in a 308.
- Barrel Life – A rifle chambered for a 308 has 2-3 times the barrel life of a magnum (useful to know if you do shoot more often and aren’t only shooting 4 times a year) (2)
However, we recommend beginners don’t start on the magnum and instead with 308.
Why is that? Well, although the 300 Win Mag offers the speed, trajectory, and overall terminal performance that long-range shooters and experienced hunters need to take down big game, the recoil that comes with it does not help new shooters on the range or out in the field. For more on ammo, take a look at our post on 416 Barrett ammo.
The recoil of a magnum is not something most new shooters can handle right off the bat, and what ends up happening is bad flinches messing up the shots. And if the recoil and expense are what keep them off the range, that only hurts the development of their marksmanship skills.
Regardless of how you view the topic though, the 300 Win Mag is the top dog among a wide range of hunters and military types alike. If you strip the whole subject down to bare bones, the 300 Win Mag is a 30-06 on asteroids. So, if a rifle feels right, shoots straight, and you bond with the metal, wood, or polymer stock, then that’s the best rifle you can buy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most accurate 300 Win Mag round?
The most accurate 300 Win Mag round is the 190-grain Sierra Matchking, which offers record-setting accuracy and is actually meant as a target shooting round.
How far will a 300 Win Mag shoot accurately?
The farthest that a 300 Win Mag will shoot accurately is around 1,210 yards, which is the generally accepted maximum effective range with the use of low-drag projectiles.
Why is the 300 Win Mag the best?
The 300 Win Mag is one of the best cartridges for hunting in particular because of its flat trajectory and superior power downrange, making it a top choice for bringing down any big North American game. Plus, lower recoil rounds and lighter bullets are available to prevent overkill when bringing down whitetail and mule deer, and the like.
Is a 300 Win Mag a good elk gun?
The 300 Win Mag is considered a good elk gun as it contains the punch and the range needed to take down many large game animals, holding a reputation of capably taking down every type of game found in North America, even elk.
What kicks harder 308 or 300 Win Mag?
The 300 Win Mag kicks harder than the 308, with a speed and energy that can hit targets at a nice flat trajectory that makes it easier for long-range shooting.
Is a 300 Win Mag big enough for grizzly?
Yes, a 300 Winchester Magnum is big enough to take down grizzly bears and other game like moose or elk, even past 600 yards.
- Hunting Illustrated, Shooting: The .300 Winchester Magnum, retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20210226103644/https://www.huntingillustrated.com/shooting-the-300-winchester-magnum/
- Outdoor Life, .308 vs .300 Win. Mag: Ballistics, Cost, and Accuracy, retrieved from https://www.outdoorlife.com/308-win-vs-300-win-mag-ballistics-cost-and-accuracy/
Our Top Pick: The Ruger Hawkeye
I have been writing firearms and outdoor material for over 50 years to date. I have hunted across the world, including Russia, and a great deal of time professional hunting in Australia. I currently live in the American West and hunt all across the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Big Horn Mountains. I have specialized much of my work as a load developer in shotguns and rifles. I have run a small company that builds suppressor barrels of my design and load tests for writing purposes and consulting. My commercial names include Ballistics Research & Development / Metro Gun Systems TM.
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