There are many questions a first time Elk hunter may have before going out on their first chase. Their biggest concern will most likely be about their choice of ammunition though.
While there are many rounds used by Elk hunters, one cartridge whose capabilities come into question would be the 7mm 08 Remington. Let’s take a look at this round compared to other cartridges commonly used for Elk hunting and determine if it is indeed a viable big-game round.
For our comparison, we’ll be pitting the 7mm 08 Remington up against the .300 Winchester Magnum, 7mm Remington Magnum, 6.5mm Creedmoor, .375 H&H Magnum, and .338 Winchester Magnum. (A graph will be shown at the end of this article presenting each cartridge’s overall velocity and energy.)
One very important thing to know before choosing which round to hunt with will be outside conditions. On paper, a lightweight, high-velocity round might seem like the perfect choice for long-range hunting, but if you don’t factor in the rain, wind speed, or leaves and tall grass getting in the way of your shot, you may end up wounding your game or missing it entirely. Get as much information about the landscape and weather of the area you’ll be hunting in before you head out.
Making A Case For The 7mm 08 Remington
Now, if you want to compare the 7mm 08 Remington to other rounds, we must look at the cartridge itself.
In short, it’s a .308 Winchester case necked down to accept 7mm bullets, with added case length. It’s one of the most popular cartridges based on the .308 and can be found in 100-195 grain variants.
For larger game, you will most definitely need to use a 140-195 grain variant of the round, and for Elk, you may need to be within 250 yards before taking the shot. Even then, you will need a well-placed heart, neck, or head shot to properly down your target with this round. Although its effective range for big game may be lackluster to some, there are a few redeeming qualities for the 7mm 08 Remington.
For one, it has a flatter trajectory than rounds like the .308 Winchester or .30-06 Springfield. It also has less recoil than most other commonly used big game rounds, making it a great choice for women and young hunters alike.
7mm 08 Remington vs 7mm Remington Magnum
Our next cartridge, the 7mm Remington Magnum, is quite different from the 7mm 08 Remington despite having a similar name. For one, it is bigger, more powerful, and has a much higher effective range than the 7mm 08 Remington, considering how it’s derived from the .375 H&H Magnum cartridge.
It’s been noted that the 7mm Remington Magnum can effectively knock down an Elk from around 400 meters away. Its trajectory is similar to that of a 7mm 08 Remington and its overall ballistics are better than the .30-06 Springfield. While the recoil isn’t as bad as the .300 Winchester Magnum or .308 Winchester, it’s still considerably more than that of the 7mm 08 Remington.
7mm 08 vs 300 Winchester Magnum
For hunters still looking for some more oomph in their shot, there is the .300 Winchester Magnum.
The 300 Winchester Magnum is one of the most popular rounds for Elk, Moose, and some African plains species for good reason.
With an effective range of 1,000 yards for Elk, the .300 Winchester Magnum outranges both the 7mm Remington Magnum and 7mm 08 Remington combined. With recoil that’s about 25% more powerful than the 7mm Remington Magnum, there’s definitely a kick to this round. I would highly recommend the .300 Winchester Magnum for just about any big game, including all types of bear and Moose.
7mm 08 vs 6.5 Creedmoor
While our next round, the 6.5 Creedmoor may not be as hard-hitting as a .300 Winchester or 7mm Remington Magnum it’s still a cartridge worthy of considering for an Elk hunt.
If anything, one can call it a 7mm 08 Remington with slightly more velocity. Both rounds are connected to the .308 Winchester in some way, and there are many similarities between them.
The low recoil and flat trajectory are both shared by each round, although the 7mm 08 Remington does beat the 6.5 Creedmoor in terms of trajectory flatness. Because its power is on the lower end of the spectrum in regards to big-game cartridges, you’ll need to have great shot placement, especially after 250 yards out. The 7mm rem mag is a solid choice for mule deer, elk, or similar game.
7m 08 vs 338 Winchester Magnum
Moving back to a heavy, high-power cartridge, we have the .338 Winchester Magnum.
If you can stay within 600 yards, this round is almost a guaranteed kill.
The weight and power of this round mean it can pass through wind and rain without much change to its trajectory or flight. On the other hand, the mass also keeps it from achieving effective distances like those of the .300 Winchester Magnum.
The .338 Winchester Magnum is the most popular of cartridges based on the .375 H&H magnum. The .338 is an excellent round for almost all weather conditions and Elk, Moose, and bear alike. Its recoil is similar to that of a .300 Winchester Magnum, so it may also take some getting used to for new hunters with little to no experience with larger cartridges.
7mm 08 vs 375 H&H Magnum
Moving up a notch to the largest round on this list, the .375 H&H Magnum is the parent case of many big-game rounds commonly used throughout the world. What’s interesting to note is that the .375 H&H Magnum is referred to as a “charge stopper” round, which means it’s a very effective dangerous game cartridge, which is also why it’s commonly used against African plains species.
As for Elk, it does incredibly well. While its average velocity is lower than any other cartridge on this list, it makes up for that by being the most powerful round mentioned here. It can easily drop any Elk within 500 yards. Although the bullet is great for all big-game species, it’s not without its flaws.
For one, the recoil could be a problem for some, but it’s not impossible to get accustomed to it. Next, the .375 H&H Magnum was designed in 1912, which means it has a rather outdated case design that isn’t as efficient as the well-known rounds of today. Although the design could see some improvement, it’s still a great round and is very impressive in terms of ballistics.
7mm 08 Remington Ballistics vs Other Popular Elk Rounds
In closing, while the 7mm 08 Remmington IS a viable round for Elk hunting, there are arguably better alternatives out there. However, it performs very well if it isn’t too windy out, or if your target is within a few hundred yards. Keep in mind this won’t always be the case, and some will say to use a round with higher velocity and energy. Though, ultimately, the choice is yours, and if you know your environment and the limitations of your equipment well, it’s perfectly do-able.
PS. Interested in reading more comparisons? Check out our 8mm Mauser vs 30-06 article!