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Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by PaulZ, Nov 12, 2011.
Anybody have a light load for this cartridge so a guy can shoot varmints all
day without a headache?
Hate to be the bearer of bad news but that is the reason I got rid of my one and only 7mm Mag. It was hands down one of the most accurate rifles I have ever owned but you can not 'tone' down a 7mm Mag to the point of comfort and still have it perform well. Cut the rounds down too much and you will have substandard performance. Get a good small bore varmint rifle you can shoot all day and accurately and do not look back. The .243 Winchester is my favorite.
Many moons ago I had a friend with one that had the same problem. Somewhere around 30-40 rounds he would start getting a headache.
He found an accurate load with the lightest bullets available, but still ended up buying a second stock that weighed about 8 lbs all by itself, to tame the recoil.
It only took him about 3 seasons to shoot out the barrel after that!
If you want to shoot varmints all day without a headache, or wallet pain either, get a .223 bolt action. Reloads can be made in the $0.20-$.25 range and coyotes, crows, or prairie dogs won't notice the difference.
I agree with this about 50%: 1) "Hate to be the bearer of bad news..." AGREE. describes my 7RM experience exactly, including accuracy attributes, but recoil detriment being reason for no longer owning one. 2) "...you cannot 'tone' down a 7mm... Cut the rounds down too much and you will have substandard performance." DISAGREE. "Substandard performance" is precisely part of the goal in reduced loads as desired by the OP, and so cannot be here termed something negative.
A very timely article toward the OP's question just appeared in the October edition of Handloader Magazine. John Haviland writes of exactly this desire to develop reduced-recoil loads in a number of cartridges, including the 7RM. Here are his suggested loads (all warning label caveats apply, with the added feature that you are getting this information second hand, off the internet. Count the editor, and this is third hand.)
145g Speer Flat Base 49.0g IMR4064 CCI250 Primer Federal Brass 2633fps MV 14.6 ft. lbs. recoil.
140g Sierra Spitzer Boattail 49.0g IMR4320 CCI250 Primer Federal Brass 2631fps MV 14.0 ft. lbs. recoil.
Sighted in at 100 yards, 200 yd. trajectory is -4.75" for both these loads. Certainly "substandard performance", but exactly what we desire.
He compares the recoil data to a factory 160g Remington Core-Lokt Ultrabonded at 2891fps, 26.1 ft. lbs. recoil. A significant recoil reduction, which allows the 7RM to kick 1 ft. lb. less than a 7-08 Nosler 140g factory load at 15.7 ft. lbs.
I might suggest going to a 125g bullet to reduce recoil even more (WARNING LABEL, WARNING LABEL! I keep these on a peel-and-stick roll.)
Note his avoidance of "Premium Controlled Expansion" bullets for these loads: They are not necessary, and the bullets of "less integrity" may actually perform better than the high-dollar stuff at these milder velocities.
Note his usage of faster powders than regularly appropriate for the caliber: This avoids safety concerns regarding slow powders in reduced amounts inside large cases.
His alternate (and equally desirable) goal with these loads was to have them shoot to a COMPARABLE point of impact as a factory load at 100yds. All rifles are different, and so another warning label here is appropriate. Test these for that point of impact criteria in your rifle.
3) "Get a good small bore varmint rifle..." AGREE. Haviland's application was largely toward big game. My own experience at a young age with nothing but a .270 for a "do it all" gun, coupled with a few long days in the Prarie Dog towns brought this message home to me quite graphically in the headache phenomena described by the OP.
4) "The .243 Winchester is my favorite." Cannot disagree with another's personal preference, other than to state my own. For long sessions on varmints, with economy and recoil considerations paramount, my choice of a commonly-used cartridge would be the .223. Better yet, I find great advantage over that choice with the .221 Fireball (Benefited by even further recoil reduction, I can watch my bullet's impact in the scope, giving up very little in trajectory.)
Of course you can avoid all of this with a little Oxycodone. Better living through chemistry.
Why would you want to waste so much powder on VARMINTS? I can see if you were shooting coyotes, that typically doesn't include a lot of shots during a single day. But to take it out for something like prairie dogs or whatever lil' things we have around here seems a bit silly. <----My opinion, yours obviously varies.
I'll jump in here and answer for the OP, or at least an answer that applied to myself at one time: He may well be the "man that carries one gun" to beware of: likely he knows how to use it. I was in that position for awhile myself, but chose the .270. Perhaps his primary hunting is long range for elk/mule deer. In that case he has made an excellent choice of caliber. His question may be oriented to the interim before he can afford a true varmint rifle.
Off topic: I was out checking some handloads and plinking today and there were two 7mm mag brass cartridges and five .243 cartridges laying on the ground as I opened the door to my truck. Weird coincidence.
surprised nobody has mentioned the 22-250. one of my all time favorites for varmints. low recoil, not terribly expensive to shoot, and simply devastating on smaller game.
Trailboss might be the ticket for recoil reduction but with a 140gr at 1700fps might not get game too far out. I'm going to give it a whirl with my 308 but haven't got to it yet.
Best of luck,
Unfortunately, this caliber has a reputation for being a real " barrel burner", especially if shot at near max loads. That can make it an expensive choice when factoring in barrel changes.
Aside from the .22-250's "reputation" for being a barrel burner (Mine is 25 years old, shot extensively, and shows no indications of being tired), the OP's greatest concern is recoil. Among true varmint cartridges, the .22-250 (and the .243 for that matter) are at the high end of the recoil spectrum: hence my suggestion of the .223, or better yet (with recoil in mind) the Fireball. I will grant that the .22-250 just might start to frost a throat in a barrel if employed on a marathon, shot after shot prairie-dog day.