Proverbs 13:7&8 KJV "Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD; and depart from evil.(8) It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones."
I have been reading 30:06 (vs.) 7mm Rem Mag debates about as long as I can remember. Lots of fun, however probably not really much to argue about. The 7mm fans argue their choice shoots flatter and hits harder at long range. The ought six fans will argue a larger diameter bullet, more choices in bullets whether you use the factory stuff or roll your own.
Both sides of the debate have merit, and yet how much real world difference is there between the two? Let's take a look:
7mm Rem Mag
160grain flat based spitzer
2900 FPS at muzzle
2987 ME (in favor of the 7mm by 115 ft lbs of energy)
165 grain flat base spitzer
2800 fps muzzle
1739Ft lbs energy (advantage still belongs to the 7mm by 205 ft lbs of energy)
1534 ft lbs energy
The 7mm does have an edge with the 160 grain load by starting off 100fps faster than the 30:06's 165 grain load and holding that edge right out to the 300 yard mark.
If you switch to the 180 grain the 30:06 (vs.) the 175 grain load in the 7mm, the tables are almost reversed. At the muzzle the 30:06 musters 3315 ME to the 7mm's 3178 ME. At 100 yards, the 30:06 is still ahead of the 7mm in terms of energy. At 300 yards the 7mm surpasses the 30:06 by showing 1739 ft lbs energy (vs.) 1666 ft lbs energy for the 30:06.
Advantage to the 30:06 by 137 ft lbs energy at the muzzle
At the 300 yard mark the 7mm bests the 30:06 by 73 ft lbs of energy
My take is that these are ballistic charts and indivdual rifles will show greater discrepancies than that. For all practical purposes it is a wash. What one can do with the 7mm mag out to 300 yards, one can do with the 30:06 assuming you are using approximately the same bullet weights. Keep in mind also that if you do not handload, you can purchase light MAG loads for the 30:06 which puts it into the .300 H&H realm of performance. You cannot buy factory loads for the 7mm Mag to duplicate that.
My common sense tells me that no game animal inside of 300 yards is going to be able to tell the difference. The difference in trajectory of the two heavier loads shows favor to the 7mm by a margin of 1.4 inches. The ballistics chart I am looking at shows that the 30:06 drops 9 inches even with a 200 yard zero and the 7mm drops 7.6 inches. The charts only show energy as a means of comparison. This does not take into account the merit of the larger diameter bullet.
How many of us can hold that close under field conditions to tell the difference? How many of us have any business shooting an unwounded animal at 300 yards? Most deer are still taken under 150 yards regardless of where you hunt. Remember I live in the East and for the most part, 300 yard shots on big game are the same realm of probability of Dirty Harry Callahan switching from the S&W mdl 29 .44 mag to a pocket carry .380 semi auto. I realize there are clear cuts, farm fields etc. where this is possible. It just doesn't manifest itself that often. I live and hunt primarily in shotgun/ML country right now also, although that is subject to change in NY.
I actually had a Ruger mdl 77 in 7mm mag on lay-a-way at Dick's Sporting Goods a few years ago in anticipation of a moose hunt. I paid a restocking fee of $10 and came home with a Ruger mdl 77 .300 Win mag instead. The funny thing is I always wanted a 7mm Mag and have entertained thoughts of late of buying one or perhaps a .270 WSM if I could find a deal on one.
I think I will probably get some feed back on which caliber is best, however in the real world under 300 yards, I could be very happy with either one. I own (2) 30:06's and one .270 and no 7mm mags at the moment. If it fires a projectile, I am interested in it. Perhaps some day I will find a deal on a 7mm mag. Truth of the matter is however, since I let the Ruger mdl 77 .300 Mag go a couple of years ago, IF I purchase another rifle, it would likely be a Savage weather warrior series in .300 WSM. With that gun I can basically duplicate my old .300 mag performance in a shorter, lighter, more manueverable gun with a shorter bolt throw. I have not shot a .300WSM yet, but reports I have read indicate they are exceptionally accurate and I now own (3) Savage rifles that are all tack drivers.
Until then I will be content with what I have.