The 300 Win Mag (Winchester Magnum) has been the gold standard big game hunting round for generations as it can take down game animals as small as coyotes all the way up to the great bears and moose. Its extreme versatility is one of the many reasons conservationists choose it for their hunting rifle season after season.
But today we are going to scale things down and set our sights on deer, an animal that the 300 Win Mag is more than capable of taking down at distances over 500 yards. However, not all 300 Win Mag ammo is created equal and some are better for filling your freezer with venison than others.
In this article, we're going to give you our top 5 picks for the best 300 Win Mag ammo for deer, considering terminal ballistics, price, and availability. No matter which one of these cartridges you pick for your 300 Win Mag hunting rifle, you can rest assured that no trophy buck will walk very far when hit with one of these (if they move at all!)
If you’re in a hurry, grab a box of Federal Premium 180 gr Barnes TSX ammo and head into the woods, you won't be sorry! But for those who want to stick around and learn about all our selections, keep reading.
If you’re new to hunting deer with a 300 Win Mag, check out our Buyer’s Guide HERE to learn more about how to choose the right hunting ammo for your rifle. On the other hand, if you’re just curious about the top five best deer-hunting ammo, scroll just a little further down.
The Top Five Best 300 Win Mag Ammo for Deer
- Federal Premium 180 gr Barnes TSX
- Remington Core-Lokt 180 gr SP
- Winchester Copper Impact 150 gr Extreme Point
- Barnes VOR-TX 165 gr TTSX
- Hornady American Whitetail 150 gr Interlock SP
The Best 300 Win Mag Ammo for Deer Overall
Federal Premium 180 gr Barnes TSX
- Casing: Nickel-Plated Brass
- Bullet Type: Barnes Triple-Shock X
- Bullet Weight: 180 gr
- Muzzle Velocity: 2,960 fps
- Muzzle Energy: 2,752 ft-lbs
- Controlled expansion
- Exceptional weight retention
- Lead-free copper alloy bullet
- A little pricey
Why We Chose It
If you're looking for 300 Win Mag ammo that simply does it all, then look no further than the Federal Premium 180 gr Barnes TSX. This hunting cartridge offers superior terminal ballistics, is legal for hunting in all fifty states, and is manufactured to Federal's highest quality standards.
This round hits hard, has a nice flat trajectory, and is easy to find, what more could you ask for?
The Barnes Triple-Shock X (TSX) bullet line offers all of the features you want in a premium hunting bullet. The all-copper projectile includes a tapered, monolithic design that helps to increase the ballistic coefficient and reduce wind deflection.
The Barnes TSX 180-grain bullet also has a deep pocket at the tip, which promotes rapid expansion after penetration, creating a wound cavity near vital organs. Many hunters report deer dropping in their tracks when hit in the vitals with a Barnes TSX, which saves you hours of tracking a wounded deer through thick brush.
While some other options on our list are slightly more affordable, the Federal Premium 180 gr Barnes TSX is a trusted and effective hunting bullet that puts down big game quickly thanks to its controlled expansion. Which is certainly worth a few extra quarters per round if you ask me!
Hornady Precision Hunter 200 gr ELD-X - Hornady is one of those ammo companies that come up with ingenious designs and solves problems for hunters all over the country. The Hornady Precision Hunter ELD-X line for the 300 Win Mag is just that, a solution for every hunter.
The boattail design and Heat Shield tip keep the projectile on track from muzzle to target, while the InterLock ring keeps the jacket and core together, maximizing energy transfer and controlling the bullet’s expansion. This combination is devastating against any deer and can be a great alternative to Federal Premium if you can't find it.
The Best 300 Win Mag Ammo for Deer For Versatility
Remington Core-Lokt 300 Win Mag 180gr PSP
Shop Remington 300 Win Mag Ammo
- Casing: Brass
- Bullet Type: Pointed Soft Point
- Bullet Weight: 180 Grain
- Muzzle Velocity: 2,960 fps
- Muzzle Energy: 3,501 ft-lbs
- Perfect for all types of big game hunting
- Excellent expansion
- Not legal for hunting in California
Why We Chose It
Next up on our list is the versatile Remington Core-Lokt 180 gr PSP. If you’re looking for another hard-hitting hunting round that’s easy to find and won’t disappoint, then you simply can't go wrong with Big Green. The 180-grain bullet is versatile enough for medium game like whitetail deer while powerful enough to take down larger game animals like elk and black bear.
The signature of the Remington Core-Lokt line is a lead core that's chemically bonded to the copper alloy jacket. This means that the bonded core and jacket won’t separate on impact. Instead, the bullet will penetrate deeply before expanding. This controlled expansion is one of the many reasons why we love Remington Core-Lokt for deer hunting.
Despite being a soft point bullet, the Remington PSP has a relatively high ballistic coefficient and we found it to be incredible accurate in all our hunting rifles.
With a price point that any deer hunter can stomach, you can easily take the Remington Core-Lokt from target shooting right into the woods and get your freezer stocked with venison for the winter.
Federal 300 Win Mag 180 Grain SP - This Federal 180gr SP is designed to maximize penetration and control expansion, leading to more effective shots and keeping you from trailing wounded deer in the woods.
With a muzzle velocity of 2,960 fps, it’s a great round for long-distance shooting and medium to large game animals. The soft point design controls expansion, and the tapered jacket ensures penetration. Overall, this Federal hunting round is an excellent choice for any avid hunter.
The Best 300 Win Mag Ammo for Deer for Availability
Winchester Copper Impact 150 Grain Extreme Point
Shop Winchester Copper Impact 300 Win Mag Ammo
- Casing: Brass
- Bullet Type: Polymer-tip Extreme Point
- Bullet Weight: 150 Grain
- Muzzle Velocity: 3,260 fps
- Muzzle Energy: 2,539 ft-lbs
- Specifically designed for deer hunting
- Lead-free bullet design
- Easy to find
- Not great for big-game hunting
Why We Chose It
Winchester Copper Impact 150 gr 300 Win Mag ammo is a round no deer wants to find itself on the wrong end of. Developed with the needs of deer hunters in mind, Winchester Copper Impact was designed for insane expansion and high weight retention to impart maximum kinetic energy into a whitetail.
While the Copper Impact doesn’t pack as much bullet weight as some of the other heavier bullets on our list at 150 grains. It still packs more than enough punch to put down any deer you lay your crosshairs on.
The lighter 150 grain bullet offers hunters an incredibly flat trajectory and the polymer tip initiates expansion upon contact with soft tissue. The result is a round that's incredibly accurate and deadly against thin-skinned game like whitetail, pronghorn, and mule deer.
Although the 150-grain bullet is not the best choice for elk or moose, Winchester Copper Impact 150 gr Extreme Point ammo is an amazing option if you're looking to exclusively hunt deer-sized game at a price point any hunter will love.
The Best Premium 300 Win Mag Ammo for Deer
Barnes VOR-TX 165gr TTSX
- Casing: Brass
- Bullet Type: Tipped Triple-Shock X
- Bullet Weight: 165 Grain
- Muzzle Velocity: 3,285 fps
- Muzzle Energy: 3,120 ft-lbs
- Extremely accurate
- Exceptional terminal ballistics
- Deep penetration
Why We Chose it
If you're a hunter who takes pride in shooting the best ammo money can buy, then look no further than the Barnes VOR-TX 165 gr TTSX for your next deer hunt.
Similar to the TSX bullet we discussed earlier, the TTSX bullet is loaded with a polymer tip that helps initiate expansion upon impact. Furthermore, the boat tail bullet design helps increases accuracy for longer range shots.
The all-copper bullet design effectively eliminates lead exposure risks and also aids in weight retention for better, more effective shots. Although the 165-grain bullet is comparatively lighter than other hunting bullets on our list, you should have no reservations using it for this year's deer and elk season thanks to its incredible terminal ballistics.
Barnes is known for producing excellent, high-quality rounds, and they have the price tag to match. However, if you want to shoot the best, then make sure you grab a box of Barnes VOR-TX 165 gr TTSX ammo whenever you see it, because most hunters won't let it sit on the shelf for long!
Nosler Trophy Grade 180 gr Accubond - The Nosler Accubond is unquestionably one of the greatest hunting rounds ever to hit the chamber of a bolt-action rifle. As one of the absolute best hunting rounds in the industry, the Nosler Accubond offers hunters incredible terminal ballistics at insanely long ranges. Unfortunately, the round has become increasingly difficult to find but will drop anything from antelope to hogs and black bears. Grab some if you can find it, but expect to pay a premium for it.
The Best 300 Win Mag Ammo for Deer Hunting on a Budget
Hornady American Whitetail 150 gr Interlock SP
- Casing: Brass
- Bullet Type: Polymer Tip
- Bullet Weight: 150 grains
- Muzzle Velocity: 3,275 fps
- Muzzle Energy: 3,572 ft-lbs
- High ballistic coefficient
- Excellent terminal ballistics
- Not ideal for big game hunting
Why We Chose It
If you're looking for a round that's affordable and easy to find, you simply cannot beat Hornady American Whitetail 150 gr Interlock SP. And although this round might not break the bank, it is more than capable of bringing home the venison.
The Interlock Soft Point bullet design is the heart of the American Whitetail line. Designed with an internal belt inside the jacket, the Interlock Soft Point allows for rapid and deadly expansion while avoiding jacket separation. This allows the lead core and the copper jacket of the bullet to remain as one cohesive projectile and transfer almost all of its kinetic energy into the target.
Although not the best choice for large game like elk or bear, the 150-grain bullet is more than sufficient for felling any whitetail or mule deer that dares walk past your tree stand.
At a price that most every hunter can afford, Hornady American Whitetail 150 gr Interlock SP ammo is a staple at deer camps across the nation and will deliver the terminal performance you need to fill your bag limit this fall.
Parting Shots - Picking the Best 300 Winchester Magnum Cartridge
The 300 Win Mag has cemented its legacy as one of the gold standard cartridges by which all other big game calibers are measured by.
It's proven itself time and time again in the field against deer, hogs, pronghorn, elk, moose, and bear and is more than capable of bringing home the trophy buck you've been stalking during the off season.
We’ve listed our top five choices for the best 300 Win Mag above, and we have no doubt in our mind that these rounds will serve you well this deer season.
If you'd like to learn more about the 300 Win Mag, keep scrolling and check out our buyer's guide below. Otherwise Click HERE to go back to the top 5 list and make your selection!
300 Winchester Magnum Buyer's Guide
Since the 1960s, the 300 Winchester Magnum has dominated long-range competitive shooting, hunting, and is a popular choice for police and military snipers. The caliber is well-known as a hard-hitting cartridge with blazing muzzle velocity and a flatter trajectory than the 308 Winchester and 6.5 Creedmoor.
Without question, there are a lot of different types of 300 Win Mag ammo available, and for some shooters it can be difficult to understand the difference between match-grade ammo and hunting rounds.
In the sections below, we are going to explain what makes for a great hunting round and what you should be looking for when you buy ammo for deer season.
You’ll hear a lot of shooters talk about grain weight. You’ve probably noticed the 300 Winchester Magnum ammo we listed above comes in various weights, from 150gr all the way up to 200gr.
So, how does a bullet’s weight play into which ammo you choose?
Well, there’s a lot to it. But ultimately, it’s important to remember that shot placement is going to make for a more effective hunt than having a bullet that’s just the right grain weight.
However, that doesn’t throw out the discussion entirely. We have some general guidelines for bullet weight and hunting in the industry. Take a look.
Medium-Sized Game Animals
If you’re hunting animals that weigh between 50-300 lbs, you’re hunting what we call medium-sized game . Deer, antelope, hogs, and pronghorns all typically fall into this category.
For these animals, it’s often recommended to use a 150gr-165gr bullet. Not because we’re worried about over-penetration or meat waste but because that grain weight is sufficient enough for those creatures.
A lighter bullet has a higher velocity which is more flat-shooting than some heavier rounds. So, lighter bullets tend to be a little more forgiving of ranging mistakes, making them great for hunting.
Larger Game Animals
Animals like bears, moose, and elk, typically weigh over 300 lbs, and we consider these large game creatures. If you’re after bigger game, then you'll want to shoot heavy bullets like 180 gr or 200 gr because they transfers more kinetic energy and have adequate expansion to ensure a clean kill.
Another aspect to consider is the bullet’s design. If you've ever been to a sporting good's store, I'm sure you've seen a lot of different bullet name abbreviations that can be confusing if you aren't familiar with them.
Different metals, shapes, and composites affect trajectory and terminal ballistics. For example, some 300 Win Mag rifle cartridges, like the Sierra Matchking, are great for long-range shooting but are inappropriate for hunting since they don't expand.
So, which designs are best for deer hunting with the 300 Win Mag? Let's take a look!
Soft Point bullets, typically referred to as SP on your ammo box, are have a metal jacket and soft lead cores. Similar to Jacketed Hollow Points (JHPs), soft point bullets have exposed lead at the tip. This exposed tip allows the bullet to mushroom when it encounters soft tissue, creating a large wound channel and increases the chances of an ethical kill. Traditional soft points are is one of the oldest hunting bullet designs.
Pointed Soft Points
The next evolution of traditional soft point bullets were the pointed soft point (PSP). PSP bullets have a sharper tip giving you better penetration and higher ballistic coefficient. PSP ammo is a great middle-ground between SPs and Polymer Tipped bullets because it shares many of the aerodynamic advantages of polymer tipped bullets while still having the rapid expansion of soft point bullets. Some common PSP bullets include the Nosler Partition, Winchester Power-Point, and Hornady Interlock.
Polymer-tipped bullets are the latest development in hunting ammo and all the rage right now. These hunting bullets are essentially hollow points bullets with a pointed polymer tip. The tips are designed to plunge into the hollow point when they encounter soft tissue. This initiates expansion immediately and creates a massive wound channel.
Polymer tipped bullets are also more aerodynamic than traditional soft points, which typically translates into a longer effective range.
Of course, you’ll see different variations of polymer-tipped ammo from the Winchester Silver Tip, Nosler Accubond and Ballistic Tip, and Barnes TTSX, just to name a few. Each manufacturer has its own special recipe, but ultimately, the design concept is the same.
Designs to Avoid
Believe it or not, there are some ammo designs that are illegal to use for hunting in some areas (you want to hunt, not get in trouble with law enforcement).
One of the more popular designs that aren’t appropriate for hunting any game is the FMJ (full metal jacket). These rounds are a solid lead core surrounded by a copper jacket that won’t expand. FMJs are best for plinking, target shooting, and competitions.
Match-grade ammo is also not appropriate for hunting, even if it uses a hollow point. These bullets are designed for extreme long range shooting, and while very accurate and aerodynamic, they do not expand when they encounter soft tissue.
Lastly, consider the distance between you and your next target. A 300 Winchester Magnum long-range hunting rifle has a lot of power, there's no question about that. But different factory loads can perform differently in your rifle and affect your point of impact. Things like bullet drop, accuracy (measured in minute of angle or MOA), and muzzle velocity can vary from rifle to rifle.
In general, most 300 Win Mag hunting loads work great on deer within 500 yards. However, we can quantify that a bit more.
The effective range of a hunting cartridge on deer is typically defined by its kinetic energy. The accepted rule is that 1,000 ft-lbs of energy is required to ethically harvest a whitetail deer. This is not a hard and fast rule, but it gives you a general idea of how effective your chosen cartridge is on deer.
Of course, different ammo and hunting rifles act differently (a Ruger American will give you different results than the Ruger Precision). Just like how Hornady Superformance 165 gr CX might perform better in your Rem 700 as opposed to a 180 gr Nosler Partition. The best thing you can do is test your ammo in your chosen hunting rifle to determine its long range performance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the 300 Win Mag have more recoil than the 308 Winchester?
Yes. In general the 300 Win Mag will have around 9-10 ft-lbs of additional recoil than the 308 Winchester.
What’s the difference between the 30-06 and the 300 Win Mag?
The 30-06 Springfield was developed prior to WWI and was the US service rifle cartridge through the Korean War. On the other hand, the 300 Winchester Magnum is a belted-magnum cartridge that was developed in the 1960's for big game hunting. Both cartridges are excellent choices for big game hunting and fire the same 0.308" diameter bullets making them great options for reloading if you enjoy making your own handloads.
What is the difference between the 300 Win Mag and the 300 Weatherby?
The 300 Weatherby Magnum and 300 Win Mag are two 30-caliber cartridges that are often compared. Although both cartridges fire the same 30-caliber bullets, the 300 Weatherby Mag is slightly longer and slightly more powerful than the 300 Win Mag.
Another major difference between the two is rifle availability, as the 300 Weatherby Mag is a proprietary cartridge and for many years you could only get a Weatherby rifle chambered in the caliber. On the other hand, virtually every rifle manufacturer has a rifle chambered in 300 Win Mag.
What is the difference between the 300 Win Mag and the 300 WSM?
The main difference between the 300 Win Mag and 300 Winchester Short Magnum (WSM) is that the 300 Win Mag fits in a long action rifle while the 300 WSM fits in a short action. Both rounds fire the same 30-caliber magnum bullets and have virtually identical ballistic performance. Check out this article if you want to learn more about the 300 WSM vs 300 Win Mag.
Back to Our Best 300 Win Mag Ammo for Hunting
At this point, it’s time to put your knowledge to good use! Click HERE to go back to our list. Click on the links to place your order, and we’ll have your next favorite 300 Win Mag hunting ammo shipped to you shortly!
Best 300 Win Mag Ammo for Deer: The Belted Freezer Filler originally appeared in The Resistance Library at Ammo.com.