Which caliber is better for California mule deer hunting, 7mm-08 or 7mm magnum?

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I’d stick with the 7mm-08, that will be more than plenty for mule deer hunting. It is a good solid performer.

It is true that the 7mm rem magnum fires the same bullet at higher velocities, but this comes at the cost of reduced magazine capacity, longer action, and most importantly more recoil. If you have experience shooting 30-06 level rifles with no hitch you will be fine with 7mm rem mag, but otherwise you have absolutely no need to go to that power level for mule deer.

Mule Deer Hunting Footage 7-31-07

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

bamavol April 8, 2010 at 8:50 pm

more familiar with whitetails but I understand muleys are bigger – assume that holds true for California
the differences are:
1.the magnum will push bullets of same weight faster
2.the magnum can usually handle the heavier 7mm bullets better than the ’08 simply because of greater case volume
3.all that means is that the magnum can handle larger animals at greater range
4.the ’08 rifles can be shorter and lighter – easier to carry
5. the ’08 won’t beat you up as bad as the magnum – so a lot of folks can shoot more practise rounds and therefore shoot the ’08 a little better

the 7mm-08 is more than adequate for mule deer unless you know your shots are going to be at 250 yards plus
the 7mm-08 is more pleasant to carry if you are climbing around all day in the hills
if the recoil doesn’t bother you and you can carry the weight then the magnum may be better for you – it will do everything the ’08 will do and then some
but I’ve seen whitetails shot at close range with the magnum and a bullet that opened up quickly – it wasn’t pretty and ruined a lot of meat
References :

akluis April 8, 2010 at 8:55 pm

I’d stick with the 7mm-08, that will be more than plenty for mule deer hunting. It is a good solid performer.

It is true that the 7mm rem magnum fires the same bullet at higher velocities, but this comes at the cost of reduced magazine capacity, longer action, and most importantly more recoil. If you have experience shooting 30-06 level rifles with no hitch you will be fine with 7mm rem mag, but otherwise you have absolutely no need to go to that power level for mule deer.
References :

Erich F April 8, 2010 at 9:08 pm

If you handload I would go with the Mag…you can load them down a bit for deer if you want and up for elk or moose…more versatile! I just got a Vanguard Deluxe in 7Mag and love it…its not heavy and is a gorgeous gun. You can also buy reduced recoil factory loads now which equal a 7mm/08. But, if want a trim little short action go for it as it is plenty..esp. if all you’re going to hunt is deer. I have a 6.5x55mm(simiuliar to 7mm/08) and love it as well.
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W W D April 8, 2010 at 9:50 pm

There’s diddle for difference. The 7mm08 is more than adequate, and adding an extra two or three hundred fps to the velocity of the bullet isn’t going to make much difference. What you gain at long range will be minimal, and it’s balanced by the occasional blow-up on short-range shots. The only problem with the 7mm08 is that if for some reason you want the heavier bullet weights, you’ll probably have to hand-load them, and that really isn’t needed for muleys.
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Backlog April 8, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Magnum long range fire arm also the scope will cost about the same.
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HunterFisher April 8, 2010 at 10:29 pm

7MM Remington Magnum.

-Heavier bullets are a advantage at long yardage (premiums to avoid disintegration at short ranges)
-Faster
-Better trajectory for long western shots.
-Mule deer bucks are large and the big 7 has more power.
-More recoil is the downside, but who cares, you will only need ONE well placed shot with this outfit and NO it will not hiurt you.
-Dead Deer don’t run and get tagged by others. The 7MM Mag "Dead’s em" real well.

In fact, I use a 7MM STW which is even larger capacity. It is based on a 8MM Magnum case (Same length as a 375 H and H) only a taper like the 7MM REM mag. Now this is a good one. Shoots amazingly well at out to 500 yards. Yes, occaisionally I do some "mining ahd logging" of the hillside with the close range shots that exit the aniamal , but my game doesn’t run off!

BTW-Where are these guys hunting mulies? Must be in some controlled fenced area. Mulies like to run and put distance between you and their hides. I would run too if they knew what I was equipped with.
References :
Washington state hunter. Blacktail and Mule Deer.

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