Lapua 300 Win Mag
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- Last updated: 14/12/2016
Though I have a few powerful calibres in my collection I have only just added 300 Winchester Magnum (Win Mag) to my arsenal in the form of a Browning BLR Take-Down. Even though there have been a lot of new, magnum-type cartridges introduced in the last few years there’s little doubt in my mind that the old Win Mag is the standard by which they are judged! On test I have Lapua’s 185-grain Mega, they also offer the Naturalis a 170-grain non-lead which I have included details of below.
The beauty of the 300 Win Mag stems from its reputation and ability to deliver serious power for the bigger game animals. It would not be my first choice for species like buffalo but it would doubtless do the job; after all it’s always about the right bullet in the right place! In that it makes an excellent plains game calibre. Also, and unlike the modern contenders, it’s an accepted standard world wide, so is available just about anywhere. Don’t get me wrong I really rate rounds like the 300 WSM, but if I were to lose my ammo in transit I doubt if I could pick them up in South Africa in a provincial town for example …
The 300 Win Mag is a belted magnum, to look at you have a rimless case head with literally a thick belt of brass just in front. The rim section takes care of extraction etc with the belt providing the headspace in the chamber. This was originally envisaged to provide maximum strength at the point of most pressure. These days with modern materials and technology it is doubtful if this build is required as the 300WSM ably illustrates. But it is what it is.
The Mega is a jacketed soft tip. Slightly different to a soft point in that the jacket comes up and around the exposed lead nose to leave a flat tip. It expands just as well as the normal soft point but is probably more magazine-friendly in terms of point deformation under recoil. Weighing in at 185-grains this is an excellent general use projectile. I have used this one in other calibres and it does the job 100%.
Newer is the 170-grain Naturalis. This monolithic build uses a special copper alloy with a slim and long hollow cavity topped off with a synthetic (expander) in green. It shows a truncated nose and offers very controlled expansion as the bullet literally mushrooms on impact though tends not to break open into pre-determined sharp petals as the Barnes TSX. Lapua claims it’s less destructive on meat though still does the same job; a fact I can attest to from some 30-06 Naturalis I tested a couple of years back. My only real concern here is longer ranges, as speed will bleed off with a possible reduction in effective expansion. But at normal distances no problems.
Facts and Figures
Bullets weighed an average of 184.6-grains with nothing going over the quoted weight. The projectile is quite long and shows a solid base. Powder was 73-grains of a short but reasonably wide stick from VihtaVuori chances are it’s up in the N160 class. Cases are Boxer-primed and 100%; what do you expect from a company who has the highest rep for its components?
Lapua quote a speed of 830 mps (2723 fps) which equals 3045 ft/lbs. Over the chrono that did not change significantly with the average speed being 2691 fps/2974 ft/lbs, with an extreme spread (ES) of 23 fps. Accuracy came in at 1 – 1 ½ ” @ 100-yards supported. Recoil was acceptable but 300 Win Mag though not inconsiderable in the shoulder is not the monster many make it out to be.
I can only quote the Naturalis figures, but would assume they will be slightly down in the real world @ 3051 fps/3513 ft/lbs. If we assume it drops 50 fps then that still gives an impressive 3399 ft/lbs. This is a considerable improvement over the Mega and would allow an easy 200-yard zero with around 1 ½” either way out to 225-yards. It also shows at 400-yards as this one is still carrying 1444 ft/lbs as opposed to the Mega at 1229 ft/lbs. For me on paper at least; the Naturalis makes more sense… But I am not unhappy with the 185-grain either!
As can be seen two good 300 Win Mag loads should you feel the need for speed and power for those bigger and longer range targets.
• Classic and unbeatable calibre even today
• Superb build quality and ability
• Naturalis gives best figures
£306 (per 100)
170-grain Naturalis (#N317203) £380
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