Many people use the flat shooting and hard hitting 300 WSM for hunting elk, deer and many other species of big game with excellent results. Here are a few great brands of 300 WSM ammo that will probably serve you very well next time you’re afield.
Released in 2001, the 300 Winchester Short Magnum cartridge essentially duplicates the performance of the outstanding .300 Winchester Magnum cartridge with the added benefit of fitting in a short-action rifle. Not surprisingly, the cartridge is now extremely popular and just about every big manufacturer like Barnes, Black Hills, Federal Premium, Fiocchi, Hornady, Norma, Prvi Partizan (PPU), Sellier & Bellot, Sig Sauer, Remington, and Winchester produces several different variants of 300 WSM ammo for hunting elk, deer, moose, bear, and many other big game animals.
The 300 WSM is well suited for hunting a wide range of big game at short, medium, and even long range. In fact, as good as the legendary 300 Win Mag and 300 Weatherby Magnum both are, the 300 WSM has a couple of advantages over them.
Most importantly, the 300 WSM performs better than the 300 Win Mag and 300 Weatherby out of a shorter barrel. This makes the cartridge a good choice for those who prefer a lighter rifle.
Other than that, there’s very little practical difference in performance between the 300 WSM and older 30 caliber magnum cartridges like the 300 Win Mag, 300 Weatherby, and 300 H&H Magnum and the cartridge is extremely capable on a wide variety of game with good shot placement.
Additionally, different situations (like deer or pronghorn at long range vs moose at short range) necessitate the use of different kinds of 300 WSM ammo for best results.
While they are very accurate and are certainly capable of killing big game animals, I don’t recommend using bullets designed for target shooting like the Hornady ELD Match and Sierra MatchKing hollow point boat tail (HPBT) for hunting because they usually aren’t designed for optimum terminal performance on a big game animal. The same goes for open tip match (OTM) or boat tail hollow point (BTHP) bullets.
Instead, it’s best to stick with 300 WSM ammo specifically designed for hunting that uses soft point, jacketed hollow point, or similar bullets.
Fortunately, the 300 Winchester Short Magnum is one of the most popular hunting cartridges in North America and there are a wide variety of 300 WSM factory loads specifically designed for just about every conceivable big game hunting situation. So, regardless of whether you’re using a bolt action Winchester Model 70, a Remington Model 700, a Ruger Hawkeye, a Savage 110, a Mauser M18, a Weatherby Vanguard, or some other hunting rifle, there is pretty much guaranteed to be something for everyone on the list below of the best 300 WSM ammunition for hunting.
In today’s post, I’m going to show you the best 300 WSM ammo for hunting elk, deer, feral hogs, black bear, and all sorts of other big game and go over the pros and cons of each individual load.
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Update July 2021: Ammo supplies finally look like they’re starting to recover. We still have a long way to go and selection is still nowhere near where it was back in 2019, but things are a lot better now than they were even 6 months ago.
Click the link below if you just want to quickly check what 300 WSM ammo is in-stock and ready to ship so you can hit the range and get ready for hunting season.
Federal’s Terminal Ascent load featuring a 200gr Terminal Ascent bullet is outstanding 300 WSM ammo for elk hunting, especially for hunters that want or need the best possible extended range performance. The new Terminal Ascent Bullet is extremely aerodynamic, has a great reputation for accuracy, and is also constructed to deliver a good balance of expansion and penetration.
Indeed, the Terminal Ascent bullet has a bonded front core and solid rear shank that make it a good option for those who want great long range performance without running the risk of bullet failure on close range, high velocity impacts.
With those things in mind, I think the Terminal Ascent is the best option for moose and elk hunting with the 300 WSM. It will also work great on smaller game like mule deer or pronghorn.
The 180gr Nosler Partition is my #1 300 WSM load for elk hunting at ranges inside 300 yards. However, I think this Terminal Ascent is the best option for 300 WSM ammo for elk hunting at longer ranges. It’s also my #1 recommendation for hunters who plan on doing ANY hunting where you might need to take a shot at ranges past 300 yards on game like whitetail deer, mule deer, and pronghorn.
- Bullet Type: Terminal Ascent
- Bullet Weight: 200 grains
- Ballistic Coefficient (G1): .608
- Muzzle Velocity: 2,810 feet per second
It’s not new, fancy, or sexy, but Federal Fusion ammunition with a 150gr, a 165gr, or a 180gr bullet is outstanding 300 WSM ammo for deer hunting. In addition to being very effective, this ammunition is also somewhat reasonably priced and has been one of the easier to find 300 WSM ammo options during the past few years.
Fusion bullets have a bonded lead core to help with weight retention. Combined with a skived tip to help initiate expansion, Federal Fusion 300 WSM ammo delivers a really good balance of controlled expansion, high weight retention, and deep penetration. While it’s not the latest and greatest stuff, Federal Fusion ammunition also has a really good reputation for accuracy.
While I think Fusion 300 WSM ammo is better for elk hunting than some of the other loads out there, this is ideal ammo for feral hog and deer hunting. You could also include game like pronghorn and even black bear in there as well (go with 180 grain bullets for black bear).
It will definitely work on bigger game if you don’t have anything better, but I do not recommend using Federal Fusion 300 WSM ammo for hunting game like elk or moose unless that’s all you have. Instead, I think other loads I recommend later in this article are a better choice like the Barnes TSX, Nosler Partition, Trophy Bonded Tip, Nosler AccuBond, or Federal Terminal Ascent.
All things considered, this is outstanding on deer sized game and you can’t go wrong with Federal Fusion 300 WSM ammo for deer hunting.
- Bullet Type: Fusion Soft Point
- Bullet Weight: 150 grains, 165 grains or 180 grains
- Ballistic Coefficient (G1): .410 (150gr), ,451 (165gr), or .485 (180gr)
- Muzzle Velocity: 3,200 feet per second, (150gr), 3,100 feet per second (165gr), or 2,950 feet per second (180gr)
Winchester’s Deer Season XP line of ammunition is some of the best 300 WSM ammo for deer hunting. The Extreme Point bullet this rifle ammo uses is similar to Winchester’s Power Point bullet, but the Extreme Point has a large diameter polymer tip that’s specifically designed to produce a gigantic wound channel along with massive impact trauma.
This normally results in a very short tracking job and a very easy to follow blood trail. Even so, it’s designed specifically to compete with popular whitetail deer hunting ammo like the Federal Fusion, Federal Power-Shok, Hornady American Whitetail, Remington Core-Lokt, and Winchester Super-X in terms of accuracy and reliability.
The Winchester Deer Season XP line is also competitively priced and has one of the lowest costs per round out of all the 300 WSM ammo on this list.
So, not only is this some very reasonably priced 300 WSM ammo, but it also has a very good reputation for producing a giant wound channel and minimizing the distance deer run after being hit. In fact, this Winchester ammo is one of my top recommended brands of 300 WSM ammo for whitetail deer hunting. The same goes for blacktail and mule deer hunting.
I do NOT recommend using it for bigger game like elk or moose though (keep reading for 300 WSM elk hunting ammo recommendations).
Finally, Winchester also manufactures a lead-free version of their Deer Season XP ammo loaded with their Copper Impact bullet in 300 WSM for use with hunters who are prefer (or are required to) use lead-free ammunition.
- Bullet Type: Extreme Point
- Bullet Weight: 150 grains
- Ballistic Coefficient (G1): .392
- Muzzle Velocity: 3,260 feet per second
Manufactured by Federal Premium and loaded with the legendary Nosler Partition bullet, this is hands down the best 300 WSM ammo for elk, moose, or bear hunting. That 180 grain Nosler Partition bullet is perfect for hunting really big game where it’s really important to use a heavy, well constructed projectile. With that in mind, this is also perfect 300 WSM ammunition for an African safari for really large or tough game like kudu, blue wildebeest, or eland.
This 300 WSM ammunition is not limited to use on bigger and tougher animals either and will also work extremely well on game like deer. Indeed, a heavier 180gr bullet like those used in this loading will also probably cause less meat damage on deer-sized game than most smaller, faster, and more lightly constructed 150gr and 165gr bullets.
The only downside to this ammunition is that it is not very aerodynamic and doesn’t have a very flat trajectory. However, it will still work great for hunting game up to and including elk and moose inside 300 yards. I personally wouldn’t use the 300 WSM on brown bear, but this is a good ammo choice in that role as well. If you think you’ll need better 300 WSM ammo for elk hunting at longer range, go with the Federal Terminal Ascent or Federal Trophy Bonded Tip also recommended on this list.
Make no mistake: the Nosler Partition is a very old bullet design, but it remains one of the best hunting bullets around and has a proven track record over the course of many decades. If you do your part as a hunter, it won’t let you down at the moment of truth.
- Bullet Type: Nosler Partition
- Bullet Weight: 180 grains
- Ballistic Coefficient (G1): .474
- Muzzle Velocity: 2,980 feet per second
Do you love Barnes bullets? Well, you’re in luck because Barnes produces some great .300 WSM ammo as part of their VOR-TX line. Featuring their legendary copper Tipped Triple Shock X (TTSX) bullet, this ammunition is designed for rapid expansion, high weight retention, and deep penetration. Available using 150 grain or 165 grain .30 caliber bullets, Barnes offers two outstanding choices for hunters regardless of what they’re after.
While Barnes does not offer 180gr 300 WSM factory ammo (it’s available for handloaders though), Federal Premium does produce a 300 WSM loading using a 180gr TSX bullet. This bullet lacks the polymer tip of the Barnes TTSX bullet, but is still a fantastic option for those looking for great 300 WSM ammo for elk hunting.
In fact, I’d say the 180 grain TSX load from Federal is some of the best 300 WSM ammo for elk, bear, and moose hunting. The 165 grain TTSX load will also work for larger game like elk, but I prefer heavier bullets for really big game and I think that 165gr load is better for bigger deer and bear.
That high velocity 150 grain load is great 300 WSM ammo for deer and pronghorn hunting, especially for hunters who want a couple hundred extra fps and a really flat trajectory to minimize their holdover for a longer shot. All that being said, there’s certainly a lot of overlap on the acceptable hunting uses for those three bullet weights as well.
All three loads are also 100% copper, which makes them an ideal choice of 300 WSM hunting ammunition for use in states like California that that don’t permit the use of lead bullets.
- Bullet Type: TTSX Boat Tail or TSX Boat Tail
- Bullet Weight: 150 grains, 165 grains, or 180 grains
- Ballistic Coefficient (G1): .420 (150 gr), .442 (165 gr), .453 (180 gr)
- Muzzle Velocity: 3,285 feet per second (150gr), 3,120 feet per second (165gr), or 2,980 feet per second (180gr)
Barnes VOR-TX ammo also made cut for my 2019 holiday gift recommendations. To see what other stuff is on the list, check out the following article:
Hunters in search of high quality 300 WSM ammo for elk hunting should also consider Federal’s ammunition loaded with the Trophy Bonded Tip bullet. The Nosler Partition is an absolutely outstanding bullet, but the Trophy Bonded Tip is an improvement in the areas where the Partition is a little lacking.
First, it has a more aerodynamic shape and a higher BC. The result is some 300 WSM ammo with a flatter trajectory, more retained energy at long range, and more resistance to wind drift than comparable loads with the Partition bullet.
This helps hunters maximize the power and reach of the 300 WSM to a greater degree than the Partition.
Additionally, the Trophy Bonded Tip bullet also has a very robust construction with a bonded front core and a solid rear shank for maximum weight retention and penetration. That polymer tip and the exterior skiving on the nose both help initiate mushrooming for rapid expansion on impact. The end result is a devastating mix of high weight retention, rapid, yet controlled controlled expansion, and deep straight-line penetration.
While this ammunition is also available with a 165 grain bullet, I think the 180 grain Trophy Bonded Tip is the best offering in this particular line of 300 WSM ammo for elk and deer.
Regardless of whether you’re hunting deer, elk, pronghorn, and bear in North America or one of the big species of African antelope, this ammo will serve you well and get the job done if you do your part as a shooter.
- Bullet Type: Trophy Bonded Tip
- Bullet Weight: 180 grains
- Ballistic Coefficient (G1): .500
- Muzzle Velocity: 2,960 feet per second
Hornady introduced their new Outfitter line of ammunition a few years ago. Though it will also work quite well on a whitetail deer hunt in the back 40, the company markets this 300 WSM ammo specifically for use on guided hunts in really tough environments like a caribou or moose hunt in Canada or a kudu hunt in South Africa.
This ammunition is loaded with an extremely tough 180 grain CX bullet that’s designed for controlled expansion, high weight retention, and deep penetration on large, heavy boned animals like elk and moose. This ammunition also uses nickel-plated case for reliable feeding and corrosion resistance under the most demanding conditions. The primers and case necks are also sealed.
With all those things in mind, it’s easy to see why Hornady advertises their Outfitter 300 WSM ammo for use on a big hunt that’s the culmination of years of saving and planning. After all, when the chips are down on the hunt of a lifetime, the absolute last thing you need is for your ammo to fail at the moment of truth.
The CX bullet used in Hornady Outfitter ammunition is lead free, which makes this ammo another good choice for use in states like California. Note: the CX bullet replaced the older GMX bullet from Hornady and is a tiny bit more aerodynamic, but retains the great terminal performance of the GMX.
- Bullet Type: CX
- Bullet Weight: 180 grains
- Ballistic Coefficient (G1): .469
- Muzzle Velocity: 2,900 feet per second
Also Available at: Optics Planet
The 300 Winchester Short Magnum is a great all-around hunting cartridge and is often used on hunting adventures in more exotic locations like Alaska, Canada, and Africa. For this reason, Winchester offers 300 WSM ammo in their Expedition Big Game line.
Loaded with a 180gr AccuBond CT bullet, this is great 300 WSM ammo for moose, black bear, and elk hunting in North America as well as plains game in Africa, red stag in Europe and New Zealand, and almost any other species of deer or antelope you can think of.
These bullets are virtually identical to the 180gr Nosler AccuBond bullets offered in the Nosler Trophy Grade line of ammo (same with the Winchester Ballistic SilverTip vs the Nosler Ballistic Tip), just with a Lubalox exterior coating. Nothing against the regular 180gr AccuBonds (which are excellent), but Winchester claims the added coating improves an already great bullet by reducing engraving forces and reducing fouling.
These AccuBond CT bullets have a red polymer tip to increase the bullet’s ballistic coefficient and promote expansion upon impact. At the same time, AccuBond CT bullets also have a bonded lead core for high weight retention, deep penetration, and all around excellent terminal performance.
Unlike most 300 WSM ammo (which uses brass cases), Winchester Expedition Big Game 300 WSM ammunition also uses nickel cases for corrosion resistance afield.
Add it up and you have some 300 WSM ammo capable of delivering great terminal performance on a wide range of big game for shots at 400+ yards.
- Bullet Type: Winchester AccuBond CT
- Bullet Weight: 180 grains
- Ballistic Coefficient (G1): .509
- Muzzle Velocity: 3,0100 feet per second
Featured Image From Federal Premium.