30 Nosler vs 300 Win Mag Ballistics & Uses

Almost every firearms user who has taken 1,000-yard shots would have heard about the effectiveness of the .300 Winchester Magnum for such uses. Almost six decades after its introduction, this round is still the favorite of long range benchrest shooters, big game hunters, and some defense users. 

The year 2016 came with stiff competition for the long unchallenged reign of the .300 Win Mag in form of the .30 Nosler. A cartridge that was designed for long and ultra long range uses by a company that is renowned for its bullet designs. While this cartridge is still leaching through the hands of the firearm community, the data we have compiled shows it as a possible replacement. 

Read further to find out if our beloved .300 Win Mag is still the best long range cartridge, or the .30 Nosler is here to outwit it. 

TL;DR: 30 Nosler vs 300 Win Mag

A quick overview of the pros and cons of these cartridges, along with their best uses. 

30 Nosler

300 Win Mag

Photo credit: normashooting.com


30 Nosler

Rebated rim and non-belted cartridge

Capable of supersonic speeds at 1,500 yards

Exceptionally flat trajectory for a heavy round

Powerful enough to take down any game animal

Suitable for long and ultra-long range applications

Capable of taking down big game at 1,200 yards with the right loads

300 Win Mag

Good barrel life of up to 1,200 rounds

Suitable for distances out to 1,200 yards

Readily available with many ammo and rifle options

Capable of killing any game animal in North America

Fits standard actions despite being a magnum round

Widely used for long range uses by civilians and in some capacity by defense personnel


30 Nosler

Expensive and hard to find ammo and rifles

Eats up barrel at just 600-700 rounds

300 Win Mag

Rifles are long and heavy

Not good for ultra long range shots

Needs significant adjustments compared to the .30 Nosler

Best For

30 Nosler

The .30 Nosler is best for long and ultra long range competitions and hunting big and dangerous big game

300 Win Mag

The .300 Win Mag is the most versatile long range cartridge great for competitions and taking down big game

.30 Nosler Overview

The .30 Nosler is a rebated-rim, centerfire rifle cartridge that fires a .308 inch diameter bullet. It is a part of the six proprietary bullets designed by Nosler, Inc. The .30 Nosler was introduced on the market in 2016 and is a SAAMI-approved and standardized cartridge. It was developed as a better alternative to the existing long range cartridges like the .300 Winchester Magnum, .300 RUM, and .300 PRC. In fact, the .30 Nosler uses a .300 Remington Ultra Magnum (RUM) as the parent cartridge. 

Photo credit: nosler.com

Although this cartridge is fairly new to the market, it has been greeted fairly well by the gun community because of its exceptional performance. Nosler is a known brand on the firearms market, mostly recognized for its Nosler Partition and Nosler Accubond bullets which are among the most favored choices for hunting big game animals. 

A couple of years before its introduction, Nosler also came up with the M48 series of rifles, thus delivering a complete package for buyers. Since the cartridge is proprietary to Nosler, you can only find ammo manufactured from Nosler for these cartridges. It hasn’t yet become a very open platform unlike other options like Remington or Hornady. 

300 Win Mag Overview

The .300 Winchester Magnum, also known as the .300 Win Mag, is a rimless, bottlenecked, belted magnum cartridge. It was introduced by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company in 1963, and is still a widely popular long range cartridge, even outplaying its modern competitors. 

It uses a .375 H&H magnum as the parent case, which has been blown out and necked down to accept a .308 inch diameter bullet. The .300 Win Mag was introduced for use with the Model 70 rifle and is available in a wide variety of rifles today. Another factor for the popularity of this round was its easy availability and the relatively inexpensive price. 

Photo credit: wideopenspaces.com

It is a belted cartridge, and the neck is shorter than the diameter of the bullet. These two were seen as probable reasons hindering the accuracy of the round to some extent, however, the popularity of this round among the civilian and LEO circle proves otherwise. Additionally, Remington also offers special low-recoil rounds (called managed recoil rounds) and a wide range of bullet options to choose from. 

The .300 Win Mag is powerful and very versatile hunting, and long range shooting cartridge, and you will understand why in the upcoming sections. 

30 Nosler vs 300 Win Mag: Cartridge Specs

Here’s a quick table comparing the dimensions of these two cartridges. 

30 Nosler300 Win Mag
Bullet Diameter0.308 in (7.8 mm)0.308 in (7.8 mm)
Neck Diameter.344 in (8.7 mm).339 in (8.6 mm)
Base Diameter.550 in (14 mm).513 in (13.0 mm)
Case Length2.556 in (24.9 mm)2.62 in (67 mm)
Overall Length3.340 in (84.8 mm)3.34 in (85 mm)
Case Capacity89.8 grains93.8 grains
Max Pressure (SAAMI)65,000 psi64,000 psi
Typical Casing MaterialBrassBrass
Typical Bullet Weight (gr)180-230 grains160-220 grains

A side-by-side comparison of the dimensions of these two cartridges reveals that they are almost similar in looks. Both these rounds fire .308 inch diameter bullets, and while the .30 Nosler uses .300 RUM as the parent case, the .300 Win Mag uses a .375 H&H as the parent case. 

The neck diameter is almost the same, whereas the base diameter is different. The .30 Nosler is a millimeter bigger in base diameter, but the .300 Win Mag has a slightly longer case length which allows it to hold about four extra grains of powder. Additionally, the non-belted design of the .30 Nosler allows it to headspace from the shoulder, and also makes it easier to resize when reloading. 

The .300 Win Mag, despite being a magnum cartridge, has an OAL of 3.34 inches (the same as .30 Nosler) which allows it to be fired from a standard action. The .30 Nosler is loaded at a pressure of 1,000 psi higher than the .300 Win Mag, which is a big reason for the difference in performance between these two.

As far as bullet weights are concerned, both these cartridges use similar bullet weights that top at 230 grains, but the .30 Nosler can fire heavier bullets. These heavy bullets make both these rounds suitable for handling big game, and the large case capacity is suitable for long range engagements. Let’s find out the actual performance of these rounds in the ‘ballistics’ section. 

Photo credit: huntingtopic.com

30 Nosler vs 300 Win Mag: Ballistics

The ballistics section will elaborate on three factors – the trajectory, velocity, and kinetic energy. This data is helpful in determining the short and long range accuracy potential, and suitability of targets for a specific cartridge, or at least some specific loads. I have used the optimal barrel length, and the most common loads to gather this data. Remember that different loading can perform differently, and this is a general comparison that gives us a big picture. 

30 Nosler vs 300 Win Mag: Trajectory

A tabular representation of the trajectory data for both these rounds out to a distance of 1,000 yards. 

24” barrel/BC 0.507/180 grains
Nosler Accubond
24” barrel/BC 0.730/210 gr
BPT Spitzer BT
24” barrel/BC 0.690/220 gr
200 yds: 2.6 “ Drop200 yds: 2.7 “ Drop200 yds: 3.3 “ Drop
300 yds: 9.9 “ Drop300 yds: 10.1 “ Drop300 yds: 11.8 “ Drop
400 yds: 22.4 “ Drop400 yds: 22.5 “ Drop400 yds: 26.1 “ Drop
500 yds: 41.1 “ Drop500 yds: 40.5 “ Drop500 yds: 46.8 “ Drop
1,000 yds: 265.8 “ Drop1,000 yds: 236.5 “ Drop1,000 yds: 275.5 “ Drop

.300 Win Mag

24” barrel/BC 0.398/165 grains
Barnes Triple-Shock X Bullet
24” barrel/BC 0.507/180 grains
Nosler Accubond
24” barrel/BC 0.608/200 grains
Edge TLR
200 yds: 2.9 “ Drop200 yds: 3 “ Drop200 yds: 3.2 “ Drop
300 yds: 11 “ Drop300 yds: 11.2 “ Drop300 yds: 11.8 “ Drop
400 yds: 25.5 “ Drop400 yds: 25.3 “ Drop400 yds: 27.4 “ Drop
500 yds: 47.3 “ Drop500 yds: 46.3 “ Drop500 yds: 49.6 “ Drop
1,000 yds: 344.2 “ Drop1,000 yds: 300.3 “ Drop1,000 yds: 301.8 “ Drop

Before I start comparing the trajectory data, let me confess that I am a big fan of the .300 Win Mag for its long range potential and accuracy. The .30 Nosler is a fairly new cartridge introduced in 2016, but it has certainly proven to be a tough and impressive competitor for the .300 Win Mag. 

Comparing the 180 grain Nosler Accubond bullets for these rounds, it is clear that the .30 Nosler has a slight edge over the .300 Win Mag. The difference in drop is just close to an inch out to 400 yards, however, as the range increases, this difference widens to a significant number of about 35 inches at 1,000 yards. 

Whether we compare the lightweight or the heavyweight bullets for these rounds, it is clearly evident that the trajectory is almost the same, but with the .30 Nosler always having a slight advantage. However, at long ranges of 1,000 yards or more, the .30 Nosler is a clear winner, even with its heavy bullets. 

Surprisingly, the 220 grain round for the .30 Nosler drops only 275.5 yards at 1,000 yards, compared to 301.8 inches drop for the 200 grain .300 Win Mag round. Additionally, the fact that a .30 Nosler has only 1 foot-pounds more recoil (31.5 foot-pounds) than the .300 Win Mag, it is rationally a significantly better pick in terms of trajectory. 

Photo credit: wikiwand.com

30 Nosler vs 300 Win Mag: Velocity & Kinetic Energy

The next part of the ballistics data is the velocity and kinetic energy values. These will help us determine the maximum effective range, and the suitability of these rounds against different targets. 

30 Nosler

24” barrel/BC 0.507/180 grains
Nosler Accubond
24” barrel/BC 0.730/210 gr
BPT Spitzer BT
24” barrel/BC 0.690/220 gr
100 yds: 2,918 ft/s, 3,402 ft.lbs100 yds: 2,869 ft/s, 3,838 ft.lbs100 yds: 2,705 ft/s, 3,573 ft.lbs
200 yds: 2,734 ft/s, 2,988 ft.lbs200 yds: 2,742 ft/s, 3,506 ft.lbs200 yds: 2,575 ft/s, 3,239 ft.lbs
300 yds: 2,558 ft/s, 2,615 ft.lbs300 yds: 2,619 ft/s, 3,197 ft.lbs300 yds: 2,449 ft/s, 2,931 ft.lbs
400 yds: 2,388 ft/s, 2,279 ft.lbs400 yds: 2,499 ft/s, 2,911 ft.lbs400 yds: 2,327 ft/s, 2,645 ft.lbs
500 yds: 2,225 ft/s, 1,978 ft.lbs500 yds: 2,382 ft/s, 2,645 ft.lbs500 yds: 2,208 ft/s, 2,382 ft.lbs
1,000 yds: 1,514 ft/s, 916 ft.lbs1,000 yds: 1,844 ft/s, 1,585 ft.lbs1,000 yds: 1,669 ft/s, 1,361 ft.lbs

300 Win Mag

24” barrel/BC 0.398/165 grains
Barnes Triple-Shock X Bullet
24” barrel/BC 0.507/180 grains
Nosler Accubond
24” barrel/BC 0.608/200 grains
Edge TLR
100 yds: 2,810 ft/s, 2,892 ft.lbs100 yds: 2,774 ft/s, 3,075 ft.lbs100 yds: 2,660 ft/s, 3,141 ft.lbs
200 yds: 2,582 ft/s, 2,442 ft.lbs200 yds: 2,595 ft/s, 2,692 ft.lbs200 yds: 2,514 ft/s, 2,806 ft.lbs
300 yds: 2,365 ft/s, 2,049 ft.lbs300 yds: 2,424 ft/s, 2,348 ft.lbs300 yds: 2,373 ft/s, 2,500 ft.lbs
400 yds: 2,159 ft/s, 1,707 ft.lbs400 yds: 2,259 ft/s, 2,039 ft.lbs400 yds: 2,236 ft/s, 2,221 ft.lbs
500 yds: 1,963 ft/s, 1,411 ft.lbs500 yds: 2,100 ft/s, 1,763 ft.lbs500 yds: 2,105 ft/s, 1,967 ft.lbs
1,000 yds: 1,197 ft/s, 525 ft.lbs1,000 yds: 1,419 ft/s, 805 ft.lbs1,000 yds: 1,520 ft/s, 1,026 ft.lbs

Both these cartridges are close in terms of muzzle velocity, which can reach out to a maximum of 3,200 fps depending upon the loading and barrel length. However, what is important here is the amount of velocity retention. 

As far as velocity is concerned, both these cartridges perform with similar characteristics out to 400 yards, although the .30 Nosler always has an advantage. What is interesting to see here is that the .30 Nosler has better velocity retention, and the potential to stay supersonic even at distances of 1,500 yards. Whereas, the .300 Win Mag can only maintain supersonic speeds out to 1,250 yards only. 

This means that the .30 Nosler has almost 250 yards of extra maximum effective range, and when we compare this fact with the trajectory data, the .30 Nosler is the clear winner. 

Shifting our focus to the energy values, the .30 Nosler is a powerhouse and capable of retaining 1,500 fpe at 1,000 yards. To give you an idea, 1,500 foot-pounds is the optimal energy to kill a big game like an Elk or Moose. Comparatively, the .300 Win Mag can only retain a maximum of 1,000 fpe at that range with its heaviest loads. Additionally, 1,000 fpe is considered optimal for killing deer. 

Photo credit: huntingtopic.com

30 Nosler vs 300 Win Mag: Stopping Power

The stopping power of a bullet is helpful in determining its suitability against different types of targets. While the kinetic energy data gives us a general idea, the stopping power elaborates it in detail. The two important values to be studied for this are the momentum and sectional density. 

While the momentum of a moving object (a bullet in this case) tells us about the intensity of energy transfer, and gives an idea of the size of the wound channel. The value of sectional density (SD) tells us about the level of penetration in tissue. 

30 Nosler vs 300 Win Mag: Momentum & Sectional Density

The value of sectional density depends upon the mass and diameter of the bullet. Whereas, the value of momentum changes with velocity at a specific distance. 

24” barrel/BC 0.507/180 grains
Nosler Accubond
Sectional Density: 0.271
24” barrel/BC 0.730/210 gr
BPT Spitzer BT
Sectional Density: 0.316
24” barrel/BC 0.690/220 gr
Sectional Density: 0.331
100 yds: 75 lb.ft-s100 yds: 86 lb.ft-s100 yds: 85 lb.ft-s
200 yds: 70 lb.ft-s200 yds: 82 lb.ft-s200 yds: 80 lb.ft-s
300 yds: 65 lb.ft-s300 yds: 78 lb.ft-s300 yds: 76 lb.ft-s
400 yds: 61 lb.ft-s400 yds: 74 lb.ft-s400 yds: 73 lb.ft-s
500 yds: 57 lb.ft-s500 yds: 71 lb.ft-s500 yds: 69 lb.ft-s
1,000 yds: 38 lb.ft-s1,000 yds: 55 lb.ft-s1,000 yds: 52 lb.ft-s

300 Win Mag

24” barrel/BC 0.398/165 grains
Barnes Triple-Shock X Bullet
Sectional Density: 0.248
24” barrel/BC 0.507/180 grains
Nosler Accubond
Sectional Density: 0.271
24” barrel/BC 0.608/200 grains
Edge TLR
Sectional Density: 0.301
100 yds: 66 lb.ft-s100 yds: 71 lb.ft-s100 yds: 76 lb.ft-s
200 yds: 61 lb.ft-s200 yds: 66 lb.ft-s200 yds: 71 lb.ft-s
300 yds: 55 lb.ft-s300 yds: 62 lb.ft-s300 yds: 67 lb.ft-s
400 yds: 50 lb.ft-s400 yds: 58 lb.ft-s400 yds: 63 lb.ft-s
500 yds: 46 lb.ft-s500 yds: 54 lb.ft-s500 yds: 60 lb.ft-s
1,000 yds: 28 lb.ft-s1,000 yds: 36 lb.ft-s1,000 yds: 43 lb.ft-s

The sectional density (SD) of a bullet is the ratio of its mass to its cross-sectional area. The higher this value, the more penetration will be delivered by a bullet. An SD of 0.230 to 0.260 is suitable for deer sized game, an SD of 0.270 to 0.300 is suitable for big game like Elk or Moose. 

The data above tells us that the .30 Nosler bullets are always suitable for deer, whereas the heavier versions can handle CXP4 level game like bears, and African dangerous game. In other words, the .30 Nosler is capable of killing any critter roaming this planet. On the other hand, the .300 Win Mag is suitable for medium and big game, and the heaviest loads perform at par with the .30 Nosler.

The momentum values tell us about the seriousness of impact and indirectly, the size of the wound channel. Since momentum is a product of the mass and velocity, the .30 Nosler retains more momentum (hence stopping power) due to its better speed retention at all ranges. In simple terms, the .30 Nosler is capable of dealing the same damage at 1,000 yards, what a .300 Win Mag is capable of at 500 yards. 

30 Nosler vs 300 Win Mag: Use Cases & Effective Range

The data shows us that the competition is stiff, but we still have to understand the best uses for these cartridges for a better understanding. 

Long Range Competitions

The .300 Win Mag has a stark reputation as an effective and accurate long range round. Since its introduction in the 60s and ’60s, the round was quickly picked up by competitive shooters and is still very popular. Many shooters prefer it for F-class competitions and even for ultra long range shooting competitions where distances can go as high as 1,500 yards. 

On the other side, the .30 Nosler is a fairly new cartridge on the market. The ballistics data is very approving of its long range potential, but I still haven’t come across anyone using it for competitions. However, if you ask me, I will always side with the good ‘ol .300 Win Mag unless the range in question is beyond 1,000 yards. It’s not that I don’t like it for 1,000 yards or more, but the .30 Nosler has better numbers and I’ll certainly like to give it a try. 

Photo credit: youtube.com

Big Game Hunting

The .300 Win Mag is undeniably a proven and extremely popular big game hunting cartridge. Especially in the United States, it is widely used for hunting down big ungulates like Moose and Elk. It is also considered to be a suitable cartridge against brown and grizzly bears within appropriate distances, and it is also a very popular mountain hunting round. 

The .30 Nosler is a fairly new player in this game, but the ballistics and stopping power data tell us that it is more than capable of taking down any big in North America, and almost every North African plains game. Additionally, the .30 Nosler has a longer effective range and a flatter trajectory. 

Medium Size Game Hunting 

By medium size game, I am specifically trying to refer to deer. Many people like to go hunting sheep or goats in the mountains at long distances and prefer to use the .300 Win Mag. However, if you are not planning to tackle quarry at long range, in my opinion, both these rounds are overpowered for medium game, and there are a ton of other better alternatives available to choose from. 

Tactical Applications

The .300 Win Mag is already in service with the U.S Military in some capacity, and many SWAT teams of various police departments prefer it for sniping. If the military trusts it, then you can be sure of it being an effective tactical round. As far as the .30 Nosler is concerned, the round is quite young to be used anywhere, but it certainly has the potential. 

Range Applications

The .300 Win Mag is a better choice for range use and practice when compared to the .30 Nosler. In my opinion, the .30 Nosler is better when you have learned the basics of long range shooting, and want to sharpen your skills beyond 1,200 yards. 

Photo credit: americanhunter.org

30 Nosler vs 300 Win Mag: Costs, Availability, & Compatibility

Before you make your decision to choose any one of these, lay some attention on the economics and options.

Insanely Expensive and Rare vs Economical and Available

The .30 Nosler is a newcomer to the market, and it is also a magnum cartridge. With supply-demand imbalance, this round is still quite exorbitant and retails at about $5-$6 per round. Additionally, finding it is extremely hard as of now because Nosler is the only manufacturer, and the reach of this cartridge in national markets is super low. 

On the other hand, the .300 Win Mag starts at about $2.5 per round and goes up to $6.5 in just a few cases. The cartridge is easily available everywhere because it is quite popular, and there are a lot of bullet options because it is almost sixty years old now. 

Limited vs Multiple Options

The .30 Nosler is primarily available in the Model 48 rifle and one other option from Christensen Arms known as the ELR rifle. So that is all you can find on the market, plus, the options for ammo are also quite limited. The .300 Win Mag is a more popular and versatile cartridge in terms of availability and has a number of rifle options ranging from economical to expensive. 

Bottom Line

The .30 Nosler and .300 Win Mag were designed for long range applications and with hard-hitting power. While the .300 Win Mag is over six decades old with a lot of ammo variations, the .30 Nosler was developed in 2016 and is still undergoing adoption by the masses. The ballistics data shows us that the .30 Nosler is a better cartridge compared to the .300 Win Mag, and has more power, better trajectory, and higher energy.

While the numbers of both these rounds are quite comparable out to 400 yards, the .30 Nosler gets a significant advantage beyond that. However, on the downside, the .30 Nosler is still very expensive, hard to find, and has very few ammo and rifle options.


' ); } ?>