.280AI for me. With the short mags it's not unusual to not be able to seat the bullets out far enough for the best accuracy due to magazine length.
Another vote for 7mm rem mag. Very flat shooting, wide range of bullet weights / styles, easy to find ammo, reasonable recoil for a magnum caliber. Most all gun makers produce 7 mm rem mag also.
I have owned all three. The STW is the hardest kicking medium rifle I've ever shot and could not get it to beat the Remington by much. I would go 7mm-08. Light kicking in lightweight rifles and good out to 300 yards.
The 7mm STW is dead as a door nail.
Nothing wrong with the cartridge, but the 7mm Remington Ultra, 7mm Blaser, and 7mm Dakota put the nail in that coffin. It is fast, but the 3 of these are faster.
Here's my thoughts.
I would pick the 7mm Remington Magnum and never look back, unless I wanted the ultimate in long range 7mm's and I'd go for the 7mm Remington Ultra.
I don't remember if you are going to buy a factory rifle or build one up from the ground.
For factory rifle, I'd buy a Tikka T3 in 7mm Remington Magnum if you want a good rifle for a good price, and Tikka's shoot really well. $750. Bell and Carlson and Manners both make really nice replacement stocks for Tikka's plastic stock.
For a lot more money I'd buy a Sako Greywolf $1750.
For a little more money than that I'd buy a Weatherby Accumark in 7mm Remington Magnum $1950.
Beyond that your into Blaser money in factory rifles. Or custom rifles.
For custom, nothing wrong with a Howa, Tikka, Remginton action for an accurate rifle. Krieger barrel, and a McMillan or Manners stock, if you shopped around you could probably build what you wanted for under $2000. McMillan stock $600, Krieger barrel job $600, walmart Remington action $300, Jewell trigger $250.
If your going to keep your shots to 350yd or so, take a good long look at the 280Rem or 280AI. My friend had a Rem MT rifle in 280. With good hand loads it came very close to 7 Rem mag vel. All the ammo for this caliber are kept on the low side for velocities. This was due to the fact that the 280 Rem was chambered for a lot of semi auto's and pump guns
We have a guy that owns a custom Surgeon actioned rifle with a 27 inch Krieger and a McMillan A-5 stock. I think he has a Nightforce scope, but I can't remember everything on guns that I didn't build.
Anyway he has really good look with that 280-Ackley. Good enought that if I was such a 8mm and 338 fan I'd build one for myself. Heck I might anyway.
7 STW A Giant among 7mm's
You may have already purchased that new rifle, if so, wonderful. If not, give serious thought to the 7STW. Better performance than your other two options, highly accurate, and frankly pretty easy to reload. Commercial ammo is readily available, and even some specialty makers like DoubleTap Ammo will custom load for you. Used mine on an Antelope at 426 yards with a nosler 160 accubond with a muzzle velocity of 3305fps---devestating. Although the cartridge is a bit long when compared to say the 7 Remington Mag or the 7 short mag action lengths, I personally believe that the longer powder column contributes to the overall accuracy and outright punch. If you can find a Weatherby Accumark in the 7STW, you'll find it is not nearly as punishing as in a lighter rifle. Best when used with a 26 inch mid to heavier weight barrel. Handles anything from the lightweight 140 grain bullets to the heavyweight 175 Barnes or Swift bullets and penetration is almost always through and through.
Originally Posted by bern0134
Love my STW. A new #5 Brux will be here monday to replace the factory barrel.
I've got a 7mm mag, and it's been great. I've never missed an animal, and never needed a 2nd bullet.
It's not a gun I take out and shoot a couple boxes of ammo for fun, but for hunting I plan on it being the only rifle I'll ever need.
I have used 7mm wsm since they came out. I have killed everything from coyotes to Bull Elk. It's the best gun I own IMO. I have 5 Weatherbys and don't shoot any of them because the cost for ammo is so expensive. The 7 for me it is the flattest shooting and most accurate for the hunting I have done.