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.260 Rem. vs 7mm-08 Rem.

The .260 Rem. and 7mm-08 Rem. square up well against each other, in part because they are so evenly matched. Both cartridges are based on the .308, both began life as a wildcat, and both were legitimized late in the 20th century by Remington (the 7mm-08 in 1980; the .260, brainchild of outdoor writer Jim Carmichel, in 1997). Both are soft shooters; both are capable of excellent accuracy; both fit in light, compact actions; and these days both benefit from a wide selection of bullets.

But these cartridges do have their differences, and those are worth examining when you're considering purchasing a new rifle. The .260 utilizes 6.5mm/.264-inch bullets, which was a liability until recent years when the popularity of the 6.5s prompted a dramatic increase in the number of available projectiles.

In addition, companies like Hornady introduced new, light 6.5 bullets like the 95-grain V-Max that were designed specifically for varmint and predator hunting. This gives the .260 an edge on the 7mm-08 for small game. On the other end, the .260 can handle 120-and 140-grain bullets with ease--as long as reloaders are cautious not to let the long 6.5 bullets contact the lands in short-throated rifles, which results in pressure issues.

The .260's recoil is lighter than that of the 7mm-08, and although the reduction likely won't be noticeable to hunters who in a big game scenario may only fire a shot or two at a time, the mild kick will be noticeable when you're shooting prairie dogs or clanging steel from a prone position for hours on end. It's worth noting that some .260s have weird barrel twists like 1:10 that limit this cartridge's use with heavier bullets, but most modern guns have a more versatile 1:8 twist.

The 7mm-08 has become a popular hunting cartridge with shooters who appreciate its outstanding ballistics and lack of magnum muzzle blast and recoil. By virtue of its bullet diameter and weight it is better suited for bigger game like elk. You can opt to load the 7mm-08 with projectiles up to 175 grains, but the 130- to 160-grain range is more versatile and covers a wide range of North American and African game.

In terms of ballistics with average-weight bullets, the .260 and 7mm-08 are pretty equal. Nosler's .260 120-grain Ballistic Tip factory load leaves the bore at 2,850 fps, while the 140-grain Ballistic Tip from the 7mm-08 with the same length barrel exits the muzzle at 2,825 fps. At 800 yards the two cartridges are still within 40 fps in terms of velocity and within two inches in terms of bullet drop.

Energy-wise, though, the 7mm-08 is packing an extra 130 ft.-lbs. of energy, and that might be relevant on game. And, like the .260, you must pay attention to seating depths of bullets, especially with long 175-grain projectiles and guns with short throats.

The 7mm-08 is more widely available in factory ammo, and you've got a chance of walking into a gun shop in Wasilla, Alaska, or Windhoek, Namibia, and actually finding a box on the shelves.

If you're a handloader there's very little difference between the two. Both 6.5mm and 7mm bullets are widely available, and both of these cartridges are going to net between 55 to 60 fps per grain of powder, which makes both highly efficient. The .260 will use slightly less powder, but if you're making your own brass using .308 cases, the 7mm-08 will require less resizing and less trimming.


The 7mm-08 wins in terms of rifle availability, but the .264s/6.5s are popular right now, and you'll get street cred at the range for just owning one--if that type of thing matters to you. At the end it's hard to pick a favorite child in this family, because both of these cartridges are just so darn good.

.260 REM.


* Lighter recoil

* Better varmint/big game load selection

* It's cool to own anything 6.5 right now


* Factory ammo not quite as common

* Stiff competition from other 6.5s

* Odd rifling twists can limit bullet selection

7MM-08 REM.


* Tons of ammo, rifles, load data, bullets

* Carries more energy, better for bigger game

* Less sizing if you're making your own cases


* Not ideal for very little or very large game

* Longest 7mm bullets can have seating issues

* Burns more powder than the .260
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Title Annotation:CARTRIDGE CLASH; .260 Remington vs. 7mm-08 Remington
Author:Fitzpatrick, Brad
Publication:Petersen's Rifle Shooter
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2016
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