.300 Ultra Mag
It’s always entertaining to watch people work out scenarios in their minds. I love seeing the reactions people give when they are passionate about something. Ask a Wisconsin school teacher or a state employee what they think about the Governor here, and get ready for cardiac episodes. GO to a Brewers Cubs game here and it gets obnoxious quickly. Ask any guy how to cook a bratwurst, and you’ll have an argument in no time. Boy, if you start talking about the best Deer round in my neck of the woods, you had better strap yourself in, because it’s going to be rough riding. It’s just a real world example of the generic writing of the gun magazine columnists. Don’t make a claim like “Best Deer Round” and not expect months of hate mail and guys who suddenly have all the time in the world for debate. It’s interesting to see writers dance around the subject in major publications, avoiding an uprising in the readership and keeping their inbox free of death threats.
This author won’t dance around his beliefs; I know what works for me and frankly couldn’t care less what others think. When it comes down to it, we are all going to have our own specific thoughts and experiences which lead us to believe one thing over another. Some of us were told by Dad or Grandpa that so and so round was the best, and that’s the one we use still, because it’s enough for us to live by, and it has always worked. Some guys have fifteen different bolt actions all earmarked for a specific purpose. Then there is the contingency that says “Any animal can be killed with a .22 LR if you know how to shoot!” I’m sure there have been countless kills with a .22 LR on animals of all sizes, maybe even more than any other round, but I think we can all agree it’s not the most practical and it’s not even legal in many places.
I love me some rifles. I love the .223. I love the .22/250. I love the 30.06. I love the .300 Ultra Mag. If they make ammunition for it and sell it here, I could make a case for loving it, trust me.
Today it’s about my .300 Ultra Mag, a rifle and a round I’m quite fond of.
In 2005 I had the opportunity to go on a Labrador Caribou hunt in Northern Quebec, Canada. IN the time leading up to the hunt I decided I needed something more than I already had. I mean I had the Weatherby I mentioned in a few other posts, chambered in 30.06 but the weather was going to be rough and I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself for rusting the family gun. I was looking for a stainless gun with a synthetic stock, The average rainfall that time of year is intense. I wanted a round that could go a bit heavier than the 30.06 and keep me in some bigger game, without being overkill. It took a lot of research, but I finally settled on the .300 Ultra Mag.
It’s been an excellent decision to go with the .300 ultra mag, I have zero regrets; it’s been the one round I knew I could count on regardless of the terrain or conditions for my style of hunting.
Apparently the Canadian Magnums had a lot of influence on the .300 Ultra mag and as far back as the early 1980’s they were working on necked down .404 Jeffery trying to produce real power out of a non-belted cartridge. The Canadian magnums which were also called Imperial magnums were big wide cartridges and had a ton of power behind them. Specifically in the .300 ultra mag, Remington released a round in 1999 that was almost identical to the Imperial Magnums, which made a lot of sense, because the brass was purchased by Remington (and at the time, Dakota Arms) and made to suit their specific purpose. The cases were only slightly wider with a headspacing that is indexed on the shoulder of the cartridge. The Remington version was given a shallower shoulder, and a more pronounced taper to the casing, and Christened as the .300 Remington Ultra Mag; but enthusiasts call it the .300 Ultra Mag or the .300 RUM.
What Remington did though, was create a truly cult round, worthy of such a following. The cartridge is a beast: it produces roughly 3500 fps at the muzzle and maintains 2500 out to about 400 yards; it’s powerful, shoots flat and can handle just about anything on The North American Continent. It’s probably a bit of overkill for deer, depending on the conditions, size and the loading. I had an antelope hunt in 2011 that I took my .300 Ultra mag to, though I hadn’t originally intended to do so. I certainly didn’t expect to use the thing, it was primarily a bow hunt.
My Wyoming tag was for the gun season, but my intent was to buy an archery license and use it. What I didn’t realize was, it was opening day of the gun season the day I started the hunt.
The 150,000 acre ranch I was on was crawling with locals and their trucks. That made an already alert animal even more so.
After sitting in a blind for three days watching goats no closer than 400 yards I decided to use gunpowder in place of string. I found myself glad I had thrown it in my truck. In all honesty I only picked the .300 ultra mag because it was already in the case and it was right there as I was leaving.
I got a spot on a buck bedded with 5 or 6 does ¾ of a mile out. It was only about 8:30 or so and I figured I had plenty of time to close the distance between me and the goats lying on the south facing hill. I was able to drive a part of the way, and walked the rest of the way on the opposite side of a huge hill. I spotted them again and began the long belly crawl through sage and thistles for about 100 yards until I could see over the crest.
I left my pack and shooting sticks behind so didn’t have a great rest. The buck ranged 528 Yards, the longest shot I would ever have attempted to that date. I had plenty of time to slow my heart rate and get control of my breathing. After a short debate in my head whether I should shoot, I committed to it because it was as close as I could get without spooking them; I was pretty confident in the round’s capabilities; I only slightly doubted mine. I crawled to a flowery bush and positioned my arm to rest the rifle. I cranked the Leupold 3×9 all the way up and quickly tried to estimate how many inches from chest to top of head and horns to get a proper hold over as my scope is a standard duplex. When the buck got up, I settled the crosshairs about 24” over the back, figuring a 42” total drop. I exhaled and held about ¾ the way through and squeezed.
The buck was dead before he hit the ground. The shot couldn’t have been placed better, taking the heart and bottom of the lungs out.
That day was very exciting and a happy one for me, if I have to put it mildly.
Adding a pronghorn antelope to the two Labrador caribou already attributed to the .300 ultra mag rifle’s resume. The second caribou I took with it was running at just under 200 yards, the .300 ultra mag also took the heart out. This round could never be called anemic.
I’ve always loved the feel of the Remington BDL, it’s right on when I throw it to my shoulder, but my real love is the .300 ultra mag round this one throws!
Here are the 2005 Caribou and the 2011 Antelope taken with the .300 Ultra Mag by me, Neil Demant.