Weatherby’s new, powerful cartridge outhits Remington’s Westerner—but the 7mm round is more affordable and matches up nicely with midsized game.
A couple of cartridges introduced in 1997—the .30-378 Weatherby and the 7mm Shooting Times Westerner—may well be the best long-range big-game rounds ever made in America. Remington and Weatherby have legitimized the two popular wildcats, and in doing so they have redefined the parameters of flat trajectories and long-range energy delivery—eclipsing the performance standards many of us know from rounds like the 7mm Remington Magnum. With these companies making mainstream cartridges out of the .30-378 Weatherby and the 7mm Shooting Times Westerner, long-range deer, antelope, and sheep shooting has been elevated to a higher level, and hunters have new cartridges to consider for elk and moose hunting. We recently tested rifles chambered for these new cartridges to assess the quality of the rifle products that fire these hot new loads and to compare the ballistic performance of the rounds themselves.
Weatherby reports the .30-378 is its best-selling deer and elk rifle, which should come as no surprise. It is a kick-ass round both in terms of trajectory and energy delivered to the target. In nearly every case, it outdoes the new 7mm STW Remington cartridge and easily outdistances the 7mm Remington Magnum. Nonetheless, based on our evaluation and an examination of costs associated with using the Weatherby, we have concluded that the .30-378’s level of performance may not be needed by most hunters. But examine the following data and decide for yourself:
The Big Dog
Unquestionably, the .30-378 is the big dog of midline rifle cartridges. Its huge case has the ability to hold well over 120 grains of powder, and that is a hearty appetite. This cartridge is formed when the massive .378 Weatherby parent cartridge is necked down to .30 caliber, maintaining the trademark Weatherby double-radius shoulder. The .30-378 was developed for 1,000-yard benchrest shooting, but it has its place as an ultra long-range deer cartridge. It has also proven itself as a long-range elk round; with the proper bullets, it is capable of taking any game on the North American continent.
We have found that our rifle produced far different results than what has been reported in other gun magazines. Part of that is likely due to the difference in rifles. Much of the previously published data was developed in custom rifles built for the caliber before Weatherby brought it out as a factory item. Differences in lead and throats may make much of this data suspect and unacceptable for factory-chambered rifles. Also notable is that loads which showed no pressure signs in our rifle when tested in 20-degree weather last winter (with velocities below 3,300 fps) were much too hot when shooting in 70-degree temperatures.