Cooper BackCountry Rifle

Which Bullet For Deer?

Cooper BackCountry Rifle
Cooper BackCountry Rifle

Q: I have enjoyed your Ask The Gun editor column and articles for many years. Keep up the good work. I have a Cooper Back Country rifle in 7mm Rem. Mag. and want some information about factory loads for a deer and Tahr hunt in N.Z in 2018. I mostly hunt sambar and fallow and don’t reload. I’m looking for a scope, would a 2-10×42 or a Leupold 2.5-8×36 be a good choice? What would you suggest I try in factory ammo with 150-160gn projectiles for the best results? How would you rate the Hornady SST, Barnes TSX BT, Remington AccuTip BT and the various Winchester loads?
Gavin Ray

Hornady Superformance 139gn GMX
Hornady Superformance 139gn GMX

A: A good factory load for the 7mm Rem. Mag. for deer is the Hornady Superformance load which drives the 139gn GMX bullet at 3190fps. That’s a flat-shooting, hard-hitting load judged by any standard, My own choice of scope would be the Leupold 2.5-8×36 which is compact and has plenty of magnification for big game. For larger deer such as sambar, I’d choose a 160gn bullet like the Remington AccuTip or Nosler AccuBond. Winchester ammo for the 7mm Rem. Mag. lists the Barnes 140gn TSX and the 160gn ABCT – both renowned for giving deep penetration. Good luck on your New Zealand hunt.




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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.