Remington Magnum

Sometimes political discussions develop, and eventually they get around to the subject of, " Why can't both sides of the aisle get along? What has happened to the country?" I think there was a singular point in time when Republicans and Democrats became intently divided; so many votes since then have been right down party lines. It was during the arguments surrounding President Clinton's affair with a female intern. Recalling Watergate, no such division existed. And there was nothing before or later that caused so much division in Washington. Not even the Vietnam War. It's interesting, because Clinton himself did a reasonably good job of working with Republicans to arrive at acceptable solutions to quite a number of problems. It was the rest of the largely over-compensated knot heads that acted like spoiled brats. Unfortunately, this is probably not going to change any time in the near future. They're on television now; a chance to feel extra important. Congress has gotten to be quite a bit like the old Jerry Springer Show, even including the back-stage comments. Politically based "news" programs dominate several cable channels during prime time, and they have become our lesson plan of how to think and behave.

It's part of the whole evolutionary process of the very basis of how people think. We are told how to think. Most of the time, the masses actually believe the tellers. That's why the 8mm Remington Magnum is not only not popular today, it's essentially extinct. When it first came out in 1977, most of the gun magazines picked up the story. The rifle was the very popular Remington 700 BDL, complete with sights. The stock fit almost any shooter willing to get into it, shall we say. The rifle was known to be accurate, and the cartridge was certainly no disappointment in that department. Most everything reported on in the articles was on the positive side. Most everything. The bulk of the gun writers made at least some negative comments related to recoil. It was that moment in time when a great many of the writers of the day crossed the line, at least with me. It was a wakeup call. Even though complaints on a single performance factor can't really be called bashing, I clearly remember saying to other riflemen in the area that I thought poor journalism had already hung a rotting albatross around the neck of the cartridge. Time proved that to be true.

There was one notable exception; Craig Boddington found a lot to like in the 8mm Rem Mag. Further, he continued to be positive about it in later years, occasionally lamenting its passing. Consequently, I continue to have faith in and respect for what he writes regarding rifles, cartridges, and hunting. He is more prolific than the total of Jack O'Connor, Elmer Keith, Warren Page, and two or three others thrown in for good measure. Pay attention to Boddington. He's our great teacher in this subject area at this time in history.

Getting around to specifics, the 8mm Remington Magnum is a full-length belted magnum (2.850" case) with little body taper and a reasonable-length neck. It shoots bullets of 220 grains at 3000 fps, according to some published loading data. For size, it falls right in between the 300 Weatherby Magnum and the 340 Weatherby Magnum. Think about it... The 300 has a bullet diameter of .308", and the 340 is at .338". The 8mm has a diameter of .323". The 300 Wby Mag can drive a 220-grain bullet at 2900 fps, but is more comfortable and provides a greater powder selection at 2800 fps. The 340 Wby Mag can drive 225-grain bullets at 3000 fps with a number of powder choices, here again according to various published data. The point is, the generally same-sized cartridges all perform about the same. Here was the opportunity to have a nicely compromised cartridge in the middle; Weatherby performance at a lower price. The primary commercial competitors of the day were the 300 Winchester Magnum (220 grains at 2750 fps) and the 338 Winchester Magnum (225 grains at 2800 fps).

Today, only custom rifles are chambered for the 8mm Remington Magnum. For several years, necked down a silly millimeter and called the 7mm STW (Shooting Times Westerner), the former 8mm Rem Mag case saw some popularity. Other 7mm magnums have since retaken the spotlight. Why did the 7mm STW make it and the 8mm didn't? A limited amount of bullet choices made some difference, but most of the problem was gun writers whining about recoil. On the other end of the spectrum, the 416 Remington Magnum is the biggest version of the 8mm Remington Magnum cartridge case. It came along in 1988, and has become a very effective and useful dangerous-game round for Africa. The full-length case opened all the way to 45 caliber becomes the 458 Lott.

I've had four 8mm Remington Magnum rifles over the years, including a thumbhole-stocked 40-XB that was capable of ragged groups with Sierra's 220-grain GameKing. I still have two of the rifles, a 700 Classic and a Custom Shop Safari. They're staying with me, so I've hoarded 200 rounds of fresh brass to last me for the rest of my life.