Today’s factory hunting ammunition is so good that it can put a lazy gun writer out of work. A “10 Best Calibers for Deer” list doesn’t mean much today because excellent bullets and match-grade accuracy have narrowed the gap of effectiveness from one caliber to the next. Case in point is Remington Premier Long Range (PLR), the newest premium hunting ammunition lineup from Big Green. It’s available in eight calibers, ranging from 6mm Creedmoor to .300 Remington Ultra Mag, with most of the classics in between. Each load features premium components and a new Speer Impact bullet, which is a bonded boat-tail with a Slipstream polymer tip, designed for better aerodynamics and easier expansion at longer distances. Any caliber in this lineup will work just as well as the next on whitetails. Some just kick more.
Still, call me old-fashioned, but I do like a belted case with a .30-caliber bullet up front, especially if I’m going to shoot at a bigger critter from a long way. That’s why I chose to test Remington PLR in .300 Winchester Magnum. It’s among my favorite big-game rounds; accurate almost without exception, flat-shooting, hard-hitting, and versatile. I’ve used it to hunt some big stuff, like giant British Columbia black bears, but it’s not uncivilized in the whitetail woods, either. I paired the new ammunition with Mossberg’s Patriot LR Hunter, which subtly blends the lines of a competition rifle with a practical hunting setup—and at a nice price. I topped it with a Leupold VX-3HD 4.5-14×40 rifle scope.
Long-range hunting ammunition typically features a long, heavy-for-caliber boat-tail bullet, and the Speer Impact in PLR is no exception. The .300 Win Mag offering weighs 190 grains, with a .596 ballistic coefficient. Advertised muzzle velocity is 2,885 feet-per-second from a 24-inch barrel, and it didn’t miss that by much through my chronograph, averaging 2,820. Due to a limited supply of ammunition, I didn’t get to measure as many groups as I would’ve liked at distant targets, but at 100 yards, from a bench, three-shot groups averaged just under 1 MOA — damn fine accuracy for any hunting setup.
After that “desk work” was finished, I took the rifle and ammunition on a road trip from western Kentucky to western Texas, where the main event was to hunt a free-range scimitar oryx in the deserts south of Alpine. On the way there, I overnighted at a buddy’s place, west of Fort Worth, and spent an evening watching a winter wheat field and hoping for one of the area’s outsized boar hogs to make an appearance. I settled for a group of sows and shoats that popped out just before dark, and I took a quartering-to shot on an 80-pounder from 120 yards. The bullet punched through the pig, killing it where it stood.
The next evening, after a drive across the state, I climbed into the high rack of an old Dodge pickup to glass for scimitar oryx—which weren’t hard to see from a good vantage point. Hook & Barrel’s, John J. Radzwilla, broke the ice just before sunset when he killed an oryx at about 40 yards with his .308 loaded with the new Remington PLR, proof that the ammunition works just fine at close ranges, too.
The next morning, we made a couple stalk attempts on a good bull that was mixed in with a herd of a half-dozen cows. Identifying the bull clearly and then getting a shot through the Texas brush was trickier than I anticipated, especially since the scimitar oryx were skittish critters. Finally, though, we intercepted the bull as he ambled through a meadow 278 yards away. I should’ve dialed my turret up a few clicks to compensate for the distance, but a little error like that isn’t catastrophic when you’re shooting a .300 Win Mag. My shot hit a tad lower than intended, but it clipped the top half off the bull’s heart, and he was dead within seconds, with an exit hole about the size of a quarter.
I was impressed and will add Remington PLR to the list of ammo that keeps gun writers like me from getting too lazy.
SPECS: Remington Premier Long-Range
CALIBER: (as tested) .300 Winchester Magnum
BULLET WEIGHT: 190 Grains
BULLET TYPE: Speer Impact, bonded, polymer-tipped boattail
BALLISTIC COEFFICIENT: .596
MUZZLE VELOCITY: 2,820 fps (3-shot average w/ Caldwell Chronograph)
MUZZLE ENERGY: 3,506 foot-pounds (factory spec)
ROUNDS PER BOX: 20
MSRP: $74.99 per box