Winchester and the Browning Arms Company joined forces in 2001 to develop the 7mm Winchester Short Magnum (WSM) cartridge for presentation to the world of hunters. The 7mm WSM was developed for hunting game of medium and large size at ranges out to 700 yards, providing a powerful cartridge that hunters can use in many different hunting situations. The 7mm WSM is not recommended for taking dangerous game or predators, but it does have excellent performance with all game animals in North America including elk and deer and most others. Shooting authorities have indicated that the proper bullet must be selected for this cartridge because the wrong one will not expand sufficiently on deer sized game.
Most 7mm WSM cartridges are capped with bullets weighing 140 grains to 160 grain. Muzzle velocity ranges between 2,900 feet per second and 3,200 feet per second. Muzzle energies vary between 3,000 foot pounds and more than 3,200 foot pounds. The 7mm WSM can be found with most of the common bullet designs including Power Point Bullets, Soft Point Bullets and Nosler Partition Bullets. The 7mm WSM performs somewhat better than the .280 Remington and yet not quite as good as the 7mm Remington Magnum. Federal and Winchester are the manufacturers which produce the most 7mm WSM ammunition.
The most significant advantage of the Winchester Short Magnum modification of the 7mm is the shortened case for the cartridge without an appreciable loss of power or effectiveness that allows it to work in a rifle with a short action. The rifle can be smaller and lighter this way, and the bolt can be cycled faster and easier. Shooters of smaller stature especially appreciate these benefits which permit quick and easy follow up shots if necessary.
Hunters who choose the 7mm WSM will get a lighter and faster cycling rifle which is useful both on the wide-open plains and up in the mountains. It is easy to find the ammunition, and several manufacturers makes excellent rifles for the 7mm WSM.