Hornady Ruger Compact Magnum Cartridge Review

October 3, 2008

By Steve Gash

Short, fat magnum cartridges seemingly lurk behind every bush these days, and they deliver standard magnum ballistics – out of standard length 24- or 26-inch barrels.

Hornady’s new 300 and 338 Ruger Compact Magnum (RCM) cartridges offer big game hunters a unique alternative to these cartridges. Hornady’s remarkably efficient RCM cartridges produce full-power ballistics from 20-inch barrels.

The RCMs are based on the very popular 375 Ruger case, also a Hornady development. The RCMs are only 2.8 inches long, but their fat .532-inch cases deliver ballistics all out of proportion to their size. And they do so out of the Ruger Hawkeye rifle that is 2-4 inches shorter than conventional magnums, weighs less than 8 pounds scoped, slung, and loaded.

The RCM factory loads feature Hornady’s sleek SST bullets, well known for their accuracy, aerodynamics, deep penetration, and controlled expansion. The 300 RCM is loaded with 150-, 165-, or 180-grain bullets, and the 338 version carries the 200- and 225-grainers. The ballistics of the Hornady RCM loads virtually match those of the 300 WSM and the 300 and 338 Winchester Magnums with comparable bullet weights when all five loads are fired in rifles with 20-inch barrels. (exact numbers found on this website.) And the RCMs are easy to reload with standard, off-the-shelf powders.

Altogether, the cutting-edge technology of Hornady’s innovative new RCM rounds and the compact Ruger Hawkeye rifles make a package that deserves serious consideration by anyone venturing forth after large and distant creatures that inhabitant steep and rugged terrain.