In 1977, Ken Waters, technical editor of
Handloader and Rifle magazines, began developing a 7mm wildcat on the
Ken's primary objective was to design a modern high performance cartridge
that operates at chamber pressures compatible with Winchester Model 94 and
Marlin Model 336 rifles. In 1984, U.S. Repeating Arms announced the availability
of the 7-30 Waters chambering in a Winchester Model 94 with a 24" barrel.
In 1986 Thompson/Center began chambering 10", 14" and 20" Contender barrels
for the cartridge.
The 7-30 Waters is loaded by Federal with Nosler 120 grain flat nose bullet at over 2700 fps. Considering that chamber pressures are held to a maximum of 40,000 CUP, this is an outstanding performance from a rifle designed back in the late 1890's. Unlike factory loads in many other calibers, the Federal 7-30 load actually reaches its advertised velocity in the Model 94. In the 14" Contender barrel, the factory load exceeds 2400 fps, making it the faster factory loaded cartridge suitable for big game hunting available in the Contender.
The 7-30 Waters has proven its capabilities in the field on big game weighing up to 300 pounds at woods ranges. As this is written, two bullets of flat nose form are available to handloaders for use in rifles with tubular magazines. For whitetails, the 120 grain Nosler is an excellent performer, but when greater penetration is needed for Mule Deer and Black Bear, the 139 grain Hornady is a better choice. Any of the available 7mm bullets of spitzer form offer excellent accuracy and down range punch in the Contender. When loaded with a 120 grain spitzer, the 14" Contender barrel delivers over 1100 foot pounds of energy at 200 yards. The 7-30 Waters is not at all choosy about what powder it is fed, but for the one powder handloader, H335, or H4895 are good powders to start with.
Source: Hodgdon Data Manual 26th Edition
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