West Texas Ordnance 7MM SAW
I recently posted an article on the 7MM SAW in comparison to the 6 and 6.5mm Creedmoor you can find that article here. My last article simply looked over the ballistic data and compared the 3 rounds. Shortly after the article went live I received a few questions from readers about the 7MM SAW and not knowing the answers I reached out to West Texas Ordnance to see if I could get more information about their round. Besides inventing the 7mm SAW West Texas Ordnance also makes the Switch Lug which allows users to run a multi-caliber system.
Clayton of West Texas Ordnance
I talked to Clayton of West Texas Ordnance and got a more in-depth review of the round he developed. He also shared of his personal experience with it. Clayton entered the PRS shooting scene back in 2015. The rifle he was shooting at the time was a 7MM-08. While not the most popular round for practical precision it simply worked for him. So why make a new round? According to Clayton he developed the 7MM SAW “to gain an increase in performance over the 7mm08, without the additional headaches of an Ackley Improved Cartridge”
What additional headaches does the 7mm08ai bring to the table?
According to Clayton “Going to the 7mm-08AI would have given me increased performance over the 7mm-08, but would have required higher input costs due to fireforming, less usable barrel life for the same reason, as possibly less reliable feeding depending on the type of magazine used. ”
What does the 7mm Saw bring to the table?
“The SAW gave me a performance boost of around 100FPS with no discernible loss of barrel life vs the 7mm-08, and equivalent amount of powder(and therefore loading cost), and feeds flawlessly through even the double stack AI A/W magazine.”
Where does the 7Mm saw fit when compared to 7mm-08 and 7mm-08ai
When asked how the 7mm SAW fits Clayton gave me the following ranking. The ranking runs from fastest achievable velocities to slowest:
- The 7mm-08AI
- The 7mm SAW
- The 7mm-08
Advantages of the 7mm saw
I asked Clayton what he thought the advantages of the 7mm SAW were.
“There are five benefits I’ve experienced in the cartridge, as follows:
1: Versatility. Because of a wide range of bullet weights available(140-180grs all with respectable BC’s for match shooting), a shooter has more options to tailor a load for a particular match. For example, one might be shooting a rocky mountain or Oklahoma match with higher winds and longer distances but less positional shooting, and for that you could opt to run something like the 180 Berger Hybrid or 180 Hornady ELD-M. At 2700FPS or better, those large 7mm’s have a noticeable advantage over the 6mm’s and most 6.5mm’s at extended distances. But let’s say your next match is a Southeast match, where wind and range are less of a factor, but there will be more positional shooting. For that, load up a 140 Berger VLD or 150 Hornady ELD-X at 3000FPS or more. For a shooter who wants to shoot in different regions but can only afford one rifle, that versatility can be a real asset.
2. Longer barrel life. To date, my 7mm SAW barrel’s wear pattern has tracked exactly along the same lines as my 7mm08, so it’s pretty feasible to assume a usable barrel life of at least 3500 rounds. I am at 1800 rounds on my current barrel and leaving for a 2 day PRS match next week; something I would not have considered doing with a 6XC or 6mm Creedmoor loaded at full power. While barrel life isn’t my top reason for picking a cartridge, it is certainly a bonus.
3. Enhanced wind resistance. The 7mm bullets from 162 grains and up have a noticeable B.C. advantage over the majority of 6mm and 6.5mm match projectiles, and while the 6mm’s tend to make up for lower B.C.’s with increased speed, in my experience the 7mm’s tend to “bully” the wind better at distances beyond 600 yards. By that I mean it seems that they are more forgiving in inconsistent winds. This may be a perceived rather than a measurable advantage, but it certainly does feel like my shot placement is less bothered by a slightly misread wind call when I’m running my 7mm SAW than when I shot a 6mm.
4. More energy on target. This is probably a less important factor now that PRS has mandated hit indicator systems on all target beyond 800 yards, but nonetheless it is still an advantage for both the shooter trying to call his or her own shots and the RO/spotters as well. I have frequently seen shooters and spotters straining to confirm an impact from a 6mm rifle on a heavy or long targets, especially on days with high mirage or low visibility. With the 7mm bullets, targets get hit with authority! There is no doubt when a target is struck, as the sound and movement signature is much enhanced.
5. Lower component cost. Again, this one is not a deal breaker either direction, but it’s worth noting. A quick internet search will reveal that Lapua .308 Winchester Palma brass, which the 7mm SAW was designed around, is typically $18-$30 cheaper per 100 pieces than equivalent quality brass for the other popular competition cartridges. The exception to the rule is 6mm BR Lapua brass, but by the time the cost of fireforming to 6 Dasher is factored in it becomes more expensive as well. The 7mm SAW takes advantage of one of the most affordable sources of high quality brass as its starting point.”
What about disadvantages?
Clayton had only one disadvantage for the 7mm SAW.
“Regarding disadvantages, the only major downside I see is higher recoil versus most of the 6mm’s. I personally don’t notice a difference between the felt recoil of my 7mm SAW with 150’s or 162’s and an equivalent weight rifle in 6.5mm Creedmoor or .260 Remington shooting 140’s. However, if your matches are primarily positional or short-range, something like a 6 Dasher or 6×47 Lapua would be a better choice. Once the weight of your rifle exceeds 15lbs or if you are using an effective brake, that disadvantage is minimized.”
When are the reloading dies going to hit the market and what will they offer?
West Texas Ordnance offers 2 reloading dies for the 7mm SAW and they are already available! WTO offers two custom die sets
- Redding Custom Premium set. Including a full length sizer die with carbide expander ball assembly and a seater die with micrometer seating stem. Clayton also told me he personally uses the Redding dies when reloading 7mm SAW for his personal rifle. Price: $240
- Whidden custom die set. Type S style bushing sizer with Whidden Micrometer seater Die. Price: $275
Will it gain popularity?
I personally like the idea of the 7mm SAW. Plenty of PRS shooters compete in the tactical division and are shooting .308’s. While low recoil is preferred by some having similar recoil to a .308 and much better ballistics does have advantages. Extended barrel life while not important to many is still a benefit. If you are looking for a multi-use rifle the 7mm SAW might be an option for you. The multiple weights and types of bullets available make for almost endless options. Please tell us what you think in the comments below!