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July 11, 2008

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Lazz Loads: The Short Magnums

This is an unabashed plug for the Lazzeroni short magnums, which arrived first, and which offer very high performance. They come in 7mm, .30, .338 (for all of you who are cheesed off that Winchester fooled everyone and went to 8mm) and .416. The .30 is by far the most popular, but I've been using a 7mm, which is called the Tomahawk, for ten years, and it impresses the hell out of me. My friend Wayne Van Zwoll, a person of the highest literary and moral worth, has used the .338 cartridge, the Galaxy, and likes it a bunch. He's killed an elk and a bear with it, using factory ammo, and reports that it has very little kick in light of what it will do. But I digress; this is about the Tomahawk.

The factory ballistics for the Tomahawk list a 140-grain bullet at 3,380 and a 160-grain at 3,152. It's the ballistic twin of the 7mm Weatherby magnum, but in a much shorter case. Just as I prefer 160-grain bullets in the Weatherby, I favor them in the Tomahawk. They destroy less meat, buck the wind better, and penetrate better. My handloads give 160-grain Nosler Partitions exactly 3,000 fps, and to date, nothing has complained about the missing 152 fps.

Lazz brass never seems to wear out. It is a little bit thicker at the base and web than other short magnums, and the cases just seem to go on forever. I've been reloading the same batch of 50 since I first got the gun. (Lazz brass is now made by Hornady, so my guess is that the new stuff is even a bit better than what I have.)

Lazzeroni rifles are not cheap, even by the standards of this blog. Lazz spares no expense in building them, even down to such refinements as titanium firing pins. But there's no reason you can't have a rifle built for his cartridges, or rebarreled for them.  You can either get factory ammo, which fairly howls along, or get the brass and dies and handload, which gives you even more options.

A tip: I've found that regular large rifle primers work better in the short cartridges than magnum primers do. What with the short powder column, you don't need so big or long-lasting a flame to set it off. 


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Rich Mitchell

So, what's the difference between a Lazz loaded to 3000fps vs a .30-06 loaded to 3000fps? I mean aside from the amount of distance to move the bolt, isn't it really the way the rifle is built to handle the pressure and velocity?


Clay Cooper

I’m not a fan of short magnums because there was no gain in performances. However, Lazzeroni short magnums just may be one of my options next time.
Using Large Rifle primers for better performance? Interesting!
nothing has complained about the missing 152 fps? And never will!

Clay Cooper

Rich Mitchell
I’m pushing 150 Hornady SST at 3150ish out of my 30-06. Perhaps with the Lazzeroni short magnums, you can achieve Weatherby velocities. My 25-06 loads are at 257 Weatherby factory loads.
What Dave is saying if you reload, you can squeeze a lot more out of the cartridge.

Clay Cooper

150fps is half the velocity of my bow!

Clay Cooper

Have you tried 120’s out of that Tomahawk?

Dr. Ralph

As long as you're plugging Lazzeroni don't forget those Tomahawk cartridges are $99.99 a box or $49.99 for unprimed brass... Makes my Weatherby Mags seem almost cheap by comparison.

My friend has the Warbird and loves it, just don't stand anywhere near him when that thing goes boom. The muzzle break blast will burn your face from quite a ways off (unless you're pulling the trigger) and your ears will ring longer than with a .44 Mag. revolver. Super accurate long range rifles!

Maybe I've said this before but Lazzeroni claims to have developed these rifles for 300 yard shots and gets occasional complaints about the 100 yard accuracy. They're guaranteed to shoot minute of angle out to 500 yards but I guess if you're paying 7 grand for a rifle you expect a lot. Can a rifle shoot better at 300 yards than at 100? RMH always says this but I haven't heard it from anyone except him and John. At least he's in good company.


I tried to load my '06 up to 3150 with a Hornady 150 SST and got a variety of velocities...close to 3150 fps from the bullet, about 1000 fps from the bolt, and around 80 mph from the ambulance.

Dr. Ralph

Hornady Light Magnums say 3100 fps on my 30-06 150gr. SST's...

Del in KS

Dr. Ralph,

Mike Venturino has written about BP Cartridge guns using heavy cast bullets actually being more accurate at 200 than 100 camparatively speaking. The big long bullet settles down after it travels a while. Like a kids top wobbles then settles when spun too fast.


Dr. Ralph quote....As long as you're plugging Lazzeroni don't forget those Tomahawk cartridges are $99.99 a box or $49.99 for unprimed brass...

After paying $7,000 for a rifle and $5.00 per shell to shoot out of it, I'd damn well hope it would give you moa.


Mike Diehl

"So, what's the difference between a Lazz loaded to 3000fps vs a .30-06 loaded to 3000fps?"

One is an established, versatile cartridge for which there exist many very good, accurate, good-looking, inexpensive rifles.

The other is a relatively new, expensive, proprietary round for which only one manufacturer makes (new, very expensive, not particularly good looking) rifles that, with a good marketing scheme and some promo on a sportsman's blog, may have a spike in sales.

F&S needs a blog for hunters that don't live in a gilded palace.

Dr. Ralph

Ouch... actually Sako and Savage both made rifles chambered for Lazzeroni cartridges but I don't know if they still do. The Warbird my friend has is not a short magnum and will fire a .308 150gr. projectile at 3775 fps. Of course you can get a sub MOA Vanguard in .300 Wby Mag for about $6200 less that will probably outshoot it, if you can stand the 235 fps loss in velocity. Unabashed plug indeed...

WA Mtnhunter

Oh, come on guys. Who wants to read about an F-150 when there is a Ferrari to write about!

"So, what's the difference between a Lazz loaded to 3000fps vs a .30-06 loaded to 3000fps?"

I say about $6,000, more or less. Read Dave Petzal's article in F&S last month -'Ironclad Elk'.

Get a lighter rifle, get off your fat a$$, and get closer to the game. I can get 3015 fps out of my .30-06 165 gr. loads, so it doesn't do much for me. But, keep stimulating the economy by buying that high dollar stuff. Don't forget to tip your guide!


Its pretty hard to find a new cartridge that fills a significant gap in what we have already been using for the last 30 years especially in hunting rifles.

I suppose the .300 Rem Mag did achieve this - but its not a gap I have any interest in exploring.
The same goes for some of the new long range calibers like the .338 Lapua.

Auto Pistols are probably the only exception where the 40 Smith and the 10mm were needed by many shooters.


For once I'm kind of disappointed Mr. Petzal. I know in the interests of objectivity you must write about this stuff, but c'mon, I'll think I'll stick with my .22 Hornet, .270 Win., and my .45-70 Gov't. Most of us don't need, wantor have this fast, long and fancy stuff, not to mention its more fulfilling as a hunter and woodsman to get close enough to your prey that you don't need the newest whiz-bang loudenboomer cartridges that rip you shoulder up. Interesting, but no thanks(and in my heart I think you agree, but as a journalist of sorts you have to write about this stuff).


But I will give credit where credit is due, in my apparently not so humble opinion today. I give you extra points merely for good taste. Next to you and Carmichael, no other gun/hunting writer I'd rather read on a regular than Wayne Van Zwoll. Apparently great minds must think alike.

Natural borne skeptic

3150 fps out of a .30-06 with a 150 grain bullet? Certainly possible I suppose. And pushing a .25-06 around 250 fps faster to get .257 Weatherby velocities? Again I suppose it's possible. But no reloading reference I have in print or could find on the web came even close to these numbers. So apparently these numbers are either exaggerated, considered by guys who print reloading manual to be unsafe, or maybe both. My big question though would be why? If you want a 150 grain .30 cal bullet to go over 3100 fps, why not shoot it out of a cartridge that can provide that kind of performance in a safe and predictable manner. I realize part of gun nut fun is trying new things, but this kind of cartridge over-loading is lost on me.


Cartridge overloading is dumb.

But its pretty easy and safe to make or buy a light load for the 300 Win. If you feel that you have to fall between a 300 Win and a 30-06.

Or you could get a 7mm Mag.

Most the new rifle cartridges seems kind of silly to me because anyone who needs performance in the gaps they fill is serious enough to just reload an existing catrige at a lighter load.

I thought the posts extolling the virtues of the 6.5x55 made a whole lot more sense, but if I were inclined to desire over 3000fps from a 140-grain bullet, such as what you get from those ridiculous Lazzeronis I'd just go find a good 700 or 70 action and build a nice 264 win mag for about six grand less. That way I can use my wonderful 6.5 bullets and (relatively) cheap brass.

Or I can save all of that money and spend a little more time at the range with my poky old swedes (or my 375 if I'm hunting something bigger than deer) so I know for sure just how close I need to be for a sure shot.

Didn't people used to call that hunting?

Chad Love

Damn, forgot to add that my poky old swedes also have zero chance of detaching my retina or blowing out my eardrums. I'll give up a few hundred fps for that...

Jim in Mo.

I've always been a proponent of 'getting close', probably because of my environment. But, if I lived and hunted in locales as S. Carolina, Wyoming etc. I would jump feet first into the Lazz. way of thinking, and it would be fun I'm sure.

Clay Cooper

Natural borne skeptic

Hornady Third Edition shows 30-06 150 grain at 52.6 @ 3000fps.
Lyman shows 53 grains @ 3012fps.
Now using Military cases is like adding 1.5 grains of powder.
30-06 Hornady 150 grain SST, 53 grains of IMR4064.
22 inch barrel 3080fps and 24 inch barrel 3150.
Hornady Third Edition shows 25-06 117 grain 50.3 grains at 3000fps
My old ragged Hornady old as the hills shows 53.9 3100fps.
Again using Military cases
25-06 Hornady 117 grain SST 54 grains IMR4831 with a Federal 215 Magnum primer.

Don’t you love skeptics; they are the ones on opening day around 9am who start target shooting!

The reason I love skeptics so much is, “the lack of knowledge on your part is my gain!”

Clay Cooper

6.5x55 with a 140 grain bullet is no punk!

Jim in Mo.

One thing. By using miltary cases wouldn't it be like losing 1.5grs. powder because of thickness?

Jim in Mo.

Question, why would you want to use military brass when you lose so much case capacity?

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