300 wm heavy bullet or switch up to 338 wm?


AH enthusiast
Oct 3, 2021
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NRA, JOCO Sportmens Association
Cont US, AK, Hawaii, Mexico
Was trying to decide what rifle i want to Elk hunt with this year since i didnt bow hunt and was thinking of heavy bullet in 300 wm or 338 wm? Here is the question that popped into my mind...at what point do you just go up to 338 wm as far as bullet weight goes? So...200, 225 grain 300 wm or just switch up to 338 in 225 or 250 grain?

I never really thought about it. I thought of using one of my 9.3x62s but that is an entirely different issue! LOL! Never thought i HAD to have a magnum to smoke elk as i grew up hunting them with 308 and 270's.

***ATTENTION*** You dont need to read the rest of this as its just a memory about knocking elk down with 308 and iron sights and not about the original topic! Ive knocked down elk with 308 win and 270 win. The year i was late getting back into my home town and then into elk camp because mistake was made on my leave time request i didnt have time to get to the range to test fire/sight in a rifle. I grabbed my 788 in 308 win with iron sights as i know that thing is always on. Touched one off at an old hat i had in the truck at hit where it was supposed to so i was at least confident in the 788 being in tune with the rounds i grabbed for it. Upon arriving into camp and a few toddys later, my uncles and "friends of the family" that are like uncles started giving me grief about my little ol 308 with iron sights and i listened to em churp about their magnums and 44 and 50 mm obj scopes and on and on. The only support i had was from grandfather and my uncle Jerry who used a 243 for elk on 6 or 7 different elk over the years (he was a timber faller and had shoulder issues etc). He only took bell joint shots he was sure about. Anyway, I was a young guy around 19 or 20 and back then had a quicker fuse for sure and i was determined to show em what was what. I know its long winded already so ill get to the point....think it was 3rd day and a few of us spread out and went up a decent slope with old growth timber on it. I found myself a freshly beat up freeway/trail that side hilled mountain. About 30-45 mins later i heard a shot that was one of my uncles who went about 5-600 yards further up the road before heading up the slope. Of course my eyes were wide and my attention was peaked and a few mins later i saw elk on the side hill trail i was on coming right at me and the next trail above me. I had camped my butt out above a nice sized fir tree so i was a few feet above the trail and could see both trails and elk coming right at me! Cow, cow, cow, legal button spike, cow cow cow cow rag horn 3x, cow cow cow and then nice big thick 5x5 and about then they were quick paced walking with a few still startled that were bumping into butts of the ones in front of them. The 5x5 stopped in front of smaller blow down crossing the trail and he looked back over his shoulder behind him. Yep i lifted that Rem 788 with iron sights up and i sunk that little ol 308 win 150 grain bullet right between his shoulders at base of the neck! He just about flipped onto his back with his rack landing about where his butt was just a moment before. Ill stop there but ill say i got on the radio about 5 mins later and told everybody to get over to me cuz i had elk down! I was a bit swollen up around camp that night with my chest stuck out talking a bit of chit to my uncles...and yes the beers/toddies tasted that much better! I actually had one of my uncles ask to borrow my 788 the next afternoon to go back into that darker heavy stand of timber! LOL! I let him borrow it and YES he dumped a nice size 3x5 satellite bull with that little ol 308 with iron sights! LOL!

Anyway, maybe ill just dig out a 308 with iron sights and hunt that this year! LOL!
Never let the opportunity to buy a new gun slip by. I use to hunt elk with a 7mm mag and several years ago I upgrade to a 338 WM. Great caliber for elk!

A 200 gr bullet in a 300 WM will work very well also. I like Swift A-Frames.
I go from the .300 WM to the .375 H&H, but I don't have a 9.3. If I did, I'd probably use that as it's pretty much a big gun in a non magnum action.
I did the iron sight hunt a few years back with a .458 Lott. It was a great deal of horsepower on a thin skinned job. Cannot recommend the experience enough. Everything was easy and worry free.
I have also shot a few elk and find this game to be very tough. My favorite caliber for this game species is 338 or 9,3mm with bullets from 250gr to 300gr.

Personally, in this case I would rather use a cartridge caliber 338, although I would choose the cartridge 340 Weatherby Magnum and not the cartridge 338 Winchester Magnum, a good cartridge but does not offer the same ballistic advantages in the 338 caliber class that the cartridge 300 Winchester Magnum in the 308 caliber class. Things look different with the cartridge 340 Weatherby Magnum.
Too late to edit my op...and i already own both caliber rifles.....SO...My question or point is at what BULLET WEIGHT does it make sense to go from 300 wm to 338 wm instead of trying to force a heavier bullet with less efficiency etc. You can load a 220 grain 300 wm but will the 225 in 338 wm be a better over all performing round for heavy game at ranges of 50 yards to 300 yards? I have both rifles already but friend was talking about loading some heavy bullets in 300 wm and it got me thinking...at which point does it make sense to just go to 338 wm? Lot of variables if you want to talk about terrain etc but i mean just overall performance. ??? Make sense? :unsure::sleep:o_O Crazy what my brain fixates on!
I have shot several elk over the years with the 220Gr Remington Core Lokt factory load, fired from a .30-06 Springfield rifle. Most have been one-shot affairs.

A .300 Winchester Magnum loaded with 200Gr Swift A Frames would be perfectly adequate for even the largest of bull elk.

That said, a .338 Winchester Magnum is a fantastic caliber as well. Especially when using 250Gr-300Gr bullets. When I first hunted in Alaska in 1973, I observed that the .338 Winchester Magnum was universally accepted by Kodiak bear guides as their caliber of choice.
In my opinion all the premium bullets in .30 Caliber from 180 grains up will penetrate well and the same to be said for .338 from 200 grains up. I think it makes sense to step up to a .338 for that size of an animal. In my personal observation the frontal area of a .338 just has a larger impact on bone and flesh that is beneficial in anchoring an elk. But if I HAD to use a 30 cal it would be a 200 grain TSX or A-Frame bullet.
Both great calibers so you can’t make a bad choice. BCs are better on the heavier 30 cal bullets but velocities go down as you go above 200 grains. The 338 has more frontal area and hits real hard with 225s and 250s. To get to your question, if I felt I needed heavier bullets I go with the 338 if I felt I needed bullets heavier than 200 grains. Energy is very close for 225g 338wm and 200g 300wm (around 2700 ft lbs) at 300 yards.
I only hunted elk males, above all in the rutting season, and at times they were extremely difficult to kill, despite good shot placement. I also hunted with cartridges caliber 308, but my cartridges caliber 338 or 9,3mm were clearly an advantage. In addition, there was often a shot at long range in which case heavy bullets of bigger caliber have also a clear advantage.
I use 225 gr bullets in my 338 WM. Taken multiple elk, mule deer and one moose. Swift A-Frames.
Both great calibers so you can’t make a bad choice. BCs are better on the heavier 30 cal bullets but velocities go down as you go above 200 grains. The 338 has more frontal area and hits real hard with 225s and 250s. To get to your question, if I felt I needed heavier bullets I go with the 338 if I felt I needed bullets heavier than 200 grains. Energy is very close for 225g 338wm and 200g 300wm (around 2700 ft lbs) at 300 yards.
You got the question! DING DING DING! Buddy and i were talking about loading what would be TOP of the load heavy bullets into a 300wm and i said ill just make it simple and jump up to my 338 if i want to shoot 225 or 250's. Its just one of those things where I wondered at what point did it just make sense to jump up instead of loading uber heavy bullets for the 300 wm. The 308 Norma mag was super popular because it had longer neck and it could be loaded with the heavier and or longer bullets without having to seat them too far down etc. Thats an entirely different issue and caliber to bring in so i wont do that! LOLOLOL!

Just a thought is all! probably should have kept it a thought instead of bringing it to life! LOL!

Thanks all!


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It’s hard to argue with frontal diameter. The 225 338 still has a pretty good sectional density.
For me I would use 200 and lighter in the 300 and 225 and heavier in the 338.
I do love a 220 in 30-06 however.
Inside 400 yards, maybe even a bit more, I can't see any real difference at all. I have several 338 win mags and with a 225gr AccuBond, I can ring steel further than I am going to shoot an elk, no issue at all.
Personally I would step up to the 338 and a 225 grain bullet.

I have a .340 Weatherby and shoot the Barnes 225 grain TTSX and it is a elk killing machine, I have yet to have a elk argue with it.

The smaller calibers can get the job done and they have been doing it for years, but that 338 bullet can't be beat in a elk rifle.
I've shot Elk with both but would limit the 300 Win Mag to the 200 Grain bullet. My personal load is the 200 grain Hornady ELDX. Anything more than that and I would migrate to the 338 in a 250 grain bullet. My load with that uses a Swift 250 grain A-Frame.

I've used 200 grain bullets in 300 WM on elk; Nosler Accubond and Partitions. Worked great every time. One shot kills and didn't travel far. Also used 200 grain Hornady ELDX on large mule deer. Same results.
Everyone is right on the money. A 180-200 grain in the .300 Win. Mag. a strong second choice depending on bullet. A 210-250 grain in a .338 Mag. of your choice can't be beat. Bigger still could be better in some situations but all things considered probably not. Just my opinion.

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