.338 Federal on Plains Game

Fastrig

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To me it is a great round but one that is limited because of the person using the gun. It is were the recoil really starts coming in to play and more then a few cant handle it. If your not recoil shy may be one of the best overall guns for hunting.

My limit is a 300 mag for recoil and the one 338 I shot was just to much for me. The 338 does not make up for bad shots but does a great job when the shooter does his. I don't think your recoil shy so maybe a good choice but so would that 6.5 and I would take both.

For me knowing the list you want to hunt. I would load up some 200 grain or 225 and not be scared to shoot anything on your list.

This isn‘t a magnum caliber, it’s a standard caliber and the recoil is less than a 300 win mag. 200 grain would be my first choice, followed by the 225. Anything more than that I don’t see as necessary. Fantastic caliber IMHO. Have an AR10 in this chambering and it’s a beast.
 

Fastrig

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Closing comments
“The .338 Federal is particularly well suited to hunters looking for a cartridge specifically for use on large game where low recoil or an extremely lightweight portable rifle is a priority. This cartridge can produce both excellent and rather abysmal results depending upon how it is loaded and how it is used. This is not the type of cartridge that should be selected simply for the reason of “wanting something different” by those who show little interest in rifle accuracy or hand loading. The Federal works best when treated as a specific tool for a specific job.”

This is from the article that @375 Ruger Fan posted. This totally sums up the 338 Federal in my experience and opinion as well.
If you want to shoot 160g bullets at 3000fps or 250g bullets at 2400fps, there are others calibers that can do it much more effectively.
If you want to shoot quality 200g bullets at moderate velocities and moderate ranges, in a short action, relatively light weight gun without a lot of fanfare, and hit like a hammer under 300 yards, then the 338 Federal is a great cartridge.

Under 300 yards, 200-225g bullet, 2500-2600 fps, and hits like a hammer....well that’s where 90% of all hunting is pretty much done and those attributes are pretty much what every hunter should want...sounds like a good all around rifle for the majority of hunters and not a specific job type gun, IMHO. Added bonuses; recoil is fairly mild, lightweight portable rifle profile, good factory ammo is available, drops large game, and handles bush environments well....I don’t know about “something different” outside of the caliber isn’t as widely marketed as some of the other calibers, but it certainly checks off a lot of boxes for the lion’s share of hunters. I’d use it on plains game all day long and plan to take my AR10 338 Federal to Alaska on the next big brown hunt. I will agree that a 160g round seems a bit out of character for the caliber, I’d stay in the 180-225 range, but that it can support such a wide range of bullet weights is something I’d have to say gives it yet another check box checked.
 

Mekaniks

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Yes I agree. When I took my Federal to Africa it was the first one the outfitter or PH had ever seen and they were impressed with the results from such a small package. I will take it again.
The only real draw back is the availability of ammo outside the US. But as long as the Outfitter has you covered with a loaner if your ammo doesn't arrive its all good IMO
 

Fastrig

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Yes I agree. When I took my Federal to Africa it was the first one the outfitter or PH had ever seen and they were impressed with the results from such a small package. I will take it again.
The only real draw back is the availability of ammo outside the US. But as long as the Outfitter has you covered with a loaner if your ammo doesn't arrive its all good IMO

Ammo outside of the US is probably its biggest detractor. I’m taking my 9.3x62 on my PG hunt, ammo is available there in case mine doesn’t arrive. If I could get my hands on the Barnes TTSX 250 grain I’d use that, but can’t find it anywhere...even their 286 grain TTSX is nowhere to be found right now. Will probably go with Norma ammo if the Barnes stock isn’t available before I leave. Was going to take my 300 win mag but just have to use the 9.3x62 for my first Africa hunt...screams Africa and that’s what I originally bought it for.
 

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