.338 Federal

Discussion in 'Up To .375' started by JakeH, Aug 23, 2017.

  1. JakeH

    JakeH AH Enthusiast

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    So I'm looking to make the move to a non-magnum medium bore and I'm strongly considering the .338 Federal as a Jack O'Connor styled brush gun. I'd use it on deer, black bear, and hogs here in North Carolina. Probably buy a Savage Hog Hunter and replace the stock with a Boyd's walnut stock and slap a 2x7 scope on top.

    What's everyone's thoughts on this round? Using factory 210gr Partitions or 200gr Fusions its within a couple hundred ft/lbs of factory 286gr A-Frame 9.3x62's and a dead ringer for 225gr .35 Whelen loads.
     

  2. Art Lambart II

    Art Lambart II AH Fanatic

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    If it where me I would get a 35 Whelen and use 250 gr NP's
     
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  3. Rick Cox

    Rick Cox SILVER SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Good choice.
     

  4. Mekaniks

    Mekaniks GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    I love mine. Hunted a Brown bear on Kodiak and took it to SA for plains game. Great round. Mine is in a custom Winchester mod 70 with a 20" barrel and it weighs just a hair over 7lbs fully loaded.
     

  5. JakeH

    JakeH AH Enthusiast

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    I'm glad to hear that its as real-life effective as it seems on paper. My .270 will remain my go-to, but I'll have this in my arsenal when a little more oomph is desired!
     
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  6. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    IMHO the parent cartridge .308 is at best an acceptable caliber for small to medium sized game out to at max 200 yards. For larger animals and or longer distances more horsepower is in order. Putting a heavy bullet into that case further restricts its' capabilities. I have taken deer and hogs under 100 yds. with 165/168 Gr. bullets but would hesitate to do so if 200 yd. or longer shots were likely to be encountered. A 308 is not a 30-06, much less anything larger.

    And now for the onslaught! I expect a significant amount of retaliation, please remember that my first words were IMHO. A 338 Federal will not hold a candle when compared to a 35 Whelen pushing 225 Gr. bullets. Nikon's Spot On Ballistics Calculator gives the 35Whelen a 400 + Ft Lb. advantage to the Whelen over a 338 Federal.
     
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  7. Mekaniks

    Mekaniks GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    I won't retaliate cause that doesn't do anyone any good:) And, I agree with you that the 338 Federal is not a 35 Whelen by any means, or even a 338 WM for that matter. And no one should assume that it is. And that is why I am building a custom Whelen right now.
    All that said, in a short action, light weight, <300 yard hunting rifle, shooting 210g bullets at 2450 fps, the 338 Federal really shines and it hits like a hammer, in my opinion. Just ask the Kudu in my avatar, or the Kodiak Brown Bear in my pictures, or the blue wildebeest, black wildebeest, springbok, jackel, and numerous black tail deer that have all fallen DRT.
     
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  8. Mekaniks

    Mekaniks GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    For what it's worth, I built mine with the idea that it was just going to be a lightweight short range rifle specifically for tree stand hunting black bears over bait, occasionally carrying on a backpack, or in a small airplane when weight and size make a difference. I stocked it with a Kevlar HS Presision stock, a Douglas Stainless XX barrel and had it Ceracoted flat black for additional rust protection.
    Then I started to use it, and loved it. And it has been my go to rifle since...
     
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  9. JakeH

    JakeH AH Enthusiast

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    I have a friend that's getting into Cerakoting, I'm about to Cerakote every gun I own.
     

  10. SETH RINGER

    SETH RINGER AH Senior Member

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    .33 Bore 210gr Partition leaving at +2600fps, whats not to love? Had a nice Savage 99 re-barreled to .338 Fed., turning into one of my favorites.
     
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  11. Excessexpress

    Excessexpress AH Senior Member

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    Jake, if you stick with Bullets under 220 grains in the 338, you'll be neglecting your 270 unless you have really long shots to make.
     

  12. JakeH

    JakeH AH Enthusiast

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    Fortunately I've got a couple different stands on our farm. The .270 will get her work in the fields, while the .338 is coming with me in the bottoms and other thick stuff. And when I go to hunt bear, the Federal will come with me as well.

    I've got a semi-custom .243 Savage that's gonna get some work out in the fields this year too. She was my first deer rifle and she's been on the shelf for a few years while I saved the money to replace the stock and trigger. Now she's ready to speak!
     

  13. Excessexpress

    Excessexpress AH Senior Member

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    Awesome! You're well on your way to becoming a gun whore!
     
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  14. JakeH

    JakeH AH Enthusiast

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    Also in que is a Savage 12FV .223 for varmint hunting and to share ammo with my AR, plus a 116 Alaskan in .375 Ruger for whenever I can afford to hunt buffalo.
     

  15. curtism1234

    curtism1234 AH Enthusiast

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    I was and still am a fan of the 338 Federal. Where I have backed down a bit as of late is the future of the cartridge as it pertains to the availability and cost of factory ammo. I last recall seeing variety down and that is likely to continue as well as the price going up. If you reload, then that's not a problem. But if you reloaded, I'd probably find a lighter weight 338 win mag
     

  16. ve7poi

    ve7poi AH Enthusiast

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    Love mine used it here in BC for bear dear moose and kudu gemsbuck etc in Africa
    Very accurate and hits hard mine loves 185 TSX or Nosler 210 partions
     
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  17. Bullthrower338

    Bullthrower338 AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Awesome idea! Love the 99, thanks, I needed another project!
     

  18. Scrumbag

    Scrumbag AH Fanatic

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    Looks a great driven boar cartridge to me with the short action and a relatively heavy bullet ;)
     
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  19. lcq

    lcq AH Elite

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    I looked at the numbers when I was considering the Federal. It will do nothing a 3006 won't do and isn't as versatile. Further if your ammo gets lost you are hooped trying to find 338 fed in Africa, 3006 everyone has it
     
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  20. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    Rifles are like women guys. Some you love and marry for life. Some .......well you just want to share some time with them. Pick the pretty one if you plan on trading it in after a while. But if you want something for the long haul go with the one you absolutely fall in love with.
    IMG_1605.JPG
    This rifle I love and will never part with it. @JakeH if the 338 is the one don't be stopped.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2017

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