.338 Federal

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by ChrisG, Nov 6, 2018.

  1. ChrisG

    ChrisG AH Fanatic

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    So I have one glaring gap in my hunting firearms.

    .223: 5-150 lb animals
    6.5x55: 80-350 lb animals
    ?
    .375 H&H: anything up from there
    .416 Ruger: Just because big nasty stuff exists.

    I have pared my rifles down to those 4 and now I am feeling like I need a filler rifle in there. I am considering a lightweight (<7.5 lbs) bolt gun with a 20"-22" barrel for everything in the 400-700 lb animal class. I was considering this cartridge because it seems to be the best of both worlds. Good to 300 yards (I so rarely ever shoot farther than that except at varmints) and built in rifles that are compact powerhouses.

    I would be hand loading for it but I like to pick rounds that are also factory supported for brass and loading data and such. I am thinking a 210-225 grain bullet somewhere around 2,400-2,500fps.

    Does anyone have any practical experience with the round? Especially on elk sized game?
     
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  2. Art Lambart II

    Art Lambart II AH Fanatic

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    Before you decide on a 338 Federal you should really consider the 35 Whelen. The 35 Whelen is a 30-06 case necked up to 35 caliber. Factory loads for the Whelen range from 180 thru 310 grain. Nosler makes two 225 grain loads for the Whelen, a NP and a AB at 2725 and 2750 respectively. My farther @Shootist43 hand loads a 225 Barnes TSX and gets 2725 FPS from his rifle. I can't say enough good things about the 35 Whelen, its my go to round for everything from Impala thru Eland.

    Check out this link and I'm sure you'll get a 35 Whelen
    https://www.ballisticstudies.com/Kn...irect)|utmcmd=(none)&__utmv=-&__utmk=69443472
     

  3. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    MRC makes a nice 35W. http://montanarifleco.com/index.php/avr/

    Gripe on 338 Federal - it never achieved much of a following, so the pickings are kind of slim; but no worse than 35W. That I know of, Montana Rifle is the only company turning them out, and perhaps Nosler.

    I always thought 338 Federal was a good cartridge in that tween area, a better choice than 35 Rem.

    A 200 or 225 gr bullet at 2400-2600 MV should be more than adequate for elk or moose.

    You might also consider a 338-06.

    338 fed/338-06/35W would all be good choices.
     
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  4. ChrisG

    ChrisG AH Fanatic

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    Savage picked up the 338 fed and they now offer a whole bunch of lines in it. That's what made me consider it. I really would love a kimber 84 in it but they don't make one...
     
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  5. Mekaniks

    Mekaniks GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    I took my .338 Federal to SA in 2016 and took a Kudu (in my avatar) Blue wildebeest, black wildebeest, impala, springbok and a jackal with it. I have also taken a Kodiak Brown bear and 9 Sitka Black Tail deer with it. All using handloaded 210g Nosler Partitions.
    I had it built on a post-64 Winchester Model 70 action. It has a 20in Stainless barrel, Kevlar/Composite stock and a 3-9x40 Leupold in Talley rings. It weighs 7 1/4 pounds fully loaded (5+1 ) ready to hunt.
    I would not hesitate to use it for anything short of the big 5.

    All that said, it’s my opinion that if you want to shoot heavy (250g) bullets or light (185g) bullets there are other cartridges that can be much more efficient at doing so. The 338 Federals small case capacity just limits its effectiveness. But, if you want a solid short action, light weight rifle that shoots 200-225 grain bullets and hits like a hammer under 300 yards the 338 Federal is hard to beat.
     
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  6. Bullthrower338

    Bullthrower338 AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I don’t own one but I’ve never met a 338 I didn’t like! Great bullet selection in the 338 really sets it apart from the other in between cartridges. A 210 or 250 grainer in 338 is big medicine on whatever walks most of the planet. You got the upper end covered already! The 35 Whelen is also a great round too.
     
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  7. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    @ChrisG : Aren't you planning an elk or moose hunt for Wyoming? To fill your caliber gap, why not go with a 30-06, 300 WM or a 338 WM? Personally, I am not a fan of the 338 Federal or the 35 Whelen, as that would require a Screen Name change.
     
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  8. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    For some reason I thought they had discontinued them.

    Now that they make the hog hunter with a real magazine, that might not be a bad choice. It comes with a threaded barrel, and at 20", keeps you light.
     
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  9. ve7poi

    ve7poi AH Enthusiast

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    Love mine in a Sako 85 grey wolf taken multiple animals using 185gr Barnes TSX
    Both nort American and African planes game all were one shot kills with backup shot if presented taken as insurance.
    Latest war a Russian boar a little tick off I had shot a piglet and sow came for me got her at 3 paces not something I plan on doing again that was close one. But 338 federal stopped her cold.
     
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  10. Rick Cox

    Rick Cox AH Fanatic

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    What he said. But I would not dis a choice that was the .338. I have a Whelen and love the round.
     

  11. ChrisG

    ChrisG AH Fanatic

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    I am. Elk with bald my outfitters out of pinedale. I was looking for a lightweight rifle for this bracket. I am also considering the .30-06. But I do like the bigger bore and heavier bullets of the .338s. But a .338 win mag is so close to the .375. The whelen is a great round.. it also overlaps so much with the lower end of the .375 h&h it doesn't make sense to invest in a whole new rifle that is that powerful. I look at my rifles like a color spectrum. I don't need a blue and a somewhat lighter blue. I do like the .338-06 but it's even harder to find rifles and components for.
     

  12. ChrisG

    ChrisG AH Fanatic

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    It's funny you say that. I like the look of that rifle. I had one of the originals in .338 win mag and it was a peach but that 20" barrel really sapped the velocity. But the blind magazine was ugly as could be in that Tupperware stock. The new ones look much nicer.
     

  13. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Savage's custom shop would do a 338-06, for probably under 1000. Necking a .308 out to .338 shouldn't be a great challenge if brass gets scarce for 338-06.

    I'd actually like to have a 338 federal myself, but it would absolutely have to come out of somebody's custom shop since I'm a lefty.

    I can see 20" crushing velocity on a 338 WM, but in the federal, you're looking at 40-45 grains of medium powder vs 70 gr of slow powder for the mag. I think the short barrel won't affect velocity by very much on the federal.
     
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  14. Mekaniks

    Mekaniks GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    So I think I might have forget to mention :whistle: that not only do I really really like my 338 Federal. (y) I LOVE my .338 win mag :). I also just built a custom 35 Whelen and working up loads for now:eek:, and I am starting a custom 30-06..... Because... well.... I can:D
     
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  15. curtism1234

    curtism1234 AH Enthusiast

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    I like the 338 federal but range does become the concern. When you have a 300-350 yard shot on say an elk, you want a 300 win mag / wsm
     

  16. Dr Ray

    Dr Ray AH Elite

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    I suggest the 338 win mag using 225-250 grain Bullets
     
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  17. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    At "elk altitudes," performance for all cartridges improves. A 200 gr accubond is still at 2000 fps out to 350 yards in the high country.
     
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  18. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    no disrespect amigo, but 338 WM 250s don't give him anything he doesn't already have with 375H&H 250s, and gives him a lot of what he doesn't want at 225 - a bigger gun with a longer action and more recoil.
     

  19. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I might be hunting with Bald Mountain Outfitters too in the Fall of 2019. I've had a moose hunt deposit down for a couple of years and hope to draw a tag soon. I have 17 pref points, so hopefully getting close. I plan to take my 338 WM for this hunt.
     

  20. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    IMHO, the 338 WM is the ideal gun for just about anything. Love this caliber!
     
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