338 Ultra versus 338 Lapua

jonathan davis

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I recently posted about looking for a 375 ultra and was helped on this forum. I had a discussion recently with an individual about the 338 calibers. Thought I’d share some thoughts...
The 338 lapua using 250 grain nosler bullets and 86 grains of rl22 gives 2941 FPS per nosler number 8 manual.
The 338 ultra mag using the same 250 grain bullet and 84 grains of rl22 gives 2920 FPS per the same manual.
Why would you pay about double to get a 338 lapua when the 338 ultra gets the same performance?
Let the screaming begin! Lol!
 

meigsbucks

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I have a MRC in .338 RUM. A great round and had great success with it in Namibia using 225 gr Swifts. I do not have any experience with the Lapua.
That said, IMO an advantage of the Lapua is that although ammunition and brass are more expensive, they are readily available. RUM ammo and brass can be a little hard to come by.
A .340 Wby is another round to consider that would be in the same ballpark as the RUM and Lapua.
 

sgt_zim

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338 Lapua isn't really considered a hunting cartridge, at least not hunting for 4-legged critters. It will certainly work for that, but the military "cool" factor and its demand are what drive the price.
 

Ray B

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The 338s that I have experience with are much more benign (338 WinMag, 338/06A) and I have no experience with either the Lapua or the RUM, but I'm wondering about the intended use from the rifle makers perspective. I'm under the impression that the RUM is more of a SuperWinMag and is sold for those that want to shoot at elk at long range. The bullets for such tasks are standard hunting bullet weights and ballistic coefficients; whereas the Lapua is a target(sniper) cartridge and as such uses bullets very heavy for bore diameter and high BCs. Given the two constructions, the RUM would look like a hunting rifle with about a 1-10" twist, the Lapua would look like a benchrest rig with about a 1-7" twist. Since the Lapua is more specialized it will cost more.

Am I right or just lacking correct information?
 

One Day...

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Ballistically .338 RUM = .338 Lapua = .33 Nosler = .330 Dakota = .340 Wby

I personally think the .340 Wby is the one that makes the most sense from a hunting rifles / ammo availability perspective.
  • Who knows how long the RUM will be chambered / loaded?
  • Where do you buy .33 Nosler or .330 Dakota ammo?
  • Why pay a 100% premium for a Lapua "sniper rifle"? Not to mention that darn few of them are practical hunting rifles...
  • I seem to remember (?) that I read somewhere that some jurisdictions restrict the .338 Lapua (another "assault" thing I guess...).
  • Conversely, Weatherby will likely 'never' let their emblematic .340 Wby die - it has limited but ferociously loyal following, and it will be (hopefully) a long time before a Weatherby rifle/cartridge is classified as an assault whatever...
Truth be told...

1- Forget the 250 gr load with modern bonded or mono-metal slugs in a big .33, except for grizzly and buffalo (I know, I know, .340 is technically below the .375 legal caliber in Botswana or Tanzania, but it certainly meets the energy requirement, which makes it legal in Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, most of South Africa, etc.).

2- The 225 gr TTSX is a dream come true for a do anything, anywhere, 400 yd, 3,000+ fps, yet reduced-recoil load. This is the do-it-all one load for everything.

3- The 185 gr TTSX turns a big .33 into a .300 on steroids, without the fierce recoil for which the 250 gr load is justly famous (the .340 Wby has been universally recognized since 1963 as an incredibly potent cartridge, but one that is difficult to shoot)... This is the ideal load for a plains game hunt that does not include Eland (although it will kill Eland very dead if properly used).

I am an unapologetic fan of the .340 Wby :)


PS: Call me a sissy, but for me the .338/.378 Wby might be too much of a good thing!
 
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John J

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I bought a used RUM on a whim and cut the barrel to 21.5" so the VS factor is nill. I'm happy with it, brass and loaded ammo are around if you look. Price is another story. As an aside using TTSX's I'm clocking 2750 with 250 gr bullets, and 2800 fps with 225's.
 

wesheltonj

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Lapua has the market share, and that usually means ammo is easier to get. However, that is an expensive round. Target shooting or shooting Charlie, get the Lapua.
 

MRogersII

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To clarify, the 338 Lapua was initially designed with long range target applications in mind. This is not a wiki quote, I shot one in 1,000 yard BR in the early 2000's. More recently it has become a cartridge of interest in ELR circles (extreme long range target shooting). Much of the success of the cartridge stems, not only from a reasonably sound design, but also from the fact that the Lapua brass is second to none. The 338 Lapua doesn't really offer measurable advantage until one goes beyond the 1,000 yard mark. Short of that mark, it offers no advantage over the 7's and 30's (in terms of accuracy). Again, this only has bearing in target/reloading applications. It should also be noted that, taking full advantage of these cartridges requires that bullets be seated well beyond what will fit comfortably in most "factory" mag configurations. Loaded to factory lengths, there is even less separation.

The 340 Wby brass by Norma is also very good, from the same application. RUM brass, again from a target/competition perspective, is mediocre at best. In terms of hunting applications, there is little meaningful difference between them and, for its size and relative efficiency, the 340 is very hard to beat. In a hunting/carry rifle, and without a break, the recoil increase of the RUM and the Lapua is significant, without an equally significant advantage in terminal ballistics. Most target rifles are well in excess of 15lb, and have a break installed. There is of course a reason for this. Moving a 300gr Sierra into the high 28's begins to encroach on the recoil champion, the 378 Wby Mag. In a light hunting rifle, no thank you.

Again, two thumbs up for the 340 Wby. Roy made very few mistakes.

Michael
 

John P.

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What critters are you hunting?

The 338 Win Mag is an excellent Elk Cartridge out where I live in Washington State, we hunt the bigger Roosevelts.

Prime load is the 210 grain Nosler Partition. Any elk out to 400 yards is freezer bound.

If you cannot get closer than 400 yards to pull the trigger, you should take up golf.

My last elk kill was at 19 feet, brought a tape from the truck with the pack frame when I was headed back to the kill site and measured.

First elk kill was with my 75 year old 30-06, 180 grain Nosler Partition, at about 2650 ft/sec. One shot kill at about 50 yards.

The main problem with the bigger cartridges is recoil and gun weight. If you put on a brake then you make way too much noise for your ear drums to handle.

My 338 Win Mag weighs 7 1/4 pounds with scope.

I will never hunt Plains Game in Africa, but if I did my 338Win Mag would be my rifle of choice.

My advice is to build a rifle you can shoot, that is light in weight, and practice shooting at all ranges from 25 yards to your maximum range. Learn your trajectory!!!!!! Why light? Those darn elk live in steep country. I have put in miles working up to a herd that had a legal bull. Heavy rifles slow you down.

My old elk hunting buddy (he passed last year) used a 6.5-06. He was very successful over the years with that rifle.
 

Alaska

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I have a MRC in .338 RUM. A great round and had great success with it in Namibia using 225 gr Swifts. I do not have any experience with the Lapua.
That said, IMO an advantage of the Lapua is that although ammunition and brass are more expensive, they are readily available. RUM ammo and brass can be a little hard to come by.
A .340 Wby is another round to consider that would be in the same ballpark as the RUM and Lapua.
I have had over the years 338-06, 338 Win, 338 RUM and Lapua along with the 340 Wby.
The only 2 that remain are the 338 Win and 338 RUM for my hunting in Alaska. I have more than enough of Rem RUM brass and also prefer the 225gr Swift A Frame for moose hunting . The Rem 700 XCR2 in 338 RUM has been modified with a HS stock and Detachable Magazine and Timney Trigger and is a joy to carry and of course Mag na Ported.
 
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Alaska

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I have a MRC in .338 RUM. A great round and had great success with it in Namibia using 225 gr Swifts. I do not have any experience with the Lapua.
That said, IMO an advantage of the Lapua is that although ammunition and brass are more expensive, they are readily available. RUM ammo and brass can be a little hard to come by.
A .340 Wby is another round to consider that would be in the same ballpark as the RUM and Lapua.
338 Rum that all I use Reloader 22 @ 91.0 and 225 gr Swift A frames in Alaska.

35D0F17C-D548-4203-9284-02F47C24550C.jpeg
EE4D33E3-5E3D-47EC-A1A0-59ECAB383D33.jpeg
 
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Bob Nelson 35Whelen

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I recently posted about looking for a 375 ultra and was helped on this forum. I had a discussion recently with an individual about the 338 calibers. Thought I’d share some thoughts...
The 338 lapua using 250 grain nosler bullets and 86 grains of rl22 gives 2941 FPS per nosler number 8 manual.
The 338 ultra mag using the same 250 grain bullet and 84 grains of rl22 gives 2920 FPS per the same manual.
Why would you pay about double to get a 338 lapua when the 338 ultra gets the same performance?
Let the screaming begin! Lol!
@jonathon davies
Why use either one unless you are shooting long range and enjoy getting the snot beaten out of you.
Seriously if it was me I would choose the cheapest one but I'm a skinflint
Bob
 

Bob Nelson 35Whelen

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I fear no evil that walks this earth while carrying my .340 weatherby.
@Skinnersblade
But I will need a chiropractor every time I pull the trigger.
Where as I carry the might Whelen and fear even less as I don't have the chiropractor bills to pay that limits my shooting.
Bob
 

Inline6

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I recently posted about looking for a 375 ultra and was helped on this forum. I had a discussion recently with an individual about the 338 calibers. Thought I’d share some thoughts...
The 338 lapua using 250 grain nosler bullets and 86 grains of rl22 gives 2941 FPS per nosler number 8 manual.
The 338 ultra mag using the same 250 grain bullet and 84 grains of rl22 gives 2920 FPS per the same manual.
Why would you pay about double to get a 338 lapua when the 338 ultra gets the same performance?
Let the screaming begin! Lol!
Have had several 338LM, most were pushing a 285 at 2915fps with Retumbo out of a 27" pipe.

Back 18 years ago, I was looking at a 338 Edge. It hangs the the LM, they now have brass that is on par with Lapua.

It is a great round, like @MRogersII stated it was a big player in the elr world. It is now being bested by the 375s and the 416s of that world. If you are going to take the punishment might as well step up the the bigger rounds.

That said the 338LM and the 338 Norma Mag both utilize the .416 Rigby as their parent case, fun fact.
 

bill73

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I picked up a Dakota African in 338 LM years back,it is a rather boring cartridge,it just kills everything really well :) it is accurate it is deadly,I have taken a big Giraffe plus some big game that I cannot mention lol,my gun is very confidence inspiring,the 338 caliber is an awesome no matter the flavor.,my load pushes a 250 Tsx @ 2850fps.
 

crs

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My .338 Win mag killed all my game in Africa with one shot each and took a big Eland Bull with one shot == DRT. Also a big 6x6 Elk speeding away at 100 + yards. Mine likes the Winchester 230 grain Fail Safes. What more do you need or want ?
I agree with John P and Bob Nelson - "Use enough Gun " but know when to stop.
Spend that extra time and money hunting.
 

Inline6

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My .338 Win mag killed all my game in Africa with one shot each and took a big Eland Bull with one shot == DRT. Also a big 6x6 Elk speeding away at 100 + yards. Mine likes the Winchester 230 grain Fail Safes. What more do you need or want ?
I agree with John P and Bob Nelson - "Use enough Gun " but know when to stop.
Spend that extra time and money hunting.
Some of like to shoot beyond a mile, that is where the 338LM shines. Not all cartridges are focused around hunting.
 

ldmay375

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I have only the 338 Winchesters. But, there is lust in my heart for most all things .338. I suppose the 338/378 has not held much attraction for me. Though the 338 Federal through the 338 Laupa certainly does.
Maybe one day, I will have a 340 Wby put together. And make use of the brass that I bought Years ago.
I have a small regret of not buying a stainless M70 338 RUM a few years ago. I slept on that purchase. Went back the next day and it was gone. Classic example of; if you snooze, you loose.
 

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