338 Ultra versus 338 Lapua

Discussion in 'Up To .375' started by jonathan davis, Mar 22, 2020.

  1. jonathan davis

    jonathan davis AH Member

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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!
     

  2. meigsbucks

    meigsbucks AH Fanatic

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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.
     
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  3. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim AH Elite

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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.
     
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  4. Ray B

    Ray B AH Elite

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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?
     
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  5. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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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!
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2020

  6. Skinnersblade

    Skinnersblade AH Fanatic

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    I fear no evil that walks this earth while carrying my .340 weatherby.
     

  7. John J

    John J AH Veteran

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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.
     

  8. wesheltonj

    wesheltonj AH Legend

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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.
     

  9. MRogersII

    MRogersII AH Veteran

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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
     
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  10. John P.

    John P. AH Veteran

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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.
     

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