A more powerful 338?

matt85

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so I just got back from Namibia where I used my 338 WM to take a handful of PG at various ranges from 73-277 yards. in terms of killing performance the 210gr .338" TTSX bullet performed perfectly. however there were a few times I wished I could have reached out a bit further (like when baboons were shouting at us from 500 yards). my load in my 338 WM pushes the 210gr TTSX at 2900fps which is extremely effective within 300 yards but when you start thinking outside that, you quickly find yourself in trouble with the bullet dropping fast.

I'm kicking around with the idea of getting a rifle that would be a solid 400 yard gun. the one catch is that I still want the .338" diameter. this leaves me with only a few options as I can tell:

- 340 WBY
- 338 RUM
- 338 Lapua
- 338/378 WBY

finding rifles chambered in 338 RUM doesn't seem to be very easy but the other three cartridges aren't uncommon thanks to Weatherby.

what are your thoughts?

thanks
-matt
 

Nyati

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Nowadays the .338 Lapua is being used more frequently by the military for long range shooting.

I have no personal experience with it, but some professionals I know tell me it is an outstanding cartridge. They use 250 grains bullets, but as far as I know you can use anything between 200 and 300 grains.
 
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Mekaniks

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IMO the WM is legite 1000 yrd round. But, if you really want to step up, I think the Lapua is the way to go. Especially considering availability of components and rifle chamberings the last few years.
 

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Anything you hit with a .338 Win Mag at 400 yards is going to stay well and truly hit and hit very hard. Use the right size bullet and construction and the .338 Win Mag will make a very capable long range rifle cartridge. 400 yards isn't far at all for the .338 Win Mag. If your worried about bullet drop use a larger bullet than 210gn, it's a bit small for calibre. Plus more energy will be retained at longer ranges as well.
 

CAustin

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@matt85 I know you like tinkering with loads and trying out or building new rifles and you seem to be very exacting in the work. But the answer here to me would seem to be a Leupold Scope with a custom dial or something similar that would calculate the drop for you. Range it.....dial it in.....squeeze the trigger.
Now if you just want a new rifle to tinker with ok, but as Nyati mentioned the Lapua is used by military snipers in many nations. I bet you have all the stuff to measure how much you hand loads drop at 400 and 500 yards to make those shots in the future. I can just imagine those baboons giving you the business and you wanting to take a couple out!! Ha!

Have you started sharing pictures of your hunt!?I can't remember seeing them yet.
 

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I have three comments, first Charlie's comments about the right scope is spot on, the 338 Lapua is a proven caliber for distances well beyond 500 yards and read Nathan Foster's comments found at his Terminal Ballistic Research website for his thoughts and recommendations on long range hunting.
 

sierraone

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Anyone selecting the .338 Lapua, be sure you know the laws of the countries you'll be passing through on your way to Africa. A year or so ago the caliber was illegal in Britain even just passing through, because it is considered a military sniper round regardless of the platform firing it. Due you fact checking or take a chance on ruining a safari!
 

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Anyone selecting the .338 Lapua, be sure you know the laws of the countries you'll be passing through on your way to Africa. A year or so ago the caliber was illegal in Britain even just passing through, because it is considered a military sniper round regardless of the platform firing it. Due you fact checking or take a chance on ruining a safari!

hi the cal isnt illegal in uk ,just i know some airlines wont carry it as they consider it a military sniper calibre......not sure why this is as they quite happily transport 308 and .223 etc............i presume its best not to say 7.62 or 5.56 with them though....;)

http://www.sportsmanguncentre.co.uk/guns-and-moderators/rifles/gun-calibre/.338-lapua-mag

http://www.valmontfirearms.co.uk/barattfirearms.html
 

Velo Dog

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Hi Matt85,

My friend since childhood (Dale Raisbeck) uses a .338 Winchester almost exclusively.
It is a Browning A-Bolt with at the moment, a Leupold 3.5 to 10 power scope on it.
He hunts in Nevada, Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho and Montana.
In one area where he regularly hunts elk in thick forest, he uses the 250 grain Nosler Partition.

But for open, mostly treeless geography, his consistent producer for long shots, is a hand loaded 225 grain boat tail spitzer at the upper end of the .338's ballistic capability.
I don't recall the brand of the bullet but it might also be a Nosler product ("Accubond" perhaps?)
Once I saw him squarely hit a rock chuck, aka marmot from not quite a quarter mile with this rifle, in Nevada.

Marmot are hare sized rodents, resembling a giant hamster, for our readers from around the world.

I know you want to stay with the .33 bore so, I will not start in with my two favorite long shooters for hunting (.300 H&H / 180 grain spitzer and the 7 millimeter Remington Magnum / 150 grain or 160 grain spitzer.)

I totally agree with Mekaniks and others here that, the Winchester version is a very good long shooter so, you have the right cartridge already.
You just need to settle on the right bullet and then get extremely familiar with its particular quirks and trajectory.

Cheers,
Velo Dog.
 
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Brent in Az

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I know of a couple guys that are big fans of the .338 Lapua. I have no experience with it. The .338 WM is a great cartridge for elk hunting, out here in the west. For long range, heavier bullet, a .300 Ultra mag is a great choice. 210 grain bullet @ 3100 fps. Those Baboons would drop out of those tree's quickly, at 500 yards or more
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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I say use the rifle you have and save your money for hunting. As mentioned a .338 with a 210gr bullet and 400 yards is quite capable with the right bullet. I would guess your load is in the 2800-2900fps muzzle velocity. For 400 yards I'd like a little more velocity than that too but whatever the case you're still going to be on the steep side of the arc at that distance.

But if you just want to do it for the sake of doing it, I get that and won't criticize you. So if that's the path I think I'd go with the .338 Lapua also.
 

sheephunterab

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I'd spend some money on a scope that is designed for those ranges. I routinely shoot to 600 yards with my 338WM and 185 grain GMX. Killed a Barbary sheep earlier this year in SA at 500 yards. It just takes practice and the right optics.
 

matt85

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it seems many/most have misunderstood what im trying to do. first you must understand a few rules i tend to follow while hunting: (i didnt mention them because i didnt realize i would have to defend my choice)

1. i will not adjust my scope during a hunt. (unless it somehow loses zero)
2. i will not take a shot at a distance where the drop requires me to hold the reticle above the top of the animal. (by this i mean i wont aim at air)

the 338 WM with a 210gr bullet TTSX will drop over 20" at 400 yards if the zero is set to 200 yards. if you use a heavier bullet the drop will only increase. if you change the zero to 300 yards it ends up drastically raising the 150 and 200 yard elevations (up to 5") and you still have 11" of drop at 400. now if you use a 340 WBY with the same 210gr TTSX, you will get around 3200fps which reduces the rise by 1" at the high point of the arc and the drop by 2" at the 400 yard mark using a 300 yard zero. to put it simply the 340 WBY would not require me to ever aim at the air above an animal to hit it at 400 yards (short of small animals).

-matt
 

sheephunterab

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No misunderstanding at all.....a ballistic reticle meets both your needs quite well. Zero at 200 yards and hold on with appropriate secondary reticles to 600 yards. No muss no fuss. You are never going to find a 338 that offers hold on accuracy much past 350 yards without going to a ballistic reticle or twisting turrets. The technology is there and very affordable.....and it's simple to use. Like I said, I routinely shoot to 600 yards with my 338WM with no readjusting scope (twisting turrets) and POA and POI are the same from 0-600 yards (no hold over) I can hit a gopher from 0-600 yards with my set up!
 
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stug

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Matt what you are asking is pretty much impossible unless you range and dial. Personally I do not like holdover reticles, but other people really like them.
Something like a VX-6 with a CDS dial, a ballistic app on you phone and a laser range finder will have those baboons looking for cover out to 600yds plus.
 

CAustin

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Matt you just want a new rifle....don't you?!!
 

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Hear a lot of good about the Lapua in recent years. Some of the tv guys are using them(not that this matters) but has made me aware of this caliber/round
 

sheephunterab

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Matt what you are asking is pretty much impossible unless you range and dial. Personally I do not like holdover reticles, but other people really like them.
Something like a VX-6 with a CDS dial, a ballistic app on you phone and a laser range finder will have those baboons looking for cover out to 600yds plus.

Not saying the CDS isn't accurate because it sure is but if this rifle was being equipped with baboons in mind I'd want something super fast to use....not something I had run through a ballistic app for each shot. With the ballistic reticle it's as simple as range, put the yardage indicated crosshair on the target and squeeze. If they run and stop....repeat till your run out of ammo.
 

CAustin

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Chris Kyle used a 338 and a 300 win mag but with fantastic optics. I think that guy made some long shots!
 

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