Best .338

Discussion in 'Up To .375' started by Lbarr265, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Fanatic

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    Based on almost 50 years of hindsight beginning when I was in college and now after countless rifles for different and ever-changing circumstances and interest and after looking at your current arsenal and future potential interests... I would recommend two rifles and bypass the "tweener" 338. Namely- a 300 Win Mag plus a 416 Rem Mag. You could always add the 338 later if you felt a real "need" for it. :)
     
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  2. Mekaniks

    Mekaniks GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    So all you need is a 338wm and a super cool custom 404 Jeff and your all set. Your welcome!:)
     
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  3. salesman

    salesman AH Veteran

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    Most of what I am posting has already been covered...yes IMHO the .338 WM is one the best calibers for plains game. I have used one on both of my trips and with properly constructed bullets (I prefer A-Frames or Partitions) it will make short work of anything you may be hunting. All my shots were from 70 yds to 420 yds and it killed efficiently at all ranges. I have not taken any of the "tiny" plains game so cannot comment on it for them...it would probably be devastating.

    The recoil is very manageable, especially if you only zero on the bench and spend the rest of your practice shooting offhand or using sticks.

    As far as the platform I am prejudiced....Winchester Model 70.

    Some have recommended that instead of going with the .338 go with a .375 caliber. I don't think you could go wrong with that advice. If you do that I would recommend the .375 H&H as someone once said about it "one world...one rifle".
     

  4. Michael Dean

    Michael Dean AH Enthusiast

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    Just my thoughts on the subject, almost every post has mentioned two key issues when considering purchasing a 338, the cost of ammunition and, the recoil. Both the 338RUM and the 338 Weatherby kick like a mule and there's no getting around it. Do yourself a favor, before you purchase one of these two find a friend or a friend of a friend and borrow theirs to shoot. Most people don't shoot theirs well because they can't handle the recoil. I've got a 300 Weatherby and it sits in the safe most of the time because it simply isn't comfortable to shoot. In fact I find my 375 H&H more manageable.

    Second, every time you pull the trigger it's a five dollar bill at a minimum going down the tube. To put it bluntly, it's damn expensive to feed these rifles. If you want a 338 the best alternative is the 338 federal. In short, it's a 308 necked up to hold a 338. I own one and love it. The recoil is about the same as a 30-06. And, if you reload, the cost is very manageable. I just took two boxes of fired 308 brass and necked them up to 338. 308 brass is very affordable.

    The only downside to the 338 federal is range. Maximum overall range is 250 yards. The way I look at it is 99% of game animals are shot at 200 yards or less. The vast majority are shot at under 100 yards. If you have a desire to shoot 300-400 yards out, the 338 federal is not for you. But, if you keep your shots at 250 yards or less, the 338 federal is an excellent choice, it's affordable and the recoil is mild in comparison to other 338's.
     
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  5. Buckdog

    Buckdog AH Enthusiast

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    I have enjoyed reading this thread and it seems we all like the 338, but I have to agree with 458 it is a tweener. and I have just a few decades behind the trigger too. 338 is a step up for you from the guns you currently shoot and could result in a flinch etc. and once you get a twitch damn hard to get rid of. Rather see you get a 300 mag and a dg round you said you like a 458. a 300 mag with good 200 gr bullets will eailsy kill all on your list hands down and then some. (agree with Bill C) I have done it. less recoil than a 338 cheaper to run even if you handload. easier to learn to shoot very well with for your first mag than a 338. I knowboth well and have put lots of rds down from 300s and 338s. I just hardly ever use a 338. I use a 300 then step up to a dg gun when needed. not that 338 is bad just a tweener for me, great caliber I feel just kinda don't see the need. that said I always say the more guns the merrier so get a 300, a 338 and a 458!!:D Not a 270 fan for Africa though.
    btw a 338 Lapua is a sniper rd go pull the trigger on one of those a few times and you really wont like it!
     

  6. Graham Hunter

    Graham Hunter AH Fanatic

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    From 40 plus years of hunting and guiding I have observed the following. A previous post said he saw several animals run off from a 270. Don't doubt it. Poor bullet placement or poor bullet performance regardless of caliber will result in animals running off. I was alwamuch happier with a client with his well worn 270 vs a client with his shiny new magnum. I have used a 338 Win on numerous animals and I think it is a great cartridge. However if I was owning only 2 rifles and thinking about Africa I would keep the 270 and look at a 375.
     
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  7. BobT

    BobT AH Enthusiast

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    I have a .338 Winchester magnum sitting in my safe right now, it's a nice looking M70 and superbly accurate. The rifles that typically sit on either side of the .338 are an old Husqvarna 640 in 9,3x62 and my Whitworth in .375 H&H, for comfortable shooting either of the other guns will get the nod over the .338, the recoil of that rifle is just brutal. If on the other hand I wanted to shoot the best groups the .338 would get the nod, both of the other rifles will turn in a very respectable performance at the bench but the .338 will beat them hands down every time.
     

  8. TTundra

    TTundra AH Enthusiast

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    I myself am a large yet fit (at least I think so) man. 6'4" 285lbs. I am a glutton for the magnums...I just love them. I would say make no mistake, you will end up with your 458, probably a 416, maybe the 404, and many others. If youre a hunter (and addict) you will keep acquiring. Your 500 NE isn't a long shot either, a new Sabatti of decent quality can be had for ~$4000 now.

    The 458 could certainly do it all and give you peace of mind with practice. I myself have chosen a 416 Rigby to be my first DG gun (buff & hippo), not because its a .400 caliber, but because its very easy to load down and use effectively on PG as well. My father is taking his 375 H&H for the same reason. Handle the DG and PG very well. Even as a reloader, loading the .400+ calibers still gets pricey and when talking shooting these big bores....hundreds of rounds down range to practice adds up quickly.

    A 375 H&H or Ruger makes one heck of an all around PG and DG gun that is easier on the wallet and shoulder. They are also quite common and can be had for fairly low rices on the auction sites as well. But which ever you go with, as you already know, its just one more step down the road to building your toolbox.
     

  9. The_Wanderer

    The_Wanderer AH Senior Member

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    as others have said look at stepping up to a 375H&H, its a wonderful calibre. I stepped up from a 3006 and whilst its noticeable it isn't dreadful. I then upgraded to a 416 Rigby and its awesome. I think a 270,3030, 375 and a 404/ 416/ 458 would be a great setup.

    As for platform- my 3006 and 375 are in the new Winchesters and the Rigby in an RSM. Both are great and I don't thing you will go wrong with either.

    cheer
    TW
     
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  10. SETH RINGER

    SETH RINGER AH Senior Member

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    Love the .338 Federal.
     

  11. Michael Dean

    Michael Dean AH Enthusiast

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    It's accurate, easy to shoot, inexpensive to shoot and deadly, what's not to love!
     

  12. buckcurtin

    buckcurtin AH Veteran

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    Get a Model 70 Winchester in 375H&H and you will be set for life. Will kill anything anywhere from the smallest to the biggest wi
    the the understanding on Elephant and Buffalo you have to shoot well. Its my go to gun for Elk and Africa. You won't have to spend a fortune either on the gun.
     

  13. Wayne t

    Wayne t AH Veteran

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    Been reading this and noticed no one has mentioned the 338/06 is it just the fact that you have to load for it put people off or bad results ?
    Asking as I was thinking of building one up for next years trip to SA
     
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  14. 1dirthawker

    1dirthawker AH Enthusiast

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    wow, everyone already said all the good stuff.

    I've hunted with a 338 win mag in alaska for 30 years or so. it is a great cartridge. more shootable than the weatherby or lapua.

    it is a kind of tweener tho. the 375 is more of everything. even recoil. if you want a 338, it is a great rifle for animals up to moose/eland size. i shot a 7mm mag primarily before, and the step up in power is...noticeable. both in recoil and performance. shot 225 gr. barnes x bullets primarily. shot mostly moose, deer, caribou and a couple brown bears.

    it did a great job. i now carry a 375 ruger since i started guiding 16 years ago. i flipped a boat over and lost a 338 win, and was going to replace it with a 338 or 375. the ruger was not made yet, and the 338 rifles were typically 1.5-2+ pounds lighter for the rifle. so i opted for a new 338. i bought a stainless m-77. integral rings, claw extractor, etc. ran it for quite a while.

    once the 375 ruger came out, a ready to go guide rifle, i bought one and loved it! wish there were more option for loaded ammo tho.

    the 338 win is a great choice for plains game, and all north american game. readily available ammo, tolerable recoil, great performance. if you buy one, you will like it.
     
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  15. JakeH

    JakeH AH Enthusiast

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    I've been trying to convince myself to buy a .338 Federal, but I just can't seem to make myself pull the trigger.
     

  16. Spooksar

    Spooksar AH Fanatic

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    Nothing wrong with the 338-06 my go to elk gun.
     
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  17. Mekaniks

    Mekaniks GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Nothing at all wrong with the 338-06. Very good round
     

  18. AZDAVE

    AZDAVE AH Elite

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    338's in any form are great calibres. My wife shoots her 338 RCM light outs on plains game. You can't go wrong with the 338 WM just a great round. However you said you weren't looking for another long range option. So Like many here the recommendation to just go to the 375 is also where I would recommend another solid idea would be a 9.3x62. You won't find many folks on this site that won't agree that you need all three, plus a small 40Cal (416 or 404) and something in the 45cal or bigger. Just remember that a 458 Lott is a great coyote round:rolleyes:
     

  19. Lbarr265

    Lbarr265 AH Veteran

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    Thats a lot of gun for a 40 pound animal ;) And yes I'll probably end up with one of just about everything, but I'm just focused on the 338 WM for now.

    Side note, has anyone tried the 33 Nosler? I'm not considering it but I saw claims of them matching Lapua Mag velocities and I'm not sure I buy that.
     

  20. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2017
    1dirthawker likes this.

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