Best .338

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

  1. BobT

    BobT AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2015
    Messages:
    465
    Video/Photo:
    45
    Likes Received:
    482
    Location:
    Missouri Ozarks
    Hunted:
    Tanzania
    I like the .338/06 a lot, the lack of an easily available factory ammo option limits the popularity I think. In terms of performance I put the .338/06 about 100 yards behind the .338 Winchester magnum.
     
    Poz and Wayne t like this.

  2. Poz

    Poz AH Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2016
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    25
    I have a 338 06 with a 200 gn accubond or etip I get 2800 fps at the muzzle, my friend owns a 330 Dakota and gets just a shade under 3000 fps. I honestly haven't seen any advantage in the magnum over the 06 in the hunting situations we've been in, this experience is not that vast, mainly limited to red deer and pigs here in Australia. The obvious gain is going to be in range, but I'd have no hesitation in a 300 yard shot. Past that I have a little hesitation even when using my 300 win mag. Mine is a Remington 700 action with a 26" sportier weight maddco barrel. And I'm about to replace the boys stock with a bell and Carlson
     
    lwaters likes this.

  3. ChrisG

    ChrisG AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2015
    Messages:
    935
    Video/Photo:
    38
    Likes Received:
    886
    Location:
    Adirondack Park, NY, USA
    Member of:
    NAHC, NRA, Rocky Mtn. Elk Foundation.
    Hunted:
    USA, Canada
    I am also going to Advocate for the .338 Win Mag as it will do everything you could reasonably ask for a hunting rifle. You're not going to find a heck of a lot of .340 weatherby in your average AMERICAN gun shop let alone one in Africa if you lose your ammo. .338 Lapua will be even harder to come by in Africa. They also tend to not be loaded with hunting bullets, just crazy expensive useless-for-hunting High B.C. stuff. Also, very few well made hunting rifles are chambered thus. Most are built for the tacticool crown and weigh more than a bucket of mercury and have about the same handling characteristics.

    As to hydrostatic shock... Once you get above a certain size animal, it is bunk. I am sure a lot of guys on here will agree with me on this. Hit an eland with a 225 grain .33 caliber at 3,000fps vs a .375-.416 caliber bullet designed for plains game at 2,500 fps and you will see pretty quick that the bigger heavier bullet has a much more dramatic effect. On mountain goats... sure you hit them with a fast, light round and they go down quick... not so much on a big heavy boned animal and high velocity tends to make bullets tear themselve apart which is not how you ensure quick humane kills. That is accomplished by the round penetrating a vital organ and doing enough damage to drop the animal quickly. I would rather hit a kudu or eland in the vitals with a properly designed solid from a .375-416, rather than a light fast bullet that I hope would penetrate deep enough to kill.

    If you're squeamish don't watch this, and it makes me kind of want to smack the hunter for not shooting the poor moose again when the opportunity arises, but it illustrates my point that high velocity bullets have absolutely no "crumpling" effect on large animals. Not unless it is a field gun. Yeah the moose was dead an the guy hit him well. but the placement of the bullet and the passthrough are why that moose died. Not because of the .300WSM's have more hydrostatic shock. I'm certain a .308 would have produced almost identical results in this circumstance.



    My point is, you don't need to shoot a barrel burner to ensure quick kills. The .338 WM or .338/06 will do everything you need it to do inside 300 yards on plains game. If you want to hit harder, you need to step up size and weight... not velocity.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2017
    1dirthawker likes this.

  4. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2015
    Messages:
    4,568
    Video/Photo:
    22
    Likes Received:
    3,646
    Location:
    Grosse Ile, Michigan
    Member of:
    NRA
    Hunted:
    Michigan, Texas, Missouri, Limpopo Province South Africa
    I know that you were looking for something in 338 but I also see that others have offered alternatives. In that vein I'm offering up the 35 Whelen for your consideration. It is a ballistic twin of the 9.3 x 62 that AZDave mentioned. Bullet choices range from 250 Gr. down to 200 Gr. My two sons and I all used 35 Whelens on our African Safari last August. We took 21 animals from Warthog to Eland. Most were one shot DRTs. Unless you are planning a DG hunt in the relative near future, I'd lay off purchasing the 375 H&H for now. You can always pick up one after you finish Grad School. Given your current thoughts on rifles and calibers you will be purchasing many more once the funds become available. Since you already reload, have you ever gone on Nikon's Spot On Website? It is a great way to compare calibers, bullet weights, velocities etc. It will also give you a ballistics report showing velocity and energy at various distances. Good luck in all your pursuits.
     
    ufg8r93 and 8x68 like this.

  5. JakeH

    JakeH AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2017
    Messages:
    404
    Video/Photo:
    2
    Likes Received:
    422
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Member of:
    NRA
    Hunted:
    USA
    At least using factory loads, the 9.3x62mm, .35 Whelen, and .338 Federal are all close enough with their heaviest weight loads to not worry about the difference. The 9.3 hits the hardest, but the .338 Federal catches up with it past 300yds and has a flatter trajectory.

    As for the .338 Federal vs the .338 Win Mag, I've started looking at that comparison like that of the .30-06 vs .300 Win Mag. You gain 100yds extra yards of performance by switching to the Win Mag, but your shoulder is gonna pay the difference.
     
    ufg8r93 likes this.

  6. Lbarr265

    Lbarr265 AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2017
    Messages:
    119
    Video/Photo:
    2
    Likes Received:
    126
    I've heard this from several sources, though everyone seems to have differing opinions as to what point it stops helping. I know for deer up to 250 lbs I've seen fairly spectacular differences between a 243 at 3700 ft/s lung shot and a 45-70 with 2000 ft/s heart shot, but that isn't a heavy boned animal, I am positive I wouldn't see that same high velocity round instantly kill an elephant for example, but I don't think there is any definitive cutoff animal, everyone has their own opinion on that, and I would be interested to know what size (lbs) you think would be a cutoff, as you have obviously hunted Africa, while I have only hunted Kansas deer and coyotes, which are much smaller.

    I will say I disagree with your evaluation of the video of a .308 doing the same as the 300WSM. I think moose is probably too large to be affected by hydrostatic shock, but not cavitation. Just to be clear cavitation is the direct movement of tissue due to energy and momentum of the bullet passing through the tissue. Hydrostatic shock occurs when cavitation size causes blood displacement greater than its ability to bleed out and sends a pressure spike though the vascular system. The smaller the animal the less surface area of veins in the body to stretch and disperse this pressure spike and the more likely it is to cause an aneurysm. Clearly the moose didn't experience an aneurysm, so hydrostatic shock didn't kill the moose. It is lung shot, as evident by the hot moist breath coming out both sides of the chest cavity, and yes I'm sure the .308 would have penetrated both sides just as well. However the cavitation on gelatinous lung tissue will be larger with the 300 WSM, and thus cause more damage to the lung, and faster death. How much faster we can debate, but there is no real way of testing as that animal is long dead. Now comparing the cavitation between a 338 and a 416 is much more difficult than two rounds of the same caliber. I would like to point out in your example, the 338 vs 416 with a 400 gn bullet, the 416 has much more energy and as such will have the potential for greater cavitation, so yes I agree I think a 416 on heavy PG should be much more effective. But then again so would a 600 NE, but I wouldn't advocate using it.

    I agree with your analysis that a 338 Win mag is the best choice, I've seen lots of sources over the last few days to support that. I do believe under some circumstances a barrel burner will be a faster kill, but not considerably and not worth the cost difference so long as both rounds penetrate sufficiently.

    Side note, I fully support your statement the hunter should have kept shooting. Some people are worried about ruining meat with followup shots but that's a small price to pay for a humane kill.
     
    1dirthawker and ChrisG like this.

  7. Lbarr265

    Lbarr265 AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2017
    Messages:
    119
    Video/Photo:
    2
    Likes Received:
    126
    I hadn't heard of the Spot On, that is very handy. I made something similar in Excel using only the bullets I reload with, but that database is much more extensive so thanks for that tip. I hadn't considered the 35 but I will look into it.
     

  8. Dr Ray

    Dr Ray AH Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2017
    Messages:
    2,006
    Video/Photo:
    19
    Likes Received:
    1,432
    Location:
    Cairns, Australia
    I like the 225 gn bullets.
     
    ufg8r93 likes this.

  9. Poz

    Poz AH Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2016
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    25
    I just want to bring up a question here, at the moment I'm using 200 gn woodleigh pp bullets in my 338 06 that are doing 2800 fps I can also achieve this with 200 gn etips, i have sighted in at about 1 inch high at 200 yards which should give me about 6 inches of drop at 300 yards which I'm yet to prove on the range, but have shot plenty of pigs from 10 yards to 250 yards. Do you think the loss in velocity by going to a 225 gn would be worth the energy gains? Should be back to 2650 if the books are correct maybe a touch more as i have a longer barrel
     

  10. 1dirthawker

    1dirthawker AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2013
    Messages:
    406
    Video/Photo:
    13
    Likes Received:
    565
    poz,

    don't worry about energy gains or losses. you have more than enough for the game at hand. energy does not kill stuff, long, severe holes thru vitals kill stuff. either bullet would do a fine job for you. good luck! i prefer the 225's. longer, more sectional density and plenty of "energy" :)
     
    ufg8r93 likes this.

  11. BobT

    BobT AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2015
    Messages:
    465
    Video/Photo:
    45
    Likes Received:
    482
    Location:
    Missouri Ozarks
    Hunted:
    Tanzania
    My favorite bullet for the .338/06 was the 210 grain Nosler Partition. I was running at a little better than 2600 fps, the load was from the Nosler manual, I used IMR 4350 and WLR primers in Winchester brass and worked up to whatever the book max was. My rifle had a 26" Shilen barrel.
     
    ufg8r93 likes this.

  12. 8x68

    8x68 AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2015
    Messages:
    637
    Video/Photo:
    11
    Likes Received:
    447
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Member of:
    OFAH, CCFR
    Hunted:
    Canada, USA
    I have a Win M70 Alaskan CRF in 338WM. Nice rifle. I also have a 35 Whelen (Rem 700), 358NM (custom CZ 550), and 9.3x62 (CZ 550 FS). I have two #1 choices from those calibres: 9.3x62 & 358NM. Depends on what you are comfortable shooting and availability of ammo where you plan to hunt. Although the 338WM is a flat shooter with the right load combo it whacks my shoulder more than the others.
    Absolute overall choice would be a 375H&H. Although not common in North America one could also consider the 8x68S
     
    Milan likes this.

  13. Michael Dean

    Michael Dean AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2015
    Messages:
    332
    Video/Photo:
    7
    Likes Received:
    403
    I love my 338 Federal. I personally prefer Swift Scirocco 210 grain bullets. With a quick ladder test I was able to find a terrific load that's extremely accurate.
     

  14. James Cook

    James Cook AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2016
    Messages:
    147
    Video/Photo:
    26
    Likes Received:
    128
    Member of:
    Dallas Safari Club, NRA Life, B.A.S.S., Ducks Unlimted
    Hunted:
    Namibia, Mexico, Argentina, Canada, U.S. - LA, TX, OK, AR, AL, SC, GA, KS
    for platforms, don't forget browning. the xbolt white gold medallion comes in 338 wm - it has great looking wood (though you can't kill them with the stock or looks) and is a shooter (moa with factory ammo)
     

  15. IvW

    IvW AH Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2016
    Messages:
    2,013
    Video/Photo:
    57
    Likes Received:
    3,288
    Location:
    South Africa
    Member of:
    BASA, CHASA
    Hunted:
    South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia,Zambia
    Keep the 270 for the smaller stuff. Save and buy yourself a decent 375 H&H and you are set for anything in Africa.

    With a proper scope on QD mounts and proper practice with the 375 H&H you will have an almost perfect combination.

    Whatever you do stay away from the Weatherby cartridges for Africa. .338 Lapua as well, it is a specialized cartridge and hunting in Africa is not one of it's specialities.
     
    ufg8r93 and ChrisG like this.

  16. ShortMag

    ShortMag AH Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2016
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    43
    I agree with most of this accept for the the point in bold. While a .416 does typically have more energy and is potentially capable of significantly more tissue damage, the construction of most .416 bullets coupled with the relatively thin skin of even big plains game means that most of that extra energy is going to be expended outside of the animal after the bullet whistles on through. Bullet construction is just as important as bullet diameter and both need to be matched appropriately for the target species.
     
    1dirthawker and Shootist43 like this.

  17. fnsane

    fnsane New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Consider the 9.3 X 62, it's a proven killer and easy on you.

    Fnsane
     

  18. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Messages:
    5,817
    Video/Photo:
    120
    Likes Received:
    3,878
    Member of:
    NRA, NA Hunt Club
    Hunted:
    Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe (2), Namibia (2), South Africa (2)
    .338 win mag.....
     
    Lbarr265 and 375 Ruger Fan like this.

  19. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Messages:
    5,817
    Video/Photo:
    120
    Likes Received:
    3,878
    Member of:
    NRA, NA Hunt Club
    Hunted:
    Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe (2), Namibia (2), South Africa (2)
    Curious what apples and oranges comparison leads you to the conclusion that the .338 Fed will outshine the 9.3 at 3-400 yds out. If you take a 250 gr, light for caliber slug in the 9.3 and drive it easily to 2500 fps you have, given a bullet of about .490 BC, a Nosler: you have a 300 yd drop of 9.8 inches and remaining energy of 2220 ft,/lbs. Take a 225 gr .338 slug, about max useful for the little .338 Fed, drive it to 2400 fps, given a BC of about .470, you have a remaining 300 yd energy of 1800 ft./lbs and a drop of 10.8 inches. At 400 yds, the 9.3 still shows a distinct advantage. Perhaps the .338 may make up some ground well beyond normal shooting ranges for the hunting field but so what? Most of us have no business sniping animals with hunting rifles beyond 300 yds anyway. So where is the advantage to the Federal in either bullet drop or remaining energy? Even if you use the heaviest normal weight in the 9.3 of 286 grs, it still holds it own way out there.
     
    IvW likes this.

  20. Lbarr265

    Lbarr265 AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2017
    Messages:
    119
    Video/Photo:
    2
    Likes Received:
    126
    Which is why I said "will have the potential for greater cavitation" Energy transfer of a bullet is a function of speed (aka initial energy), bullet cross sectional area, bullet initial shape, material encountered, and bullet construction. With the number of bullets out there, and variety of game, and the difference in shot placement it is impossible to set enough variables to make quantitative statements about energy transfer between the two rounds. One round may pass between the ribs of an animal, encounter a minimum of muscle tissue and only really hit lung tissue which is mostly air, whereas one may hit several bones in the shoulder and stop before leaving the animal. I was merely agree with the previous gentleman that a .416 can kill much faster than a 338, but it has a much greater potential for destruction to start with so it is not as straightforward of comparison like two different .338 caliber rounds would be.
     

Share This Page

 
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice