Man-in-the-middle caliber

ChrisG

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Hey everyone,

So My approach to firearms is to have one for every size animal, and one that could fill almost any scenario, while at the same time, keeping the arsenal to a minimum.

So I have weaned it down to these hunting rifles:

Small game (up to 20lbs)- .25 PCP air rifle pushing 45ft-lbs
Varmints/furbear - (up to 100 lbs) - .223 - CZ527 American
Medium Game - (up to 350lbs) - 6.5x55 - Ruger M77 MkII
Large Game - Anything else - .375 Ruger - Ruger M77 Guide Gun

Soo all that said, I am considering a .338 federal in a stainless gun that is lighter weight to fill the gap between the 6.5x55 and the .375ruger. While the .375 is perfect in my opinion for larger bears (My goal would be to hunt Kodiak before I die), elk and moose, It is massively overkill for smaller bears and the 6.5x55 doesn't leave a great blood trail in the fall when I hunt them and they have thick fur and lots of fat to plug up that little hole. Hence the search for a .338 federal.

I also am a big proponent of open sights. As a barrel without them just looks weird to me.

Can anyone comment on using the cartridge on medium to large animals? and if so, is there a manufacturer still making them besides savage? I like Savage but they are almost the price of a Kimber Hunter now. I would have loved a kimber 84M in .338 Fed but they stopped producing them it looks like.

Anyone think of a reason that this is unnecessary? Or does it make sense to round out the gun cabinet?
 

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Nothing ever wrong with another rifle. This is not an issue of practicality. :rolleyes:

The .33 to 9.3 tribe are just about ideal for bear, and in faster bullet weights, superb for elk. They are also terrific as a do it all rifle on a pure PG hunt. The .338 Win Mag is hard to beat in that role, and has a broad selection of bullets in factory loadings. It will also give you a rifle with considerable reach. I suspect the Win Mag will also still be around and popular when your rifles move on to their next caretaker. I am not yet sure that will be the case with the Federal.
 

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It’s always worth it to round out the gun cabinet! However I don’t think your 375 is to big for black bears. I have taken bears with my 358 Norma as well as my 416 Taylor. The best part is tracking after the shot, just look from through the scope to over the scope and there’s your bear!
 

375 Ruger Fan

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If your heart is set on a 338 Federal, go for it. There are some other options, besides Savage, currently listed on GB. But if you are looking to fill the gap between your 6.5 Swede and 375 Ruger, a 30-06, 300 WM or 338 WM might be better options. I guess you could also consider the 35 Whelen. The 375 Ruger can also be downloaded with mild loads and 225 gr bullets.
 

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I have a .338 federal built on a Win model 70 action that I have hiunted with in South Africa for plains game and lots in Alaska including Kodiak brown bear. If you search 338 Federal in the search function you should find several threads with good info. I think it is a great round with very good energy in a small package.
 

Bert the Turtle

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I've killed animals as big as eland and bison with my 30-06. I've killed animals as small as blue wildebeest with my 404. Objectively, there is no need whatsoever for you to fill a gap that doesn't actually exist. Which means there is no need to overthink it. If you want to get a 338 to use on moderate-sized bear, get one. It will work just fine. Won't kill them any deader than your 375 would nor would your 375 kill them too dead or kill them too fast. Accept that it is a hobby and you'd like a 338 and enjoy yourself. We only get so many heartbeats. No use wasting them trying to justify buying something you want that you can afford and that causes nobody else any harm.
 

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Nothing ever wrong with another rifle. This is not an issue of practicality. :rolleyes:

The .33 to 9.3 tribe are just about ideal for bear, and in faster bullet weights, superb for elk. They are also terrific as a do it all rifle on a pure PG hunt. The .338 Win Mag is hard to beat in that role, and has a broad selection of bullets in factory loadings. It will also give you a rifle with considerable reach. I suspect the Win Mag will also still be around and popular when your rifles move on to their next caretaker. I am not yet sure that will be the case with the Federal.

I like @Red Leg answer as well.

Things coming to my mind were 338/06, .318 Westley, 338 Win, 35 Whelen, 333 Jeffery, and 8x68. All great cartridges. Some of them have tremendous versatility, particularly the 318 westely and the 35 whelen as follows:

318WR has both softs and solids. Mild recoil. Can handle leopard and mountain lion along with everything that crawls or walks North America.

35 Whelen has everything you need for alaska, the lower 48, and can also be loaded with 310gr soft point woodleigh bullets to be Eland and Giraffe worthy.
 

curtism1234

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So you want a light weight iron sight rifle.

The Browning BLR is the first to come to mind --- 308 or 358. Both are more than capable of killing a 250 pound bear. Remington still makes the round nose 180gr for the 308. The 358 will put a hell of a hole in medium sized game at close range but your factory ammo choices are very limited. My understanding is JES will rebore an older steel blr or a new takedown (which browning just quit making) to a 338fed. The trigger pull is very heavy though and only a few gunsmith in the country will touch it. Its a very nice rifle though.

A marlin 336 in 35cal would do nicely as well. I'd look for a used one with the JM stamp on it...More so id look for one without the safety.

And of course we have the semi-auto (stay far away from a used 742) and pump remington rifles. Heavy buggers for sure, but there is a lot of power and action speed in a 30-06 or 35 Whelen

Bolt actions there isn't going to be very many choices in 338 federal. Most can have the barrel rebored by JES. There are still big companies like remington, browning, winchester, etc who make some iron sight rifles in very capable cartridges. The question tends to become weight at that point as they often are 7 1/2 pounds.

Or as others said, use the 375. Good luck to you
 

rookhawk

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I should apologize or clarify in my biases against 338 Federal as I came off as ignoring that option.

I'm afraid of 338 Federal to be honest. I'm afraid its a solution that already was solved (low recoil cartridge over .308 caliber). I never buy the newest thing because I look at the 6.5 Grendel, the 6.5x284 (displaced by 6.5 creedmore), I look at the 270 and all the other WSSM cartridges that came and went. (Can't even keep track of which one is still popular and whether its the one with one S in WSM or SS in WSSM and in which bullet caliber). I look at the 17HMR mach2. (displaced by the 22LR and 17HMR) Just scores and scores of "lets see if this takes off" cartridges out there, but few survive.

The 338 Winchester is a beast, but its a proven beast. And the guns that exist in that caliber can be of quite high quality and moderate price. (Pre-64 Winchester Alaskan?) But if the goal is .338 or approximate with milder recoil, there are a lot of great choices. The 338/06 exists in many thrifty custom vintage rifles for example. But there are many nice choices, particularly in 8mm rifles from Europe also.
 

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A nice little cz550 carbine in 9.3x62....iron sights.....compact ...calibre been around for a little bit.. :E Big Grin: ...and should hang around for a lot longer....sorted :D Beers:
 

IvW

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A nice little cz550 carbine in 9.3x62....iron sights.....compact ...calibre been around for a little bit.. :E Big Grin: ...and should hang around for a lot longer....sorted :D Beers:
Now where talking.....
 

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I am a massive admirer of the .338 Winchester Magnum . I took this Ibex with a single 250 grain Nosler Partition soft nosed factory load fired from a Blaser R8 in this calibre .
256532DD-2797-40CE-944A-585845209E6E.jpeg

I am also a great admirer of the 9.3x62 mm Mauser . I have taken this Markhor with a 286 grain Nosler Partition soft nosed factory load fired from a BRNO ZKK - 600 in this calibre .
2853DF4E-D9B0-4AC4-8150-4876CAA96450.jpeg


The .338 Winchester Magnum gets my vote , however . Out of purely sentimental reasons .

Among currently manufactured rifles in .338 Winchester Magnum , my personal favorite happens to be the Winchester Model 70 .
Among currently manufactured rifles in 9.3x62 mm Mauser , my personal favorite happens to be the Zastava Model 70 . But if you happen to find a BRNO ZKK - 600 in this calibre , then snag it immediately .
 

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Thanks for all the input guys! I think I am leaning more toward a .308 after all this advice. I looked at the kimber hunter and I am leaning that way. 22" barrel so not a lot of ballistic loss but still weighs less than 7 lbs. All stainless steel and composite for future hunts that may or may not be on horseback. The more I want to go to the rugged back of beyond, the less I want to bring my blued, walnut guns... which is a paradox... because I LOVE blued steel and walnut.

I'm just going to have to install some irons on it. That is something I have done a few times and I am getting pretty good at it at this point.
 
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Hey everyone,

So My approach to firearms is to have one for every size animal, and one that could fill almost any scenario, while at the same time, keeping the arsenal to a minimum.

So I have weaned it down to these hunting rifles:

Small game (up to 20lbs)- .25 PCP air rifle pushing 45ft-lbs
Varmints/furbear - (up to 100 lbs) - .223 - CZ527 American
Medium Game - (up to 350lbs) - 6.5x55 - Ruger M77 MkII
Large Game - Anything else - .375 Ruger - Ruger M77 Guide Gun

Soo all that said, I am considering a .338 federal in a stainless gun that is lighter weight to fill the gap between the 6.5x55 and the .375ruger. While the .375 is perfect in my opinion for larger bears (My goal would be to hunt Kodiak before I die), elk and moose, It is massively overkill for smaller bears and the 6.5x55 doesn't leave a great blood trail in the fall when I hunt them and they have thick fur and lots of fat to plug up that little hole. Hence the search for a .338 federal.

I also am a big proponent of open sights. As a barrel without them just looks weird to me.

Can anyone comment on using the cartridge on medium to large animals? and if so, is there a manufacturer still making them besides savage? I like Savage but they are almost the price of a Kimber Hunter now. I would have loved a kimber 84M in .338 Fed but they stopped producing them it looks like.

Anyone think of a reason that this is unnecessary? Or does it make sense to round out the gun cabinet?
@ ChrisG
A friend of mine had a 338 Fedral and used it on game up to and including water buffalo with 185 tsxs with success.
What about the 358 Winchester. Punches well above it's weight and just works no fuss no bother.
Bob
 

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@ChrisG
All your choices, are very good.
In the medium level, I would opt for something in the range between 7-8mm, but realistacally with 6.5 you can do anything any 7mm can do.

Also, I am in full agreement with you for iron sights on hunting rifles. All my rifles have iron sights. And all my moutns are QD of some kind.

My choices are following:
Small game (up to 20lbs)- .22 lr

Varmints(up to 100 lbs) - .223 - CZ527 American - I dont do varminting, but I have some limited experience, with both, 223 rem and cz527. I would choose the same combo. I am even considering the same for my son, when he takes hunters exam. But it will be limited use, up to the size of roe deer (60 pounds, cca)

Medium Game - (up to 350lbs) - 30-06

Large Game - Anything else - I use 9.3x62 semi (boars, red deer), and my next gun will be 375 HH, on mauser type action, with main purpose for African safari.
 

CoElkHunter

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I've killed animals as big as eland and bison with my 30-06. I've killed animals as small as blue wildebeest with my 404. Objectively, there is no need whatsoever for you to fill a gap that doesn't actually exist. Which means there is no need to overthink it. If you want to get a 338 to use on moderate-sized bear, get one. It will work just fine. Won't kill them any deader than your 375 would nor would your 375 kill them too dead or kill them too fast. Accept that it is a hobby and you'd like a 338 and enjoy yourself. We only get so many heartbeats. No use wasting them trying to justify buying something you want that you can afford and that causes nobody else any harm.
+1. "We only get so many heartbeats". Perfect mantra for living life! Buy the rifle in the cartridge YOU desire and fits your budget and to he** with everything else!
 

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I am a massive admirer of the .338 Winchester Magnum . I took this Ibex with a single 250 grain Nosler Partition soft nosed factory load fired from a Blaser R8 in this calibre .
View attachment 368887
I am also a great admirer of the 9.3x62 mm Mauser . I have taken this Markhor with a 286 grain Nosler Partition soft nosed factory load fired from a BRNO ZKK - 600 in this calibre .
View attachment 368888

The .338 Winchester Magnum gets my vote , however . Out of purely sentimental reasons .

Among currently manufactured rifles in .338 Winchester Magnum , my personal favorite happens to be the Winchester Model 70 .
Among currently manufactured rifles in 9.3x62 mm Mauser , my personal favorite happens to be the Zastava Model 70 . But if you happen to find a BRNO ZKK - 600 in this calibre , then snag it immediately .
dont think there’s a ZKK in this caliber Prof. I haven’t seen one unless it’s custom built. Mine is a standard Howa 1500 To which I added a Boyd stock . It likes a 250 grain load.
 

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@ChrisG
All your choices, are very good.
In the medium level, I would opt for something in the range between 7-8mm, but realistacally with 6.5 you can do anything any 7mm can do.

Also, I am in full agreement with you for iron sights on hunting rifles. All my rifles have iron sights. And all my moutns are QD of some kind.

My choices are following:
Small game (up to 20lbs)- .22 lr

Varmints(up to 100 lbs) - .223 - CZ527 American - I dont do varminting, but I have some limited experience, with both, 223 rem and cz527. I would choose the same combo. I am even considering the same for my son, when he takes hunters exam. But it will be limited use, up to the size of roe deer (60 pounds, cca)

Medium Game - (up to 350lbs) - 30-06

Large Game - Anything else - I use 9.3x62 semi (boars, red deer), and my next gun will be 375 HH, on mauser type action, with main purpose for African safari.
I have had to good fortune to own and hunt with many different calibers and looking back there are a few that I would never have bought and others I wish I had owned sooner!
So if I’m told I’ve got 5 min to pack for a week long Non DG hunt and to expect anything from varmint Baboons to Eland and can only take 3 guns .....
6.5 Grendel- small Howa action which is what I use to teach my kids to hunt with and we have taken Blue wildebeest but it is suited to Impala sizes critters.
308 - mild .30 for kudu and smaller.
338 win mag for all other non DG Close and far. Hits hard!

DG - 458Lott.
 
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I have had to good fortune to own and hunt with many different calibers and looking back there are a few that I would never have bought and others I wish I had owned sooner!
So if I’m told I’ve got 5 min to pack for a week long Non DG hunt and to expect anything from varmint Baboons to Eland and can only take 3 guns .....
6.5 Grendel- small Howa action which is what I use to teach my kids to hunt with and we have taken Blue wildebeest but it is suited to Impala sizes critters.
308 - mild .30 for kudu and smaller.
338 win mag for all other non DG Close and far. Hits hard!

DG - 458Lott.
@John Telford
If'n it was me I'd just pack my sub MOA 35 Whelen for everything.
Not very interesting but it works for me. It would be my luck to have the wrong gun at the wrong time. If I only use the one it covers all the bases all the time.
Bob
 
 

 

 

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