Long range rifle, 338lap vs .50


July 7, 2006, 09:50 PM
I was just shopping for a nice .50cal rifle when Icame across the .338 lap.

From waht I can find (mostly on sites dedicated to that cal) if pretty much outperforms the 50..

So what's the rifle to go with here of the two for a long range rifle?

I'm sure ammo for either isn't cheap, but a nice long range rifle is exactly what I need to have.

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Zak Smith
July 7, 2006, 10:33 PM
Define what you want to accomplish, and we can advise you.

Part of the question is what do you consider "long range." Both are sort of overkill trajectory-wise for anything under about 800-1000 yards. There are smaller calibers which perform practically as well out to 1000-1200, but are much cheaper and less punishing to shoot.

I have owned both.

The primary advantage of the 50BMG is the "payload" bullets (AP, API, M8 Incendiary, Tracer), IMO. It can launch a 1.05 BC bullet at 2600-2700fps, which will have less wind drift that almost anything else. It will be supersonic to 2000 yards in most cases. Recoil can be punishing if the gun fits you poorly, and even if it fits you well it is dramatic. A good brake is mandatory and the blast is also punishing. Match bullets are at least $1.25 for the bullet alone, and reloading is the only way to shoot 50 BMG "affordably." The rifles are generally in the 25-35 lb range for weight, and are usually 55-65" long. They are not rifles you can carry around.

The 338 Lapua shoots a 0.77 BC bullet at 2600-2700fps, or a 0.675 BC bullet at 3000fps, from a 27" barrel. 338 rounds should be supersonic to 1700-1800 yards depending on conditions. Recoil with a good brake and a 15# rifle is tolerable, and I compare it to heavy 308 loads from a rifle with no brake. Muzzle blast from the brake is still bad, but not nearly as concussive as 50 BMG. The rifles are the same size and weight you expect from a 300 Win Mag, so in the 12-17 lb range for long-range rifles. They are rifles you can sling and carry around, and bring into engagement relatively quickly and from improvised positions easily. 338 match bullets cost around $0.40 a piece, so you can reload much cheaper than 50 BMG. You can load 338 Lapua on a regular press (e.g. Rockchucker) whereas 50BMG requires its own large-size press.

A McMillan 50 BMG--
http://demigod.org/~zak/DigiCam/RMFCSA-2005/small/158_5821_img.jpg (http://demigod.org/~zak/DigiCam/RMFCSA-2005/?medium=158_5821_img.jpg) [ link to LARGER image ] (http://demigod.org/~zak/DigiCam/RMFCSA-2005/?medium=158_5821_img.jpg)

A SAKO TRG-42 and AI-AWSM (both 338 Lapua)
http://apollo.demigod.org/~zak/DigiCam/338CANS/small/B100_1315_img.jpg (http://apollo.demigod.org/~zak/DigiCam/338CANS/?medium=B100_1315_img.jpg) [ link to LARGER image ] (http://apollo.demigod.org/~zak/DigiCam/338CANS/?medium=B100_1315_img.jpg)

July 7, 2006, 10:50 PM
you guys always shoot w/o hearing protection?

Zak Smith
July 7, 2006, 11:26 PM
The hearing protecting is on the muzzle.

July 7, 2006, 11:40 PM
Hey Zak, how do you feel about the .300 Win Mag for long range precision type shooting?

Someday, someway, I want to get a left handed bolt gun in .300 Win Mag, with a 24" fluted barrel and detachable box mags. Like a custom Robar SR-100, maybe.


July 7, 2006, 11:44 PM
if you wanna go long distance, and light, go 6.5 swede or 6.5 284 for some very long reach. both of these will take down most animals out to 1200. if you wanna dump a truck at these distances, i would go 338L or even the new 416 barret before the 50 bmg, they will still be resonably light(carryable) and can push over dinosaurs at 1500 yds.

Zak Smith
July 7, 2006, 11:50 PM
In the same size as 300 Win Mag, the 7 Rem Mag has better ballistics-- less wind and less drop. The 7RM is just a slightly smaller case than 300WM. Barrel life on the 7 isn't as good as the 300. The best bullet BC/velocity trade-off for the 300 is probably the 210gr Berger VLD launched at around 2900fps. The factory load of the 190 SMK @ 3000 (from a 26" AWM) leaves room for considerably improvement in terms of the B.C. In the 7, there are multiple options in the 168 - 175gr range, a popular choice being the 168gr Berger VLD (at around 3000fps from a 26").

Don't get me wrong.. the 300 is a good long-range cartridge. Making long-range hits is primarily about judging wind accurately and having rock-solid long-range trajectory data for the present rifle, ammunition, and environmental conditions. Comparisons along the lines of 7RM vs. 300WM are splitting hairs.

A lot of people think you need really powerful, overbore, or exotic calibers to shoot 1000 yards, and for most, 1000 yards is as long-range as they will ever shoot. With solid data, a 308 can make hits all day @ 1000. Even the "better" LR calibers still have wind drift, and a 5mph change or switch-up is going to cause a miss with any caliber at that distance if not accounted for.


July 8, 2006, 02:53 PM
The hearing protecting is on the muzzle.

would you say those suppressors reduce the noise of the .338L to be comperable or less than a .22LR?

Zak Smith
July 8, 2006, 04:30 PM
would you say those suppressors reduce the noise of the .338L to be comperable or less than a .22LR?
Yes, a .22LR is a good comparison. Even when I shoot with the suppressors on, I normally wear earplugs, even if they are my marginally-effective molded ones. You can shoot (and we do) with the suppressor and no ears repeatedly without ringing, but it sometimes it is a little more than I prefer.

In these large magnum cartridges up to 50BMG, the trade-off with the suppressor is essentially no blast, report comparable to 22LR, but a little more recoil, compared to one of the effective muzzle brakes (e.g. AI, TRG, Armalite). The brakes have less recoil because they truely redirect blast out the sides, while the suppressors contain and delay the gas movement.

July 8, 2006, 06:01 PM
yeah, then that's the same as with my suppressors. i was just curious cause i know you've got some cool toys and i didn't know if the cans you had were much better and reduced the sound to a degree that would actually make it comfortable to shoot sans muffs/plugs.

it's also interesting that you're saying the suppressor on a large cal has a little more recoil compared to the brake. i was told by someone that if i put one of the 50bmg suppressors on my barrett, that it would actually have much less recoil and none of the concussion. i decided not to because without the concussion and recoil, watching new shooters pull the trigger the first time (with a big goofy grin) wouldn't be nearly as entertaining. :) (oh, and 50 cans are absurdly expensive).

i sorta took their word for it, since i couldn't test it myself, but it never made sense to me. so i'm glad to hear you say it has more recoil.

Zak Smith
July 8, 2006, 07:31 PM
Here is an AI-AW50 with a 50BMG JET suppressor.
http://demigod.org/~zak/DigiCam/TACPRO-2005/small/166_6611_img.jpg (http://demigod.org/~zak/DigiCam/TACPRO-2005/?medium=166_6611_img.jpg) [ link to LARGER image ] (http://demigod.org/~zak/DigiCam/TACPRO-2005/?medium=166_6611_img.jpg)

July 8, 2006, 09:43 PM
Buddy of mine just had a 7 Dakota built up in an XP handgun. Nice thing about the 7mm is the good bullet BC's/SD's. He's shooting the new 200 gr. Wildcat bullet that has a BC of +/- 0.8 @ 2700 fps. mv. 1st shot at a 1000 yd. tgt. was within 8 " of center from a 200 yd. zero. That particular bullet out of a big 26-28" barrel will certainly be real close to 3000 fps still has over 1600 ft.lbs. of energy @ 1000. Take a look at some of the big 33's shooting the 300 Sierra MK. Some guys are also going to the 408 Cheytac, and having some awe-inspiring results.



July 8, 2006, 09:49 PM
Hi, RayDog!

Good lookin' rifle.

July 9, 2006, 02:19 AM
Hey Zak,
How does the suppressor affect the groupings of your bullets? Do you have a different POI without the suppressor?

July 9, 2006, 03:06 AM
Does anyone have opinions on the Remington UltraMags
On paper, the 338 RUM is comparable to the Lapua
and the 300 surpasses the 300 Win Mag
How are either of these in the 1000 yard realm?

Zak Smith
July 9, 2006, 09:12 PM

With a good suppressor, the group size is either not affected, or improved. The POI will shift depending on the stiffness of the barrel and the suppressor weight. On my 24" 308 (semi-bull profile), there is no shift. On my 26" Palma barrel, it drops about a half a mil.


The 338 RUM is very comparable to the Lapua. A main advantage I see of the Lapua is brass quality. It is also a NATO standard cartridge for ammunition commonality.


Will Learn
July 9, 2006, 09:40 PM
If I had the money.http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2524943376329625180&q=sniper+rifle

50 Shooter
July 10, 2006, 01:01 AM
The .408 Cheytac is nice but I would be surprised if it was still around in 5 years.

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