338 win mag vs 300 win mag


March 19, 2009, 07:38 PM
Looking for the pro's and con's of each caliber. This will be my only magnum rifle. I will be going mostly for deer, boar occasional elk. I do have a 30-06 & 308 so I have the deer thing covered The rifles I have chosen are,

Tikka Whitetail Hunter 338 Win mag
Winchester Model 70 300 Win mag

Any thoughts on the rifles would be great to.

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Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
March 19, 2009, 08:23 PM
If you've got two .30 cals, this one is easy - go for the bigger boomer with a heavier bullet, just in case you go after something BIG - get the .338 WM.

March 19, 2009, 08:24 PM
I do not have any experience with the tikka but I do have both calibers.
.338 Browning A-bolt
.300wm Ruger
I personally prefer my .300 but it has a lot of other features. As far as the calibers go I prefer the .300 My question is where do you do your deer hunting if it is Texas South texas deer are much more resiliant than Hill country deer and the size of hogs you plan to shoot is also a consideration.

March 19, 2009, 08:29 PM
the bigger the better, never know when those critters will be wearing their body armor...I am tired of my 30-06 rounds bouncing right off those stubborn deer and boar...:neener:

better yet, opt for this beast...:D


March 19, 2009, 11:21 PM
i am a huge fan of both cartridges, but i like the 338 win mag for all around versatility the most.

not a fan of tikkas, though. so, if it were me and the only 338 option were a tikka, i'd go ahead and get the winchester and lay in wait for another opportunity at a 338...

March 19, 2009, 11:31 PM
Among the guys I know here in my part of Colorado, the 300 Win mag is very popular and highly regarded. But, no one says anything bad about the 338 either. There just is not nearly as many of them in use among the guys I know.

March 19, 2009, 11:33 PM
I agree. Go with .338 Winchester since you already have the .30-cal area covered. With 200 gr. Nosler Ballistic (Silver) Tips, the .338 actually shoots relatively flat. With 250 gr. Partitions, you're good for the biggest moose (meese?) or bears Alaska can throw at you.

Ammo is pretty expensive, though.

March 21, 2009, 10:35 PM
If there's any chance you'd ever go for moose or the big alaksan bears, the .338 woud be the way to go. If there's a 0% chance of that, go with the .300 less recoil and a flatter trajectory.

March 21, 2009, 10:41 PM
I have both in ruger all weather and ruger 06 as well. I personaly haven't noticed that much dif between the 06 and 300 on elk. The 338 seems to hit them harder maybe not as flat shooting as 300 but when your used to 06 balstics its pretty much the same. If it was me I would get the 338.

March 22, 2009, 09:55 AM
First let me acknowledge that I'm not exactly addressing the question - that said, FWIW:

I have a .300 Win Mag and it's an excellent elk rifle, up to and including long range shots pushing the limits of most hunters' ability. Plus, given the primary importance of bullet placement, and assuming the shooters ability to achieve that, both the 30-06 and .308 are also adequate elk calibers 99% of the time. I've hunted and killed many elk with a .270 Win. using Jack O'Connor's favorite elk load and never felt under-gunned.

So, to the point (though again more to mine rather than to the OP's). I'd go with a .375H&H rather than the .338. A .375H&H with a 210gr. high performance bullet is a great mid-long range elk caliber and can also be used for deer, though the smaller the animal the more paramount placement becomes from a meat standpoint.

However, with a larger bullet, the .375H&H is a more effective large/dangerous game caliber than the .338 - you never know when that once-in-a-lifetime Alaskan bear hunting or African safari opportunity will arise; and if you want to have only one medium-bore rifle you're more prepared with the .375H&H. NOT that the .338 isn't a very good caliber, it is - I'm just saying that if I were making this decision I'd lean toward the .375H&H. - "just in case".

I'm no expert, but anytime you limit your own options - and we all do, out of choice, necessity or whatever - I think you want to extend those limits as far as possible within your means.

March 22, 2009, 10:01 AM
I'd agree with Elgin. You've already got the Lower 48 covered, assuming you're waiting for clean shots.

Redneck with a 40
March 22, 2009, 10:14 AM
Call me a wimp, but the 338 win mag with 250 grain bullets generates about 40 ft lbs of recoil, no thanks!:p I'll stick with my .308 and about 15 ft lbs recoil.:D It'll easily take any deer or elk out to 250 yards, which is about all my shooting ability is capable of.

My dad hunted bear in Alaska with a .338 win mag, back in the 70's. After 5 rounds at the range, he was done for the day, pounds you're shoulder. With a muzzle break, it'd be a lot more tolerable.

Since the OP already has an '06 and .308, might as well go with the .338.

Art Eatman
March 22, 2009, 11:20 AM
I don't see the .300 WinMag as all that big a step up from the '06. From what I've read, folks who hunt Nilghai down on the King Ranch speak highly of the .338. I don't see why the .338 wouldn't be a good "one-gun" deal for an Alaskan hunt.

March 22, 2009, 12:29 PM
Art, I don't disagree one bit - to a certain extent this is a subjective Ford vs. Chevy discussion since there are legitimate arguments for all the good and thoughtful opinions expressed so far in this thread; and it probably has a lot more to do with personal preference, sentiment, etc. than it does with real-life differences.

While I agree 100% that the .338 Win Mag would be a thoroughly acceptable "one-gun" deal on an Alaskan hunt - it just wouldn't be the one gun I would take.

As an anecdotal experience however, I do have a good friend who hunts a lot in a lot of different places - he bought a brand new .338 Win Mag for his first Alaskan bear hunt, then found when he got to the outfitter's headquarters that they much preferred - as in required under all but the most unique circumstances - their hunters use at least a .375H&H. Obviously he should have checked into it a little further, but he didn't since he's a very busy guy, it was his first Alaskan bear hunt and he tends to act first and worry later anyway. As it turned out, they allowed him to hunt with the .338, but he had to pass a very stringent shooting/accuracy test before they did.

I'm not saying every Alaskan outfitter has that stipulation, but this one did and my friend only goes first class, so they would have been top-tier outfitters.

Again I don't think the OP can go wrong with a .338 Win Mag either.

FWIW I think either rifle will work, but this tends to be a personal preference deal too - there are another dozen rifles (or two or three) in that general price range out there that will do the job just fine. You could spend a bunch more money and not get that much more rifle, but again FWIW, try as many as you can, buy the one that fits you best and spend the extra money on the very highest quality optics you can reasonably afford.

March 22, 2009, 12:52 PM
Having a .338 Win will allow you to hunt confidently for anything in North America and 95% of all other animals around the world. However the .338 will kick the snot out of your shoulder at the bench. I would advise having a gunsmith put a decelerator pad and a quality muzzle brake on your rifle.

March 22, 2009, 12:59 PM

I've got a Tikka Whitetail in .338 Winchester magnum. It's an excellent firearm and has served me well. I don't have a .300 Winchester magnum, but I have had people tell me that if anything they think the .338 has less percieved recoil. I did have a decelerator pad put on my Tikka though. It doesn't have a muzzle brake and I don't think it needs one either.

Oh, just to clear up any doubt from the nit-pickers, my standard load is a 225 grain bullet exiting the muzzle at 2900 fps. Which the very useful table in Hornady 6th, vol II states develops just slightly over 4200 ft lbs of energy. Which also means there's a little recoil impulse there.


March 22, 2009, 01:29 PM
I actually hunt on and around the King Ranch quite a bit. The newest trend down here is towards the wsm's. I agree that the .338 will be a heck of a rifle and suite what he has listed. I still think his location and what he is planning on using the rifle for should primarily determine which caliber. Also the if the OP is considering Africa/Alaska down the road I would strongly reccomend the .338 however if elk is the extent of his large game hunting I personally lean more towards the .300.

March 22, 2009, 03:10 PM
[QUOTE]The 338 seems to hit them harder maybe not as flat shooting as 300 but when your used to 06 balstics its pretty much the same.

Actually, the .338 Winchester is every bit as flat shooting as the .300 Winchester and, in some cases, even flatter when using the same bullets. I would certainly agree that there is no practical differences between the two when it comes to comparing trajectories.

March 22, 2009, 10:48 PM
I don't see the .300 WinMag as all that big a step up from the '06. From what I've read, folks who hunt Nilghai down on the King Ranch speak highly of the .338. I don't see why the .338 wouldn't be a good "one-gun" deal for an Alaskan hunt.
When I guided down there the camp Nilgai rifles were 300 Win Mags and they did their part IF the hunter was a good shot. I personally think the 338 Win Mag would be a much better choice-I've seen several Nilgai shake off solid, almost certainly fatal hits long enough to run into the brush and disappear-and those critters will run forever :P

March 23, 2009, 12:04 AM
Since the Nilgai are few and far between here in Eastern Oregon, I've never hunted or shot one. That said, after a little research they don't appear to be any bigger - if as big - as the Rocky Mountain elk we hunt around here, and while they might be as tough I doubt they're any tougher.

Plus, though Texas is for sure dry country, it's just as dry here, so the kill/wound hydraulics are essentially the same. My point is, with the proper bullet placement you'll kill the same animal - E.G., nilgai or elk - just as fast with a .300 Win Mag as you will with a .338 Win Mag. There simply won't be that much difference in terminal ballistics on the same type of animal assuming a good shooter and proper bullet placement.

High Desert Hunter
September 7, 2009, 12:36 AM
I wouldn't hesitate to use my 300 Win Mag on anything North America has to offer, I have a nice grizzly bear rug courtesy of my 300. My buddy shot a bear on the same hunt with his 338 and 250gr bullets, didn't kill his slightly smaller bear any quicker than the one I shot with 200gr bullet. Shot placement and bullet design have more bearing IMHO.

September 7, 2009, 01:40 AM
First let me say that I find the Winchester M70 to be a much nicer rifle...but the .300WM is not that much better than the .30-06...so I will completely ignore the question and answer: CZ 550 chambered in .375H&H...with ballistics almost identical to your .30-06. :)

September 7, 2009, 02:45 AM
I'm a little out of place in this thread as '06 is the upper end of the power spectrum in my book. I will note out of hand that if you already have other .30's you should go ahead and move up to the .338.

September 7, 2009, 03:04 AM
"...I do have a 30-06 & 308..." You have every game animal in North America covered too, including big bears with a change of bullet. Unless you just want a magnum. Magnums of any kind are a lot of heavy felt recoil and muzzle blast and are popular due to years of excellent marketing. Shot next to a young buck shooting a .338 one time. The muzzle blast nearly knocked me off the bench.
"...Obviously he should have checked into it a little further..." Starting with a different outfitter. A .375 H&H is required in Africa for dangerous game, but there's nothing in North America, including big bears, that needs it.
TexasEd, if you insist on having a magnum, go with the .300. Factory ammo is a bit less expensive and it's available everywhere.

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