.338 Win Mag velocities for deer?


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Craigman
October 20, 2010, 09:42 AM
I just picke up a X-Bolt in 338 win mag and i want to become familiar with this gun for hunting. I plan on using it on Whitetail in a month or so. My question is what velocity should i be pushing this to? I dont want tons of meat damage and I always aim for the vitals, but know the shot situation is not always perfect and usually just "happens"

I hunt on an orchard with rolling hills and woods, and shots are anywhere from 50 to 250yds. Usually i just set up where i think the deer are going to be moving.

I have available:
250gn RN interlock, 200gn SP interlock, and 210gn
IMR 4831, IMR 4895, IMR 3031, Varget, H4350

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Sunray
October 20, 2010, 09:52 AM
The 338 Win Mag is too much gun for deer. Not required for any game in North America. However, I'd go with the 200's with whatever load gives you the best accuracy. Varget doesn't use as big of a shovel full of powder with a 200.

Craigman
October 20, 2010, 10:06 AM
maybe i should have said What should i "Limit" the velocity to. I know it can be "too much" for deer but if you ask 3 people you can get 3 different answers. I"m basically just trying to make the bullet Not explode and make tons of bloodshot meat w high velocity.

Buck Snort
October 20, 2010, 10:08 AM
sunray wrote: "The 338 Win Mag is too much gun for deer. Not required for any game in North America."

Amen to that. My father used to take'm with a .257 Roberts.

Water-Man
October 20, 2010, 10:22 AM
I'd use a 225gr. bullet with a velocity around 2500-2600 fps. I am NOT recommending this caliber for deer.

mbogo
October 20, 2010, 10:51 AM
Reports of meat damage have more to do with bullet placement than the cartridge used. I shot a pronghorn with my .300Wby and 150gr. Hornady soft-points and did not destroy any meat except for a 2" circle around the entrance hole in the rib.

Pick up a box of Federal Premium loaded with 210gr. Nosler Partitions.

Zero the gun 1" high at 100yds.

Shoot the deer just behind the shoulder.

Go gut your deer.

mbogo

Arkansas Paul
October 20, 2010, 10:53 AM
I don't recall the OP asking if the .338 was a suitable caliber for deer, though that seems to be what everyone wants to jump in and tell him. It's his rifle, his money and his shoulder.

As for the meat damage, the bullet you choose will have more to do with that than the caliber. The worst case of meat damage I've ever seen was caused by a .223. Two things cause meat damage. High velocity and bullets that expand very rapidly. And shot placement of course. Load it at the bottom of the scale and don't shoot it in the eatin parts as Art would say.

Happy hunting!

Craigman
October 20, 2010, 11:06 AM
Thanks mbogo and AKpaul...

ill try the low end of the book with... fast powder? I pretty much have all the ranges of calibers in my safe, but just wanted to "try this one out" .....just because!

Im under the impression that big/slower bullets are good for less damage, but is this just limited to 45/70 and the such in the 1500fps range? Ive shot deer with a 25-06 and 30-06, and just wanted to try something new.

kludge
October 20, 2010, 11:22 AM
I'd go with the 200gr Interlock at ~2600fps with IMR4895.

wombat13
October 20, 2010, 11:54 AM
I don't recall the OP asking if the .338 was a suitable caliber for deer, though that seems to be what everyone wants to jump in and tell him. It's his rifle, his money and his shoulder.

As for the meat damage, the bullet you choose will have more to do with that than the caliber. The worst case of meat damage I've ever seen was caused by a .223. Two things cause meat damage. High velocity and bullets that expand very rapidly. And shot placement of course. Load it at the bottom of the scale and don't shoot it in the eatin parts as Art would say.

Happy hunting!
+1 to the above, except IMHO you can feel free to load it to book velocity. My FIL hunts whitetail with his .338WM using Winchester Ballistic Silvertip factory ammo. He's been using that rifle for the last four years, taking multiple deer each year and has never lost much if any meat to bullet damage. Here's the data on the round he uses:

http://www.winchester.com/Products/rifle-ammunition/supreme/ballistic-silvertip/Pages/SBST338.aspx

It's 200 grains and the muzzle velocity is 2,950 fps.

I was in the stand with him opening day two years ago. I used his rifle to take a doe at about 70 yards. I drilled her through both lungs. DRT, no meat damage. He took another doe at about 50 yards head on. He shot her in the center of her chest, she flipped over backward, drt, no meat damage. (Yes, I realize that even with a .338WM there isn't enough momentum to cause the deer to flip over. I'm just telling you what I saw).

As others have said, stories of meat damage with magnum rifles are overstated. The only meat damage I've ever had was with a shotgun slug fired at 1,700 fps. The deer was quartering away. The slug went through the lungs and hit the shoulder. I lost a good bit of shoulder meat.

MEHavey
October 20, 2010, 11:59 AM
Try this regime...
(Slow moving TrailBoss loads)

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/archive/index.php/t-16043.html

Unfortunately you are betwixt & between with the 338.

A nice 308Win would give you good bullet choice/mid-velocity 30 caliber performance up & down for thin-skin white tail; and the 45-70 (or even low-loaded 458) would work in the slow-moving freight train class.

The Trail Boss concept might find you middle ground (out to ~125 yards point blank), and even serve you at longer ranges if you establish range "register" points like artillerists do. :)

Very limited bullet choice in the 338 class/those low velocities is going to require specific shot placement as you ain't gonna get much expansion. :uhoh:

JimKirk
October 20, 2010, 12:22 PM
I don't think you'll find many varmint bullets in .338, most .338 bullets are designed for larger game than deer. I don't think you'll have problems with the bullets expanding too fast, I would worry more about them not expanding enough on smaller(for the .338) game like deer.

Jimmy K

dogrunner
October 20, 2010, 12:36 PM
Last deer I shot with mine was a W.va 5 point at about 120 yards. The angle of the shot was approximately 30degrees down into a steep hollow.

Impact point was a bit higher than I intended & on the point of the left shoulder. That deer flipped completely upside down and landed with his hind legs spread, entirely on his back. Meat damage was actually far less than my usual '06 hpbt Sierra concoction.

.338 load was the Accubond 225 over 70.0 IMR 4350..........Out of my BAR it chrono's at about 2800.

I truly believe that the amount of meat damage incurred is more one of bullet selection than of velocity, sure those high speed very light bullets leave one godawful wound, but penetration is what kills. Once saw a friend nail a caribou in the neck at about 200 with a .222 mag.. Heckava neck wound that utterly failed to drop it, bullet literally exploded............another fellow killed that poor thing with a Garand.....DRT!

cougar1717
October 20, 2010, 02:49 PM
Caliber choice aside, how much velocity is really a secondary question. The first priority should be to get an acceptably accurate load. The problem with a lot of magnum calibers is that they need a lot of pressure to be accurate. My first choice would be your 210gr bullets with IMR 4831. If this combo has too much kick or percussion (or you can't shoot it enough to work up this load thoroughly - believe me, I understand) you might want to try downloading using published loads with your 4895. If that is still not working, it might be worth it to try IMR 4759.
338 bullets are usually pretty tough, since it's really more of a thicker skinned game caliber - so there's that element as well.

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