I'm headed back to Alaska next fall and have made up my mind on taking a 338 Win Mag. What I haven't made my mind up about is rifle make/model.
Anyone have any recommendations? Bolt or semi. Prefer stainless / Synthetic. I load my own as well.
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May 23, 2012, 12:16 PM
338 Win is alot of gun. If you are going to be in brown bear country you could make a case for it though, I like the Browning BAR, super quick follow up shot and the automatic would take the edge off of the 338 mags recoil.
May 23, 2012, 12:21 PM
I have a Browning BAR in 338WM.
I like to load hot, and the gas regulator in the BAR is not adjustable.
I have built the regulators from scratch, but what is much easier is to buy one for $14 and drill it out.
I think the 338WM is only different from the 7mmRM [.066"] and 300WM [.077"] in that the 338 hole is .059".
My home made one is .078".
You could buy an extra 338 regulator for $14, and drill it out with at 1/16" drill, and you would have .062".
That would be a start to tuning your hot ammo and your gas hole to ejecting the empty cases 5'.
AK Gun Man 88
May 23, 2012, 12:55 PM
USMC...I have a Thompson Center Venture 338 WM. I really like...the bolt is smooth...handles great...and the synthetic stock absorbs recoil pretty well...I bougth mine specifically for Kodiak Brownies...the best part about this rifle is I only spent $500 brand new from T/C...you get a really great gun for not that much money
May 23, 2012, 01:35 PM
The general consensus is that a 338 is not any better than a heavy loaded 30-06. If you don't feel comortable with a 30-06 with 220 gr bullets the next step up that is any more effective is 375 mag.
A good read here but it takes a while to load.
The results of this study have been repeated several times by others with almost the exact conclusions.
I wouldn't go to Alasksa without a stainless/synthetic CRF rifle. 30-06 would be my chambering and Ruger or Winchester would be the rifle.
May 23, 2012, 02:39 PM
"The general consensus is that a 338 is not any better than a heavy loaded 30-06. If you don't feel comortable with a 30-06 with 220 gr bullets the next step up that is any more effective is 375 mag."
I would disagree with that statement. The link is to a paper on bear protection based on recoil calculations, penetration testing at 15 feet from the 1980's using arbitrary loads. Even with the specificity of the study and lack of comparable loads across calibers the 338WM still had all five of its loads that were tested in the top ten of all cartridge load combinations tested. When it comes to real hunting situations & conditions the 338 is superior on large and potentially dangerous game.
I have hunted and still use all three calibers you mention (and a few others).
I would recommend a Ruger All-Weather.
May 23, 2012, 02:51 PM
I have a Winchester Model 70 in 338 that I really like. They have a stainless model out called the Alaskan. :D
May 23, 2012, 04:24 PM
I have a Winchester 338 cal. Model 70 with controlled round feeding - circa 1995.
The gun is very heavy (about 11 pounds scoped) and I would not want to lug it around all day. The recoil is HUGE and it is hard for me to shoot more than 4 or 5 rounds at a sitting. I don't shoot it well since I know the big shoulder busting recoil is about to punish me when I pull the trigger.
Bring the biggest gun you can confortably carry and shoot well. For me, the 338 is not the right gun.
May 23, 2012, 04:31 PM
I gotta go with Clark's suggestion. I lived in Alaska for three years, shot a lotta game with my old M/70 '06, but had I the option at that time I'd have picked up a Browning in .338.............I have one now, use mostly 225 accuabonds in it....minute of angle gun & really reliable. (talk about a one shot deer killer!!!)
Why the .338, and why the autoloader.......well, till you've walked up on very fresh pie plate sized grizzly tracks that're dry in heavy rain in heavy alder you cannot know!
Insofar as Clark's suggestion goes, the newer Browning's don't have the bleeder cut plugs....mine's a new liteweight model....I also have an older rifle of that mfg in '06 that does and it's been very forgiving with my oddball reloads. My newer liteweight '06 will digest nearly everything it's fed......mostly stiff 4350 165's...still, if I was going back to the most beautiful land I have ever seen my call would be that .338!
May 23, 2012, 05:36 PM
My favorite elk rifle is a Ruger M77 Mark 2, stainless synthetic, in .338. It would be perfect for hunting in Alaska. I put a Leupold VX2 3-9X40 on it since it has really long eye relief. The only thing that bugs me is that the magazine only holds 3 rounds. This particular rifle really likes Federal factory ammo with the 250 gr. partition.