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.338...Too much?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Glock19Fan, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. Glock19Fan

    Glock19Fan Well-Known Member

    I have decided that my next gun is most likely going to be a rifle, especially something for long range accuracy. I have always wanted a .30-06, but mainly becuase of its sentimental value from my childhood (my grandpa owned one and I was always fascinated by it). Lately I have been looking into a .338. A 300 grain bullet going 2800 FPS sounds VERY impressive. However, im not sure if it is right for me.

    I want my rifle to fill the role of a sub 1MOA rifle, accurate out to roughly 1000 yards, and have significant power. I know that the .308 could probably do this, but I want something with a little more power.

    Recoil of the .338 is a concern. From what ive heard around here, it is extremely punishing to shoot. Is that true?

    Also, what can I expect to pay for the rifle and the ammo? I really dont want to go too overboard on the price, since I recent spent over $1000 on my AR. Say $600-$800?

    Any additional info, especially personal experience is greatly appreciated!

  2. BruceB

    BruceB Well-Known Member

    From the tone of your post, I gather you haven't owned a "sporting" rifle yet (?).

    If such is the case, the .338 is NOT a good choice, but your first thought about the .30-06 does make some sense.

    The '06 is perfectly capable on game up through moose and elk, providing it's fed the appropriate ammunition (meaning bullet TYPE and weight) for the job at hand. I've used it on such critters with perfect success.

    NO rifle is 1000-yard capable on game, in my book, and I don't give one thin damn what the long-range-"hunting" cult says. If your rifle will be a hunting rifle, practice out to 300 yards or so, and HUNT to get a lot closer to your game than that.

    Recoil of the .338 for a newbie is definitely a concern, but the '06 is not a creampuff either. Any rifle delivering serious "power" is going to recoil, and you'll have to get used to it (practice!). Your AR is verily a maiden's kiss, compared to a good big-game hunting cartridge and rifle.

    I have many good rifles on hand, but last year an acquaintance needed money and to help him out I bought his left-handed Savage 116 for $300 (I am left-handed). This rifle opened my eyes a bit, as it is the most-accurate out-of-the-box hunting rifle I've owned in fifty years of owning rifles. You can buy one well inside your proposed budget, INCLUDING a decent scope sight. Not pretty, with its stainless steel and black stock, but good Lord, it shoots...like, under 1/2" for three rounds from 100 yards, time after time! It just happens to be a .338 (grin).

    I strongly recommend a Savage, in your circumstances. Used ones can be had very inexpensively, and if you buy a package deal with scope from Wal-mart, sell the cheapo scope and add a decent sight....then, you're all set. I hope you're a handloader, or intend to be. This is addictive, and handloading's the way to enjoy the addiction with less financial pain.

    Best of good shooting to you.
  3. Geno

    Geno Well-Known Member

    Agreed--I used to own the Remington 700 Classic .338 Win Mag.

    Mine was more punishing because it had a classic stock. Get a good stock, like a Weatherby vanguard and the recoil decreases considerably. Also, with a Weatherby, you get a target inside each box. You know before you buy how accurate it is. I always hand-loaded. The .338 and the 300 gr, bullet really are not a good match...rather a pumpkin.

    I agree completely re: 1,000 yards shots. I practiced near daily at 500+ yards with my Mark V for many years. I shot 1 deer with a .300 Wea. Mag. at 525 yards in 1988. I hit it first round, and 2nd round. But, at that range, even the venerable .300 Wea. loses considerable steam! Unless you shoot that condition near daily, DO NOT TRY IT! And I would NEVER try that shot with a .30-06. They are good, but not THAT powerful.

    Dozens of rifles you can choose from. Good luck and let us know what you choose.

  4. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Well-Known Member

    Bruce, I am not entirely sure he wants it for hunting. The gist I got was that he was looking for a long range target rifle and considering the .338 Lapua.

    I have no experience with the Lapua but I have a couple shots through a 30 inch barreled .338 RUM, which should duplicate it ballistically. Offhand it isn't bad, even from a 9 or 10 pound rifle pushing a 225 gr SP out at over 3200 fps, but from a bench or prone over an extended shooting period, it could be worse.

    From the sounds of what you're willing to spend, I think you would be better off just getting a Remington VSS or heavy barreled Savage in .308 and putting the best scope you can on it. The rifle and ammunition will be cheaper, the recoil will be less, and when you have gotten good with it you will have progressed your shooting skills to the point where you will know what you like and don't like in a long range rifle set up, and will be able to handle and better utilize the .338.
  5. ALS

    ALS Well-Known Member

    I have a Blaser in 300 Win Mag with a muzzle brake and I can tell you after 20 to 30 rounds the joy of shooting the gun starts to wain.
    Make sure the gun fits you and is comfortable to shoot. Nothing is worse than a poor fitting gun.
  6. LHB1

    LHB1 Well-Known Member

    Many years ago I built and shot a .338 Mag. It was a real warhorse. A VP friend later bought it for a bear hunt in Alaska. That is it's real forte. As a target gun, it has WAY TOO MUCH RECOIL!! IIRC the .338 has about 40 lbs of recoil compared to the .30-06's 20-22 lbs. So it is twice the recoil of the .30-06. For your criteria, perhaps the 7mm-06, 7mm Mag, .308, or .30-06 would be better candidates. Would suggest you forget about 1000 yard shooting until you get some experience shooting high power rifles at 100-300 yards.

    Good shooting and be safe.
  7. bowfin

    bowfin Well-Known Member

    /*The gist I got was that he was looking for a long range target rifle and considering the .338 Lapua.*/

    Okay, that makes sense. I was wondering how Glock19Fan was figuring to get 2,800 fps with a 300 grain bullet out of a .338 Winchester Magnum.

    /*I want my rifle to fill the role of a sub 1MOA rifle, accurate out to roughly 1000 yards,*/

    Glock19 Fan,

    That is describing more the shooter, than the rifle. It might be harder to find a 1,000 yard range and a 1,000 yard shooter than finding a 1,000 yard rifle.

    Either a .300 Winchester Magnum or a .338 Lapua could fill this niche. But it takes a lot of bullets downrange just to be able to hit at 500-600 yards, so you might want to consider the cost of ammunition, either factory or reloading.
  8. phonesysphonesys

    phonesysphonesys Well-Known Member

    If you want a gun for targets only I would recomend a 308 or 300 Winchester. Remington 700's are the basis for sniper and 1000 yard competition. If you want a large caliber rifle, look at 325 Winchester Short Magnum. It is very close to a 338. It has very good down range ballistics. Bullet weights run 150 to 220 grains. Handloading will tailor your ammo to what you are doing. I am very impressed with mine. Winchester and Browning come in this caliber.

    Have fun. You now have choices.

  9. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Well-Known Member

    I apologize for picking this apart, but the .325 WSM is suitable for big game hunting at limited ranges, not 1000 yard shooting. For one, the bullet options in 8mm caliber (of which there are about 4) are all hunting type expanding or plinking-grade FMJ, non made to the precision standards or high B.C.'s of the .308 and .338" match bullets. Secondly, the top loads in the .325 WSM are roughly equal to middle of the road .338 WM loads and well below the light loads in .338 RUM or .338 Lapua, which will translate to a less than optimal trajectory for 1000 yard shooting. Lastly, the rifle would have to be completely custom; the production rifles chambering the .325 WSM are light-contour sporting rifles, not bench guns. Fine for an Alaskan guide, not so good for a competitive shooter.

    To the original question, you are not going to get a rifle that will be competitive at 1000 yards for $800. For that matter, you'll be hard pressed to even find an $800 gun in .338 Lapua. You might be able to pull off some decent groups with a .300 WM or .300 RUM Savage in that price range, but if you're serious about long-range shooting, you'll have to spend serious money to accel at it. As to the recoil of a .338, it's relative. In a sporting-weight rifle (7-9 pounds), the .338 Lapua or .338 RUM are fairly brutal. But in a heavyweight bench gun with a good recoil pad and a muzzle break, a teenage cheerleader could shoot it all day and smile.

    Don't mean to discourage, but the reality of long-range rifle shooting is that it takes a whole lot of two things: dedication and money.
  10. Glock19Fan

    Glock19Fan Well-Known Member

    Thanks everyone!

    I have been looking into .308 and .30-06 rifles, but I just dont think they would have enough power. I know they can be capable of the long range hits, but they just dont have the power that I want.

    I have also been looking into a .50BMG, and although the gun is expensive ($1500-$2000 for a single shot), the ammo doesnt seem that bad and it can reach out much farther, assuming I have a decent gun and glass.

    Maybe I should just get a .308 or .30-06, practice with it for a while, then sell it and get something bigger?

    BTW I am not intending on hunting past a few hundred yards, 300 at the most. I just want something I can pull off 1000 yards shots with.

    Anyway, thanks everyone!

    PS MMM- stop by the "Temple" sometime. ;)
  11. Strongbad

    Strongbad Well-Known Member

    Let me start off by saying that I shoot the rifle you described. A 338 pushing 300 gr. bullets at 2800 fps.

    Now, with that out of the way, if you have to ask about the recoil then it's probably too much (and I mean that in a nice way). I consider the recoil from my 338/378 "stout" and it's a 12.5 lb gun. Do I love it? Yes, I love that gun more than any other gun I own. I've also put over 1000 rounds through it, so I've become well acquainted with it and the recoil. It's not for the faint of recoil or the beginner. Also, it's a little late to decide you don't like it after you've purchased the rifle. :)

    Fortunately, and unfortunately, this is all moot. It can't be done (properly anyway) within the confines of the price range you mentioned. If you want a gun with adequate power and range to do what you're talking about, and would like something bigger than the 308, just because you want something bigger (something I wholeheartedly support) I'm going to recommend the 300 RUM 1st or 300 Win 2nd (preferably a Sendero or if you like, a Savage). You're pretty much price limited to those two chamberings anyway. Yes, the 300 Win Mag is a proven round with a solid track record but IMHO the 300 RUM is everything the 300 Win Mag is and more (once again, just my opinion). At the very least, the decision would probably be between those two. The other gentlemen mentioned the 325 WSM which would be a hell of a round, but I think the 300's are going to fit your bill better due to bullet selection.

    If do decide you want to go the magnum route, then I also strongly suggest you get in to reloading. Not only will it save you a fair amount of money, but it really increases your flexibility because you can do things like load lighter ammo for practice, then work up to stouter loads.

    Now, before you do anything you need to find a friend with a 300 Win or RUM and shoot it and see what you can handle. You might decide that it's just too much and you want to go the 30/06 route or 308 route. That's up to you, but you need to try them to make sure you can handle them and like them. The whole magnum thing isn't for everyone.

    Sorry if this jumped around, that's the A.D.D. kicking in. Hopefully it makes sense.
  12. rangerruck

    rangerruck Well-Known Member

    unless you reload, 338 will break your bank, if you do go 338, get a Lapua mag. Again pocket cleaning. a muzzle break and a good recoil pad is a MUST! 30.06 with some 175 to 185 grnrs will get you 1000 yds, and be much cheaper, plus your chiropracter bill will go way down. get a 24 or 26 or even 28 in bbl. these will be fine.
  13. Rem700SD

    Rem700SD Well-Known Member

    If you have a budget, the .338 Lapua is not for you. Brass alone is $2.00, each bullet is $.70. That said, with a clam shell type muzzle break, it's not bad at all to shoot. The recoil is amazingly light. I've shot an Armalite AR-30 in .338, and now it's on my "I will get one of these" list. They run about $1600 or so new. The other downside is that many ranges I've come across are disallowing the .338 Lapua along with the .50's due to power/penetration issues.

    For a solid rifle, I'd recommend the .300 winchester magnum. Ammo is common, and it will do all that you ask of it. If you buy a precision rifle, I would not figure the price of surplus ammo when selecting calibre. IMO you will find that shooting surplus will be a waste of your energies.

    The .308 can hit a target at 1000yds, but the energy that's left is depressing. For example, the .300 will still "blow up" a 2 liter bottle at 400yds, while a .308 just makes a hole at the same distance.

    As far as cost goes, a Remington PSS will run around $750 iirc. Savages run cheaper, and I haven't handled/shot them so I can't comment. A good scope will run $500-1000.
    Realistically, budget $1500 minimum for this habit, to start. Federal Gold Medal Match will run you about $16 per box for .308, .300 will run closer to $20.(that's $375 for a case of .308, and close to $500 for a case of .300)
    Pick up a copy of ShotGun News, and look for an ad for Hoplite, inc. I've never done business with them, but they have the bast prices I've seen on Federal Match consistently. They also carry Remington PSS's.
  14. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    If you are just getting into long range rifle shooting, Buy a 308WIN rifle first. The benefits are: rifles are cheaper, match-grade ammo is available everywhere and relatively cheaply, there are many very good reloading recipes, recoil is little.

    The crux of long range shooting is shooter ability, data/dope, and ability to judge wind. 308 is a very good vehicle to learn all this, and it is effective out to 1000 yards. A 308 CAN shoot sub-MOA at 1000 yards with a good shooter behind it.

    338 Lapua rifles are expensive. 338 ammo is expensive ($3/round factory, maybe a quarter-1/3rd of that to reload). Recoil is severe, but managable with a 15# rifle with a highly effective muzzle brake.
  15. j grimes

    j grimes Member

    i can shoot out to 76,500 yards with my 300,000 ultra mini mag 319 super canon gun :neener: :neener:
  16. StrikeEagle

    StrikeEagle Well-Known Member

    Yes. It's really bad. I have a Ruger 77. I got it when I was young and silly, and thought I'd do some long range target work using the Sierra 250 grn Match bullets. Man, oh man... I guess I never really found out how good my load was; I just couldn't stand to shoot more than 10 rounds from the bench in a day at the range. I'd get just a horrible cringie feeling before I'd pull the trigger. I didn't have fun with it. :uhoh:

    The rifle just is not made for that type of shooting. It's good for what it is: a real kickin, long range hunting round suitable for anything North America has to offer where it's sighted in and then fired a few rounds a year.

    Try to use it as a target rifle and it'll pound the stew out of you. Trust me. :)

  17. michakav

    michakav Active Member

    I will go away a little on this. If your looking for that long range target work (hope you would'nt try game at that range) I would recommend either 7mm RUM or 7mm STW. I agree that a .338 Lapua would be good for what you want, but price will be considerable. As far as the .325 WSM goes, I love the round, but it is loaded almost to the max. in factory loads. Almost any round mentioned here will have to be handloaded (stepped up) to get it to do what you want ( 1000 yrds.).
  18. Mannlicher

    Mannlicher Well-Known Member

    .338 too much gun? I don't think so. I still hunt hogs with my old Winchester Model 70 in .458 Win Mag, and I am buying a Ruger #1 in .416 Rem Mag. :)
  19. Geno

    Geno Well-Known Member

    Glock19Fan--Check this video out!

    Anyone interested in ultra-long-range shooting should watch the following video:

    "Extreme Accuracy: The 1 Mile Shot", with G. David Tubb (70 minutes length).

    This is an awesome video! They begin by doing a sight-in, then go out to 1,000 yards (at which point) the bullet is already experiencing what I can only describe as massive drop!

    Then, they work up the 1-mile shot!!! Sweet!!!


    I purchased this video back in 1998 at a gun show. I verified the internet link, it is "good". I do not know if they still market this video.

    Gun Video
    4585 Murphy Canyon Road
    San Diego, CA 92123
    (800) 942-8273
    Copyright: 1998 Lenny Magill
  20. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Well-Known Member

    Consider the new CZ-USA rifle, Model 550 Ultimate Hunter in 300 Win Mag if you are truly thinking about making 500 yard+ shots. Article in March 2006 Shooting Times on a field test. The test was done in Africa by Dick Metcalf and he and fellow hunters made some of their longest killing shots on game from any rifle. CZ apparently is coming out with their own line of premium ammunition also.

    Recoil will probably be more than a 308 or 30-06. But the rifle is fitted with a substantial recoil pad.

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