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Old December 13, 2013, 01:07 AM   #1
ExAgoradzo
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338 Federal

Is it still a viable cartridge? Will it revert back to 'wildcat' status in a few years?

What do you who have one think about it?

Greg
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Old December 13, 2013, 01:16 AM   #2
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I believe Tikka still makes them, but I think Ruger quit.

A quick look at MidwayUSA shows 7 loads available for it, BUT they are all made by Federal. If Federal decides to discontinue it, I guess it would become obscure. Its popularity seems to be declining, and if ammo and gun production ever ceased, I doubt it would come back into popularity sometime in the future since it doesn't have the history and quantity of arms out there when compared to some of the other calibers that refuse to die. It wouldn't be my first choice if I did not reload.

I think it is probably a nice, effective caliber though. If I didn't reload, I'd just get a .30-06 if I felt I needed a bit more than the .308 offers.
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Old December 13, 2013, 02:57 AM   #3
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Once a cartridge is SAAMI certified it really doesn't go back to a wildcat. There are cartridges that fail and fade away though. First the guns chambered in that round fall out of the manufacturers catalog then the factory ammo choices become limited and finally it's just gone.

I'm not saying that will happen to the .338 Federal but it does happen. It's main competition is the 338 Ruger Compact Magnum and that cartridge has an advantage, Ruger...
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Old December 13, 2013, 07:13 AM   #4
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The 338 Fed and 338 Ruger are both all but dead, but I'd expect them to hang around much like the 35 Whelen. Every 10 years or so one of the rifle makers will run a small batch and sell them at a premium. That is usually enough to satisfy demand. That is the way it has gone for the 35 Whelen. Others who want one will build a custom.

I never really understood the point of the 338 fed. The added .03" in bullet diameter just isn't an advantage. It just barely beats 308 at the muzzle and the much better .308 bullets will outperform it at any range beyond about 100 yards. A 30-06 beats it easily.

The 338 Ruger is dying for the same reasons. It just barely outperforms 30-06(real numbers put it in 338-06 power ranges) and it can't come close to 300 or 338 mag performance.
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Old December 13, 2013, 08:06 AM   #5
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It just barely beats 308 at the muzzle and the much better .308 bullets will outperform it at any range beyond about 100 yards.
I was unaware .338 bullets were such a sad state.
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Old December 13, 2013, 10:12 AM   #6
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338 bullets aren't in a sad state. 338 bullets loaded into a 308 Winchester case and loaded to 308 Winchester pressures and limited to 308 Winchester magazine length limitations are a sad state.
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Old December 13, 2013, 10:18 AM   #7
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On paper to me it sounded good. Both Sako and Kimber still make one (so I Imagine Tikka still does). I think the AR guys still like it. But I just can't see going that rout either, I was hoping you guys would change my mind.

Thanks,
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Old December 13, 2013, 10:54 AM   #8
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I think guns like .35 Whelen hang on because they have lots of older history and almost a folk-appeal. I have one, and I noticed that while almost no one makes a gun in this caliber right now, there are many many more loads on the market than there used to be. At about the same time Remington brought out the .35 Whelen in their 700 Classic annual edition, they also brought back the .350 Rem Mag in the 600 I believe it was. Right now Remington doesn't even seem to make .350 ammo. The only load on Midway is a seasonal run from Nosler. I think by comparison there are something like 15 loads for the Whelen on Midway. I think in the future, rounds like the .338 Federal will be much more like the .350 than the Whelen.
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Old December 13, 2013, 11:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExAgoradzo View Post
On paper to me it sounded good. Both Sako and Kimber still make one (so I Imagine Tikka still does).
According to their websites, neither Sako, Tikka nor Kimber currently offer anything in 338 Federal.

http://www.berettausa.com/shop-by-de...er/guns/tikka/
http://www.berettausa.com/shop-by-de...ter/guns/sako/
http://www.kimberamerica.com/rifles/model-84m/classic
http://www.kimberamerica.com/rifles/model-84m/montana
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Old December 13, 2013, 11:54 AM   #10
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I saw one on Eurooptic: I guess I was wrong. Must be an older on still NIB.

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Old December 13, 2013, 12:45 PM   #11
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Don't have a 338 Federal but I do have a 338 RUM. People have been wondering if the RUM will die off for years now, but its still around. Remington only makes one or two models chambered for it now if I remember right, yet it still persists. I can typically find both Remington and Nosler ammo locally.

There might be better options out there in 338 (other than the federal) but if you really want one just horde brass like I did (if you reload anyway) and you should be able to shoot for quite a while with no worries.
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Old December 13, 2013, 03:14 PM   #12
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Just because Euro optic has something in their website doesn't mean they actually have it in stock... I learned that lesson.
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Old December 13, 2013, 03:45 PM   #13
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I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the 358 Winchester yet, as it is basically the same situation.
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Old December 13, 2013, 03:55 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by jakk280rem View Post
338 bullets aren't in a sad state. 338 bullets loaded into a 308 Winchester case and loaded to 308 Winchester pressures and limited to 308 Winchester magazine length limitations are a sad state.
They work just fine on the intended game. And the .338 carries more payload. I could say how stupid the .280 is. Doesn't do anything the .270 or .30-06 doesn't do and is harder to find and more expensive. See how this game works?
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Old December 13, 2013, 05:08 PM   #15
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They work just fine on the intended game. And the .338 carries more payload. I could say how stupid the .280 is. Doesn't do anything the .270 or .30-06 doesn't do and is harder to find and more expensive. See how this game works?
280 DOES do something the 270 doesn't, it will carry a heavier bullet for deeper penetration on the bigger big game. And yes, that is important to folks like me, who hunted big game in Alaska a lot.

I do agree, that 30-06 is even better at that, when loaded with 200NP's...

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Old December 13, 2013, 11:44 PM   #16
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The 338 federal rifle that my friend had was interesting because it was super light, compact, and delivered that 338 bullet faster than a 308. Don't think it was designed for long distance, but a hard hitter for most normal ranges that you could pack all day. Plus it was a caliber that hardly anybody else had. For me, my 3006 is all I need, and all the other rifles I have are toys.
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Old December 15, 2013, 06:13 PM   #17
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Have one.

Love it.

Agree with many that state the limitations are; # of Ammo makers is (ONE)1 and the # of rifles are dwindling.

It delivers better than 7mm Mag ballistics without the recoil and it nears 300 Winchester Mag without the even greater recoil.

Nice cartridge with good ballistics for everything on the North American continent without the pressure and recoil of the usual culprits.

And yes, it beats 30-06 with about the same recoil.

That's why I like it and maintain it in my gun locker to date.
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Old December 15, 2013, 07:06 PM   #18
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I think it's a bit of an overstatement to say it nears a .300 Win Mag. It's a couple hundred fps slower. A bit closer to the .30-06 than the .300.
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Old December 15, 2013, 08:59 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by kvtcomdo View Post
It delivers better than 7mm Mag ballistics without the recoil
It might have more energy under 150 yards...

once you get past 150 yards the BC of the 7mm rounds is going to give them more energy

Say comparing a 215 grain .338 round at 2600fps versus a 175 grain 7mm at 2750fps
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Old December 16, 2013, 12:48 AM   #20
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It might have more energy under 150 yards...

once you get past 150 yards the BC of the 7mm rounds is going to give them more energy

Say comparing a 215 grain .338 round at 2600fps versus a 175 grain 7mm at 2750fps
Agreed

Not a long range round.

Not that far from 300 WinMag
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Old December 16, 2013, 08:41 AM   #21
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If you look at reloading data for the .338 and the .30-06, they offer nearly identical velocity for given bullet weights. Looking at Hodgdon's data, the top .30-06 180gr load beats the top .338Fed 180 by 29fps. The top .338 210gr load bests the top .30-06 208gr load by 84 fps. I call it a wash. By contrast the top 180 .300 Win Mag loads runs an even 200 fps faster than either caliber and the top 208 .300 Win Mag load runs 293fps faster than the top .338 Fed 210gr.

So if a .30-06 is nearly a .300 Win Mag, then , it is not that far off.
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Old December 16, 2013, 01:40 PM   #22
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The only problem I have with mine is that I haven't seen a deer I can shoot with it, yet.

Seriously, it's a decent short-range "brush" gun, in my opinion. It's a little easier on the shoulder than one of the more common cartridges, or at least seems so to me. It's a little pricey if you don't reload, though.

That said, I don't feel like it met any particular need, so it will probably always be one of those oddballs at the range or deer camp. I doubt it will completely die off, but I could see it getting harder to find.
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Old December 16, 2013, 03:34 PM   #23
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I consider the 30-06 loaded with 200NP's to be the mininum for brown bear...

From MY experience, i don't put the .338 Fed. there, and i don't give a hoot what the paper balistics are...

For whitetails, both are over powered...

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Old December 19, 2013, 11:48 PM   #24
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Been gone I didn't see the comments. Glad to see someone likes it.

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Old December 22, 2013, 03:36 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by eldon519 View Post
If you look at reloading data for the .338 and the .30-06, they offer nearly identical velocity for given bullet weights. Looking at Hodgdon's data, the top .30-06 180gr load beats the top .338Fed 180 by 29fps. The top .338 210gr load bests the top .30-06 208gr load by 84 fps. I call it a wash. By contrast the top 180 .300 Win Mag loads runs an even 200 fps faster than either caliber and the top 208 .300 Win Mag load runs 293fps faster than the top .338 Fed 210gr.

So if a .30-06 is nearly a .300 Win Mag, then , it is not that far off.
With a manly increase in recoil.
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