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338 Win Mag for Whitetails

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by MNgunhead, Apr 7, 2009.

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  1. MNgunhead

    MNgunhead Member

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    I just purchased a new Ruger Hawkeye in 330 win mag. I have had it to the range 1 time and tried out several hand loads using barnes tsx 185's and nosler accubond 180's. I purchased this rifle with the intent on using it for elk hunting, but want to use it for deer this fall just to get it out and see what it does. Do any of you guys have any experience with this caliber when it comes to whitetails? Thanks for any info you can provide.
     
  2. telomerase

    telomerase Member

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    You could check out the old short "Bambi vs. Godzilla" for a technical breakdown.
     
  3. bang_bang

    bang_bang Member

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    Several people in my area use them. They'll get the job done, just try to make a good shot to avoid bloodshot all the way through the back straps. :rolleyes:
     
  4. JonB

    JonB Member

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    Well I suppose it would 'work', but you certainly don't need that much gun for any deer. Might not have much meat left depending on where you hit it.
     
  5. zgate

    zgate Member

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    I've shot several with mine. It works as well as any of the other rifles I have and does about the same amount of damage.
     
  6. mossberg

    mossberg Member

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    Hey that's a great deer caliber. The meat will be cooked by the time you get to it.:D
     
  7. 30mag

    30mag Member

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    I believe that a .30-06 is a little overkill for whitetail..
    And .338 win. mag is probably enough gun for two deer.. at the same time.
    I might try to get ahold of some light loads for it.
    Also, take it hog hunting, and line up two hogs... then, you can see what it will do.
     
  8. bad_aim_billy

    bad_aim_billy Member

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    It might be alright for deer with a max load, but I'd feel a bit undergunned personally.
     
  9. AKElroy

    AKElroy Member

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    A little much for the whitetail I hunt; My 7mag is too much unless I make a clean neck or kill zone shot. Any joints hit will grenade, so avoid the shoulders & hips. Dig a hole if you clip one & save the tag.
     
  10. Jason_G

    Jason_G Member

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    LOL, I had totally forgotten about that, but remember it perfectly now that you mentioned it. I'd say it's appropriate.

    .338 will certainly work, but you could easily take whitetail with a more cost-effective (not to mention shoulder friendly) cartridge. Have you priced .338 lately?

    Jason
     
  11. Thingster

    Thingster Member

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    Since you reload, I'd try treating it as a "slow and heavy" bullet. Try to find a load that lobs a 300 grain bullet around 2,000 FPS- slower if possible.

    Also rely on penetration and direct damage from the bullet for a kill. If the bullet expands, you won't have much of a deer left. I'd be using a hard cast or "dangerous game" bullet with a WIDE meplat to ensure no to minimal expansion and the most immediate tissue damage possible.

    I shoot deer with a 45-70 on occaison and my typical load is 300 grains running along at supposed 1900 (59 of H4895 behind a 300 grain LFP). Hits hard, puts them down clean, and doesn't do too much collateral damage; just a through and through .45" hole.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2009
  12. PT1911

    PT1911 Member

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    dont you know that round will just bounce right off of the deer's hide..., even the wimpiest of White tail will walk away from it... better suited for rabbit hunting.:neener:
     
  13. t165

    t165 Member

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    If there is a "gun heaven" then Elmer Keith just smiled or maybe shook his fist, at Jack O'Connor and chalked up another one for his side. :)
     
  14. 30mag

    30mag Member

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    +1 Thingster.
     
  15. desidog

    desidog Member

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    i'd say hot-load; to generate a serious p1 and p2 shockwave - field dressing will not be fun; but no need for a meat grinder or tenderizer!
     
  16. PotatoJudge

    PotatoJudge Member

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    I have no experience with with the 338, but I think taking it out for WT deer is a great idea. The more time you spend carrying and shooting that thing the more likely you'll be to tag your elk when it walks out. Pick a load the gun likes that's adequate for elk and stick with that for all uses. By the time you've shot WT deer, pigs, groundhogs, or whatever else at all distances you should be in good shape. Just get a good recoil pad, make sure the stock fits you well, and mount a scope with long eye relief.
     
  17. usmc1371

    usmc1371 Member

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    I have seen deer shot with 338 a few times. Didn't have to go far to find them. IMHO the 225 grain nosler partition doesn't tear up as much meat as the 130G 270 weatherby. I am packing my 375 HnH for mule deer this year for the same reason, I am taking it elk hunting so may as well get used to packing it around.
    If you load a good tough heavy bullet like 225 or 250 at a normal speed and try to stay off the shoulder you will do less damage than a small light fast bullet that dumps all its energy very fast, you will have an exit wound and a bullet still packing some punch so Do Not line up 2 deer.
     
  18. lefteyedom

    lefteyedom Member

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    I use a 338 on deer and have been real happy with a 210 grn. Shot placement is key. Idrop a BIG doe at a little over 300 yards and she did not take a step.
    Just keep in mind the bullet path though the animal.
    Dead enough is just right/
     
  19. dakotasin

    dakotasin Member

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    i run 225 hornadys at about 2950 f/s in my 338 for deer.

    it does not tear up deer, blow things up, destroy meat, etc etc etc anymore than any other common deer cartridge.

    the 225's do very little expanding in a rib-shot deer.

    once you get comfortable with the 338, you may come to the conclusion there is no better 1 gun for every big game critter. in fact, the 225's in the 338 will work nicely on whatever you want to hunt. it is the formula i use for elk in the mountains, deer on the prairie, or whatever whenever wherever.

    good luck!
     
  20. achildofthesky

    achildofthesky Member

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    a Ruger m77 338 magnum was for years my go to woodchuck rifle... it did double duty on deer.

    patty
     
  21. skinewmexico

    skinewmexico Member

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    Probably be more fun on some big hogs. But then again, I use a 223.
     
  22. db_tanker

    db_tanker Member

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    mebbe using a cast gas check and lighter load of powder? Make it easier on the shoulder, I'm sure. I have seen nice 235 and 250 grain LFN-GC and you can get 'em for about 23 dollars per 100.
     
  23. batmann

    batmann Member

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    Just my two cents worth, but that sounds like a little much for the average White Tail Deer I run across.
     
  24. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm member

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    Is it more gun than needed? Yes. Big deal. I deer hunt with a .375 Holland. Eat right up to the hole.

    The .338 loaded with a heavy bullet at moderate velocity, say 300gr at 2300-2400fps is perfect for whitetails.
     
  25. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Member

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    The 338 Win Mag has been a solid work horse for decades. The 338 can be loaded down or up for any situation and game. It can be a one gun fits all type of rifle.
    A 210gr at 2700fps is a milder shooting load for deer or similar game, or you can push a 225gr at 3000fps for the heavy game.
    The 338 Mag is truly versatile if you are up to the recoil it can generate.

    NCsmitty
     
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