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338 win Mag Powder Choice

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by .454, Feb 23, 2013.

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  1. .454

    .454 Member

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    So I'm looking at buying a 338 win mag with a 20" barrel as a multipurpose rifle for deer, elk, and hogs. I'm already thinking of what loads would be good for elk since some friends are talking about a trip out west. I would really like to shoot a 225 gr Interbond but wanted to see what powder would give me the best velocity to compensate for the shorter barrel. All the load data I have is showing a test barrel of 24" and I'm thinking the faster burning selections would work better. Any recommendations?
     
  2. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    A 20" barrel should run any "magnum" rate powder just fine.

    H1000 is an old favorite of mine in belted magnums.

    But.

    H4831SC is my new favorite in belted magnums. :)

    (Very temperature insensitive, which matters for hunting, a lot)
     
  3. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Also, H4831SC looks like it's good from 180gr to 300gr in the 338 win mag.

    That's a nice broad range for projectiles. Only the 165gr is too light for it, you need a faster burning powder for those.

    In testing 300 win mag, H4831 has showed better consistency using heavier bullets, for what it's worth. (I don't have a 338 win mag, but the powder selections you can use between it and 300 win mag is almost identical)
     
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    That is an incorrect assumption.

    Whatever powder gives the highest velocity in a long barrel will give the highest velocity in a short barrel.

    You very well may get more muzzle blast with slower powder.
    But it is not caused by unburned powder.

    It is caused by higher bore pressure maintained longer.
    And that results in higher velocity.

    And it works the same in short barrels as in long barrels.

    rc
     
  5. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    RC is absolutely right.

    You can expect only about a 90fps drop going from a 24-20" barrel in 338 Rem Mag.

    http://www.loadammo.com/Topics/October05.htm

    Test was done with specific bullets and weights, so your mileage will vary depending on components, seating depth, and your specific bore (no two bores are alike)

    But the difference is not all that substantial, and the powder that burns in a 24" barrel will still burn just fine in a 20" barrel. Case in point; consider any and every non-blowback autoloader rifle ever made has a gas port somewhere mid-barrel. Those don't get clogged with unburnt powder - the powder is already substantially burnt by the time the bullet passes the hole.

    Slower burning powders still burn damn fast under containment - but they burn slow enough to give that projectile time to get started. Fast burning powders (pistol powders) will burn entirely up by the time the bullet leaves the casing and makes it through the forcing cone in a revolver.

    The difference is how long (duration) the pressure is acting on the projectile. That pressure is contained and acts on the projectile the entire duration. Big heavy projectiles take longer to get moving; more inertia to overcome. It's still a damn quick reaction, though, and completely done well before that bullet gets 20" down a bore.
     
  6. .454

    .454 Member

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    Thanks for the responses guys. I ended up buying the rifle yesterday and hope to get out to the range soon. I'm still new to the reloading thing, especially for rifle. I appreciate the guidance.
     
  7. MSgtEgress

    MSgtEgress Member

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    I like H4350 for lighter bullets of 210g and lower and H4831 for 225g and up
     
  8. yuppiecruncher

    yuppiecruncher Member

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    .338 long range Hog Hunter

    Hey .454,

    I'm also just starting to build custom loads. I have settled on a middle of the road combo of RL-19 and Speer 200gr spitzers. I am still fiddling with mechanics of reloading and building consistency. I haven't done any serious load testing, but I will post results when I do. Let me know how your combo works, I would be interested to hear your findings.

    Additionally, I went out to the range Sunday and shot off a few 250gr rounds. I only mention this because they seemed SO much more "crisp" than the 200/225 rounds that I have shot. They were also Remington - don't know if that makes a difference. Something about that round felt really, really good on my shoulder. Its hard to describe. Have you experienced anything like that??
     
  9. Clark

    Clark Member

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    250 gr Nosler Gold Partion, moly 69 gr H4350, 3.34"
    2645 fps over chrono w/ 24" barrel

    338WM is registered at 64kpsi and that load is ~ 64kpsi per Quickload.

    No painful recoil with full size grind to fit Limbsaver recoil pad on 9.25 lb rifle and scope combination.
     

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  10. Kernel

    Kernel Member

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    +1 on RL-19. Ideal burn rate.
     
  11. 454PB

    454PB Member

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    For lighter bullets (200 to 225 grains), I like H-414/WW760.
     
  12. B.W.

    B.W. Member

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    I always used imr 4350 w/ 225 nosler partitions for elk hunting , but recently switched to 225 accubonds. I tested 3 other powders with the accubonds and had best accuracy results with imr 4831.
     
  13. CharlieDeltaJuliet

    CharlieDeltaJuliet Member

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    I am another fan of H1000 for the magnum rifles.
     
  14. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Member

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    Just my .02,
    LeonCarr
     
  15. BruceB

    BruceB Member

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    The .338 is a very flexible cartridge, insofar as powder types are concerned. That is well-illustrated by the numbers of powders recommended just in this one short thread.

    Although MANY powders will work well, my current choice is Re-19, with the Barnes 225 TSX bullet. From my Savage 116 this combo will group three rounds UNDER 1/2" from 100 yards with great regularity, and is my ONLY sub-1/2" hunting rifle out of a couple dozen candidates on hand. It even outshoots most of my varminters!

    In my view, the .338 represents the next logical step upwards from the .30'06 in energy and bullet weight. A perfect North American big-game "battery"(in my OPINION) would be the .270-.30'06-.338....or at least those three would be a VERY workable set. Add a .416 or .458, and you'd have a world-capable group of rifles...
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013
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