338 Win Mag reduced power

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by jdh, Jan 4, 2022.

  1. jdh

    jdh Member

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    Many years ago I bought a Ruger 77 in 338 WM for a planned trip to Alaska. That trip never came to be. Instead of selling off a perfectly good and accurate rifle at a big loss because let's face it, there is not much need/demand for 338 power here in Central Texas. Central Texas whitetails run around a hundred pounds on the hoof. All the off the shelf 338 available tend to blow right through them leaving a bullet sized exit wound and a deer running off into the dense under brush.

    So the question, Since reloading is not a possibility at this point in time, is there a 338 WM load commercially available that launches a lighter bullet that will reliably expand in smaller thin skinned animals, perhaps a 338 Federal equivalent?

    Yeah I know sell it and buy a more appropriate rifle. Thing is I'm kind of attached to it.
    TIA.
     
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  2. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

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    I don't know if any, someone on here might though.

    Another option would be to rebarrel it to something like 7mm RemMag.
     
  3. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Handloading is probably the only option for what you want to do. If you can afford to buy factory 338 ammo you can afford to get into reloading. Or take the loss on selling it.

    I'm betting that with the way gun prices have gone up recently you can sell it for more than you paid. It appears that there is no sentimental attachment to it. I'd let it go and get something more appropriate.
     
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  4. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    I don’t know that you’d have to take a major loss. If you’re so inclined, list it for sale here. I’d think you’d get some interest.

    Otherwise, try to find someone you know that hand loads. If I were in your place, I know at least three guys that would load for me that I’d trust completely
     
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  5. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    To the contrary you can probably make a tidy profit on whatever you paid for it. Ruger 77's have really gone up in value. 338's are no exception. I recently bought 2 of them and resold 1. If it is in nice condition it would sell for somewhere in the $800-$1200 range depending on model. Most in demand are the alaskan models and stainless steel with boat paddle stocks.
     
  6. Goosey

    Goosey Member

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    Hornady makes a 200 grain SST load...
     
  7. hps1

    hps1 Member

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    Looks like no 338 WM ammo available @ either Midway or NatchesSS (apparently everywhere else...https://ammoseek.com/ammo/338-winchester-magnum)

    This load would probably do what you want, as well, but Nosler sold out on these, too.
    https://www.shootersproshop.com/338-win-mag-210gr-partition-trophy-grade-ammunition-over-run.html
    My go to rifle is a 338 WM for everything from whitetail to nilgai and have had no issues w/any running off into the S.Tx. brush, but also haven't shot a factory round in anything other than to get a base line for comparison in load development in the last 50 years.

    My favorite hunting bullets for deer, hogs, & oryx is a 200 gr. Nosler Accubond or Ballistic Tip, but have used the 210 grn NP if that was what was in the rifle on targets of opportunity (the 338 is not fur friendly on coyotes, but have shot a number w/both bullets when hunting other game).

    The 210 NP is a hammer on Nilgai to Gemsbok, but worked equally as well on these whitetails.
    31696561638_221d8b7026_z.jpg

    My handloads shoot the 200 gr. BT & 210 NP to same POI @ 100 yds and close enough on game out to 250 w/proper holdover.
    200 NBT:
    35704960535_697d854141_m.jpg 35317754430_06aefff051_m.jpg
    210 NP:
    35535884502_c8c033ac0e_m.jpg 36180402511_73d59c4447_n.jpg
    210 NP exit @ 100 yds.
    Good luck on finding the ammo you're looking for.

    Regards,
    hps
     
  8. db_tanker

    db_tanker Member

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    Reloading materials are becoming more available...I suggest that you look at getting a 243 and mothball the Ruger until you can get some good cast gas-checked bullets, trailboss, 4895, 4198, and maybe 5744 for making some good reduced 338 loads?

    D
     
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  9. jdh

    jdh Member

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    Got a line on a local guy who does custom loading. He is still still out on the deer lease closing up for the year. That may be a possible solution.

    The uncle who was stationed in Alaska has retired to the lower 48. He now resides in Elk territory. I still holding out hope of going on a hunt with him before his health issues force him to give up hunting.

    Some here use it when they hunt the power/pipeline cuts where they do get some longer shots. Still too much for my place where a long shot is hundred yards on a deer that weighs less than my Lab.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2022
  10. jdh

    jdh Member

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    Just a plain ole blue steel/walnut 2012 vintage that has spent 90% of its life in the safe.
     
  11. jdh

    jdh Member

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    Oh, The other 77 I have (it was supposed to be hers) is a Compact in 7.62X39 with a 2-7 Redfield.
    Almost a perfect CenTex tiny Whitetail tool.
     
  12. Grumpy_old_Fart

    Grumpy_old_Fart Member

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    I know you can get 180gr bullets, if you were to load your own. They can be loaded light.

    There are some 175 gr bullets out there too..
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2022
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  13. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    That year would be a Hawkeye right? See this one on gunbroker with a $1200 bid on it. That will probably go up in the last hour of the auction.

    https://www.gunbroker.com/item/918579164
     
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  14. Grumpy_old_Fart

    Grumpy_old_Fart Member

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    I think I got a steal of a deal on a $500 Ruger m77 mkII in 7mm rem mag.. stainless and walnut. Came with brass, dies, powder and bullets.

    To the OP, keep the 338. It's worth having.
     
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  15. Robert

    Robert Administrator Staff Member

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    I'd keep it. I've taken whitetails with my 375 H&H which did less meat damage than my buddy's 6.5 PRC. I was shooting 270gr hand loads...
     
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  16. wombat13

    wombat13 Member

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    My FIL has hunted whitetail for >10 years with a Ruger 77 MkII in .338WM. He has used Winchester Silvertip 200 gr exclusively. That's the moly-coated Nosler ballistic-tip. It works just great on chest shots on whitetails. No surprise, you'll lose a lot of meat if you shoot them in the meat, so don't do it! Seriously, just don't shoot them in the hindquarters and it's a great whitetail round. Of course it's not a good idea to shoot them in the hindquarters with any rifle round.

    I just started handloading using the moly-coated ballistic tip for my FIL. It appears that the factory ammo is out of production, but the bullets are still in production (in theory, if you can find them). We jumped on a few boxes of the bullets when we found them and I loaded 30 rounds (after load work up). That will likely be enough hunting ammo until my FIL hangs it up.
     
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  17. IdaD

    IdaD Member

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    I'm not a handloader so I don't know if this works, but can you just reduce the powder charge down to a 338 Federal level and get the same result from a 338 WM case?

    My other take is that reducing the power only addresses one issue. The other issue is you're still lugging around a large and heavy rifle with a long action when you don't need to. The long action part wouldn't be a big deal to me, but big and heavy isn't as fun to carry as a compact and light rifle. Case in point I have a big Mark V in 300 Wby but I much prefer to carry around my little Model 7.
     
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  18. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    There's more to it than that. In the first place, the OP wrote, "reloading is not a possibility at this point in time." To me, that means the OP is not a handloader, and therefore has no way of knowing how much to reduce the powder charges. Besides that, even handloaders have no idea what type of powder(s) are in factory loads. And the type of powder used makes one heck of a difference when you're talking about reducing loads.
    Secondly, if the OP pulls the bullets in order to dump out some of the powder in the factory loads, he or she is going to have to reseat those bullets, and that's going to at least require that the case necks be resized. Otherwise, there will be insufficient neck tension to hold the bullets in place. Again, the OP indicated he or she is not a handloader.
    I guess I could put it more simply if I had just said, "yes," you can make a 338 Win Mag shoot like a 338 Federal IF you're a handloader and you're using a type of powder that works in reduced loads.:)
    I'll go along with you on that. At 73 years old, I've been considering retiring my beloved 308 Norma Mag, and having a lightweight "mountain rifle" built - chambered for either a 308 Winchester or a 7mm-08 Remington. Either cartridge would work swell for most of the big game hunting I'm going to do for the rest of my life.;)
    BTW, I also have a 338 Win Mag that I used to use for mule deer and elk. It worked great on both species, and it didn't tear up any more meat than my wife's 243 or 7mm-08. I used 225 grain bullets, over a charge of powder (that I can't remember offhand) that kicked the bullets out at about 2,800fps.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2022
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  19. hps1

    hps1 Member

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    Yes, I referred to 200 gr. NBT earlier, but last time I ordered from the Pro Shop they were out of the BT and I ended up w/the ST, but without the coating. Green tip or silver, no le hace. :) Same bullet, works great on whitetail up. The NP works well on WT through Gemsbok.
    34900899534_f7318bf584_m.jpg
    This load chronographs 2970 fps out of my rifle. I use same load behind the BT or NP; produces very close POI @ 100 yds. Either shoots about 100 fps faster than a 180 out of a 30-06 and a bit flatter, as well.

    Pro shop only has two 338 bullets available currently; the 225 E tip might not be a bad choice, but might pencil through if downloaded?? No experience w/lead free bullet, though, other than Barnes and never could get them to shoot well out of several different rifles??

    Used the 225's for some time before switching to the lighter bullets. Not a lot of difference in performance, as I recall.

    @ 85, I don't think I'll ever retire my .338, of course I don't get around as far or fast as I once did so a couple of #'s of rifle isn't that much of a burden ;). Haven't had it out near as often lately, but the freezer is getting empty again & the bug to shoot an eland is getting stronger. Bought some 265 gr. Nosler ABLR bullets and a box of 275 gr. A Frames; plan to work up a load with them if that ever comes to fruition.

    Stock is a bit spotty now, as everywhere else, but https://www.shootersproshop.com/ has great prices on "blems" and you can sign up for e.mails, as stock changes from time to time. Never found a blemish (other than the wrong color of tip on some BT's once) and performance great. They offer veteran's/first responder discounts, as well and will notify you when an item is in stock.

    Regards,
    hps
     
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  20. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    Wow!
    I was just looking at some of the velocities of factory.338.
    I didn’t realize how close my .338/06 was.

    The 200 and 210gr bullet loads will do well on deer.
    Yes they WILL EXPAND ! You may loose some deer due to meat damage. But mostly, a dead deer!
    But, you’ll collect your game and fill your tag!
    The Nosler partitions do expand on soft tissue. They also hold together for deep expansion. Especially the larger calibers.

    Mostly. They perform much like a .30/06 with a 180gr bullet...
     
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  21. jdh

    jdh Member

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    Found the box, yes it is. Bookmarked.





    Looking through the ammo I bought back when I bought the rifle (the sticker shows about 40% of the current price) there is a box of 200 gr Superperformance. I'll give it a go.
     
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