I appreicate this discussion and feedback guys. Here's a little more about what I'm doing.
First off, I have a 7mm STW and a 338 Lapua with a 27" barrell, they are both tackdrivers, so another 338 wm or edge or Lapua is not on my list right now. If I did that I'd definitely build a 338 Lapua ai. A friend of mine and he's an accomplished 1000 yard benchrest shooter, gunsmith and 365 days a year hunter. The guy kills a lot. His Lapua ai is more powerful than mine and the ai part gets him in the upwards of 25-30 reloads. But ai typically burns powder more efficiently and adds to case life. Enough about Lapua ai.
I bought an FN Belgium made Model 1950 30-06 Commercial Mauser action, new/unused specifically as a dangerous game action. It's an awesome action. So I am thinking poor man's magnum and considering 35 Whelen and wai which is based off the 30-06 cartridge, but a friend and DG builder has been trying to get me to go 338-06 which is based off the 06 case too. And from my research the 338-06 is an awesome medium-Intermediate range thumper. The vast array of 338 bullets with higher bc's and higher sectional density make it better for ranges past about 250 yards then the 35 Whelen or 35 wai.
Additionally I could use this as a whitetail gun out in the 300-700 yard range I'd guess. So Black bear, big hogs, brown bear under say 75 yards and deer and elk going out in the 500 range, it's a good catridge I'm coming to believe. Close in dangerous game too. So I'm looking for a versatile dangerous game caliber with reach too. Also, I'm going to have iron sights for thick hunting. Am I on the right track?
Last edited by etisll40; 02-23-2012 at 03:17 PM.
Here are my personal accuracy loads for the cartridges I recommended which are perfect for your action and like I said virtually identical killing performance of a 338 winchester to 500 yards. 338 Gibbs off the '06 case. 70 grains H-414 with a 200 grain nosler at 3068 fps. This is with a 26" barrel. 338-06 AI 73 grains winchester wmr at 2936 fps with the 200 grain bullet. Either of those will do you to 500 yards and hurt a bear up close. Those are the ones I would do on your action and why I own and depend on them of all the ones I have tested through the years.
I love the 375 H&H and have the AI version and the old 375 wby which is basically the same thing. Both are much better than the original H&H but not a fit for your action.
Predictions are difficult, especially when they involve the future
I'd skip right over all those and look at a 375 or 416 Ruger Alaskan...right off the shelf it's a great rifle...simple and inexpensive.
And although these cartridges are orphans, they would surely fit the bill as well for this purpose if a 338 Win is not the first and best choice.
338 RCM or 325 WSM.
The RCM is available OTC in a handy Ruger and is nearly identical to a 338-06 AI / Gibbs et al, without special dies and brass forming; and considering how popular they aren't, one could likely find a rifle at a discount...lots cheaper to buy than to build.
Or 9.3x62 would be a classic in that classic action.
While fun to contemplate a 338-06 I'd be more likely inclined to just stick with the Belgian 06 and load some 220 partitions...that load packs a lot of thump.
If I recall correctly, more bears have been taken with the 30-06 than all other calibers combined, 30-30 might be #2, hunting is one aspect, but guys that work around bears up close for a living day in and out, and where an encounter is more than a possibility, I've seen carrying a .458 Win for real good reasons.
And 500 yds is a do-able range for the 458 with the right bullet...when I can shoot BP 45-70 there all the time with open sights, a 375 or 416 Ruger is well beyond that round in LR capability.
One might as well take advantage of modern cartridge designs; stopping power is more about practice than anything else it seems.