After looking through Hornady's website, the 300 win mag with a 180 grain bullet comes out of the tube at 3100 fps with Hornady's Superformance Ammo, with it, comes 3900 ft lbs of energy. The 338 win mag, with a 225 grain bullet has a muzzle velocity of 2850 and 4200 ft lbs with the Superformance ammo. So the 338 is slightly slower, but has 300 ft lbs more energy at the muzzle.
But by the time these two bullets reach 500 yards, the 180 grain bullet is traveling at 2200 with 1900 ft lbs, and the 225 grainer is going 2000 fps with 2000 ft lbs. But heres the difference, at 500 yards, the 300 win mag only drops 34 inches, and the 338 drops 42.
So, my question is, since the 300 and 338 are pretty darn close when it comes to middle/long range ballistics, is there any reason to buy the 338? Is there some advantage it has that I am missing? The 300 will have less recoil, drop less, and according to ballistics, have only 100 ft lbs of energy less, so why not stay with the 300 win mag?
If 500yds is your limit the .300WM is all you need for anything N. America has to offer other than big grizzlies.
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It depends on what your hunting and if you are reloading. If you are looking at large big game like elk the 338 winchester is the best at any range with proper bullets. One thing you need to consider is most people on here quote target bullet ballistics for hunting purposes like the Amax and Berger. These bullets have a history of shedding their jacket, coming apart, quickly losing their energy and not penetrating well into the vitals on some hits on elk size game. Remember quoting energy figures with target bullets is worthless because they shed there weight upon contact negating any drive through energy figures. With top quality hunting bullets the 225 accubond and 225 ttsx, which has a much higher bc than listed, put more crushing energy down range than comparable 30 caliber bullets out of a 300 winchester.
The best situation is to go to custom made lathe turned bullets as I have. Then you get a .64 bc 225 grain cutting edge bullet for the 338 winchester that is monometal and will not come apart on any shot to drive through game. I am testing these for expansion next month on caribou. This bullet will outperform anything the 300 winchester has to offer at long range large big game. The 200 accubond, 177 GS bullet and 180 grain cutting edge bullet have similar ballistics but not the energy of the 225 grain out of a 338 winchester. Heavy larger calibers kill better on large big game.
So it depends on if you reload, what animals your shooting at what range and how much you want to spend on bullets to get the best hunting situation you can get. To me hunting all over is expensive, bullets are cheap, even at cutting edge prices. I want the best opportunity to kill something. For target shooting quoting match bullets bc's are fine but to many do that for hunting in the smaller calibers and have problems losing animals with bullets coming apart. Although you will rarely hear that admitted on here. Or they only have the experience on the ballistics computer and not the hunting fields. It takes a lot of experience in both areas to have the best success. I hunt caribou/deer/antelope size stuff long range with both the Amax and Berger bullets. But not elk and grizzlies so it depends on what you hunt and the purpose for the rifle as to what you get.
I have taken large big game to 1100 yards with the 338 winchester. It will shoot long range just fine in the proper hands although I prefer something bigger. But between these two I would take the 338 winchester over the 300 winchester at long range large big game. Again it depends on how you load them. But with the bullets I have available it would be the 338 winchester loaded with 225 grain CE bullets.
The whole debate is splitting hairs because as I said before I am confident with either or I wouldn't be taking my 300 winchester to Alaska. With top hunting bullets ballistics are going to be very close. My 300 winchester shooting the 180 grain c 21 cutting edge bullet .6 bc at 3375 fps tends to swing the pendulum in that direction. But that is nearly 200 fps faster than any other 300 winny I have. With normal rifles there isn't much difference between the two ballistically with quality hunting bullets. Either will kill about anything so really no need tearing your hair out over it.
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Last edited by Long Time Long Ranger; 07-29-2011 at 04:02 PM.
my opinion on the matter is that the .300WIN Nd the .338WIN are so close in ballistics it isnt even worth thinking about. I like .338's so thats what I would get. you could make it a no brainer and get a .340 Wby or larger. done deal.