It seems there are lots of different 338's out there, 338 mag, 338RUM, 338 Edge, 338 Lapua, 338 Lapua AI, 338 Norma Mag. If a person was wanting to have a real nice custom long range 338 built what would it be???
I am sure there are others out there that I have never heard of. Not knowing a whole lot about the 338's, can someone give me some insight on the pro's and cons. I want to start making a list of things I will need for this new extreme long range work of art. Bring it on, overload my system with all your experience.
All the ones you listed are good medium range rifles. You are talking serious long range and these are not what you want to spend your money on. To many better choices if you have the money. Without going to the chey-tac case you have three choices. Improved 378 wby case, improved full length Rigby case and excalibur case. If I am shooting serious beyond 1000 yards I don't even consider the ultramag or Lapua cases. I don't like to limit myself when it is just as easy to shoot a big gun off one of the cases I mentioned and get the critical extra 200-300 fps or so. Everytime you turn a click there is a fractional margin of error involved. You always want to turn the minimal clicks for windage and elevation. Therefore get a rifle that serves your purpose having to turn the fewest clicks for windage and elevation.
Two primary factors of error involved here. Your error in the input and the fractional error in the click adjustment. Your input involves the exact range to target, atmospheric conditions, angle to target, windage, etc. Every click you turn considering one of these unknowns is a factor of error. The more you can reduce your time of flight to target the more error estimation you take out of the equation. More fps equals less time of flight to target. This equals big gun, all are accurate so don't let some dummy tell you, oh but this one is not as accurate as that one, or this brass shoots way better than that. These are hints the guy your talking to doesn't have the experience needed to do the job you want. Your talking a long way out there and that requires considerable experience. I have shot all kinds of cartridges, brass and rifles for many years and made great shots with all of them. The rifle and the shooter behind it are the key.
If you are building a hunting weight rifle do one of the cases I mentioned for serious long range work. If weight is not a factor then do the chey-tac improved and consider the 375 caliber in that one for extreme long range. At the extreme long range your talking about you not only have gone well beyond the cartridges you mentioned but getting to the limits of the 338 caliber and may want to consider the 375 to do a better job at extreme distances. Again, it's not that the cartridge or caliber may not do it, there are just better ones as the range extends. When I lived in Colorado years ago we had a great range where you could shoot targets over two miles. With my big 338's I could get to 1 1/2 miles, but when I used the 50 BMG improved I could do it much better. I took a manikin out of a jeep at 1 1/2 miles with the 50 bmg imp and I could not do that nearly as effectively with a big 338.
I have built and shot long range hunting rifles for many years and you learn not to get caught up in fads or what's hot now. You look at the exact performance of a particular cartridge and if it is the best for your intended use. The best doesn't cost any more than the average. Remember when the range gets long, the fewest clicks, the less margin of error.
This is the long range hunting forum. My comments are considering that fact. I have taken many trophy class animals at long range for many years. It wasn't luck. Everything I do is very calculated. I remove every margin of error I can with everything I do while in the field. With my rifle it will shoot the bullet I want at the highest velocity accurately attainable to give me the absolute best opportunity to harvest that once in a lifetime trophy when I get that fleeting chance in field conditions. I bring home trophies, many people talk about the one that got away.
Think about what I have said and then start searching for rifles. It comes from a lot of experience.
Predictions are difficult, especially when they involve the future
that advise from long time long ranger is as good as it gets.
every body seems to be going 338 nuts nowdays.
if you want one dont screw around with it because you wont have gained anything.
use a big case or stick with the 30 cal.
one of my guns is a heavy bench 30x378 on a custom action with a 36" barrel.
118 gr. of h870 or wc872 will drive a 200smk @3500 fps.
i need 145 to 150 clicks to be on @ 1500 yds. depending on the day.
at that distance a similar rifle in 338x416 with a velocity of about 3250 with a 300smk has me beat.
220s or 240s in my gun cant match the 200 at that distance, so theres no advantage there, at least on trajectory.
im not going to go out and build another gun because of that.
because shooting at rocks is one thing and shooting at animals is another.
i think my 30x378 or your 300 ultra shoots plenty far enough for me, and for that matter most others.
fact is most of our shooting is with smaller guns at much closer distances.
Great advise from Long Time Long Ranger..... One thing all of us "long range hunters" need to consider is just HOW FAR do YOU intend to shoot.
It is cool to talk about shooting a mile, and fun to mess around and plink a gong at a mile, but it is whole different ball game to to drop a one shot kill round into a critter across two canyons at a mile.
Many of us may get proficient at 1000 yards and think, hey why not a mile, it is only another 760 yards!! Once you get out there to 1000 yards each 100 additional yards is almost like adding the skill and technique it took to to get to 1000.....
I have those long range hammers...... up to and including a 50BMG improved. LTLR could probably take one of them and kill a critter at a mile. For me, it is 1000 yards. Anything inside that is in trouble (depending on conditions of course), but I am a lot of experience away from a critter shot at a mile.
So..... Like LTLR said, if you are really wanting to do a mile for hunting purposes, get yourself one of the big long range hammers. But if you really just want to shoot critters out to 800 or 1000 and maybe plink some steel at a mile, a much less intense (and lighter weight) rifle will do.... such as the ultra mag, Lapua and many others in that size range. Just my opinion for what it is worth......
One other thought I let off on the previous post......
You need to think about how much gun you are willing to carry if you are really going to hunt with it. There may be some who disagree, but rifles you would use to reach out 1000 + yards are heavy. Most will start at around 15 pounds and go up from there. Plus you have all the other gear you need to have with you to make a shot at a mile.
Check out the "backpack hunting" part of the forum and you will find most everyone talking about NOT wanting to carry around that 15 or 18 pound rifle around in the mountains on an elk or mule deer hunt.