300 WSM Owner
The 300 WSM is capable of pushing a 180 bullet @ 3000 fps, basically the same as a 300 WM. Mine (Sako 85 Finnlight) will push handloaded 180 E-Tips @ 3020 fps and factory 180 AB's @ 3000 fps. At a conservative elk hunting elevation of 5000', it will put a 180 gr E-Tip or AB out ot 800 yds with well over 1800 fps of velocity and about 48 lb ft of momentum which is ample to kill an elk which several on this site have demostrated.
The 338 will definitely hit harder, but the 300 WSM will do the job out 800+ yds
On recoil, my 300 WSM kicks about the same as my 7mm RM ( a subjective estimate) If I put a slip on recoil pad on it at the range, I can shoot it all day. In the field, I dont feel recoil and if I did, I could keep the slip on pad on it.
I have heard a lot of good things about the Tikka's, but theor stocks are plastic and their rings don't have a good rep. Howa and Vanguard (Howa built) also put out some good rifles and the vanguard comes with a factory shot target.
+1 for the 300 WSM @ 800 yds