I'm still wondering about an Encore barrel better than the standard 338 Win mag but safe.
I've done enough looking to think that the safest way to go if I feel the need to continue to pursue this option is to do an 8 rem mag with a better shoulder (???40 or so??) necked up a bit to 338. Looks like it would have to have more case capacity and come close to a 340 wtby round maybe.
Is there such a round already named? Found out the 338 Lapua is out of the question anyway.
Get as close as you can, but utilize your skills as needed.
So, then, why not go with the 340? It's the same brass, with load data available already, and dies, etc., easier to find.
The 338-8mm (or better yet, 338-358 STA with it's improved taper) would be interesting to talk about at the range, but I gotta wonder if the 340 would suit you perfect.
Check out Pac Nor. I don't know if they chamber encore barrels, but the do cut a 338-8mm Remington. My brother has one chambered in a 27inch barrel on a Model 70 action. The gun is pretty impressive. Performance is very close to that of the weatherby. He hunts with a load pushing a 250 gr Gameking at over 3100 fps. As for reloading costs, very comprable if not cheaper than the weatherby. Load data is interchangable, therefor powder needs are similar. Dies are comprable, and brass is actually cheaper (yes, I know depending on the make, but remington brass is cheaper than 340 Weatherby brass, heck the 340 weatherby is often fireformed off of the 8mm Rem case). Good luck with your decision, but teh 338-8mm is definately not one to shy away from.
By "338-358 STA" I mean the 358 STA necked down. To make the STA Simpson decided to improve the taper on the 8mm Rem case a bit. By necking down the STA you're doing the same thing as a 338-8mm Rem Imp.
As far as pressures go, that's all up to you (assuming you roll your own.) The 340 will be cheaper in some ways, and you'll have load data. Though any of the wildcats on the 8mm Rem case will be close enough that you could use the same starting data (or maybe back off another 2%, but the difference in 340 pressures might be the difference in STA capacity, if you know what I mean.)
I think there is a 338 jarret, look into that it would be very close to the 338-8mm but data, dies and a reamer may be eaiser to find. What about a 338 rem ultra mag? very common parts and pieces to keep cost down. Any custom dies for a wild cat will be $125 or better, 338 rum dies are standard $30. Just a thought. ebb