I have an M700 that was just rebarreled to a 338-06. It's wearing a 24" Hart 1x10" barrel, and I already have a batch of Lapua '06 brass already necked up and ready to reload. No stock yet, so it's not operational at this point.
This is my second 338-06. The first was an '03 Springfield I built up many years ago. In that one, I found best accuracy with the 250 grain SGK with about 47.3 grains of IMR4064. The hunting load with the same bulit was was RL-19 at 61.2 grains, for about 2500 fps. With the 215 grain SGK, the accuracy load was RL-19, at 59.4 grains. The Hunting load was the same powder, bumped up to 65.8 grains. If that sounds familiar, it's right out of the Sierra manual; that was my rifle that was used to develop that data.
I'd be more inclined towards a Nosler 210 or 225 Partition for elk now, but that should be a good place to start with the loads. For anyhting at more extended ranges, I'd probably take a look at the new Berger 338s. Still, this isn't really what I'd call a long range cartridge. Great hunting cartridge, no doubt, but not one I'd want to be stretching across canyons or open plains unless I really had to.
I used a Sinclair mandral die and one of their 338E mandrals, with the addition of just a touch of Imperial inside the necks. I'll run these through a 338-06 size die (bushing type, just touching the necks) and then load up as usual. Had no problem at all in the neck-ups, it's not that much of a stretch.
The range issue shouldn't be a problem. I wouldn't hink twice about a 300 yard shot, and 400 should be entirely doable. Never used it on elk, but it sure puts deer down like a hammer. I may get a chance to try it on moose in Finland later this year, and it should be about perfect for them.
I have the 338-06 AI and the 338 Gibbs. I have best luck necking 35 whelen brass down and making a nice shoulder to headspace on. Aneal the necks and they will give you long case life. I have been shooting 200 grain ballistic tips and 210 grain swift scirrocos in them. No problem taking elk at 400 yards. They are very accurate hard hitting rifles. Next I am going to the 185 Barnes for the higher velocity while retaining a .432 bc which is better than the 200 grain nosler. I have no problem shooting the light barnes bullets at game. This is not a long range cartridge so I figure I may as well get the flattest trajectory possible that will kill effectively.
Predictions are difficult, especially when they involve the future
LTLR, I've always followed your posts, 338-06, 338-06 ai, 338-06 a-square. Or just plain 35 whelen.
Black bear and hogs out to 200, deer and elk out to 400-500? What's easiest and best to reload and get accuracy? I'm a new re loader. I have 300 wm, 7 stw already and 7 wsm. Going to sell my 338 Lapua as I don't have anything or place to shoot it these days. I have a never used FN Commercial model 1950 action in 30-06 that I want for rough weather and hunting with. I think 1 of these 4 is the ticket.
Replacing the 338 Lapua with a custom Ruger No 1 in 300 Weatherby, between the stw and that, I probably won't need anything at my current level, 750 yds or less.