Re: Help me find a 338 Cartridge
What's your definition of "efficiency". Muzzle energy/propellant energy or terminal energy/propellant energy? If the latter then heavy slow low drag bullets are the most "efficient" since they give up a smaller percent of their energy pushing air out of their way. Your stated velocity requirement makes the 338 Win Mag the choice for efficiency. I doubt a 338-06 can make it. Without the velocity requirement a 338 Whisper (338 BR) is a lethal subsonic which is a far more efficient (in terminal energy/propellant energy) than any of the magnums. That's not to say it's a good choice for long range or for big game.
An advantage of the 338 WM is that it's a mid-length cartridge 3.34"SAAMI OAL which is often sold in full length magnum 3.6" actions. That's very desirable for shooting heavy low drag bullets at moderate velocities.
I have rifles in 338 Federal, 338 WM, 338 Rum, and 338-378 Wby. My favorite is the 338WM in a SAKO TRG-S rifle. (3.6"_ magazine) My 338-378 is also a SAKO TRG-S, but it cannot feed cartridges loaded with heavy low drag bullets from the magazine, nor can the 338 RUM in a Rem 700LA. Both have obnoxious recoil and muzzle blast. The 338 Federal also is hopeless for shooting heavy ow drag bullets as it's a short (2.85") action. A 338 WSM or 338 SAUM would have the same problem as most are sold in short action rifles. .
Each of the above cartridges is a tradoff in several properties. Kind of like the Goldilocks story. Too much, too little, or a good tradeoff in all of its properties. The 338 WM is not the "best" in any one property including efficiency, but the best overall combination of properties in my opinion.
High efficiency isn't always the best choice. At moderate ranges lighter bullets at higher velocities may produce more reliable kills. The short action cartridges have their place too.
I'm curious why you (MSU Marksman) emphasize high efficiency over other properties which are desirable in a hunting cartridge such as a flatter trajectory and reduced wind deflection. I've never considered cartridge efficiency a goal in itself, only a result of trying to achieve particular exterior and terminal ballistic characteristics.
Last edited by LouBoyd; 09-10-2010 at 01:10 AM.