Any of the above mentioned rounds should work fine at 600 yards on elk. If you want a fairly light rifle with no muzzle brake, might I also suggest a good squishy recoil pad and a scope with generous eye relief. I took an elk at 589 yds last year with my unbraked sporter weight 300 RUM. I wasn't in the best position to absorb recoil in order to get steady for the shot with the rest I had available and I have a nice little scar on my eyebrow as a result.
I would think that the 325 WSM would have the least recoil but there are not many high BC bullets available for the 8mm diameter. The best is the Sierra 220 gr with a listed BC of .521 but you may not get great velocity out of the short case. In any case, you wouldn't see a dramatic difference in drift and trajectory until you get out past 600 yards.
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no Bergers, only 3 Nosler Accubonds and all are under .400 BC. Also the 325 WSM is a short action so if you had a long bullet like a Barnes TSX then you could be in a position to not be able to put enough of an appropriate slow burning powder because that long bullet will be in your powder column.
I have no doubt the 325 WSM is a fine caliber (8mm rem mag would be better but that's a recoil problem and same bullet problem) but you would have some hurdles not there with the 300 win mag or 338 win mag.
I have had identical rifles in 300 win mag and 338 win mag and the 338 win mag beat up just enough so I had a brake installed. Got tired of pushing the 338 win mag to get velocity past 2800 fps (I like heavier bullets) so I rebarreled it to a 338RUM. I know it sounds counter to get rid of a 338 win mag that kicks to a 338RUM that kicks worse, but at least I get the velocity!
I can shoot my 300 win mag all day and it will shoot the 200 gr Accubond (.588 BC) at 2900 fps easy and 180 gr bullets to 3100 fps. That is my upper limit so far without recoil relief and that is in an 8# rifle. Plenty of brass, bullets and dies for the 300 win mag so that would be my choice.
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As much as I'd like to get a 338 Edge/RUM/Lapua, I think what I need right now is something that can anchor elk, moose, and black bear at ~600 yards. I currently own a heavy 243 (for varmints & targets) and a 35 Remington (just for fun and pigs if I get a chance to go south), but nothing for large game at 'medium' ranges. I had a 300 WSM that was boringly accurate, but sold it for another project.
A few weeks ago I asked about the 300 Win Mag vs. RUM for 1000 to 1200 yards and I got some great advice. A big 338 seems like the way to go for a dedicated longrange rig, and the 300 Win Mag seems like a great all-around rifle as well. In my mind, these would need to have long, heavy barrels and would not be ideal for hiking or when jumping animals.
Instead of those longrange rigs, I think I need something more versatile. Right now, I think I will have more opportunities at 400 to 600 yards than at 1200 yards and want something that won't be burden to carry.
I'm thinking either a 300 Win Mag or 338 Win Mag that weighs 6.5 to 7.5 lbs without scope. A Kimber 84M Montana would be great at 5lbs, but I don't think I'd feel confident in shooting an elk much past 300 yards with the cartridges its chambered for (260, 7mm-08, 308, 338Fed).
So what do you guys think? 300WM with 200gr Accubond or 338WM with 225gr Accubond? I have to admit that for 600 yards I am leaning towards the 338. Even though the 225gr is only 15% heavier than the 200gr, it seems like the extra bullet weight could come in handy. Plus, if I ever go to Alaska (some friends go every year) I think the 338 would give me extra confidence (maybe just my imagination) for big black bears and moose. Would either the 300 or 338 be suitable for shoulder shots on big black bears, moose, or bull elk at 600 yards, or is that placement not advisable?
I previously owned a T3 in 300 WSM (8 lbs total weight) and recoil was not an issue (shot 40 rounds in one session). I had great luck shooting at 400+ yards with this rifle. I have not shot a 338 however, and I do not want a muzzle brake on this new rifle. Also, I have shot with good success at 600 yards with a 308, have reloading equipment, LRF, spotting scope, etc.
Thanks in advance,
I'm a fan of the 30 cal, more bullet choices, readily available ammo, flatter shooting, (try remington ballistics online and compare different rounds)a 300 win mag is quite a bit flatter at 600 than the 338.
My brain says, "Use the 300 Win Mag & 200gr Accubond due to the .588 BC."
My heart says, "Use 338 and 225gr Accubond due to the heavier bullet."
Using JBM with the 200gr Accubond at 3000fps, it has 69" of drop and 21" of drift at 600 yards. The 225gr Accubond at 2900fps has 77" of drop and 24" of drift at the same distance. The drift is very comparable and tends to be what I focus on when comparing different bullets.
Both loads are below 1900fps before 800 yards. For some reason I also have 1900fps stuck in my head. Nolser actually recommends a minimum of 1800fps. The 338 would be travelling at 1800fps at ~700 yards, and the 300 at ~800 yards. Note that I used a slightly high muzzle velocity for these calculations at sea level, 59 degrees, etc., etc.
So based on the above it seems like the 300 & 338 have the same amount of drift at 600 yards, but the 300 would have an extra 100 yards of range (800 yards vs 700 yards) if I needed to go beyond 600 yards.
I guess my question to you guys would be, "Does the extra weight of the 225gr bullet have a greater effect on game?" The downside would be greater recoil.
I go by experience and not ballistics programs. I found that large big game do not read those. The 225 grain 338 bullet makes a far more noticable impact than the 300 win mag and is a much better killer on large game. That is from experience. I killed a moose at 1100 yards and numerous 500-700 yard shots with a 338 win mag so it is very capable at the range you want. I have a tikka t3 light in 338 win mag and with the 200 grain swift scirroco .507 bc the recoil is very shootable for me. You can tell when the 225's are in there and the 250's are to much for the light rifle. With the animals you stated it is a no brainer with the 338. Why limit yourself?
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