I'm sitting here right now with three of the Sierra .338 300-grain HPBT bullets on my computer desk. When not typing I kind of resemble Bogart sitting in the witness chair, only instead of steel balls in my hand I have these three bullet...
I am intrigued with them, and have been wondering about a few things, that possibly you guys (and gals?) could help me out with.
Of all the "commercially available" .338 calibers on the market, which would make these bullets do their best?
I'm not looking for a gazillion feet per second, but am more interested in accuracy. Yes, these will be used on game, but probably only once, since it is way over-kill for antelope, mule deer and whitetail (not to mention prairie dogs!).
I am not looking to build a $4,000 rifle either. I wanna keep it entirely "factory stock", and will probably be mounting a Leupold variable scope on it.
Range of the game will probably be in the 750-yard to whatever area. (Would love to do one of those 1-mile kills, but am not sure a factory outfit would accomplish this.
So, tell me...what caliber and what rifle would be my best bet? (I must mention that I prefer my rifles with a nice dark blue metal finish, and a warm brown walnut wood.)
I agree wtih boyd on the 338 RUM, the Lapua is worth a look also.
Just a word about over-kill though. I don't believe there is such a thing. How do you over-kill something, I thought dead was dead? [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]
For the meat destruction arguement, I normally don't eat the ribs anyway and if I happen to hit the shoulder then so be it, I still have the hams and loins [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img] .
My brother used his Lapua (we bought consecutively serial #'d models) on a jack rabbit hunt a couple of years ago and it worked great. The jacks and racoons died just as if they had been hit with a 22-250 [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] .
I think the 338 is one of the best calibers around.
My two cents worth anyway.
Learn from others mistakes, you won't live long enough to make them all yourself
I notice people are having problems getting 2800 fps out of the 338 Ultra with the 300 Sierra MK, especially factory barrels. I'm not so sure the 340 Wby Imp carridges like the 338 Baer, 340 Goodling, and another version popular here in Pa wouldn't be a little better than the 338 Ultra, I know of one that gets 2800 fps with the 300 Sierra MK and R25 powder with only a 28" barrel and for sure the brass quality is better. Sometimes NEW isn't always better. If you stick with factory chambers you're stuck with the throating they give you. If you don't want to mess around with custom dies, fireforming, etc and you want to feed it from a magazine then the Ultra is probably the way to go. To cripple the power and accuracy potential of a good cartridge by magazine feeding is bad. The 338 Lapua is another story though, but I'm not familiar with the Factory rifles made for it, the throating, etc., but the case is really nice. Just an opinion.
The Sako Trgs is not a bad way to go in 338 Lapua, but they have a short throat. My roommate just built a 338 Lapua improved with a 28" sporter weight Walther barrel. We did some load development with the stock TRGS first. He only shoots the 225 grain Barns XLC though. I helped him do load development on the factor barrel and the custom. We found that the throat was pretty short in the factory barrel. The X bullets like to be seated deaper then conventional bullets, and they ended up down around the lower shoulder area. I think this throat would be way to short for the 300 MK. If you had it re throated it would work ok. Another problem is that I think the factory barrel was only about 25" long.The Norma brass he uses is very stronge and of great quality in comparison to the Rem brass. You would be very surprised if you looked at how thick the web area is on these cases. Bell labs did a good job when they re-enginered the cases from the original 416. The ultra seems to be about 2 or so grains behind in case capacity, and light years behind in brass quality, but the rifles tend to have a longer throat from what I have seen. I think velocitys will equal out in factor guns. I would give the Ultra the nod because you could buy one in the Sendero, and brass would be much cheaper. This may not be the type of rifle you are looking for, but you want it to do some things that a sporter just isn't ment to do. The Sendero will be more consistent then a sporter BDL if they are both stock guns. I haven't played with the Accumark in 338-378 so I don't know how short the throat is in them, but with Weatherby you can assume it is very long. You would have better brass then the ultra, and more case capacity. I would guess that you could get at least 100 fps more from the bigger case. You will be looking at spending a few hundred more for the rifle and about twice as much for brass though. The accumark does come with a break. I guess in a nut shell it would come down to either the 338-378 in the Accumark or the 338 Ultra Sendero if I was going to try a factory rifle. You could also save some money and try to do a midrange custom gun though. I think the money would be well spent for what you would like to do with the rifle. Another though is to spend about 1800 to 2000 on a H&S precision rile. It isn't a full custom but it would be a happy medium if you wanted to use the Lapua. A 28 to 30" barrel would really help you get that velocity though. Every inch helps when you are trying to get out to a mile. Having a Sendero rebarreled would be a good compromise. These are just a few ideas for you. I hope this helps.
Working to improve hit probability.
Just my two cents for what it's worth, the Lapua was shortened from the original so they gutted the power capability, but for accuracy this is possibly the best choice.
The RUM was also shortened and the same is true of power potential there, for now the brass is the worst.
The 338/378wby is king of the factory chamberings for LR period, and accuracy should be great too. I doubt you could go wrong with one of these. I can't stand the looks of their rifles myself but some people LOVE them.
For the money I would buy the Ruger MKII Magnum in 416 Rigby and save the barrel for later, have a 30+" Lilja custom 338/378 chambered barrel installed and go to the range. I rechambered mine to 416wby which is the same case and it feeds flawlessly with no modifacations in any way, and holds one more in the magazine than the Weatherby to boot and in my opinion is a much SWEETER looking rifle too.