?? Why ??, I've always crimped my rifle rounds. Up until now, all my bolt gun work has been done with a .308, in the field, the rounds are in a hard case to prevent alot of unnecessary impacts. The .338 being a much longer round, rounds are carried in a smaller, numerically speaking, case. I would be concerned that I may not be able to treat them very delicately most of the time. For this reason, I had thought to crimp them as an added level of insurance from tactical OAL modification. Heck, I've had .45 ball to a tactical OAL mod on me in the field. From the bench, the .338 works well from 600 meters and beyond and packs a nice payload. One does not always have the luxury of a stable concrete bench, hot coffee, donuts, etc... I've heard arguments that crimping degrades accuracy, this may or may not be true, from the golden rectangle perspective, I doubt that crimping would be much of an accuracy trade off in this scenario. So...that is my thinking on the "...why...", now, I ask you...Why Not?
Crimping definately has its place, but bolt guns, especially those that need to deliver top accuracy, isn't one of them. It almost always degrades accuracy, compared to what's possible with proper neck tension alone, and it introduces another variable that needs to be controlled. I'd go with neck tension alone here and see what you can get from the gun. If you want to play with that a bit, that'd probably be a good thing, and varying a bit will sometimes show improvement in certain loads. Bushing dies make this sort of experimenation easy. For revolvers, autoloading pistols or lever guns, I'm with you. None for the bolt guns, though. Neck tension alone should be more than sufficient even for some rough handling (perish the thought, I know, but yeah, we all know it happens!).
Thanx for the candid feedback. For these rifles, rough handling will be the norm. Time will tell, it's certainly not a defensive, close quarters weapon by any means. It's stand off capability is it's primary utility. Few actually tell the Chief to get down with his weapon if and when he drops it. When the Chief drops a weapon, it is considered a reliability test.
Well Mr. Thomas is like E.F. Hutton, so I'm listening. Forgive me for sinning but I lightly Lee factory crimped my 338 and 300 RUM loads. I worried about the recoil on the loads in the box. I have had several cases where a light factory crimp tightened up my groups so now I do it on almost everything. The rifles I shoot the most are almost always semi-autos but it tightened up my groups on the long range bolt guns too. I'll load some up without it and try them. Both of my RUMs shoot 1/2 MOA with the crimp.