Don't know what it was, but I just got more interested in getting out in the field and hunting. We weren't seeing elk or even elk sign on the face of the mountain I was hoping to try out the big 338/408 on and I didn't figure on needing to use it. Jim was mistaken on the rifle I did use, it was a lighter weight 7mm WSM
. I loaded it for mule deer with 140 gr Accubonds and it was shooting very well. Shot my deer at 375 with perfect performance (top of the heart), then a few days later had a bull and a few cows above me at first light. The 140gr bullet wasn't ideal, but the bull was shot at 500 even and two shots, two hits, one dead bull. First shot was through the lungs about 1/3rd of the way up and 2nd shot was right in the shoulder 1/3rd of the way up. Funny thing is the first round never exited, but the second shot busted both shoulders (through the heavy cross bone) and was sitting against the hide on the far side. After that one he was down for the count. I did shoot my 300 RUM a bit on a few rocks and I hadn't shot that rifle in 3 years. Last time was when I shot a mule deer buck at 1180. Well with the same loads I dialed up for an 850 yard shot on a rock and impact was w/in an inch of the 2-3" spot I was aiming at. Follow up shots were right there, left and right due to wind.
Honestly I just didn't have the time with the big 338 beforehand other than getting a basic zero at 300 back home. It does really seem to want to shoot, which is a good thing. Most shots at 300 are w/in 1/4" of touching and next year it will be ready. I ended up at 141gr of 50BMG with the 300gr Sierra at something over 3100fps. I have some die blanks on order w/ PTG and as soon as they come in I'll get your dies back to you...thanks for the loan!
As for the hunt in general, the other two guys were good friends with time available. Rodney had never hunted elk and Chris had bowhunted with me once before for elk. When asked what he thought of it, Rodney loved it, but said it was a hell of a lot of work! Seems we were always packing out meat and it was an average of 2 miles with 75-125lbs on your back...everyone came back in better shape than they left that's for sure.
I don't know if I should refer to any of these guys as friends though, when I went up on Sunday to pack out my deer all I heard was crickets....the SOB's sat in camp while I packed in, boned out the skinned carcass, and packed it out myself! What doesn't kill you makes you stronger I guess
All in all, great hunt, great time.
Oh, and everytime I shoot that 338, the back blast give me a headache...must be the Muscle Brake.