300WM and 338WM Ballistic Comparison

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Pbailey, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. Pbailey

    Pbailey Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    80
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2011
    After looking through Hornady's website, the 300 win mag with a 180 grain bullet comes out of the tube at 3100 fps with Hornady's Superformance Ammo, with it, comes 3900 ft lbs of energy. The 338 win mag, with a 225 grain bullet has a muzzle velocity of 2850 and 4200 ft lbs with the Superformance ammo. So the 338 is slightly slower, but has 300 ft lbs more energy at the muzzle.

    But by the time these two bullets reach 500 yards, the 180 grain bullet is traveling at 2200 with 1900 ft lbs, and the 225 grainer is going 2000 fps with 2000 ft lbs. But heres the difference, at 500 yards, the 300 win mag only drops 34 inches, and the 338 drops 42.

    So, my question is, since the 300 and 338 are pretty darn close when it comes to middle/long range ballistics, is there any reason to buy the 338? Is there some advantage it has that I am missing? The 300 will have less recoil, drop less, and according to ballistics, have only 100 ft lbs of energy less, so why not stay with the 300 win mag?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,612
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2002
    I do not know anything about factory ammo. But if you reload this is what you can do with each. 300 win mag 3200 fps with 180 grain .6 bc cutting edge bullet. 338 win mag 2925 fps with 225 grain cutting edge bullet .64 bc. Either one will kill something a long ways out there. I shot the 338 winchester in Alaska last year and carrying a 300 winchester this year. Obviously I am confident with either one. For large big game at the longer distances the 338 is a better choice with reloads.
     

  3. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,158
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2008
    Well for 500yds I would look at a 260, 6.5x47, 6.5 Creedmore, 7mm-08, 257 Roberts, 25-06, 308, 30-06, 280/AI, 270. All these calibers are more than capable to 500yds and more. Less powder, less recoil, and more affordable ammo. But... pertaining to your question, with proper hand loads both can be souped up to much better ballistics. Guess it's a matter of what you want. Both will get the job done. If I had a 338WM, I would go with the 225 and even the 250's. With the 300WM, I would go straight to the 208 a-max, or 210 something. I wouldn't even bother with anything less than 200grns. The 300WM is a serious competitor to 1000yds for game. JMHO!

    By the way, I have a .308 that I plan on shooting deer to 800yds with. Just something to think about.

    Tank
     
  4. MHO

    MHO Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    600
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    I heard from a pretty well known long range shooter that bullet weight after a thousand yards is one difference. Due to wind the heavier bullet is therefore bucking any wind better which results in better accuracy. I might not have explained this exactly so all you long range guys don't blow me up on this. But that was the point he was making because I had the exact question for him. lol. If I was not planning on shooting past 800 yards I would definitely go with the 300 mag.
     
  5. backwoods83

    backwoods83 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,206
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2011
    We all have opinions and mine is that the 338wm isn't enough for the heavier run of the mill high bc bullets, it is a smaller case than the 300wm. And the thing about heavier bullets being more accurate at 1k and farther goes with same caliber heavier bullets, when you step up from .308 in diameter to .338 that's more surface area for the wind to push against. Put 190-210s in a 300wm and you will be happy.
     
  6. Topshot

    Topshot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,085
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2008
    I will give you a hot tip. The B.C. that you are most likely using for the 225 grain .338WM load is wrong. Punch in a G1 B.C. of 0.54 and see what you get.
     
  7. HARPERC

    HARPERC Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,986
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Pretty much most of my thoughts have been expressed. 1) I find no fault with either choice as a big game cartridge. 2) The good .30 caliber bullets start at 200 grains. I've seen the .30 180 Partition fail to break/penetrate shoulders on bigger game, game that was recovered due to fortuitous circumstances allowing follow up shots.
    My answer to the why the .338 question given your particular parameters is a bit better terminal performance over time in my experience.
    Again I find no fault with the .300's my answer could change if the parameters of the question did.
     
  8. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,125
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2011
    If 500yds is your limit the .300WM is all you need for anything N. America has to offer other than big grizzlies.
     
  9. Pbailey

    Pbailey Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    80
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2011
    500 yards is definitely not the limit, I just didnt have any more data for longer ranges. Sorry about that, so for shots at 500 and over, would your decisions change?
     
  10. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,125
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2011
    Up to Elk Sized game to 1000 I'd say go with the 300 Rum or 300 WM.

    The .338WM hits its peak value by 800yds.

    Beyond that you need to think bigger cases and higher velocities.
     
  11. MHO

    MHO Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    600
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    Ive whacked just my about everything with my 300 wsm. Out to 700 yards with 180 gr Accubonds. Ive never had anything get away. Hope it helps. Would choose the 300 if I were you. GREAT round.
     
  12. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,612
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2002
    It depends on what your hunting and if you are reloading. If you are looking at large big game like elk the 338 winchester is the best at any range with proper bullets. One thing you need to consider is most people on here quote target bullet ballistics for hunting purposes like the Amax and Berger. These bullets have a history of shedding their jacket, coming apart, quickly losing their energy and not penetrating well into the vitals on some hits on elk size game. Remember quoting energy figures with target bullets is worthless because they shed there weight upon contact negating any drive through energy figures. With top quality hunting bullets the 225 accubond and 225 ttsx, which has a much higher bc than listed, put more crushing energy down range than comparable 30 caliber bullets out of a 300 winchester.

    The best situation is to go to custom made lathe turned bullets as I have. Then you get a .64 bc 225 grain cutting edge bullet for the 338 winchester that is monometal and will not come apart on any shot to drive through game. I am testing these for expansion next month on caribou. This bullet will outperform anything the 300 winchester has to offer at long range large big game. The 200 accubond, 177 GS bullet and 180 grain cutting edge bullet have similar ballistics but not the energy of the 225 grain out of a 338 winchester. Heavy larger calibers kill better on large big game.

    So it depends on if you reload, what animals your shooting at what range and how much you want to spend on bullets to get the best hunting situation you can get. To me hunting all over is expensive, bullets are cheap, even at cutting edge prices. I want the best opportunity to kill something. For target shooting quoting match bullets bc's are fine but to many do that for hunting in the smaller calibers and have problems losing animals with bullets coming apart. Although you will rarely hear that admitted on here. Or they only have the experience on the ballistics computer and not the hunting fields. It takes a lot of experience in both areas to have the best success. I hunt caribou/deer/antelope size stuff long range with both the Amax and Berger bullets. But not elk and grizzlies so it depends on what you hunt and the purpose for the rifle as to what you get.

    I have taken large big game to 1100 yards with the 338 winchester. It will shoot long range just fine in the proper hands although I prefer something bigger. But between these two I would take the 338 winchester over the 300 winchester at long range large big game. Again it depends on how you load them. But with the bullets I have available it would be the 338 winchester loaded with 225 grain CE bullets.

    The whole debate is splitting hairs because as I said before I am confident with either or I wouldn't be taking my 300 winchester to Alaska. With top hunting bullets ballistics are going to be very close. My 300 winchester shooting the 180 grain c 21 cutting edge bullet .6 bc at 3375 fps tends to swing the pendulum in that direction. But that is nearly 200 fps faster than any other 300 winny I have. With normal rifles there isn't much difference between the two ballistically with quality hunting bullets. Either will kill about anything so really no need tearing your hair out over it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011
  13. angus-5024

    angus-5024 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,132
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    my opinion on the matter is that the .300WIN Nd the .338WIN are so close in ballistics it isnt even worth thinking about. I like .338's so thats what I would get. you could make it a no brainer and get a .340 Wby or larger. done deal.
     
  14. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,612
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2002
    True, The 340 would settle it.