338 Allen vs. 338 Snipe tac vs. 338 XT - Which one?

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by critrgitr, Jul 16, 2009.

  1. critrgitr

    critrgitr Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    58
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    I am thinking about having one of the big 338 bombers built, and would like to know everyones thoughts on these calibers before I call one of the smiths.

    I found balistic data for the 338 Xtreme Tactical with the 266 gr bullet they designed it for, but I can't find much balistic info on the 338 Allen Magnum or the 338 Snipe Tac. Can anyone show me their numbers?

    How is the brass availability for each?

    What action are your rifles built on?

    What is the realistic range capability of these rifles?

    What type of rangefinders are you using to accurately get out to 2000+ yards without breaking the bank?

    Thanks for any info

    critrgitr
    gun)
     
  2. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,229
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    I can only comment on the 338 Allen Magnum. I have a 32" barrelled 338AM that was built by Kirby Allen. I use a very mild load in my rifle and average 3270fps with the 300gr SMK. You asked about shooting to 2000yds +, I've only shot mine to 1500yds and have not had problems hitting elk vital sized targets to that distance (assuming I judge the wind correctly). I use jameson brass and can get 5-6 reloads on the brass before the shoulder is worked to the point that I can't resize it enough to feel comfortable using it in hunting. I could probably anneal the brass, but it is a high enough powered load that I feel fine throwing it out after 4-5 firings.

    My rifle weighs just under 18lbs with a harris bipod attached. (Includes a 3.5x15x50 Nightforce NXS scope and 2 sets of steel nightforce rings, very large slab brake and adjustable McMillan A5 Stock. A BAT machine 1.55" action was used for my rifle.

    Hope this helps. Much more info is available in the search area, in fact if I remember correctly, Kirby even posted a comparison of the different 338 boomers several months ago.

    AJ
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009

  3. Autorotate

    Autorotate Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    503
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
  4. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

    Messages:
    6,848
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2004
    As far as actual performance difference, there is not alot of difference. The Sniper Tac and Xtreme are nearly identical in case design but for some reason they load the Xtreme to very low pressures. I believe this is because the brass they use will not take any higher pressure.

    Because of that, it will run around 150 fps less then the Sniper Tac with same bullet and barrel length.

    The 338 Allen Magnum is a bit different, shoulder angle is sharper and shoulder location is moved forward around 80 thou to increase the length of the case body.

    When the 338 AM will match the Sniper Tac when loaded to the mild Xtreme pressures or will be 100 fps faster then the Sniper tac when loaded to top pressures.

    In all honesty, all three are dependant on what brass they are using. Most current brass will not allow any of these to reach their full velocity potential. I generally load my 338 AM to 3300 fps in a 33" barrel length but many of my customers are pushing 3400 fps with the 300 gr SMK with good brass life.

    Professionally, I would not recommend the Xtreme simply from what I have seen in the rifles. Other then that, take your pick.

    One bonus of my 338 AM is that I sell fully formed, correct headstamped cases for my 338 Allen Magnum so its no different to load for then say a 300 RUM, just alot larger!!!!
     
  5. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,612
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2002
    I typically do not respond to something I have no personal experience with and I have none with the big 338's off the chey-tac case. But you asked for everyones thoughts so just let me do you a little comparison of things I know very well from many 338's I have built through the years. I personally stick to the biggest, baddest 338's that can be built in a 10 1/2 pound hunting rifle. If you want by far the best thing out there and do not mind an 18 pound rifle the chey-tac case is the way to go. From the velocities and accuracy reported on here from the Allen version I can tell you it would be amazing to shoot one. If I was going to do an 18 pound rifle I would not consider any other round.

    This is why. The popular big 338 cases that can be built on a 10 pound hunting rifle are primarily the ultramag, the lapua and the 378 wby/416 rigby full length. The various wildcats off the ultramag case will top out from 2750-2825 with the 300 matchking. The lapua imp wildcats will top out from 2900-3000 fps. The 378/416 improved cartridges can get up to 3100 fps. Up to 300 fps difference from the ultramag stuff to the 378/416 case stuff. Or about the same as between a 30-06 and a 300 weatherby. That difference is very impressive and quite unforgettable when the bullet impacts a target. That 300 fps makes an incredible difference when shooting in the wind. To go up another 200-300 fps with the allen mag I could not imagine the thrill of shooting it. Long range hunting is different than long range shooting and my choice of calibers for each reflect that. For hunting it is caliber/weight/bc/velocity. The largest caliber, heaviest weight, highest bc bullet you can drive the fastest is going to give you the best opportunity to harvest large game. In other words the best combination of those factors and the 338 allen off the chey-tac case is going to be very hard to beat.
     
  6. critrgitr

    critrgitr Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    58
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Thanks for all the info guys!!!!

    critrgitr

    gun)
     
  7. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

    Messages:
    6,848
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2004
    LTLR brings up a valid point. There have been some claims that this class of rifle can be built into a sub 12 lb rifle using exotic carbon barrels, Ti receivers and very expensive carbon fiber barrels.

    About the lightest I will build one of my rifles is 16 lbs but that is ready to hunt with including NF NXS scope, rings and harris bipod.

    If your alright with a 16-19 lb rifle, the Chey Tac case is the way to go for shear performance and power at long range.

    In lighter rifles there are other options that get you very good performance as those already mentioned as well as my 338 Allen Xpress which I designed specifically for this niche. For those that wanted high performance but with longer barrel life and in a lighter rifle
     
  8. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,612
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2002
    In my opinion you would be defeating the purpose of the 338 Allen to go lighter than Kirby suggests. This is a legitimate one mile rifle capable of extreme accuracy at a mile or further. To shoot accurately consistently I would not go lighter than Kirby's minimum. Weight is critical to control all the aspects of long range shooting. My light rifles can get me by out to a half mile pretty well because I have been doing this a long time and can control a light rifle at that range. It takes a lot of practice with light rifles to shoot accurately at even a half mile and hit game consistently. There is a lot of talk on here about newbies wanting a thousand yard big game rifle. It is not that easy with 10 pound hunting rifles but can be done with a lot of practice.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2009
  9. casspir

    casspir Member

    Messages:
    21
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    Just out of curiosity, how long would a Stainless steel 338 Allen barrel last that is looked after?

    How many time can the brass be reloaded?

    Have been reloading 375 Wby WW brass for many many years (300gr at 2727fps) with no problems. I have stopped counting but it is in the order of 20 times. Other brass however didn`t make it. Like to compare with the 338 Allen.

    This seem to be a GREAT rifle with endless possibilities...I want one!!:rolleyes:
     
  10. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,229
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    With the current Jamison brass, I'm getting 4-5 loadings and then the primer pockets are a bit loose. This is at 3270fps with the 300gr Sierra Matchking, that's over 7100ft lbs of energy.

    AJ
     
  11. leaddog

    leaddog Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    149
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    So my question for LTLR and Fifty driver is what 338 version is the best for a 10 lb hunting rifle. Heavy rifles here are illegal.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2009
  12. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

    Messages:
    6,848
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2004
    Casspir,

    I have burnt out three 338 AM barrels. The first one was my original load development and ballistic test barrel. I was not overly nice to that barrel, it got hot many times for velocity string testing and just in a hurry to get load data developed.

    That barrel went from 1/4 moa accuracy to 1.5 moa accuracy in 570 rounds down the barrel. Some of these loads were quite high in pressure driving the 300 gr SMK to 3500 fps with the old TTI cases.

    My second two barrels were used with Jamison brass and they have lasted longer. They went from just shy of 1/2 moa to around 3/4 moa barrels in 620 and 680 rounds. They are both very usible long range rifles, even at 1000 yards but I decided to pull both of them and I have a Krieger barrel here ready to replace them.

    All of these were Lilja barrels which are famous for accuracy but they are not overly hard and tend to have their throats wash out a bit faster then a good cut rifled barrel such as the Krieger.

    I am predicting I will easily break 800 rounds in the Krieger barrels and possibly more.

    Simply put, they are not barrel friendly but for their design purpose, that being long range big game hunting. A barrel will last the better part of a hunting carreer even for a serious big game hunter.
     
  13. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

    Messages:
    6,848
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2004
    Leaddog,

    I personally do not believe any of these are viable options in a legit 10 lb rifle. I have heard some claims of rifles near this weight limit but I do not see how you can do this without severely cutting corners on barrel, stock and receiver strength and rigidity.

    If you are limited to 10 lbs I would say look into the improved 338 Lapua wildcats such as my 338 Allen Xpress. They are no where near the equal to the 408 CT based wildcats but its very practical to get them into a 10 lb rifle, even a repeater. Performance wise, 2950 to 3000 fps depending on barrel length.
     
  14. edward hogan

    edward hogan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    171
    Joined:
    May 7, 2003
    I owned a .30-378 TRG-S, and .338rum Sendero Sf and .300rum sendero sf; up until last year. Beautiful rifles, powerful cartridges; but....

    I realize they are far from biggest/baddest and were no where near 1mi capable rifles. Yet, I sold them because even though I live in Alaska and could choose to employ any in my front yard, they were not "practical".

    Just posting this to mention the other side of the equation and share thoughts on the most underated .338 going, the .338/300win mag.


    Not a specialty round. Just neck up .300win mag brass and go shoot it.
    Not hard to make; just improve a .338win mag barrel with a hand-held reamer if you're careful.
    Not hard to afford; brass is $60 per hundred and you can find it anywhere (if you can find anything).

    My experience is that it is the most flexible .338 magnum round going. A .338-06 might even be bettter, but won't yield the performance the .338/300 does.

    I've only fired 250gr bullets in mine. But using XMR4350 and 65gr with a250gr hornady or sierra, it is mild recoiling as a 12lb .308win. With 79gr (don't try this at home), it is on par with the .338 rum and .340Wby.

    My rifle of choice for this ctg is a Sako TRG42. With a Pac-Nor SS match barrel of Palma contour at 26" it weighs about 14lbs scoped and ready to fire. The barrel is 1:10 twist to allow 300gr bulets. I haven't done more than chamber the barrel. My prior experience was with a modified SS rem 700 BDL and for a 10.5# rifle w/4.5-14x 50mm Leupold LRT it was/is a great hunting rifle for Southcentral Alaska.

    My TRG42 is a switchbarrel rifle. Have the orig Sako 42 barrel in .300win, a TRG-S sporter barrel in .300win, .338win, & 340wby, and the .338/300 match barrel. The .300win 42 barrel fits nicely on an opened-up TRG-S stock, albeit a bit long.

    Sure, if you're building The 2000 meter rifle, this ain't the cartridge for you.

    But if you're tired of losing barrels to burnt throat at 500-700rds, want more than 50 loads per pound of powder, and wonder why you're paying $4 ea for brass; the .338/300 was my solution.

    About the only thing I'm debating now is whether to order a .338/300 AI reamer, and If I want another Sako bolt body and a .338-06 AI in a light varmint contour.

    Not much beats the M995 Sako action for anything up to the Lapua Magnum. Would really think the .338 Norma would be the best longrange magnum solution in .338 diameter; but that's me. With a Leupold Mk4 10x m3, I feel very well set for 1200yd shooting, but I am just wanting to take Moose with it anyway, and Minute of Rib Cage on a 1400lb bull moose is a damn large minute.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2009