338 RUM or 338 Lapua

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by gelhard, May 20, 2009.

  1. gelhard

    gelhard Member

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    I am looking at a buying or building a rifle in .338 caliber (I love the BC of some of the bullets in this caliber) and would like to know if there is a big difference between the 338 RUM and the 338 Lapua. Wen looking at the specks in the loading magazines the case capacity and shoulder angle are very close (at least from what I see) I've been told that 338 RUM brass doesn't hold up like the 338 Lapua (If it be Lapua brass or any other brand) I can't really see why that would be. The design of each cartridge is using the non belted design and the angle of the shoulder seams to be good on both at least from my past experience of cases that don't stand up to multiple reloads . If all other things are equal I don't see that much difference in the 2 rnds. The one big thing for me is that you can do a 338 RUM a lot cheaper than a 338 Lapua :rolleyes:. I must also ad that I shoot from the South side so actions are also a price factor in this build. I do have the chance on buying a left handed Remington 700 BDL in 338 RUM at a very attractive price (I deal with a person that has access to a place that is clearing there inventory of left handed Remington's in there heavy calibers) My next question is if I would buy this rifle could the 338 RUM be chamber reamed to 338 Lapua or would I have to rebarrel the gun
    Thanks in advanced for your help and sorry I made this post so long George gun)
     
  2. B23

    B23 Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure you already know this, but just in case you don't, the 338RUM and 338Lapua use a different bolt face so it would be a bit more involved.

    Initial cost for the 338LM would be higher. If you're mostly using factory ammo the 338RUM will more than likely have better availability and cost less. If you're a reloader the Lapua brass will cost atleast double but in my opinion, especially compared to what is available for the RUM, it is worth every penny. The Lapua brass is better in pretty much every way. More consistent and has a reloading life 2nd to none. The Lap. brass can be pushed harder longer where as the Rum brass, well not so much.

    If you're wanting to use a factory off the shelf rifle and cost is any kind of factor at all I would be shocked if most wouldn't steer you toward the RUM. If you're building a custom the actions for both will pretty much cost the same. If doing a custom is a option there will be alot more to consider.

    They both shoot very well so there is no clear winner there.

    If cost is ANY factor at all I think the clear winner would be the 338RUM. If not, do LOTS of research and make your choice from there.
     

  3. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

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    there is a marked difference in quality of Rem brass and lapua brass (and cost) One costs .40 and the other runs close to $2. One lasts 4-5 firings and the other can last up to 50 reloadings or more if you anneal.

    Huge controversy on converting Rem 700s to the Lapua. Many gunsmiths will not convert due to safety concerns, yet Rem just made some in Lapua. So you decide what is safe and smart there.

    BIG IF I did it, I would not bother trying to convert the rem bolt, I would sell it and buy a Pacific Tool and Guage bolt from Dave Kiff already opened up AND most importantly with the extractor placed where most feel it is safer and more reliable. Cost for PTG bolt and handle fluted is under $200 and you can sell your old bolt. You cannot convert your existing bolt for anywhere close to that. So IMO that is an extremely smart and cost saving step.

    Many would recommend rechambering the 338 RUM to the 338 Edge by Shawn Carlock. The Edge seems to be the go to caliber if you are not building a 338 lapua. he can also do the bedding and action work at that time.

    BH
     
  4. jmden

    jmden Well-Known Member

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    If you end up tending towards building a 338 Lapua and don't mind owning a wildcat, you might as well use one of the Lap Imps out there. Just a thought.
     
  5. B23

    B23 Well-Known Member

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    When I was first going to use a Rem. 700 action for either a Lapua or 338 Edge my smith told me the same thing. Would have to use a different bolt cause he wouldn't open up a stock Rem. bolt to .588. At that point, still thinking I was going to use a donor Rem. 700, I thought 338 Edge. Everything I read about the Edge was good and it had a slight advantage in FPS over the 338LM. Further research showed the only weak link, if you even want to call it that, in the Edge was the brass. At this point, atleast for me, I made a decision to go all in. Dropped the idea of using a Rem. 700 action and went with a BAT and 338 Lapua AI. Brass was much more expensive but 100 cases will last a very long time and I will get close to my 3000fps with a 300SMK or Scenar.

    Decide how much you can or want to spend. Research it to death. That, in my opinion, will help you understand what each one is capable of and knowing either of their capabilities will determine the outcome.
     
  6. jmden

    jmden Well-Known Member

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    Yep, went through the same process as you and the OP and finally decided to go 'all in' and am working on getting parts to Kirby for a 338AX build on a 20 moa BAT HRPIC. Tired of messing with Rem brass (why can't a US man. do what Lapua does) and at .80 a case now and all the work you do to them, I don't think there's much economical advantage to the RUM brass over the 338 Lapua. And Kirby is getting 3K with the 300 SMK in 30" barrel. I'm hoping to get the same with the new 300 Berger with the predicted substantially higher .855 bc and built with LR hunting in mind...
     
  7. gelhard

    gelhard Member

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    Thanks guys I will start doing more research (I still have to deal with the left hand bolt but that can be done ) before I make a decision. I have been leaning more to the Lapua but the base price kind of was holding me back. Before I start I'm just going to have to make sure I have enough pennies saved to do this build. I really like the .338 as a caliber for LRH if you can push those nice long BC bullets fast enough they just hold there speed and energy so well.
    George gun)
     
  8. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    This question boils down to what YOU want .

    The 338 Rum and 338 Lapua are almost ballistic twins and perform as equals, the Edge has
    more velocity as long as you can extend the magazine to get the benefit of seating the bullets
    long. If not then your stuck with magazine length being the limit for case capacity.(Having to
    seat a bullet deeper in a longer case negates any advantage in the longer case).

    The big brass debate will go on for ever.As to the lapua brass being tough it's true. but the
    claims of reloading 50 or 60 times maby? but who wants to use brass that long and take the
    risk of having a case head separation in the middle of a hunt or a match.

    I use my brass 4 or 5 times and throw it away because if you use brass to long it will happen
    no matter how good it is or how easy you load it.

    The most I used brass when I shot NRA High Power matches was 5 or 6 times and this was in
    a Bolt action match rifle with very careful reloading practices ,and after witnessing several
    case head separations ruin the shooters chances to finish the matches I dropped it to 4 times

    On my hunting rifles I keep at least 200 to 300 rounds of weight sorted brass for each, and shoot it in 100 count batches until I feel it has out lived it's usefulness and then discard it and
    start on a new 100 count batch. (so I wont be tempted to reload it ONE MORE TIME).

    I buy Brass that will last a reasonable number of firings and move on. If you plan on
    shooting a 338 in matches barrel life will become an issue before you can use up 400 rds
    x 5 firings (2,000 rds). On a hunting rifle that is zeroed and hunted with each 200rds of brass
    is a lifetime supply.

    I wished the best brass was only a little bit higher than rem or win brass ,But 4 to 5+times is
    ridicules because it takes the same type equipment and cost to produce it and it is just price
    gouging in my opinion.

    So I would recommend that you start with a 338 RUM and enjoy the ease of finding
    brass , bullets and loaded ammo for a reasonable price. (If there is such a thing now days)Then if you feel the need to go with more Power you can spend as much as you want .

    I know that some will disagree but that is just my opinion

    J E CUSTOM
     
  9. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

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    JE

    Tom Sarver in Ohio shot a world record 1000 yard 5 shot 1.4" group, 50 score and 5x with 338 Lapua brass that had been shot 54 times. it was finally thrown away at 80 reloadings. he annealed after every firing and FL resized. see the article on www.6mmbr.com documenting that .

    As for case head separation issue, IMO that is a red herring. That always comes two things: Excess headspace and from improper set up dies and FL sizing too much and pushing the shoulder way back and causing the case to be pushed back and then stretched forward repeatedly when fired, creating that line where it separates. the excess headspace normally can be compensated for with die adjustment as described above unless it is just way to much, and that requires a barrel setback and rechamber. Never heard of it happening any other way nor anyone ever documenting such an instance! Brass just does not decide to separate on a line without that happening.

    in 1 K BR, we routinely have guys use mag brass for 30 plus reloadings and pushing the PSI limits. I know guys using one set of brass 4 years and two barrels. When the brass is thrown away, it is normally from loose primer pockets or hardened necks and not annealing. I have some Norma WSM brass (which is softer) that has over 25 reloadings and annealed each time, and still good. Pockets are starting to get loose and I just rebarrelled, so I just set up another 100 for that gun.

    If thechamber is properly headspaced and the dies are set up right, case head separation do not happen. If chamber is wrong and/or the dies are set up wrong, it can happen in 3-4 reloadings at med PSI.

    Bottom line in either case it is not a brass problem. One case it is a true chamber headspace problem and the other is "operator" headspacing.:)

    yes there is a major difference in quality between RWS and Lapua compared to the rest. Those two are annealed from the factory and much harder brass. Primer pockets last way longer compared compared to the Rem-chester brass that will go in one firing of a load that lasts forever in Lapua. I will gladly pay $2 for that brass for the cheaper that is only good for 4-6 reloadings.

    It is an amazing dicotomy that on this site we have guys with $3-5K guns, $1.50-$2 custom bullets and 40 cent brass. all I can say is, DUH

    Old top dog LR hunter and 1k shooter told me years ago, it takes three quality things to have a top notch LR load and gun, "bullets, brass and barrel". Miss anyone of the three and you are SOL.

    Lapua mags can be extended also don't forget and the Lapua AI will be 150 fps plus over anything else other than the 338-408s.

    Anyway, just my opinion and that is what makes life fun:D

    BH
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2009
  10. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    BH

    I won't argue that some people will shoot brass more that 4 or 5 times . My reason
    is based on real world experience (50 years of shooting ) and it just does not make sense
    to use brass that long and risk ruining a hunt,match or a fine rifle over a piece of brass.

    I never said that Lapua brass was not good , just over priced. Some brass will last a lot
    longer that other and with care you can extend the life if you must.

    I totally agree that you need the best component's for any rifle to be at it's best, but
    any "well prepared brass" will shoot no matter how much you pay for it and I would be
    surprised if there are 300 people on this site that have $3000 or more in there rifles
    without the scope. Most just cant afford a "Custom" rifle if they have to buy the most
    expensive components.

    You don't have to use a custom action to build a rifle that will shoot 1/4 MOA just like you
    don't have to use brass that cost 3 to 4 dollars each to make it shoot.

    I think we are doing the new and not so wealthy shooters a disservice buy convincing
    them that they have to spend $5,000 dollars in order to have a rifle that will measure
    up to the top shooters/hunters on this site.

    In my opinion the experienced shooters should try to get more people in the sport buy
    starting them in a reasonable price range and then as they become more experienced they
    can buy what ever they want and can afford.

    I have had friends say they would like "Just one custom rifle" in there life. but couldn't
    afford one because of the price. (Most though it would be $3500 + dollars because of
    all the story's and prices of a build with custom parts.

    I had to assure them that with some careful planning we should be able to rebuild one
    of there poor shooting rifles into a real shooter for less than 12 to 1400 dollars.

    My standard requirements for accuracy in any rifle is 1/2 MOA and this is doable and
    at a reasonable cost.

    And best of all they were all thrilled at the performance of there new custom rifle
    and said they they had never had a rifle shoot one hole groups and as soon as they
    could we would start on a new build.

    I don't claim to be a master Gunsmith but I do know that an accurate rifle does not have
    cost an arm and a leg and components should be reasonable.

    For a first time custom build I always "Recommend" a standard factory round to make it
    easier and a more pleasant experience for the person.

    So the reason for writing the long winded post was to explain where I'm coming from
    and why I steer first time custom rifle owners away from expensive builds.

    And if a person is a long time shooter he/she probably knows what they want and what
    they are willing to spend.

    As a gunsmith I would love to have a blank checkbook on every build and would go with a
    custom action ,barrel,stock and of course a $3500 dollar scope and $400dollar rings and bases.
    because it would be easy to build and guarantee.

    Enough said !!!

    J E CUSTOM
     
  11. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

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    JE

    I never said you had to have a $5K rifle, but the hard facts are that $5k rlfles they are being touted and sold on this site routinely. You and I both know that almost any custom action gun will cost $3k too. Go to snipers hide and look at the $3500 GAP guns. More people are buying those than you obviously realize.

    You are correct most people would be best suited buying a used LR gun or just adding a barrel and stock until they can get good enough to want/need. However, most will not want to do that and jump into the high dollar setups.

    Yes, of course, you can buy a ton of remchester, sort hell out of it, and come up with good brass to shoot particularily if your goal is only 1/2 MOA. You sure as heck will not do it dumping the box out and trying to tweak it, just too much variance and soft case heads for it to last. So if your time is worth nothing and you can sell the cull brass to someone else go ahead.

    Lapua only costs a little more than other brass and does not have those issues, lasts 4x as long which means 4x less brass prep. The biggest disparity in pricing of lapua and others is solely the 338 Lapua at $2 (not $3-4 at where you buy it) compared to the 300 RUM at $.80. But lets play the math, If I get 24 reloadings compared to 6 I am money ahead, not counting my brass prep time. My time is too valuable to spend sorting rem-chester when I can take Lapua and go to loading.

    I recently could not get Lapua 6mm BR brass for my 6mm BRDX so used Norma. Turned the necks, primer pockets, necked up, necked down to form false shoulder fireformed using my same fireforming load for the Lapua brass. Fired them and went back to reload the cases and discovered that my standard Lapua load blew out the primer pockets first time on Norma cases and all my primers fell out when I went to put them in. Just where was my cost savings here?

    Now to the case head issue and 50 years of seeing it happen. In spite of 50 years watching it happen, the fact still remains that case head separation is from excess headspace or poor die adjustment, and 200 years experience is not going to alter those facts. IMO it is an injustice to novice shooters plus and inherently unsafe practice to say just throw the brass away after 4 firings rather than learn to ID and fix the problem. The only way you can ruin a hunt, match or rifle is to not know you have excess headspace or how to properly adjust FL size dies.

    In the 1k BR game, we have matches where literally thousands of dollars of prizes are on the table. If anyone remotely thought brass was going to just separate after 4 firings people would not be using brass 20x, but we know that is not going to happen.

    Anyway, two different perspectives and keep sending em down range in the black!

    BH
     
  12. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    BH

    I don't disagree with you on many points but we come from different backgrounds ,hence
    the difference of opinions,

    I don't build bench rest rifles because there is no demand for them where I live and only about
    5% of the shooters in the clubs In Texas shoot competition the rest hunt.

    And when I said 1/2 MOA ,that is the guarantee and so far the worst shooting Hunting rifle
    that I built shot a .377 5 shot group and most have shot under .200 thousandth and I know
    that most hunters would love to have a rifle that would consistently shoot 2 tenths of an
    inch.

    No doubt Bench rest rifles are very expensive but they are purpose built and not suitable for
    anything else so they are like comparing apples and oranges to hunting rifles.

    I learned what little I do know from a master bench rest rifle builder and had to adapt to the
    type of rifles that most people want and use, but still maintain the highest standards to build
    accurate rifles for a reasonable price.

    I also learned long ago not to over load a round to get velocity when all you have to do is
    go to a bigger case after ruining a bolt face and a lot of cases, and if you have to get 338/
    378 velocities then use a 338/378 or a 338/408 loaded to safe pressures not a 338 RUM or
    a 338 Laupa loaded hard enough to loosen primer pockets on any kind of brass.

    I enjoy your post and I hope you enjoy mine and the fact that we disagree on some things
    is what keeps things interesting , And I try never to say there is only one way to go because
    we both know there are many ways to do something and many opinions.

    I know I have not changed your mind and you know you have not changed mine so lets keep
    it interesting, because I love a good debate and to have a debate you have to have different
    opinions.

    No more hijacking this post because Gelhard will have to decide for himself but at least we
    gave him something to think about.

    Good Hunting
    J E CUSTOM
     
  13. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    Glad you posted here. Your exposure and experience on the matter is greater than mine, but my experience matches yours. Only time I see case head separations is when headspace and/or reloading technique is flawed. I don't throw brass away until the primer pockets open up and get loose after I've spent all the case prep time. Anneal the case necks and they won't split. That only leaves loosened primer pockets as a cause to throw away cases.

    You and JE had some other interesting discussion also. I only join in on the case head separation issue and it seems unreasonable to throw away brass needlessly after 4-5 firings. If the thread starter selects the 338 Lapua and purchases the Lapua brass, there's no reason he can't get many many reloads per case if he learns proper reloading and annealing techniques. And he'll be able to fire higher pressure / higher velocity loads safely, loads that will tear apart the softer/cheaper brass.

    I agree RWS and Lapua is tough, tough, tough with respect to case head strength too. Which means the primer pockets will last a long time unless you really push the case pressures hard.
     
  14. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    Phorwath

    Thanks for posting You made my point better that I did.

    Most new shooters don't have the experience and tools to know how to do all of the things that
    would assure them of long brass life.

    Starting with checking head space,Having a chamber that does not work the brass,how to
    prepare brass-proper sizing ,trimming,primer pocket deburring and uniforming.neck turning,
    Selecting proper expander dia. annealing,weight or volume sorting and other tricks to improve
    accuracy and dependability.

    We all started with little or no knowledge and had to learn the hard way so I just try to keep the
    newer guys out of trouble long enough for them to learn.

    Fortunately I personally have never had a case head separation but have split more than a few
    necks even the annealed ones and stretched the primer pockets buy loading heavy. so now I
    avoid all of these problems .

    Any way thanks !

    J E CUSTOM