Advice required on which 338.

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by 300WSMMAD, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. 300WSMMAD

    300WSMMAD Well-Known Member

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    HI Guys, seems abit silly asking but Im causing myself to ageing quicker about either 338 Lapua or 338 AM/Snipetac/Cheytac (however you wanna call it)
    Now my problem is Im in NZ, to build a 338 LM piece of cake all the quality reloading bits are here, dies, brass etc as is reamers Barnard is an hours drive for me,True Flite barrels a day, all very easy.
    Now the bad ass 338 is a different kettle of fish, to my knowledge the only thing that is in NZ is the action and barrel,EVERYTHING else is going to be custom made and/or got from the US, brass,dies,reamers ETC, to bulid one in this chambering its going to be at least another $500-600 on top of the build + the on going problem of having to get in brass from the US.

    To make matters even worse I heard my self say "HMMM may be it too much gun for NZ", we dont have bears, moose, we have Elk but not really,our goats a pretty tough!!LOL

    The 338 LM is proven,easy supply good components,Lapua Brass, etc and it will be enough gun for anything in NZ 1000+ yrds.

    BUT I keep being brought back to Balistics of the other, OMG!! FLAT, LAZER however you put it it smashes the Lapua in to next week, and it will polverise anything here 1500+ yrds.

    How far do I want to shoot? Dunno As far as the bullet will go to still mantain a quick kill on game.


    Any advice, words of wisdom, personal experience please!!
    Im sure Im not the only one out there with this terrible problem.

    Thanks Heaps in advance

    300WSMMAD
     
  2. Down Under Hunter

    Down Under Hunter Well-Known Member

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    G'day mate !

    I too seriously looked at the AM, but in the end decided against this because of the following reasons.
    1- Vastly more expensive to build. You could almost get a completely outfitted system in a LAp or edge for the same money as just the rifle in AM.

    2. Feeding the rifle is far more expensive. With any outfit to be used at extreme ranges you have to be able to afford to shoot it heaps !

    3. Shorter barrel life.

    4. Many people told me that if most of the shots being taken are usually under 1000 then the AM is overkill. MAny of the more affordable 338's will kill as well.

    5. Most of the AM's currently are being built on the BAT action that is single shot and wont eject a live round. I would assume that if your sniping sika or needing quick follow up shots or Tahr you might need a magazine ? Dave Viers 338 Snipe tac is being built off a custom action that is a repeater. Big bucks though ?

    6. They generally get set up at between 16-20 lbs. this may not be practical for what you do ? It sure was not for me. A rifle at 14 lbs is plently heavy to pack in steep country !

    7. The cost of all the add ons , especially for reloading , dies, brass, giant powder charges etc is all adds up. I am betting by the time you had everything including your exbal softwear, pda, kestrel, top end scope etc you wont have much out of 10000 bucks.

    However there is the status of owning the AM ! Not to be underestimated ! It is one hell of a round. No doubt the king of the 338's currently. It hits harder than anything I have ever seen ! But then again you can only kill them dead ?

    Personally I went with the EDGE and didn't look back.

    Cheers

    DUH
     

  3. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    DUH brings up some valid points but exaggerates a bit on others. Let me go over his comments which all have some degree of truth to them but just want to clearify some things.

    1- Vastly more expensive to build. You could almost get a completely outfitted system in a LAp or edge for the same money as just the rifle in AM.

    My full custom 338 AMs will start at around $3500 for the rifle, that is not overly expensive for any full custom rifle using a custom receiver, especially using a receiver such as the BAT and certainly not a Nesika. Yes, there are many rifles out there that can be made less expensive, generally using a Rem 700 receiver but in the end you still have a Rem 700 receiver which can not compare to what you get in a top quality custom receiver. Yes, they are more expensive on average then a conventional chambered rifle but its not as dramatic as many would have you believe. Top end would be more then this but the most expensive rifle I have ever shipped did not break $4500 for the rifle.

    2. Feeding the rifle is far more expensive. With any outfit to be used at extreme ranges you have to be able to afford to shoot it heaps !

    Again, some degree of truth here but sounds much worse then it really is. THe Edge uses roughly 92-95 grains of powder under the 300 gr SMK, the AM uses 140-144 grains under same bullet. Thats roughly 50% more powder which seems like a big amount, but when put into $$, I can get a lb of Retumbo and H-50BMG for basically the same price, around $22 per lb. For the same number of rounds, the AM would cost $33 compared to $22. Yes more but not dramatic. Bullets are the same, brass will run around $1.00 more each for the AM, considering that you reuse this componant as much as possible, hardly much of a consideration.

    But again, there is trueth to the comments.

    3. Shorter barrel life.

    No denying this, no way to get performance for a free lunch but in a serious big game rifle which is not overly hard to develop loads for and easy to shoot, 1000 rounds of barrel life will last a big game hunter a LONG time. IF you want to put 500 rounds down a rifle every year in practice, either get a smaller caliber for practice or replace your barrels, even an Edge will need new barrels in a few seasons with this level of shooting. The 338 AM is a precision long range tool designed for one purpose, deliever huge amounts of energy precisely at long range. It does this very well and there is no way to do this without the drawbacks it has, at least for the time being!!!

    4. Many people told me that if most of the shots being taken are usually under 1000 then the AM is overkill. MAny of the more affordable 338's will kill as well.

    This is another true statement, IF your going to be hunting out to 1000 yards occasionally but for the most part under 1/2 mile, your wasting your time with the AM. An Edge or Lapua or my AX would be much more practical choices.

    5. Most of the AM's currently are being built on the BAT action that is single shot and wont eject a live round. I would assume that if your sniping sika or needing quick follow up shots or Tahr you might need a magazine ? Dave Viers 338 Snipe tac is being built off a custom action that is a repeater. Big bucks though ?

    We can use Lawton M8000 repeating receivers if you want. Or the Lawton M8000 LA single shot if you want to be able to eject a live round. I use the BAT single shots because they are as good as any receiver out there and they are compact in dimension and weight. A repeating set up will add around $800-$900 to a rifle cost depending on how many extra mags you want but they are easily available. Have a rifle in the shop now that will be a repeating 338 AM and other then the extra cost of the mags and floorplates, its no different then the standard BAT based 338 AM. McMillan also inlets for the repeating Lawton M8000.

    6. They generally get set up at between 16-20 lbs. this may not be practical for what you do ? It sure was not for me. A rifle at 14 lbs is plently heavy to pack in steep country !

    Again, a true comment. I can get down close to 14 lbs on a 338 AM depending on what scope you want to use. NF NXS, probably not but with a Leupold Mk4 its much more possible to get close to this weight. I like a 19 lb 338 AM in my area because its huge but mostly flat. In steep country there would be much less weight on my rifles as well. Still, 14 lbs would be a lightweight for my 338 AM, again a true comment.

    7. The cost of all the add ons , especially for reloading , dies, brass, giant powder charges etc is all adds up. I am betting by the time you had everything including your exbal softwear, pda, kestrel, top end scope etc you wont have much out of 10000 bucks.

    Some truth to this but you can not add on all these accessaries to the cost of an AM and not the Edge, they are standard equipment you will need with any rifle. Even my very most expensive rifles would be in the $7500 range including scope, rings and complete rifle with dies. I could charge $10K, many out there are doing this but I do not feel that is what I need to do. Again, reloading dies are around $100 more then standard dies, brass around $1 more each, powder 50% more but in the end that does not amount to alot, bullets same price and rifles very similiar to most other top end complete custom rifles. All the accessary items will cost you the same weither your shooting an Edge or AM.....

    Not looking to ruffle any feathers but just wanted to clearify some points. Again, there is some truth in all the comments DUH has made but some are a bit less extreme then he made them sound.

    THe Edge is a great round, no question, easy to load for , great performance and it easily fits into a Rem 700 or any true long action magnum receiver. I probably build more of them then my AMs but thats only because for most hunters purposes, its a more practical chambering.

    But, if you can get a complete custom 338 Edge including optics and accessary gear for $3800, I would be amazed.

    I take great pains to keep my rifles as reasonable in price as possible and have been told time and again I need to charge more for them for what they actually can do. Guess I would rather keep it the way it is so more could afford to get this level of performance but again, I will always, ALWAYS, recommend away from the AM if it does not fit the purpose of the project at hand and in most cases it is more then needed but for those special situations, there is no real comparision to it and its hard to understand its level of performance until you pull the trigger on one a couple times.


     
  4. 300WSMMAD

    300WSMMAD Well-Known Member

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    Thanks DUH & Kirby,

    Yeah seems like were all on the same page about it, just kant get past that 3300 FPS though :D.
    Ive spoken to a guy here who has recently decomissioned(typo) his 338LM because he felt it was too much gun for NZ game, and is ironicly considering a 300WSM instead, great round I love it but, IMHO it has its limits out to about 700 yrds on light skined game, with a very well placed shot!

    Kirby, I sent you a email, did you get it? my emails sometimes get sent to the trash automatically because it comes from my job, Im guessing,picked up as spam.
    If you didnt get it could you PM me please got some questions for you.

    Thanks 300WSMMAD
     
  5. RockyMtnMT

    RockyMtnMT Official LRH Sponsor

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    Just got back from visiting Kirby on Sat.

    He took four of us out to play with three of his rifles. Started shooting at just under 800yrds and finished shooting at nearly 1200yrds. With some inconsistent winds, all four of us were able to shoot very well at all yardages and with all three rifles. Keep in mind that all four guys were of very different body types ranging from 5'6" to 6'3". With Kirby's 30cal we all hit a milk jug at 900yrds give or take. With his .375 We all shot inside an 18" group. This includes changing moa for inconsistent wind throughout the shooting session.

    None of the four of us had ever really shot at anything much past 500yrds.

    After shooting Kirby's rifles, I now know that I am able to shoot much farther. May never have known this had I not shot Kirby's rifles.

    My opinion, I don't care what caliber you have built, if Kirby builds it, you can't go wrong. It will show you how well you can shoot. The only limiting factors in your long shots will be the bullet you choose, and YOU. You can not ask for more than that.

    I have not met a business man that is less assuming than Kirby. He has earned my business from here on out.

    JMO, Steve
     
  6. Down Under Hunter

    Down Under Hunter Well-Known Member

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    50,

    No feathers ruffled my friend.

    DUH
     
  7. mtmuley

    mtmuley Well-Known Member

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    I was with Steve on that shoot last Saturday with Kirby. Everything he says is true, except that I am 6' 4" tall not 6'3" LOL. Anyway, Kirby's rifles are top notch, but, more importantly, so is Kirby. He has my business now also, and my respect. mtmuley
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2008
  8. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    Why not split the difference with a 338-378 wby or full size 416 rigby improved or similar. Same cost and weight as the Lapua with power closer to the chey tac case 338 stuff. I have seen a number of these type rifles that get 3100 fps out of the 300 matchking which is considerably more than the Lapua-ultramag case and getting near the chey-tac case with the weight of a rifle you can hunt with. My 338-378 ready to hunt weighs 10 3/4 pounds.

    I can understand a guy who wants to convert his standard magnum action to a big time 338 without a lot of money and does the 338-300 ultramag. In 1999 I converted about 65 of these for guys like that. But I am seeing new guys on here saving there money and spending a bunch on a straight custom rifle in this cartridge apparently without realizing or considering other choices that give them better performance. I have all of these but the chey tac case and when I get serious and all the marbles are on the table with trophy game I go with the tremendous performance advantage of the 338-378 over the lesser rifles. That extra 250-300 fps advantage is a lot in a hunting situation. I remember back in the 60's when I went from a 30-06 to a 300 weatherby mag and the difference was amazing. About the same as going from the 338-300 ultramag to the 338-378 weatherby. If I can get this performance in the same weight rifle for hunting I am going with it. And if I find a better performer at this weight I will build and shoot it.

    I could care less what anybody shoots, it just seems that lately on here all the new guys are just being influenced in one direction without looking at a lot of the other choices out there. There are some good ones not being mentioned here a lot. I have built and shot many versions of the 338 caliber for over 30 years and there are a lot of choices out there.
     
  9. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

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    I thought that the 338-378WBY was less than 100fps faster than the 338-300RUM at the same pressure levels? But the Wby needs more powder, a larger boltface and larger magazine for the extra/same fps?

    Quickload shows the WBY tops out at around 2850fps with the 300SMK and a 28" barrel. It shows the 338-300RUM topping out around 2800fps for the same barrel/bullet.

    Maybe I mis-remember?

    AJ
     
  10. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Long Ranger,

    Not sure how your getting this level of performance increase. I have built dozens of 338 Kahns which is an improved 338-378 and in a 34" barrel, you will get 3100 fps MAX. Thats being able to reload your brass. Wby brass is quite soft and will not take the pressure that the Lapua case will.

    I have never seen where the 338-378 could vastly improve on a round such as the 338 Lapua improved and on average in same length barrels it will add around 100 fps to the Edge and standard Lapua.

    THere is no way to get 250 to 300 fps with the Wby compared to what the 338 Edge or Lapua will get. The 338-378 Wby will not get you 3100 fps with a 300 gr SMK in a 28-20" barrel without dramatically sacrificing case life and it will never get you 3200 to 3250 fps ever safely.

    The 338 Lapua improved and my 338 AX will match or even exceed the 338-378 Wby with same bullets and same barrel lengths and do so with around 10 grains less powder and also do wo with much better brass and less costly brass and with longer barrel life, how? Because the Lapua case can handle so much more pressure.

    The 416 based wildcats are really not what they used to be. Brass is terribly expensive and no stronger then the Wby brass.

    All in all, if you want a higher performing 338 then the Edge or Lapua, the next practical step up for me is the Lapua Improved or my AX. I seldom give the Wby a second thought and thats after many years of using it in the Kahn form. Its a great round but offers no advantage at all over the Improved Lapua designs and has several draw backs in comparision.

    There are alot of different 338s out there and I believe most of them have been talked about. The Wby gets left out alot because it has so many disadvantages compared to the Lapua designs. 20 years ago, I agree, it would have been the best choice, times have changes and with the Lapua case easily attainable and at lower prices then the Wby case by far and VASTLY superior strength, there is really no comparision.

    Just for comparision, the 338 Allen Xpress will give you just shy of 2900 fps with a 300 gr SMK and in a 26-27" barrel length. In the same length barrel, I have not seen a 338-378 that would exceed this in any way and even matching this level of performance primer pocket life was very short in the Wby.

    Not trying to start a fight, just from what I have seen shooting the Wby alot and the Lapua based rounds alot, there is no comparision between the two, Lapua based hands down.

    Certainly it offers a bit more velocity over the Edge or standard Lapua but I have never seen much more then 100-150 fps, nothing similiar to 250 o 300 fps increase, even if the big Wby has 6 to 7" longer barrel length it will not get this level of increased performance. Just what I have seen shooting dozens and dozens of both chamberings.

    As far as most shooters jumping on the Chey Tac band wagon, that is hardly the case, certainly they are getting more popular but I have dozens do hunters come to me wanting the 338 Allen Magnum and 90% of those end up with rifles such as the 338 Edge, Lapua or my AX instead of the Allen Magnum simply because the others serve their needs better. Yes the 338-378 Wby is in this same high performance class but its just got to many flies on it compared to other newer designs.

    Just my opinion, no flame intended in any way.
     
  11. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    Kirby, I have heard Lapua brass is top quality and obviously you have a lot of experince with it. I have also heard that Norma is top quality. What's your opinion between the two? I'm looking to get top velocities out of a 300 WSM probably with a 180 gr bullet. Thanks.

    Sorry for the Hijack, but didn't think this deserved a new thread, maybe it does?
     
  12. jwp475

    jwp475 Well-Known Member

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    I can vouch for the 338 Lapua brass and will consider no other..
     
  13. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    MT Rifleman,

    If your definition of quality is uniformity and dimensional consistancy, Lapua and Norma brass are very similiar in quality.

    To those criteria I also add case strength to the equation and in that respect, Norma cases tend to run very soft in the case head in comparision to the Lapua cases.

    That does not mean that they are weak by any means, I would compare them to the Rem Ultra Mag case as far as how much pressure they can take and retain a snug primer pocket.

    Lapua brass will take pressure that will loosen a Norma cases primer pocket and handle it for many firings.

    This does not mean you should run the hell out of Lapua cases, only that if you want to load top end safe pressures, the Lapua brass WILL get you that performance with many more firing per case then the Norma brass which is by the way the manufacturer of Wby brass to the best of my knowledge.

    That is why I consider Lapua far superior.

    I am referring mainly to the 338 Lapua cases. The other Lapua brass is also very quality but I would not say its made as brute strong as the 338 Lapua case is. Still its all stronger then Norma hulls.
     
  14. jwp475

    jwp475 Well-Known Member

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    The Lapua wb site has an article tilted "Story Of The 338 Lapua"

    From the web site

    The reason for .416 Rigby case being a good prototype and parent case, but not the actual choice for the new caliber case was quite clear. For the .338/416 cartridge the velocity of a 16,2 g bullet was 915m/s. A completely different case designed for a higher pressure level was clearly needed. The original Rigby .416 case had a rough 3000 Bar pressure case. The new cartridge was designed for over 4000 Bar pressures. The original pressure definition based on the deformation of the copper pellet method - the crusher method - was specified in the beginning into 56000 CUPs (about 3900 bar). When CIP moved to the piezo transducer period, a mistake was made somewhere resulting in the pressure medium for .338 Lapua Magnum to stay in the 4700 Bar level, even thought the correct level is in the 4200 Bars.


    http://www.lapua.com/index.php?id=889
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2008