Need help making a .338 purchase decision.

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by BearHunter123, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. BearHunter123

    BearHunter123 Member

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    Hello to all of you,
    I'm new to LRH as well as shooting and hunting long range. I've always wanted to get into it but never had the time. Now I do. I need some help choosing the right caliber and the best gun. I've done a ton of research, and it looks to me like the .338 is one of the best choices of caliber. The only concern I might have with the .338 is that it might travel past the target (while hunting) and hurt someone I may not even see. As far as the gun, I like the AI .338 LM and as second choice SAKO TRG-42. They both show incredible specs , but the AI seems even tighter and more rugged. How did you guys choose your weapons? Please give me some advice and tell me what you think. I really don't want to end up with a wrong gun. Thanks.
     
  2. rem300ultra

    rem300ultra Well-Known Member

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    Any caliber you shoot has the potential to hit another object past the intended target. That's why you always make sure of your target and anything behind it. Check out Shawn Carlocks .338 Defensive Edge. He is a member of this site and it is a great caliber.
     

  3. BearHunter123

    BearHunter123 Member

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    Shawn Carlock makes very nice guns. Thank you for the info. By the way, I'm very particular about safety while shooting or hunting. I've hunted mostly in the Midwest, where you are supposed to wear "hunter's orange" vest or at the very least a hat while hunting deer. Some hunters don't like to wear a lot of orange. They feel that it takes away from their camo. They will sit on the ground against a tree trunk, which makes it near impossible to spot them. In any case, it is very unlikely that I would hunt long range in the MIdwest for many reasons, the safety of it being primary. I would be traveling west to do so. I hope that over there I would get the open space to have practical uses for a gun like that. Thanks again for your response.
     
  4. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

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    Safety aside, the two rifles you have chosen (AI, and TRG) are coveted rifles by the military for long range targets. Either would be a viable rifle in the 338 especially should you improve it. If you have the money for either, I would say go for it. Just double check the twist rate on the rifling. I believe the TRG is a 1:12 which means you can only shoot the 250grn bullets and lighter. If you want to shoot the 300grn bullets, then a 1:10 is the minimum.

    On the other side, with the money either rifle costs, you could always have a custom rifle built especially for the price of the AI. This would afford you to build it with any action, barrel, stock combination you could think of. So take your time in your decision.

    As far as hitting somebody accidentally, should there be an orange wear law and it is violated by the person you should hit accidentally (heaven forbid) it would not be your fault. You could not be prosecuted for following the law and being as careful as you can. Unfortunate things happen and you just have to exercise caution in all shooting situations both close and far. You can't see the victim because they are breaking the law, there is really not a whole lot you could have done to change that.

    Tank
     
  5. BearHunter123

    BearHunter123 Member

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    Tank,
    Thanks for the reply. I have checked the twist on both and you are correct; the AI is 1 in 10, where SAKO is 1 in 12. This would lead me to believe that AI would be more practical. As to the custom jobs, I have no experience with them at all. AI promises .25MOA whereas other don't even bother listing theirs sometimes. I sort of like the military lines because they're built for all sorts of abuse. Not that I intend to abuse the gun, but I don't want one that is "pretty" but very delicate if you will. I'd like to actually hunt with it and not keep it in a glass case. I'm not making fun of custom guns, you understand. It's just that I've seen a few of them and they are so nice, that I would hesitate to take one out do do some rough terrain hunting. A lot of them have gorgeous wood stocks, but are heavier than the synthetics and more prone to damage.
     
  6. MT4XFore

    MT4XFore Well-Known Member

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    Bear, talk with Kirby Allen, of APS precision. His 338 AX is just the ticket built on his Raptor action. It is as tough as they come and you will be able to stock it with a rugged stock that you can make as tactical looking as you want. Just another good choice.

    And just so you know, your choice of bullet makes a big difference in whether or how far a bullet passes through an animal. I really dont think that should be worry.
    Good luck, God Bless and Merry Christmas.

    Jim
     
  7. jeff 300

    jeff 300 Well-Known Member

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    Shawn Carlock or Kirby Allen 338 edge all that needs to be said
     
  8. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    Depends on how much you want to spend. 338 is a good long range caliber but not mandatory and any caliber can shoot through and carry on. That depends more on the bullet selection. Check a good custom or semi custom rifle for extreme long range. If your talkiing 800 yard hunting that can be done with several over the counter rifles under $750. If your talking over 1000 yards then talk to a good gunsmith about a custom or semi-custom rifle. If your talking large big game at long range then get one of the big 338's. Lots of choices in standard and wildcat cartridges in over the counter and custom rifles. If you do a custom I would suggest doing a cartridge the gunsmith you choose is familiar with and on an action he is familiar with customizing.
     
  9. NWdan

    NWdan Well-Known Member

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    Just wanted to let you know that the Sako TRG 42 in 338 Lapua is available in 1 in 10 twist which will stabilize the 300 gr SMK and would seem to be a great factory option.
     
  10. drt4lfe

    drt4lfe Active Member

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    New to site...ex-lurker..currently serving tour in Afghanistan..I own Armalite AR30 in .338 LM with First focal plane Weaver mil-dot....I paid $1700 for rifle and $750 for scope....and it will shoot as good as any rifle that costs twice as much or more....very rugged....very loud due to brake but, low recoil. I feel these rifles get overlooked by most. I have shot in state/national level Military matches.
     
  11. BearHunter123

    BearHunter123 Member

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    Thank you guys!
    Jim, it seems that Mr. Allen is very highly regarded here at LRH as a smith. I surely appreciate the advice. I've never even considered a custom rifle before, but it's not too late.
    Jeff, thank you for your input as well.
    My best to TX and MT.
     
  12. BearHunter123

    BearHunter123 Member

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    Dan, as far as SAKO, I didn't know that one could get it in 1 in 10. Thanks
     
  13. BearHunter123

    BearHunter123 Member

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    I have not overlooked the AR-30. I've compared that gun side by side with AI .338 AW, and the SAKO TRG-42. The reason I have originally sort of narrowed it down to the AI and SAKO is that "out of the box" precision seems to be better on AI and SAKO.
    There are things that I know a lot about. Long range shooting and hunting is NOT one of those things. I don't know enough about long range guns to have a pre-conceived idea of what's good. I'm glad you've brought the AR-30 into this. What was the longest distance you've shot it? What was the MOA?
     
  14. Capt Academy

    Capt Academy Well-Known Member

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    Bear, for the price of an AI AW you could really build a nice custom rifle and scope it! As far as being rugged, most custom rifles these days really have quality synthetic stocks that are very tough and are not made from wood, Mc Millian and Manners just to name a few. Look through some of the pictures on this forum under gun photo's and you will see what I mean. Nothing wrong with the rifles you mentioned, but I would not throw out a custom rifle. Take your time and do your research, make sure that Sako and AI can really produce the level of accuracy you are after. Try to find guys that shoot these rifles and ask their opinions.

    Just my .2cents