Which 338 to build, RUM, Norma or Lapua

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by dig, May 25, 2011.

  1. dig

    dig Well-Known Member

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    Thinking about a new build in 338, this would be my first 338. I would like the option to find factory ammo even though I reload so I am thinking RUM, Lapua, Norma or even Weatherby. I know there are a lot 338 shooter out there so give me your practical experience with each. I like the Norma but thinking components and factory ammo are going to be hard to come by so probably RUM or Lapua.

    Thanks
     
  2. eaglesnester

    eaglesnester Well-Known Member

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    I shoot and reload for the 338/378 Weatherby. I live in Northern Central B.C. Canada. I can not buy tailor mades anywhere except in Calgary or through the mail at 135 bucks a box plus tax, plus hazmat fee. So I roll my own at 90 bucks a box for20 pieces of brass. Your cost in the lower 48 is around 84 bucks a box or so. As for performance I am still breaking in the barrel and load developing. The rifle seems to be shaping up in the accuracy department. My two reloading manuals Barnes, and Hornady show the 338/378 very close in MV to the Lupua and or the 338 RUM. I should think which one to choose would have to be your call. I think if I had it to do over again I might have gone for the 338RUM because of Ammo availibility. this is a hard call.
     

  3. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    An animal on the receiving end wouldn't know the difference between them. I've never bought a factory loaded cartridge that I can remember so that isn't one of my considerations.

    I shoot a RUM which will do any thing I wish and a long ways out.

    If I had to make a choice, I'd go with the Lapua just for the brass!
     
  4. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    I don't have the Norma but have the others and several more. Like Roy said, I can tell you from been there and done that any of your choices will kill anything as far as you can hit it. The difference is product availability and cost, how heavy you want your finished rifle, and what velocity you want to achieve for better drops and less wind drift. About a 100 other things also.

    Here are the velocities out of a 28-30" barrel over extensive testing with these at my range. The 338-378 Weatherby outperforms the others by about 200 fps and will push the 300 grainers between 3000-3100 fps, 225's between 3400-3500 fps. The lapua is the next fastest by a little over the RUM case primarily because the Lapua brass can be pushed to higher pressures. At the same pressures the Lapua and RUM case are virtually identical and drive the 300 grainers 2750-2850 fps. They push the 225 grain bullets 3200-3300 fps. The norma is a shortenned, improved Lapua but still performs close to these. I laugh at the loading manuals for wby cartridges. They are incredibly underloaded because of liability concerns since custom wby chambers vary so much.

    The RUM's typically can be built on a lighter rifle because they utilize a standard magnum action which is a little lighter. Remington brass is way cheaper. 338-378 brass is over $60 a box now at Graff's. Lapua brass is also expensive. If you are building a rifle Jamison now makes 338 Excalibur brass carried by Midway and Graff's. The 338 Excalibur has the most powder capacity and is the fastest of any easily available over the counter 338 that will fit in a hunting weight rifle. That is what I would build now if I was doing one. For a light 338 carry rifle I would talk to Devin about the 338 SIN he has been working on. Mine weighs 6 3/8 pounds and a light load through it shot over 2700 fps with the 300 SMK. I am going to run the 225 CE bullets through it because of recoil in the light rifle. It is an improved 330 Dakota.

    If I was doing an off the shelf rifle in big 338 it would be a remington 700 338 RUM or a Weatherby Accumark 338-378 Weatherby. I have not shot the Savage 338 Lapua. The lapua rifles I have seen in the past are way to expensive for an off the shelf rifle so I would go custom instead of buying one of those. The accumark I would get used like new for $1100-$1300 range. I would not spend the money for a new one when I can get a 338 RUM for a good price that will kill anything.
     
  5. dig

    dig Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, my rifles are working rifles that I carry try to stay in the 10-11 lb range. I am leaning towards the 338 Wby as I have had great luck with Wby calibers and can build from a Remington or another custom action. I like the Weatherby action but they are heavy.
     
  6. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    My personal favorite go to rifle in big 338 is my 338-378 wby. I own most and shoot them all and they all shoot good but every time I get serious for a big trophy, "Speed Kills". Accuracy loads in mine with the 300 grainers run 3060-3070 fps and 3466 fps with the 225 CE bullet. The 338-378 Weatherby is an extremely accurate chambering and has been the standard everything else has shot at since the 70's. Still very few that can match it. The improved 338-416 and Excalibur or improved 338-378 are about it at the high end.
     
  7. angus-5024

    angus-5024 Well-Known Member

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    I would not build a .338-.378 on a Remington action. I think that there are very few smiths, if any that would build one. There is simply not enough meat for that class of cartridge.
    I would probably build a .338 RUM on a remington, unless you have the $$$ then go for a full custom NORMA. The .338-.378 Wby. is awsome, I just think that the cost of ammo is rediculous.
     
  8. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    The 338 RUM is just as capable as the Norma and Lapua and a lot easier to find factory ammo
    at a reasonable price.

    If anything, the rum is a little faster than the Norma and the Lapua because of case capacity.

    If I were going to build an all out custom, With no concerns about cost and reloading It would probably be a 338 Lapua 37.5 shoulder improved . This would give about the same case capacity
    as the RUM but with wonderful brass.

    The next step up is the 338/378 and about the most powerful factory cartridge in 338 (They are
    expensive compared to the RUM).

    Then comes the excalibur . This is a powerhouse with 130 to 145 grains of case capacity depending
    on the powder used.

    Depending on the distance you want to shoot/hunt the old 338 Winchester is a fine cartridge and
    ammo is the easest and cheapest to find.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  9. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

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    Jerry, I am surprised to hear this. In my experiences the with some custom RUM's they were slower than the Lapua and if you loaded them to the same charge as a Lapua the Rem cases were done in only a few firings.

    All my experience is with 300 gr bullets.

    I can't speak for the .338 Norma as I have never owned one.

    Jeff
     
  10. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    Yes you are right if you load both cases to "There max" the Lapua will take more pressure and
    therefore be as fast or faster.

    The Lapua case has less case capacity than the RUM and with the loads at 100% case density
    You have to use faster powder to achieve the same velocity with the same approximate
    pressure.

    I know longer load "Maximum" loads to get velocity, I just go to a larger case. This keeps things
    simple and trouble free.

    With the Improved Lapua, case capacity is almost identical to the RUM an last much longer
    if loaded the same way as the RUM.(But with the Lapua brass loads can be hotter and still
    last longer if a person wants to).

    I try never to recommend hot loads to anyone I personally don't know because instead of them
    starting lower they allways start where I worked up to. (I have a load for a 30/378 that uses
    a 200 gr bullet with 126 grains of powder) and it is not maxed out in my rifle because I have
    done some things that allow me to reach velocities that are unheard of.

    Also I like the 225 and 250gr bullets for hunting and have a different outcome than you will
    with the 300 grain bullets In the RUM.

    My Ratings are based on Factory ammo only and listed max loads in most reloading books.

    I am not always good at explaining things so I felt like you were due an explanation of how
    My results differed from yours. So I guess we are both right .

    As I said I no longer load to the max(Like I did when I was younger and would load to one
    firing of the brass and tossing it). now I just go to a bigger case if I want more velocity Like
    the 338/378 or even the excalibur.

    I hunt with the 338 RUM and It will do everything that I want and is easy to load, and factory
    ammo is available.

    I would like to build myself a 338 lapua improved but so far the RUM has performed flawlessly
    and it's hard to justify if you know what I meen.

    Sorry for the long winded post but I respect your opinion and experance.

    J E CUSTOM
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2011
  11. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the explanation. These days I tend to think of everything with the larger bullets. I load up the ladder until I see pressure or find the accuracy node. I just have not been able to get the .338 Rum up to the velocity of my Lapua. But you are correct. The RUM will do everything needed in this velocity group caliber. If someone would make some RUM "Lapua quality" brass things would be different. The .338 / 300 Rums I have experience with were just a tad faster than my Lapua. Like 30 ~40 FPS. But again brass life was not even close to the Lapua. This was all with Rem Brass and again if there was a tougher option for brass I suspect things to be diferent. Or like you said smaller bullets and different powders. I have had such great luck with H-1000 in .338's I always go to it first.

    Thanks!

    Jeff
     
  12. LouBoyd

    LouBoyd Well-Known Member

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    Consider the >usable< case capacity lilmited by practical seatiing depths and magazine lengths. The 338 Norma Mag has the same length case as a 338 Win Mag. Loaded with the same bullets to the same seating depth the 338 RUM gives more muzzle energy. Loaded to the same COAL the 338 Norma gives more. I shoot both and also a 338-378 Wby. With short light huning bullets the 338 Norma gives the least range and energy,, but with 300 grain VLD bullets and a 3.6" magazine limiation I consider the 338 Norma the best of the three.

    I chose the 338 Norma Mag over the 338 Lapua as it too suffers if restricted to a 3.6" magazine, though not as much as the 338 RUM or 338-378Wby.
     
  13. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    If you are doing a remington action do the 338 RUM. It is the best fit on your action. I didn't see where you were converting a remington.

    Broz, I spent quite a lot of time with the RUM and Lapua case back in the 90's and shot numerous ones head to head. I have never seen a 338-300 RUM that would outshoot a 338 Lapua if they are both loaded hot. Loaded to same pressures they are the same rifle along with the 338 RUM. All those three are identical. But the Lapua brass can be loaded hotter therefore getting higher velocity. With all the tests I did the 338 Lapua on average will shoot 75 fps faster than the 338-300 RUM when both are loaded hot. That is why in 2001 when the 338 RUM came out I dropped the 338-300 RUM I had been doing since 1998 and went with the 338 RUM and 338 Lapua. There was just no sense in wildcatting the 338-300 RUM any more.