Why the 338-378 Weatherby is my favorite long range Rifle

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by dgr416, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. dgr416

    dgr416 Well-Known Member

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    I have been using the 338-378 Weatherby accumark scence it came out.I tried the 338 wm and 300 wm but they didnt have the punch I wanted out on large game such as moose and bears at long range.I put Nikon 6.5x20 and 5.5x15 power scopes on my 338-378s.They are light to tote .I cant see toting a 18 pound rifle in Alaska through the mush and tundra.There needs to be a good hunting rifle in the 338 lapula .I am suprised Weatherby has not chambered the accumark in it.I think Elmer Keith was way ahead of his timein long range rifles.I almost bought a 338-378 KT but a friend got it and rechambered it to 338-378 Weatherby.I an very comfortable using this rifle on the tundra.I only dont like it when a bear pops up at 15 feet and I cant see him.That is something that can happen any time in alaska.I like the 250 gr Nosler Partition best of all the bullets i have tried.I know they will handle a grizzley where as the match bullets wont.There is a big difference in hunting where grizzleys will be involved .I usually have my 454 also just in case or when cleaning an animal.I am so glad the 338 caliber getting its day in long range hunting.It is one of the best calibers.Weather you have a 340 weatherby ,338 ulta mag,338 lapula or a 338-378 you have made a very good choice in a long range cartridge.Choosing a rifle you are able to tote 10 miles a day and still shoot good when its down to the wire is whats important to me.
     
  2. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    Agreed, it is the best factory rifle/cartridge set up out there. I also agree about the 338 finally getting it's due. Elmer Keith introduced me to shooting big 338's long range back in the 70's. Most everybody blasted me for years. One example is the 338-300 RUM on this site called edge quite a bit. When I got the specs in 1998 on the new 300 RUM to be released soon I immediately saw this as the greatest thing out in a long time. Not as a 300 but as a 338 to get a little more power than the 340 weatherby on a standard magnum action. By late 1998 and into 1999 I did quite a few and quite a bit of testing on the 1000 yard range at my shop. I had several in the hands of Colorado elk hunters for the 1999 hunting season and they bragged on it like I had been. It proved to be everything I thought it would be and I hyped it on the internet quite a bit. I was blasted all over the place hyping this 338 as a long range hunting weapon. I come back on the net in the mid 2000's and see it is called about a hundred different names and the greatest thing since sliced bread. Hunters and shooters are very fickle.
     

  3. Speedo

    Speedo Well-Known Member

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    I've done a fair amount of Alaska hunting, lived and hunted here since '66, and have decided to take long range shooting to the field. I bought a 338-378 Accumark and I've got some work to do before I take it out hunting but it looks promising so far.

    Gus
     
  4. RDM416

    RDM416 Well-Known Member

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    +1 on the 338/378, it and the "improved" variations are great long range rounds. Like LTLR said, the 338 cal is beginning to get the respect deserves as a long range hunting round. There are plenty of smaller cal rounds that have high BC bullets, but when reaching out to 1000+ on elk sized critters, the extra energy those 300 grain bullets pack is sure a plus. I'm sure it will do quite a number on a griz at 20 yards too!! I have not run into that problem personally though.:)

    There seems to be a lot of interest now in the even larger calibers like the .375 and .416 as new high BC bullets become available. What the heck am I supposed to do with this closet full of .338s, when the .375 becomes the "hot" new gota have caliber???:D
     
  5. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    RDM, your exactly right. I have at least 30 or so big 338's of all kinds collected since the 70's. Over the past few years bullets have become available to make the 338's even better. However now there are some 375 bullets coming out that look very good. I shot my 378 Weatherby with the new 350 grain SMK's and it was amazing what it would do long range. I was slinging the 350 out at 2900 fps and shooting extremely well at very long range. With the right bullets the straight 378 weatherby is at least as good as the 338-378. I shot some 325 grain bullets out of my 338-378 with a bc of over 1 out to 1500 yards and that looked pretty good. I was hitting 2900 fps with those also. Fortunate to live in the desert with all this unlimited spaces BLM to shoot in. I put some of the 350 SMK's in my 375 H&H AI and it was a very legitimate 1000 yard elk rifle. I agree with these new 375 bullets look out 338's.
     
  6. RDM416

    RDM416 Well-Known Member

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    LTLR, I don't have nearly as many .338s in the closet as you do that is for sure!!:)

    When I first got into shooting long range.... and thought 500 or 600 yards was loooong range, I was shooting a .416 Wby. I had a new barrel installed by Shilen, put a HS precision stock on it, badger rail and Swarovski 6-24X50 scope. I was shooting Barnes, Swift A Frames and Lost River Ballistics bullets. With the 28" barrel I could launch them at 3000 to 3050 fps. But, I started to learn about ballistics and BCs and because of the lack of decent bullets in .416 I went to the .338 and have been there ever since.

    I have been thinking about ordering some of those new high BC .416 bullets, dusting off the old WBY and see what she will do with them!

    I even sent Kirby an email asking if it was not too late to change my 338 AM I have on order to a .375 AM. I may not do it, but the wheels are turning in my head anyway. By the way, where in Wyoming are you close to? I used to live outside of Pinedale on Black Butte, off Hwy 352, just before you hit the gravel / forest boundary headed toward Green River lakes. (if you are familiar with that area)
     
  7. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    When my son was small we camped and hiked some at Green River lakes. I have backpacked much of that country from Bacon Ridge and have people pick me up over at the Gros Ventre river. Also hiked from Green river lakes and be picked up on the Dubois side. Also through the wind rivers and picked up on the Lander side. Great high country fishing up there. Great elk hunting in the 70's and 80's. I live a little over an hour SE of Cody now.
     
  8. RDM416

    RDM416 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that is one of the things I miss most. I spent a lot of time up in the high country fishing during the summer, 1000s of lakes full of fish and hardly any people!! I used to row my drift boat on the upper Green and New Fork rivers down in the valley. Great fishing there too!

    dgr416, sorry about hijacking your thread for a little bit to talk fishing. :D
     
  9. dgr416

    dgr416 Well-Known Member

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    Read Elmer Keiths books and see how he used and worked on the 33 caliber.The wildcats they made were blown out 375 H&H necked downwhich was the 340 weatherby . Then he used the 338-378 Weatherby shortened to hold 100 grs of powder .Then he came up with the 338-378 KT in the 1960s.It was equal to the 338 lapula.He really liked the 275 gr speer bullets which has a decient bc but its no longer made.I have about 4 boxes left to play with.The 275 gr swift and kodiak are other good 338-378,338 rum and 338 lapula bullets.The powders of yesturday were not slow enough for the 338-378 except a few such as H-870 and H-1000 .The 33 caliber is coming of its own.I tried the 300 wm but it waas not much better than the 30-06 to me.Yes calibers such as the 416 barrett and the 408 big out more long range guns of the future.The 338 caliber is about the best practicle hunting round for a rifle under 10 pounds.
     
  10. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    I met Elmer at a book signing just before he passed away. Not many were there and we hit it off and talked most of the day. I was smart enough to realize this was a golden opportunity. He was a big talker and loved to talk guns. I was shooting the then very popular 7mm-300 wby and trying to convince him how it was ballistically better than the 340 wby he suggested off that case and was therefore better. I had taken elk at over 1000 yards with the 7mm-300 and thought I knew it all when I was young and dumb in my 20's. He said if I stayed in it long enough and hunted elk I would be shooting the 340 wby soon or another big 338. They had way better performance on game than the 7mm. I am sure he looked at me like I look at people arguing the 7mm long range now for hunting. Experience, not ballistic tables, makes all the difference. Within two years after talking to Elmer I was shooting the 340 wby. Not long after that the 338-378 wildcat. Now when I am serious after a big trophy animal I will have my big 338's. Nice animals are just to hard to find to be limited with a small caliber. There is just no comparison between the kill effects of a big caliber like a 338 next to a small one like a 7mm. Particularly at long range where the difference is exponential.