.308 or .338 Caliber Elk and Up Cartridge

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Aug 3, 2021
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Shelby Al
I'm trying to decide on a cartridge for elk-sized game and up for shots up to 800 yards. It must be at least .308 caliber. I have a .270 Win which will handle everything up to elk comfortably. This cartridge should also be enough gun for brown bear, though it will mainly be for a longish-distance elk rifle. Regardless of the cartridge, I will likely install a muzzle break, so recoil won't be too big of a consideration. Yes, I understand that magnum cartridges shot through a muzzle break will be incredibly loud, but I always shoot with hearing protection, even in hunting scenarios. I've been leaning 33 Nosler because it seems to be one of the most efficient of the bigger magnums, and from browsing Ammoseek the ammo prices for 33 Nosler are less than all other .338 magnums, and it's less than all other .308 magnums minus .300 Win Mag. I am getting into reloading, but I am a newby at reloading, so I don't think .338 Edge would be something I'm up for at this moment. I am most interested in using non-lead ammo, probably with a focus on Hammer Bullets and Cutting Edge bullets. What would y'all suggest?
i wouldnt rule out 300wsm with right bullet plus shorter bolt throw if bear chasing you!
 
Joined
Aug 3, 2021
Messages
16
Location
Shelby Al
i wouldnt rule out 300wsm with right bullet plus shorter bolt throw if bear chasing you!
i just thought about a .325wsm would be great since you reloading and it betters the 338 mag and now they make some really good 8mm bullets also there r alot of used 325s on the market since u couldnt gain anything over the 300wsm with factory ammo, also you will be getting a lot lighter rifle more suited for running up and down mountains and valleys
 

SO92

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Joined
Feb 9, 2017
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297
Location
Iowa
I’m currently deciding between my 300 and 338 Norma as the one and done rifle. Leaning towards the 338 just “because” I like heavies. However, my 300 is plenty capable.

Either will suit your purpose just depends on preference.
 

JumpinLegs

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Sep 3, 2019
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Blythe, CA
i just thought about a .325wsm would be great since you reloading and it betters the 338 mag and now they make some really good 8mm bullets also there r alot of used 325s on the market since u couldnt gain anything over the 300wsm with factory ammo, also you will be getting a lot lighter rifle more suited for running up and down mountains and valleys
I'm going to get a 325 WSM someday, but I want to build a Browning BLR for that. I think that's the perfect platform for the 325.
 

Bmccart

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Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
155
Go .338 for sure. I own and shoot both a 340 wby and 338/378. Id go 338/378 if i was you, load it down a bit for bear hunting when you don’t need to reach out to 1k and pump it up when you do. 300 gr accubonds at 2800 are no joke
 

blvette75

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Joined
Oct 16, 2013
Messages
77
I'm trying to decide on a cartridge for elk-sized game and up for shots up to 800 yards. It must be at least .308 caliber. I have a .270 Win which will handle everything up to elk comfortably. This cartridge should also be enough gun for brown bear, though it will mainly be for a longish-distance elk rifle. Regardless of the cartridge, I will likely install a muzzle break, so recoil won't be too big of a consideration. Yes, I understand that magnum cartridges shot through a muzzle break will be incredibly loud, but I always shoot with hearing protection, even in hunting scenarios. I've been leaning 33 Nosler because it seems to be one of the most efficient of the bigger magnums, and from browsing Ammoseek the ammo prices for 33 Nosler are less than all other .338 magnums, and it's less than all other .308 magnums minus .300 Win Mag. I am getting into reloading, but I am a newby at reloading, so I don't think .338 Edge would be something I'm up for at this moment. I am most interested in using non-lead ammo, probably with a focus on Hammer Bullets and Cutting Edge bullets. What would y'all suggest?
If you can go for the 33 Nosler that was my first choice, I re-barreled one of my 300 win mags to a 338 win mag the 33 Nosler was my first choice but there was limited brass and loaded ammunition choices then. So I went that direction of the win mag. As far as the ability to go from 200 grains up to 300 grains I don't think you can go wrong with the 33 caliber. My 300 grain loads to me kick less than my 200 grain 300 win mag loads do. Have fun it was cool doing the research and getting great advice here.
 

Treeslug

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Sep 30, 2020
Messages
665
Location
Hill Country, Texas
Go .338 for sure. I own and shoot both a 340 wby and 338/378. Id go 338/378 if i was you, load it down a bit for bear hunting when you don’t need to reach out to 1k and pump it up when you do. 300 gr accubonds at 2800 are no joke
I picked up some 350gr Barns TSX bullets for my 378 Weatherby some time ago. I haven't loaded any of them yet. When I do it will probably be sent down the tube by some 7828ssc since that is about the only thing I have plenty of at this time.

I loaded some 225gr TTSX in some Weatherby brass and have been out shooting those things sparingly, but I love that .33 Cal. round. When I shoot some of those 350 grainers I'll let you know if they kick. Until then I am glad your 338-378 is right-hand and not for sale. I might have to buy it from you.
 

backyardsniper

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Oct 9, 2009
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Pottsville, ky

There's my answer
 

jbenevides89

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Oct 17, 2020
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61
Location
Columbia SC
I like my .338 Lapua. At sealevel I can push the 300 Bergers over 2800fps with RL33. The cases are a little shorter than the RUM so you have a little more room to play with mags. Everything is readily available and there is no fireforming cases. I have been pounding on my Lapua brass and its holding up fine. If you want to drop to the lighter bullets you can really pump some speed out and still have plenty of energy.

There will always be something better out there. Pick something that fills your needs and is easy to load for. Barrel life is something else I consider too. If it came down to 2 rounds to do the same job and one eats a barrel in a thousand rounds because I have to push it hotter to do it I would seriously consider the other option.
 

TAZMAN

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Joined
Oct 23, 2003
Messages
531
I have both a 338 lapua ( HS Precision HTR) and a 300 PRC with M40 contour 28 inch proof barrel. 300 grain Bergers from the 338 and 230A-Tip at 3086FPS from the 300PRC. The PRC is my go to rifle for all around use and if I had to chose to keep one it would be the 300 PRC for the 30 caliber bullet selection in a pinch. Both are great rounds but the recoil pulse is for sure different in the rifles I have. Both use APA muzzle brakes. Not sure you could go wrong with any of the selections mentioned but at this point in time, you have have to work with what is available to feed it. That seems to be the limiting factor in all this fun.
 

Slibey

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Feb 23, 2020
Messages
119
Location
Idaho
It’s hard to figure out now, so many better bullets, powders ect. I still look at energy at range, all shots aren’t great for what ever reason. Still boils down to placement bullet performance and energy. As for browns personnel choice would be biggest I could shoot well
 
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