338 Lapua update & new build in the works


Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2006
Mechanicsburg. Pa.
Well the .338 Lapua is doing well. The Barlein barrel is breaking in nicely and my speeds have been increasing steadily. I have about 150 rounds through it so far. Here is how the velocities are at this time with no pressure signs but I do believe these loads to be close enough to max that I'm not going any higher with these bullet/powder combinations.

225 Barnes TSX tipped pushed by R22 is yielding average speed of 2892 fps from the Lapua's 20 inch barrel

250 Scenars driven by Retumbo gives average velocity for 100 gr's = to 2927 fps and for 99 gr's gives 2902 average speed. Accuracy is about .75 @ 200 yards from a bipod off the bench with the 99 grain load and just over an inch with the 100 gr load.

The R22 is giving me excellent accuracy with the 225's but I'm sure I can get better speed from a different powder. I should be able to get close to 3000 fps if I tinker with different powders.

Now for the new build. Going on the premise that you just can't have too many .338's I'm going to build a lighter weight (around 11-12 pounds) pistol in .338 Norma Magnum. After reading the threads at Snipers Hide and the wonderful article here on Long Range Hunting I'm sold on the cartridge's efficiency and accuracy potential. I'm going to base it off an xp action and Benchmark barrel. I have spoken to a gunsmith who has built several of these on Rem long actions without issue. We will see how it comes out. Hopefully it will be ready by early spring.

very cool doug! sounds interesting, I'd like to see how it works on an xp action. How long of a barrel are you going with?
I went with a 23 inch barrel. From the article and other threads it seems 24 inch is optimum.
I went with 23 because I believe it should allow me to push 300 grain bullets very near or at 2700 fps. Also, since its on the XP action, I don't want to "push" it hard. The longer barrel will allow me hopefully to get the velocities I want with milder loads. I probably won't shoot the 300 grain bullets that much, as this is more a hunting handgun, but I wanted to make sure I could if I want to.

If I like the caliber, I'll probably have the Lapua rebarreled to it when the time comes to rebarrel. So in a way this build will be a bit of an experiment to see how it works.

Neal is building a .338 Edge and we are both curious about how the Muscle Brake will work on these lighter weight pistols. I think it will be ok with everything cept maybe the 300 grain bullets.
The muscle break sure made that 338wsm tame! You can barely tell the 200gr from the 250gr bullets, you used to really feel the 250's... I really want a 338!
Great information here Doug. Very nice velocities as well. Kind of exciting watching these two builds come to fruition. (is that a word).

SInce I will have the Edge shortly on the 7 pound platform I will not have the option for the larger muscle brake as you will ( barrel is too thin). Having watched the Zuba video of Mike shooting the 250 grain 338 bullet @ 2650fps and me shooting 225 grain bullets at well over 2800fps I am pretty sure the medium sized brake will handle the 338, 300 grain bullet.

Bigger and slower doesn't seem to have as much torgue recoil in my 6 pound 338 driving 200 grain bullets at 2900fps. Again, I am applying this to a center grip where there isn't nearly as much weight and leverage as on a rear grip.

One is not enough?:D
Between you and Neal, and Eric it is good to see you guys breaking ground in this area. I believe Eric first chambered his SP back in 2004.
I am jumping in a little late, but jumping in nonetheless with the 338's.
Mine will be a 18" tube.
In some ways I wish all of these big 338's were all the same twist and same length, mainly for comparison purposes.

I also read that article on the 338 NM and was impressed as well.
Based on what you fellas are getting out of your pistols, I am really liking the idea of the 338 Edge for an elk hunting rig. Please keep the info coming. I'm really thinking I need to order a 338 edge barrel for my super striker.
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