338 (norma) build question

Ftothfadd

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Sep 14, 2014
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126
Location
Minnesota
Everyone, I would like have a 338 built for hunting. I already have a 338 WM (Sako 85 Kodiak) and I am looking for something a little more potent and also lighter weight.
Here are my wants -and these are by no means needs ;-), I would like to have factory ammo available, I would like to have a long range capable gun (I should say 800m) even though I am certainly not ;-). I would like to have the bare rifle to be around 6.5 - 7 pounds. I likely will want to shoot it suppressed. I really like the looks of carbon wrapped barrels. As for caliber I think 338 norma looks very attractive to me, but the requirement for a larger action accommodating the bigger case head is a concern. I would like to keep the build under 3K.
Please let your opinions/suggestions flow. The rifle is intended as an all around hunting rifle, it has to climb mountains with me...
Thoughts on caliber? Where would you have it built? wold you go Carbon Wrapped? Any and all comments are welcome. The availability of hunting ammo is key, sadly I have zero time for handloading while understanding it being a great disadvantage.
Thank you for your help!
 

DNADave

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Jun 18, 2019
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Seattle
A Weatherby .340 Wby Mag would get you similar performance, factory ammo (and while availability is better than for the NM, better is relative. Don't expect WM levels of availability), and a standard magnum bolt face. Lightest factory offering from Weatherby seems to be around 7 3/4#, though. MSRP ranges from $1500-$2000 for the three below and they are in order of increasing weight with the heaviest being 8#. You'll have some money left for optics with these options, too.


When I look at ballistic tables, the maximum effective case capacity for a .338 bullet seems to be between the .340 Wby and a .338 LM as you do not gain much in speed with the LM versus the difference in amount of powder in that LM when compared to the Wby.
 

Ftothfadd

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Messages
126
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Minnesota
Thank you. I was looking for a newer cartridge than the 340 weatherby. Indeed I have a 300 weatherby which I like, but I would like to go to a different direction this time.
 

M2Gunner

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Joined
May 19, 2020
Messages
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Location
USA
Everyone, I would like have a 338 built for hunting. I already have a 338 WM (Sako 85 Kodiak) and I am looking for something a little more potent and also lighter weight.
Here are my wants -and these are by no means needs ;-), I would like to have factory ammo available, I would like to have a long range capable gun (I should say 800m) even though I am certainly not ;-). I would like to have the bare rifle to be around 6.5 - 7 pounds. I likely will want to shoot it suppressed. I really like the looks of carbon wrapped barrels. As for caliber I think 338 norma looks very attractive to me, but the requirement for a larger action accommodating the bigger case head is a concern. I would like to keep the build under 3K.
Please let your opinions/suggestions flow. The rifle is intended as an all around hunting rifle, it has to climb mountains with me...
Thoughts on caliber? Where would you have it built? wold you go Carbon Wrapped? Any and all comments are welcome. The availability of hunting ammo is key, sadly I have zero time for handloading while understanding it being a great disadvantage.
Thank you for your help!
I briefly had a 7.5 lb (bare weight) 338 NM and it was a real handful even with an aggressive 5 port brake and shooting 250's.
It didn't really hurt my shoulder but it snapped my head back pretty good, and I'd get a headache after shooting it.
I'd personally go with a 300 prc, very shootable at that weight with a brake, and it'll take care of just about anything to 800 yards with the right bullet.
 

Ftothfadd

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Sep 14, 2014
Messages
126
Location
Minnesota
Thank you! I really would like to stay away from muzzle breaks. If anything, it might have a suppressor....
 

codyadams

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Jan 7, 2015
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2,735
Location
Southwest Wyoming
I did a similar .338 Norma build, and will tell you right now you will want a muzzle brake, a supressor MIGHT make it manageable, bit it won't be pleasant. If you can be ok with the idea of a muzzle brake though, they are awesome. You can get a Kelblys action that will go into a 700 footprint stock and has a .750 bolt for the larger cartridge for a decent price. I went with a Manners EH-1, and a 24" spiral fluted #5 Lilja barrel, BDL type set up, and a MBM titanium 5 port Beast brake. I'll link a video showing recoil, it is about like a 10 lb .308 win. Bare rifle weight is 7 lb 2 oz, scoped ready to hunt rifle is 9 lb 3 oz. I personally would be really hesitant to run this rifle supressed, 90 grains of powder under a 300 grain bullet is a lot of whollop on both ends. With the brake though, I have put 25 rounds through it in one sitting at the range with no issues or problems.


20191129_194617.jpg
 

adamjp

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Jan 10, 2012
Messages
59
338 Norma, Rem 700 action, Magnum profile barrel (+60 thou dia), Talleys, VX5HD 3-15 and a Wildcat Carbon heavy stock with a 1" Limbsaver. Terminator T2 muzzle brake.

Now also with HS Precision dbm and 8lb 12oz ready to load and hunt.
Scales SM.jpg


Easy to shoot, but the muzzle blast is noticeable.

You won't get a Carbon Wrap barrel close to your preferred weight. They are lighter than a steel barrel the same dia., but they are not even close in weight to a Magnum contour sporting barrel.
 

Ftothfadd

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Sep 14, 2014
Messages
126
Location
Minnesota
Thank you guys. The recoil indeed looks very stout in that video. I usually shoot all my rifles without muzzle breaks or suppressors and these include a 375 H&H, a 300 Weatherby, And a 338 win. They all weigh less than 9 1/2 pound scoped. Now, I also Must admit that I rarely shoot more than a box of ammo in each setting. However, I really like to preserve my hearing and be able to take the odd unexpected shot, so I hope to go in the direction of a suppressor for this rifle. Also if it becomes unbearable the treads for the suppressor can also support a muzzle break later.
I was wondering what you meant the carbon raft barrel doesn’t come close to Magnum contour sporting barrel?
lastly is there any disadvantage having the rifle chambered in an AI chamber considering that I will most likely shoot factory ammo from it.
 

codyadams

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Thank you guys. The recoil indeed looks very stout in that video. I usually shoot all my rifles without muzzle breaks or suppressors and these include a 375 H&H, a 300 Weatherby, And a 338 win. They all weigh less than 9 1/2 pound scoped. Now, I also Must admit that I rarely shoot more than a box of ammo in each setting. However, I really like to preserve my hearing and be able to take the odd unexpected shot, so I hope to go in the direction of a suppressor for this rifle. Also if it becomes unbearable the treads for the suppressor can also support a muzzle break later.
I was wondering what you meant the carbon raft barrel doesn’t come close to Magnum contour sporting barrel?
lastly is there any disadvantage having the rifle chambered in an AI chamber considering that I will most likely shoot factory ammo from it.
If it is an AI chamber then you will loose some velocity shooting factory ammo vs a standard chamber. It will use some of the energy to expand the case. Likely not more than 50 fps, but some. And if you will not be reloading, and only shooting factory, then there is no advantage to the AI. He meant that the lightest contour carbon is still heavier than a heavy sporter type barrel he has. With a .338 bore, my #5 fluted barrel is the same weight as a proof sendero light would be. A #4 would be even lighter yet. I went with a #5 because that is the smallest contour that would support 5/8x24 threading, which I personally feel is the minimum for a .338 bore.
 

Ftothfadd

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Minnesota
Thank you for the information. I am learning a lot already from these comments, which will tell you that I’m a very much a novice. I also have to admit that I like the look of the carbon wrapped barrels....
 

DNADave

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Seattle
I usually shoot all my rifles without muzzle breaks or suppressors and these include a 375 H&H, a 300 Weatherby, And a 338 win.
I'll preface this by saying I don't own and have not shot a 338 NM. I do have both a 300 Wby Mag and a 340 Wby Mag and used to own a Ruger M77 in 338 Win Mag. I would expect the NM to have more recoil than the 340 Wby Mag.

I can tell you that the recoil from the 340 Wby Mag is in a different class than for the 300 Wby Mag. WAY more recoil. Shooting 250gr partitions out of that 340 is a prison beating at the bench whereas the 300 shooting 200gr partitions is just a mild playground beating. This is when shooting multiple rounds as when doing a load development. My old 338 Win Mag was more like the 300 Wby in terms of recoil. Both of my Weatherby rifles are unbraked and of course I never notice recoil when hunting, just like everyone else. But, you have to practice with your rifle sometime. Rangemaster where I shoot in Kenmore says it looks like I'm riding a bull when I shoot the 340. I do wear a PAST recoil pad when shooting multiple rounds of either Weatherby.

Just an observation for you to consider since you said you had a 300 Wby. The NM will likely be worse without a brake.
 
Last edited:

adamjp

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Jan 10, 2012
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59
To be honest, if you are not going to reload, look hard at a 338 Lapua instead. More ammunition available, performance pretty much the same.

My 338 Win in a 8lb 6oz rifle is great with 225gn bullets, but those 275gn Speers let you know they have gone off. The 338 Norma is faster than my 375H&H, but of similar power. Without the brake it is quite OK when standing, but I would not go prone with it.
 

Ftothfadd

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Sep 14, 2014
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Location
Minnesota
Thank you! I comsidered the 338 lapua, but I thought the norma would do better withthe shorter barrel (24 inch). I am not sure if this assumption holds true anyways...
 

codyadams

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I would seriously consider going a different route than a 9 lb 338 norma or 338 lapua or anything in that class without a brake. It is nothing like a 300 wby. It shoots a 300 grain bullet the same velocity your wby shoots a 230. With a brake, ok. Without, not. In all actuality, the power that the norma and lapuas have really isn't necessary until 800+ yards, when prone shots are pretty much essential, and recoil isn't your friend. You won't be happy with an unbraked 9 lb .338 norma.
 

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