I am going to preface my remarks by saying that I have put about 500 rounds through my .338 and have never really kept much in the way of shooting/reloading data and have never chronoed any of the factory or handloads that I have fired through it. So, at this point, anything I have to say about its performance is either subjective or solely based on theory rather than actual practice.
In short, my quest to develop long range shooting skill and knowledge is still in its infancy.
Load them as long as you want, you'll be lucky to push the 250 gr faster than 2600 fps out of a factory length barrel. Do your calculations from there for the 300 gr.
Simply put, the .338 Win Mag is better suited with bullets less than 250 grain
In my opinion the 338 win mag is best suited with the lighter bullets such as the 225 Nosler AB which has about the best BC in the 200-225 grain bullet range. It will shoot the heavy bullets accurately but within the optimum effective range of the 338 win mag I think you are best with the faster lighter bullets.
Stick to the lower weight---250 SMK is too much for the little guy. One reason I use several 338 Lapua "improved" rifles
I consider these remarks to be of interest because they run contrary to my own thoughts on the subject.
I have seen quite a lot of book data showing the humble .338WM pushing 250gr bullets up to and beyond 2700fps. Though I have done load development with 250gr SGK's, I did not chrono the loads so I don't really know what kind of velocity I was getting.
At this point, I totally disagree with the assertion that the .338WM is better suited to bullets in the 200-225gr range. The cartridge was designed with 250gr bullets as the "gold standard" load. In fact, I have always seen the .338WM as a pretty pointless cartridge with light bullets. Afterall, if you back the bullet weight down, the .338WM's performance can be pretty easily bettered by the .300WM and the 30-06 is not far behind.
However, given the listed BC for the 225gr Accubond, it could prove to be an exception.
When you are launching a .800 Ballistic Coefficient bullet does the velocity really matter all that much?
That is precisely the question that I am seeking to answer. Absent a reloading program and/or real world long range data, I don't know.
When a 300gr bullet with thick target jacketing impacts living tissue at anything near 1000 fps, the blow is almost sure to be a mortal one.
Question is, do you have the twist rate to stabilize the 300gr bullet? If so, go for it. Otherwise, why not shoot a .30-06 with 200gr matchking and get the superior performance of a higher BC bullet?
My rifle has a 1-10 twist, so it should be able to stabilize the 300gr bullets with no problem.
Your point on the 30-06 is well taken.
I have shot the 300 grain SMK out of a .338WM and killed 8 feral goats to test them. The range was under 100 yards. Velocity at muzzle was 2434 fps and although they killed the goats, they were not spectacular kill. I must say that goats are not that solid an animal to test bullets on so they might work better on a more solid animal where they have more resistance and can expand.
With the 250 grain SMK I heard that they were a bit hard so I opted to try the Hornady BTHP Match projectile, instead as they have a higher B.C. anyway.
Results with these bullets was spectacular on over 100 feral goats at a muzzle velocity of 2730 fps from a Sako 24.5 inch barrel. Range was out to 495 yards.
I also shot a couple of large Sambar stags with this bullet DRT at close range, but I also lost one with a solid hit on the shoulder at 527 yards. (Dropped and rolled down the hill 15m, then go up and ran off on three legs, never to be seen again).
Have since dropped the MV of this load back to 2650 fps to maintain case life.
Thanks for sharing your real world experience. That is exactly the kind of information that I am looking for.
I am confused, however, by one thing. You state that the Hornady 250gr match bullet has a higher BC than the SMK. According to the information that I have on these bullets, that is not the case. The Sierra SMK is listed as having a BC of .587 and the GMK is listed at .565, while the Hornady BTHP lists a BC of .465. Unless I am missing something, I have to think that the Hornady left a lot of potential on the table at 527 yards. I sure wish that Hornady would come out with a .338 A-MAX.
Thanks, fellas, for your responses. It looks to me like the 250gr match bullets and 225gr Accubonds will be a good place to begin my load development. I will report back with my findings after I do some actual shooting and generate some real time data.