338 Win Mag Cow Elk Bullet?

RevJim

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Dec 25, 2014
Messages
612
Location
Sandy, UT
Most people kill cows with smaller calibers than a 338WM here in Utah (at least the ones I've talked to) and usually to save meat. I want to know what you 338 Mag guys have used on elk; light/fast or heavy/slow or medium/fast/slow ( ha) that did not bloodshot a lot of meat? The last elk I killed was with the old Barnes 185 XLC going fast from a 338WM. It was perfection. I like how the newer TSX & TTSX shoot, but never used one on game. I won't be shooting past 300yds ( chip shot for most of you LR hunters!) but will be picking one out of a herd I'm sure. Love that elk meat! I want to hear from you guys! Here is my choices I have on hand: 160TTSX/185TSX/225TTSX, 180NAB/200NBT/200NAB/210PT/250PT/250NAB. I will even tually end up playing with them all, I like to work both ends against the middle in load workup. I have loads ready to try with the 160TTSX , the 200NBT and the 250 NAB.
 

RockyMtnMT

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Mar 25, 2007
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5,661
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Montana
Hello Jim,

Run our 186g Sledge Hammer for fast and flat to your range or if you are more comfortable with a bit more weight run the 225g Sledge Hammer. Both of these will be great choices for the 338wm. The 2.5mm hollow point opens very quickly for very hard hitting bullet. Our very soft copper performs the same with high vel impacts as it does with low vel.

Good luck on your elk hunt!
 

Mike AVM

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Feb 15, 2018
Messages
117
I shoot both the 210 and 225 Barnes TTSX. Lately, I've ended up with the 225 as there isn't much velocity gain from the 210 in my gun with accuracy. Try a RE17/225 TTSX combo and I'll bet you'll be happy. Mine safely runs about 2820 FPS and that will kill anything I need to kill on this continent. I dropped a nice bear with that combo in Idaho and he went 10 yards after a double lung shot. Had about a 2" exit hole and one dead bear.

I also have a RE17/250TSX that runs about 2750 FPS that's killer but it's quite a warm load. Frankly, any of those bullets will dispatch an elk with no issues. I went to Barnes as I like the all copper design and ability to run a slightly lighter bullet and still get the penetration. I also can always get them to shoot very well. My bone stock Ruger will shoot the 210/225/250 Barnes MOA or better. Plus, currently the Barnes are slightly less expensive than the Noslers which seem over-priced to me for basically a standard bullet.
 

CO_Guy

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Nov 16, 2018
Messages
936
Location
CO, USA
Thanks for posting this. I was wondering the same thing, as far as overkill, as I have dandy 210gn TTSX and Swift Scirocco loads ready for a cow hunt coming up. In terms of your bullet choices, imo, you can't go wrong with any mono on game in term of keeping the chow clean and all of them (excepting Nosler Etip, no experience) perform excellently on game. I see about 2x expansion on every recovered bullet.
 

Mike AVM

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Feb 15, 2018
Messages
117
If you choose the E-Tip, which I've shot, you'll max out about halfway up the charge weight in the Nosler data. It, like the GMX, has no ribs for pressure relief like the Barnes. Shooting the long mono bullets in a 338 WM reduces powder selection due to case capacity. RE17 has been the best for accuracy with speed in my experience.
 

RevJim

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Dec 25, 2014
Messages
612
Location
Sandy, UT
I have a lot of experience on elk size Plains Game- I used a 35 Whelen AI with the 250x and 200x. The 300WM with 180xbt, 340W with 210 xbt, the 338WM and 200x and the 375 H&H with 270 Failsafe. All were great with hardly any bloodshot. I always have at least one person say to me "if you are going to use a light bullet, why not just use a 300WM? Well, because this rifle "came" in 338WM, ha I love the Mod 700 Classics. I would have taken any caliber from 25-06 up. This rifle is new, never fired, made in 1987! I hope to break it in Thursday. But getting back to the lighter weights, having used both, I still think the 338 caliber cuts a bigger hole than the 30 cal. The 35 cal cuts one even bigger! My 200X 35WAI load did the same thing on game as the 250X! So for me, I think they allow one to match the 338 to the game/use. At least I get to use it more, ha. If I "waited" until I went Brown bear/ Yukon Moose hunting, it would gather dust, ha.
 

bigngreen

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Nov 24, 2008
Messages
8,128
Location
SW Montana
I like elk dead when I pull the trigger so my favorite is a 250 Berger, one behind the shoulder and their toast little if any meat loss, next would be a Hammer though I have not used one on elk, the last is a Barnes, seen a lot of messes and lost elk with them in a 340 WBY.
 

RevJim

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Joined
Dec 25, 2014
Messages
612
Location
Sandy, UT
Not challenging you at all pard, I'd just like to know just what "were the messes" with the 340W & Barnes, as in which Barnes and how fast, where they were hit? I used the 210 xbt on zebra, Impala, Blesbuk and Gemsbuk. It worked swell. I was pushing them 3200fps.
 

Hoss50

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Joined
Apr 7, 2019
Messages
214
Location
Arizona
Dont use a bullet of to heavy construction. I did once in a 338 win mag. It was a 275gr semi-Spitzer and it just plowed right through. Small entry and small exit holes.

115gr Bergers did a fine job out of my 257 weatherby on a cow a few years ago as did the 168gr Bergers from my buddies 300 win mag.

I would be looking at a 225gr or 250gr Berger if it were me.
 

Salmonchaser

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Joined
Nov 8, 2018
Messages
321
Location
Pendleton, Oregon
I’ve been running 250 grain Accubonds for about 10 years out of a 338 Jarrett. Think I’ve killed 10 elk with that bullet from 30 to 481 yards. I’m picky about meat loss as well, hasn’t been an issue. I’m pushing them at 2950.
Good luck on your hunt.
 

bigngreen

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Joined
Nov 24, 2008
Messages
8,128
Location
SW Montana
Not challenging you at all pard, I'd just like to know just what "were the messes" with the 340W & Barnes, as in which Barnes and how fast, where they were hit? I used the 210 xbt on zebra, Impala, Blesbuk and Gemsbuk. It worked swell. I was pushing them 3200fps.
One cow Barnes in the center of the chest, founder her a week later nearly a mile away, not a drop of blood and dry ground and we could stay on them. Hit looked decent just small wound channel.
Watched a bull take a half dozen of them before I finished him for the guy while he was fumbling more ammo. Small wound channels don't get it for me, I want the lungs to look like they snorted a grenade, the 250 Berger is like a light switch, I've seen very few bullets knock the life out of an elk but that's one of them.
I cut game for a long time and meat loss is a serious thing, that's why I quite shooting elk with Barnes, you can eat the hole with a Barnes but you will loose elk if you shoot enough of them, every elk we have dropped the hammer on after changing was dead within feet, it was the best change I ever made!!
 
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