.338 WinMag

jvspopeye

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Mar 20, 2019
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Ontario Canada
I recently purchased a Ruger Guide Gun in .338 winmag.
I have always hunted deer with either my 7.62 or my 30-06 an ocasionally with my old .300wsm. I always used 180 gr in my 30-06/300 wsm for whitetails, as I found less meat damage than a lesser grain bullet. Of course bullet placement is everything.
My question is this, would my .388 win mag be way to much caliber for Whitetails? Im just curious on whether I should try it out at longer shots. I have used a .300 wsm 180gr bullet in the past and it was fine, but I no longer have that 300wsm. If I do use the new .338 what bullet would you recommend for deer. Most of my shots are anywhere from 50 to 200 yards.
Thank you
Jaime
 

wv270wsm

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May 10, 2016
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I’ve shot several Wv whitetail with my 338 and the 225 gr Hornady bullets. First deer was a 2 1/2 yr old buck walking towards me and at the gun shot he kept coming. Probably another 15 yards or so I thought I’d missed them he tumbled. The next deer I shot that season with it was running roughly 100 yards in the field and she done a somersault at the gun shot.
As far as meat damage there was little to none the Hornady bullet seemed to hold together very well and not blow up to much.
 

jvspopeye

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I’ve shot several Wv whitetail with my 338 and the 225 gr Hornady bullets. First deer was a 2 1/2 yr old buck walking towards me and at the gun shot he kept coming. Probably another 15 yards or so I thought I’d missed them he tumbled. The next deer I shot that season with it was running roughly 100 yards in the field and she done a somersault at the gun shot.
As far as meat damage there was little to none the Hornady bullet seemed to hold together very well and not blow up to much.
Great to hear! Thank you
 

Aoudad shooter1975

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338 is my favorite bore diameter...is it "too big" for whitetails--well I guess that is who you ask.. I regularly use my 338s on axis, whitetails and game as a 225-250 grain aerodynamic bullet is great at cheating the wind and make 300-500 yards shots easier. They also hit with authority. 338 win is a good all around, 338 Rums and Norma and Lapua burn powder and push bullets fast but also punch the shooter progressively harder. I found a shootable sweet spot with hunting weight rifles are the 338 federal-33 Nosler--and the win mag is right in between. Look at the lazerhead 225 grain CEB, and the 230 ELDX...and enjoy the 338..if you can get use to a bit more bite on your end---you will find it will take almost anything on the planet.
 

memtb

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Winchester, Wy.
My wife uses her .338 WM for “all” of her big game (deer/antelope thru moose) hunting.....one bullet, one load, one zero for everything. That is practical for our environment and style of hunting, as we may encounter game ranging from deer to bear/moose on the same day. Her bullet, a 225 grain Barnes TTSX. But, that may “not” be the best bullet..... if you are exclusively hunting “smaller” big game in timber or small parcels of land. On “small” big game, in the conditions described, you may want a bullet that exhibits more violent expansion, perhaps leaving a better blood trail. All of her kills, except one, was almost instant immobilization.....dead. Her most recent antelope, was taken very low in the chest, only contacting about 6” of antelope. I don’t believe the bullet got enough tissue resistance to give complete expansion, and was low enough as to “not” contact much vital tissue. Consequently, there was no blood trail for about 30 or so yards, and the antelope traveled approximately 40 to 50 yards. While this seems a long way.....probably only about 2 seconds of travel time! memtb
 

Aoudad shooter1975

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My wife uses her .338 WM for “all” of her big game
My wife started hunting with a 243...she used a 6.5x55 then a creedmoor then found she liked a 338 federal bestwhen she shot a TC in the caliber..built her a custom on a tikka action been using that and really liking it. She uses mostly 200-215 grain bullets. I love to tell people my wife uses a 338..always seems to raise a eyebrow or two...don't think my wife would like the bite of a win mag--met Connie books one time and was always told the 338 was here fav...and she was not as big as a min...but who knows might surprise. 338s are super versatile.
 
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hadjii

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Sep 25, 2012
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Iowa
Well, if you think a 338 wm is too much, then I guess my 375 ruger is even way more too much, but then again, it depends on if you handload or not. I do, and load my 375 ruger with 48 grains of 5744 pushing either a 265 grain gas-checked cast bullet at 1900ish fps or a 200 grain sierra flat point at 2450ish fps. I've shot 2 deer with the cast bullet, and both went straight down, and meat damage is minimal. I haven't shot any game with the 200 grain flat point, but lordy, they really shoot good. Most times into an inch @ 100.

I also have a 338 rcm and a 338 marlin. Shot a nice 8 pt with the marlin and a 200 grain accubond, and although the deer ran about 50 yards, he was definitely dead, and not much meat damage there either. Once again though, velocity was rather tame at 2400ish. Just for grins, I've worked up a mild load for both my 338's shooting cast bullets as well, but I've only shot milk jugs with them. They would no doubt ruin a deer's day though.
 

HARPERC

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We've used .338's of one kind or another for a lot of deer. Truth is in the .338 there aren't many bad deer loads. For just deer 0-200 yards today I'd load the 205 Shock Hammer. You mentioned meat damage this should keep that to a minimum, while giving good penetration, expansion, and being very lethal.
 

Ace Quackhunter

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Norcross, GA
I have used 180 & 225 for both Deer and Elk hunting in the past. I think the 180 are great for deer and I have just loaded some 160 and will going to the range soon to how they print.
 

Mike Matteson

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Jun 26, 2017
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I have a 338 W.M in Ruger Mark 11 in a 24" barrel. First I had the trigger change out. My friend had purchase the rifle but I got the job shooting it for groups. It's a tack driver. After I acquired the rifle a few years later. I had a mussel brake put in it a couple years ago. It's now my go to rifle. I have seen 338 action during elk season. They seen to put a large wound channel in the elk. If the elk doesn't go down it generally leave a good blood trail. Used in Africa 2 years ago. It put down the animals on the spot, or within a few yards. Using a Accubond 200 gr. with W-760 powder over 70 grains, fed-210 primers. Presently working on loads for my son 338 WM. I have reach the same powder load in his rifle. Now will see about grouping and velocity from his rifle.
SSS
Mike
 

jvspopeye

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Ontario Canada
338 is my favorite bore diameter...is it "too big" for whitetails--well I guess that is who you ask.. I regularly use my 338s on axis, whitetails and game as a 225-250 grain aerodynamic bullet is great at cheating the wind and make 300-500 yards shots easier. They also hit with authority. 338 win is a good all around, 338 Rums and Norma and Lapua burn powder and push bullets fast but also punch the shooter progressively harder. I found a shootable sweet spot with hunting weight rifles are the 338 federal-33 Nosler--and the win mag is right in between. Look at the lazerhead 225 grain CEB, and the 230 ELDX...and enjoy the 338..if you can get use to a bit more bite on your end---you will find it will take almost anything on the planet.
Thank you for your input. Much appreciated and I am glad to hear positive reviews for deer using a .338. I guess around these parts, it is not common. I take it the rounds you are mentioning are loads you do yourself and not stock ammo correct? Unfortunately I do not do my own loads so I am restricted to purchasing factory loads. Thanks again.
 

ScottB338

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Feb 3, 2020
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Minnesota
The 338 Win Mag is my all time favorite hunting caliber. I load 225 gr. bullets for most everything (mostly whitetail with an occasional trip to Montana for bear and elk). Hornady SP @2700fps for deer and the Nosler Partition @2700fps also for the heavy lifting. I have not taken any bear or elk with it but I have taken lots of whitetails here in Minnesota.
The only disappointing bullet I have tried was the Nosler 180 BT (with the maroon tip). This was many years ago, so the bullet construction may have changed since. I shot a small whitetail nearly head on at about 90 yards with it and the bullet literally blew up inside the deer...no exit. There was about 2 1/2 feet of deer in its path and everything was liquefied and blood-shot. I would expect the 200 gr Hornady SST to perform similarly, especially at close range, due to some experience with it.
Nowadays, I shoot the Hornady 225 and it just hammers them without blowing up a lot of steaks.
If I had to use factory loads only, I'd try to find similar bullets for both roles... 225 gr cup-and-core for deer hunting and a bonded/mono/partition load for the bigger stuff. In my Sako AV left hand, they shoot to the same POI out to 350 yards.
 

jvspopeye

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Joined
Mar 20, 2019
Messages
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Location
Ontario Canada
Well, if you think a 338 wm is too much, then I guess my 375 ruger is even way more too much, but then again, it depends on if you handload or not. I do, and load my 375 ruger with 48 grains of 5744 pushing either a 265 grain gas-checked cast bullet at 1900ish fps or a 200 grain sierra flat point at 2450ish fps. I've shot 2 deer with the cast bullet, and both went straight down, and meat damage is minimal. I haven't shot any game with the 200 grain flat point, but lordy, they really shoot good. Most times into an inch @ 100.

I also have a 338 rcm and a 338 marlin. Shot a nice 8 pt with the marlin and a 200 grain accubond, and although the deer ran about 50 yards, he was definitely dead, and not much meat damage there either. Once again though, velocity was rather tame at 2400ish. Just for grins, I've worked up a mild load for both my 338's shooting cast bullets as well, but I've only shot milk jugs with them. They would no doubt ruin a deer's day though.
Thank you and yes I use only factory loads , so having said this , what factory load bullet would you recommend on whitetail in a .338 win mag?
 
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