I have a .338 with a break that I use for everything from blackbirds to elk. It's a lot of fun to shoot. It's a remington 700 SS-DM that I have pillar bedded, reworked the trigger to 2 pounds, lapped the rings, trued the action and rechambered. It wears a muzzle break that works really well, but I can't remember what it's called. It has two baffles on each side and nothing on the top and bottom. The sound goes straight out 90 degrees so it doesn't seem to bother people at the range, spotters or even animals at longe range when shooting from a hillside. They really don't seem to be able to tell where the sound is coming from. Darrel Holland has one that appears to be a copy except for the fact that it's shorter, fatter and has a port on the top.
I even have it switche barreled to a factory Rem 700 SS 7Mag barrel.
This rifle now shoots about .5 MOA with my handloads and Nolser BTs, but I just made a deal with Dan Lilja and have a couple of barrels coming my way. I just have to pick which calibre/twist to get and I will be rebarreling this one.
Go figure eh? Just when I get shooting great I play with it again.
Maybe I can squeeze another .25 out of it?
Any suggestions for what I should get? The detachable mag eliminates a lot of options...
FWIW, I have a buddy with a Shilen DGA-M in .338 Win. that weighs a bit over 8 lbs w/ McMillan stock. I've fired it several times and it has less felt recoil than my 30-30 Win. Trapper. NO JOKE! I'm a firm believer that the way you percieve recoil is almost completely related to stock design and this gun proves it for me. Shot a Win. 70 a few decades earlier in the same chambering(factory wood stock) and after two shots I had a headache that lasted three days. And I NEVER get headaches. Another example of this is my Belgian Cape Gun(w/ wood stock), the rifle side being .405 Win. which is close to the same power level as the .338. Wisp of a gun as many European weapons are, yet a total ***** cat to shoot. Composite stocks help a lot with recoil but proper design is the place to put your money. .338 Win is a great hunting round, maybe the one that really deserves to be labled the 'all around cartridge for N. America.'
My rifle is a Browning A-Bolt Composite Stalker with a 26-inch barrel — a plain factory rifle.
I had a gunsmith install a Pachmyer Decelerator pad, and he offered to install a brake as well, but I chose to see how the pad worked before adding the brake.
So far, after just under 200 rounds, the gun has not hurt me yet. I have fired as many as 30 rounds in one session, with no evidence of flinching, bruising or other effects of recoil, beyond the visible pushing-back.
I am 6'3" and 240 pounds, and was warned that my rifle would be too light to comfortably shoot in the .338 Win. Mag. version, but it's fine. I have no intention of adding the brake, since my ears are bad enough, and, while I wear protection on the range, I don't while hunting, and the brake add a lot of decibels.
Now for the other side: my shooting buddy is much smaller than me and shoots a 7mm Rem. Mag. I have shot over 100 rounds in that gun, too, and, frankly, have been both bruised and pounded uncomfortably by his gun. It hits with a sharp rap, while mine is a strong push.
On the other hand, he shot mine once and has no intention of ever doing so again.
The way a gun is stocked, the way you hold it, the weight of your scope and other factors will determine your comfort level.
For me, personally, you just move into the stock hold it like you mean it, but not hard, and let it do the talking. It pushes hard, like I said, but not sharply.
If there's anyway you can test-fire your choice of rifle, do it. And if you find the .338 Win. Mag. chambering in your choice of rifle hits too hard, try another rifle before you give up on the cartridge. As has been said, there is much to recommend it.
I shoot free recoil off a bench using a hart accuracy asset and I have no problems with the break on. I've tried it with the break off and even with the clamps over the rails and a 30 pound rest, it wants to pop out of the rig. I have to hang on to it without the brake, so i know it makes a big difference. I once went on an elk hunt and decided to leave the break off. I was used to shooting with it on. I was up in a treestand in about -30 C and when the Elk walked out, I leaned against the tree with a light hold and squeezed. The elk dropped but the gun jumped right out of my hands. I managed to catch it by the sling on the way down. Scary. Heh, heh.
Thanks for the good info about dealing with .338 recoil. I have very good hearing and wish to keep it that way; so I will probably look for other alternatives rather than use a loud muzzle brake. Sounds like the Pachmeyer Decelerator works well with a well-fitting composite stock. Do any of you know anything about the BOSS CR (conventional recoil)? I was wondering if you could use the Loud BOSS brake for sighting in and finding the sweet spot settings and then use those same settings on the BOSS CR (for hunting). Would this work, or would you have to tune them separately and not be able to use the same settings on both??
Kyle: I killed two deer with a Ruger model 77 in .270 that a friend loaned me when my gun needed repair. I was very impressed with its accuracy and balance. This sucker was dead on! But I am curious. What kind of groups do you get with your Ruger 77 in .338 Win Mag? My BAR .30-6 shoots just under one inch at 100 yards with Federal ammo (165 gr. Sierra GameKing boattail) and 1.5 inches with Winchester ammo, but I expect better from a bolt-action. I hope you measure your groups because I am curious about the Ruger 77!What groups do ya'll get with the .338 Win Mag.?
My buddies Shilen does the 3's with the 300 gr Barnes Originals(no longer produced) and .5-.7 with 250 gr Sierra GameKings. At 400 yds w/ 15 mph crosswind, 1.7 vertical X 8" horizontal. Not an expert wind doper I guess.
With 200 grn Nosler ballistic tips loaded by Georgia Arms I constantly get groups under one in. with my M-77 MkII s/s.I also own a M-77 MkI blued walnut stock and it takes my Uncle's loads of 250 grn Sierra spbt are 3/4 inch groups at 100 yds for both guns.