seeking advice


Well-Known Member
Oct 9, 2009
Pottsville, ky
I am looking to purchase or have built a 338 lapua, or possibly one of the 338 variants. I have looked at ar 30 and sako trg 42 i have not priced any custom rifles i would like to keep the rifle under 3500 or reasonably close. Any info would be appreciated as well as the names of any rifle builders that are reputable. Also is there a great advantage betwwen the 338 edge or allen mag and the lapua round. Thanks in advance for any help
I'm not the guy that is going to answer many questions. But, you could give some of the heavy hitters on this site a little more info. What are you looking to do with this gun? Do you have a time frame for getting the gun built? Do you reload? Is $3500 for a complete rifle?
You should be able to build a custom for around the price you seek. As far as reputable smiths there are quite a few on this site.Check out Fiftydriver - Kirby Allen- Allen Precision Shooting. Nate308 - Nathan Dagley - Straight Shot Gunsmithing. Shawn Carlock -Defensive Edge. Coyboy - Jim See - Center Shot Rifles. Kevin Cram - Mcrifles. Just search site for their contact info as all are sponsors here and reputable. These are just a few off the top of my head to point you in the right direction. There are others as well. Hopefully others will chime in. I suggest contacting them and Im sure they will be happy to explain build cost and differences in the 338s you are looking at. Im having a custom built now from Kirby in 338 Ax.The Edge and Lapua are almost ballistic twins.Next step up is the 338 Ax or Lapua improved. Then at the top of the heap is the 338 Allen Mag and the other .408 based 338s.Hope this helps.

Not a lot of difference in velocity between the big 338's unless you get into necking the 408 chey-tac case. Just depends on what you want to do with the rifle. You want primarily a bench gun or a hunting rifle to carry around all day? In a hunting weight rifle the 340 wby, 338 ultramag, 338-300 ultramag or edge, 338 lapua and lapua imp, and the 338-378 wby are all within 250 fps of each other. All will easily kill elk size game at 100+ yards. They go up the velocity scale in that order. I have all and all are very accurate if built right. If you want an over the counter rifle the remington 700 338 ultramag is a good rifle. Mine shoots 4 1/2" groups at 750 yards. The Weatherby 338-378 Accumark is the most powerful of the 338's in a hunting weight rifle and most shoot extremely well off the shelf. Both of those you can do under $1500. I am not a fan of the Sako's once they cut costs by eliminating the recoil lug on the action. No really good way to bed it for extreme accuracy.

If you go the custom route and it is a carry weight hunting rifle for long range hunting I would go for all the velocity I could get. Eliminating as much wind drift as possible is the most critical element of long range hunting and the quickest time of flight to target has the least wind drift. That is why when I get serious with long range hunting I always pick up my 338-378 weatherby with quite a bit more velocity than the standard Lapua or anything built off the ultramag case. I own and shoot them all. The 338-378 gets the most work when it really counts.
That eliminates all the versions of the 338-408 chey-tac. I listed the off the shelf ones I would go with. If you do a custom rifle I would go beyond the performance of the 340 weatherby, the ultramag case stuff and the standard Lapua. I would jump up to the performance of a Lapua improved , 338-378 wby or 338-416 rigby improved. Feet per second do count in wind drift. Those are the top three velocity wise in that order.
the animals would be likely elk or caribu but honestly it will probably see some whitetail action. I know I know that is overkill but at long range i prefer the ability to anchor them on the spot provided i do my part. Target will be most likely 1200 or less simply because of the terrain where i live but i would like to be able to go 1600-1800 if i ever had the oportunity
All will easily kill elk size game at 100+ yards.

I would hope they will kill elk at 100+yrds!!!:D Just messing with you, I know what your saying.

All have given some good info. The only factor I see hear is your desire to kill animals at 1600-1800 yards. That is going to require some major speed and energy to be retained at that distance. That puts you into the 330 Baer, 338 Allen Mag territory. Like Long Time Ranger stated, these are based on the 408 Cheytac case necked down to 338. Though the Lapua and Lapua improved will get you there, you are still going to need an extra push IMHO.

I just ran the numbers from the FTE Ballistics offered by apple for the iPod. At 1800 yards at 2950fps, at 1000ft elevation, 59 degrees, 78% Humidity, 28.857, you are going to be in the neighborhood of 1202fps, 962ft. lbs of energy w/ a come up of 61.48 MOA. The speed is well under the recommended fps and energy necessary for optimal performance from the 300SMK. This will vary due to temperature, humidity and most importantly your elevation.

Also there is a current thread where someone is trying to shoot 2285yrds. He figured that the 300SMK become unstable right at 1800fps. Though I believe Shawn Carlock shot a doe Whitetail at 1931yrds (if memory serves me) and got it on tape. He is a skilled marksman and very familiar with his equipment. He said it was one of those perfect scenarios that provided the ability to take the shot. So those are some things to think about.

The speed that I have posted is shot from a Custom 338 Lapua built on a 32" Douglas barrel. So the speeds you would be looking at for a 12 pound rifle would probably be more like 2850 to 2925 depending on length of barrel. Hope this helps. I think the Lapua is a great cartridge and would not hesitate to shoot it. I know from shooting it at 1070yrds, it sounds like a sledge hammer hitting the steel plate.

Last edited:
That eliminates all the versions of the 338-408 chey-tac. I listed the off the shelf ones I would go with. If you do a custom rifle I would go beyond the performance of the 340 weatherby, the ultramag case stuff and the standard Lapua. I would jump up to the performance of a Lapua improved , 338-378 wby or 338-416 rigby improved. Feet per second do count in wind drift. Those are the top three velocity wise in that order.


What are your thoughts on the brass for each of these. I have become a big fan of the Lapua brass. I did not like the Weatherby brass in the 30-378 that I had, and I have no experience w/ the Rigby brass. Although I was once steered away from the Rigby brass. My Lapua based chambering seems to take pressure extremely well. The .338 Lap brass just keeps going.

A friend of mine baught an AR 30 Lapua. The first thing I thought was Y-N-L?? After I did the break in and load development my thought was Y N L NOT!!!! The only thing I didn't like was that it did not ride the bags shot better off of a bipod..........................which is EXACYLY what you want in a hunting gun!!

Break in took a was a chimny to start with........clean up was simple after I was done with load development. The big clamshell break was very effective.
I was just speaking from a velocity standpoint. There are many other factors to consider. I have two standard 338 Lapuas with 26" barrels for hunting weight carry guns and a few of most the other big 338's. Great cartridge and I enjoy shooting them. I was just pointing out that velocity makes a difference in long range hunting because the wind is so difficult to judge across canyons and the more velocity, the less wind drift. All the big 338's hit with a lot of force at long range. That is why they are by far the best choice at elk size critters. If I am shooting way long I typically go with the extra velocity of my 338-378 wby. All will easily kill stuff at the 1200 yards backyardsniper mentioned. If he wants to go the 1600-1800 yards I would not go below a 338-378 wby and get all the velocity I could get.

This is my opinion on the brass. When I tried to push my lapuas up toward 338-378 wby velocities the brass didn't last very long so I dropped back where the lapua should shoot and lapua brass has excellent longevity. By the same token when I drop the 338-378 wby down toward lapua velocities the wby brass has very good longevity. My favorite 338-378 wby shoots the 300 smk at 3058 fps out of a 28" barrel, the 250 at 3310fps, the 225 at 3465fps and the 200 at 3600 fps. At these velocities I get about 5 shots per brass. I can get my lapuas within about 150 fps of these velocities and get about 5 shots per brass. I can drop either down 100 fps and shoot the brass many times. But I am a hunter and not a target shooter so I go with the top velocity loads for every advantage I can get and five shots per brass is fine for me to get the extra velocity.

By comparison when the 300 ultramag was introduced at the shot show in the late 90's I did quite a few 338-300 ultramags and ran them through the ringer pretty well. My two 26" barrel lapuas always shot faster than any of my 338-300 ultramags with 28" barrels by a slight amount when considering the loads in each lasted about five shots per brass. I think the lapua brass allowed me to shoot with higher pressures in the lapua to accomplish that. The softer remington brass gave out at lower pressures keeping the lapua at a slightly higher velocity range than the 338-300 ultramag. When I get moved into my new house and can get out all my old loading notes from 10 years and more back I will be glad to post hundreds of loads for most of the big 338's. I had a thousand yard range beside my shop so I worked on all these quite a bit.

So I guess when comparing all of these I looked at what could be acheived with each at the very top of the velocity range when considering all retained about five shots per brass. That takes everything into consideration and makes it apples to apples. Again, bottom line there is only about 250 fps difference from bottom to top with the big 338's excluding the chey-tac case. From the 340 wby to the huge 378 and blown out 416 case, and all these discussed in between. Only 250 fps.

Yes, I meant 1000 yards on that previous post. I don't spell check or proof read, sorry for the mess up. I just type and figure somebody will let me know if I mess up. thanks
I am wondering if the OP is trying to serve too many masters? I'm thinking to get the performance he wants he'll have to go with a .338-.408 of some type. Also I'm thinking that if he wants a 12lb rifle, he is going to have to keep his range more realistic for the cal. (.338 lap., edge, or whatever) that the gun will handle. Am I wrong?

Sorry to be pessimistic.
3fingervic, You are right on. Weight is critical when shooting at those ranges. A 12 pound hunting rifle needs to stay within it's limits. And those limits are less than 1600-1800 yards.
Warning! This thread is more than 14 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.