Why do so many people not like the 338 Lapua?

57goldtopman

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I am currently looking for a new rifle. finally settled down to either a Savage 12 LRP in 6.5 Creedmoor or the FCP HS 338 Lapua. I have been going back and forth between these 2 for some time. I tend to research a lot before purchasing anything.

a few years ago I owned a Rem Sendero 300 RUM. I liked it but always felt I should have gotten the 338 RUM version due to better ballistics of 338 bullets.

looking up the 338 Lapua, you would think that most people shooting long range would be all over this round. Especially with the new lighter, muzzle braked rifles coming out.

this is just a thread to start a discussion on the reality of this round....or odd ideas that I have difficulties agreeing with.

1. it's a military sniper round. Reality is, it was developed for military for efficient delivery of the great 338 bullets. no more powerful than a 340 weather by which shoots the same bullets. many of todays most popular cartridges originally were developed for pretty much the same reason......223, 308 win, 30-06, 6.5x55....on and on. no one seems to connect those rounds with the OMG THAT IS A MILITARY ROUND concept.

2. it's WAY overkill. my ideas are as follows. can someone please explain the concept of overkill. my idea of hunting is to cause enough damage to the game to make certain is has little to no suffering. yes I only hunt animals for meat. don't believe in killing just to kill. yes I do not want to "blow up" the game so there is the least amount of waste. however, being in the medical profession, I do understand that there needs to be a certain amount of trauma to lead to a quick death. so, wouldn't the right approach be to try to ensure that the animal drops in it's tracks rather than run and slowly expire in 50 yards? using a larger cartridge like the Lapua does not guarantee that this will occur but will greatly improve the odds.

3. a lot of posts go like this........wow, that 338 Lapua is so expensive to shoot or reload. but int the same post they will say...you should build the rifle on a custom action, custom barrel, custom stock, put on the $2000 Night force scope with the best mounting rings and base. in reality the cost of 338 Lapua ammo is on par with the larger Weatherby rounds. People don't seem to complain that much about the $$ of Weatherby ammo.

4. OMG it recoils too much. from what I understand, most of the rifles in this round have muzzle brakes. more like shooting a 308. so....

5. Rifles are too heavy. Savage has 2 that are around 10 lbs. Rem 700 was also lighter. I am certain there are others. A concept I have a hard time with is trying to build as light a rifle as possible but then complain that the 308 winchester just kicks like a mule in that rifle. Are we expecting too much out of a rifle? similar idea going on right now in the concealed carry revolvers...super light weight but then complain about shooting the 38 special. of course light weight will be uncomfortable.

just seems to be a lot of dislike for this cartridge but when compared to other cartridges I am having a hard time understanding why the dislike. If a person is able to afford that round, cost aside, isn't the Lapua a great all around cartridge? and now Savage is offering a few very nice options for that round. seems to me like this would be a great platform to target shoot, hunt most game at most ranges.

I tend to like actual facts rather than hear-say.....

just trying to vent a little and looking for your thoughts based on real experience.
 

RonS

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Since I have both I'll provide some perspective. I've got the LRP in 6.5 Creedmoor and a BA110 in 338 Lapua. The 6.5 with a 140 grain Berger hybrids has ballistics that are pretty incredible. My loads, running at 2760 fps, remain supersonic past 1200 yards and no muzzle break is necessary. I use it in F Open for 300-1000 yards. The 338 is pretty impressive as well. Using 300 grain SMK's at 2800 fps it remains supersonic past 1800 yards. I don't use it for much but I enjoy it. I was shooting 250 grain SMK's but wasn't getting the groups I wanted at the best powder charge I could find. ¾ of a MOA at best. The muzzle break really tamed it with those loads. It was like shooting a 308. I switched to the 300 grains and now I'm getting in the ½ MOA range but the muzzle break does not tame it nearly as well. When I started my testing with the 300 grain SMK's I shot my first set of loads prone starting with the lightest charge. Wasn't sure if I was going to snap my spine or tear connective tissue in my shoulder. I got the first set of three off and had to move to the bench to finish testing with the rest of the range of loads. I was not man enough. Of course the BA110 has a really narrow butt stock. The only problem with the 338 is shooting it at a range. It really bothers the people shooting around you. The only good spot when you touch it off is behind the scope. Anyone standing near you will get their bell rung. I won't even stand near it when someone else is shooting it. I would call the 6.5 an everyday everything rifle. I'd call the 338 a special occasion rifle. You pull it out when you want to concuss your friends and make them soil themselves. :)
 

J E Custom

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Like most. I have my opinion about the 338 Lapua and will share it with all.

First = The Lapua is a fine cartridge and the brass is second to none. the downside to the 338 Lapua
is the case head size .590 (The 338x378 Weatherby case head is .579) and the fact that there are several cartridges that are very close in performance that can be built on a standard magnum bolt face.

The 338 Lapua Improved is another story, it becomes competitive with the larger 338s because on the increase in powder capacity.

It is capable of great accuracy and the cost of loaded ammo and components is not as high as some other cartridges.

The standard 338 Lapua is a good round and has good performance for the price, But should be built on actions with larger bolts. (This is the reason some don't like it).

The improved version, uses the same actions but delivers more performance.

As to over kill, I don't think there is any such thing. There may be "More than necessary" But dead is dead. Also big heavy bullets tend to do much less damage to the meat than the ultra high velocity
cartridges. and there fore, much less meat damage.

J E CUSTOM
 

pyroducksx3

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To address a point just real quick. Your choices couldn't be farther apart and are on opposite ends of the spectrum. I mean we aren't talking a few fps difference and 7mm or 308 we are talking one shoots literally a bullet over twice the weight of the other.
The 338 lapua is a fine round and improved is better. Brass quality, can't find better. If it's what you want buy it and shoot the hell out of it. You will never not have enough gun.
The 6.5 creedmoor, I have one and love it. But it's my practice gun that I bought after my custom 7 mag because I like shooting....alot! I think we need to figure out what your expectations are and your hunting and shooting needs are. If you are going to be hunting under 1000 the 300 rum is great, the 300 win mag will do also. Is elk in the cards? To be honest even though people do it on TV and the Internet all the time the 6.5 is really a marginal longrange hunting round, especially in the creedmore. So if the choice is between the 2 and only these 2 and you plan on hunting over 600 yards the 338 lapua gets my vote but I'd be willing to bet there's a better round somewhere in between that will fits you better.
 

pyroducksx3

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Actually I thought about this more. Now that I have my creedmoor I shoot it way more than my 7mag. In fact as soon as the 7 gets shot out its going to become a 338 edge. So my official recommendation is to buy them both! You'll have everything you need in two rifles.
 

57goldtopman

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Thank you very much for the responses.

I DO NOT have any first hand experiences with hunting with larger bores but from my readings from people who actually did, appears that the larger heavier duty bullets tend to (for example) hit deer hard but cause less damage due to less expansion on lighter game. It also seems that significant damage was more from high speed more frangible bullets. what bullet would be recommended for a 338 Lapua, to cause less dramatic explosive results on light game but still be very effective?

I did find a very nice study online about Terminal Ballistics. from their work, seems like a limited expanding bullet, like the 210gr Barnes TSX would work really well. Does anyone have real world experiences with this?

A few years ago I stumbled on some info online where some were using larger rounds such as the 375 H&H and 458 win mag for deer. inexperienced people would comment that these rounds must have "blown up" the whitetail. but actually, because the bullets are heavier build, did not expand as they should. therefore, one small hole in, one small hole out but still outstanding performance.
Anyone experience this with the 338? what bullet did you use?

As for muzzle brakes....yup noisy. but I tend to shoot in uncrowded areas. or I just shoot at the far end, hopefully not under a cover.

My favorite rifle a few years ago was a customized 1917 enfield in 458 win mag. loved it. super accurate. built it a little heavier to better handle the sharp recoil of that cartridge. but I did shoot it off the bench. it liked the regular 510gr Winchester ammo. clover leaf groups at 100 yards. something about those long heavy bullets that made them shoot straight. no muzzle brake. what I really enjoyed with that heavy cartridge was that I could put together reloads which were really light, in the 45-70-ish range.

anyone have any experience in loading down the 338 Lapua to the tune of a 338-06 or similar round? many bigger case cartridges have the luxury of being loaded down if you wanted to.

I do reload. I find that my most fun or favorite rifles were because I could really play with loads/bullets. it's something to do.

I am originally from Maine. someday I will be returning and hopefully going on a moose hunt. Moose are not hard to kill, however, if not hit hard, they will wander off into the thick woods before expiring. My uncle successfully harvested a very large moose in Canada (about 1400 lbs). was using a 7mm rem. emptied rifle in the correct area around the shoulder. thought he missed. the moose finally fell at the last shot. when dressing the moose he was surprised to see all rounds hit where they were supposed to. moose tend to absorb rounds well. my thoughts is that the 338 stands a better chance of dropping the moose immediately in a better area than let it go off into the deep woods. any experiences with this?
 

57goldtopman

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When I had my 300 ultra, I felt like I made a mistake. I really wanted the 338 ultra. about that time the 338 Edge had just come out and really considered it. before considering the Lapua I did some research on if I should go back to the 300 ultra since I already have some brass for it. also looked at the 338 ultra. seems like Remington has a new direction for their ultra mag line. brass is almost impossible to find. are they now just trying to direct ultra mag sales to loaded ammo? I will likely just sell off my brass.
I also checked into the 338 edge. brass was just as expensive as the Lapua and also sold out. reloading dies were $200+ since this is a custom round. I was shocked. seems at this point the Lapua is just as affordable. anyone find anything different?

as for what I plan on hunting with it...pretty much anything in north america. I don't know at the moment. possibly moose in maine, elk out west, mule deer, hogs in texas. I am in the mindset of one rifle for anything rather than multiple rifles with different uses.
 

WildRose

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Unless you're shooting Brown Bears and Elk beyond 1200yds there's simply no advantage to the 338L or even 338 Rum for that matter over the 300wm and 300Rum.

I've shot the 338L but I've also shot the Barrett .50 and quite a few other big rounds. I see no point in owning any of them however because they simply offer nothing but more recoil and much greater cost for ammo/components vs my 300's and 7mm STW.

If I lived and hunted in Africa I'd certainly have a different opinion but I don't and never will.

To the question of overkill we've seen a good many pictures posted here of game killed with the 338L with huge holes blown through them and a great deal of wasted meat as a result so yes, overkill very much is an issue.

If you want one go for it but don't kid yourself into believing you need it to take any game in N. America.

We see endless examples of all of N. America's big game taken at long range by members on this site posted every year with everything from the 6.5saum to 300wm so obviously nothing bigger is necessary.
 

Erik Kiser

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The difference in cost between loading a 338 Lapua and loading a 300 Win Mag or an STW is negligible. There was a thread where I added it up once and it's literally pennies per round.
I sold an Edge to go to a 338 Lapua Improved because of the brass quality and availability. Lapua brass seems to always be available and lasts twice as long as the Remington crap I was using. What I'm getting at is brass quality and availability should be heavily considered
 

Clever

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The 338 Lapua Magnum is a great round. All the negative post surrounding the 338 LM is about measuring up that's all. All I read is how other rounds perform as well or better, those guys need to stick to what they like not compare. Nobody compares other rounds to theirs but they pick on this bad boy. I have been shooting the 338 LM out of a Sako TRG 42 since Feb of 2009. I love it. It's all I need for any application, Get behind one ( I would recommend a TRG ) and really shoot it. It's sounds like a Beast but performs beautify. For hunting I load light projectiles and keep the velocity stable, it does as much damage as a 30 06.
Good Luck
Clever
 

57goldtopman

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I was very surprised at how difficult it is to find any ultra mag brass. even the 338 Edge. at least with the Lapua, brass can be found...might not be cheap but at least available.
 

MudRunner2005

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Unless you're shooting Brown Bears and Elk beyond 1200yds there's simply no advantage to the 338L or even 338 Rum for that matter over the 300wm and 300Rum.

I've shot the 338L but I've also shot the Barrett .50 and quite a few other big rounds. I see no point in owning any of them however because they simply offer nothing but more recoil and much greater cost for ammo/components vs my 300's and 7mm STW.

If I lived and hunted in Africa I'd certainly have a different opinion but I don't and never will.

To the question of overkill we've seen a good many pictures posted here of game killed with the 338L with huge holes blown through them and a great deal of wasted meat as a result so yes, overkill very much is an issue.

If you want one go for it but don't kid yourself into believing you need it to take any game in N. America.

We see endless examples of all of N. America's big game taken at long range by members on this site posted every year with everything from the 6.5saum to 300wm so obviously nothing bigger is necessary.
I agree with everything you said...
 

MudRunner2005

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The 338 Lapua Magnum is a great round. All the negative post surrounding the 338 LM is about measuring up that's all. All I read is how other rounds perform as well or better, those guys need to stick to what they like not compare. Nobody compares other rounds to theirs but they pick on this bad boy. I have been shooting the 338 LM out of a Sako TRG 42 since Feb of 2009. I love it. It's all I need for any application, Get behind one ( I would recommend a TRG ) and really shoot it. It's sounds like a Beast but performs beautify. For hunting I load light projectiles and keep the velocity stable, it does as much damage as a 30 06.
Good Luck
Clever

Then why not just buy a .30-06, and save yourself lots of money?

I'm not discrediting the .338 LM, just saying that if you want to download it to .30-06 performance, why waste the money doing so and cutting a caliber's performance, instead of just buying a .30-06 and hot-rodding it out?
 

MOA Chaser

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I picked up a 6.5 Creed and it is one that I shoot a lot! I too was looking at the big Lapua as well but I have no place to shoot it! If you live someplace where you can shoot 1,000 yards or more anytime you want then I would say go for it. But here on the coastal plain of NC there are few places to shoot 1,000 yards. And if you can't shoot that far, why bother? I have a 30-378 and that is plenty for 500 yard plinking and loud enough to scare the neighbors too! But it's not for me to tell anyone what to spend their money on or what to buy. If you want one, just go buy the darn thing!

Me, I'm going to buy one of those 375 H&H Vanguards when they come out this year and shoot fawns with it! :D
 
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