338 Federal Opinion - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2010, 02:07 AM Thread Starter
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338 Federal Opinion

I've been toying around with the idea of getting another T3 hunter in 338 fed. I've heard a lot of guys say that the caliber is just a fad and will die out soon. I think it's here to stay but i'm still wary of getting one for fear of soaring ammo prices and the ease of finding that ammo in the future.

what's your opinion on it's future and its use in the woods?

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2010, 03:51 AM
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Re: 338 Federal Opinion

It hasn't died in about 30 or so years.

The 338 Federal is the old wildcat 33-08. In fact its exactly the same, the 308 Win simply necked to 338 caliber without any other changes.

Ammo isn't a problem, neck up your favorite 308 brass and pick a 338 bullet, its that simple. RCBS makes dies, but I assume there are others. Like its parent there is a wide range of powders that work, not as large of bullet selection though. I use 308 Lapua brass,H4895 and a BR2 with both a 180 NAB and 215 Sierra in the 2500-2600 range out of a 22" barrel.

My son has taken three deer with it using both a 180 AB and 215 Sirera. When he pulled the trigger they fell down. Not much else to say.

I put mine together "just because", no other reason.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2010, 07:56 AM
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Re: 338 Federal Opinion

if you dont handload, your better off with a 308, or 708.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2010, 10:33 AM
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Re: 338 Federal Opinion

ONE WORD...worthless! It will do nothing that either of those two won't do...stick with the 7 or 3/08..you'll be ahead in the long run..it's the same deal with the vast majority of these new cartridges that have been introduced over the last 5 years and there have been a ton trying I'd assume to move some rifles but most won't be around in a few short years..remember once you buy one your stuck with buying factory priced ammo and we all know what has happened to those who got trapped..if your going to buy the .338 you'd better be reloading because I can only imaginge what a box of 20 will be in 5 years.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2010, 10:53 AM
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Re: 338 Federal Opinion

I have one and have only shot a wild hog in south carolina with it so far. Mine does not like the 180gr bullets. I tried some left over 180gr Ballistic Tips and some Accubonds with several different powders and never found a combination that worked. It shot 200gr speer hot cores OK but I still was not happy. I now load 215gr Sierras over H4895 (Thanks WildBill) and now shoots 3/4" or less at 100. Federal says they are going to sell brass for the 338 and it is supposed to be out late fall/early winter.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2010, 11:03 AM
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Re: 338 Federal Opinion

If you're a handloader get one. If not then I'd avoid it.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2010, 01:23 PM
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Re: 338 Federal Opinion

All ammo is going out of sight. If you are only going to be shooting 2-3 boxes a year, it really doesn't matter..think of the gas$$$ you spend going to the range.

The real thing is...What are you going to use it on??

The .338 diameter is so you can shoot heavy bullets. If you shoot 180s you might be just as well served with a 308. If I was looking for a dedicated elk cartridge I'd probably opt for a 338 win mag.

While I've reloaded and shot a few hundred rounds of 338 Federal (Ruger), I don't see a permanent place for it in my rifle room. I do like the 358, sort of the big brother to the 338 fed.

But if it what you like, I see no reason not to buy one. GO FOR IT!!
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2010, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 338 Federal Opinion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harrysigafoo
All ammo is going out of sight. If you are only going to be shooting 2-3 boxes a year, it really doesn't matter..think of the gas$$$ you spend going to the range.

The real thing is...What are you going to use it on??

The .338 diameter is so you can shoot heavy bullets. If you shoot 180s you might be just as well served with a 308. If I was looking for a dedicated elk cartridge I'd probably opt for a 338 win mag.

While I've reloaded and shot a few hundred rounds of 338 Federal (Ruger), I don't see a permanent place for it in my rifle room. I do like the 358, sort of the big brother to the 338 fed.

But if it what you like, I see no reason not to buy one. GO FOR IT!!
Thanks for all the input guys!

Well i need not worry about the gas money for the range, I've got two within about 1.5 miles of my house =)

I was looking for something That could cover above my .270 with some overlap: maybe deer on a whim, and primarily for bear and, if i get ever get the chance, elk.

That being said, there's also just the idea of getting another gun ^.^ I do reload for .270 win but nothing else currently.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2010, 10:38 PM
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Re: 338 Federal Opinion

Quote:
Originally Posted by 6-DASHER
ONE WORD...worthless! It will do nothing that either of those two won't do...
You might change your tune if you saw how Wild Bill's shoots....however I agree it is not "needed" but that's the case with most of the cartridges introduced over the past 40 or so years....with the exception of the PPC and BRs...
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-15-2010, 10:24 AM
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Re: 338 Federal Opinion

Not wanting to beat a dead horse, but spent a good bit of time yesterday testing 338-08 loads. All were within the safe load in manuals.

Rifle is a Kimber 338-08, 22 inch barrel.

Chronographed two boxes of factory, MV was about 200 fps less than that stated on the boxes. Yea, I know published are for a 24 inch barrel, maybe even a 30 inch barrel.

So the factory energy and trajectory are not going to be achieved by most hunters.

The reloads for max velocity from reloading manuals are mostly compressed load, yep really not a lot of case volume in that 308 case, not a magnum. The full powder reloads duplicated the factory velocity (actual chrono velocity, nothing got the published velocity, not even the factory roounds).

Presently, there really isn't a good bullet designed for the 338-08. Most are designed for the 338 win mag (or 340, Lapua, etc). So I don't expect a good expanding bullet on deer at the lower 338-08 velocity. Hornady manual confirms this, as it lists the velocity range for its .338 bullets as above what the 338-08 can deliver.
Best bet on a deer bullet in this cartridge is probably the Nosler partition as it has a notoriously soft nose by design.
Accuracy was sub MOA, with both 3 reloads and factory. Overall length is a problem with the short mag well on the Kimber, bullets can't be seated to the cantilure, and clear the mag. this would not be a problem with an '06 std length action. Loading the 180 will help as it is shorter.

Just some other thoughts.
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