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Thread: Alaskans using the 338 Federal on Bears or Moose?

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    Default Alaskans using the 338 Federal on Bears or Moose?

    Are there any Alaskans using the 338 Federal for Bears or Moose ???? I have a chance to buy one in a Ruger Hawkeye cheap and am thinging about it but cant really find jack on how people have accepted it on larger game like Moose Bears or Elk so thought I would post this as all I can find from gunwriters reviews is the standard junk of them shooting a pig or tame deer in Texas that weigh about 125lbs .

    If anyone has one and has some actual experence hunting game over 3-400lbs I would like to hear what you have to say about it as I have always hunted with a 30/06 most of my life but always wanted a 35 Whelen but never got one and now have this chance to grab a 338 Federal that seams to have amazing ballistics on paper but I am concerned this is alot of advertising hype from the manufactures??? How the hell do they get practically 35 Whelen velocitys from that little case???? Advertised vel for a 200-210 gr bullets seam to be around 2650 or a couple hundred more than a 308 with a 200gr bullet and that doesnt make alot of sense????

    HELP!

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    The .338 Fed is shooting almost right alongside the 338-06, which has a well developed reputation on big game.
    A .338 210gr Partition chugging into a big critter at 2500fps isn't hype...doesn't matter which headstamp fired it.

    I'd take the plunge without fear.

    The difference in velocity for similar weight with the .308 comes down to SAAMI pressures and bullet bearing surfaces...those long 200gr .30s have a lot of bearing surface compared to the 200gr. 338 bullet.

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    You also will not need to spend the money on premium bullets. The Hornady 200 gr Interlock SP has an excellent reputation on game in the 338/06, so at 100-200 fps less it should really penetrate well, and costs less than half what their GMX bullet does.

    I think the .338 Federal is a great choice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drow View Post
    You also will not need to spend the money on premium bullets. The Hornady 200 gr Interlock SP has an excellent reputation on game in the 338/06, so at 100-200 fps less it should really penetrate well, and costs less than half what their GMX bullet does.

    I think the .338 Federal is a great choice.
    200 grain interlock would be the last bullet i'd choose for hunting in Alaska. This is based off my extensive loss of bloodshot moose meat and core separation when I used a 200 grain interlock on a moose in a 358 winchester which would be similar.

    It's funny how some folks parrot this stupid logic regarding bullet performance: "Well did the animal die?" "Well if it's dead, than the bullet didn't fail".

    The problem with the 200 grain hornady interlock is that it rapidly expands all the way down to the base and releases it's core even at slower velocities in thick skinned game animals. Loosing almost all of a front quarter of a moose, there are better choices.

    The 338 federal is a great round and would be best with a 225 grain partition or swift a-frame. Any more bullet weight than that, you loose velocity big time, and you'd be better served to gravitate towards a 358 winchester if you intend to shoot 250 grain bullets or larger. I always thought that a winchester model 70 featherweight compact rebored to 338 federal would be a wonderful little rifle for hiking mountainous terrain.

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    Think Tikka Lite in 338 Fed. I have one that is wonderfully light and it shoot Tikka good too. I think the only thing I have loaded for it yet is a 200 gr SST with a BC of .455 it should be a great long range bullet. I am concerned that it might blow up and not penetrate too well on elk or moose so I think my hunting load will be a nosler partition in 210 gr and a BC of .400...still a good long range bullet.

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    This round performs best as loaded from the factory where proprietary powders are used to make it acheive its higher velocities and pressures. Once the round hits the reloading bench the numbers suffer pretty dramatically. Once you insert bullets heavier than 210 grns in it the ballistics don't come near the 338-06 or Whelen. Medium bore rifles should launch medium weight bullets, most 30 caliber rifles will launch a 210 grn bullet at 2500 FPS and the ballistics are repeatable from the reloading bench. Making this round questionable as an improvement on any medium bore.
    It is however a good round as loaded at the factory, and feeds through a lot of actions.
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    My reloads produce 2600 fps with 200 grain Hornady SP and 2450+ with 225 Hornady SP from a 22 inch barrel. Not earth shattering figures, but nearly identical to 30/06 numbers and it makes a .338 diameter hole; what's not to like? Add the ability to be used with a SA and that's enough to consider it a viable chambering IMO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    200 grain interlock would be the last bullet i'd choose for hunting in Alaska. This is based off my extensive loss of bloodshot moose meat and core separation when I used a 200 grain interlock on a moose in a 358 winchester which would be similar.

    It's funny how some folks parrot this stupid logic regarding bullet performance: "Well did the animal die?" "Well if it's dead, than the bullet didn't fail".

    The problem with the 200 grain hornady interlock is that it rapidly expands all the way down to the base and releases it's core even at slower velocities in thick skinned game animals. Loosing almost all of a front quarter of a moose, there are better choices.

    The 338 federal is a great round and would be best with a 225 grain partition or swift a-frame. Any more bullet weight than that, you loose velocity big time, and you'd be better served to gravitate towards a 358 winchester if you intend to shoot 250 grain bullets or larger. I always thought that a winchester model 70 featherweight compact rebored to 338 federal would be a wonderful little rifle for hiking mountainous terrain.
    I find your experience with the Interlock interesting, Mainer. I shoot that bullet (225grn) from my .338WM regularly and have killed moose and caribou with it, results were ideal.

    With 75 grains of RL22 a 225grain bullet travels 2850+- out of my barrel.

    The first moose I killed with that bullet was at 27 paces, the bullet went between the ribs on both sides (astonishing to me)and stopped under the hide looking like a perfect classic mushroom. Moose DRT. That is the only Hornady I recovered. Other moose I have killed withat bullet were at greater range, 100-150yards, the bullet hit a rib or two and passed through.

    A medium size bull caribou I shot with that load at 300 yards; the bullet hit the ridge on the scapula, broke two ribs, through the lungs, broke two ribs , through the scapula at the ridge again and exited the animal. The caribou went down like the ground was yanked out from under him. One other caribou (a large bull)I killed with that bullet was at lesser range, 70 yards, uphill frontal shot, through the sternum, disconnected the heart and exited just behind the ribs, same result.

    Looking through my Hornady manual I see that the .358 interlock 200grn has a sectional density of .223 and that max. load is 2500fps, my guess is that your load is closer to 2400fps so I will use that for my example.

    The .338 interlock 225grn has a S.D. .281, vel. from my rifle 2800fps (known) for example.

    Difference in S.D. = 26% greater in .338 dia
    Velocity difference = 17% greater in .338WM
    Bullet grain difference = 13% greater in .338WM
    Energy at 100yards .338WM = 3304ftlbs
    Energy at 100yards .358Win = 1714ftlbs
    Energy difference = 93% greater in .338WM

    Considering these figures it seems evident that the stresses placed on the .338dia bullet far exceed that of the .358dia bullet, one value which stands apart and holds significance in my mind is Sectional Density (the bias in weight not withstanding).

    Back to the interesting part . Does your experience with the 200grn Interlock in .358Win velocities reflect normal performance for that bullet, is it an anomaly, is it a difference in construction between the diameters ( I seriously doubt this as the bullet can be pushed to .338WM velocities from the .358 Norma mag.), was it a defect, or was it something else ?

    I understand my examples are less than perfect, I want only to compare to field experiences that I think may be of some use to someone, if nothing else it was fun to make the comparison.

    In closing, I agree with Mainer on moving up in bullet weight and selection, if for no other reason, than to improve sectional density and momentum, a heavier and tougher bullet will travel deeper and thus create more damage, both qualities have obvious advantages.

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    Quote Originally Posted by .338WM View Post
    Back to the interesting part . Does your experience with the 200grn Interlock in .358Win velocities reflect normal performance for that bullet, is it an anomaly, is it a difference in construction between the diameters ( I seriously doubt this as the bullet can be pushed to .338WM velocities from the .358 Norma mag.), was it a defect, or was it something else ?

    I understand my examples are less than perfect, I want only to compare to field experiences that I think may be of some use to someone, if nothing else it was fun to make the comparison.

    In closing, I agree with Mainer on moving up in bullet weight and selection, if for no other reason, than to improve sectional density and momentum, a heavier and tougher bullet will travel deeper and thus create more damage, both qualities have obvious advantages.
    I've used the Hornady 200 grain .358 Interlock a good bit and I will not use it for animals larger than deer (though it's a fairly good choice for deer) and nor can I recommend it to someone else. The 225 grain .338 Hornady Interlock is another matter altogether. It is a fine bullet and in another class than its cousin. There are perhaps numerous reasons for this, but the primary problem IMO is that the bullet lacks sufficient length to maintain gyroscopic stability once expansion takes place. IME, it penetrates like a Frisbee, rarely in a straight line, and does not penetrate deeply. I've seen this in .35 Remington, .358 Winchester & .35 Whelen rifles at numerous velocity thresholds. It works well enough for deer where penetration requirements are minimal, but for moose and such it would not be among my choices.

    FWIW, when using the Hornady 200 grain bullet 2500+ fps is no trick at all in a 20 inch .358. I know that W748, RL 15 and H 322 will accomplish this in my rifle.

    As for the 200 grain Hornady interlock in .338 caliber; I can't say. My suspicions are that it would be a better choice than the .358 diameter bullet of the same weight, but I'd opt for a bit more weight for game larger than deer so as to hedge my bet.
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    I'm using the .225 gr. interlock in my .338/06 wildcat with good results, it's leaving my muzzle at 2750 fps. It's only killed one animal so far for me, but the black bear I shot was dead before it hit the ground. The bullet passed through the ribs/lungs and left a fist sized hole exiting the animal. I have confidence to shoot large animals with this round in my rifle. I still haven't experimented with different powders to find the optimum performance (I've got some RL19 to try), but it does well enough with my Winchester 760 powder for now.

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    I think the 338 federal is a fantastic cartridge, also highly underated. It operates at higher pressure than the 358 winchester and is therefore better at 2oo + yards. It is incredibly easy to make for 308 family cases so there is never an ammo problem for handloaders. Takes a variety of bullets form 160 up. It is also an excellent killer, as i've killed a couple of moose, 2 blackies and 2 caribou with mine with quick 1 shot kills. I use a 200 gr plain jane bullet with tac powder ( a load i got from handloader magazine) it is a superb round and perfect for any game in alaska as long as good bullet placement is practiced. Although i've shot a large number of various factory rifles, i say unequivically that the ruger hawkeye is the finest factory rifle for the best price in the world.

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    Ok I know Im going to catch some flak from this but here goes..... I have hunted elk and deer with the 338 WM for quite awhile here in Idaho with excelent results. I have taken 3 6 point bulls with this round all one shot kills and two of them at extended range. I figure if the magnum will kill like that at over 400 yards the federal should be great in less open country. with the 338M I only have ever recovered one bullet that did not completely pass threw and that was about a 50 yard shot on a big muley. The thing that most will not agree on is my pet load is a 200 gr. Nosler ballistic tip over imr 4350 powder in my pre 64 mod 70 it shoots sub moa and kills without much loss of meat. I too have purchased a 338 federal in a ruger hawkeye for a short mountain rifle. I havent had a chance to work up any loads for it yet but you can bet I will try the ballistic tip

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    Ok I know Im going to catch some flak from this but here goes..... I have hunted elk and deer with the 338 WM for quite awhile here in Idaho with excelent results. I have taken 3 6 point bulls with this round all one shot kills and two of them at extended range. I figure if the magnum will kill like that at over 400 yards the federal should be great in less open country. with the 338M I only have ever recovered one bullet that did not completely pass threw and that was about a 50 yard shot on a big muley. The thing that most will not agree on is my pet load is a 200 gr. Nosler ballistic tip over imr 4350 powder in my pre 64 mod 70 it shoots sub moa and kills without much loss of meat. I too have purchased a 338 federal in a ruger hawkeye for a short mountain rifle. I havent had a chance to work up any loads for it yet but you can bet I will try the ballistic tip

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    Quote Originally Posted by mountaineer View Post
    I think the 338 federal is a fantastic cartridge, also highly underated. It operates at higher pressure than the 358 winchester and is therefore better at 2oo + yards. It is incredibly easy to make for 308 family cases so there is never an ammo problem for handloaders. Takes a variety of bullets form 160 up. It is also an excellent killer, as i've killed a couple of moose, 2 blackies and 2 caribou with mine with quick 1 shot kills. I use a 200 gr plain jane bullet with tac powder ( a load i got from handloader magazine) it is a superb round and perfect for any game in alaska as long as good bullet placement is practiced. Although i've shot a large number of various factory rifles, i say unequivically that the ruger hawkeye is the finest factory rifle for the best price in the world.
    Any operating pressure that the 338 federal is designed to work at, the 358 in the BLR or Ruger 77 will too. I don't consider their to be any substantial "one-up" in practical range between the two. The 338 federal however, has many more boat tail bullet designs avail. This may not be a concern with in 300 yds. though, no matter how heavy the wind is blowing. Most 358 winchesters are not finicky and one particular bullet that would be an excellent sheep/goat bullet would be the 225 grain Nosler Accubond. This bullet has been pushed to some impressive velocity by some members of this forum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mountaineer View Post
    I think the 338 federal is a fantastic cartridge, also highly underated. It operates at higher pressure than the 358 winchester and is therefore better at 2oo + yards. It is incredibly easy to make for 308 family cases so there is never an ammo problem for handloaders. Takes a variety of bullets form 160 up. It is also an excellent killer, as i've killed a couple of moose, 2 blackies and 2 caribou with mine with quick 1 shot kills. I use a 200 gr plain jane bullet with tac powder ( a load i got from handloader magazine) it is a superb round and perfect for any game in alaska as long as good bullet placement is practiced. Although i've shot a large number of various factory rifles, i say unequivically that the ruger hawkeye is the finest factory rifle for the best price in the world.
    The ONLY time this round will operate at higher pressures than the 358 Winchester is using factory ammo; after that they both operate at the same pressures. Both rounds are based on the 308 case so this doesn't give the 338 any real advantage either. Until the projectiles that are launched exceed 210 grains there is little advantage over the standard 8mm JS or 30-06, when reloaded. Will the 338 kill animals;YEP but you can't quantify dead and so do all 3 of the other calibers mentioned here. The Ruger Hawkeye is a good rifle.
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    Well thanks for all the info .................. a distributor had a fantastic deal on the 338 Federal in a SS Hawkeye and I didnt know jack about the round so thought that throwing it out on here would bring in some interesting details and it DID! Thanks for all the help and when I called to grab one I was TOO LATE they used it for a leader and they didnt have them anymore!!
    So I am still sniffin around for a 35 Whelen in the Hawkeye SS and will no doubt wind up with one but the 338F would have been a great alternate had they still had them!!!! Thanks again

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArcticRams View Post
    .................................................. ......
    So I am still sniffin around for a 35 Whelen in the Hawkeye SS .............................
    here is one.

    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=264408214
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    I think the 200gr Interlocks were designed with the 35Rem in mind. Just my thoughts based upon my experiences using a 358Win.

    A Remington Model 700CDL in 35Whelen or a 338-06 is my desire. The 338Federal interested me for awhile but it's fallen off the radar. Nothing wrong with it, it just lost it's luster in my eyes.

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