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Thread: RCM Cartridges

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    Default RCM Cartridges

    The “Savage Big Bore Hunter” rifles were mentioned in another recent thread, which prompted this rant.

    I happened in at SW today, and looked at a “New Savage Big Bore Hunter” rifle. They were really hard to miss with the Large Diameter Barrel, the Large Bolt Handle, and the Iron Sights.

    The barrel looks longer, but it IS only 18 inches long. They had the gun in 338 and 375 RCM.

    Just checking on the Internet, I found this…..

    “• Exceeds 300 & 338 Win Mag performance from a compact 20" barrel
    • Optimized propellants and case geometry deliver more velocity with 10-15% less powder
    • Longer barrel life
    • Less recoil
    • Less muzzle blast
    • Superior temperature stability from -15°F to 140°F”

    I do not believe this. I don’t believe it can possibly be true.

    In general terms.

    To “Exceed the Performance of 300 and 338 WMs”, it could only be at Greater Pressure.

    At “Greater Pressure”, the barrel life wouldn’t be longer.

    “Less Recoil”, and “Less muzzle blast” probably goes with “Less powder” which IMO, is also nonsense.

    They may be attributing these claims to case design, and/or some special powder they use in the Factory Loads. .

    I can’t buy, case design. As to a different powder, who knows? Powders are different, but they’re making these claims for the Cartridges. ("Superior temperature stability" could only be due to powder, or the weather.)

    This is the Route Winchester went for the WSMs, but they claimed greater accuracy too. Again, IMO, that is the only thing that they COULD make a case on, and even that is unprovable in hunting rifles.

    It is sad, to see, the way Marketing has gone in recent times.

    You might not know it from reading my posts, but I recognize that, distasteful as it is, I'm not the final word on this stuff, so whadda you fellers think?

    What's Ruger gonna do next? Start selling Fishing Lures?

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I've been using the .300WSM for 6 years and I've found the performance claims Winchester made are mostly "true". I get velocities equal to the .300 Win Mag and (at least in my rifles) accuracy is first rate although, like you, I believe it's more a function of the rifle and ammo quality than the cartridge shape.

    The stats on the .375 Ruger are accurate- I can easily match existing published .375 H&H speeds in a 20" barrel...although with modern powders an H&H with a 24" can out run mine.

    The .300RCM and .338RCM do reach published speeds although you need to watch the bbl length on the published chart. Why that's a real advantage I don't know...I like a short action rifle but the difference isn't earth shaking.

    The claims on temperature stability, barrel life and recoil are entirely due to powders used...powder technology has come a long way in the last few years and while makers are touting new cartridges using the powders, most of the benefits can be applied to older cartridges when loaded with the newer powders.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Just got done with a quick comparison according to the 2011 Hodgdon manual:

    Both shooting Barnes 185gr TSX in a 24" bbl,both are shown as max loads:

    338 RCM 57.0Cgr Varget @ 2867 fps 62,200psi

    338 WM 65gr Varget @ 3013 fps 52,900cup

    Just for the H*** of it,I looked up the 300 WM.It shows a max load of 78.0C gr Retumbo behind a 200gr Nos Partition @ 2872 fps w/52,100cup.


    A special powder blend in the shorter bbl's of the Savage might account for some of their claims,but,powder capacity and pressure do have a direct correlation to velocity.Looking up your fav cart and load on Quickload might surprise you at how short a bbl gives you 100% powder burn.

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    It seems plenty plausible to me that a different diameter case would dramatically change the burn characteristics. Velocity isn't just a factor of peak pressure but rather the pressure curve. If the change in case design allows the use of a different powder then it could potentially hold the same pressure for a longer period of time which would result in a velocity increase. It is also likely why the 300 win mag cartridge eventually eclipses the WSM version as you increase bullet weight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    It seems plenty plausible to me that a different diameter case would dramatically change the burn characteristics. Velocity isn't just a factor of peak pressure but rather the pressure curve. If the change in case design allows the use of a different powder then it could potentially hold the same pressure for a longer period of time which would result in a velocity increase. It is also likely why the 300 win mag cartridge eventually eclipses the WSM version as you increase bullet weight.
    Touche'.The cart design is a big part of it.A very well known wildcatter once told me he never thought there would be a "Perfect" cart design until he encountered the WSSM.The next words out of his mouth were they were also like having a grenade in your chamber and to use extreme caution if I felt like experimenting with them.Even with that in mind,the WSSM series uses the same (within +/- a couple of grains) amount of powder as anything comparable in the same caliber,just in a shorter,fatter cartridge.

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    I think the 338 Ruger Compact Mag. (RCM), is a phenomenal cartridge/rifle combo. Open sights, plenty of bullet weight, power and range. Short barrel, and a decent stock. Slap a 2-7 power scope on one, and you'd have a do-all Alaskan rifle IMO. Sure the little carbine is a tad slower than the 338 Winchester magnum, but it more than makes up for it. Besides the 338 RCM, the 338 Federal are the only two new cartridges in the past 20 years, that appeal to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    I think the 338 Ruger Compact Mag. (RCM), is a phenomenal cartridge/rifle combo. Open sights, plenty of bullet weight, power and range. Short barrel, and a decent stock. Slap a 2-7 power scope on one, and you'd have a do-all Alaskan rifle IMO. Sure the little carbine is a tad slower than the 338 Winchester magnum, but it more than makes up for it. Besides the 338 RCM, the 338 Federal are the only two new cartridges in the past 20 years, that appeal to me.
    I don't see "phenomenal".

    You could have open sights, short barrel, a decent stock, and a 2-7 power scope on most any beeg game rifle, of any power level you think you require.

    It's not surprising that the 338 RCM "carbine" is "a tad slower than the 338 Win. Mag. but,,,,,, the Claim was "Exceeds 300 & 338 Win Mag performance from a compact 20" barrel."

    There are loads and LOADS, and there are rifles and RIFLES, but if you reduce the case capacity, and use a shorter barrel, regardless of case design, you can't get more velocity without increasing pressure.

    I would have marketed the cartridges differently. With some comparisons that are more truthful.

    Smitty of the North
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    I don't see "phenomenal".


    I would have marketed the cartridges differently. With some comparisons that are more truthful.

    Smitty of the North
    Yes, same here. The advertised claims were a bit over the top. They would've been better served to state that their 338 RCM carbine was in between a 338-06 and the 338 win mag which I honestly feel it is. It'll soon be headed for obsolescence, as not a single other company has chambered a rifle for it.

    Finding an above 30 caliber bolt action carbine with rugged open sights is a bit of a challenge, I haven't found too many that I like. The bolt rifles from over seas however, do get it right like CZ, Sako, Steyr, and Tikka all offer rugged little Bavarian-style carbines with big bores and open sights. They come at a pretty penny though. I thought for the money, the little 6.75 lb. Ruger Carbine is a lovely bargain, it comes in a left handed version too. Last time I priced one at Wal-Mart, it was only about $550 for the wood model, and look at these superb sights:



    Having shot this rifle after FamilyMan drilled a clean hole through his Caribou with it, I thought it kicked like my 358 Winchester lever rifle. Honestly, it's an efficient little case, and does relatively well with less powder. Although one forum member looked up stats from only one reloading manual, there are a few others that may be a bit contrary to what was stated in regards to pressure and velocities. Of course, when you start comparing the two with 250 grain bullets, the velocity gap increases slightly more. I'm ok with that though. The little 338 RCM still has plenty of smoke for a 250 grainer IMO.


    I just consulted a Ram-shot powder manual and the little cartridge is roughly 100 fps slower with equal barrel lengths shooting 225 grain bullets:

    338 RCM (24" barrel)
    Powder: Big Game Bullet: 225 HDY SP Grains: 60.5 Velocity: 2,685 Pressure: 60,170

    338 Win Mag. (24" barrel)

    Powder: Hunter Bullet: 225 NOS PART Grains: 71.6 Velocity: 2,808 Pressure: 61,455
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    Default .338 rcm

    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    338 RCM (24" barrel)
    Powder: Big Game Bullet: 225 HDY SP Grains: 60.5 Velocity: 2,685 Pressure: 60,170

    338 Win Mag. (24" barrel)

    Powder: Hunter Bullet: 225 NOS PART Grains: 71.6 Velocity: 2,808 Pressure: 61,455
    I'm not sure I understand that. I thought the RCM shot a bit flatter, but how could it with 100+ less pressure? I mean.... the bullets are the same size in both rounds, right?

    Regarding the other 60 percent of this thread, you guys are science-ing it WAY too far out there! Borrow a buddy's RCM and go afield. Carry it (its like its not there). Aim it (you acquire target quickly, because this gun has always "felt right"), Shoot it.

    What'd that feel like?

    I'll start this off: It feels **** good. The rifle doesn't have much sex appeal. But it always impresses because it always does what is asked, under any conditions (some adverse) with never once doing anything wrong or unexpected. And throughout, it accomplishes more than any alternative I could imagine for it. So what's not to like? #1 would have to high price of the rifle. But I would not trade mine for anything.

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    I've got both a 338 rcm and a 338 win mag. The win mag smokes the rcm.

    Advertising hype for sure.

    The box of 338rcm 225 gr. ammo states on the box 2850fps from a 20" barrel. My chronograph says 2600fps.

    The box of 338rcm 200 gr ammo states 2950fps from a 20" barrel. Again from my chronograph, 2800 fps.

    I can hand load to those chronograph speeds also.

    BUT, I like open sights, and it's a cheap little handy gun. I think I paid $489 for mine, on sale, from my brother, who has a little gun shop.

    The quality is very poor, in my opinion. But it's a nice shooter.

    Mine is SS with the grey Ruger paint, which I don't care for. And it has a camo plastic stock.
    "The older I get, the better I was."

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    Paid $499 at CDNN for a left hand Ruger 338 RCM with the 20 inch barrel and factory iron sights. Like all Rugers it came with built in scope bases and a set of rings. It sat in the safe for about 8 months until I finally got off my butt and glass bedded the action and barrel channel while free floating the barrel. Then I spent $6 on an after market spring for the trigger which was a simple swap out. Trigger now breaks at about 3 pounds like a glass rod. Put a 2 x 7 Nikon on it and was in business.

    Loaded up some 225 Hornady's and hit the range. First three, three shot groups at 100 yards were an honest one inch. Load chrono's 2,600 fps. Hype or not, Ruger created a real economical winner with this rifle. My only negative is I wished it was stainless. Three different shooters held my rifle. All three went out and bought one. One is a forum member here so maybe he can chime in as to how his shoots.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    It's not surprising that the 338 RCM "carbine" is "a tad slower than the 338 Win. Mag. but,,,,,, the Claim was "Exceeds 300 & 338 Win Mag performance from a compact 20" barrel."
    You recognized yourself in your OP that this is just marketing. Everybody does it. That so many people apparently assume "performance" = "velocity" speaks to why such marketing statements work.

    Apparently we're a small minority, but some folks define performance in terms of cartridge efficiency, terminal ballistics, accuracy, ergonomics, etc. Absolute velocity being nowhere near the top of the list, if on the list at all.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Absolute velocity being nowhere near the top of the list, if on the list at all.
    I know it's just your opinion, but how so?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt View Post
    I know it's just your opinion, but how so?
    Perhaps I don't understand your question, Matt (?). What I was saying, is that when I consider a rifle / cartridge's "performance", muzzle velocity is not one of the first things I'm concerned with.

    It's always entertaining, if frustrating, to watch folks argue over "performance" based solely on muzzle velocity. Same guys probably argue over which truck is best based on how fast it gets off the line, or whether it has a hemi...
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
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    Hand loading brings out the truth most times.The first big showdown was the 450marlin against the poor 45/70 and now the 45/70 is stronger than ever.Never seen a problem with a extra 1" of bolt stroke
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Most guys that own the 338 RCM, seem to love their little carbines. It won't last for long, but it will have a cult following, just like the 358 Winchester, and just like the 350 Rem Mag. I believe it to an improved version of the 350 Rem Mag carbines. In fact, I created a wild cat off the cartridge. I call it the "416 Wicked Thumpah". I contacted Wayne Van Zwoll to let him know of my creation, and that I would be sending him the rifle for the first field testing. He was very interested in it, having done a prior article on the .411 Hawk. Keep in mind, this cartridge was thought of and created back in August of 2011, which is right around the time Wayne Van Zwoll had first heard of it (first hand).

    This was a challenge that moderator Murphy had for me some time ago, to create my "own 416 wildcat". I told Wayne Van Zwoll that he would eat his words regarding the 411 Hawk being "the only one of it's kind". Forum Member Adfields and I were to do the project together, but we never did get it finnished due to both his and mine's other financial concerns. We may just finish the rifle some day this winter during slow times. In fact, I won't finish the first rifle without Andy, as we were the first ones to start talking about it, and he's a really supportive guy. Then off to Wayne for a thorough testing, as we don't have the funding for all those prestigious and fancy magazine hunts.

    Here's the cartridge next to a 358 Winchester the 358 is displayed with a 250 grain hot-cor, and the 416 Wicked Thumpah is displayed with a 350 grain hot-cor:

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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    You recognized yourself in your OP that this is just marketing. Everybody does it. That so many people apparently assume "performance" = "velocity" speaks to why such marketing statements work.

    Apparently we're a small minority, but some folks define performance in terms of cartridge efficiency, terminal ballistics, accuracy, ergonomics, etc. Absolute velocity being nowhere near the top of the list, if on the list at all.
    I agree that that Ruger is focusing on Velocity, for performance. Then, they aren't even truthful about that.

    It's "Marketing" that defines "velocity" as performance.

    As I stated in an earlier post,,,,,
    "I would have marketed the cartridges differently. With some comparisons that are more truthful."

    I understand what you're sayin.

    There are certainly ways to define performance other than just "Velocity". I'm a fan of the 30-30, but not because of the "velocity". It's the total of all the considerations.

    "efficiency". Kinda depends on the definition of it. The other things you mention, are worthy of consideration.

    Personally I like a cartridge that is designed to shoot the, heavy for caliber, bullets. SD, BC, and that kinda stuff.

    Velocity should be suitable to the bullet you wanna use.

    Smitty of the North
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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Thats a good looking round
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Yip, it'll be a 416 "Wicked Thumpah".

    I'd like to bypass the "z-hat" premium price. I have plans to GIVE the reamer to Jess Occumpaugh of JES Re-boring. So for a measely 225 dollahs, he can take your cheapo 500 dollah wal mart RCM, and do his magic.

    I'd also like to Get ole Wayne to eat his words, but don't get me wrong, he has been the most influential gun writer and rifleman. His books have had a big impact on my tastes and preferences.

    Here's his words:

    "The .411 Hawk has no counterpart among modern cartridges..."
    Wayne van Zwoll,
    Deer & Big Game Rifles 2003

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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    It seems plenty plausible to me that a different diameter case would dramatically change the burn characteristics. Velocity isn't just a factor of peak pressure but rather the pressure curve. If the change in case design allows the use of a different powder then it could potentially hold the same pressure for a longer period of time which would result in a velocity increase. It is also likely why the 300 win mag cartridge eventually eclipses the WSM version as you increase bullet weight.
    I don't bleev that case shape, effects "the burn" "dramatically", at least, not even close to the effects of case volume.

    The 300 WM has more case capacity than the 300 WSM, and if loaded to the same pressures, the 300 WM will always eclipse the WSM, with any bullet weight.

    I'll grant you, that there are CLAIMS, and theories, to the contrary, but I've not seen anything to make me consider them credible.

    Even the claims of better ignitiion due to the shorter powder column seem dubious to me, but what do I know? Some things are hard to nail down for certain.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

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