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Thread: Slightly Reduced loads for 338 Win Mag for us older fellers

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    Member Silver Tip's Avatar
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    Default Slightly Reduced loads for 338 Win Mag for us older fellers

    I have hunted for years with max handloads for my 338 Win Mag with great success. As I get older, those loads kick harder than they used to. Funny how that works. My loads were slightly under 3100 fps. with a Nosler 210 gr Partitions. If I drop the load by 2-3 gr the velocity will be in the 2800-2900 range, still plenty of killin' power for elk etc. Any of you older fellas doing this or do you you just move down to a 30-06 or 270 Win?? Sucks to get old...but that's Gods plan for us old guys!

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    Why not just drop to a smaller cal with less recoil? You can hunt elk with just about any normal cal in the non magnum range. The 338 cal is a choice not a must have. When I lived in CO I used to hunt with a 25-06 for elk and it did a great job but I also used 30-06 as well. If you just like to reload than you might be able to load down to fit your needs on recoil, but I have always wondered why some one would have a BIG BOY gun and then want to load down and slow the round. I have a 300wm target rifle that will drive tack but it hurts to shoot it so I am thinking about just getting rid of it for that very reason. There is another option for you as well, look at getting a break put on it, they make the gun loud as all get out and no one will want to be around you when you shoot it but they do reduce the recoil as much as 50% so I have been told.
    Either way good luck.

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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver Tip View Post
    Any of you older fellas doing this or do you you just move down to a 30-06 or 270 Win??
    I've done both, but sometimes I just want a bigger hole in the pipe.

    Switching to a faster powder for your reduced loads helps an amazing amount. I've also switched to 250 grainers, whether Speer Grandslams or Nosler Partitions. At 2500-2600 fps they still hit with amazing authority, but sure are easier on the shoulder than a 210 at 3100 like you're launching.

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    Yeah jeeze 2500-2600 should be enough for anything in America, no? Maybe the drop is too great for substantial range with .338 bullets, but factory -06 is around 2500 standard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver Tip View Post
    I have hunted for years with max handloads for my 338 Win Mag with great success. As I get older, those loads kick harder than they used to. Funny how that works. My loads were slightly under 3100 fps. with a Nosler 210 gr Partitions. If I drop the load by 2-3 gr the velocity will be in the 2800-2900 range, still plenty of killin' power for elk etc. Any of you older fellas doing this or do you you just move down to a 30-06 or 270 Win?? Sucks to get old...but that's Gods plan for us old guys!

    Silver Tip
    Lighter bullets and less powder will reduce recoil. When I had that old 338, I was doin that, but just never found an accuratre load.

    Like BB says, a faster powder would be less powder. I would try the LOW, starting loads in the Data, with the lighter bullets.

    I would not load a load that I don't have DATA FOR.

    338 should be plenty gun, even if you use a light load. ??? I would suggest the 180 grain ABs, but they be spendy, if you gotta do lots of load development.

    You can find a good online recoil calculator on the Internet, and see what works. Compare your load to other cartridges and loads. There's a good project for us old mans.

    Smitty of the North
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    Another way to look at it, a 250 at 2500 made a heck of a name for the 35 Whelen. No big deal in the recoil department compared to full snort 338 loads either. Add in the fact that your 338 probably weighs more than an average 35W, and it's a maiden's kiss on the shoulder. Same happens when you're loading 200/210's down to 2700 or so. Not going to snipe baddies across 1,000 yards of desert sand with those loads, but so what.

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    Member mekaniks's Avatar
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    Why not just go to a lighter bullet and slow the speed a little. Like maybe a 185g Barnes TSX or 180g Nosler Accubond at 2800-2900? Will be much less recoil that the 250's you are shooting now and still plenty of killing power and still using the .338 diameter bullet.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    A buddy of mine switched to the .338 180AB.... it's a killing machine that kicks less than 225-250gr loads. It also shoots pretty flat.

    I recently had the choice between a new .338 and a new .270 in Browning's X-Bolt.

    I took the .270...my neck just won't take the recoil any more.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Do some research on brakes, there are brakes out there that don't blow back, are effective at reducing recoil and aren't that much louder than unbraked rifles. There are also brakes that will blow loose things off the bench next to you, make lots of noise and barely reduce recoil. I shoot a 338-378 with 300 gr pills pushed close to 3000fps and they're easy to shoot.

    Gus

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    Bottom line, compare bullet weight and velocity with other calibers. You should get a good indication on shoulder push as well as game performance, and your answers will be most clear if the comparison is with calibers you've shot before. There's a little tradeoff, in that your rifle will likely be heavier, and using less of a faster powder too might produce a "feel" that's even lighter than you anticipated. For example, a load launching a 180 grain bullet at the same velocity as a 300 win mag is likely to feel like a 300 win mag.

    My only direct experience with reduced jacketed loads for the 338 was using old Hornady 200 grain flat points intended for the 33 Winchester. I stoked them for 2200 fps, and they felt like.... well, a 33 Winchester. Bullet was a little faster, but the modern bolt was heavier. The friend who wanted them said it was a death ray on deer to 200 yards, and from his and my shooting, you could shoot it all day like a 30-30. Really fun load.

  11. #11

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    You lucky guy! You just came up with a good reason to treat your self to a new rifle in .338-06 caliber! I think a 210 grain Nosler Partition at 2,600 to 2,700 FPS MV would expand well at any reasonable range and kill any thing America has to offer quite handily. I have been shooting the .338 Mag. and 250 grain bullets for 40 years and I am probably going to try the 210 Barnes X TTS this year and save the 250 X bullets for a dedicated brown bear hunt. That 250 grain load of mine in my custom 8 lb. Mod. 70 kicks like a mule off the bench. I am soon to be 64 and it just ain't as much fun as it used to be with heavy loads. As usual the guys offered you some good suggestions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Bottom line, compare bullet weight and velocity with other calibers. You should get a good indication on shoulder push as well as game performance, and your answers will be most clear if the comparison is with calibers you've shot before. There's a little tradeoff, in that your rifle will likely be heavier, and using less of a faster powder too might produce a "feel" that's even lighter than you anticipated. For example, a load launching a 180 grain bullet at the same velocity as a 300 win mag is likely to feel like a 300 win mag.

    My only direct experience with reduced jacketed loads for the 338 was using old Hornady 200 grain flat points intended for the 33 Winchester. I stoked them for 2200 fps, and they felt like.... well, a 33 Winchester. Bullet was a little faster, but the modern bolt was heavier. The friend who wanted them said it was a death ray on deer to 200 yards, and from his and my shooting, you could shoot it all day like a 30-30. Really fun load.
    That's a great way to figger recoil.

    Sounds like a great load you came up with, too.

    SOTN
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    Sounds like a great load you came up with, too.
    My bud darned near sat down and cried when we couldn't find any more of those bullets. He sure shot a mess of them into dirt banks over the years, and neither of us had the sense to put some aside while the getting was good. I don't think Hornady has made then in at least 10 years now. Might be worth checking with Hawk for comparables, but they're not going to be cheap enough for dirt banks.

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    G'Day Fella's,

    I hope the following information, may be of some assistance with reducing rifle recoil.
    A few years ago now, I noticed the Pachmayr were marketing a new Trap recoil pad for Shotguns, called the XLT.
    I purchased one from Brownells and fitted it to my Mk V W/by in .340 WM. I was pretty happy with the results, so a purchased a couple more and fitted one to my Rem 673 in .350 RM with a similar positive outcome. The material that these pads are made of, is that soft you can push your finger into it almost all the way from back to front!
    Some time later, I was approached by a mate of a mate (Mike Y), who wanted a recoil pad an a muzzle brake fitted to a wood stocked W/by Vanguard in .300 Win Mag, because it was kickin the cr#p out of him (don't all .300 Mags do that?)! I suggested that we initially just fit one of the XLT pads to the rifle, and then go from there.
    So 3 or 4 weeks later, I receive a phone call from Mike to say we won't be needing a muzzle brake, and he was very happy with the rifle now!

    Now the only down side that I can see with this XLT pad, is that it is a Trap pad and the rear face of the pad (from Top to Bottom) is concave (in the middle), which isn't the best thing to fit on some rifles. But other than that, I have no hesitation in recommending these pads.

    I hope that helps

    D'oh!
    Homer

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    Member alaska bush man's Avatar
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    Just get you a 338-06

    find you you a good used 30-06 and have it rebarrel to 338-06

    most hold 5 rounds and vel is about 2600 to 2700 FPS with 225 gr bullets.............and the 210gr Nosler Part makes a dandy elk bullet!

    Reloader 17 is very good in the 338-06 with 225gr Part
    Alaska

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    Quote Originally Posted by alaska bush man View Post
    Just get you a 338-06
    ........yup.
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  18. #18

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    210 Nosler partition ... lighter bullets tend to kick less. 200 gr Hornadys for practice.

    Nosler has load data on their website. 62-63 gr of RL 15 has been working well for me. About like a 338-06. More pop than a 200gr 30-06. Much lighter than a full bore 250gr 338 Win load.

    200 gr Hornady and reduced loads of H4895 have worked for me if you want to get down to 308 recoil type loads. Google H4895 60% rule. May take some experimenting to find an accurate load in your rifle.

    Also use a PAST shoulder pad for range work. No more sore shoulder.

    Eric

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