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Thread: 338 Fed. compared to 338 WM

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    Default 338 Fed. compared to 338 WM

    I'm curious how would the 338 Fed. compare to the 338 WM as a big bear gun. And also how do they compare as to recoil. and would the Fed be sufficiant for griz or Br. bear.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    The 338 fed is considerably less powerful than the the 338 win mag, 338 fed I'm guessing will get 2200 fps with 250 gr bullets, the 338 win mag does 2700 fps. My personaly thought is the 338 fed is a poor choice for a cartridge because the majority of the bullets are designed for much higher impact velocities and hence won't open up much at the 338 fed speeds. If you're a handloaded, I'd expect the 210 gr nosler partition at 2400-2500 fps to be outstanding, but I can't see getting a gun that has but one good bullet for it.

    And yes, it'll certainly kill a bear just as well as a 30-06 would do, and recoil will be on par with heavy bullet -06 loads. And, I'd take an -06 over a 338 fed any day. Then again, I'd take the 338 win mag over the 30-06 any day for a big bear gun. If you can shoot a 338 win mag, it is always the right choice. But it does have enough recoil to get your attention if you don't do much shooting or are adverse to recoil.

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    The .338 Federal is just a .308 case necked up to .338-caliber bullets. This cartridge was a wildcat not too long ago, and called .338-08 back then.

    Think of it as a .308 that uses .338 bullets instead of .30-caliber bullets, and close to the .338-06, except that this one maybe holds a little more powder in its case. The .338 Federal is indeed a neat cartridge because of the short action. It should work well for moose hunting with bullets up to 210 grains, which is a favorite with lots of elk hunters in the lower-48. I would think that a 180-grain Partition should stretch the distance some, and work on moose well.

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    My experience with it has been as a 338-08 and my dies are so stamped. It was a great white tail deer and black bear cartridge. I took some of each with it. The only premium bullet I would use for hunting is the 210 partition or the 200 grain Kodiak. All the heavier 338 bullets are made for more velocity than the 308 case can muster and will not expand at it's meager velocities.

    It really would do well with any of the non premium bullets if there were any. The 180 BT works well on deer but the 225 core-lokt wouldn't expand and the 200 grain Winchester power point is ok on deer but there isn't anything else suitable for it. In other words there aren't any bullets available for the 338 Federal even though there are lots of good bullets for the 338 mag.

    As Paul said, it is a far cry from the 338 Win Mag in power. It is useful and a fun gun to hunt with but I think it is at it's best in the deer woods and river bottoms and not stretched beyond the big black bear category. I'd rather carry a bear gun when hunting grizzly or bigger and a 338 mag is that.

    Recoil, well, I guess it wins on that point it is easy on the shoulder.
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    I had excellent results on deer using 200 gr. hornadys at about 2575 fps 6 shots 6 dropped in there tracks deer from 30yds to 240yds I love the round but I would not puposely go after anything that might eat me with one.

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    The 338 Fed to the 338 Winchester Mag, is the same as comparing the 358 Winchester to the 358 Norma Mag. One is a short 308 length case and the other is a longer belted magnum. Apples and Oranges.
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    The Hodgdon reloading maual lists the 338 federal with 210 swift scir. with 45 gr. H4895, 24" barrel @2,550. I agree with corjack in that I really like the match of the 338 fed. with 200 gr. Hornady sp. interlock. With 46 gr. Varget I show about 2,530 f/s. with my reloads. Since my T3 is fairly light, dont notice major reduction in recoil, but still less than 338 win. mag. +'s: light rifle, shorter action, less powder, excellant availabilty of 308 cases for resizing.
    I'll differ with Paul, and take the 338 federal with 210 nosler any day over the 30-06 with whatever bullet, IF I HAD TO, for big bear.
    But there would be no doubt that if I had the choice of which rifle to hunt brown bear with, it would be the 338 win. mag.

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    Thanks for the education I knew nothing about this cartride and took the lazy way out by uing this forum. Never used the 338 wm and a little wary of the recoil because of an old injury and looking for a possible caliber between 300wm and 338wm. There may be no happy medium and may needto stick with the 300. Thanks for the input guys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cajun53 View Post
    Never used the 338 wm and a little wary of the recoil because of an old injury and looking for a possible caliber between 300wm and 338wm. There may be no happy medium and may needto stick with the 300. Thanks for the input guys.
    Well, that's an entirely different question and there may just be a factory round that is in between these two. Recoil is less than the 338 WM and field performance could be slightly better than the 300 WM. Actually there may be more than one, though not so well known.

    The 325 WSM lies in between both in caliber and field performance. I also happen to believe the 338-06 is there performance wise as well. You can give up a lot of recoil and little of the killing power of the 338 WM but you would have to give up some of the long range performance. This would mean you need to get closer, change the way you hunt, possibly. Using calibers such as the 338-06, 35 Whelen, 9.3x62, 348 WCF, 38-55, 40-70 Sharps, 50 caliber flintlock, Puma boar spear, David's sling shot.........just a few of the options in descending chronological order.

    Which one of these is out of place?
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    Cajun I am currently playing around with a 9.3x62 and is quickly becoming a favorite it seems to be a very shooter friendly round with tolerable recoil and very good accuracy The selection of bullets is becoming larger as time goes by Hornady emailed me and said they should have Interlocks available for retail sales this fall plus it is on Murphys list not sure about the spear as I never did have a very good throwing arm.

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    I would like to add the following: if you reload, there are lots of relatively fast expanding .338WM bullets you can use with the .338 Federal. In fact, just about any of the lightweight bullets under 200 grains in weight (except for solids) will still expand.

    As with any cartridge, if you want more expansion from a bullet, just switch to a lighter weight accordingly. For example, a 250-grain Partition .338-caliber bullet launched from a .308 case comes out the barrel much slower than a 180 grainer of the same design. If the shot is taken at close range, the 250-grain Partition bullet will still expand and provide maximum penetration, and in some cases even more penetration than a faster .338. But if you plan to shoot much farther, then use a lighter bullet such as a 160 to 180-grain Partition. The lighter bullet travels faster, and still expand out to 300 yards or more.

    That's the principle used in the design of the .338 Sabi. This cartridge is just the African version of the .338-06. The idea is to use relatively heavy and slow moving bullets to achieve full penetration and a greater punch on the soft-skinned African game.

    The .338 Federal is more of a deer to elk cartridge, so bullet weights up to 210 grains should work very well. If you want to shoot the biggest game around, then use the heavier bullets and shoot as close as possible.

    Those who use the .308 to shoot and hunt already understand the benefit of a .338 Federal. It's like shooting a .308, except that the larger frontal area of .338-caliber bullets punch a wider hole through the same game they always hunt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    As Paul said, it is a far cry from the 338 Win Mag in power. It is useful and a fun gun to hunt with but I think it is at it's best in the deer woods and river bottoms and not stretched beyond the big black bear category. I'd rather carry a bear gun when hunting grizzly or bigger and a 338 mag is that.
    Recoil, well, I guess it wins on that point it is easy on the shoulder.
    I agree, the .338 fed is a good black bear and elk at close range and woods rifle and will kill a grizzly for sure with a good hit......I just wouldnt feel anywhere near as comfy with it in coastal brown areas as I would with a .338 win mag with 250-275 grainers.

    Get an AR 10 chambered in .338 fed with a 20 rd. mag and I might reconsider.

    jedi

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    Using calibers such as the 338-06, 35 Whelen, 9.3x62, 348 WCF, 38-55, 40-70 Sharps, 50 caliber flintlock, Puma boar spear, David's sling shot.........just a few of the options in descending chronological order
    .

    You just made me shoot a piece of pie out my nose...

    I second the 338-06, 35 whelen and 9.3x62. for power with manageable recoil.
    If you tried the 350 Rem Mag in a light rifle you would be back to the recoil problem again. It has about the same zap as a 35 Whelen (up to 225 grain slugs ) but the 350 Rem Mag seems to have a faster recoil impulse in light rifles.
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    Thanks to all for their input. Very informative. And Murphy as a point of fact I have used many of the weapons you describe in chronalogical desent of coure. Only my 50 cal. was pecsion cap not flintlock, I don't think I would have gone after boar with my spear, and I think my sling shot was a diferent design than Davids. I don't think Goodyear was around in his day.

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    Member Matt's Avatar
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    I think the 338 Federal compares more to the 308 Win. than the 338 Win. Mag.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cajun53 View Post
    I'm curious how would the 338 Fed. compare to the 338 WM as a big bear gun. And also how do they compare as to recoil. and would the Fed be sufficiant for griz or Br. bear.

    Reply:

    As mentioned from other member responses, look at the the "parent - case" cartridge when comparing calibers for ballistical performance and size. The .338WM is cartridge based on the .458WM case, while the .338 Federal is derived from the .308 Winchester. Case capacity of the .338WM is somewhere in the "neighborhood" of 87 grains vs. 56 grains (usable) on the .338 Federal.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Another point regarding handloading, you can download the 338 win mag to 338 fed velocities as well as recoil levels. Then you also have the option of full patch 338 win mag loads, which the 338 fed doesn't have.

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