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Thread: 338 win mag for Caribou

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    Member ak_cowboy's Avatar
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    Default 338 win mag for Caribou

    Has anyone else harvested their caribou with a 338? I have caught two in the last three years, both with a 168gr Barnes TTSX.
    The first one was a 3 year old bull at 110 yards. High shoulder broadside with the bullet recovered in the offside shoulder. Hit the ground and didn't twitch
    Second one was a yearling cow at 240 yards, a little high spined her and she dropped in the same spot.

    Suffice it to say, I'll be using the exact same load on the next hunt

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    My hunting partner uses the .338WM for caribou- and everything else... he's taken 7 or 8 over the last few years with the 180gr. Accubond... from 80 to 300 yards.

    He's always gotten exit wounds, including from some pretty strong quartering shots.
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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_cowboy View Post
    Has anyone else harvested their caribou with a 338?
    I've used the 338-06 / 210 TSX for caribou. It's overkill.
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    Member ak_cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    I've used the 338-06 / 210 TSX for caribou. It's overkill.
    In what way? Did you have a lot of wasted meat, did the animal die too fast?

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_cowboy View Post
    In what way? Did you have a lot of wasted meat, did the animal die too fast?
    Personally, I don't use my 338wm for caribou because the gun is far heavier than my 30-06, the rounds are more expensive, it's less pleasant to shoot, and my 30-06 kills 'em just as dead. I may actually downsize my go-to gun and get a 7mm-08 at some point. My wife has four one-shot kills with hers so far, and that thing is a dream to carry and shoot. Inexpensive to shoot as well.

    I thought I would get a lot of use out of my 338 when I bought it, but it has become a safe queen. I can't see pulling it out again unless I decide to pursue coastal browns, and even then I might still stick with my '06.

    Just my personal preference...

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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    I've used the 338-06 / 210 TSX for caribou. It's overkill.
    My old man took a shot at a bou with one pushing 225 grains once, he hit too far forward. The devastation on the far side quarter rendered just about the whole thing but the hock area useless from bone fragments/bloodshot. I remember him saying he'd never do that again, and he held true as he sold that gun not long after. We both hated shooting it, paddle stock M77, hurt like a son of a gun. I've dropped many a bou with a .243 pushing 90 grains. Never had one get away......
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    I own a .338. It sits in my gun cabinet and collects dust. It's not nearly as flat as my 7mm and I've yet to be in a situation where I felt I needed more than the 7mm. I watched one of the quickest kills I've ever seen on an animal in a long time the other day. 300 yard shot with a .257 wby on a caribou. It laid down in it's tracks and didn't twitch. .338 is too much.

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    Member ArcticNorseman's Avatar
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    I used my .338 WM on my caribou this year, and it worked great. Had a quartering-to frontal shot and the bullet went in the front-left and I recovered the slug inside the hide of the right-hind quarter. Very little meat damage, and at 50 yrds, it was an easy shot with the 'bou dropping instantly.

    Would have preferred to use my .25-06, but given possibility of running into a grizz, I opted to go heavier. I used a 210 gr Swift Scirroco loaded to about 2,800 fps . . . at the range that .338 kicks a bit. During the hunt, I frankly didn't notice any recoil.

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    Used my .338 to harvest moose, wolf, and caribou. I used to used a .30-06, but the .338 just fits me really well, and shoots well. I don't mind the weight, the farthest we have ever shot one from the airstrip was 2 miles (and thankful that was a caribou and not moose).

    We see quite a few bears on our hunts, the closest came roaring by camp about 40 yards out 3 years ago, the .338 is just a little insurance. To each his/her own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mdhunter View Post
    Used my .338 to harvest moose, wolf, and caribou. I used to used a .30-06, but the .338 just fits me really well, and shoots well. I don't mind the weight, the farthest we have ever shot one from the airstrip was 2 miles (and thankful that was a caribou and not moose).

    We see quite a few bears on our hunts, the closest came roaring by camp about 40 yards out 3 years ago, the .338 is just a little insurance. To each his/her own.
    The caribou is the "*****" of the deer category. Get anything of decent caliber into any caribou in a kill shot area and they are DONE!!! 338 mag. is overkill. If that is your only rifle use it because that rifle will kill anything in Alaska!! Good luck!

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    ya you can almost scare a caribou to death. my 223 was even pretty impressive, so was the 243. my 338 killed them too...
    i find i carry my guns based on comfort and not caliber...
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    I have a m77 and it does kick like mf but only gun I own and prefer insurance. I shoot Barnes tsx I used a tipped one and I will be getting rid of that bullet. Entrance hole was almost as big as my fist and exit well totally destroyed that rib cage. With the non tipped it zips right through a moose with hole the size of my pinky


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    Default 338 win mag for Caribou

    My hunting partner uses his 338 with hand loads I cook up for him (210 grain boat tails). Drops caribou and spike/fork moose really well with minimal meat loss. It's small compared with my 416 but we both like having 2 serious heavy hitter calibers for griz encounters. 338 has a surprising amount of usable range with good boat tail bullets. Also, heavy bullets ignore the breeze so much better, which is a big help for longer shots.

    One shot through the shoulder and lungs. Dropped and didn't get back up.


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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    This thread is brimming with blasphemy and verges on anarchy.

    My 338 WM is the go to of go to's for Alaska game. A Model 77 Hawkeye All weather is heavy enough to mitigate recoil, and will kill quickly and cleanly every large game animal in Alaska. I have plenty of rifles, but have a hard time leaving the 338 at home when I head out. The times I'm carrying my 308 or something smaller, I always feel just a little undergunned for the local potential fauna. Maybe for the same reason alot of guys need F350's with $2k in light bars to haul a dozen 2x4s home from the hardware store.

    I've killed two caribou with my 338 and 225 partitions. Both bou were bang flops with minimal meat loss. The last two moose I killed with it was with the 210 TTSX and it is amazing how quick they expire and meat loss has been near non-existent. ymmv, but everywhere I hunt, I can run into a brown bear at pretty much anytime, and have "had" to shoot one once as well.

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    Member ak_cowboy's Avatar
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    Glad to see I'm not the only one using a big gun. I carry it for the same reason also, never know when a bear or big moose will present itself.

    Don't care about anyone who posted here about different calibers or a 338 being "too big"
    Its not too big for me to handle

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_cowboy View Post
    Don't care about anyone who posted here about different calibers or a 338 being "too big"
    Its not too big for me to handle
    If you don't care, why did you ask? Were you just looking for validation of your choice? Was your original question about determining an appropriate tool for the job, or was it about who can shoot the biggest gun...or? Nobody suggested you shouldn't carry a "big" gun, if it makes you feel better. Just that a 338WM is completely excessive for killing caribou. Moose too, as long as you mentioned it.
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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_cowboy View Post
    I have caught two in the last three years, both with a 168gr Barnes TTSX.
    The first one was a 3 year old bull at 110 yards. High shoulder broadside with the bullet recovered in the offside shoulder. Hit the ground and didn't twitch

    Assuming you are talking about the 160 TTSX? I haven't shot them out of my 338, but seems like you could about make it similar to a 7RM with a 160 at 3000 FPS. Recoil mild and flatter than a tabletop. Hmmm..

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    what does "to big" mean anyway? kill something toooo dead? little guns ruin piles of meat, just like big guns, i think it mostly comes down to shot placement and bullet selection more than caliber. i would say any 223 and up will kill anything alaska has...needing bigger is mostly just comfort or cirucumstantial. kinda like asking all the dead polar bears if they felt they were killed with to small of a gun, as most coastal folks don't carry magnums.
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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    what does "to big" mean anyway? kill something toooo dead?
    My buddy shot a deer on Montague with a 338 and that was 'too big!!' Killed it dead, but ruined meat too. Did NOT see any bears; hence the 338.

    I put my 338 in the safe in '09 and have been happily hunting with a Tikka 30-06. Like someone else said, I'm a fan of the 7mm-08 too. Love my gf's Tikka 7mm-08 and my boy shoots a Ruger American.

  20. #20
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    ...i think it mostly comes down to shot placement and bullet selection more than caliber. i would say any 223 and up will kill anything alaska has...needing bigger is mostly just comfort or cirucumstantial. kinda like asking all the dead polar bears if they felt they were killed with to small of a gun, as most coastal folks don't carry magnums.
    Absolutely agree. A person should carry whatever makes him/her comfortable, that's his prerogative. But if he chooses to carry a larger gun simply because it makes him feel more comfortable, he should just be honest and say so. There's no shame in that. No need to justify it with anecdotes of "bang flops", or implications that those choosing smaller guns are weaker or otherwise inferior. Shoot whatever you want folks, and be honest with yourself about why you choose what you do.

    When I lived near caribou, and hunted them with my .338, it was because that was my only rifle at the time. It was always definitely overkill, and now my choice would be smaller. As far as the possibility of coming across a brown bear goes, I try to be honest and rational with myself about it. I've occasionally seen interior bears at a distance, and I've seen coastal bears as big as a Volkswagon, fairly close, and I know if confronted by either I'm sure as heck not gonna be "comfortable", no matter what I happen to be carrying. I also know the odds of such a confrontation are quite low, so I don't play to those fears and let them influence my choice of suitable weapon.
    ...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
    The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It
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