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Thread: .325 WSM again ...

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    Default .325 WSM again ...

    Hi all,

    After Murphy made a remark that the 325WSM would likely gain in popularity, I've been reading up on it lately ...

    In a nutshell (and to quote someone else who I can't remember), the 325WSM "shoots flatter than a .338 WM but has more punch than a .300 WM".

    Whenever I see a new round, I always like to ask why the average consumer would think it differentiates from those cartridges already available ...the banker's question ...why will it sell (or not)? The reason I ask that is because if I invest in a new gun, I don't want it fading into history after all the initial hullabaloo is overwith. I still remember the 16-gauge in my dad's closet that he always swore was the best thing since butter on bread...

    So why would the average Joe, educated by gun magazine propaganda, feel the .325 WSM ought to be his/her next go-to gun? I'm curious ...what makes it stand out to the general public (which has far less knowledge than someone like Murphy and the other experts here)?

    Thanks, no flames please.

    Brian

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    The reason that I got the .325 wasn't so much the cartridge as it was the rifle. I got the kimber montana and its light weight, excellent trigger, and accuracy is what sold me. Ballistics wise the 325 sits right square in the middle between the 300 and 338. I seriously doubt that any animal could tell the difference between any of the three. That caliber teamed up with the kimber make it an excellent big game rifle.

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    I still think they made a serious mistake by not making it a .338 WSM. If nothing else just for the wider selctions of bullets readily available. When they created the .270 and .300 WSM's they stayed with the bullet diameter that was most common. They should of followed this lead.
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    As a boy I grew up reading Field & Stream then gravitated to Outdoor Life, Sports Afield, Guns & Ammo, and many other hunting/shooting/outdoor magazines in-between. In more recent years I read and reread the magazines called Rifle. The articles may be mostly sales pitches by the authors to sell more rifles and promote the latest cartridge designs for the big firearms and ammunition manufacturers. I guess that is the writer's job, wish some of those companies would send me rifles and ammo to field test and hunt with here in Alaska. Anyway back to my opinion; we live in a society where capitalism and consumerism are promoted and encouraged throughout every generation, no different in the firearms realm. "The rich get richer and us common folk buy more rifles and ammunition", at least I do.
    Recently I gave up the magazines and replaced my reading with the internet. Let me tell you about that transition; In 1994 I worked up the courage to teach myself how to use a computer and was introduced to the internet which in my opinion is a great learning tool, as long as you are able to "glean the wheat from the chaff" so to speak. Since that time I have read a lot of different opinions regarding rifles and cartridges and with the 325 WSM since it was introduced most of what I read seemed pretty positive. I believe public opinion plays a role in how we form our own opinions about cartridges and rifles. Some of the more fortunate establish their opinions from actual field experience. Public opinion I believe can make or break a cartridge. If consumers are not buying the rifles and ammo and using them in the field and on the range then what is the use in continuing to manufacture them, no profit in that. I quess in a consumer based/market driven economy most folks want to see where the trend in new cartridges will go, I know I do. I think it all comes down to whether or not the local gun shop will be carrying my/your caliber of ammunition on their shelves in the future and for how long.
    I guess when we become old timers telling hunting stories that have been told so many times that they don't even resemble the original hunt anylonger, we will probably know the destiny of the cartridge and hopefully continue to read about it in the latest edition of Cartridges of the World, preferably not in the section on obsolete cartridges.
    Back to my personal reason for going with the 325 WSM; Having owned a 8mm Remington and hunted with it for a few years, I naturally decided to look into the 325 WSM which is a .323" (8mm), been a fan of the 8mm for years. This past year I had a 325 WSM built for my son in law and the second 325 WSM is being completed in the next couple of weeks for my son. I am hoping that the two of them will let me shoot their rifles once in a while. Before I followed through on the rifle projects I took into consideration their shooting experience (comfort level with various calibers), stature (height and weight) and combined with my research on this particular caliber I figured that the 325 WSM would probably be the largest caliber they would be comfortable shooting, at least for now. Maybe later in life when they put more meat on their bones they may gravitate toward my 340, 358s, or even my 375s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tananaBrian View Post
    In a nutshell (and to quote someone else who I can't remember), the 325WSM "shoots flatter than a .338 WM but has more punch than a .300 WM".

    See if the 325 WSM can shoot a 225-grain bullet or, even better, a 250-grain bullet as flat as the standard 338 Winnie. Ain't gonna happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowwolfe View Post
    I still think they made a serious mistake by not making it a .338 WSM. If nothing else just for the wider selctions of bullets readily available. When they created the .270 and .300 WSM's they stayed with the bullet diameter that was most common. They should of followed this lead.
    I believe that was tried. For reasons that others smarter than me can answer, the result was that the neck of the cartridge is as big as it can be at .325. The article that I read said that the highly touted efficiency of the shorter/wider case drops off rapidly below about .26 or above .31. That's why the 25 WSSM was done differently and why there is no such thing as a .338 or .35 WSM. Apparently it'll take a redesign of the WSM style case to do so. Again ...this is coming from an article that I read, so I'm kinda hoping those more knowledgeable than I can chime in an educate me...

    Brian

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    Isn't one of the main reasons for the shortmag cartridges was that they could be shot in a shorter length actions than the 06 and up group of rounds? Henceforth lighter rifles and a quicker reloading time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt View Post
    See if the 325 WSM can shoot a 225-grain bullet or, even better, a 250-grain bullet as flat as the standard 338 Winnie. Ain't gonna happen.
    Good point. Personally, I favor caliber over velocity, but that's just me. Based on what I've read (not having big game experience larger than deer under my belt ...yet), larger calibers knock an animal (or person) down more effectively than faster/narrower rounds. People keep going back and forth on the topic, but the answer generally always favors the larger calibers. Short of going all the way to the long, skinny, overly expensive to shoot .375 H&H, I wonder if there's a .35ish caliber cartridge out there with my name on it? I need to do more reading...

    Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by tananaBrian View Post
    I believe that was tried. For reasons that others smarter than me can answer, the result was that the neck of the cartridge is as big as it can be at .325. The article that I read said that the highly touted efficiency of the shorter/wider case drops off rapidly below about .26 or above .31. That's why the 25 WSSM was done differently and why there is no such thing as a .338 or .35 WSM. Apparently it'll take a redesign of the WSM style case to do so. Again ...this is coming from an article that I read, so I'm kinda hoping those more knowledgeable than I can chime in an educate me...

    Brian
    I know you asked everyone but Murphy to respond to your post but I've got to ask; Where on earth did you get that idea? I don't even think Barsness would say that he he obviously is not a fan of the WSM's.

    The 338 through 458 (on the WSM case) all deliver more energy to the target than does the 325 WSM. I think they tried the 325 hoping for it being so different as to draw attention, knowing they probably couldn't unseat the 338 Mag and such a limited market for anything bigger. It was simply marketing. There are a lot of people making very successful wildcats on the WSM case and they are quite useful. The 35 WSM is everything the 350 Mag and the 35 Whelen couldn't be and more. Better ballistics, short compact package and no troublesome belt. It is also one of the best designed cartridge cases of the last century. It is very strong and easily necked up or down. It exceeds the capacity of the 30-06 and more efficiently approaches the belted mags performance. I have developed over 200 different loads for six different calibers on that case. I'm pretty sure it is a sound ballistic platform and many calibers with merit were never introduced. I don't think it posses any inherent accuracy above the 308 or 30-06 but is capable and efficient.

    If you statement reflects the thinking of Winchester about this cartridge, that would help explain their recent demise.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    Isn't one of the main reasons for the shortmag cartridges was that they could be shot in a shorter length actions than the 06 and up group of rounds? Henceforth lighter rifles and a quicker reloading time.
    Yes. That was the original advertising claim and it is true, though of limited benefit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    I know you asked everyone but Murphy to respond to your post but I've got to ask; Where on earth did you get that idea? I don't even think Barsness would say that he he obviously is not a fan of the WSM's.

    The 338 through 458 (on the WSM case) all deliver more energy to the target than does the 325 WSM. I think they tried the 325 hoping for it being so different as to draw attention, knowing they probably couldn't unseat the 338 Mag and such a limited market for anything bigger. It was simply marketing. There are a lot of people making very successful wildcats on the WSM case and they are quite useful. The 35 WSM is everything the 350 Mag and the 35 Whelen couldn't be and more. Better ballistics, short compact package and no troublesome belt. It is also one of the best designed cartridge cases of the last century. It is very strong and easily necked up or down. It exceeds the capacity of the 30-06 and more efficiently approaches the belted mags performance. I have developed over 200 different loads for six different calibers on that case. I'm pretty sure it is a sound ballistic platform and many calibers with merit were never introduced. I don't think it posses any inherent accuracy above the 308 or 30-06 but is capable and efficient.

    If you statement reflects the thinking of Winchester about this cartridge, that would help explain their recent demise.
    Murph ...please re-read my post. I did not "ask everyone but Murphy", and I directly attributed my interest in this cartridge to your qualified opinion. Nothing in my appeal implied in any way that you should not respond, and I was hoping that you would. I asked my question to the crowd in general because ...well, this is a post to a forum, not an email. Isn't that what I'm supposed to do? If not, then someone (including Murphy) please explain the rules to me 'cuz I can't figure out where I went wrong.


    In answer to your "Where on earth" question, I got what I quoted from here: http://www.chuckhawks.com/325wsm.htm I mentioned it to inspire conversation and to hopefully learn something along the way.

    Here's what Chuck said, noting of course that it's his opinion so you might want to direct your questions to him if you have any. I'm kinda getting tired of being criticized for asking honest questions. I was asking for all opinions here, hoping for technical content, and I have no reason to doubt either you or Chuck on shooting related topics ... nor anybody else here. Maybe I'll quit reading these shooting forums and learn the things that I need to learn elsewhere.

    "It is becoming apparent that, for technical reasons (i.e. case shape), the much-ballyhooed Winchester Short Magnum is a rather limited design. Winchester tried, and failed, to neck it down to make a viable .25 caliber magnum (thus the introduction of the .25 WSSM instead of a .25 WSM), and failed again when they tried to neck it up to .33, the smallest of the medium bore calibers. Winchester technicians have admitted that the WSM case was optimized for .30 caliber bullets, and that its efficiency falls off rapidly as the caliber is decreased or increased. Evidently the utility of the WSM case lies between .27 caliber and .31 caliber, period. That said, the .325 WSM is a satisfactory cartridge for hunting non-dangerous CXP2 and CXP3 class game, animals from the size of deer and antelope to elk and moose, as long as the shooter can tolerate the substantial recoil."

    And yes, I noted the "Winchester" word above and read your opinion on the matter. I have no personal knowledge of what went on with Winchester. Is Winchester of low opinion on the 325 Winchester short magnum? Please explain...


    Thanks in advance,
    Brian



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    I'm with Bear78 on this. I've been looking into the Browning BLRs, since they came(are comming?) out with a takedown model. I'm torn between .30-06 and .325 WSM. I really like the idea of a take down lever action in something like .325WSM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tananaBrian View Post
    Murph ..in answer to your "Where on earth" question, I got what I quoted from here: http://www.chuckhawks.com/325wsm.htm I mentioned it to inspire conversation and to hopefully learn something along the way.

    Here's what Chuck said, noting of course that it's his opinion so you might want to direct your questions to him if you have any. I'm kinda getting tired of being criticized for asking honest questions. I was asking for all opinions here, hoping for technical content, and I have no reason to doubt either you or Chuck on shooting related topics ... nor anybody else here. Maybe I'll quit reading these shooting forums and learn the things that I need to learn elsewhere.

    "It is becoming apparent that, for technical reasons (i.e. case shape), the much-ballyhooed Winchester Short Magnum is a rather limited design. Winchester tried, and failed, to neck it down to make a viable .25 caliber magnum (thus the introduction of the .25 WSSM instead of a .25 WSM), and failed again when they tried to neck it up to .33, the smallest of the medium bore calibers. Winchester technicians have admitted that the WSM case was optimized for .30 caliber bullets, and that its efficiency falls off rapidly as the caliber is decreased or increased. Evidently the utility of the WSM case lies between .27 caliber and .31 caliber, period. That said, the .325 WSM is a satisfactory cartridge for hunting non-dangerous CXP2 and CXP3 class game, animals from the size of deer and antelope to elk and moose, as long as the shooter can tolerate the substantial recoil."

    And yes, I noted the "Winchester" word above and read your opinion on the matter. I have no personal knowledge of what went on with Winchester. Is Winchester of low opinion on the 325 Winchester short magnum? Please explain...


    Thanks in advance,
    Brian


    Ok, Brian, maybe I was a little hard on ya. I did miss read that first post. I was feeling a little left out. I took that as you wanted to hear from someone who was less of a know it all than myself and perhaps less opiniated. I'm glad to be included. I have shot stuff with the 325 WSM.

    The Quote form Chuck Hawks isn't what I thought you said but I see how it turned. He used the phrase; It is becoming apparent that, for technical reasons (i.e. case shape), the much-ballyhooed Winchester Short Magnum is a rather limited design. This seems to indicate he doesn't care for the balleyhood rounds anyway. Then further; its efficiency falls off rapidly as the caliber is decreased or increased. He either has no knowledge of ballistics or is just sputtering, I'll assume the latter. Does his statement make any sense to you? I wonder what is so wonderful or magical about the case shape of the 350 mag.

    Efficiency is muzzle energy per grain of powder, it goes up and down with bore size, obviously reaching a limit, but that isn't reached until about 40 caliber for this powder volume. The 6.5 and 25 caliber WSM are very ineffecient, that's true, but not so with the larger bore.

    All this from someone who thinks the 350 Remington mag is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it died in it's infancy. The same length, greater capacity, beltess 35 WSM is how did he put it ...not utilitarian or efficient but the 350 mag is. Hmmmm. OK Chuck Hawks.

    Think what you will and follow whom you want, don't matter to me. If Chuck's opinion is worth more to you, you don't need anyone here.

    I think sometimes that some of the writers who are paid to spout forth opinion are afraid to endorse the WSM any more, (they did at first) because of the law suit. Well, I'm not paid for any of my opinion on guns and cartridges and I get all my experience with the actual caliber and rifle, not from magazine articles or the internet. I have actually designed, developed load data and shot all these calibers Mr. Hawks doesn't endorse, I wonder if he has.

    Let me say this, Brian, if you want my opinion. The 325 WSM, as an example, is what it is. Less powerful than the 338 Win mag, but less recoil. More powerful than the '06 class of cartridges with about the same field performance of the 300 mags. That is good company. I won't tell you that is it more accurate or flatter shooting or that it hits any harder than anything we already had. But I can say, of that caliber, that it is one of the very best compromise packages we've ever seen come to us in the form of a new rifle caliber. In a light weight accurate rifle, I believe a guy can make it do all he is capable of doing with a rifle. Consider it's main rival the vaunted 30-06, the 325 is just as flat, about equal in recoil and will handle heavier bullets. I would not pick the 300 WSM over the '06 because it offers so little advantage in ballistics. But the 325 has an edge with the bullet weights. Granted it's 8mm and those bullets aren't as plentiful, but if you'll notice makers are gearing up to make all their new super bullets in the .323". That's a good sign.

    I don't want you to turn to Chuck Hawks for all your advise on guns and loads, someone here will have all the sage you need, but I'll leave you alone. Have a good evening.
    Last edited by Murphy; 09-12-2007 at 01:14.
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    Ok, thanks for the better-explained response. I do appreciate that.

    What lawsuit? Since it may bias what some people are writing, I'd like to hear more about that.

    As far as Chuck Hawks goes, I do believe that he has a number of good articles, although I have noticed a few statements that don't seem to make sense. Like the "substantial recoil" remark in his discussion of .325 WSM? I can't see how it would be different or worse than the .300 WM and certainly it's better than the .338 WM ...just my gut feel and best guess of course. I've only been shooting a .30-06 for the last 10 to 15 years and am just now branching out a bit. Too many other interests and things going on for me to turn shooting into a high-focus hobby for me. That will of course result in questions and statements made out of ignorance on my part. That's why I said "no flames please" in my original post ...just in case something I said didn't make complete sense.

    If someone were to ask me to guess how to make a short fat case efficient at different bore sizes, I'd say to keep the relative dimensions the same ...scaled up or down in a similar amount as the bore. I'd guess that there'd be some additional fine tuning necessary if the power(grains powder) to bullet weight changed along the way. As far as I know, the reason the short fat cases are more efficient is because the burn propagates through the powder charge more evenly as compared to long skinny cases. I believe that a slight taper to the case is good as well, e.g. the .308. Past that, I can't say.

    Why do you think that Chuck said the shape of the WSM case is not conducent to resizing to larger or smaller bores ...or was he saying that you CAN resize them to wider range of sizes, but the efficiency goes down, e.g. the muzzle energy to powder charge ratio that you mentioned? I'd like to understand this.

    As far as 'following' someone goes, don't take it personally but I worship and follow no one. I try to be open in my listening, and I give facts and objective reasoning an 80% weighting ...the other 20% I'll give ya for intuition based on experience, e.g. the gut feel of someone with experience in something should not be ignored ...but I feel better if it can be backed up with technical details now and then.

    Brian

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    I've been following the 325 pretty closely- not because it is "better" than anything in a belted case, but because in a small package it offers the potential for improved performance in the small, quick rifles I prefer to carry. It definitely packs more wollop that rounds based on the 308 and 30-06 cases, but could chambered into the same style of light, handy rifles. I've got the 338 Win mag and others, but the rifles simply aren't as handy as what I prefer for a "carry" rifle. Remember that my my current carry rifle is a Savage 99 in 358 Win.

    The BLR in 325 certainly is more potent than the 358, yet potentially as easy to carry and shoot. A light bolt with receiver sights in 325 would carry about as well.

    As for the hole in the barrel, that's another decision. I might or might not stick with the 325. Grabbing a rifle off the shelf, I'd be pleased with the 325 BLR I think. But if I was building a rifle, I'd probably go pretty fast to the 35 cal version simply because I'm a 35 cal nut. A 35 WSM is compeating with my ambition for the 35 based on the 375 Ruger Murph and Nukalpiaq have brainstormed, but I'd be more likely to put their round in a heavier scoped rifle. The only reason for me not to own both is a reflection of my budget rather than the merits of either rifle or caliber.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    I've been following the 325 pretty closely- not because it is "better" than anything in a belted case, but because in a small package it offers the potential for improved performance in the small, quick rifles I prefer to carry. It definitely packs more wollop that rounds based on the 308 and 30-06 cases, but could chambered into the same style of light, handy rifles. I've got the 338 Win mag and others, but the rifles simply aren't as handy as what I prefer for a "carry" rifle. Remember that my my current carry rifle is a Savage 99 in 358 Win.

    The BLR in 325 certainly is more potent than the 358, yet potentially as easy to carry and shoot. A light bolt with receiver sights in 325 would carry about as well.

    As for the hole in the barrel, that's another decision. I might or might not stick with the 325. Grabbing a rifle off the shelf, I'd be pleased with the 325 BLR I think. But if I was building a rifle, I'd probably go pretty fast to the 35 cal version simply because I'm a 35 cal nut. A 35 WSM is compeating with my ambition for the 35 based on the 375 Ruger Murph and Nukalpiaq have brainstormed, but I'd be more likely to put their round in a heavier scoped rifle. The only reason for me not to own both is a reflection of my budget rather than the merits of either rifle or caliber.
    Now you're giving me more to think about. Is there any software or anything that lets you quickly compare external ballistics, including the ability to enter custom rounds, something that has tables of information that can be sorted and has charting/plotting of trajectories etcetera? I have a tough time keeping it all straight ...comes with time and reading (and shooting ...if possible) I suppose.

    Brian

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    I just picked up a Browning A-bolt II in 325 with a 23" barrel. I havn't had the opportunity to punch paper with it but will in the next day or two. I have read the factory specs on many rounds in my quest for an all around rifle. I have and truly like my 7 Mag however I would like more power and a lighter rifle. I didn't want to sacrifice to much in the trajectory catagory to earn that. The 338 is heavy kicks like heck and has a long action. The 325 has a very short action I can cycle a round without losing my cheak weld. I will report on the kick and field accuracy soon. Just looking at the trajectory specs I hope to get from 200 grain rounds what I got from 165gr in my 7mm. I am sighting in with the accubonds but not sure if they are a good round for game (sheep). I cant wait to see what the other manufacturers do with this cartridge I am looking forward to getting some barnes TSX in my 325.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    I just picked up a Browning A-bolt II in 325 with a 23" barrel. I havn't had the opportunity to punch paper with it but will in the next day or two. I have read the factory specs on many rounds in my quest for an all around rifle. I have and truly like my 7 Mag however I would like more power and a lighter rifle. I didn't want to sacrifice to much in the trajectory catagory to earn that. The 338 is heavy kicks like heck and has a long action. The 325 has a very short action I can cycle a round without losing my cheak weld. I will report on the kick and field accuracy soon. Just looking at the trajectory specs I hope to get from 200 grain rounds what I got from 165gr in my 7mm. I am sighting in with the accubonds but not sure if they are a good round for game (sheep). I cant wait to see what the other manufacturers do with this cartridge I am looking forward to getting some barnes TSX in my 325.
    ...Keep us updated!

    Brian

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    I've had the 338WM Montana. Wouldn't recommend it, as I feel it's very long & thick in the for-end region compared with the WSM versions.

    I also feel felt recoil(225gn) was a bit stiff & would give a wooden Indian a flinch .

    I have also had the 84M Montana. I found that sweet & fitted me well, but IMO the WSM versions just are that much more of a good thing(balance). I guess it's all about what floats your boat.

    Always wanted a 325WSM/Montana setup, & if I could go back it would be the way I would of gone .
    But saying that I wouldn't mind getting into a 7mmWSM. As of late, I have found myself gravitating towards the .277 & .284 bores.



    PS-The new 338Fed/Montana sure would be a very handy "Take my rifle for a walk" rig hey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 340Wby View Post
    I've had the 338WM Montana. Wouldn't recommend it, as I feel it's very long & thick in the for-end region compared with the WSM versions.

    I also feel felt recoil(225gn) was a bit stiff & would give a wooden Indian a flinch .

    I have also had the 84M Montana. I found that sweet & fitted me well, but IMO the WSM versions just are that much more of a good thing(balance). I guess it's all about what floats your boat.

    Always wanted a 325WSM/Montana setup, & if I could go back it would be the way I would of gone .
    But saying that I wouldn't mind getting into a 7mmWSM. As of late, I have found myself gravitating towards the .277 & .284 bores.



    PS-The new 338Fed/Montana sure would be a very handy "Take my rifle for a walk" rig hey.

    My sentiments exactly. I did not get to shoot the only 338 WM Montana I had in my hands, just loaded the ammo and sent it on it's way, but I would say it would be punchy and it's length didn't help the balance. The WSM's are a very nice package. I especially like the 325. It seems to have something nothing else has. Enough versatility to be useful. It is shootable and still light weight enough to carry and balanced well. It has a little extra punch with heavier bullets (200 grains at 2800fps) than some 30 calibers and is just a neat set up. The rifle is not bad at all. I'd have to be very critical to find anything serious to gripe about. They are mass produced with the lates manufacturing technique (low cost manufacturing) as are all the competition by still a good buy for a good rifle. The Speer reloading manual #14 has 325 WSM data for their bullets. We coincidentally found the same load with RL-19 Powder and 200 grain bullets.

    The 338 Fed or the 358 Win would be a nice walkabout rifle.
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