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Thread: 338 Federal

  1. #1
    Member Kort's Avatar
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    Question 338 Federal

    I know itís new, and with all the new calibers there is always a lot of hype and many folks claim that it's just a fad, but I am interested in some opinions on this caliber. I watched a show last night on it, and of course they spoke very highly of it and it's capabilities. Made me want to go right out and buy a new barrel in the 338 Federal for my TC. Before I do though I wanted to get some much more educated thoughts than I am capable of coming up with from others. Thanks for the help on this one.

  2. #2
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    Default 338 federal

    Personally the 358 winchester is a better round so I don't know why federal just didn't load it and let some big time gun writers hype it about how efficient it is blah blah blah so we'd have a good non-magnum thumper, but that makes to much sense plus then federal couldn't stamp their name on it so we get yet another choice. I'm sure it will kill whatever you shoot with it if you do your part, it should be a good choice if your looking for something thats not a magnum but can still handle 200-210 grain bullets out to 200-300 yds.

  3. #3

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    I've been shooting a 358 for over 30 years and currently own three of them. Why? Cuzz there hasn't been a 338 Federal till now. If it had been around rather than the 358, I'd probably own three of them instead. In my mind they're so close to be interchangable for hunting. Close your eyes, and you wouldn't know which one you were shooting, whether we're talking about range, recoil or effect on game.

    I'm pleased that Federal is trying this round. Maybe it will catch on and take off, while the 358 never has. Either round is ideal for lots of uses in Alaska and elsewhere, but if the 338 follows the pattern of the 358, it's not really going to catch on. Ammo is going to be hard to find and gun selection is going to be small.

    I'm not sure I'll pick one up or not. It depends a whole lot on the rifles it is offered in. If I'm not happy with the rifles, I'm most likely to have something rebarreled. But with 358's in the house that may take a while, just cuzz I'm kinda overloaded in that general capability anyway.

    At kind of the same ranges you would use a 308 or 30-06 with heavy bullets, I think you'll be really impressed with the Fed 338 on game. No, ballistics aren't going to appeal to the mag freaks. But it's going to do good things on game, probably in rifles that are smaller, lighter, and easier to carry and use. The short case and neck are going to hurt you as far as powder capacity goes when you try the Barnes all-copper bullets rather than shorter, denser lead core bullets, so the crowd that loves the various x bullets isn't going to like it either.

    But it's going to keep on doing a good job on game. The ideal rifle for it in my book would be a Savage 99, but to get one I'm going to have to rebarrel.

  4. #4
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Other problems with the .338

    There was a good show on it the other night. The big problem is that reloaders will not be able to match factory ballistics. The new round is loaded with a "secret" powder that was supposedly developed for the round henceforth getting more velocity and less pressure.

    I agree with the comments on the .358. It is another sleeper if used at reasonable ranges will get the job done.

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  5. #5
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    The .338-08 (now .338 Federal) has been around for a long time. It's a .308 case necked UP to accept .338-caliber bullets. Its ballistics are so similar to the .358's that there are hardly any reasons to argue about which one is better than the other. It's true that Federal and Hornady have powder blends and reloading equipment the average reloader may not have, but there are several reloaders floating around other forums who are claiming that they can, with their reloads, attain the same velocities.

    The .338 Federal has a few things going for it:

    -Similar performance as the .358
    -was created by Federal, which is an outstanding ammo producer, and other gun manufacturers are producing it
    -Federal has several factory loadings for it, and other brands will follow
    -It shoots like a body-builder .308 with bullets from 160 grains to 210
    -Shoots like a .358 with heavier than 210-grain bullets
    -A large selection of bullet types and weights for it
    -Lots of head-stamped brass for it, and plenty cheap .308 brass for it

    Reloading the .338 Federal:
    http://www.gunsandammomag.com/reloads/0702/

  6. #6
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    Default 338-08 was always a winner....

    I had my first rifle made for it about 1990 and I wasn't the first. I did way back then and have here recently made ammo to equal the published ballistics of the 338 Federal. It is one of those wildcats that seems to add killing power without adding recoil. Heavier slower bullets than the 308 seem to equal the energy and recoil of the parent round but add a decisive punch.

    Animals do show signs of a good hit sooner than with a 30 caliber this also true of the fine old 358 Winny. No, I don't suppose one is better than the other, each with a slight advantage in some respect. The are both winners. I would think if this 338 Federal gets off the ground it will be more popular than the 358 and will have more ammo and brass. Even without that support, it is a handloaders dream. I would order dies for it with a tapered expander whether Redding or RCBS, (they both offer tapered expanders) or just buy that extra for about $7. This will make necking up simple. Lots of brass brands and quality and no shortage of bullets. It does seem to do it's best work with the 180-210 grain bullets. But I do have a stash of 225 grain Sierra flat base spitzers and they can be pushed out quite nicely. I don't know about the secret powder, I've seen that in print about a dozen calibers and when I obtain factory ammo, disassembly shows what appears to be a familiar powder. And I can usually duplicate factory ammo by using the same quantity of my "guess" powder. So I am sceptical about such secret powder claims.

    I believe Corjac has one of the new Sako M85's in 338 Federal and has taken about a dozen deer with it with very good results. I will say it is a much more practical all-around caliber than the 308, especially where moose are hunted and big brown fuzzys roam.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  7. #7
    Member Eastwoods's Avatar
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    [quote=Murphy] ...I do have a stash of 225 grain Sierra flat base spitzers and they can be pushed out quite nicely.


    Murphy, I'm interested in these bullets and could'nt find them listed at Sierras website, a prohunter I assume. Do you think they discontinued them? Any help is greatly appreciated.

  8. #8
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    [QUOTE=Eastwoods;179988]
    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy
    ...I do have a stash of 225 grain Sierra flat base spitzers and they can be pushed out quite nicely.


    Murphy, I'm interested in these bullets and could'nt find them listed at Sierras website, a prohunter I assume. Do you think they discontinued them? Any help is greatly appreciated.

    I got mine at Graf & son, Mexico Missouri the bullets were a special run from Sierra bullets in Sedalia, Missouri, just down the road.
    Graf is 1-800-531-2666 ask them if they have more. They are bulk, no boxes but a very good price. They are great in the 338-06 and about the heaviest weight for the 338 Federal.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  9. #9
    Member Eastwoods's Avatar
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    Thanks Murphy.

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    Murphy, I have 2 bags of 100 of the 225gr. sierra flat base spitzers on the way. I was hoping you would share your loading data for the 338 Federal with these bullets. Have you tried the 225 grain Kodiak spitzers? What is your opinion on the differences between these two? I would think that the Kodiak is a tougher bullet but, a sierra tech told me the 225 gr. FB is a "real tough bullet". He also told me the 225 gr. flatbase was loaded by federal in the 338WM, and his opinion was that performance would be no good at 338 federal velocities. I did'nt even bother to ask him anything further, such as performance on what type of animal etc.

    I looked at sierras website hoping to find it in the ballistics charts to see what the B.C. is, but it was not there. I wonder if they stopped loading it.

  11. #11

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    I have used the 358 on seveal deer. the 250 Gr Speer knocks them down right now, no blood shot meat. Punches a 50 cent size hole in the offside rib cage. No bullets reovered, all less than 100 yds range.

    Ditto with the 225 gr horn, 'cept I got one bullet back from quartering shot at about 125 yds.

    I would expect the 338 to provide similiar performance. Hope that helps. Buy it!

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    Ditto what RayfromAk had to say! Sako/Tikka, Kimber, and Ruger now currently producing firearms in this round. I would suggest you consider reloading if you are not already, as there is some difficulty in obtaining ammo, depending on your location.
    Personally, I don't give a darn if the 338 Fed. becomes popular or not. I have mine, and reloading equipment. In 40+ years of hunting/shooting, couldn't be more content with what a round can do. A more versitile caliber and case combination would be hard to come by, IMO (with the exception of the 358 win.). Try it, and I'd bet you'll be hooked.

  13. #13

    Default 338 Federal

    If anyone is interested, May-June issue #33 of Rifle magazine, 1974 has an excellent article on an early .338-08, loads and the reason for building it.

    dino

  14. #14

    Thumbs up Elmers happy!

    I was just notified by gunbroker.com that I am the winning bidder on a NIB Kimber 84m (NRA model) in 338 federal. Winning bid was $749.00.

    Somewhere in my bullet cupboard are 5 boxes of Hornady 200 grain softpoints in 338. They had to much of an explosive effect when shot out of a buddies 340 wizzby. So now they're mine. They might be just the checker for the new Kimber.

    I'm thinkin Elmer Keith is giving the boys at Federal a thumbs up!

  15. #15
    Member RMiller's Avatar
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    Default

    I love gunbroker.

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