The 338-06 seems to have an almost mythical following. If it is a superior cartridge, what actually makes it better than an 35 Whelen or even the .358 Winchester? Whilst considering a replacement for my 35 Gibbs I perused reloading manuals for Barnes and Nosler as I think that these are the bullets most suitable for these cartridges and larger game. The ballistics for 225 grain bullets are almost identical , plus or minus 50-70 fps or 0.4 inch difference in bullet drop at 300 yds with a 200 yd zero when using the top load as an example. In reality at the loading bench I would guess the .358 to be marginally behind the .338 in turn marginally behind the .35. The best performing load ( by the numbers) would appear to be the 35 Whelen with 250 grain Barnes x.
I doubt that there is an animal or person in existence that would notice the difference. So what makes the .358 woefully inadequate and the .338-06 perfect for large game and even bears?
Even the little blurb at the start of loading page states that the .338-06 starts 210 grain bullets 100fps slower than the .338 mag. When you check the numbers the loads are 170-300 fps slower.
None of this should bee seen as a criticism of the cartridge, which is, I believe, an excellent one and the one I will likely go with if the new .338rcm turns out to be all hype. Is it more body taper, a better bore/capacity ratio or a sufficiently large shoulder that make it better? The choice of quality .338 bullets is a factor, but that makes the cartridge a better choice, not an intrinsically better cartridge. What am I missing? Other than personal preference which I completely understand but don’t care about in the context of this rambling question. Again please don’t consider this to be a criticism of the 338-06.
And lastly for you reloaders, what is the honest, safe max velocity for a 250 grain Nosler in your rifles?