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Thread: best loads for 338

  1. #1

    Default best loads for 338

    I know this is always a matter of debate, and depends a lot on what your gun shoots best, but what type of factory ammo do you think is best in 338 win. for brown bears? I am kind of partial to Federal Premium, and am thinking about trying the 225 grain Barnes TSX's. I have heard some positive things so far, but am not sure. Any thoughts? I have personally used the 250 grain Nosler Partitions with great effect. Do you think the 250 grain bullet offers any real advantage over a 225 grain bullet, or vice-versa? I do like that the 225 grain bullet offers better velocity and a flatter trajectory. Are there any "High Energy" loads out there that offer a little more power than standard loads?

    Thoughts, comments, suggestions?

  2. #2

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    I have some experience with the Federal 250 HE loads, I am not sure Federal still catalogs them. They went through my screens at a touch over 2800 FPS if memory serves me correct, a nice touch over the 2660 that is standard. Nosler partition slugs. I have not been able to duplicate this velocity with handloads. The Federal load is accurate in my rifle. Groups range in th 1 inch range give or take a trife, plenty accurate for ANY big game that I know of. I was so impressed that I bought 10 boxes!

    I have not killed any game with the triple shocks. My experience with the original X bullets was not too good, very little expansion. In all fairness I have decided to try the TSX but have yet to pull the trigger on an animal.

    On the other hand I have no doubt about the Nosler partition, they have always worked superbly on every animal I have taken with them.

    Happy shootin!

  3. #3
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    Default

    The Federal load with 225-grain TSX at 2800 fps is a good one. Very accurate from my Ruger rifle, and used for the first time last year to kill a small moose at around 200 yards or so. Punched through the moose like it was made of butter. The only problem was that I shot it through the shoulder blade (only shot I had at the moment), and it left a huge hole on the far side. Blood sprayed all over the place, but it ruined some good meat. Not the bullet's fault, but mine however. I really like this caliber/load combination. Look into this load, and see how it shoots from your rifle.

    A Federal 250-grain Nosler loaded around 2,660 fps is another outstanding ammo, but if you could reload, then a 250-grain TSX, or even a 250-grain A-Frame would be a great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RayfromAK View Post
    The Federal load with 225-grain TSX at 2800 fps is a good one.
    Ray, would you happen to know the overall length of that cartridge? Just wondering what length Federal is loading to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by finnlight View Post
    Ray, would you happen to know the overall length of that cartridge? Just wondering what length Federal is loading to.
    I measured one of the rounds with a digital caliper, from the headstamp at the base to the bullet's tip = 3.308". The case length from base to mouth = 2.500". The top groove on the 225-grain TSX shows right under the edge of the case's mouth. It would think that at least one-half of the groove is exposed, so it looks much like a cannelure. Keep in mind that not all bullets are exactly alike, and so for ammo batches. The overall length I wrote above may be slightly different on another batch of ammo.

  6. #6

    Default Maybe.........

    I loaded the 250 gr. Nosler Partition for quite a few years and it worked great. So for a factory load I would use it. I believe if a 225 and 250 grain bullet are of the same construction and driven at a good velocity the 250 grain bullet is better for brown bear, but I have only shot one brown bear. You will have a lot to choose from and a lot of opinions sent your way. I personally load the old 250 grain X bullets for my .338. However, you will never be wrong if you choose that great and proven 250 grain Nosler Partition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RayfromAK View Post
    I measured one of the rounds with a digital caliper, from the headstamp at the base to the bullet's tip = 3.308". The case length from base to mouth = 2.500". The top groove on the 225-grain TSX shows right under the edge of the case's mouth. It would think that at least one-half of the groove is exposed, so it looks much like a cannelure. Keep in mind that not all bullets are exactly alike, and so for ammo batches. The overall length I wrote above may be slightly different on another batch of ammo.
    Thanks a bunch, I've been loading Interbonds and SP's, and was curious about the TSX. I've read elsewhere that because of the short neck and the grooves, it may not hold the bullet tight.

    Is Federal crimping their factory loads? That bullet must be in the case quite a ways.

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    finnlight:

    If Federal puts a crimp on this ammo, it's very hard to tell by looking at it. In fact, I don't see a roll at all on the mouth's edge at all. I wonder if Federal can load their ammo a little tighter than usual at the entire neck area? Other than that, I have reloaded some of my own with a Redding 3-die set, and the bullets are nice and tight on the neck. The only reason why I decided to use factory ammo last Fall was because I fired three of factory ammo along my own reloads (just to see if they were accurate), and they proved more accurate than mine.

    As with other premium bullets, these are quite expensive, and the cost escalates at the range during testing. I shot those three, and stopped my testing for the year. A few days later I killed my moose with a factory round, but this year I plan to continue testing a few reloads with it.

  9. #9
    Member alaska bush man's Avatar
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    Thumbs up 338 Win

    My favorite AK cartridge the 338 Win

    225gr Nosler Accubond
    225 Barnes TSX

    Both loaded by Federal and Winchester

    I handload mine using Reloader 19...........one of my favorite.

    The 225gr TSX and Accubond are easly loaded in the 338 Win.....match made in Heaven!

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    Default 338 loads

    I do a lot of reloading. Loaded for a friend with pre-64 WIn 70 Alaskan (the real deal) 225 gr. TSX 67.5 grains H414. One shot kill on a brownie down in the Panhandle at 200 yards. He was and is VERY impressed with the Barnes.

    I've killed African game with the TSX. Hangs together with great penetration.

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    Default

    I've been shootin the 225 grain X bullets for quite a number of years now. I still have about 100 rounds left and once I run out, I'll try either the 225 grain TSXs or TTSXs. When I first started handloading these bullets, I called Barnes to ask em about the difference in performance between the 225 and 250 grain bullets.

    A guy whose name escapes me, told me the 250 grain bullet provides roughly 100 ft lbs more energy and two inches more penetration than the 225. He suggested I go with the 225 grain for everything in Alaska. The 225 grain X bullet has worked well for me and is more accurate in both my 338 WMs than the 250 grain pills.

    A few months back on the Weatherby Nation forum, there was a live chat with Randy Brooks. Among other things, I asked him if they were going to manufacture a 250 grain TTSX. He said they were too long to give the kind of performance he wanted out of the 338 WM so 225 was likely as heavy as they would go. I also asked him about the need for crimping the TSX or TTSXs. He recommended a light crimp in the top groove. I don't like crimping and hope that won't be necessary.

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    Default

    I was partial to the 230 grain failsafe bullets by Winchester and used them for a couple of moose. They shoot good groups in my A bolt. I picked up a supply of them before they stopped production.

    I will probably go to the 250 grain partitions once the failsafes are gone.

  14. #14

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    Among other things, I asked him if they were going to manufacture a 250 grain TTSX. He said they were too long to give the kind of performance he wanted out of the 338 WM so 225 was likely as heavy as they would go.
    I asked a similar question and the rest of the answer was that's why they developed the MRX. More weight, shorter bullet. The heaviest TTSX will be a .338 225 gr. They will start developing MRX's in the larger calibers. Spendy bullets, but a notch up from the partition which used to be my favorite.

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    Default 250gr Swift A-frame 338 Win Mag

    I'm working up a load for the 338 Win Mag with 250gr Nosler Partitions or the 250 Swift A-frames. I have some old Federal 250gr HE loads that chronograph at 2800fps. I'm trying to duplicate that load but can't get the job done. Best I can do is 2750fps using RL19...load doesn't seem too hot, no evidence of excess pressure and no expansion at the belt. The load is; however, compressed quite a lot. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Silver Tip out
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no other place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth." ...Ronald Reagan.....please never forget this!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver Tip View Post
    I'm working up a load for the 338 Win Mag with 250gr Nosler Partitions or the 250 Swift A-frames. I have some old Federal 250gr HE loads that chronograph at 2800fps. I'm trying to duplicate that load but can't get the job done. Best I can do is 2750fps using RL19...load doesn't seem too hot, no evidence of excess pressure and no expansion at the belt. The load is; however, compressed quite a lot. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Silver Tip out
    I would back down to 2700 fps, and use a micrometer to check the area just above the belt for expansion, before firing, and after firing. There is no way for us to tell what powders combination Federal and Hornady used.

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    Default

    One of my flying students ahs also been obtaining handloading and rifle shooting lesson from me this winter. We worked up this load for his fancy grade M-700 Remington. (which for some reason kicks harder than any other rifle I have ever fired.) It is not the most powerful load in the world, but it sure is accurate.
    We repeated this size group on several targets. Plus the brass came out nice and clean after being shot.
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    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

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    Default

    Hi:
    I've been working on a 250 gr. load for my .338 with the Swift A-frame. Found a load by Ken Waters..."Pet Handloads of Ken Waters", he's the one that came up with the 30 Waters cartridge. Anyway, he recommended 71 grains of IMR 4831. I loaded up a few and shot over the chronograph and got a velocity of 2862 ft/sec. with right at 4500 ft lbs Energy. It's a hot load but no signs of excess pressures. He said not go go over 71.5 grains! I'm headed to the range soon to see how accurate the load is on paper....looks like a winner. Take a look see you may be able to duplicate your HE load and the Swift A-frame looks to be an excellent bullet....See ya
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no other place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth." ...Ronald Reagan.....please never forget this!!!

  19. #19
    Member L. G.'s Avatar
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    Default My Standby Load

    73.0 gr H4831SC
    250 gr N.P.
    Fed 215
    Remmy or Fed nickel cases
    2,650 fps

    Haven't changed this reicipe is a while . . .

    . . . it don't need fixin' as it has served me quite well over the years.

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    Default

    I favor the 250 grain bullets in the .338. The effect on a charging Moose is dramatic and gratifying. There are many excellent calibers and bullets for Alaskan animals...but the .338 is the king of them all IMO

    My Ruger 77 likes this load which is listed as a maximum load in the Nosler manual. No signs of dangerous pressure levels and M.O.A accuracy (the first I've ever obtained in 30 years of reloading for the .338)

    CCI 250 primer
    75.00 grains RL-22
    250 grain Partition

    Each rifle is different and max loads should be approached with caution

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