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Thread: .338 Federal Rifles

  1. #1

    Default .338 Federal Rifles

    Haven't read much on the .338 Federal on this forum, anyone using this caliber and if so what sort of results with reloading and/or taking game?

  2. #2
    Member Darreld Walton's Avatar
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    Default No personal experience, but...

    There's been a couple of threads devoted to the cartridge, and the concensus, as I recall, is that it exactly duplicates the .338-08 wildcat, which it essentially is in 'legitimized' form. Also recall good reviews from those who've used it, and comments that it'd do about anything that a .358 Winchester would with bullets with higher ballistic coefficients and sectional density.
    To be honest, I haven't seen a single rifle chambered to the round 'down here' in Idaho. .358's are mighty scarce, too.....
    It SHOULD be a dandy moose/elk/deer/bear thumper within it's range limitations, meaning you're not likely to make successful cross-canyon shots in a stiff wind with it, but in the black timber, what better round could you reasonably ask for?
    In a short action rifle, with carbine length barrel, and fast handling stock, it'd be a dandy!

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    Member Mort's Avatar
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    I'd been interested in this cartridge since its introduction. Finally found an excuse to get one in the T/C Encore Pro Hunter.

    I've not found the rifle to be as accurate as I had hoped, but worked up a satisfactory load that I took to Kodiak hoping to get a shot at a goat (actually wanted to get one with the bow, but the gun was a backup). Didn't get to use it for anything but extra weight.

    My biggest concern is my impression that most bullets available are tailored more to .338 WM velocities. I found the 210gr TTSX was best in this gun, but I'm not completely convinced it would perform as effectively in this cartridge. Would have to limit my shot ranges. Had bears been less of a concern, I might have tried a Nosler Ballistic Tip. The Accubond didn't really tickle the sweet spot of this gun.

    I still like the cartridge, though I've only punched paper with it.

    Chris

  4. #4

    Default good b. bear rifle

    backed up my friend on a tough, big blackie...i can only tell you the results were spectacular with 200 grain speer handloads + varget....great round....good all around alaska rifle good hunting, mountaineer

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    My Sako seems to like the 200 grain Hornadys. I feel this round is at its best with 200 to 215 grain bullets. I have not used the 200 grain Speer but would quess they would be as good as the Hornady.

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    200 gr. hornady in front of Varget or H4895 have been my most accurate loads. Have also use the factory 210 gr. Nosler and they work very well.

    IMO the Speer and Hornady bullets work well in the 338 Federal due to the lower velocity of the 338 federal case (308 case) compared to 338 winchester mag. or comparable cases. There is less initial expansion at impanct allowing for deeper penetration. Nothing wrong with the high-tech bullets, but at 338 F. velocity, they are not as critical compared to 3,000+ fsp.
    It took a while for me to dial in an accurate round, lots of inconnsistency in working up load that works for my gun (probably more about me than the gun) the target size finally shrank considerably after expermination, settled on Varget and H4895 which both had nice cloverleaf groups (H4895 slightly smaller). Anyway, no regrets, a great all around caliber.

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    Default .338 F vs .358 W

    I recall reading several years ago that the .338/08 was originally developed (in Alaska, any way) because Nosler made no .358 Partitions. They now have a good selection of Partitions and Accubonds in .358. My Ruger M77 in .358 has served me well since the mid-1970's, and really shines with the 225gr Partition and Accubond (which it shoots to the same spot with the same load). The sectional density between the .338 and .358 looks different on paper, but in the field, the difference is really just academic. I actually prefer the .358 since it will shoot 250 grainers quite well. This is not an arguement against the .338 Fed., a very fine round made in very fine rifles. But I wouldn't recommend trading in your .358 to get one. Both rounds make great 200-250 yard shooters, but the .358 doesn't "borrow" bullets from a magnum like the .338 Fed, so jacket construction need not be a concern. Good shooting, folks!

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    I handled a kimber montana chambered in 338 fed this weekend. Very lightweight - would make a heckuva backpack rifle with thump. I honestly don't think you're giving up much to other non-magnum chamberings, particularly with the proliferation of rangefinders and such. I like the concept.

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    I agree that the Montana is as fine a light weight rifle as you can buy, except for one thing: I feel best with back-up open sights. I destroyed collector value on my .358 M77 by installing Ruger open sights, and the Montana presents some real challenges to putting open sights on it (that skinny barrel would take a barrel-band front sight, or a soldered-on sight). I even carry a peep sight which clamps on the rear scope base of the Ruger. All this could be solved if/when Ruger chambers the .338 Fed. Perhaps I worry too much, but I've never learned to completely trust scopes, especially in wet, cold Alaskan weather. It would be nice if Kimber offered an Alaskan "version" of the Montana in .338 Fed. with back-up sights.

  10. #10

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    I am currently contemplating the purchase of a Sako 85 in 338 Federal. The efficiency of the cartridge coupled with perfect weight(in my humble opinion)make for a very nice package. I think with bullets in the 210gr. and under range it should be very effective.

  11. #11
    Member Darreld Walton's Avatar
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    Default So, now...

    I just gotta ask what a fella REALLY gets with the .338 Federal that he couldn't reasonably expect to get out of an 8X57 Mauser with 200-220 grain bullets under 250 yards?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darreld Walton View Post
    I just gotta ask what a fella REALLY gets with the .338 Federal that he couldn't reasonably expect to get out of an 8X57 Mauser with 200-220 grain bullets under 250 yards?
    Probably nothing, except for the chance to own a fine, new light weight rifle with a bit shorter action, about 100fps or so more speed (in the same length barrel), and a slightly more "efficient" case shape that operates at higher pressure. And it's new! Any one or all of those reasons are enough to make the need for a new rifle seem as important as waking up tomorrow morning (so you can dream of that new "perfect" rifle all day).

    Cartridges have been redundent for well over 100 years. But that doesn't mean it isn't a lot of fun! I'm not getting rid of my old .358 bolt gun, and you should continue your love of the 8MM, there are plenty of guys who will buy the .338. But I think their smile will be bigger than ours; they just bought a new gun! Shoot straight and we'll all have full freezers.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oregon Puma Hunter View Post
    Probably nothing, except for the chance to own a fine, new light weight rifle with a bit shorter action, about 100fps or so more speed (in the same length barrel), and a slightly more "efficient" case shape that operates at higher pressure. And it's new! Any one or all of those reasons are enough to make the need for a new rifle seem as important as waking up tomorrow morning (so you can dream of that new "perfect" rifle all day).

    Cartridges have been redundent for well over 100 years. But that doesn't mean it isn't a lot of fun! I'm not getting rid of my old .358 bolt gun, and you should continue your love of the 8MM, there are plenty of guys who will buy the .338. But I think their smile will be bigger than ours; they just bought a new gun! Shoot straight and we'll all have full freezers.
    Well said.

    What I am looking for is a "one rifle" caliber/rifle combo and I think the 338 Federal in the Sako 85 Stainless Synthetic will accomplish that nicely. Very efficient, easy on the shooter and and practical which is almost a forgotten term these days. It will accomplish 95% of all the hunting I am ever likely to do and if not a trip to the safe should remedy things LOL!!!

  14. #14
    Member Darreld Walton's Avatar
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    Default New Guns?...

    Haven't bought a new-in-the-box gun for a very long time. Oh, a handgun now and again, but that's it.
    New for me is just finishing up the checkering on a new stock, or pulling a barreled action out of the blue tanks. I can pretty much have whatever I want, I just gotta build it....
    Love my 8X57? I tolerate the things, use them till I have the components ready to pull the rifles apart and make something else!!! All I did was pose a practical question!
    If anything, I've had a distinct aversion to anything connected to the .338 bore, pretty much ever since the day my best friend's 77 Ruger .338 bloodied my nose off the bench one day (literally). That was a vicious thing, and haven't cared for the bore size since. Silly, I know, but, it let me convince myself that I "needed" a .375 H&H, and haven't been disappointed!
    The notion of a .338-08, or .338 Federal is appealing, though. Seems to have the potential to have a bit more range perhaps than the .358, but that's about it. IF I were to build such a critter, it'd be tough to decide, and most likely would end up being the .338 bore just because of the bullet selection available that the .358 just doesn't enjoy......8X57 is even more handicapped than the .358 bore size!

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darreld Walton View Post
    Haven't bought a new-in-the-box gun for a very long time. Oh, a handgun now and again, but that's it.
    New for me is just finishing up the checkering on a new stock, or pulling a barreled action out of the blue tanks. I can pretty much have whatever I want, I just gotta build it....
    Love my 8X57? I tolerate the things, use them till I have the components ready to pull the rifles apart and make something else!!! All I did was pose a practical question!
    If anything, I've had a distinct aversion to anything connected to the .338 bore, pretty much ever since the day my best friend's 77 Ruger .338 bloodied my nose off the bench one day (literally). That was a vicious thing, and haven't cared for the bore size since. Silly, I know, but, it let me convince myself that I "needed" a .375 H&H, and haven't been disappointed!
    The notion of a .338-08, or .338 Federal is appealing, though. Seems to have the potential to have a bit more range perhaps than the .358, but that's about it. IF I were to build such a critter, it'd be tough to decide, and most likely would end up being the .338 bore just because of the bullet selection available that the .358 just doesn't enjoy......8X57 is even more handicapped than the .358 bore size!
    I don't know how "silly" your aversion is...that sort of experience really leaves an impression on a guy. Sounds like our interests overlap quite a bit. I have looked at a couple of 8x57 Mauser but like you said the bullet selection is severely limited. I also have a .350 Remington Magnum that will do about everything the 338 Federal will and then some. The only problem is the rifle is "more" in every way. More weight, more recoil, and generally more gun than is necessary most of the time. A fine rifle to be sure but a 6.375 lb. rifle that can do most of it in as nicely executed a package as the Sako I simply must try...LOL!!!

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    Default 16" 338 fed.

    Just got a 15" 338 federal pistol barrel for my encore. I sent it out to have a permanent muzzle brake put on it which will make it a legal 16+" rifle barrel but havnt got it back yet. Dont know the accuracy I will get out of it but it should be a fun flame thrower anyways, but I'm sure I can work up a suitable load. If I can get a good load it weighed just a touch over 5lbs on my gun and would make a good pack rifle.

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