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Thread: Thoughts on .338 Federal?

  1. #1

    Default Thoughts on .338 Federal?

    Any hunters using the .338 Federal with success?

  2. #2
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    I hunted for years with a 358 and loved it.....I think the 338 Fed would be a very useful cartirge in a light rifle i.e Kimber Montana @ 5 lbs or if I could rebore a Savage 99 308 to 338 Federal would be a very handy rifle......is it the one best all around cartridge for Alaska?....probably not.

  3. #3

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    If you have no interest in handloading and want the performance the factory fodder offers, get it. A handloader cannot reproduce the performance that Hornady does with the ammo as they use a proprietary double base ball powder unavailable to anyone else.

    I'll keep my .338WM

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by CHAPS View Post
    Any hunters using the .338 Federal with success?
    I've sure whacked a bunch of game over the years with my three 358's. If I didn't already own those I'd be real hot to build or buy the 338 Federal.

    A friend has identified an issue (for him at least) comparing his beloved 35 Whelens and a 338-06 he's been hunting with for several years: The 338-06 doesn't generate enough velocity to get reliable expansion on bullets built tough for the 338 winnie when range gets out to around 300 yards. He's dumping his 338-06 because the spectrum of 35 caliber bullets available perform more reliably at longer ranges when pushed from a 35 Whelen.

    Read between the lines, and I'd say you should be careful in selecting bullets for the 338 Federal if longish range shooting is on your list. Makes perfect sense to me based on a whole lot of years sticking game with an assortment of calibers, especially in single shot handguns. There's a tradeoff between short and long range expansion weighed against starting velocities.

    As for the Hornady's secret powder..... Doesn't bother me a whit when considering the ballistics of the 338 Federal. I'm sure it performs just fine at velocities achievable with consumer-grade powders.

  5. #5
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    I do not own a .338 Federal and don't plan to buy one. However it sounds like a dandy round for what it was designed. Another great short distance cartridge for pigs, black bear and deer for the recoil shy types who want a large caliber round with relatively mild recoil.

    Keep in mind most all of the .338 bullets offered are for magnum-velocity. Therefore, finding suitable projectiles for reloading could be very limited due to expansion problems at lower velocities. Maybe the there are some factory loaded ammunition with thin jacketed bullets made specifically for that round. I would research it to see if the ammo makers are using conventional mag velocity bullets in this new round. If they are, it should be a real up close hammer on deer.

    It would not be my first choice for black bears. Having said that, only a deranged person would go after inland or brown bear with that cartridge if they had any thoughts on it. I would not comfortable hunting in grizzly country with it either.

    I can load my .338 win mag with 200 grain Sierras or lighter bullets at milder velocities and use it for deer, so I am not sure of any real advantages. Unless you intend to use it for a 200 yard rifle (max) in thick deer woods where it would shine with light jacketed bullets or just have to have a new rifle, which is very understandable, i do not see any great advantages.

    You do not say what type(s) or caliber(s) of rifle you already own, so it is hard to give comparisons.

  6. #6

    Default My thoughts....

    Most .338 bullets are pretty long. If I had a .338 Federal I would probably see how it did with the 210 gr. Nosler Partition. That is a great .338 bullet. It should expand at low velocity and penetrate well.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by .338 mag. View Post
    Most .338 bullets are pretty long. If I had a .338 Federal I would probably see how it did with the 210 gr. Nosler Partition. That is a great .338 bullet. It should expand at low velocity and penetrate well.
    That's kind of my thinking, too. I've loaded a bunch of 338 Winnie ammo to reduced velocities for deer hunting and the recoil shy. The velocities weren't all that different from the 338 Fed. In that range we got reliable expansion on the Nosler 210 out to at least 250, the farthest I can remember anyone taking game with those reduced loads. Other excellent bullets are the plain old Hornady 200 Spire. If you want a really amazing bullet, drop below max of the 338 Fed to around 2100-2200 with the Hornady bullet intended for the old 33 Winchester. It's a flatnose and a really solid performer at lower velocities than even the Fed can produce. Sadly it's not available anymore, but I've got a hoard.

  8. #8
    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    I have a used the Federal Premium Safari in my .338 with the Nosler 210 partition on many occasions. For a factory load, they are great and pretty consistent. Until I found a friend that really knows hand loading, I used that round exclusively without any failure. It is my back up go-to round if needed. I have taken moose, caribou, and a dandy mountain goat with this bullet/rifle combo and I have no complaints.
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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