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Thread: 338WM Barrel Length??

  1. #1
    Member Timber Smith's Avatar
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    Default 338WM Barrel Length??

    I have a Win 70 Classic SS mag action that I'm planning to have a rifle built on. I'm leaning towards a 338WM; little experience with the 338WM, I have never owned a rifle chambered in this cartridge, figure it is about time. I want to keep the finished rifle fairly lightweight and handy, #3 barrel contour, McMillan stock edge fill. I will say that I'm not a fan of intense muzzle blast. Any recommendations on the shortest barrel I should go with? Also, I have the take-off synthetic stock and 338WM SS barrel w/Boss (appears to be unfired, no take-off marks) if anyone is interested.
    Last edited by Timber Smith; 12-04-2008 at 11:07. Reason: add on


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  2. #2

    Default Barrel

    To get acceptable velocities from the rifle it will need a 22" barrel, shorter will reduce velocity and increase noise. A 24" barrell is about the standard factory length for that caliber.
    If you reload you could mimimize the muzzle blast and velocity loss (somewhat) by changeing powders burn rate.
    With your chosen barrell conture the weight change due to the addition of + or - three inches of barrel will be negligible.
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  3. #3
    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    Default

    22"......depending on rifles intended use.

  4. #4

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    My 338WM has a 24" barrel. 22" would be better for my style of hunting though.

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    Default

    My .338 has a 26" barrel. Nice to have the blast way out there on the range, but the end of the barrel seems way, way out there too!

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    Mine is 24" and I would not want it any shorter. Sounds like a nice rifle; good luck. J.

  7. #7
    Member Matt's Avatar
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    Default

    I'd go with a 24" barrel, though a 26" barrel wouldn't bother me a bit for that cartridge.

  8. #8
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    My encore has a 26 inch 1:10 twist MGM barrel. It's a major tack driver and because it's a breach action it's overall shorter than the 300wm I had with a 24 inch barrel.
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  9. #9
    Member Timber Smith's Avatar
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    Default Thanks for the replys

    Appreciate the benefit of your experience with this cartridge. Like I said, I have never owned one even though my brother uses nothing else. His is a pre 64 Model 70 wood and blue with a 26" barrel (must weigh 10 lbs all up). I have had 26" barrels on a lot of other magnums just because that is the way they came from the factory or they were chambered in cartridges that really needed that barrel length. I really prefer a shorter barrel, but, not the intense muzzle blast. Nowadays, I am a big advocate of lightweight rigs (within reason). I like them comfortable to shoot and I don't use brakes. Previous barrel lengths on long action magnums have mostly been 26" with a 375H&H at 23" (not bad) and one at 20" (too short). I knew I wouldn't go shorter than 22" on this build and didn't really want to go over 24", so I have decided to split the difference and again go with a 23" barrel. Rifle will include NECG front sight and a Talley/Brockman pop-up rear peep, Talley QDs and barrel band sling stud with (maybe) Sunny Hill bottom metal drop box (in order to get an extra cartridge down). This rifle will be actually built in a safari config, just in a milder caliber and McM Edge stock to save some weight. Dedicated rifle for Bear, probably won't have it back for this coming Spring, hopefully next Fall season.


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  10. #10
    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    If you hand load have you considered the 330 Dakota - it is probably the most popular of all the Dakota rounds. I mean, while you are doing a more or less custom build....just a thought. It will fit into a std length action just like a 338 WM just no belt and a bit more horsepower - I think Norma makes the brass.

  11. #11
    Member Timber Smith's Avatar
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    Default Affirmative I handload

    No, I'm set on the 338WM. Have actually had three different 338 cats in years past: 338 Whisper, 338-350RM, and 338 Imperial. Just never an actual 338WM. I'm at the point where I am simplifying my life and have actually quit playing around with wildcats and ackleys, just about all together and have stuck with just a few cartridges and likely will even narrow the standard cartridges down some more.


    "AND YE SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH AND THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE."

    JOHN VIII - XXXII

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