I have to leave home for another week.
Something that was bouncing around my head during the last trip, were the recent questions regarding the 338 Federal and the rekindling of interest in the 358 Winchester.
So I thought I would review a few handloading books and various loads posted on the Reloaders Nest. Then I ran the data through my external ballistics computer.
****YES THERE ARE ALWAYS HOTTER LOADS AND BETTER BULLETS, These are averages with as similar type bullets as possible. ***
180 grain flat base spitzer: .338= BC of 379 and 358 a BC of .248.
200 grain flat base spitzer: .338= BC of 361 and 358 a BC of .282
225 grain Nolser BT Accubnd: .338= BC of .550 and 358 a BC of .423
250 grain flat base spitzer: .338= BC of .431 and 358 a BC of .446
OK Using these B.C.s I plugged in average high velocities from various loads and barrel lengths. THEN, I set the program for a 100 yard zero, so I could see the bullet drop at 300 yards.
The 338 Federal folks have often talked about how the superior BC of the .338 projectiles will improve the perfomance of the 338s over the 358s.
I used 59 degrees F and 1,000 feet above sea level for the data.
180 grain flat base:=2,700 fps...15.3 inch drop at 300 yards, zeroed 100.
200 grain flat base:=2,590 fps...17.3 inch drop
225 grain Acubnd :=2,400 fps....18.6 inch drop
250 grain flat base:=2,300 fps...21.9 inch drop
180 grain flat base:=2,700 fps...18.2 inch drop
200 grain flat base:=2,550 fps...19.7 inch drop
225 grain BT:=====2,400 fps....19.8 inch drop
250 grain flat base;=2,350 fps...20.6 inch drop
338-06 (338 A-Square)
180 grain flat base:=3,000 fps.....11.7 inch drop
200 grain flat base:=2,800 fps......14.2 inch drop
225 grain BT======2,750 fps......13.3 inch drop
250 grain flat base:= 2,550 fps.....17.0 inch drop
180 grain flat base:=2,850 fps.....15.8 inch drop
200 grain flat base:=2,800 fps......15.6 inch drop
225 grain BT======2,700 fps.......14.8 inch drop
250 grain flat base:=2,550 fps......16.9 inch drop
The two cartridges based upon the 308 Winchester case have trajectories that are within 2 inches of each other all the way out to 350 yards.
The 338 Federal offers more opportunity for a handloader due to the greater number of 338 projectiles available. The 358 Winchester may hold a very slight edge in energy transfer due to the larger bullet diameter. The old tale about the 358 Win being a shorter range brush cartridge is a bunch of hooey. Both cartridges are easy to handload and both suffer from rather expensive and scarce factory ammunition.
The edge: It is basically a wash between the two.
338 Federal for 160 to 210 grain loads
358 Winchester for 200, 225, and 250 grain loads
The two 30-06 based cartridges also display ballistic flight paths with 2 inches of each other out to 350 yards when like types of bullets are employed. (Often much closer...)
The 338-06 enjoys the availablity of more projectiles for the handloader. The 35 Whelen offers a touch more to the factory ammo only type hunter.
While the 35 Whelen really shines with heavier bullets of 250 to 310 grains, the 338-06 offers a slight edge in longer range ballistics when using 225 grain boat-tails. However,,, it is not nearly as much of an advantage within reasnable hunting ranges as some people have claimed. This is particularly true with similar 225 grain boat-tails are employed in the 35 Whelen.
Whelen for close range with heavy bullets
Both tied for hunting out to 150-300 yards
338-06 for hunting out to 400-450 yards.
Personally, if I had to choose only one of the four, I would most likely go with the 338-06. (I handload)
The short actions of the 338 Federal and 358 Winchester are not a concern for me and the 338-06 offers more power for those Alaskan type situations.
The 338-06 also offers more rounds in the magazine, plus smoother feeding compared to my 350 Remington Mag and my 358 Norma Mag. Although both those push a fatter 225 grain bullet faster than the 338-06.