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Thread: results of .338 Fed load on deer

  1. #1

    Default results of .338 Fed load on deer

    Having worked up a good load for my Kimber M84 Montana in .338 Federal, I have now had a chance to take four deer and a coyote this year. Since I have been hunting for meat not trophy, I have taken one spike and three does. The load used was IMR 4064 utilizing Barnes TSX 185 grain bullets. This is a load I hope and pray to use in a goat hunt, or sheep hunt, or other hunt next Fall depending on draw results!! Hope springs eternal.

    The results were much better than I expected with regard to effective kill power. Out of the four deer taken:
    1. the first was a 95 yard shot on a spike standing still, facing right, broadside, nicked the top of his heart, hitting him in the boiler room, his demise was swift, died within 20 yards. The entry hole was twice the size of the bullet and the exit hole was about 2 inches. On the inside, the organs looked like ground burger.
    2. the second deer (doe) was at about 110 yds away walking and browsing, it turned slightly quartering its left side facing me. After she was hit she ran about 30 yards then piled up. The bullet entered the front shoulder and plowed through the heart and exited the right ribs. The entrance hole was hard to find, the bullet had hit the front leg/shoulder as it was a bit forward, the exit hole was about 3 inches, quite a bit of damage. Hitting the front shoulder must have opened up that bullet or caused it to begin to fragment. internal damage was again phenomenal, pulverizing the inerds.
    3. Third deer was (doe) walking slowly and browsing, stopped to eat broadside at 70 yards, facing left. shot her just above the heart with her
    left leg forward, right leg back. She dropped like a sack of potatoes. The entrance hole and exit holes were not obvious upon approaching the animal. Only during dressing the animal did I notice the bullet had passed through the boiler room with minimal contact with bone, partial contact with left and right shoulders, one rib on either side. The internal damage was very effective.
    4. Fourth deer (doe) was shot 2 minutes after deer #3, at about 120 yards, facing left, broadside. after being hit she dropped and flopped backwards and that was it. The bullet passed through both front shoulders, schwacking the organs with intensity. This was the most severely damaged deer, both front shoulders had damaged meat which was mixed with shattered bone fragments.

    obviously, I did not recover any of the bullets.

    The coyote was shot in the head and 3/4 of his brain and more than half his skull was removed with the Barnes TSX. copper surgery.

    so, the summary: The load was very accurate and very effective on deer and coyote! hopefully this will be a good load for goats, sheep, caribou, black bear, moose at close range and with the right angle.

    Anyone else have results to share from their .338 Fed?

  2. #2

    Default I don't get it,

    If you are hunting for meat, why use a load and cartridge so damaging to meat? Using a lighter bullet for caliber and the occurring high velocity would probably not help either. I'd use that cartridge on Elk, moose and even bear.

  3. #3
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    Default 338

    Chaps I like heavy for caliber bullets in most calibers, but my 338 fed. likes the 185 tsx the best (its a left hand tikka) great caliber and rifle, dont buy into the short range myth about this caliber. I used mine this year on a solo sheep hunt, shot was 275 yards (extreme range for me!) did recover the bullet. On a side note I was using the new Aimpoint micro red dot sight, it is a very light rugged sight, but at 2MOA dot it isnt great for shots on game that far but for short range guide work its hard to beat!

  4. #4

    Default good question, here's the answer

    Quote Originally Posted by mauserboy View Post
    If you are hunting for meat, why use a load and cartridge so damaging to meat? Using a lighter bullet for caliber and the occurring high velocity would probably not help either. I'd use that cartridge on Elk, moose and even bear.

    Mauserboy,

    This is a fair and good question to ask. I am using this rifle to practice for hunting larger game next Fall. goats, bears, Elk and so forth. The rifle is super light and very good to handle. It just happens to be in .338 Fed. As far as using a lighter bullet, there is only one other grain weight under the 185 TSX which I might use, and that is the 160 grain Accubond. I wanted to choose a grain weight which would be able to handle larger game, and wanted to practice or "try it out" on deer to make sure it was accurate and would do the job. It does. I sure hope to use it on large game next Fall.
    Chaps

  5. #5

    Default what did it look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by yukon254 View Post
    Chaps I like heavy for caliber bullets in most calibers, but my 338 fed. likes the 185 tsx the best (its a left hand tikka) great caliber and rifle, dont buy into the short range myth about this caliber. I used mine this year on a solo sheep hunt, shot was 275 yards (extreme range for me!) did recover the bullet. On a side note I was using the new Aimpoint micro red dot sight, it is a very light rugged sight, but at 2MOA dot it isnt great for shots on game that far but for short range guide work its hard to beat!
    Yukon254,
    Congratulations on the sheep! That is good info for me. I have been wanting to use this rifle for a sheep hunt and you have proven that it can be done. 275 yds is a good poke! So what did the bullet look like when you recovered it? Did you take a picture? That would be cool to see if you still have it! Did the sheep die quickly? Have you taken any other game with this combo of .338 Fed and 185 grain TSX?
    Thanks for your reply,
    Chaps

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    Default picture

    didnt take a picture of the bullet but it was typical barnes perfection. The ram didnt take 3 steps and piled up. I think the 338 Fed and 358 W are two of the best calibers for the north. I know many wont agree with me on that and thats OK. I just like light handy rifles, I am in the field guiding and hunting on my own for an average of 90 days every year and just couldnt be bothered packin one of those ultra magzookas. These calibers will kill anything that needs it. I am having a custom 35 whelen built as I always wanted one but the 338 will still get used a lot.

  7. #7
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    Default

    Loads with 185-grain bullets should be about perfect for the .338 Federal considering that it uses a .308-caliber case. Bullets around 165 grains would give it a little more reach and velocity, but an 185-grainer gives a greater punch on larger animals.

  8. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CHAPS View Post
    Mauserboy,

    This is a fair and good question to ask. I am using this rifle to practice for hunting larger game next Fall. goats, bears, Elk and so forth. The rifle is super light and very good to handle. It just happens to be in .338 Fed. As far as using a lighter bullet, there is only one other grain weight under the 185 TSX which I might use, and that is the 160 grain Accubond. I wanted to choose a grain weight which would be able to handle larger game, and wanted to practice or "try it out" on deer to make sure it was accurate and would do the job. It does. I sure hope to use it on large game next Fall.
    Chaps
    I'm fairly sure there is no 160 grain Accubond. The only 160 grain 338 bullet I know of is a Barnes TSX.

    I have taken 2 deer with my Kimber 84 in 338 Fed., with 180 grain Accubonds. Performance as expected, both close shots (50-60 yards), and both down fast.

    I just bought 200 more (had 100 already) 210 grain nosler seconds. I think the 210 grain Partition may be the best "all around" bullet for the 338 Fed. Best all around=deer, bear, elk, moose (Not your coastal type bear). I hope to get 2500+ fps with this bullet.

    I'm also going to try 225 grainers, Sierra prohunters and Accubonds........maybe 2350 fps?

  9. #9

    Default correction

    Eastwoods,

    I meant to type 160 grain TTSX vice 160 grain Accubond, thanks for catching that.

    Chaps

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