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Thread: .338 Deer gun?

  1. #1
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    Default .338 Deer gun?

    This upcoming spring will be my first real hunting season up here in Alaska. I picked up a .338 from a guy this fall with the intent of spring black bear hunting, but was wondering how it'd do on smaller game (deer, wolf, etc) using lighter bullets. If I cut down to 160gr bullets (the smallest I've found), will it tear up as much meat as the heavier rounds will?

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    I used a .375 H&H on deer a couple years ago, 250 grain Kodiak bullets, just went through. Personally, I'd use a heavier bullet like 200 but I am not an expert. I'm not sure which bullet you found but I would be a bit leary of a 160 grain bullet in that caliber. Will it hold up at thsoe velocities?

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    Member AKRoadkill's Avatar
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    A friend shoots everything from blacktails to brown bear and moose with the same gun, same load: 225 grain Barnes X. No more meat damage on the deer than my 7x57 with 140 Noslers, and just as dead.

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    Default .338 for deer

    If you use those small bullets, you will lose a lot of meat. I have taken blacktails with my .338 using 250 grain Noslers and they are deadly, but punch right through with minimum meat damage. I have never had a deer do anything but fall down dead when hit with one of these, and I have seen others shooting 200 grain and smaller bullet basically just blow deer up. Stick with the bullets this gun was designed for, and you will really love the results. Good hunting.
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

  5. #5

    Default Blacktails and bears

    One benefit to shooting the proper bullets in a .338 for blacktails is this; Where there are deer, there are brown bears. 160's up the spout are not what you would want if you are confronted by one. And that "if" is a very real possibility.......
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

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    The 338 WM is a perfect deer rifle for Alaska. If you can shoot it well you will thank god you have it the first time a big brownie decides he wants your deer more than you do! I wouldnt worry about using a lighter bullet than a 210. Carry a couple of 250-275's just in case also.
    Tennessee

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    Alright. I've been shooting 250gr Nosler Partitioned. I've been leary of using them on deer- got made fun of when I proposed using that size of a rifle on an 80 lb deer. But if it works, why not?

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    The bigger and slower the bullet (in general) the less meat you will damage.
    Tennessee

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    I use my .300 magnum on deer ,and "amazingly" theres no meat damage when you shoot them in the head or neck...LOL

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    The deciding factor for me when deer hunting isn't caliber, it's rifle weight. I've shot a deer or two right on the beach, but that's not the norm. Usually it takes a hard hike up steep slopes. I prefer a light rifle for that. And I've never seen a brown bear aroud PWS. Kodiak? I still use a 270, because mine's light.

    If a 338 is what you have, find a cartidge you like and stick with it. If you want to change to a lighter weight bullet, take some time at the range to get dialed in.

    One more thing. Consider getting a rangefinder. It's hard to judge distances with deer. More so if you're unfamiliar with the terrain. Above treeline a 600 yard shot can look like 250. Chasing a wounded animal that has a 600 yard head start isn't fun.

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    Member akpredator's Avatar
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    Default Shot placement

    It wont matter what grain bullet you are using if you shoot it in the shoulder you are going to lose alot of meat. shot placement will be the deciding factor. Great caliber for hunting up here.

    Good luck

    Todd
    LOVE MY LITTLE SKULL CLEANERS

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    i use a .416 for my deer hunting, problem is i have to shoot them twice to get them to fall down, deer don't even react to being hit, i don't ruin any meat, unless i shoot them lenghwise, i'd say the .338 with barnesX has been one of the best compromised for my .338 that i used to use for deer, and has good bullets in it for bear an the bullets don't fall apart when they hit stuff, which causes more meat damaga.
    fast bullets screw stuff up,
    slow bullets don't....as much.
    what happens if you poke your fist in a bowl of jello? what happens when you slam your fist in a bowl of jello? you get the idea.
    .338 is a great deer gun

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowwolfe View Post
    The bigger and slower the bullet (in general) the less meat you will damage.
    I'm no expert, but I have a friend who uses the 338 with heavy loads for deer.

    He always tells me " You can eat right up to the hole" meaning the heavier bullets actually do less damage.

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    So... as long as I'm using 300gr or so, I should be good for rabbits, too...

    I've been shooting Nosler Partitioned, like said before, because I'd been told they're pretty good all-around, they mostly stick together, and they're affordable. I've seen the Barnes X, but never used them. What's the advantage ($50+ per box) with Barnes, versus Nosler ($30)? I'll admit that I look at hunting more as an affordable way to fill a freezer, and every little bit I don't have to invest helps. What's the advantage to either round? Are there any other good rounds out there?

  15. #15

    Default The millions of loads.

    If you get your ammo on sale Freddies or somewhere you have pretty well got what you need.......... I,ve shot Sitka Black tail deer from about 10 ft. - over 400 yards with the 338 win mag. I,ve used bullets from 185 gr - 300 gr. My favorite is the 275 gr Kodiak Bonded Core...But that is just my preference .............I relly like the 250 gr Remington Core Loc and the older 225 gr W/W Power Points ........Partitions are fine... I just don,t like them ......I don,t like Fords either .........No Matter.........If you Handload The options are almost limitless...................The barnes X bullets ruin less meat than Partitions ,,,IMO. And they penetrate deeper on bear and moose and Bison.. Some rifles don,t like them......Most do just fine tho.... The 338 Win Mag is just about perfact for the average hunter... The 375 and 416-458 is better on bear ......But the 338 works well ,, I have trusted it many times ....The 300 win mag is not nearly as good on bears.....And they recoil the same... I wish the 358 Norma would have become what the 338 win is but it didn,t and probably never will.........One peice of advice... Tape your muzzel!!!!!!!! A little bit of tape will save a load of trouble that no one needs.... Have fun ... Shoot your rifle enough to be GOOD friends with it ,,, A couple rounds a day from different positions,.... Make sure all the screws and bolts are tight.....Set the trigger to a nice soft weight so shots from off hand are easier..........keep the muzzel pointed in a safe dirrection , Have Fun...

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    What do you mean by "tape your muzzle"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by groh__frog View Post
    So... as long as I'm using 300gr or so, I should be good for rabbits, too...
    ***?
    I suppose that depends on if youre a decent shot or not. If you shoot them in the head you could use your .338 for rabbits.

    Tape your muzzel means put a piece of tape over your muzzel to keep out moisture, very common up here.

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    I was kidding about a .338 rabbit gun. And about taping the muzzel- not a bad idea. Learn something new every day...

  19. #19

    Default .338

    I started loading and shooting Nosler Partitions in 1989 because I shot a brown bear on Hinchinbrook using Hornady bullets from my .375 H&H Magnum from roughly 60 yards. Two rounds hit that bear right in the heart/lung kill zone, but the first one exploded on impact and the second one blew into 4 pieces with little penetration. The bear was knocked off it's feet, but was up and on us in a split second. I hit that bear right down the left side of his nose and stopped him 4 paces from hitting my partner. It happened so fast, he never had time to raise his gun. I shot 2 black bears with Speer Mag Tips and had similiar results. One bullet split in two pieces and blew 2 huge holes out of his off shoulder and ruined the hide. The other had a similiar result, but not as dramatic. I went to the Partition because a couple of very knowledgable reloaders recommended them and the Barnes were so expensive. I have not had a bad experience since, and I only shoot Partitions for big game, regardless of caliber. My absolute favorite caliber and bullet is a .280 Remington with a 160 grain Nosler Partition bullet. Deadly on everything up to the big bears, and I took a nice Interior grizzly with it.
    Noslers, Barnes, Swift A-Frames, etc., are similiar in design and function. Use a premium bullet loaded with any of them and you can't go wrong.
    The tape is the standard up here, and works. Use electrical tape. The air pressure built up in front of the bullet blows the tape away before the bullet gets to it and is unaffected by the tape. It keeps the mud, moisture, snow and sticks out of your barrel.
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

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    Tape works very well over the muzzle. If the rifle has a muzzle brake, then a mini-ballon works too. It's very important to avoid getting rain, snow, and trash in the barrel.


    Great idea, gumboot458

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