338 Federal in a TC Encore handgun
Anyone have one? Velocities? Likes or dislikes?
Picked up a SS encore frame and been thinking of making this my first handgun barrel for it.
The very first time I heard of the 338 Federal, my immediate reaction was "what a handgun caliber." I don't know of anyone who's tried one, but would love to hear more about it if you do. I was a real fan of the 35 Remington and 357 Herret in the days when I did so much handgun hunting, and I'd have been all over a 338 Federal barrel. If I wasn't so deep into traditional muzzleloaders these days, I'd have been hunting up a barrel a long time ago.
Keep us posted! You never know when my interests will drift back to handguns, and the 338Fed must might be the thing to do it.
Already having a 338 WM in my possesion means I have a good stock of bullets so it seems like a natural as well as having a huge supply of .308 brass that I can neck up if need be.
Might have to either special order a barrel with the correct rate of twist to use the heavies. Lots of projects going on here and this one may take awhile to get going. Surprised though, posted this in three different forums and no one has reported back yet.
One thing to think about though, based on my experience in other handgun calibers using rifle bullets: Velocities may be too low for reliable expansion, especially as range stretches, while there are lots of lighter constructed 35 cal bullets. Hornady used to make some 200 grain 338 flat noses intended for the old 33 Winchester.
I used those a bunch in reduced loads for deer between 1800 and 2500 fps, and they expanded really well on deer but still held together. That whole adventure started when a couple of friends got 338's and were intimidated by the recoil and needed reduce loads for awhile. I loaded down some standard magnum bullets to that velocity range, but they whistled right through the deer much past 100 yards. The 200 FNs were ideal at the velocities you're likely to get in a handgun, and based on what I saw in recovered bullets I wouldn't hesitate to use them on moose or elk.
If the potential of the handgun is off a year or two, I'd spend the time with my eyes open for sources for the dwindling supply of the 200 FNs, as well as pick up any bullets you can find intended for the Federal. Sad to say, and as good a round as it is, I don't think it's catching on and lighter constructed bullets for it could get scarce.