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Thread: Help with 338-06

  1. #1
    Member bigswede358's Avatar
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    Default Help with 338-06

    I hope this caliber hasn't been beat to death lately. I have a Rem 700 30-06, that I've been wanting to neuter. I finally decided on the 338-06, for bullet selection and since I already own a 350 Rem mag, and a 358 Norma. I will be using this rifle primarily for deer and the occasional wapiti. My shots are usually under 150 yds, but they occasionally stretch to 400yds. I have not decided on a bullet weight yet but am thinking a 225 grain should handle the critters I intend to use it on. I should also add that I can't stand long barrels, even 24" rub me the wrong way. With this caliber and what I intend to use it for can I get away with a 20" tube or should i go with a 22"? Anybody with experience on this cartridge, your knowledge would be greatly appreciated.
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  2. #2

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    I sure hate to hear of another .35 fan giving creedance to those inferior .338's ;-) A .35 Whelen would slide quite nicely into your group there even if it is the ballistic twin of the .350 mag.

  3. #3

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    I have never been a fan of long barrels either!

    You will loose a little going from 22 inches to 20 inches but the critters will never know the difference! The difference is like getting hit by a car going 24.5 mph as opposed to 25 mph. It's still gonna smart!

  4. #4

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    My previous 338-06 had 22" tube, now have one with 24" and not enough velocity difference between those two rifles to worry about. Don't have my chrono notes with me, but it wasn't much difference.

    I would spring for a few boxes of bullets and see what it shoots well, for deer especially any will dispatch them humanely and not damage too much meat. Use good old cup/core and save money and shoot more! They always seem to perform as designed at 338-06 velocity.

    Personally, I have used the old Nosler Ballistic tips in 180 grain (I don't think they offer these any more, but I got several hundred a few years ago on closeout at a store) and they work fine. Another great cup/core bullet is the 200 grain Speer. That for me has been very accurate and great performance. Have used Hornady 225gr SST's on deer and they were also accurate and worked well.

    Starting to play around with Nosler Accubonds and Barnes, but no field results to report on those too yet.

    If your rifle shoots them well and you don't mind paying for them, the 210 grain partition is a good deer and elk bullet that is sized just about perfect for the velocity you can get out 338-06. If I had to pick one premium to use, or recommend, this one is it for 338-06.

    You are making a good choice, this is a very versatile round and you may find yourself shooting 210 grain bullets at or very near the same velocity you were 180's out of your 30-06 due to the greater expansion ratio of the 338-06.

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    Member Dan in Alaska's Avatar
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    I had a .338-06 built back in '97 or '98, I forget which. It started life with a 25" barrel, and has sinc been shortened to 23". It balances perfectly in a McMillan classic stock.

    I never got it to shoot the 180's as well as the 200's and heavier. I like the old Nosler 200gr Ballistic Tips for range work. They shoot well, and they used to be fairly cheap. Luckily, I still have a stash of 'em. The newer Accubonds shoot well, but they are (of course) more expensive. For critters, the 210gr TSX is my first choice. I've had GREAT success with the TSX's on game, in other calibers, and I see no reason to change.

    As for powders, I've had great accuracy with IMR 4064 and RL-15. I never saw anything special in the accuracy department with IMR 4320 or IMR 4350. I've read of others really liking these two particular powders, but I never did like them in my rifle.

    Unfortunately, I haven't taken the .338-06 out much lately. Maybe I need to change that? It's been a nice rifle.

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    Member 1Cor15:19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigswede358 View Post
    . . .I will be using this rifle primarily for deer and the occasional wapiti. My shots are usually under 150 yds, but they occasionally stretch to 400yds. I have not decided on a bullet weight yet but am thinking a 225 grain should handle the critters I intend to use it on. I should also add that I can't stand long barrels, even 24" rub me the wrong way. With this caliber and what I intend to use it for can I get away with a 20" tube or should i go with a 22"? Anybody with experience on this cartridge, your knowledge would be greatly appreciated.
    There's a lot of difference in 150 and 400 yards and this will demand some compromises. A rifle that is perfect for one, is not going to be perfect for the other. I do not think I would go below 22 inches for your barrel. This is the length of my 338/06 and while I would readily add length to it, I have no desire to shorten it. At 22 inches you can expect velocity in the neighborhood of 2400-2450 fps with a 250 grain bullet and 2600 fps with a 225 grain. Shorten the barrel and you'll get less velocity, will it be enough to matter? IMO, not at 150 yards, but for the longer shots an extra 50-100 fps is not to be scoffed at.

    I love the 338/06 and have used one for years. Hornady, Speer & Sierra cup & core bullets work extremely well at the reduced velocity. The 225 Hornady SP is an excellent bullet for the 338/06 and I would certainly recommend you give them a workout in your testing. Depending on bullet weight I have had excellent success with RL 15 & 19, H380, IMR 4064 & 4320.

    The 338/06 is a great cartridge, but depending on your particular 350 RM it may not offer a lot of variation/improvement. Personally, I would build the 338/06 with your 350 RM in mind. I would not think that having two very similar rifles in these different cartridges would provide much variety.

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    Member .338-06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    The 338/06 is a great cartridge, but depending on your particular 350 RM it may not offer a lot of variation/improvement. Personally, I would build the 338/06 with your 350 RM in mind. I would not think that having two very similar rifles in these different cartridges would provide much variety.
    I fully agree with the above! The only advantages I see is that the .338-06 can carry 4 or 5 rounds to your .350 mag's (or the Ruger .338 RCM's) 3, a greater selection of bullet weights and cheaper brass (.30-06).

    BUT, far be it from me to get between a man and his new rifle!

    I'm dreaming of a matched set of Mausers in .375 & .416 Ruger. Do I need them? No, but I want them!

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    Member bigswede358's Avatar
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    Default Decisions decisions

    Thanks for all the info guys, I still have not decided for sure. I have a few 210 partitions lying around, a box of 225 accubonds, and a friend of mine has 200 gr Hornadys to try out. I guess I'll have to get my mind made up and get this project started. And no there won't be much difference between this and my 350, but I just always wanted one. So THERE
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigswede358 View Post
    but I just always wanted one. So THERE
    That's all the reason a man needs. Enjoy your new rifle. IMO planning the rifle is nearly as much fun as hunting with it.

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    Member bigswede358's Avatar
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    So IF I do go with a 20 or 21" tube what powders do any of you suggest?
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    Mine is a 338-06AI. Bought a heavier contour ER Shaw 24" barrel and wish I'd maybe gone skinnier and 22". It's a hunk of metal (esp with that heavy Zastava Mauser action).

    I have run both Hornady 225s and 250s through it, with the 225s seeming to like IMR-4320. Am anxious to someday try NPT 210s; a lot of guys swear by that bullet in the 338-06, esp for elk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fremont View Post
    Mine is a 338-06AI. Bought a heavier contour ER Shaw 24" barrel and wish I'd maybe gone skinnier and 22". It's a hunk of metal (esp with that heavy Zastava Mauser action).

    I have run both Hornady 225s and 250s through it, with the 225s seeming to like IMR-4320. Am anxious to someday try NPT 210s; a lot of guys swear by that bullet in the 338-06, esp for elk.
    What kind of velocity are you getting in the AI version with that big truck axle?
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    From one Swede to another, mine has a 22" barrel and I shoot 210 Nosler Part. I have tried heavier but the 210 will shoot through an elk and I don't see a need for anything heavier in the little rifle. I use 4064 with a standard LR primer. Best of luck. J.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldRgr View Post
    From one Swede to another, mine has a 22" barrel and I shoot 210 Nosler Part. I have tried heavier but the 210 will shoot through an elk and I don't see a need for anything heavier in the little rifle. I use 4064 with a standard LR primer. Best of luck. J.
    Hey Neighbor,
    I'm just over the Bitterroot's in St. Maries. Just wondering what kind of velocities your are getting with the 210?
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigswede358 View Post
    What kind of velocity are you getting in the AI version with that big truck axle?
    Your question made me go back and check my notes. First off, it was IMR-4064, not 4320. From that, I'm not pushing it too hard so my guess--without chrono'ing--is probably around 2700 fps for the 225s.

    My notes also indicated I had good luck with Speer 200's over Re-15. Had forgotten about that.

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    YUP on the 22 " barrel !! My gun is the ackley version. Winchester Nickle cases... once fired to form and then neck sized. Winchester WLR primers. With the 225 Nosler and 55gr of AA2520 I am getting 2680 fps with an extreme spread of 56 fps and a sd of 28 fps and it shoots quite nicely. This about max out of my barrel. With the Nosler 200 gr BT I get just shy of 2900 fps with 58.0 gr of IMR 4064. With the Barnes 200 gr X bullet and 58 gr of IMR 4064 I get about 2880 fps. The 215 gr Sierra and 56 gr of the AA2520 gave me 2705 avg.These are max safe loads out of my Douglass stainless barrel. Be safe and back them off some to start. For me , the 338 06 AI is a 300 yard gun and that is about as far as I will shoot an animal.... except for those prairie dogs, ha !
    I have a bunch of Nosler 210s but like to shoot that 225 partition incase I have to talk with a bear. I hear that sometimes they don't listen well. I would like to try some of the Barnes 210 tripple shocks in this gun. I think that bullet might be a real killer. Hope this helps some... FULLCURL

  17. #17
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    Default Recommend 22" barrel, AI version, 180 gr bullets

    Quote Originally Posted by bigswede358 View Post
    I hope this caliber hasn't been beat to death lately. I have a Rem 700 30-06, that I've been wanting to neuter. I finally decided on the 338-06, for bullet selection and since I already own a 350 Rem mag, and a 358 Norma. I will be using this rifle primarily for deer and the occasional wapiti. My shots are usually under 150 yds, but they occasionally stretch to 400yds. I have not decided on a bullet weight yet but am thinking a 225 grain should handle the critters I intend to use it on. I should also add that I can't stand long barrels, even 24" rub me the wrong way. With this caliber and what I intend to use it for can I get away with a 20" tube or should i go with a 22"? Anybody with experience on this cartridge, your knowledge would be greatly appreciated.
    You've had many good suggestions and much good advice from others. I'll try not to repeat but will second some others based on my experience.

    I have a 338-06 built on a Mark X action with a 21" Schneider barrel that is .650 at the muzzle. I elected to go with a slightly short and fairly stiff on the barrel because I used the gun primarily for hunting in Southeast Alaska where the brush is thick and the bears can be large and appear suddenly at close quarters.

    A friend built a .338-06 AI at the same time with a 22" barrel in lighter contour.

    My rifle is very accurate and I've been happy with it. Because of where I hunted and what I hunted I've shot mostly 210 and 225 gr Nosler Partitions. I've taken caribou with it out to about 200 yds or so but nothing beyond that. It's met my needs but for the type of hunting i built it for.

    For the hunting you've got planned I'd go with the Ackley version and the 22" barrel. My friend gets better velocity than I do - enough for me to elect the AI version for 400 yard shots. With my experience with Ackley Improved versions of other cartridges I really like the 40 degree shoulder and the extra velocity.

    For the game you intend to hunt I would use 180 gr Accubond or Barnes TTSXs (or other comparable premium bullets). There is no deer or wapiti on the planet that 180 gr bullets will not dispatch quickly and effectively if placed correctly. And those 400 yard shots will be just a tad easier with a lighter bullet - in my experience. I've taken several elk at 400+ yards with 140 gr TSX and TTSX bullets in a .280AI because I had confidence in the accuracy and trajectory. I've passed up several shots at 300 yards with the .338-06 and 225 gr bullets because I didn't have that confidence and won't chance a wounding shot.

    If you want a .338-06 but don't want the Ackley version because of the extra efforts involved in fireforming you can certainly make do with the standard version but for your purposes I'd still stick with a 22" barrel and 180 gr bullets.

    YMMV and ultimately it all comes down to what you want and can make for you. You may be a much better shot than I am and willing and able to reliably make 400+ yd shots from a 20" barrel with 225 or even 250 gr bullets. I just prefer to give myself every possible edge based on my own limitations and level of confidence so for 400 yd shots I want a flatter shooting gun even if how much "flatter" is a (relatively) small amount.

    Enjoy the process of selecting, building, testing and using your rifle. Good luck. I hope you get a tack driver.

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    Member bigswede358's Avatar
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    Thanks Chessie and everyone else for that matter. Judging from how many people have chimed in on this subject, I would have to conclude that this is a very well liked, and effective cartridge. It will probably be a couple of weeks before I get a chance to get to my Smith. Right now I am counting the time between my wife's contractions, about 10-15 min right now. She is pregnant with our first child and it is already 4 days past due.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigswede358 View Post
    . . . It will probably be a couple of weeks before I get a chance to get to my Smith. Right now I am counting the time between my wife's contractions, about 10-15 min right now. She is pregnant with our first child and it is already 4 days past due.
    Congratulations. I pray that all goes well with mother and child.

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