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Thread: The 340 weatherby - an excellent big game cartridge

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    Default The 340 weatherby - an excellent big game cartridge

    THE 340 WEATHERBY
    An Excellent Big Game Cartridge

    After hunting with a 340 Weatherby that belongs to a friend of mine and who was gracious enough to let me use it almost 20 years ago, on a mule deer hunt in Colorado, I was hooked. I always wanted one but got all tied up in other cartridges and rifles. That 340Wby really reached out and touched that buck at 476yds and put him down in a heart beat. It will be exciting to finally receive my Custom Mark V chambered in 340Wby sometime next week. I really like my smith's work but more importantly I trust his work. He has always put together real shooters for me. His work is straight-forward, uncluttered, looks good and is very clean, but most of all it is accurate. My custom has a #2, 26” Krieger Stainless barrel with a German Mark V receiver, bedded in a McMillian stock. This is a serious and significant big game rifle and cartridge. Anyone who has owned a Mark V rifle chambered in some of the other Weatherby cartridges is usually a fan of the 340Wby. It is a real magnum with enough recoil to prove that claim, but not enough to require a brake.

    This is truly one of the best if not “THE” best cartridge Roy Weahterby ever produced. It is an exceptionally versatile all around cartridge for big game. It has reasonable recoil, with only the 250-300gr bullets being a little much for some people. Most of us who use the magnum cartridges when hunting big game will not have an issue with the recoil. The new cartridges like the 338 Federal, the 325WSM and the old classic 338Winchester Magnum are not able to run with it, nor can they use the heavier bullets as well or with as much punch.

    The 338Rum is not really an improvement over the 340Wby. The 338Rum has 104.6grs case capacity while the 340Wby only has 93.5grs case capacity. Yet the 338Rum in muzzle velocity comparisons across the spectrum of 200gr, 210gr, 225gr and 250gr premium factory ammo contrasted with Weatherby ammo for the 340Wby with same weight bullets - the 340Wby had a combined velocity of all four weights of 317fps faster than the 338Rum that uses 10.5% more powder. Weatherby loads their ammo at greater pressures than the 338Rum is loaded. This can be done even by the hand-loader for four reasons and they are, the Mark V action, Freebore, Double Radius Shoulder and Norma brass. The 338Rum does seem to suffer a bit from diminishing returns. The 338Rum has a rebated rim and I am not crazy about that. It has its fans and it is deadly on big game.

    The .340Wby and its case volume I believe are the limit that makes any sense for a bullet of the .338" diameter in a pure hunting rifle. I know there are those who really like the 338-378Wby but I do not like brakes on my hunting rifles and that eliminates the 338-378Wby as far as I am concerned. Without a brake it is not very pleasant to shoot and I am not recoil sensitive. The 340Wby is a perfect balance of velocity, powder charge, bullet weight, power and performance for a serious big game cartridge in .338” diameter.

    This allows the 340Wby to be right in the middle of good company filling a true niche, making it a true all around big game cartridge. When you consider that it is chambered in the Mark V rifle and shoots flat (like some of the 300 magnums) and hits hard (like the some of the 375 magnums) there is no doubt about its pedigree.

    The 340Wby is not a compromise by any stretch of the imagination. On the contrary, with the bullet and powder selections of today, the 340Wby is arguably the best all around big game cartridge ever conceived. It is surely one of the best elk and moose cartridges, with no problem anchoring the biggest bears in quick fashion. Interestingly enough, if your 340Wby can accurately handle lighter bullets, it can reach out hitting deer and hogs like Thor’s Hammer. Not destroying any more meat than the 7mm and 30 caliber magnum cartridges.

    A hunter in the field with this one cartridge could take everything from deer to the largest Alaskan Brown bears and even put a Bison down in short order. With the 230-300 grain bullets it will buck the wind at distances that most hunters would consider reasonable and with plenty of energy to anchor anything in North America and most of Africa (where legal to use in Africa). Also, with some bullets and loads in the right hands and with good optics, it is a very effective round that can be used to take game at long ranges.

    Since 1962 as a response to the 338 Winchester Magnum, the 340Wby has preformed without question. Easy to load for, accurate, reasonable recoil if stocked correctly and hits like a sledgehammer. With velocities that are perfect for premium big game bullets manufactured for the .338 caliber - the 340Wby can kill everything from “Mice to Tyrannosaurus Rex ” and I would add, even a big mean-spirited brown bear up close. This figurative language, sums up accurately the impressions and capabilities of the 340Wby.

    Most in the hunting world know that the 30-06 with a 180gr bullet has been and is very affective in most situations and on most game given proper circumstances. Also the effectiveness of the 300Win Mag or the 300Wby using a 180gr bullet is unquestioned. In light of this fact a 340Wby using a 250gr bullet, has a striking energy that is 40% greater than a 30-06 that uses a 180gr bullet. Also, the cross-sectional area of the 250gr bullet allows it to hit like a freight train. The greater momentum factor of the 250gr bullet, allows for deeper penetration while releasing much more energy over a greater distance along the wound channel, due to 70grains more weight and higher velocities. The 340Wby is a 338Win Mag on steroids.

    To put things in perspective, the 30-06 moving a 180gr bullet at 2800fps generates 3,122ft pounds of energy at muzzle with a 180gr bullet. The 340Wby using a 250gr bullet turns out 3,137ft pounds of energy at 400yds. Needless to say, the 340Wby is a highly effective big game cartridge with a lot of authority at its disposal with power to spare for up close and far off work when taking game.

    It has tremendous potential as an all around big game cartridge for deer, along with the largest, toughest and heaviest game in North America. It is a tremendous medium bore with great legs and a big punch. It is a true sprinter like the 300mags and has a hard quick crushing blow like the 375mags. It is fast and hard-hitting. Bullet selection ranges from 180 grains to 300 grains to meet any need the North American hunter would engage. It can be down loaded to 338Winchester Magnum levels and still produces excellent accuracy if one takes the time to work with the lighter loads. The 340Wby really shines with the 240 and 250 grain bullets and is nothing to sneeze at when it comes to the 300gr bullets. The 240gr North Fork is my go to all around hunting bullet on big, heavy tough game as well as dangerous game up close or at medium ranges. The 250gr Accubond, Partition and Sierra Game King bullets are my favorites for deer and elk at any distance I can shoot with good accuracy in the field.

    On smaller species of big game one can use the 180gr to the 215gr bullets. Now there are two bullets in this weight class that stand out on the smaller species of big game - while being the exception in this group due to the fact that they are also highly effective on the larger species of big game. I am making reference to the 210grain Nosler Partition and the 210gr Swift Sirocco. The 210gr Partition and Sirocco’s can be pushed at velocities of between 3150fps and 3225fps with very good accuracy. They are flat shooting and hard hitting. The intermediate class for the 340Wby is the 225gr bullets. One of the bullets in this class stands alone on terminal results and that is the North Fork 225gr. It is a bullet that has tremendous terminal impact on game with great penetration and allows the 340Wby to stand out as an alternative to the heavier bullets on bigger animals, including dangerous game.

    When hunting the really big stuff the 230gr, 240gr, 250gr and 300gr bullets due to their great shapes and construction are best. The 230gr – 300gr grain bullets do not have to apologize, nor are they inferior for any of the tasks handed them when taking big or dangerous game. I am now hand loading at the moment for the 340Wby using a friends rifle to get a leg up on experience loading the 340Wby before my Custom gets here.

    The 340Wby can push:

    1. The 200gr Accubond at a Muzzle Velocity of 3225fps with a Muzzle Energy of 4620 ft. lbs.

    2. The 200gr Hornady Spire Point at a Muzzle Velocity of 3221fps with a Muzzle Energy of 4607 ft. lbs.

    3. The 225gr Barnes TSX and X and Hornady Spire Point at a Muzzle Velocity of 3001fps with a Muzzle Energy of 4499 ft. lbs.

    4. The 250gr Nosler Partition at a Muzzle Velocity of 2941fps with a Muzzle Energy of 4801 ft. lbs.

    a. The above is Weatherby ammo using Norma Powder.

    5. The 240gr North Fork at a Muzzle Velocity of 3066fps with a Muzzle Energy of 5009 ft lbs.

    6. The 250gr Nosler Accubond at a Muzzle Velocity of 3032fps with a Muzzle Energy of 5103 ft. lbs.

    7. The 250gr Nosler Partition and Seirra SBT at a Muzzle Velocity of 3041fps with a Muzzle Energy of 5133 ft. lbs.

    a. The above are handloads using IMR7828 and RL-25


    I have wanted a 340 Weatherby Magnum for some 20 years now and I am so impressed and awed by the cartridge since I have been working with load development for the 340Wby. At this time I am developing hunting loads for the fall hunting season of 2010. As a hunter, shooter and re-loader, discovering what others have known for years is a lot of fun.

    The 340Wby is hard to beat as an all around big game cartridge. It is easy to load for, shoots flat, hits hard and according to a multitude of hunters and guides, brings home the bacon. It truly is and has been one of Roy’s classic cartridges and in my opinion it is his best. Yes, I even like it better than the 300Wby - which I have owned and hunted with off and on for the last 15 years. The 338Win Mag has been fun to hunt with and is a very effective cartridge on game, so I know the 340Wby from my hunt in Colorado years ago and what others have said, will be all the 338Win Mag is and much more. The 340Wby will for years to come, be used by the discerning and informed North American hunter and those who appreciate the outstanding qualities of the Mark V. After the 2010 and 2011 hunting season I will up date this article with the results.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
    THE MIND OF A SCHOLAR
    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

  2. #2

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    Here is a picture of the mule deer I shot with my friends 340Wby back then. Had it mounted because at that time it was the longest shot I had taken on a deer.

    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
    THE MIND OF A SCHOLAR
    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

  3. #3
    Member IceKing02's Avatar
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    Default Welcome HOME!

    BT, You're probably right about the .340 being better suited for all-around use but I'll keep the .338-378 with a 28" barrel for punching large holes through large game with large bullets at long distances...

    With a muzzle brake and hearing protection my rifle "Monster" is a pleasure to shoot. Nobody believes me when I tell them that this thing is easier on the shoulder than my .257 Weatherby. As it relates to the quality of the factory rifles my own .257Wby shoots <.260 at 100fps and 2" at 300yds. Crazy accurate! My good friend's .340 Accumark put the first three shots in a cloverleaf hole at 100yds.

    The only thing that I've heard at the upper velocity range is that extreme spread becomes too high. Not sure that any game is going to know the difference if they're hit in the "vittles".

    IceKing02
    Last edited by IceKing02; 02-10-2010 at 21:49. Reason: g.u.r.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    I'll just get closer but each has their way of hunting with no right or wrong. As I see it I've shot target at 500 yards with 308 and a peep sight and those bullets would have also taken a deer so fast flat and scopes don't impress me much

  5. #5

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    So far my load work is not showing the extreme spread problem at 3000fps. I am getting good hunting accuracy. Will begin to post load development work and conclusions some time in April. Things look real good now, but need to see how my 340Wby will do.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
    THE MIND OF A SCHOLAR
    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

  6. #6
    Member H_I_L_L_B_I_L_L_Y's Avatar
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    Talking 338 rum

    But my 338 RUM brass is still cheaper. Hillbilly

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    Don't anyone think I am putting down the 338Rum. My comparisons are only with factory made ammo not what can be done by reloading the 338Rum.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
    THE MIND OF A SCHOLAR
    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

  8. #8

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    I have a good buddy who's mother up and died and left him with oodles of $. He spends it wisely by wandering off yonder and coming home with another head of some sort to hang on the wall. One of his favorite critters to hunt is bison. He has killed his fair share and swears by his 340 Wizzby! I watched him shoot a coyote with it a couple years back. That 160 grain bullet left fuzz hanging in the air for quite some time after the fact. It kinda deformed the little feller just a tad bit also!

  9. #9
    Member H_I_L_L_B_I_L_L_Y's Avatar
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    Default 338 rum

    The barnes TSX load from your original post is real close to my pet load numbers. Hillbilly

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    Default Lovin My Custom 340

    I have been using the 210 gr Tipped Triple Shock in my 340 built on a stainless Model 70. Putting 10 rounds into a group smaller than a quarter at 100 yds. I love the 340 Weatherby cartridge but I will never own a Mark V. While hunting with a friend in very cold wet weather he opened the bolt on his rifle and the bolt came clear out of the action w/o using the bolt release. Since the bolt is released by pulling the trigger while drawing bolt back I was very spooked. I wonder if accidental discharge could be a problem, haven't ever heard of an incident though. I have to admit to being biased I love CRF Model 70's. As for Hillbilly's brass argument a guy can use Reminton's 300 Wby brass ran over the expander in your sizing die and guess what you have 340 brass for around $65 per hundred last I checked.

  11. #11

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    neinak, never had the problem with my any Mark V in the field or at the range. I did have Fine, beautiful Model 70 deluxe grade that would not shoot very good at all. Had to take it to a smith to get it to have at least hunting accuracy. Good idea on the brass but I have already done that with some of my 300wby brass to use for loads to break in my 340Wby.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
    THE MIND OF A SCHOLAR
    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

  12. #12
    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    I have never had a problem with my 340 Wby Accumark. With all the recoil, I can shoot it more accurately than any other rifle I have shot.

    Quote Originally Posted by H_I_L_L_B_I_L_L_Y View Post
    The barnes TSX load from your original post is real close to my pet load numbers. Hillbilly
    I wish I hand-loaded, but since I don't, I bought five boxes of these:

    COR-BON 340 WBY 225-GRAIN BARNES TTSX – BC-0.514 / (257-yd zero)
    Yds / Vel. / Impact / Energy / Drift

    000 / 3100/ -1.75 / 4801 / 0.00
    050 / 2999 / 0.83 / 4494 / 0.57
    100 / 2905 / 2.42 / 4216 / 0.98
    150 / 2813 / 3.00 / 3954 / 1.68
    200 / 2723 / 2.47 / 3705 / 2.67
    250 / 2635 / 0.75 / 3469 / 3.97
    300 / 2548 / -2.21 / 3244 / 5.58
    350 / 2464 / -6.53 / 3033 / 7.53
    400 / 2381 / -12.27 / 2832 / 9.84
    450 / 2301 / -19.55 / 2645 / 12.51
    500 / 2222 / -28.49 / 2467 / 15.56

    Quote Originally Posted by IceKing02 View Post
    BT, You're probably right about the .340 being better suited for all-around use but I'll keep the .338-378 with a 28" barrel for punching large holes through large game with large bullets at long distances...
    I know, with hand loading, the 38-378 will outperform the 340, but at 500yds, the above load is hitting no less than 50 ft-lbs less than any factory 38-378 load. I wish Weatherby would revise their factory offerings in both calibers. I'd love to see something in the 275-300gr range. And I don't know why, on 3,200fps, long-range rounds, they don't use the TTSXs with their vastly superior B.C.s versus the TSXs. Why load a bullet that slows down much faster?

    As a side note, my biggest problem with Weatherby is their lack of attention to detail in their published ammo specs.

    For example, for the 340 Wby loads, Wby correctly lists the B.C. of the 225gr TSX loaded in the 340 as 0.386. In the 38-378, it lists the B.C. of the same bullet as 0.482. Same bullet; different B.C.

    What's worse, you can tell from using a simple ballistic calculator that, with the 38-378, Wby used the fictitious fantasy 0.482 number to calculate the down-range numbers for that load. Thus, at 500 yds, the Wby spec sheet says, you get 2,238fps and 2,501 ft-lbs and a 24.0" drop below the sight line. Now, the 250gr NP load data are accurate, and slightly exceed those numbers. But, following the laws of physics, and using the correct B.C. number (0.386), that 225gr TSx load in 38-378 Wby, at 500yds, really only produces 2,025fps and 2,049 ft-lbs and drops 27".

    My main point being, in addition to the sloppiness there, if Wby loaded the 225gr TTSX (tipped with 0.514 B.C.)at the same muzzle velocity (3,180 fps), at 500 yds, it would produce 2,286fps and 2,611 ft-lbs and drop only 23.6". I just don't see why Wby still loads the TSX over the TTSX, especially in the high-velocity inter-continental loads. The TTSX is plenty accurate in mine.

    FWIW, forum member theONE73 told me that he regularly is chonographing that 225gr TTSX Cor-Bon load at a MV of 3,225 fps, which means the Cor-Bon factory specs may be understated. If so, that exceeds any factory load offered in the 37-378 (though not hand-loads I'm sure).

    Wby should use some more common sense. I shouldn't have to go to Cor-Bon to get a high-B.C. long-range bullet in a factory loading.

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