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Thread: .338 Federal

  1. #1
    Member Daveintheburbs's Avatar
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    Question .338 Federal

    With the latest buzz on the .358, Iím surprised I havenít heard more heard about the .338 Federal and itís Alaskan potential. Seems reasonable that all the various comparisons (mostly having to do with bullet selection/availability) that are made between the 35 Whelen and the 338-06 apply here. Any comments?

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    I have not played with it. I have talked with some guys at a major rifle makers R&D dept who tested some Federal factory rounds and found them to be much slower and less accurate than Federal is publishing.
    In the words of one of the tesing guys, "Federal tried to make a cartridge like the 358 Winchester and came up short".

    Maybe they will iron out any problems, but I am not holding my breath.

    Years ago I had a 338 x 57mm Mauser wildcat. It was a nice cartrdge but I did not have a chronograph back then and just loaded it until the primers about fell out.
    I sold it to a guy who went to college with me. I always wondered it I could have loaded an 8mm mauser to about the same thing...??

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Default more on the 338 Fed vs the 358 Win

    OK here are some top velocities from the Speer reloading guide for the

    338 Federal.
    WITH A 24 INCH TEST BARREL

    200 grain bullet:
    2598 fps with 46.0 grains RL-15
    2571 fps with 47.o grains Varget
    2570 fps with 47.5 grains WW-748


    225 grain bullet:
    2440 fps with 44.0 grains RL-15
    2408 fps with 44.5 grains Varget
    2392 fps with 44.5 grains WW-748




    For the 358 Winchester using a 22 inch barrel Model 70. Hornady loads

    200 grain 358 bullet:
    2500 fps with 53.7 grains WW-748
    2500 fps with 44.9 grains 3031
    plus about 6 other powders at 2500 fps.

    250 grain bullet:
    2300 fps with 47.7 grains H335
    2300 fps with 49.0 grains BL-c2
    2300 fps with 39.6 grains 4198

    Old Speer Loads: 22 inch barrel
    220 grain bullet:
    2580 fps with 48.0 grains HV-2
    2560 fps with 51.0 grains 4064
    250 grain bullet:
    2440 fps with 46.0 grains 3031
    2440 fps with 48.0 grains 4064

    BARNES 358 win loads 24 inch barrel:
    200 grain bullet:
    2742 fps with 52 grains norma 201
    2705 fps with 53.0 grains RL-12
    225 grain bullet:
    2576 fps with norma 201
    250 grain bullet:
    2428 with 47 grains norma 201.


    From comparing the chronographed velocities I can't see why the 338 Federal would be any better than the larger 358 Winchester for game within 300 yards.

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    I noticed Sako chambered their new model 85 in 338 Federal but not 338 Win Mag. Maybe they're trying to market to a niche but I can't imagine it would be a great seller. IMHO, neither the 35 Whelen nor the 338-06 have taken as good a foothold as they deserve. Maybe that's what will happen to the 338 Federal too.

    Good huntin!
    Sep

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default .35 Whelen

    Since the .35 Whelen can beat both of those rounds easily, why the .338 Fed? Doesn't make sense to market the round when competing with the .325 WSM, .338 WM, .35 Whelen.
    "Never again shall one generation of Veterans abandon another".
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  6. #6

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    It's not enough to make me part with either of my 358's but in just the right rifle I'd pick one up and use it as happily as I use a 358. In other words, I don't see any meaningful difference between the two calibers, so other rifle details would be more important to me than the hole in the barrel. Wouldn't matter a spent primer to me whether factory ammo and brass were available, because I'd form my own cases just as I do for the 358.

    Nice round, and if it becomes popular enough to make it more acceessible than the 358, bring it on.

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    Default .338s

    I do not know why the rifle factories and ammo makers have to be such pains in the posterior about things. I have always thought a lot of the .35 Whelen but .35 caliber rifles have just never come into favor in the USA for some reason and so few great bullets are therefore made in .35 caliber. The vast majority of animals I have taken fell to my grandfather’s custom 03-A3 .30-06 but I would love to be able to buy a factory .338-06 just because there are so many great bullets in .338 which led me to look at the .338 Federal. But why a .338 on a .308 case when the .30-06 case is so much more versatile especially with heavier bullets which in my mind is why I would want a .338 for in the first place? To my way of thinking, the .338-06 offers all the “knockdown” I want with a 250 grain controlled expansion bullet for anything I want to hunt at any range I have any business shooting at, with less recoil and therefore faster recovery if follow-up shots are called for. I mean really how many people could shoot such a rifle more accurately and proficiently than they do a .300 or.338 magnum and how many animals would know the difference possibly short of a coastal Brown Bear?

    Why do so many people insist on the latest ultra-high velocity magnum wonder gun that can kill an elephant at 600 yards when the average Joe hunter cannot hit much past 200 yards? The Army trained me to shoot at long range but that does not mean it is a good idea to do such on a game animal unless you are trying to follow up on a wounded one. Maybe I am just getting too old fashion but since I was a boy I was taught that if I could not tell within a couple of inches where that bullet was going to land on that animal I did not pull that trigger. If that meant get closer then I had to do so or let it walk because I owed it to that animal to make as clean a kill as possible. That once meant I let a potential B&C whitetail walk for which my cousin never let me hear the end of but at least that deer was able to pass his monster genes on rather than take a chance of loosing such a fine animal when I could not tell what part of his body that patch of brown hair belonged to in my scope.

    I want to take up trophy black bear hunting, and I might get a chance, at an elk or a Shiras moose so a .338-06 with a 250 gr. would be nice. There seems to be room to make .338 Win. Mag., 340 W. Mag, .338 Rem. Ultra-Mag. so why not a .338-06? The .338 Federal is ok but when you start trying to put those heavier bullets in that shorter case you run out of room, so something has to go bullet weight or powder capacity and thus velocity. To me the whole purpose of getting a medium bore rifle like a .338 is to shoot heavy or potentially dangerous game with bigger heavier bullets to make bigger larger holes in them with out going to a magnum so why can’t the general shooting public get such a factory produced rifle with readily available ammo for it?

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    Paparock, you're right. The 338-06 seems sensible enough at typical ranges. I remember when Weatherby came out with a rifle chambered in 338-06 A-square. It didn't seem to be very popular either but I'm sure it would do the job.

    Good Huntin!
    Sep

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    It's not enough to make me part with either of my 358's but in just the right rifle I'd pick one up and use it as happily as I use a 358. In other words, I don't see any meaningful difference between the two calibers, so other rifle details would be more important to me than the hole in the barrel. Wouldn't matter a spent primer to me whether factory ammo and brass were available, because I'd form my own cases just as I do for the 358.

    Nice round, and if it becomes popular enough to make it more acceessible than the 358, bring it on.
    You are correct. Both of these cartridges are pretty close to each other. A loaded round from each looks great, too, maybe because the short but case. Now, I would think that .308 hunters and shooters would benefit from the .338 Federal, since it's more of a muscular .308, which should do fine from deer to elk with the lighter .338 bullets such as the 185 to 210-grain TSX, or the 210-225-grain Partition. The 210-grain Partition should work very well with this caliber.

    I do agree with others that one could push the heavier .338 bullets out of the .338-06 much better than the .338 Federal.

  10. #10
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    The only obvious advantage to the 358 Winchester (308 case) and the 338 Federal (same thing) is that they work in short actions.
    Plus both are simple shouldered cases which lend themselves to easy loading /chambering. As well as retaining a reasonable magazine capacity and moderate recoil.


    The 30-06 based 338-06 and 35 Whelen both retain the magazine capacity but require a standard length action in order to produce 200 to 300 fps more for the 338-06 over the 338 Federal and about 200 fps more for the 35 Whelen over the 358 Win.



    For chuckles and grins I went with a 350 Remington mag on the last rifle. So I still have a short action, but I do lose magazine capacity due to the fat magnum case.


    BTW::: An 8mm Mauser (7.92mm or.323) will shoot a 200 grain slug or a 220 grain slug at the same velocity as the .338 Federal shoots the same bullet weights.
    We do tend to re-invent the wheel....



    xx

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    Member Daveintheburbs's Avatar
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    Default good comments

    Iím a fan of big holes. Seems like there should be a place for a short action non-belted cartridge in a readily available case with a wide choice of bullets. All of the various .35 calibers are interesting but just donít have support from the buying public.

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    New member George's Avatar
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    Default latest and greatest

    Paparock,
    Couldn't have said all that better myself. Marketing is an entity in and of itself. Keeps things interesting tho. First wave- big & fast bullet. Second wave- short action, short barrel, lightest gun possible. Third wave- yikes, recoil!. Fourth wave- how to shoot accurately?. Fifth wave- super pad or recoil reducer. Sixth wave- barrel porting. Seventh wave- muzzle blast and flinching or hearing loss. Both the 338-06 and 35 Whelen are excellent cartridges.

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    I purchased a 338 Federal in Tikka T3 this fall. 210 grain Nosler's give me sub 1"MOA. The recoil, compared to my Savage 338 WM is noticebly less. Reloading is my choice due to abundant availability of 308 cases, the selection of 338 bullets, and the difficulty I have encountered in locating factory 338 Fed. ammo.
    To me it's a trade off comparing 308 offspring rounds with the legionairy 30-06 family.
    However, I'll accept the reduced velocity for; reduced recoil/powder, short action, and vast availability of 308 cases. The RIGHT caliber is the one that is right for YOU. If the 358, 30-06, 8mm, 350 RM, 35 Whelen, etc., works for you, then that is a great round, for you.
    I'm very glad we have such a diversity of choices. Supply, demand, and advertising will narrow availability.

  14. #14

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    Great points, shooter338. Simple curiosity has me watching for a cheap Savage 99 to rebarrel to the 338 Federal. I really like the gun, and even though I already own a 99 in 358, I'd sure be inclined to try one in the new caliber.

    No one says a new caliber has to be perfect for everyone before any of us can face our friends after buying it. If that were the case, there would be darn few new calibers and guns, and the world would be very, very dull.

  15. #15

    Smile 338 Federal, WHY

    The 338 Federal is nothing more than a 358 Winchester, with neck reduction. It will not produce any more velocity or energy than it's older cousin. The 338-06 or the 35 Whelen would be a much better and easier caliber to justify.
    If you want a short action caliber for power and a short action consider a 325 WSM or a 338-284 Win (wildcat). Both will produce better results.

  16. #16
    Member walk-in's Avatar
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    Default I'll take both

    My 2 favorite hunting rifles are an '06 and a 35 Whelen. I can't honestly say that I need anything else (and actually the same was true before I had the Whelen). However, if I happen to come across a good short action I plan on building a 338 Federal. Are there other cartridges out there that will do the same thing? Absolutely. You could say that about most of the cartridges we have today. I think a short action 338 is a great idea, and I expect that it will eventually find a following.

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