For most of my hunting I would like to use just 1 rifle. I have shot everything from a 270 to a 416 and use to favor the 375 H&H. But on a few Canadian moose hunts, other hunters killed their moose using 30-06s just as good as I did with a 375! I concluded that modern bullets evened-up the playing field. On one hunt I shot a worked-up moose 5 times with my 375 using 300 Noslers at only 40 yards. Every shot was in the right spot and my guide hit him a few times more with his 06! That moose convinced me that the 375 is not really a stopping rifle and I might as well be hunting with a lesser caliber. So I got a 300 Win mag and shot my next moose at 400 yards with a 180 Failsafe... after about 3 minutes, very dead moose! So I guess a 300 Win Mag will let me do at 400 yards what I can do with a 30-06 at 300?
I once shot an Elk with a 338 Win Mag at about 175 yards and was very impressed! The 338 seems to hit hard.
So I'm now looking for a new do everything gun and have decided to stick with traditional rounds, the 300 or 338 Win Mags. So is the 338 really better? Does it hit harder with factory ammo out to 400 yards? Forget the science, what happens in the field? You Alaskan hunters should be able to answer this right away. If you had to pick just one rifle for all your hunting, which would it be, the 300 or 338, and why?
If I were facing an angry animal I think I would be more comfortable with a 338? But generally I would prefer to shoot a 300. On the other hand the way hunting is today, if a 338 hits harder, that would be my choice. I do not believe one can be over-gunned while hunting alone in the wilds. I am favoring the 338, but still must wonder if a 180 Failsafe from a 300 kills just as good? For bear hunting I think I would favor a 416! So for hunting everything in North America with modern bullets, which performs better in the field- the 300 or 338?