325 vs 338



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  • 325 vs 338

    I am looking at possibly getting a new rifle for hunting in Alaska and am looking for some suggestions. I have narrowed it down to either the 325wsm or the 338wm. I want a rifle that is somewhat lightweight and will be using it to hunt various type of animals. I would only be using factory loads as I do not know how to handload.

    Can anbody compare the recoil for the two? Is the 325 big enough for brown bears? I have also been thinking about getting a 338 and then having the barrel cut down to 22" to reduce weight. What would this do for accuracy and recoil?

    Any suggestions appreciated.

  • #2
    338 winmag

    I would go with the 338 winmag as you'll have a wider selection of ammo to choose from for hunting different game. I would much prefer the 338 for brownbear as you can use the 250 grainers. I've never shot the 325 wsm so I can't comment on recoil but you could always add a muzzlebrake to the 338. The 22" barrel won't affect the accuracy but you will lose some velocity and add some recoil.
    I once held the yardstick of anothers perfection, I threw it down and carved my own................


    • #3
      325 v 338

      While I can not comment on the pros/cons of the 325WSM I can about the 338WM. In 1971 I bought a Win MD 70, 338 Mag to be used as a back-up weapon for bow and hand gun hunting. I had the barrel cut to 20" with peep sights. Need less to say I am still shooting the same rifle and have no regerts about cutting the barrel. Over the years I have replaced the stock and have changed the scope several times. Yes I hand load but there are several different factory loads that one would not go wrong with shooting. This rifle has gone all over this state and I hope that it will continue to do so.
      Good hunting.


      • #4
        325 vs 338


        While I have not ever taken a 325 WSM hunting I have shot a few hundred rounds through one. Kimber Montanas specifically. This rifle is of good quality, light and handy though not well ballanced due to it's light barrel. Good rifle just not perfect, most aren't. Ballistically it is not a 338 WM and can't be. It is probably a great compromise between the 300 magnums and the 338 Mag. but won't have the best attributes of either. Ammo for it is not easy to find and in the more remote areas, non-existant. It would not be the best for heavy bears but probably better than any 30 caliber magnum when using the heaviest bullets (220 Grains).

        The 338 Win Mag is in a different category. As a hunting cartridge, it is superb. It will put a thicker, heavier bullet through the toughest of tissue. It is a very hard hitting round, rivaling the great 375 H&H with it's ability to slay great beasts. I have used it for elk, moose, kudu, eland and sable (and a host of lesser game). All are big, tough animals. It is very well suited for the largest and toughest of ungulates, and as well for the largest of bears.

        I have hunted with a 20" barreled 338 WM and though velocity is a little less(250 grains at 2600 fps) it is very accurate. I don't notice difference in recoil between the 20", 22" or the 24" guns that I have but the 20" is louder. I don't use a muzzle brake but they would be extremely loud.
        I have a very nice and handy 20" carbine that ballances well. It's short barrel is heavier giving a little weight forward feel and makes quick offhand shots come easy. With the McMillan classic fiberglass stock it weighs in at 7lbs, 2 oz, stripped and just over 8 lbs with the 1.5-5x20 Leupold. This, to me, is a better package than the Kimber 325. Only ounces heavier but shorter and with better stopping power than the 325 will ever have.

        Life is a compromise, so the thing to do is get both!

        Good shootin'.

        Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?


        • #5
          The 325 WSM is a "tweener" with the 300 WM and 338 WM on either end. Both the 300 WM and 338 WM kill with little difference-from what I've seen in many dozens of client/personal killed moose and brown bear- the 325 WSM does offer good bullet selection for Alaskan hunting (from sheep to our big bears) and I wouldn't let ammo availability in bush Alaska keep me from buying one. With the 325 WSM you'll get similar bullet performance as the 300 WM only with heavier bullets and your only lacking recoil and 250 grain performance from the 338 WM. IMO if you want to sling heavy lead go with the 375 H&H (or bigger) over the 338 WM.


          • #6
            325wsm vs 338

            forget the 325 wsm if you don't have the money to pay for the 'new' cartridge. Accuracy in 'standard' (non-Kimber rifles) is mediocre. Have shot 338 and 325 at range, 338 in the Win 70 , the 325 in the Abolt .
            The 338 is sharper recoil, the 325 is like a 3006 with 200+ grainers for recoil.
            My 338 is accurate , very accurate. Very displeased with the Abolt. Talking to other 325 shooters and reading up it seems that the 220 grainer is the only accurate(?) bullet weight out there for the 325, whereas the 338 sings along with about anything.
            From the east coast wannabe Alaskan, pay attention to these guys, 375HH for the whumper and bullet versatility ( I personally find the 375 a lot easier to handle recoil wise than the 338 win mag) 338 winmag for the performance in a lighter bullet weight in comparison to the 375HH.
            These 'new' cartridges; check ballistic charts, brass and ammo availability, store bought ammo prices. For the average guy, what is the big deal, why need the new cartridge. Geez, look at the new 338 Federal! just get a 35 Whelen! This way you don't have to pay twice the price for the factory ammo at the store.
            Don't forget, the rifle and ammo manufacturers are trying to sell more guns and ammo, don't get pulled in, use the same money to shoot more, buy better optics, and spend more time out in the field where you want to be in the first place.............


            • #7
              325wsm vs 338wm

              To all those true Alaskans, would this person be better served with the 30-06 since he mentions he would be using it for various game, factory loads only, lighweight(?) rig?
              I am curious, is the 338 wm the 'minimum' rifle for up there ?


              • #8
                More 325 vs 338 vs.........

                ...When shooting the recently borrowed 325's I loaded 200 and 220 grain bullets, and many others, but these are what I would consider hunting bullets. When going up in caliber (diameter) there is nothing to be gained unless we add bullet weight. So the 325 only adds "power" only if it shoots heavier bullets than a 30 caliber. Typically the 30 calibers will utilize the 180's and as needed we can go to 200 and 220 grain for heavier game. The advantage of the 30 magnums over the 30-06 is it's ability to handle the 200-220 grain bullets, meaning will send them at higher velocity, for more energy. (And a little flatter trajectory)

                The 325 WSM had a little trouble getting the 220's to 30 magnum velocity.
                My 300 WM and 308 NM, and other magnum thirties I have used will launch 220 grains at 2800+ fps. My 30-06 will send 220 grain Kodiaks at 2600 fps with a max load. The 325 WSM could only muster 2700 and change with maximum loads, with the 220's. The 200 grain maximum with H4350 were at just over 2800 fps in the Kimbers. So technically this caliber falls short of the 30 magnums performance with 200-220 grain bullets. Though it is a thicker bullet, it has less sectional density and would add nothing to the equation of killing power, even if launched at 30 magnum velocity.

                Many folks say they see little difference in the performance of the 30 mags and the 338 WM. From what I have seen, this is because folks who shoot the 338 find recoil offensive with the 250 grain loads or trajectory lacking and go to the 200-225 grain round. When the 250 grain bullet is used in the 338 Win Mag, I have seen a measurable difference in killing power over the 30's.

                I'm not really raggin' on the 325 just pointing out it isn't the do-all caliber some had hoped for. I spent $120 on factory ammo for the 325 and none of it came close to the advertised velocity from the Kimbers, this has been the case with all the WSM series of cartridges I have chronographed. I was able to improve on the factory ammo with the 220 grain load, handload vs factory but still not meet the optimistic advertised velocity.

                In spite of all this I do like the 325 WSM. Especially in the Kimber Montana rifles. I would want a little more heft in the barrel and a better trigger, other than that, I like it a lot. I think the 325 is the best of the WSM's, and, yes, I would carry one and hunt with one. They do seem to give ballistics greater than their recoil, even in the light rifle. I will say the WSM cartridge case is one of the best ever designed. The case is very strong with it's shoulder angle, though with this angle velocity suffers a bit, but cases last forever. Case stretching is nil and I was able to get as much as 12 firings with maximum loads from a case. I would make it 2.5" long and not rebate the rim. Maybe make it a little smaller in diameter, about .532" vs .545" oh, that is the new Ruger magnum! Good shootin'.

                Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?


                • #9
                  I have killed moose and caribou with my 06. Just bought a Kimber Montana .325 though. My partner and I killed two Dall Sheep with it a couple weeks ago. 350 yds and 200yds. Heck a 270 or 243 would have done the same. Have not killed a moose yet. Hopefully in a week or two! My partner has a 338 and has killed moose, caribou and black bear with it. He is thinking about going to the Rem 338RUM though for some reason. "Mo powa!" I guess. I think either would work good unless you want to hunt the big Brownies on Kodiak. Heck, the 325 with the 220's may do the job in the right hands. I'm sure a few have been killed with less. I wouldn't want to find out though. I don't care about hunting them so I went with the 325. More power than my ol 06, lighter, weatherproof and it should kill anything I want to shoot.
                  With the factory load 200 gr accubonds I can shoot 1 inch groups at 100 yds and 3 inch at 200 which is the best I can hold. Should have plenty of knockdown on moose at 300yds also. For years the 338 has been the ol standby in Alaska. Can't go wrong with it.
                  A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again


                  • #10
                    I looked at both the 325 WSM and the .338 WNMG about a year ago when I was thinking about hunting in Brown Bear areas. I had the smaller 7mm-08, and a much larger guide gun, but was looking at something for Moose and Brown Bear with better accuracy. Even though I think the 325 WSM is more than adequate for a Brown Bear, I went with the .338 winmag simply because ammo is more available in this round. Most ammunition companies chart sales of ammo, and usually, .338 winmag is in the top ten. This means you have a better chance of finding the ammo for your rifle wherever you go. If you are worried about recoil, you can always go with the BAR lightweight stalker. The gas mechanism takes a little bit of the punch out of the recoil. To me, it feels like shooting a .30-06. weighs 7lbs 12oz.
                    "A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user." Theodore Roosevelt, 1913


                    • #11
                      Murphy, Guess I don't see eye to eye with you on the killing power of the 300 and 338.........I'm basing my observation's on what the two cartridges do after initial hits on bears (wounded), neither one has the "roll'um" effect of the 375 H&H, just as the 375 doesn't have the same effect of the bigger 45's-458WM and Lott.........barring a CNS hit of course. Don't think I'm bashing the 338WM cause I'm not and it is a fine all around Alaskan hunting round as is the 300WM, 30-06 ect.

                      I don't posess the vast knowledge of cartridges and reloading you do, just my observations from many dozens of bear kills taken with a wide variety of cartridges.........Very un-scientific and just opinion on an always interesting topic-cartridge comparison-.

                      Back to the 325 and buckmarks?'s, which I didn't answer completly in my previous post.

                      Will the 325WSM work on Bears? Yes.

                      Cutting a 338WM to 22"? If you want a so called handy, lighter weight gun then go for it.


                      • #12
                        300 vs 338...


                        I wouldn't say we don't see eye to eye on those two. I'm just saying an edge goes to the 338 with heavy bullets. Given a good hit and a wait and see situation. (Only one shot to take) Multiple hits are always faster. And I don't mean to say the 338 is equal to the 375's, that seems to be a big step up in horse power.

                        Also I would not call your observations unscientific, not for dozens of kills, certainly. I would say one or two won't prove much but after a number with similar reaction a guy can make a good call.

                        What do you think of the 458 short vs he Lott? How do the 416's do on good brownies?

                        I agree with the 325 as a bear gun. It isn't going to be a 375 but it is going to be a bigger hit than the -06 and it is pretty good with 200-220 grainers. I would guess it won't be much different from the 30 mags with 200 grain. I just made up some ammo for someone here on the forum for his 30-06 bear gun. I'm hoping to hear good news from him on that.

                        I have a tendancy to categorize each caliber with a certain game animal.
                        I think the 338 WM is well suited for the big, heavy hooved creatures. I think the 375 is more of a lion/bear gun and the 416/404 ideally suited for the likes of cape buffalo and such. There is nothing wrong with using more gun if you can shoot it but when we go down a notch there isn't much room for error. The shot must be just right and it isn't always possible to get it just right. Something could be said for a lighter recoiling caliber that can be shot very well and more quickly. This for some is better than one shot with a big bore. An individual must evaluate his/her own merits and shoot the most gun the best they can shoot. There needs to be a sensible minimum and common sense comes into play here.

                        Your right this is an interesting subject and does seem to get a lot of attention. Keep shootin'.

                        Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?


                        • #13
                          Yes, I do like the 250's in the 338 for bear, would be great for our big bears!

                          I like the 458 Win for Alaska hunting, guess I don't think that the extra power the Lott offers is needed here. If I was an African hunting junkie I might change my mind, or not.

                          Any of the 416's are great stoppers of our big bears. On both the big 45's and the 416's...........They are great tools for guides in the back-up dept., don't know if I would really recommend them to the average bear hunter though, unless the hunters a big bore enthusiast..........GRIN!

                          I'll add moose to what you put with the 375.


                          • #14
                            Since you say you only shoot factory ammo, I'd recomend against the 325 WSM. It is an interesting niche cartridge, but the available factory ammo is limited, and when the round is no longer new and being promoted, that factory ammo will really dry up.

                            While the one gun concept is great, you often times make some compromises that don't pan out so well in the real world. I've fired the gammut of small to big bores, and have formed some opinions as to how much recoil I'm willing to deal with for various weight rifles, and I've toted enough heavy rifles afield to know in many situations I'll give up a touch of power to have a handier rifle.

                            In a relatively lightweight rifle, the most recoil I'm willing to deal with is dealt by the 300 WSM. It isn't a big bear whopper, but a good 180 gr will kill any bear we have. More importantly, with a good 165 gr bullet, it'll really reach and take any of our deer species. For general purpose use, IMHO, you really can't beat a 30-06, 300 WSM or 300 win mag. The advantage of the 300 WSM is lighter factory rifles, and they deffinately have their place.

                            Now for the times you need more gun, by all means get a 338 or 375. And have a gun that is heavy enough to be shootable. To me 250 gr @ 2500-2700 fps is where it starts for medium bore power, and then it goes up from there.

                            No offense to 325 fans, but to me it is a jack of all trades, master of none. It isn't as flat shooting as a 300 mag. It doesn't through as much lead as a 338. If it's built light, it'll buck more than the 300, and built heavy, might as well have a 338 mag.
                            Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

                            If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.


                            • #15

                              Boy this seems to be a good subject I am glad I asked the question. I think I am leaning towards the 325 as I plan to hunt bear but not the big boys on Kodiak. Also I am not to concerned with ammo availability. Of course as I am writing this I think maybe I should go with the 338. Tough decision. Thanks for all the replies.


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