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Author Topic: 338 cal for long range shooting/1000 yd competition  (Read 5706 times)

Offline RossL

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This topic just keeps popping up in my thoughts. Now that several companies are making high BC bullets it would seem that this is a perfect caliber for us to see shooters using the 338 cal as a long range rifle.

I did some calculations with the new 300 gr berger VLD and the upcoming 250 gr version. It is amazing what they can do with very moderate velocities.

A 338 win mag or 338 WSM could be competitive with the big 300s actually surpassing many of them in wind drift. Thsi bore size would help extend barrel life.  I realize that a light class rifle might be a bit much in the recoil dept but a heavy would have no issues.

The 7mms like the 284 win are now very competitive against the 6.5-284 once the high BC bullets showed on the scene. Seems like it is time for the 338s to emerge as a new force in 1000 yd BR or even F open class. 


Has anyone seen competitors shooting the 338s for 1000 yd?
Any comments?


Offline canderson

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338 cal for long range shooting/1000 yd competition
« Reply #1 on: 07:38 AM, 01/14/11 »
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  • I have never seen a 338 at a match.  I think you would need to work backward with ballistics to see how fast you would need to push a 338 to outperform a 7mm.  Then see what case will allow you do push the bullet.  I would imagine it would take a wsm or win mag to do this.  If your local ranges will allow magnums (I believe that some of the military installations have a cartridge size restriction.  I have a f-open rifle 22lbs.  After shooting 60 180 vld's you know that you have done some shooting.  I think that the recoil might cause more problems than the benefit you will gain from the bullets.
    Chris

    Offline RossL

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    338 cal for long range shooting/1000 yd competition
    « Reply #2 on: 08:00 AM, 01/14/11 »
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  • Hi Canderson,

    I understand the recoil part.

    I crunched some numbers into a recoil calculator. I don't know which chambering you use so I used my 30" barreled 7 rem mag that shoots 180 VLDs accurately at 3000. I then chose the 338 win mag 250 VLD and 72 gr of powder. Here are recoil figures with 22 lb rifle.

    7 mag  9 1/3 ft/lb.
    338 win mag  14 ft/lb

    I guess if 9 ft/lb beats you up with 22 rounds then it is too much for F class.

    On the other hand a heavier rifle for 1000 bench shouldn't be an issue even with free recoil:

    45 lb heavy BR rifle:

    300 win mag AI 210 vld at 2900  6.34 ft/lb
    338 win mag   250 vld   at 2800  6.87
    338 win mag   300 vld   at  2600 7.91

    FYI both above loads surpass the 300 with less wind drift and I am certain far less barrel wear.

    To be honest I am considering making a LR hunting rifle by removing my close to worn out 30" 7 rem mag and replacing it with a 338 win mag to shoot the upcoming Berger 250 gr VLD.
    Recoil would be a bit more but not unreasonable for a hunting round.


    Currenty  14 lb     7 rem mag 180 VLD @ 3000      14.6 ft/lb
    Proposed 14 lbs 338 Win mag 250 VLD @ 2800      21.7 ft/lb

    Down range performance on game should be outstanding with far less wind drift.


    Chime in guys...would like to hear your take on this subject.

    Ross



    Offline wapiti25

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    338 cal for long range shooting/1000 yd competition
    « Reply #3 on: 08:27 AM, 01/14/11 »
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  • Barrel makers in the past have not had the same quality in bore's over 30 cal.  I hope that changes.

    Offline Preacher

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    338 cal for long range shooting/1000 yd competition
    « Reply #4 on: 09:42 AM, 01/14/11 »
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  • The last .338 barrel I purchased from Pac-Nor was a flat out shooter chambered for the 338 UM....
    Age is a high price to pay for maturity.

    Offline M700

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    338 cal for long range shooting/1000 yd competition
    « Reply #5 on: 09:58 AM, 01/14/11 »
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  • It's been a while since I looked at the regulations but I think you're out of luck for F-Class because:

    .338 is too big a bore to be legal

    No muzzle brake allowed (and mighty hard kicking without one)

    One or both of those is likely to make your proposed .338 long range gun a non-starter. Folks forget that F-Class is a part of NRA Highpower shooting, subject to those rules. Now - as I stated, it's been a while since I looked at the regs, so I might be well behind the times on what's allowed in F-Class these days.

    Regards, Guy
    « Last Edit: 10:00 AM, 01/14/11 by M700 »


    Offline Laurie

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    338 cal for long range shooting/1000 yd competition
    « Reply #6 on: 10:02 AM, 01/14/11 »
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  • We had a few .338LM users over here in the early days of F-Class. They shot 'through the wind' something awesome (and that was with Lapua 250s not today's much higher BC 300s), but never quite cut the mustard with top scores. This was likely down to recoil and behaviour on the rest and bags, as well as their being out of the box Sako TRG42s mostly that didn't group quite as well as a custom-built six-five (very few sevens around then).

    Remember, muzzle brakes aren't allowed in F-Class, and that seems to be the key issue. Every .338 shooter I know says a brake is essential, really transforming the rifle handling. The factory barrel quality issue can be overcome of course with a top quality barrelmaker's efforts, giving higher MVs too as they'll be 30" plus length compared to 26-27".

    People I know who shoot them say they come into their own beyond 1,300yd, although we had a well known UK user shoot a record group in our annual Diggle 500yd 'Fly Competition' last year (prone, rested like F-Class but brakes allowed). However, my fellow Brit F-Class shooter Gary Costello is adamant on another post in the forum that his 7mm/270WSM will outperform the .338LM at 1,500yd - and as he is the F-Class World Champion and a somewhat more accomplished long-range shooter than yours truly, it's rather difficult to argue with him on this one!

    Custom built 338s were the rifles to shoot in European long-range sniper competitions, like the annual event that Lapua runs in Finland, a few years ago often using machined bronze bullets such as those made by Lutz Mueller in Germany. I don't know if they're still the 'top dogs' there now as even more fearsome numbers like the 40 calibre Cheytac have appeared on the scene.

    Laurie,
    York, England

    Offline Laurie

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    338 cal for long range shooting/1000 yd competition
    « Reply #7 on: 10:11 AM, 01/14/11 »
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    .338 is too big a bore to be legal [M700]

    Yes, F-Class is limited to 8mm calibre as well as no muzzle brakes. We used to overlook the 8mm rule in our club competitions at Diggle, but not the brake-ban (because of the effect on neighbouring shooters).

    Since those days, the UK Ministry of Defence has barred the .338 from most of its rifle ranges (and that includes Bisley) on safety grounds should a bullet 'escape'. Apart from Diggle and one or two other such privately owned ranges, .338LM users have to shoot on specially hired MoD 'field-firing' ranges that are in the middle of large military artillery and armour training grounds under the auspices of the UK Fifty Cal Shooting Association. They only get a few days each year made available, so a .338LM owner  is severely constrained over here. (Small country with lots of people!)

    Offline 1000yardstare

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    338 cal for long range shooting/1000 yd competition
    « Reply #8 on: 10:39 AM, 01/14/11 »
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  • Our local Army range has a safety template large enough for .50 cal so we have a few .338 Lapua shooters. During a practise we stick them 10 positions down from the Palma and F Class shooters because of the sideways blast from the muzzle brake. No fun picking grass seeds and grasshopper parts out of your acton.

    Had one chap show up at a practise last Summer with a heavy Sako .338LM. Said he wanted to sight in at 1000 yds for Elk hunting out West??? When we told him he would have to shoot down the line with the .50 cal guys he said he would take the muzzle brake off so he could shoot with the F Class guys. No point trying to argue with him about manageable recoil so we let him try it. The muzzle bounced around by a foot in random directions, totally unmanageable. Even though there is a huge safety template behind the backstop we do like most if not all of the bullets to actually hit the backstop so we told him he had to put the muzzle brake back on and go down with the .50 cal guys. Never saw him again. Don`t know how he made out with his Elk. Hope the outfitter in Alberta knew what he was dealing with.

    The Ontario Championships are shot on this range but muzzle brakes are not allowed in competition so the safety template is a moot point. The Canadian Championships are shot on a range with a max of 8mm at all times so the larger calibers have never been an issue in this event.
    Certified RSO (Civilian)
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    Offline 300wby

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    338 cal for long range shooting/1000 yd competition
    « Reply #9 on: 02:17 PM, 01/14/11 »
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  • I shot a 338 Lapua with 300 gr. bergers last fall at the fun shoot at  the Williamsport 1000 yrd range.Can not remember the exact group size it was in the high seven inch range with a 96 score for a ten shot match. Vel was 2912 average.Has a 31'' krieger  ten twist barrel.
    dan frazier

    Offline RDavies

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    338 cal for long range shooting/1000 yd competition
    « Reply #10 on: 07:56 PM, 01/14/11 »
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  • For 1000yd Heavy Gun, it would be something to think about. With 100lb of gun weight to tame the handling, I wouldnt mind getting one. I would probably get a necked up 300 RUM if I was to do it, only because the authorities in my area are taking avery close look at proper "Sniper" calibers such as 338 Lapua.
    The new 300gn Berger Hybrids would be good in the windy ranges.
    NSW,  Australia

    Offline RossL

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    338 cal for long range shooting/1000 yd competition
    « Reply #11 on: 08:40 PM, 01/14/11 »
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  • Very interesting comments everyone. Sure are lots of restrictions on using calibers larger than 30 cal. I had no idea.

    The larger 338 cartridges are mentioned but nothing on something smaller. I am thinking of the 6BR equivalent in 338. The 338 WSM and 338 Win mag would be far easier to deal with and barrel life would be excellent. . 

    I had never heard of poor quality barrels for 338. FYI I asked Bartlein if they made a 5R 338 barrel and they do.

    I'll keep watching this thread to see what else pops up.
    « Last Edit: 08:49 PM, 01/14/11 by RossL »

    Offline CZ550

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    338 cal for long range shooting/1000 yd competition
    « Reply #12 on: 12:17 AM, 01/15/11 »
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  • I have a 338lm on a Bat Repeater action that I use for LRH and for shooting steel, It has shot some pretty impressive groups at 1000, I would love to see what I could do with one in a bench rest configuration.  The brake is the deal breaker, I could shoot a 100 rounds thru mine no prob but without a break, I don't even want to try.   It's a shame they don't require all guns to have a supressor.

    Offline DBailey

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    338 cal for long range shooting/1000 yd competition
    « Reply #13 on: 12:47 AM, 01/15/11 »
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  • This is the U.S. F-Class Open rule on caliber.

    3.4 F-Class Rifle -
    (a) F-Class Open Rifle (F-0) - A rifle restricted to a bore diameter no larger than .35 caliber. (Attention is directed to safety fan limitations of various ranges. Individual ranges may further restrict ammunition)
    David Bailey
    Texas
    The Long Shots F-Class Rifle Team

    Offline ULTRAMAGBRION

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    338 cal for long range shooting/1000 yd competition
    « Reply #14 on: 05:33 AM, 01/15/11 »
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  • For you shooters with 338s , what brakes are working well for you ?
    Ultramag-Brion Jordan ~ Dover Foxcroft , Maine
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