338 cal for long range shooting/1000 yd competition

Discussion in 'Big Stuff -- 6.5mm, 7mm, 30 Cal' started by RossL, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. RossL

    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?
     
  2. canderson

    canderson Site $$ Contributor

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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.
     
  3. RossL

    RossL

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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
     
  4. wapiti25

    wapiti25 Site $$ Contributor

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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.
     
  5. Preacher

    Preacher Site $$ Contributor

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    The last .338 barrel I purchased from Pac-Nor was a flat out shooter chambered for the 338 UM....
     
  6. M700

    M700

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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
     
  7. Laurie

    Laurie Site $$ Contributor

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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
     
  8. Laurie

    Laurie Site $$ Contributor

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    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!)
     
  9. 1000yardstare

    1000yardstare

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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.
     
  10. 300wby

    300wby Site $$ Contributor

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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.
     
  11. cr500

    cr500

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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.
     
  12. RossL

    RossL

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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.
     
  13. CZ550

    CZ550

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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.
     
  14. DBailey

    DBailey Site $$ Contributor

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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)
     
  15. ultramagbrion

    ultramagbrion Guerrilla Machinist Site $$ Contributor

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    For you shooters with 338s , what brakes are working well for you ?
     
  16. M700

    M700

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    Ah, .35 caliber!

    I remembered the cut-off was something over .30, but sorry, didn't remember if .338 was legal or not. I stand corrected!
     
  17. Lapuatom

    Lapuatom

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    I am shooting a McMillan TAC338,27 1/2"Schneider bbl,10"tw. I have been using SMK 300gr @ 2730fps. The rifle has a McMillan brake that is easier on me than my 270wsm. Accuracy is very good,probably would be better in trained hands. Bought the rifle for long range deer/elk. Shot a cow elk at 680 yards last fall, she fell instantly. I know this is not a long shot for a lot of guys but I am new to this game and with a lot of practice under my belt last summer, it was an accomplishment for me. Looking to stretch it out a bit more next fall.
     
  18. GLC

    GLC

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    Not wanting to start a disagreement but I am pretty sure ICFRA rules (Intl confederation of fullbore rifle Assoc) does not permit anything above 8mm (as per Laurie's previous post,) I am pretty sure that you Gentlemen that shoot F class are governed by these rules? We certainly cannot shoot this cal in the Uk and and we use the international rules as we compete in international competition, If Larry B is around I am sure he can confirm, apologies now if I am incorrect.
    That being said I really do not think a break less .338 could cut it in F Class, too much fouling, recoil, and attrition, the 7mm is
    bad enough in a 20 shot string.!
    In previous years we had a couple of .30.338's one of which was awesome, however the barrel didn't last long and the replacement just didn't perform, this had a recoil reducer in the butt, which I think is now verboten!
    I have shot and owned .338's in the past and with a break they are ok to shoot, some pretty accurate, in a heavy bench gun config with a good barrel and the new bullets it may work very well.

    With regards
    Gary
     

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