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Old July 15, 2006, 09:38 PM   #1
270Win
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Savage 116 in .338 Win Mag - question

Hey all,

I made my monthly pilgrimage to the consignment section of the small, local gun shack. The shotguns had been cleaned out, and what little there was ...well, not good. A beat-up Ithaca 37... for $310?

In the rifle section, they still had the Mosin sniper setup (of dubious authenticity) for $400+, and two SKS's with refinished stocks for $225 each... two Marlin 336s, one in .30-30 and one in .35 Remington, both $250...

But the new rifle, which caught my eye, was a Savage 116 in .338 Winchester Magnum, stainless steel over a black synthetic stock. The barrel was tapered and was ported.

This MAY be the 116FHSAK ... but it could just be an aftermarket barrel as well. The Savage Arms site represents the 116FHSAK as having an "adjustable" muzzle brake, but this rifle was simply ported, no adjustible anything.

The magazine well and barrel are dirty as hell. Grimy, several swipes with a finger couldn't penetrate the gunk above the magazine follower. Bolt showed some definite use, was also dirty. None of this looked like abuse, per se, but just a rifle that had seen some heavy use and hadn't been cleaned very thoroughly before being put up on the block.

Priced at $399. I have no idea if the barrel is shot out, or really anything other than what the eye could see.

Now, for the part where I'd like your input. I've been considering a .338 for a long time, as a long-long distance rifle ... 1000+ yards. I'm normally a Remington man through and through, and was considering a new 700XCR for some time. There are a ton of them for $690 on Gunbroker, which is only $30 more than I paid for my excellent 700VLS in .223.

But here's a chance to get a Savage (great reviews here, but a relative unknown to me...only ever shot a couple of the older ones) for almost $300 less, in basically the same package (stainless/synthetic) WITH a ported barrel. The dirt and grime are a definite minus - who would buy one of these and not clean it front to back after every range trip? Hell, I do that to my .22s, let alone a .338 - and I can't be sure the barrel isn't shot out. The Savage Arms website says the model is "New!" but who knows what that means... doesn't really inform me on the barrel's life. I can ask if the store's gunsmith has gone over it, but based on previous conversations with the people at that store, I somehow doubt it. They negociate a price, it goes up on the rack.

My other reservations are minimal - I've also been considering a .375 Holland and Holland, simply because I don't see it popping up as much in long-range shooting, and I enjoy a challenge. Also, $400 is nothing to sneeze at for me, so this deal has to be pretty good; I've been re-reading all the glowing Savage reviews here, which is slowly strengthening my wallet-reaching arm muscles...

Also, I *will* be reloading, so ammo cost is not really a factor.

So... what say you all about the 116 or .338 Win Mag?
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Old July 16, 2006, 02:38 AM   #2
tINY
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Never thought of the 338 Win mag as a long range number......




-tINY


Last edited by tINY; July 17, 2006 at 01:45 AM.
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Old July 16, 2006, 03:19 AM   #3
270Win
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I'm thinking of it as a poor man's .338 Lapua, which I just finished reading about. In it's Accuracy International iteration, the Lapua Magnum is good to well past 1000 yards, second only to the .50 and better in trajectory.

I'm trying to go for something other than the usual long-range platform of ~.260/6.5

I also have a soft spot for "hunting" cartridges being used as target rounds; my first experience with this was with my namesake: I spent quite a while developing a really accurate 500 yard handload for the .270 using all sorts of various bullet weights. Then my 500-yard location (a private farm) dried up when a series of housing developments was built nearby

But I have the bug again, and though .338 Lapua is used extensively for long range precision shooting, .338 Win Mag seems pinned into the "Winchester Magnum Hunting Series" as my friend calls it, of .264, .300, .338 and the mighty .458.

And .338 Win Mag is not THAT far off in terms of ballistics from .338 Lapua:

(for a 250-grain bullet, taken from gunsandammomag.com)

338 Lapua: 2690 muzzle vel., 4420 muzzle energy, -49.5@500
338 Win Mag: 2660 muzzle vel., 3927 muzzle energy, -52.7@500
338 RUM: 2860 muzzle vel. (!), 4540 muzzle energy, -44.9@500

I'm not sure about the non-magnum .338s - .338-06 and .338 Federal.

I'm also not sure I want to deal with the recoil of a RUM... which I hear is considerable. I've been told the .338 Win Mag is manageable, though stiff.
For what it's worth, .270 and .30-06 aren't really noticeable to me until I've cleared about two boxes (40 rounds)... then they slowly become more and more of a chore, but I learned quickly to quit at those two boxes and avoid unnecessary discomfort.
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Old July 16, 2006, 03:43 AM   #4
maas
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the 338wm is a great hunting caliber. i have herd of prople using it for distance shooting but im sure that it would have to be modified. as far as the savage goes the thing i hear praised on them is the trigger. id get the 700 (actually if it was me id used a win 70 with the crf action) and have the stock done and a custome barrel built.

Here is a table comparing a bunch of high-BC loads for various long range calibers:


http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=139283
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Old July 17, 2006, 02:24 AM   #5
tINY
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Check your info again - I belive that the Lapua has about 25% more case capacity.

That could make a bit of a difference with the heavy bullets.




-tINY

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Old July 17, 2006, 03:17 AM   #6
270Win
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Well... case volume aside (can't seem to find info on that), I checked Winchester and Hornady sites for their .338 Win Mag stats:

(225 grain bullet)
Winchester: 2800 muzzle velocity / 3918 muzzle energy / -42.6@500

Hornady: 2950 muzzle velocity / 4347 muzzle energy (!) / -43.2@500

and then dug this up at http://www.cpcartridge.com/338lapua-B.htm:

(225 grain bullet)
Conley: 3000 muzzle velocity / 4496 muzzle energy / -38.68

.........................

Then I found this site: http://ballistics.ntinnovations.com/OpenLoad.aspx
and dug up the following:

.338 Win Mag (225 grain)
Nosler bullet w/ RL-19: 2800 muzzle velocity / 3916 energy / -71@500 (!)

.338 Lapua (225 grain)
Hornady SSP w/ retumbo: 3120 velocity / 4862 energy / -59@500

.........................

Obviously there is a lot of variation between the various sources... god only knows why. Seems like the last source is the most off, considering Winchester, Hornady and GunsandAmmomag.com are all pretty similar. Only a real life test would show which table is correct. But none of them, factory or handloader, show a really overwhelming triumph by Lapua over Win Mag, which is infinitely cheaper and more readily available. One reason I'm considering this is because I could never afford one of the rifles designed for the .338 Lapua platform... and .338 Win Mag is much more quotidian, to borrow an old phrase.

It also seems completely possible to use the Sierra 250gr MatchKing bullets in the Win Mag, which would level the playing field a little bit more.

But you are completely right, tINY, that out at those extreme range you need every bit of oomph you can get, and the case capacity and bullet weight really begins to widen the gap -

For case capacity, I reverted to the "easy" way: I went to good old stevespages.com, and found the following for .338, 225 grain bullet:
Recommended charge of H4831 in Lapua: 79-95 grains
Recommended charge of H4831 in Win Mag: 60-78 grains

Which is a solid 20-30% more across the board.

As an aside, .338 RUM for the same powder is 81-93... up there in Lapua range, capacity-wise.

Anyway, I think I'm going to pass on this particular rifle. The dirty condition, the relative unknown of .338 Win Mag used for distance, financial considerations, the strange barrel, the cost of replacing it if it's shot, the current lack of a 1000-yard range... add up to an ultimate negative.

So, any Maryland shooters interested in a Savage 116 in .338 Win Mag, have at it! The Gun Shack in Mt Airy, Frederick County has one on consignment for $399...

...........................

But I'm not done with this idea, not by a long shot So feel free to keep posting and fuel the .338 fire!

Here's a final tidbit I unearthed: http://www.snipercountry.com/InRevie...rMansLapua.asp
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Old July 17, 2006, 01:42 PM   #7
tINY
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The 338 win mag gets used in Alaska and other northern places alot. It's favored for Griz and Moose. Chances are that it has seen a lot of hard carry and relatively little firing.

A lot of Alaskan guides are reported to carry that caliber for back-up.



-tINY

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Old July 17, 2006, 01:55 PM   #8
bclark1
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i had the same thoughts about a .338 win mag, as a longer-shooting, heavy-hitting round. then i did some homework. up to about 180gr bullets, a 30-06 is going to be flatter shooting and faster downrange than the .338. if you want to shoot long to good effect, you need it to start fast and stay fast. it starts fast with the muzzle velocity, and stays fast by minimizing drag. without getting technical, smaller cross sections are going to cut down on drag. if you purely want to shoot long, i'd get something considerably smaller that won't beat you up as much. the .338 lapua is cool, but as you mentioned, expensive. if you want to go cheap, the .300 win mag is probably a smarter bet, and still has enough weight to knock the tar out of anything you'd probably ever shoot it at. it's also the latest round for our military's snipers. if you have some extra money to spend, though, but not lapua change, i would look into the .300 weatherby mag. it's replaced the .338 on my wish list. bullet's aren't quite as big, and they're on the pricey side compared to non-proprietary calibers, but the platform to shoot them can be had relatively cheap and the velocity's got at least a couple hundred FPS at the muzzle on pretty much anything 30-cal or bigger that i've seen. i haven't shot it, and i'm no expert, but on my reading i think that's the one i'm going to jump for when i get the chance - i think it's 3rd or 4th in line on the wish list at this point.
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