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Old October 4, 2012, 09:14 AM   #1
goredsox
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.338-06 Anyone?

was perusing the Nosler site and came across these ballistics (see attached) for their custom ammo in .338-06 225gr Accubond>

This peaked my neurons, as I'm looking to firm up the heavy-end of my hunting rifle battery. I'm currently rocking .223, .243win, .30-30win and .308win. Elk & Moose are likely to remain the biggest game I chase (too damn busy for Alaska or Africa). My interest is in avoiding magnums to keep barrel length/rifle-weight down (My hunting is almost always in the mtns... Eastern, Rockies and Arizona with a $#!^-ton of hiking).

Ballistically, the .338-06 seem like my ideal, but would like to hear from you folks about real-world experience with this cartridge in the field. Thanks!
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Old October 4, 2012, 09:45 AM   #2
shane256
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Lots of folks like it. There's a dead-horse-beating argument about which is better... the .338-06 or the .35 Whelen (both based off the .30-06 cartridge). The main thing right now is that you need to be a reloader (or rich) to shoot the .338-06 whereas the .35 Whelen has a fair number of factory load options.

I recently got a .338 Federal... the little brother of the .338-06. I haven't had a chance to hunt with it yet (just got it a month ago) but from all the reading I've done, it makes a fine <300yds cartridge for just about anything in NA (up to moose, but maybe not great bears since you want something with serious authority if you're hunting something that might hunt you back ) And I like shooting the .338 Fed so far. Serious thump for its size.
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Old October 5, 2012, 08:35 AM   #3
jmr40
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I've a custom 338-06.

http://s1129.beta.photobucket.com/us...76157899610649

Overall I like the round. It is a handload only option for me though. The Nosler ammo you are looking at is around $80/ box of 20. With the chamberings you own it would fill a niche. You get a little extra bullet weight and .03" larger diameter over a 30-06, but real world performance is not really any better. There have been several studies/tests done over the years comparing the round. The 30-06 with heavy bullets actually outperformes it and the 35 Whelen on larger game by a small margin.

The 338-06 load you show is a 225 Gr accubond @ 2600 fps. A 30-06 will shoot a 200 gr accubond @2700 fps. A 300 mag at 2900 fps. They will shoot flatter, and because of the better sectional density will penetrate deeper. The extra .03" bullet diameter will never be noticed.

Comparing it to the magnums you may be able to save a small amount of weight. but a couple oz. at best. My 300 mag weighs the same as the 338-06. Recoil is the same too. There is no free lunch. Start shooting heavy 225+ gr bullets from a 338-06 or 35 Whelen and you get magnum recoil even though it does not have "magnum" on the headstamp. The greatest advantage is that you get 4-5 rounds in the magazine compared to a magnums 2-3 rounds.

From a purely practical standpoint a lightweight 30-06 would be a better choice. Ammo is easier to find, much cheaper and it is more versatile. To be honest your 308, with proper loads would work for what you want to hunt.

But if you just want a 338-06 it is a very viable option. It shoots flat enough to be effective at longer ranges, it certainly has the power for anything in North America and if you handload there are lots of bullet options from 160 gr up to 300 gr. And the main reason I keep mine, you are hunting with something a little unique and different than every other hunter on the mountain without sacraficing anything. Just keep in mind you aren't getting any real advantages either.
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Old October 5, 2012, 09:16 AM   #4
JerryM
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Elmer Keith sure did like his .333 O. K. H. I think it was his favorite for most game for many years.
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Old October 5, 2012, 11:26 AM   #5
Mobuck
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I had a 338/06 built 5 or 6 years ago with the intentions of making an elk hunting trip every year or so. Retirement hasn't gone well for me so the hunts haven't happened.
I feel the bigger caliber is beneficial in some cases compared to an equal weight but smaller diameter. One of the places I've hunted has limited range but heavy cover so a 300 Win mag's range is not an asset. I felt the .338 cal bullet would deliver the energy somewhat better at the shorter range than the .308 cal.
All my ammo is handloaded and most of it is using reformed 35 Whelen brass although I did score a good deal on a small lot of WBY 338/06 factory brass that no one else recognized for what it was.
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Old October 5, 2012, 11:23 PM   #6
goredsox
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Outstanding and truly thoughtful responses...I especially appreciate the pointed analysis of JMR. Thanks. Bow season starts in the morn...so I'll likely revisit this thought later. It primarily came up while I was bear hunting last month and it seemed like a large number of BIG black bears are in the area (at least bigger than past seasons around here.) I typically hunt bear with my 30/30 but started carrying the .308 in the last couple weeks (after bumping a large sow and three cubs). But then the ghost of Elmer Keith started whispering ".338" in my ear... But like I said, I don't foresee Alaska or Africa so the 338 mags seemed unconvincing. I think JMR struck a chord of truth with the 30-06...
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Old October 7, 2012, 01:58 PM   #7
Cowboy_mo
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.338 won't help for Africa

If you do get an opportunity for Africa, by all means TAKE IT!!!!

Great place and not really as expensive as you think especially compared to a nice elk hunt, etc in NA.

But, you don't need the .338 for plains game. Most of it is taken with 30-06 or 270. You can't use it for dangerous game (at least in South Africa). South Africa hunting laws require a .375 minimum for cape buffalo and the other dangerous critters.

BTW, you will see more game in RSA in the first few hours you hunt, than you will see in a lifetime of hunting in NA.
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Old October 7, 2012, 06:39 PM   #8
bamaranger
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button pusher

I thought about a .338/06 as a US/NA "heavy rifle". Tell you how I figured, I'd get a Savage action, the .338-06 rebarrel, and a decent stock from Boyd's or somebody.

But.......I'll likely never hunt anything I can't take with a .308 or .270.
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Old October 7, 2012, 07:32 PM   #9
GeauxTide
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I had my 700 LH re-barreled to 338-06 by Shilen, thoated for 250 Noslers. I shoot 200 Hornady and 210 Noslers to 2800 in 22".
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Old October 7, 2012, 10:33 PM   #10
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Great cartridge that was picked up by the wrong company to standardize. I feel A-Square and Weatherby ruined the cartridge from ever being a commercial success. They just priced the rifles and ammunition out of the hands of the average hunter.

I enjoy my 03 Springfield in this cartridge, mine pushes 200 grain bullets @ 2900 fps. However, unless you are after game larger than deer it is kind of unnecessary. Since you will be chasing elk and possibly moose you'll have good medicine for that if you choose this cartridge.

The biggest problem will be finding a rifle. Cooper and Nosler chamber it you might find an old Weatherby Ultra Light, you might find a used custom that you like as well like I did. I'm acquiring the parts to build my first .338-06 to my specifications. I'm hoping to have it come in right at 8lbs all up.
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Old October 11, 2012, 08:53 AM   #11
Bart B.
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A .338-06 shooting 200 grain bullets @ 2900 fps?

That's what a .338 Win. Mag. gets with 200's at pressures about 53,000 CUP.

.35 Whelen's get about 2690 fps with 200-gr. bullets with peak pressurs about 52,000 CUP.

I think the pressure to do that is way, way over safe limits.
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Old October 11, 2012, 11:57 AM   #12
taylorce1
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Quote:
A .338-06 shooting 200 grain bullets @ 2900 fps?

That's what a .338 Win. Mag. gets with 200's at pressures about 53,000 CUP.

.35 Whelen's get about 2690 fps with 200-gr. bullets with peak pressurs about 52,000 CUP.

I think the pressure to do that is way, way over safe limits.
It is safe in my rifle and I'm not overpressure in anyway that I can tell. My load is 56.5 grains of RL 15 with a 200gr Hornady SP and I get 2880 (close enough to 2900 for me) across the chrony from my barrel, Hornady lists 57.1 grains as max load and lists 2900 fps as max velocity for the .338-06 with this 200 grain bullet. My rifle is a 1903 custom with 24" Lilja barrel nothing all that special about it and I get decent brass life out of Winchester .30-06 brass necked up haven't found any signifigant thinning of the case wall, primers look normal and pockets are tight in seven loads.

As with any load data you must work up to and figure out what is safe to shoot in your rifle. However I'm not working ouside the norms of a well published load. I can't run that fast with every 200 grain bullet but I can with the Hornady.
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Old October 16, 2012, 11:23 PM   #13
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338-06

i built a savage 110 into a 338-06 using a er shaw barrel that has since been discontinued, i took a cow buffalo with it in custer south dakota in 2009, it is a very accurate hard hitting round, it definitely hits with authority, i have since taken the barrel off and built a 260 out of it, but i very much enjoyed using the caliber, and enjoyed loading for it, i dont think you can go wrong with it,
,
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Old October 18, 2012, 08:13 PM   #14
GeauxTide
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I concur with Taylor. My gunsmith talked me out of a 338WM because of the excellent expansion ratio (bore versus capacity) of the 338-06. 2900 is very reasonable in 24", as I get 2800 with 200 Hornadys in 22" over the Oehler 33. I use 4320 and get no primer pressure sign or head expansion with my preferred load. I went a grain higher and got more velocity, but groups doubled. I based my setup on Steve Taylor's article many years ago recommending throating for 250 Noslers and shooting 200 Power Points, Interlocks, and 210 Partitions.
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Old October 21, 2012, 01:37 PM   #15
rjhans53
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Saguaro Firearms. I sent you a pm and never got a response. So I'll ask here, do you still have the barrel? I'm looking to put a 338/06 together for a future moose hunt
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