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Old February 3, 2013, 02:16 PM   #1
imp
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.338 Lapua?

I've read a number of threads referencing this caliber lately, and I'm just not getting it. Are there a lot of moose snipers out there that don't take shots less than 1500 yards? Does it have a practical application other than punching paper at long range?

I guess the reason I'm really confused is, why not the .50 bmg? It can't be any more expensive than the wallet burning Lapua, its got more downrange energy, and has a history of long range accuracy.

I'm all in favor of owning whatever you want, I just want help with why someone would want a .338 Lapua.
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Old February 3, 2013, 05:42 PM   #2
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Better ballistic coefficient in .338 = better long range accuracy. .50 BMG is great, but for even more extended ranges the .338 is a better choice.
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Old February 3, 2013, 06:53 PM   #3
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Everything else being the same, using the 300 grn SMK, the 338 Lapua remains super sonic to 2000 yards. The 338 Win Mag remains super sonic to 1800 yards.

How many here can constantly hit an 18 inch target consistantly at 1800 yards? Not many, I certainly can't. So what advantage is there to shooting a couple hundred yards farther.

I'm sure the extra recol of the Lapua isn't going to help you get that extra yardage.

Now look at the cost between the two, Rifle, Ammo, or components to load the round.

Makes you wonder if people don't buy the Lapua just to feed their egos.
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Old February 3, 2013, 07:15 PM   #4
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I had a chance buy this one a bunch of years back. The smith had built three. Two for some SWAT outfit and the third for himself ... just 'cause he was building some. He played with it for a while and then I bought it. Here are some pics. I have it set up with a Redfield Palma rear and Redfield front sight as well as a Horus Vision 4-16 X 50. This is a BIG, HEAVY rifle and because of that, the recoil isn't much over a "stout" .30-06.

I certainly cannot shoot up to the rifle's potential ... but that didn't stop me from buying it. Once a year, 50 rounds, it's fun, but too many guns ... never enough time!

First pic, 5 rounds of .338 Lapua next to a 7.62 X 51 NATO for comparison.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 338 LAPUA #1.jpg (145.4 KB, 113 views)
File Type: jpg 338 LAPUA #2.jpg (152.4 KB, 98 views)
File Type: jpg 338 LAPUA #3.jpg (152.9 KB, 85 views)
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Old February 3, 2013, 11:11 PM   #5
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I had a chance to shoot a friend's Remington Model 700 in .338 Lapua. It came with a muzzle brake. It seemed to have less recoil than my son's Model 70 in .300 WinMag...
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Old February 4, 2013, 04:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
Does it have a practical application other than punching paper at long range?
Yes shooting people.
They longest confirmed sniper kill has been made with 338 Lapua.
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Old February 4, 2013, 07:09 PM   #7
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The difference between the 280 & 338 Lapula is more then "close".

With the 280 you don't get beat to death, I don't care who you are after a while recoil WILL GET TO YOU.

And:

The difference in cost of the two rounds means more shooting for the 280, more practice gives you a better chance to hit the target at extended and close ranges.

An example, I can go through my score books for 1000 yard matches. The first 10 strings using my 300 WM wasn't bad but taper off during the second string.

Using the M1A in service rifle, my score remain pretty constant through the 20 shot match.

I just don't get wore out shooting a lighter round and end up shooting better scores.
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Old February 4, 2013, 07:22 PM   #8
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One of my brothers in law had a custom 338 Lapua built for elk hunting. While a 280 may shoot as flat, it won't do it with 250 gr bullets. He has taken several mule deer and elk at ranges around 700 yards.

Not my cup of tea, but he likes it and is good with it.
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Old February 4, 2013, 08:31 PM   #9
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You can take mule deer and elk at 700 yards with a 7mag or 300wm. .338 lapua by the numbers is almost in the anti-material class.

And, seems to me that most sniper shots at ranges where the .338 really has a ballistic edge, your going to be hampered so badly by environmental factors and optics limitations that shooting is a poor choice. Perhaps in the desert, and your so far away your target can't retaliate...
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Old February 4, 2013, 08:36 PM   #10
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I have not owned or shot either .338Lapua or 50BMG rifles, although I have looked at them quite a few times at the lgs (would like to own them one day when I can afford it). The price difference between two rifles can be a factor. A Barrett 50BMG M82A1 is $8900 while the Barrett .338Lapua was around $4700 which is almost less than half of the 50.

In some applications the 50BMG can be overkill and ammo costs something like $5/rd depending on what you use. .338Lapua has better BC and a bit cheaper overall, while still having the same range(or more) as the 50.
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Old February 5, 2013, 02:53 PM   #11
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Because of the price and the fact that there is no real need for a civilian to use one the only reason a regular guy would have one would be just because its cool. In my opinion its only real need is as a sniper round.
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Old February 6, 2013, 12:16 AM   #12
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Sniper round only? Not a long range plinking round for those who do not care about the costs?

I know a few folks who fire up their Barret .50's for "family fun day" shoots in their back yard....

At about $5 per shot, i hear my wallet squalling just watching them go thru a few ammo cans before supper...

Brent
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Old February 6, 2013, 12:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
Because of the price and the fact that there is no real need for a civilian to use one the only reason a regular guy would have one would be just because its cool. In my opinion its only real need is as a sniper round.
So "just for fun" is no longer a valid reason to have a gun? Heck, many of my guns are just for fun guns. I have a few hunting guns, and a few defensive guns, but many are fun range toys....
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Old February 6, 2013, 10:18 AM   #14
The Baron
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I didn't say you shouldn't have them just for fun but most people won't have a reason other than that to buy one. Thats what I meant when I said people would buy them because they're cool. I certainly don't have the money for that kinda fun

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Old February 6, 2013, 11:43 AM   #15
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Probably be good medicine for use on Kodiak Island...
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Old February 6, 2013, 03:48 PM   #16
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Like I said in the first post, I'm all for owning what makes you happy. I purposefully compared the .338 lapua to the big 50 because, in my humble experience, if your going to spend big money on a long range fun gun, what could be more fun than sending 750 grains of hot lead way out yonder.

Justice points out that a Barrett. M82 is very expensive, there are cheaper alternatives. Shooting the .50 can be almost as reasonable as shooting the Lapua.
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Old February 6, 2013, 08:23 PM   #17
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Its a great Elk Rifle. I bought mine because I didn't have one.
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Old February 7, 2013, 08:10 PM   #18
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There's a huge misconception on how expensive they are to shoot. 50bmgis expensive, even if you reload, because of the sheer size of everything. I reload my match quality 338lm ammo for $1.25 a piece. That's not skimping on anything, I'm talking about Berger bullets and lapua brass.

People that don't reload and use factory match ammo,pay that much or even more per round for their 308!

Also the other reason for it vs the 50bmg is it is inherently more accurate round at long range. I've shot mine to 2200 yards.

If you need energy on target, then 50's where it at, otherwise 338 is the clear winner.
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Old February 7, 2013, 09:43 PM   #19
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In a recent test of several cartridges the US Army was having tested by top ranked long range marksmen, the .338 Lapua was easily out performed for both accuracy and first shot hit probability at ranges up to 1500 yards by the .300 Win. Mag. Go figure this out if the .338's thought to be superior to the others. It should be easy to see why considering the shootability of each round in shoulder fired rifles.

Folks often say that the longest confirmed sniper kill has been made with 338 Lapua. Without knowing its shooters' hit:miss ratio per shot fired, that's probably just some luck of the odds. May still be if the hit:miss ratio was known. We don't know how may shots he made at that distance and missed, do we? If any of us did that a lot of times on a lot of targets, we too would eventually make a hit with the first shot at one.

Why is the 50 BMG considered inherently more accurate round at long range than some smaller caliber round?
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Old February 7, 2013, 09:56 PM   #20
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People that don't reload and use factory match ammo,pay that much or even more per round for their 308!
.308 Federal Gold Medal Match can be less than $1/round down here....at least when you can find it.

Quote:
Folks often say that the longest confirmed sniper kill has been made with 338 Lapua. Without knowing its shooters' hit:miss ratio per shot fired, that's probably just some luck of the odds. May still be if the hit:miss ratio was known. We don't know how may shots he made at that distance and missed, do we? If any of us did that a lot of times on a lot of targets, we too would eventually make a hit with the first shot at one.
That shot was made by the late Chris Kyle. It was a first shot hit, and yes, even he admitted that luck was with him on the shot. In proper hands, the .338 is a better long range round. It shoots heavier bullets, with higher BCs. Just using physics, it has an edge over the .300 Win Mag. Chris Kyle had his choice of rifles available to him, including .300 Win Mags which he used. If he chose the .338 Lapua for an extreme long range application (which he did), there was good reason for it.

Quote:
Why is the 50 BMG considered inherently more accurate round at long range than some smaller caliber round?
Many think that, but just because they see snipers with big .50 BMGs that it must be the best thing out there. In reality, it isn't, at least for anti-personnel applications.
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Old February 7, 2013, 10:21 PM   #21
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In proper hands, the .338 is a better long range round. It shoots heavier bullets, with higher BCs. Just using physics, it has an edge over the .300 Win Mag.
What's the highest BC bullet in 30 caliber?

Just using physics, including that of the shooter, the .300 Win Mag's a better choice. So proved in controlled conditions by the US Army tests. Why do you think the 6.5 calibers have been favored for accuracy over anything larger in long range shoulder fired matches?
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Old February 7, 2013, 10:29 PM   #22
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What's the highest BC bullet in 30 caliber?
Looking through SMK, the 220 gr has a BC of .711

The 300 gr .338 SMK has a BC of .768

Quote:
Just using physics, including that of the shooter, the .300 Win Mag's a better choice. So proved in controlled conditions by the US Army tests. Why do you think the 6.5 calibers have been favored for accuracy over anything larger in long range shoulder fired matches?
How can you include physics of a shooter? It is a variable that is not constant from one to the next, and therefore cannot be measured or accounted for as a whole.

What I said was just using physics, meaning taking human error out of the equation, the .338 is the better choice. Yes, it is much less forgiving of human error than a .300 Win mag, .308, or any 6.5mm round, but that was not the discussion.... And I specifically made a point to avoid the argument...
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Old February 7, 2013, 10:47 PM   #23
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I think as a hunting round it is used as a compensation for poor stalking skills. If your not good at getting close, shoot em from far away. But other than that i dont think was developed to be a practical cartridge for the average civilian, more so a military cartridge to compete with the .50 BMG. Just my opinion, everybodys got one.
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Old February 7, 2013, 10:52 PM   #24
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I think stalk hunters have poor shooting skills.
Just kidding, I hunt both ways.
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Old February 8, 2013, 12:21 AM   #25
timelinex
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I misspoke , I meant to write that the 338lm is inherently more accurate. Which ballistically it is.

As for FGMM being $1 per round... I'm some rare places it is. But in most it is slightly more than a dollar and then you add tax and your at $1.25 or more..... Even if you get it for $1, that still doesn't take away from my point that the 338lm is still very reasonable to shoot. It would however be a waste of money shooting it <1000 yards. Every job has its tool, you don't use a sludge hammer to nail in a small nail.

As for the claim that the army decided the 300 win mag was more accurate, please show me this.... All I found is that they chose the 300 because they could save money and upgrade their existing 7.62 snipers, and that the range of 1500 yards was more than enough , so they didn't need 338lm. Show me where they said the 300 win mag was inherently more accurate...
Also, as much as the tactical ninjas think that if the army has it , then it must be the best.. They are dead wrong. The army is outfitted in what makes the most sense realistically and economically. Many times contracts go to the lowest bidder, not the best tool for the job.
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