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Old February 8, 2013, 02:53 AM   #26
Ben Towe
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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.
No it was not. CPO Kyle made a 2100 yard shot in 2008 with the Lapua. The longest kill with a Lapua is 2,707 yards by a British sniper in 2009. The record is held by an Australian sniper with a .50 BMG, 3,079 yards, 2012. These are all confirmed kills. One other note, these guys don't usually luck into hits, they hit because they know what they're doing.
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Old February 8, 2013, 07:21 AM   #27
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Allaroundhunter, the shooters physics has to be included because it determines how much the rifle's barrel moves while the bullet's going down the barrel. Nobody holds a shoulder fired rifle exactly the same way for every shot. More recoil means more irregular shooter and rifle movement during barrel time. Therefore, nobody shoots a rifle off their shoulder as accurate as the rifle will shoot from a machine rest. While a rifle and its ammo may well shoot several consecutive 1 inch 10-shot test groups at 600 yards clamped in a free recoiling machine rest (yes, that's been done), the best shooter on this planet could only shoot groups off the shoulder at 600 yards of about 6 inches. This is why the 26 and 28 caliber shoulder fired long range match rifles have outscored what the heavier recoiling 30 caliber ones did. But the big 30 calibers are still holding their own in free recoil heavy rifle benchrest disciplines.

Sierra's 30 caliber 220-gr. HPMK bullet's BC is only .629; there's a higher one made by Sierra; the 240-gr. HPMK at .711. I think you made a typo.

Better ballistics does not equal better accuracy. Better ballistics means less velocity drop and wind drift over a given range. Better accuracy is more repeatable ballistics regardless of their numbers. It's been proved over the decades of shooting that better accuracy is preferred to better ballistics.

But there's more to it than just recoil. No wonder the 33 caliber cartridges have not fared well competiting with smaller calibers at long range: http://www.6mmbr.com/gunweek057.html Folks having a free choice of calibers, 33's are not among the best for accuracy. Ballistics ain't important in accuracy games.

That reference to the .300 Win Mag outperforming the .338 Lapua in Army tests was emailed to me from a former US Navy SEAL Team commander and isn't on the internet as far as I know. As I remember, the .300's were using 190's and 200's for the tests. Everything that happens is not on the internet for public view.
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Old February 8, 2013, 10:59 AM   #28
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Allaroundhunter, the shooters physics has to be included because it determines how much the rifle's barrel moves while the bullet's going down the barrel. Nobody holds a shoulder fired rifle exactly the same way for every shot. More recoil means more irregular shooter and rifle movement during barrel time. Therefore, nobody shoots a rifle off their shoulder as accurate as the rifle will shoot from a machine rest.
I thought we were talking inherent accuracy of the cartridge? If that is the case, then yes, you must take the shooter out of the equation as he is not the variable that is being tested.

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Sierra's 30 caliber 220-gr. HPMK bullet's BC is only .629; there's a higher one made by Sierra; the 240-gr. HPMK at .711. I think you made a typo.
You are correct there, I apologize. I did intend to type that the 240 gr SMK has a BC of .711
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Old February 8, 2013, 01:27 PM   #29
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all around, folks shooting long range BR rigs in free recoil testing the rifle and ammo and not the shooter don't get good results with the .338. The 30 calibers and sometimes smaller ones are more accurate. Go back to that 6mmbr link I posted. There are no accolades nor cheers for the .338's accuracy.
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Old February 8, 2013, 06:44 PM   #30
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Maybe we are comparing apples to oranges. You keep on bringing up long range bench rest shooters and what they use. From what I know , most peoples definition of Lon range is 1000 yards. I completely agree with you that there are much better calipers for anything less than 1000 yards. As you said, those guys doing competitions do not choose 338 for a reason.

For that version of 'long range' you want something with the least amount of recoil while still having relatively good BC.

However, I was under the impression that we were talking about extremely long range, which is 1500+. If you want to shoot <1500, I would free that you can get a 300 win mag and not lose out on anything. The 338 shines when you are doing 1500+.

One of the only calipers that has emerged as possibly being better is the 375 cheytac.
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Old February 8, 2013, 09:50 PM   #31
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Timelinex was under the impression that we were talking about extremely long range, which is 1500+. Fine. I've shot 500 caliber guns at 12000+ that had a 55 yard average first shot miss distance. A friend's shot 1600 caliber guns with a 90 meter average first shot miss distance at 32000+. Will a 33 caliber Lapua do that well that far away? To me, that's extremely long range. . . . .

I doubt the very best rifleman on this planet will hit within 20 inches of the aiming point with the first shot beyond 1500 yards with a .338 Lapua. It's too hard to judge the wind that accurate for targets at that range. The bullet's got a 14 inch crossrange drift per mph of wind at 1500 yards. Nobody's able to estimate downrange wind that accurate that far away. Especially with the vertical variables that exist.
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Old February 8, 2013, 11:40 PM   #32
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I'm not really sure what to make of your first paragraph...

As for your second paragraph, I know somebody that does get first round hits at a mile occasionally. First round hits really aren't always a priority at that distance. Many times they have time for follow up shots. In that case, I do know someone that will get a solid hit within his first 3 shots. In fact, he just did a video with Litz at Berger ballistics on long range shooting.Anyways, if it was an important shot, I would send 3 rounds downrange, before the bullet even gets there. Either way, that's all not really relevant. Most of us here shoot for fun, at nothing more than paper or steel, and aren't in 'sniper' situations.

As far as the 300 win mag vs 338lm at 1500 yards... I want to see something factual that shows the 300 win mag performs better at that range.

Theres a reason why almost all people that shoot a mile+ use some form of 338 (lapua magnum, norma magnum, edge etc...).
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Old February 9, 2013, 06:52 AM   #33
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Timelinex, if you knew the difference between "caliber" (original definition: bore diameter of barrels in hundredths of an inch but now often stated in thousandths) and "caliper" (a measuring tool such as what's used to measure case length), you would understand my first paragraph. Look 'em up on Wikipedia.

If you want to see something factual that shows the 300 win mag performs better at 1500 yards, go back and read my earlier post; it's factual. Otherwise, contact the US Army Advnaced Marksmanship Unit then ask them to direct you to the folks conducting the tests. If you don't trust me or them, do your own research. Doesn't the absence of the .338's in long range benchrest matches top scoring/grouping cartridges have some credibility? I''m not aware of any .338 that's stayed inside 5 inches at 1000 yards for several shots.

In contrast, I totally agree with you that sometimes/occasionally, one gets a first shot hit at all ranges. It's the odds for/against it I was referring to. Have you ever watched a few dozen of the best long range shots on this planet fire their first shot at 1000 yards on a known range during moderate winds with a good zero and hit within 10 inches of their point of aim? I have and only about 10% of them do on a good day. The higher the wind speeds, the lower the odds are.
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Old February 9, 2013, 05:45 PM   #34
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Anyways, if it was an important shot, I would send 3 rounds downrange, before the bullet even gets there.
The flight time of a bullet is about 2 seconds at those ranges.... You *might* barely be able to fire 1 accurate follow up shot before that first round gets to the target if you had a semi-automatic platform; but you would not make 2 accurate follow up shots before the first one gets there.

But there are not many semi-automatic .300 Win Mags and .338 Lapua's....so best of luck to you.
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Old February 9, 2013, 08:20 PM   #35
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I'm typing on my iPhone which is a small keyboard.... So the occasional typo and autocorrect mishap is expected...

The 338 is not at long range bench rest competitions because for 1000 yards there are simply better rounds. As you mentioned earlier, a lower recoiling rifle makes it easier to be accurate with it.

Anyways, you can believe what you want. Won't change the facts. I shoot at 1760-2200 relatively often. I know many people that shoot at that distance. None of them use 300 win mags or 50bmg. But I suppose the guys that do this fairly often must be wrong. It may makes much more sense to assume that the calibers used for 1000 yards are the same ones that are supposed to he used for 1500+. 1000 yards and 1500 yards are different animals. So is 1500 yards and 2000 yards. Theres a reason that the 100/200 yard benchrest guys don't use the same calibers as the 1000 yards guys.

Lastly, theres a reason most of the bench rest guys don't use the same calibers as the army does. Just because the army made a decision on a round being the right combination of good enough and cheap enough, doesn't mean its the best for the job. The Barret rifles the army uses are known to not be good for anything less than 2moa, and even worse with their ball powder. However, its good enough for them.

Your right, I have not seen anyone consistently shoot 5 inches at 1000 yards with a 338lm. But then again, I have never seen anyone do 5 inches at 1000 yards consistently with any caliber. 1/2 moa with a 338lm is not vodoo however. Most high quality rifles can attain this with handloads. Even both my savages do, with handloads.

Last edited by timelinex; February 9, 2013 at 09:07 PM.
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Old February 10, 2013, 05:45 PM   #36
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The .50 BMG was originally intended to be an anti-materiel round. It does have excellent accuracy from some platforms like the MCM Tac-50, but most .50 weapons systems are designed for anti-materiel applications with corresponding accuracy.

The .338 LM was designed dual-purpose- light anti-material and longer range sniping beyond the capability of the .308 NATO. The project was started by RAI with the goal of pushing a 250 grain bullet to 3000 fps...and they used a necked-down .416 Rigby case to do it. The brass production was unable to handle the pressures, and they target velocities were not obtained and the project was abandoned.

Sako, AI, and Lapua eventually picked the project back up and the rest is history...

So to the OP, far as "why not the .50 BMG" the answer would be many fold... there is such a thing as overkill, and if you don't need the expense of the weapon platform, the expense of the ammo, nor the kinetic energy- then you don't use the .50.

Big difference between a 250 grain projo at 3000 fps- and a 700 grain at the same velocity.

It's no different than any other application-based selection of caliber and weapon platform, right?
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Old February 10, 2013, 06:13 PM   #37
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Several people have mentioned this overkill theory, and I'm not sure I buy it. What application is there that requires the energy of the .338, but the .50 is way to much.

If we're talking enemy combatants, dead is dead, it dosent matter how hard you kill them. I also find it hard to believe there is a hunting application for the .338 lapua. Its is overkill on game. For anti-material, the more damage the better, so use the .50
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Old February 10, 2013, 09:08 PM   #38
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timelinex states:
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I have not seen anyone consistently shoot 5 inches at 1000 yards with a 338lm. But then again, I have never seen anyone do 5 inches at 1000 yards consistently with any caliber.
Here's a plot of two 15-shot groups; both just under 5 inches. .30-.338 Keele with two bullet weights. First fired a 190 then a 200 then a 190 alternately once every 20 to 25 seconds. X-ring's 10 inches.
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Old February 11, 2013, 08:50 AM   #39
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Several people have mentioned this overkill theory, and I'm not sure I buy it. What application is there that requires the energy of the .338, but the .50 is way to much.
I can't speak for others, but my reference to "overkill" is related strictly to cost...
If a different weapon platform and caliber can achieve the same objective for far less cost- not to mention the size and weight of the platform as relates to mobility- than that would be "overkill".

My point wasn't related to energy, in a target application it would be irrelevant.
Far cheaper to get your hands on- and shoot- a .338 LM capable of sub-minute accuracy than a .50.
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Old February 11, 2013, 04:41 PM   #40
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I can't speak for others, but my reference to "overkill" is related strictly to cost...
If a different weapon platform and caliber can achieve the same objective for far less cost- not to mention the size and weight of the platform as relates to mobility- than that would be "overkill".

My point wasn't related to energy, in a target application it would be irrelevant.
Far cheaper to get your hands on- and shoot- a .338 LM capable of sub-minute accuracy than a .50.
+1

Quote:
Here's a plot of two 15-shot groups; both just under 5 inches. .30-.338 Keele with two bullet weights. First fired a 190 then a 200 then a 190 alternately once every 20 to 25 seconds. X-ring's 10 inches.
Bart, I'm not saying its not possible or that you cannot do it. I'm also not saying I am more knowledgeable in the overall gun field or a better shooter than you. It does not sound like you have alot of experience shooting at those distances, but that most of your experience is shooting 1000 or under. The 338lm is NOT meant for 1000 yards. The 338lm is not meant to replace the 300 win mag. Using a 338lm at 1000 yards is as wise as using a 308 at 100 yards. You can do it, but there are much better tools for the job.

What I am saying, is that I do have experience in the mile+ world of shooting, and know many that have exponentially more experience than me. Everyone I know would agree that while the 300 win mag can make it to a mile or even more, it will not be more accurate than a 338lm at that distance, because the environmental factors effect the bullets more. That 1000 yard 1/2 moa group, will open up to more than 1/2 moa by 1500. Not because of the inherent accuracy of the cartridge/rifle/shooter which dictate the linear dispersion, but because of environmental factors like wind. A cartridge like the 338lm fights those factors better than most other cartridges, including the 300 win mag.
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Old February 11, 2013, 05:56 PM   #41
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timelinex, but the .300 Win Mags outshot the .338's for overall accuracy and first shot placement at 1500 yards in the Army's tests. I know that 1500 yard's not a mile, I've measured targets that far away to 1/2 inch accuracy. 1760 yard's a mile, a statute one. Nautical miles are 2025 yards. And it's not unusual that larger cartridges might be better beyond that, but the .300's beat the .338's at 1500 yards.

Period.
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