View Full Version : 338 magnum and ranch pick-up trucks

Jack O'Conner
May 24, 2006, 08:23 AM

Killing power with rifle cartridges can be compared to pick up trucks used for ranch work.

A Dodge pick-up with 6 cylinder Cummins diesel does okay most of the time. But hook up a goose neck trailer full of cattle and it struggles to make it up a long grade. The Cummins can be compared to a 30-30. Great cartridge for mule deer but doesn't have the power for long shots at elk.

A Ford power stroke deisel performs great with all tasks. Versatile and popular! The Ford can be compared to a .308 or 30-06; great all around cartridge(s) and quite useful for elk.

A Freightliner big rig hauls heavy loads with ease but is far too cumbersome for general ranch chores. The big Freightliner can be compared to a 338 magnum. It's a specialty cartridge originally marketed in the model 70 Winchester as The Alaskan. Just as a Freightliner driver needs a special license to drive this rig, a 338 magnum owner needs additional credentials as well. This magnum focused hunter must ignore the painful jolt every time the rifle is fired. Expensive ammo and pounding recoil are two very good reasons that the so-called average elk hunter should avoid this cartridge. I've witnessed misses and wounding shots made by green elk hunters who simply did not master their rifle prior to the hunt. A foolish mistake that is repeated each and every year.

Plenty of Wyoming residents I know kill their elk each year with 30-06 rifles and plain Jane 180 grain factory ammo. Several hunters in my family hunt elk each year with so-called deer rifles such as .308, 7mm-08, 6.5mm Swede, 270, 35 Remington, and 300 Savage. Their bullets do not bounce off!

May 24, 2006, 09:47 AM
well said and a practical visualization for those that are looking for a new caliber to hunt Elk.

:) :) :) :) :)

May 24, 2006, 09:22 PM
You forgot one.......The mighty Chevy truck (Duramax)with 360 horsepower and 650 foot punds of torque.....king of the hill when comparing stock dodges and fords...where does the duramax rate??? :D

May 24, 2006, 09:39 PM
That's all well and good, sonny about Power Strokes and Freight Shakers and all that. But if you want to bring home the bacon day in and day out, you need the ballistic equivalent to a Mack Truck. I think in handguns, that would be the .45 ACP. I really don't know about rifles, but I am sure there is no shortage of nominations for that honor.

May 25, 2006, 12:19 AM
In all reality when you live in cattle country like I do u dont want a ford or chevy (even though chevy gasoline is the best). That dodge 3500 Ho cummins is the best for it all the Max is a great one with all the performance parts the ford looses too many trannies but tha annolige is a great one.:D :D :D

May 25, 2006, 12:47 AM
Doggone it, I've been using a 338 for the last 12 years and didn't know I needed any special credentials.

Do I have to give back all the critters I killed with it?

Jack O'Conner
May 25, 2006, 09:11 AM
Seems like you're handling the mighty 338 okay. Many hunters can not shoot this cartridge very well and that was my point.

Good hunting to you.

May 25, 2006, 09:56 AM
So a 35-horse 4-wheel ATV would be the poacher's .22? And where would the .338 Federal fit in? :) Just kiddin... good analogys.

May 26, 2006, 10:16 AM
ruger no.1's in .338 win mag and .416 rigby (ouch X's 2) :eek: Have both and they are shootable only with aftermarket recoil pads added and a recoil reducer shoulder pad rig.

Also a good old enfield in .303 british (would be an old reliable mac truck) with 180 grain winchester power points will take down elk with one shot ( I did it a few years ago, will search for the pisc and post later) at 100 yards. Also what about an ole dog the 45/70 ? This was chambered in many lever actions and will kill just about anything in North America with ease (may take a few shots on grizzlies) :D . Always looking for a 45/70 lever. now that is a work horse of a gun

Long Path
May 26, 2006, 05:48 PM
Also a good old enfield in .303 british (would be an old reliable mac truck) with 180 grain winchester power points...
Funny thing about that .303 Brit round: it has Mack truck recoil, with only the killing power of a light-to-moderate .308 load.

In Africa, of course, the .338 is considered a medium or even a light rifle, and is considered a great plains game rifle.

In North America, there's a few animals that take some killling, but the .300 Win Mag can do them all. If the recoil of the .300 Win Mag doesn't bother you, than the .338 Win Mag is but a minor (but still extant) step up.

For the man that finds the .300 WinMag with 180's too heavy, then the .30-'06 is an excellent selection for elk, black bear, and perhaps even moose. If this is too much recoil to practice with, even with a good recoil pad, then he should not consider the great bears, moose, or large elk, in my personal opinion.

While I felt like my old F-250 with the 7.3 l International diesel (283k [without a rebuild] when I sold it, and it was running like a top) could haul a house, I was realistic about its abilities, and thus was never disappointed. I'd compare it to an '06 with heavy-bullet handloads.

May 27, 2006, 09:19 AM
I completely disagree with you about the pickup trucks but this is a gun forum after all.....

I do completely agree that the 338 is a HAMMER on game and one of the best elk calibers ever devised.

May 27, 2006, 04:47 PM
Hi all,

I shoot the 338 mag and if held in tight I dont think it is any more punishing the 3 inch 12 gauge slugs.

As far as trucks go my boss buys only fords and diesel's. They are fine empty but put a 5 th wheel on one and they are a guttless wonder. Having grown up with big block chevy's as work trucks the ford can't hold a candle to them. I will addmit until the duramax came along ford and dodge had chevy beat in the desel department. The 6.2 while some were very good reliable engines where never good on power. never had a 6.5 some loved them sme hated them.

Anyway I think all the calibers mentioned are good and as far as killing power goes alot has to do with shot placement.

Remeber up until the early 1900's much large game was taken with oldies like the 44-40, 30-30,38-55, and many other slow moving cartridges that many today would veiw as odbsolete, but all the dead crittters sure dont think so:rolleyes:


Wild Bill Bucks
May 29, 2006, 11:11 AM
This thread came along at just the right time. I happen to own a Dodge 3/4 ton Cummins deisel, and just came back off of a weeks vacation.
It may be the 30-30 of pickups, but it sure does a job on whitetail deer at 65 mph.
Estimates run around $1800.00 :mad: