338-08 or light loads in 338WM?

orchemo

Handloader
Dec 13, 2006
543
16
I have a hunger for a Sako Mannlicher in a larger bore. Handled one a few years ago in 338 WM and is was a sweat little package. Spent too much time thinking it over and when I came back the next week, it was gone.

Causally shopping for one. I would image the recoil of full load 33WM with a 20 inch barrel would not only be a handful but also a fire breathing dragon.

Question is.... would buying on in 308 or 30-06 based case and have JES bore it out to a 338 or 35 bore, be better than buying a 338 WM with lighter loads?

Not going to be a long range rifle.
 

DrMike

Ballistician
Nov 8, 2006
34,987
1,365
Better? What game do you intend to hunt with the rifle? The 338 WM is not a ferocious cartridge if the stock of your rifle is fitted to you. The 338 Federal (which is the standardized 338-08) is a capable cartridge that will handle about any game at reasonable ranges. From my perspective, the intended use of the rifle would determine the cartridge.
 

JD338

Range Officer
Staff member
Nov 4, 2004
21,721
986
The 35 Whelen with a 250 gr PT at a MV 2584 from a 22" barrel is a powerful load capable of handling anything in North America. This is my load in a Remington 700 Classic and I wouldn't hesitate to shoot an elk out to 400 yards with it.

JD338
 

Vince2

Beginner
Jan 21, 2022
167
166
I’m 5’ 7” and 150 pounds soaking wet.
With a properly fitted stock I have no issues shooting a .338 Winchester Maggie.

It’s really not that bad. Just work up to the fire breathing dragon loads. 180 grain to 210 grain in the Win Mag will kill anything in North America and most of the rest of the world too.

The “all around” load for most folks seems to be the 225 grain bullets. I like the 185 grain loads for antelope and deer.

I find the .338 Winchester Magnum to be more versatile than the 30-06 or .300 Winchester Magnum. If I could only have one rifle it would be my .338 Winchester Maggie.

Vince
 

truck driver

Ammo Smith
Mar 11, 2013
6,878
162
I have a hunger for a Sako Mannlicher in a larger bore. Handled one a few years ago in 338 WM and is was a sweat little package. Spent too much time thinking it over and when I came back the next week, it was gone.

Causally shopping for one. I would image the recoil of full load 33WM with a 20 inch barrel would not only be a handful but also a fire breathing dragon.

Question is.... would buying on in 308 or 30-06 based case and have JES bore it out to a 338 or 35 bore, be better than buying a 338 WM with lighter loads?

Not going to be a long range rifle.
I was in the same predicament as you some time ago and I had a M70 CRPF in 30-06 that I picked up cheap off GB. Did a lot of reading and researched the 338-06 and the 35 Whelen Ackley Improved. At the time I had bought a used Rem 700 Classic in 35Whelen and shot it developing loads for it.
It shot great but the stock didn't fit me right and kicked as bad or worse than a 300Wby I once owned so I sold it and sent the M70 to J.E.S for a rebore and chamber to 35 Whelen Ackley Improved and had him add some free bore to the chamber so I could reload it long to fit the long magazine box I installed in it. The project worked great and the rifle was very accurate which made me very happy.
I saw a Ruger M77 Hawkeye 338WM on GB that no one was biding on so just for the heck of it I placed a $1 over minimum bid and won the rifle.
To make a long story short the rifle was a monster and very aridic and wouldn't group consistently. Cheap plastic factory stock was the cause so It was replaced with a H&S Precision and it would then shoot but the bore was rough and needed to be lapped out.
After all the work I sold it and then saw a M70 338Wm classic for sale and bought it. With very little work up it shot great and I still have it along with my 35 Whelen Ackley Improved.
Do I need them both no but I love how they both shoot and the Ackely Improved puts out 375 H&H muzzle energy with my reloads.
I could live with just either one if I had to but I would probably keep the 338Wm just because I can buy a variety of ammo off the shelf for it even though I can shoot regular 35 Whelen threw the Ackley.
 

Slimfinn

Handloader
Nov 28, 2018
609
235
I have a hunger for a Sako Mannlicher in a larger bore. Handled one a few years ago in 338 WM and is was a sweat little package. Spent too much time thinking it over and when I came back the next week, it was gone.

Causally shopping for one. I would image the recoil of full load 33WM with a 20 inch barrel would not only be a handful but also a fire breathing dragon.

Question is.... would buying on in 308 or 30-06 based case and have JES bore it out to a 338 or 35 bore, be better than buying a 338 WM with lighter loads?

Not going to be a long range rifle.
Years back there was a sako black bear in 3006 at a good price that i kick myself for not picking up, would have been perfect to send out and turn into a 35 or 338.
If you came across the rifle you wanted in 308 or 06 I'd see no reason to not buy it and bore it to the caliber you wanted.
 

orchemo

Handloader
Dec 13, 2006
543
16
I have all the bases cover with 338WM, couple Whelens, etc.

Was thinking if loading down a 338Wn would have less potential for accuracy, then a regular load in a 338-08 (ie 338 Fed - got those too) ?

Probably over thinking it, just find one in nice shape and go from there
 

Blkram

Handloader
Nov 25, 2013
1,853
267
I have rifles in all 3 cartridges and like them each for their capabilities.

In the 338 WM, stock fit and a good recoil pad make a world of difference in felt recoil. I like the 225 gr bullets in this cartridge, and have had a lot of good success with the 210 gr Partition. Many prefer to use the 250 gr bullets in their 338 Mag. You can download them with lighter bullets and get great performance too, if you have or just want the one rifle. A friend used a 200 gr Speer at reduced velocities with great satisfaction.

In the 338-06, with 215 gr SGK's @ 2750 fps out of my 22" barrel, past 300 yards, the higher BC bullet has more velocity and retained energy than the 210 gr Partition does out of the 338 Win Mag at factory ammo velocities in a 24" barrel. And felt recoil is definitely less than the 210 gr Partition out of my 338 Win Mag.

For smaller big game where I do not/may not need the reach or extra punch (e.g., bison, big bears), than less felt recoil and good performance out of the 338 Federal with 200 gr bullets at 300 yards and less will perform wonderfully.

It really depends on what, and where you are hunting, and your expectations in performance, to determine which is bested suited to your needs.
 

walkinhorseman

Beginner
Sep 28, 2010
106
23
I've owned three different 338 WM's and a 338 Federal. Two of the 338 WM's had gone down the road before I built a 338 Federal. During this entire period of gun safe transition, I have always considered at the 338-06. One can weigh the pros and cons of the various case capacities but in my mind, the 338 Federals major asset is the short action capability. If closer range and a lighter rifle is the criteria for your use, the 338 Federal deserves a look. I killed a buck with the 338 Federal with the 185 Barnes TSX and was very impressed. I gave up on that barrel because it wouldn't shoot to my standards, after a lot of testing. That rifle has now been rebarreled to 308 Win. But the Federal 185 Barnes TSX factory load was the Bee's Knees in that rifle. Then Federal discontinued the load.

Due to the recent supply chain debacle that we are living with, I found myself re-visiting my bullet/powder/brass inventory. Having a lot of 338 bullets in the reloading room, I started snooping around for something to shoot them out of. I recently found a Sako AV 338 WM in the factory laminated stock. My decision to return to the 338 WM was based on the principal that you don't have to run them at full throttle. Most often than not, an accuracy [precision] load will be found somewhere below max that will be more comfortable to shoot. Then of course, full load is there if you need it. Another advantage of the 338 WM is availability of factory ammo due to it's popularity.

The 338-06 requires a long action so why not just load back the 338 WM. I don't think that I have ever seen a box of 338 A-Square [338-06] anywhere.

One last comment. Although I am a Sako advocate, I just can't understand the why you would build a Mannlicher 20" barreled rifle for any belted magnum case capacity. Magnum cases need barrel length to do their job with slow burning powders. I think that Sako was pandering to the US market with those offerings.
 
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orchemo

Handloader
Dec 13, 2006
543
16
Thanks for all the food for thought.
I already have a couple 338Feds and have been very successful with the 185gr TSX.

Recently stumbled into a Thomson Encore in 330-06AI. Have played with that some and still deciding where it fits in the safe.

The 20 inch 338WM......agree that the concept of the 20 inch barrel is crazy, but sometimes, something just appeals to you.
 

truck driver

Ammo Smith
Mar 11, 2013
6,878
162
Thanks for all the food for thought.
I already have a couple 338Feds and have been very successful with the 185gr TSX.

Recently stumbled into a Thomson Encore in 330-06AI. Have played with that some and still deciding where it fits in the safe.

The 20 inch 338WM......agree that the concept of the 20 inch barrel is crazy, but sometimes, something just appeals to you.
With todays high energy powders the longer barrels will be a thing of the past so a 20" barreled 338Wm isn't as crazy as it seems. Would I want one ? I don't think so since I wouldn't want the muzzle blast any closer to my face .
 

Blkram

Handloader
Nov 25, 2013
1,853
267
The shorter barreled "Mannlicher" stocked rifle is a European thing and if you realize that many of their hunts are driven where a short, handy rifle that swings easily on fast moving game is exactly what they need, then it makes sense. A 20" barreled 338 Win Mag may not make as much sense in North America where the bulk of our hunts are conducted in a very different manner, but in Europe, I can see the appeal. You also see these rifles chambered on other more powerful cartridges, such as the 9.3x62 and 375 H&H. I would wager that if more of these rifles had actually made it to North America, you would have seen more Alaska brown bear guides using them!
Ruger had a similar idea with their 375 Ruger Guide Gun (minus the full length stock).
 
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