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Old 07-21-2008, 06:03 AM   #1
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Default Newbie Needs Help... Choosing a Caliber.

I am looking to purchase a long range rifle, but I can’t decide between two calibers .308 Win, or the .338 Win. I’m leaning towards the .338 out of shear ignorance; that bigger is better.

I would not like price or availability of ammo be a deciding factor in this decision.

Can anyone please provide me the limitations on both calibers? I am most interested in the effective range. Also, at what range does bullet weight and rifle twist relations affect accuracy?

Thank you.
John W.

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Old 07-21-2008, 07:32 AM   #2
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Quote:
I am most interested in the effective range.
See, that there is the rub. What do you want to use it for?

Both will shoot just fine out to 500yds or so - further than most game is taken. If you're not 100% sure of your ability to put a round into an 8" circle at a given distance, shooting at that range is not recommended.

Military snipers use specialized equipment to make hits at range - they have this personal weather station showing wind speed etc and a nifty lil' computer to figure out bullet drift and drop.

The spotter can see a contrail type deal through his spotting 'scope and make adjustments to his original computations.

The short answer is that both are effective much further than the average shooter/rifle combo is capable of placing them humanly. I would think that .308 would be a tad easier to get.

Josh <><
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Old 07-21-2008, 12:39 PM   #3
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Depends on your definition of "long range". At VERY long ranges (measured in zip codes) the .338, .300 Win Mag, etc etc will have the edge (IMHO) over .308- which is still a very accurate round. However, out to about 600 or so, some of the 6mm rounds are better than 308 or 338. Like most things- ya pays ya money, ya takes ya pick. Ref: bullet weight, rate of twist- starts to affect accuracy probably about 12" from the muzzle. You need the correct rate of twist to stablize (but not OVER stabilize) the weight of bullet you are shooting. A heavier bullet retains more energy at long distance, is affected less (proportinately) by cross winds, but lighter bullets are generally faster, and because they are faster, shoot flatter. And as I have said before- some folks like chocolate, some like strawberry.

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Old 07-21-2008, 01:11 PM   #4
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Here we go again.

New guy thinking he can make 1000+ yard shots with a off the shelf rifle and a stinking 3-9x32mm scope.

Ok what you need is the 50bmg there is no other cartridged out there that will match it's stopping power at any range. If you want bigger then go with the 20mm from anzio iron work out in az. http://www.anzioironworks.com/20MM-TAKE-DOWN-RIFLE.htm

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Old 07-21-2008, 05:31 PM   #5
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Hey cpt - You forgot about the Chey-Tac .408 and the Barrett .416

JD

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Old 07-21-2008, 05:39 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by cpttango30 View Post
Here we go again.

New guy thinking he can make 1000+ yard shots with a off the shelf rifle and a stinking 3-9x32mm scope.

Ok what you need is the 50bmg there is no other cartridged out there that will match it's stopping power at any range. If you want bigger then go with the 20mm from anzio iron work out in az. http://www.anzioironworks.com/20MM-TAKE-DOWN-RIFLE.htm
Thank you for making me feel welcome...

I am not interested in a .50 cal rifle "at this time;" I've decided to go the .308 Win or the .338 Win. If you want to actually answer my question that would be great.

Maybe I am off on the term "long range..." I was guessing long range to be about 500 yards or so. I don't plan on taking a shot from a mile away.
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Old 07-21-2008, 05:53 PM   #7
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I think the cpt's point is that there have been about 8 threads on this very topic that have been asked, and answered, ad nauseum, over the past month or two alone.

There is a specific thread on the .30 bullets ( .308 / .30-06 / etc ) that has been batted back and forth for quite awhile now.

The people here are all willing to help, but these same threads have been asked and answered, just not by you, or for you, personally.

Here's some answers

Here's another discussion

Again, long range shooting

Here's another one

It's just been on the short list of often asked questions of late. I don't think the cpt meant anything personal...

JD

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Old 07-21-2008, 06:01 PM   #8
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Thank you for the info... I was hoping you would respond. I have seen a a lot and your posts; you obviously know your stuff.

I understand I am new to this; and I will admit that I don't know much, but I really want to learn. I just don't want to be put down for asking, what I believe to be a legitimate question.

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Old 07-21-2008, 06:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JWIII View Post
Thank you for the info... I was hoping you would respond. I have seen a a lot and your posts; you obviously know your stuff.

I understand I am new to this; and I will admit that I don't know much, but I really want to learn. I just don't want to be put down for asking, what I believe to be a legitimate question.
Yeah, it's no problem, we just get a lot of these requests, and you will see that we have put some real knowledge out there, all of us have, but the same questions keep coming up.

Everyone here, especially the cpt, are knowledgable and helpful types, it just gets old answering the same thread over and over again. Just once I would like to have someone ask me about glass bedding or body armor... LOL

Best of luck in your search. Look through those old posts, and if you have some more questions, shoot me a PM, or any of the guys really, and we will be glad to help.

Nothing wrong with being new, we were all new at one point or the other, as long as you are willing to put in the work and read what has been offered.

JD
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Old 07-21-2008, 07:05 PM   #10
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JWIII, I think your marksmanship ambitions are way beyond any practical use you might actually have for a, 'first rifle'. I've been shooting rifles for more than 50 years; and, I love the 300 Win Magnum! The 300 will reach out and, 'touch someone' better than 90% of whatever else is presently available below 40 + caliber; but - BUT - there is a price to pay! 30 caliber rifles can, also, be very punishing for the shooter to have to dial-in and practice with.

Personally, I honestly think you should learn how to walk before you run. I'm not going to brag on the internet; however, were you to ever see me put a rifle to my shoulder, the targets would speak for themselves. My first rifles were 22 long rifle caliber. From there I graduated to 22 magnum caliber in order to pickup another 25 yards of, 'dime busting' accuracy.

I was in my mid 20's before I became genuinely proficient with a 30-06 - Another, 'long range' rifle caliber that I have, also, learned to dearly love! (Fewer and less likely brass or chamber, 'problems' over other 30 caliber military cartridges!)

I don't know about you; but, the farthest I can shoot around my home is 300 yards. If I want to fire at 600 yards then I have to take an hour car ride to a distant range. In my experience it's a rare civilian rifleman who can work effectively with any rifle at 1,000 yards; and, those with whom I've shot who were good at it all used big complicated scopes and rifles with barrels that were as thick as fence posts!

If you want a word of advice from an old rifleman, I'd suggest you begin your studies of long range marksmanship with either a 243 Winchester, or 6mm Remington rifle.

If you don't reload, the 243 would be a better choice because the cartridges and brass are going to be easier and more plentiful to come by. If you do reload, then, I'd suggest going with the superior 6mm Remington chambering. Either caliber would be much more appropriate for you to begin with; and, I will say that after a lifetime of rifle shooting, I continue to prefer 6mm rifles; this is one caliber you'll always be able to put to good use and will, also, never outgrow.

If you would like to do some of this research for yourself, start by reading any of the various reloading manuals, like: Speer, Sierra, or Hornady. Any of them will give you an education in what to expect from a certain caliber and chambering. Me, personally? I'm not enough of a sadist to recommend that any young rifle shooter should begin his career with a centerfire 30 caliber rifle - especially with something as whopping as a 338!

(But, this is the internet; so ya never really know!)





One last thing: It ain't the gun; it's the shooter that really counts. An experienced rifleman knows how to make almost any rifle - in any chambering - work for him. Hand me a rifle, let me take 3 shots, and I'll either know how to use it properly at distance; or, else, I'll hand it back to you and say something like; 'No good!'

(I've done this many times! Usually, I'll make a friend; but, sometimes, you can also make an enemy, too. Like I said: It's the shooter and NOT the caliber or the gun.)
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