Talkin about .338s
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Old 08-29-2010, 07:12 PM   #1
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Default Talkin about .338s

I'm not exactly an expert by far on trajectory of rifle bullets since I've never shot beyond 200 yards and actually hit anything I was aiming at.
So I was wondering if you guys would be willng to skool me on a bit of info for rifle bullets, particularly the .338 types. I was looking at ballistic charts yesterday and I found an odd cartidge I'd never heard of; a .338-378 Wby.
Weatherby is a good brand of firearm for the avid hunter and isnt an entry-level rifle maker. From what I gathered from the ballistic chart the .338-378 Wby had more energy at 500 yards than a typical .338 Win Mag and about the same average deviation at the same distances.
My question is why arent people attracted to the .338-378 Wby as much as the .338 Win Mag? They use the same bullets and the Wby has more energy than the Win Mag, so why not?

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Old 08-29-2010, 07:50 PM   #2
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The .338- 378 Weatherby is a wildcat, meaning you have to buy .378 Weatherby brass and neck it down to a .338 neck befor you can start loading your own and since no one loads that round that`s the only way to shot the gun. When you go to a wildcat the dies cost at least double what other rifle dies cost and you will be spending alot of money getting a smith to put a barrel on your action, unless you find a used one. Your only getting another 200 fps., at the most, from the wildcat, which gives you another 20 yrds. max. on point blank range. Most peolpe just don`t want the bother, and the extra cost for so little gain in preformance. Besides the target, be it paper or game, will never be able to tell the difference, hit or miss.

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Old 08-30-2010, 02:28 AM   #3
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I never knew that's what "wildcat" meant for cartidges, so that means the 44auto-mag was a wildcat caliber. Weatherby sells an Accumark V rifle in the caliber. The only reason I was surprised it wasnt used as much as it is was the extra foot-pounds energy at 500 yards compared to the .338 Win Mag.

I got curious about the .338 bullets because I saw a Savage Arms 116 in .338 Win Mag ($780) and it got me thinking about which .338 would be a good all around deal for me. I seem to have trouble tracking down anything in .338 Lapua Magnum. As much as you hear about them being so popular and great shooters they'll break the bank depending on who you buy from (or at least on my wages it will).
I know eventually I want something that shoots a .338 but I'm just in the pondering stage right now as to what's a good one fer me.
I like the .338 Win Mag and think that may be alright for me but I'm willing to go up a caliber or two if it means it can push out a better trajectory and energy at long ranges without tripling the price. I dont have enough money to buy a $3K+ precision military grade sniper rifle, yet.

I figure several of you guys have way more experience with good rifles that can reach out and touch a target at 500+ yards than I do and might be able to point me in the general direction you think I ought to be going.

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Old 08-30-2010, 04:53 PM   #4
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Mr. Weatherby liked speed. To him speed is what kills not energy. So most of the weatherby's mags were made to surpass anything on the market at that time. This said you get hunting accuracy out of them because to keep the velocity high weatherby designed all his rifles with extreamly long throats.

The 338-378 is not really a wildcat it was and weatherby picked it up. Since only weatherby makes ammo for the weatherby caliber it is still a wildcat I guess.

A wildcat is a cartridge that doesn't have a factory chambering. The 22-250 was a wildcat at one time along with the 25-06 which is a 30-06 necked to 25 cal. It was called the 25 Niedner for a long time.

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Old 08-30-2010, 11:32 PM   #5
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I like to play with wildcat and have several of them from .17 cal to .411 cal. With them you must load load your own and form your own brass so they are not for everyone. There is nothing wrong with the .338 Win. mag. and it should do anything you want, unless your going to Aferica. If your getting into long range shooting in the field you will need a good drop chart and a range finder. 500 yrds. is pushing the limit for big game hunting unless you really know what your doing and practice alot at long range. With a good drop chart the drop is a given, but wind drift is an art and even with a wind meter you still only have the wind speed at your location and it can change both speed and driection several time at 500 yrds.

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Old 08-31-2010, 12:43 AM   #6
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Ruzai, I just went to the Weatherby web site and the .338-378 was made a factory production round in 1998. Now for the why more people do not use it; Weatherby lists a price of $139.00 for 20 rounds and no that is not a typing error. Other then the price there is no real need 99% of the time for the velocity the rifle provides, couple that with a recoil that most shooters could not handle and it becomes the answer to a problem that did not exist.

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Old 08-31-2010, 09:46 PM   #7
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The .340 Weatherby preceeds the .338/378. The latter cartridge started off life as a wildcat that was picked up by Weatherby. The .338/378 uses a case that is .075" longer and yields about 100 more fps at the muzzle that the .340 (both use the same bullet diameter).

If you are looking for something with extreme long range energy, the .338/378 is a good choice. However, expecting a $750 rifle to be accurate at 500 yards, you have another thing coming.

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Old 09-01-2010, 04:41 AM   #8
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Thanks for the feedback guys. I Think I nearly crapped myself when Tuner said it was $139 for a box of 20. I didnt realize long range shooting could cost as much as it does, but the fun of it must be worth it from what I can tell.
I see that the 30-378 and 338-378 Wby magnums all cost about $120 a box of 20 as well and the 338 Lapua and 340 Wby Magnum both cost anywhere between $70-130 a box of 20. Those prices can scare away a person who doesnt reload, but tailoring your ammo is half the fun.

The 340 has roughly the same ballistics save it seems to loose energy around 500 but still has 2000 ft/lbs or more. I'm sure reloading would have a better effect on the ballistics since most of the charts I'm looking at are tests of factory cartidges.

I'm really liking the 338-378 more and more even with the price because I can get brass for half the price of factory ammo. The only 338 Lapua Mag I like is the Accuracy International, sure the Armalite AR-30 is a 338 Lapua Mag but its god-awful in looks and I'm not one for the giant muzzle brake making me go deaf though my ear-muffs. The problem I have with the AI 338 LM is the price tag....at $5k and low availabily, I'll pass. I think in the end I may end up enjoying the 338-378 and saying I own a Weatherby Magnum more than the Lapua Magnum.

I'm not naive, I know a precision rifle costs a good bit for an individual, unlike the government who can afford to put millions into buying a massive amount of one particular rifle if it does what they want it to.
I'm willing to put $2.5k into it but my ceiling is about $3k for the rifle itself, for now at least.
$750 is going to get you $750 worth of accuracy, I understand that Robo.

I dont suppose any of you have experience with an Accumark V rifle do you?

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Old 09-01-2010, 11:03 AM   #9
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You would be surprised how many people think It is all n the cartridge. A piece of galvanized water pipe chambered in .338 Lapua should shoot just as well as an AI rifle.
You may find it difficult to match factory Weatherby cartridge ballistics through handloading. Perhaps their advertised MV's are exagerated.

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Old 09-01-2010, 11:39 PM   #10
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Ruzai: It sounds like you are either into or wanting to get into long ranage shooting and from your posts I am going to take a guess and say it is the latter. I do not know if you intend to get involved in competition or just do it for your personal pleasure. Others have made some very good points and my earlier post on the cost of ammo will become a serious consideration, believe me even if you reload.

First The .338-378 was intended as a hunting cartridge not a target cartridge and may not be capable of performing to "match standards'. Not saying it can't but with current reamers available probably not.

Second I may be wrong but I am not aware of any one other then Weatherby chambering a rifle for this cartridge. Some custom smiths may.

Third In the time that I shot high power competiton I never saw a Weatherby rifle on the fireing line. That was some time ago and things have changed a lot but I don't believe that is one of them.

Fourth What this boils down to is if you want to win in competition you are going to have to have a custom rifle built. A target/competition rifle in this caliber will definately consume the dollars allocated and possibly a good bit more. Even a surperbly accurate Mark V Weatherby hunting rifle in this caliber would not perform for a target application because of a sporter weight barrel.

Fifth, unless you are involved in organized shooting and have range facilities finding a place where you can shoot 500 to 1,000 yards could be tough. Where I am on the east coast itis near imposible. Some one will nodoubt write in about the 1,000 yard BR shooters in PA. etc. and you may have the wide open desert and that might not be a problem.

Sixth Velocity is only one component of reaching out and touching something but certainly not the only thing.

Again, I do not know what your goal is but if I wanted to get an accurate long range rifle I would look at what the 1,000 yard benchrest boys are using. On the other hand if your goal is to impress the rest of the crowd with size and blast you are on target. There are some darn accurate rigs out there shooting the .50BMG round and that is real impressive also. That is what the Canadian sniper used to take out an insergent at 1.5 miles.

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