Newbie Needs Help... Choosing a Caliber.

Discussion in 'General Rifle Discussion' started by JWIII, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. JWIII

    JWIII New Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2008
  2. Joshua M. Smith

    Joshua M. Smith New Member

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    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 <><
     

  3. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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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.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2008
  4. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

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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
     
  5. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Hey cpt - You forgot about the Chey-Tac .408 and the Barrett .416 :D

    JD
     
  6. JWIII

    JWIII New Member

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    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.
     
  7. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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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
     
  8. JWIII

    JWIII New Member

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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.
     
  9. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    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. :D

    JD
     
  10. G21.45

    G21.45 New Member

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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!) :p





    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.) ;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2008
  11. Joshua M. Smith

    Joshua M. Smith New Member

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    You know something else that would do it, and would be very cheap to shoot:

    Just get a Soviet M91/30 rifle and a replica PE 'scope mount and bent bolt handle (all can be readily had on the web.) It would run you a fraction of what you would spend on an American gun even after the gunsmith had installed the 'scope mount.

    Make sure you use a recoil pad on the gun. It is somewhat shocking for beginners.

    Get a case of Czech silver tipped rounds, and sight it in.

    As you learn, you can then start playing with shimming the barrel and action (ala the Finns) and maybe even do a bedding job.

    Mosin 91/30 - $125

    'Scope and Mount - $300(?)

    Case of ammo - $125 - $200

    True, the accuracy won't be there without reloaded or commercial ammo, but you could still get acceptable groups to 300yds or so. The Russians used this setup in WWI and WWII with acceptable results.

    Josh <><
     
  12. BigO01

    BigO01 New Member

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    Heck if you can handle the kick of the 338 Win why not consider all your other options in that bullet diameter .

    You have the 338 Federal , 33 WCF , 338-06 , 338 Ruger Compact Magnum , 340 Weatherby , 338 Remington Ultra Magnum , 338 Lapua Magnum , 338-378 Weatherby Magnum and my favorite the 338 Excalibur !!
     
  13. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    What about .30-338? :D

    JD
     
  14. Joshua M. Smith

    Joshua M. Smith New Member

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    The .577 T-Rex might be an option... :D

    Josh <><
     
  15. G21.45

    G21.45 New Member

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    Then there's always -

    [​IMG]

    (The SEALS New AS50!) :cool:
     
  16. JWIII

    JWIII New Member

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    LOL... I posted that in the "If you could have any rifle" forum. The AS-50 is so sweet.
     
  17. Joshua M. Smith

    Joshua M. Smith New Member

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    Yeah, but it still might not be enough for Indiana deer...
     
  18. bgeddes

    bgeddes New Member

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    Glad to see this thread lightened up...

    For the original poster, depending on your skills, it might be a really good idea to purchase a weapon that is cheap to practice with before buying the end all target gun. That said, if you are a gun noob, or weapons familiar, skilled shooter, or trained marksman, the decision and advice would be different from me.

    I'm on the lower end of that scale, so I choose to shoot lower priced ammo to gain range time and proper shooting skills. In time, I'll move up to the finest shooting gear and round, but for now, mastering the basics needs to be controlled from a dollars and sense point.
     
  19. stetson

    stetson New Member

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    308 with the right ammo will do 90% of the shots you want to make.Plus avalibility of ammo is going to be a lot easier and cheaper.Why put yourself
    in the hole for the few shots that will be questionable.