View Full Version : Bullet Recomendations for .338WM
01-25-2007, 08:37 AM
I'm looking for a bullet recomendation for a newly aquired .338WM. I've never handloaded for this cal before, or for that matter anything over .300WM, and in the past have always found my best accuracy with the traditional bullet designs from Hornady or Sierra. I will be looking to use this on elk/moose only. Any thoughts or experience about traditional soft point bullets in this cal? Probably going to play around the 70gr mark of IMR-4350 till I find best load.
I am not a fan of shots through the shoulders, and place mine tight behind the shoulder, so that is why traditional designs have worked so well.
01-25-2007, 10:28 AM
I don't shoot it a whole lot, but I always had good luck with either the 210 gr or 250 gr Nosler Partitions and Reloader 19 powder in my 338 . Just my preference, but I prefer to use the so called premium bullets in the magnum rifles that I own. I think you are right about shot placement though, and if you can put a traditional bullet behind the shoulder with a 338, I suspect your animal is going down!
01-25-2007, 12:21 PM
Since this has been my "go to" gun for the big animals over the last 6 years, I think I can help. I have owned three 338 wins in the past 6 years and they all performed well on game.
The first bull elk i shot was with a 250 gr nosler out of a sako deluxe. good load but it also had huge recoil. I think the gun design was part of that recoil. although that was the hunting load I had wanted at that time which shot 1 1/2" 5 shot groups, the 215 Sierra BT's where the most accurate from that gun. RL 19 and 215 Sierra shot 7/8" 5 shot groups and were flying at 3051 fps. Nickle brass.
The second 338 was a custom made rifle. Mauser action, 22" long shilling barrel and timney triger. I shot the 210 swift scirrocco bulets and man did they shoot!! H414 powder with that bullet and the best group i've ever shot 3 shots .320". It also took a bull elk for me that I shot quatering away. Shot entered the liver and stoped on the hide on the offside shoulder. (230 yd.) Bullet had 96% weight retention and over doubled in dia. The swifts were expensive to shot though.
The current 338 that i have which will be my last is another custom gun. Mauser action, custom walnut stock, 25" octagon ron Smith barrel with the gain twist to it and a sako trigger group. When noler came out with the accubond bullet i thought they would be worth a try. I have since two bull elk and a bull moose with that round. The moose was 351 yds and first shot wen't through both shoulders and exited, the 2nd stopped on the hide offside. Weight retention was about 71% and bullet doubled in dia. I have been using IMR 4350 powder with "71" grains. Make sure you lower that number to start out. It is safe in mine, but all guns are different. It shot 5 shots 3/4" all day long. They are great down range and are fairly cheap compared to other rounds. I feel they perform as well as the Partition.
If you were looking for penetration, the barnes triple shock 225 gr shot well for me. Other good powders RL19, RL22, H414, H4350, Imr 4350, H4831.
Anyway, for my money that is the best all round rifle for north america going. After putting it to task on several Elk and a moose I have seen first hand what it has over the smaller mags. The stoping power is where i've noticed the big difference. Everything i've shot with it has either droped or gone less than 20 steps (most of those steps where sideways!!).
Best of luck to you.
01-25-2007, 01:42 PM
The only elk I have shot with my 338 (lots of deer though) was with a 225 partition, and it was DRT, In 250's the priemiums are not that critical, just not enough velocity to be a problem, with the smaller heads maybe I ran out of partitions so the next head for me will be the 225 accubond.
01-25-2007, 04:32 PM
250 Nosler Partition............moose dead (400 yards), bear dead(40 yards, clean through the chest)
Another moose dead @ 50 yards, bullet went through head and ended up in the right rear thigh.
Nice mushroom finish, didn't weigh it, but it looked like most of the bullet was intact.
It may be the rifle and ammo combo, but never had a good pattern w/ the 225 grain.
7 REM MAG
01-25-2007, 04:53 PM
01-25-2007, 06:11 PM
I bought my 338WM in 1980 and have shot all kinds of moose,elk and deer with it. It is a Winchester model 70 and has been a great gun, I started with 225 Hornady SP and had great success with them. I then switched to 210 nosler paritions which shot well also, I am presently loading the 225 accubond and have shot 2 moose and one elk with these and they performed great, I can still get 1 inch groups with this gun and plan on staying with the accubonds. Good luck with your gun. I sure you will like the performance.
01-25-2007, 11:46 PM
I've had over 25 years of loading for many people and had good luck with the Nosler brand of bullets. To date the Accubond is by far the most accruate and the best weight retention with a price to match. This year we shot three deer all on the same day. One was taken at 241 yards up hell and the other two were taken at less then 60 yards. The one bullet we did find retained 71% I was so impress that I wrote a letter to the Presedent of Nosler they love the feed back. In my Sako 338 I shot 210gr Partitions and had good groups IMR 4350 also at 76gr
I never tryed the Accubond until I pick up my 340 WOW what a difference I shot groups just over 1/2 at 100 yards over sand bags. You can't lose when you us the best. I'm a huge fan of the slowest burning powders. I use IMR 7828 in most of my big guns.
Happy Hunting. Hey Shooter
01-26-2007, 09:18 AM
I've shot and loaded 338s for 20 years, used them on elk, moose and bear. I'm a big fan of the Barnes X for the round. It has been accurate and performed very well for me and the fellows I load for. The 185XBT and the 210 have been my best bullets in the X.
I'm not a fan of the Nosler Partition. In its time the bullet was revolutionary and cutting edge, today I expect a premium bullet to retain more than 65% and that is the most I've ever gotten back on a Partition.
01-26-2007, 10:55 AM
Well just to be differant I have used the 225 accubond with good sucess on moose. Found RL19 to work the best.
01-26-2007, 11:17 AM
Check out Barnes website, the owners wife Conni Brooks, takes most everything with the 338WM, and 185's
01-26-2007, 01:05 PM
Thats the great thing about the 338 win mag it's hard to go too wrong with just about any bullet you would pick. Nosler, barns or just about any of the standard cup and core bullets will do the job reliably
01-26-2007, 02:17 PM
225 gr Trophy Bonded Bear Claws.
225 gr Black Talon's.
225 gr Barnes Triple shock.
Heavy knockdown Power.:eek
01-27-2007, 10:21 AM
I went to the local supplier, and picked up a box of Barnes 210TSX, Nosler 210 Partitions, Speer 200sp, and Hornady 200SPIL bullets. Also some RL-19, IMR-4350 powder, and for primers went with 215, Rem 9 1/2, and WLR's. Now just a matter of working up the best load for each bullet, then observing the performance on game before final selection. I have a bit of a dilemma though. I am not a fan of huge recoil, and although the factory 225gr loads I bought with the gun are manageable, they are the upperlimit of my tolerance, so for handloading have decided to try the lighter bullets. With that being said, I did not look at the Barnes 185's due to the velocity that would be acheived, and my worry over the potential meat damage should a shoulder hit accidently occure. Even the 200gr softpoints worry me for the same reason, just due to their construction, and tendency to expand so rapidly, however as stated before my shots are always tried to be placed behind the shoulder. I am open for correction if my fears over the 185's are unjustified though. Don't be shy.
01-27-2007, 10:40 AM
It is my understanding that you need magnum primers WLRM not WLR & the 9.5M not 9-1/2. The Fed's 215 you mentioned are magnum primers.
Just a heads up.
01-27-2007, 10:13 PM
Although there are several Bullets to use, I use Barnes X & TSX exclusively for Hunting, in all my Rifles, and if they shoot in "Your" Rifle, then in my eyes there is nothing else to use in the "Controlled expansion" group. Heres a pic of my .338 WM, arguably, the most versatile cartridge, for N. American Game. Out of the 9 or so Hunting Rifles I have, I find myself grabbing this Rifle for probably 80% of my Hunting, whether its for Deer, Moose, Elk or Bear. It just flat out kills 'em Dead!! If I do my part, I know without doubt, the Rifle will hold up its end.
And heres some photos of recovered "X" bullets, shot from that Rifle. They are 210 gr Barnes XBT. from my .338 Win. Mag. The one on the left is a 250gr Nosler Part. for comparison to expanded size. You can easily see 2X Dia.
The one in the middle, was recovered from a 50" Bull Moose from Swan Hills. Shot coming into my calls, at 30 Yards. The hit was in the centre of the Brisket, and recovered under the skin right beside its rear tube. The Moose dropped like it was hit by a freight train....It was!! (recovered weight 203 gr.)
The one on the right was recovered from a Grizzly Bear in the Yukon. The hunter had already shot it 2 times (marginal hits), the Bear holed up in the Alders, we gave him about 1/2 hr. (Was getting dark). We took up the trail, and he busted out the far side of the Alders, when I made it through, he was standing (obviously hurting) at about 250 Yards. I braced against a tree, and let him have it square in the Shoulder. Bullet was recovered under the hide on the far Shoulder.The 'ole Griz dropped like he was hit by a freight train...He was! (recovered weight 208 gr.)
Pics are a little blurry, but you can get the idea.
01-29-2007, 12:13 AM
Love the 338, I don't know what kind of gun your shooting but if you can fit an R3 recoil pad to it you should notice a big drop in recoil, up to 30%. I prefer to use 225gr Nosler partitions, but any premium bullet Would be a good choice, I have achieved great accuracy with this bullet and IMR 4831 stoked up near max with 3 different 338's. My Ruger will repeatedly keep 5 shots under an inch, usually 4 making a ragged hole with one always opening the group a little. I believe a premium bullet is worth the extra money, If you are hunting these large criiters the bullet is should have lots to open up on and you will have less damage if a large bone is hit. The 250 grain load is superior if long shots are not expected. I believe if you are going to shoot 210 grains or less you would be as well off with your 300WM. With that said I did drop a rather large Brown black bear with one shot with a 210grain partition and it stopped just under the skin on the off side. Best of luck and the true answer is what ever turns your crank!
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