338 Win Magnum Ammo

Designed with the big game hunter in mind, the .338 Win. Mag. is especially popular among elk and moose hunters. With ballistics similar to a .30-06, but more commonly using heavier bullets, it has also found favor among African Plains hunters as well.

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History of .338 Winchester Magnum Ammunition

The .338 Winchester Magnum was introduced in 1958 to a target audience of North American big game hunters. But soon its’ popularity spread to the African continent where it was used for hunting medium and some large game as well.

The .338 was a .375 H&H Magnum case that was necked down to accept a .338 bullet. This allows the use of a fairly heavy bullet with enough powder capacity so that the cartridge will easily push a 200 grain soft point bullet just under 3000 feet per second with a muzzle energy in excess of 3800 foot pounds. One of the first rifles chambered for this cartridge was the Winchester Model 70 Alaskan, Winchester’s rifle designed with the Alaskan big game hunter in mind although commonly thought of as one of the best elk hunting cartridges in use today, the .338 is also used with great success for hunting bear as well. One of the great advantages of the cartridge is its ability to retain energy at long ranges. In the correct load, it will retain almost 2000 foot pounds of energy at 400 yards. This extends the effective range of the cartridge beyond the .375 H&H Magnum.

All of that power and reach does not come without a cost. The rifles are usually built heavily, with 8-10 pounds being the average weight. Second and usually a much more discussed factor is recoil. The .30-06 will generate about 15 foot pounds of recoil while the .338 Winchester Magnum creates 30 foot pounds of recoil. Although this recoil is significant, it is not enough to scare off the hunters who value its performance.

Many major rifle manufacturers offer the .338 Winchester Magnum. Winchester, Ruger, Remington, Weatherby and Savage make a few of the more prominent rifles that are chambered for the .338. The most common platform is the bolt action rifle, although Browning makes a BAR that is chambered for the .338 as well.

Virtually every American rifle ammunition manufacturer offers a .338 Winchester Magnum cartridge. Federal and Hornady offer high performance hunting ammunition with their latest in bullet design to get the most out of this excellent hunting cartridge.

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