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.338 or .300

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/27/2015 at 20:28
Mr. J View Drop Down
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Im looking at buying a new rifle for large game hunting (nothing smaller then elk, possible Africa hunt in a year or two). Im looking for something with a long reach, hits the target like a Mack truck at long range (I dont want to shoot twice for one kill), and stays relativity flat in flight. I have no problem with recoil (pain is weakness leaving the body after all) an I understand high prominence can make your wallet lighter really quick.
I started by looking at the .300 win mag, but I feel that it might not be big enough to drop some large North American game within a couple steps of impact. So I started looking at the .338 Win mag which brought up the .338 Lapua mag. On paper its not much of a difference between the two .338s, dose that small difference make a very big difference the real world at 1000 yards? Or is the .300 a hard enough hitter stop the biggest grizzly on the coast of Alaska in its tracks?      
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/27/2015 at 21:08
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If I was going to go out and shoot guns at grizzly bears, I think I would want a 375.    
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/27/2015 at 21:12
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Ill have to look into the 375

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/28/2015 at 08:41
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I hunted plains game in Africa a few years ago, I took a 300WM. When I returned, I immediately bought a 375, African game is tough!
The historic king of the non-dangerous game rifles is the 375 H&H, it hits with authority; however, if you are looking for a round that does long range and hits hard up close, 375 isn't ideal.

There is no "one siz fits all" in hunting rifles, everything is a trade-off. I don't know many that hunt with a 338LM, but it would definitely get the job done. Most of the rounds with which I have experience are long range rounds, not necessarily long range hunting rounds, that would be my first investigation were I considering the round for hunting purposes.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/28/2015 at 10:48
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If Africa is in the plans, keep in mind that some countries there have minimum caliber requirements, so check with laws first. If you're confining your hunting to North America only, anything from .30-06/7mm mag class will work just fine for anything that walks on the continent. With the bullet technology of 30 years ago, there was a real advantage to going heavier/larger bullet diameter for the largest game (big bears, moose), but with today's bullets, given reasonable limitations, that "bigger is better" advantage has narrowed considerably. Today, it's all about selecting an appropriate bullet with the construction and expansion characteristics appropriate for the critter you're hunting. Given identical bullet placement and good heavy for caliber, controlled expansion bullets in each, a .338 mag will not kill big beasts any quicker or deader than a 7mm or .300 mag. Period. Nothing in North America requires greater horsepower than those cartridges. Energy numbers are virtually meaningless, because they don't take into account bullet design/construction.

The same cartridges will work fine on medium African plains game. Large African game is another topic altogether, and if large African game is indeed on the menu, then I'd go with at least .375 minimum, if for no other reason than to ensure you always comply with potential laws.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/28/2015 at 11:52
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What rifles do you already have? At what ranges do you like to take your game? Is overall weight of the rig a concern?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/28/2015 at 12:56
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I have never hunted in Africa but know folks that have made more than several trips there and have killed almost every kind of game. Their rifles included: .270 Win, .375 H&H, and .416 Rigby.

My self imposed range for big game is 400 yards and my .300 Win mag loaded with 200-208 grain bullets meets my expectations perfectly. From what I hear most African professional hunters/guides don't like long range shooting.

The same person who killed a bunch of African game used a .375 H&H with 300 A-Frame to kill a huge bear in Alaska at a real short range.

I have a .375 and loaded with 270 grain bullets it is close to .30-06 ballistics but not as flat shooting as a .300 Win or .338 W using high BC bullets.

At one time I did have a .338 W, but thought the .300 W and .375 covered more situations.

Never had shot one but my impressions of the .338 Lapua is that it is sort of a cannon designed to shoot 300 grain match type bullets at resistant targets at extreme ranges.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/28/2015 at 14:23
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If you are hunting with a good PH, he won't let you take a long shot till you have proven you can handle it.

In truth, most hunters suck at long range, too many unrecovered animals, too many miserable and unnecessary deaths.

For hunting in most situations, 300 yards is a good max range. If your confidence, your ammo, your gear, and your skill allow more, you'll know. If you don't know, don't take the shot.

My biggest African animal was a kudu and it went down to a double-lung shot after a run of maybe 20 yards.

300WM will do what you require, and I recommend Barnes 180-TTSX, my PH loved the combination and the results.

Edited by Rancid Coolaid - November/30/2015 at 09:23
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/28/2015 at 16:04
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A 300 Winchester Mag is a great choice for plains game.  A 30-06 would also work....it's the most popular caliber among local African hunters.  I dropped a gemsbok in his tracks with one shot at about 200 yards with a 300.  I flattened a springbuck like he was hit with a nuclear bomb.  

30-06, 7mm Rem Mag, or 300 Winchester is fine for antelopes.  

Bigger stuff is a different story, although back in the old days lots of lions were shot with 303 British, and 7X57s and 300 Savages.... 


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/28/2015 at 19:34
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The 338 Lapua Magnum has the distinction of being designed from the outset as a military round… for extreme range sniping.  Can you hunt with it?  Certainly… (I have a friend who hunts hogs with a 9mm pistol).  You can hunt with almost anything that throws out a projectile.  There are plenty of suitable bullets in 338.  It is quite expensive, even if reloading, but really no more expensive than some of the "dangerous game" rifles.  338WinMag is an excellent big game hunting round.  However, if I were in grizzly country, I would carry my 458 Lott.  Actually, I deer hunt with the Lott… it's quite effective.  
300WinMag will drop most anything.  I took an Axis with 300WinMag 190gr Black Hills BTHP at 161 yards… perfect heart/lung shot… he walked 7 feet before he knew he was dead.  Axis is a pretty tough animal.   
If you are going for plains game, I believe, based upon my conversations with a friend who is also an accomplished outfitter, virtually any caliber that is generally used for North American game would be suitable.  
If dangerous game is planned, nothing below .375… some locations will not let you hunt with less than .375.  There is a plethora of dangerous game calibers… no "one size fits everyone".   

Any of the calibers requires "good shot placement".  Whatever works best for you is "BEST"...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/29/2015 at 18:40
Mr. J View Drop Down
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The largest caliber I have become use to is the .308. The longest kill I have confirmed is 725 yards with it give or take a couple yards. I've hit good groups out to 1200 yards with the same rifle with pretty regularly consistency depending on conditions at the time. So I'm very comfortable with my ability to hit targets an put them down at what many consider obscene ranges.
I did not know about the caliber regulations in Africa.
I did look into the .375 an the only thing that I don't like about it is how much drop it has especially when compared to the .338. i would prefer to get a larger caliber for larger pray then my .308 because they loose so much energy at the ranges I'm comfortable shooting at.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/29/2015 at 20:24
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Sorry but if you are shooting out to 300 yards, not much difference on large beasts. The trajectory for .375 vs .338 is quite close.
If you are thinking about shooting at really large animals much further, I disagree.
Our member from S.A. spoke here
http://www.opticstalk.com/338-win-mag-vs-375-hh_topic11919.html
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/30/2015 at 00:15
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To the OP -- If you decide you're interested in a good .375 H&H, I've got one (Sako model 75 "Hunter" -- wood monte carlo stock, and blued action and barrel) that I'm probably going to sell.  Bought it new in '02 and used it as my "go to" rifle for moose, deer, and elk hunts.  It's a great (very accurate) rifle and one I enjoy shooting, but I inherited a few rifles a couple years ago that seem to get the nod now for sentimental reasons when I hunt, and the .375 is collecting dust.  I have a tough time hanging on to stuff that I don't use, so it's probably going down the road.  Let me know if interested.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/30/2015 at 08:13
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Sniping at long range is a different mind-set than the hunter who wants to get up close and have an experience with the prey. Maybe you're thinking something different than most who go to Africa. Most who need to do it with one rifle would just get a .375, a low power variable and set it to use different loads depending on what is on the menu. That works fine to 300 and really simplifies the whole deal.

If you're wanting to limit yourself to long range sniping at game, you don't need the big gun because you are not stopping charges. You need sleek bullets. I would look at what bullets I wanted to use and work back from there, considering reloading practices and costs. The .300 Win Mag for instance, is an easy cartridge to work with on developing loads, but I hated dealing with the belt. Now would not be a good time to get involved with a case and bullet that wants H4350 and Fed 210s, or other unobtainable components.

Also, if a heavy .308 is what you're used to, consider going with as little recoil as possible to get the job done. It isn't about whether it hurts or not. A gun that kicks less just makes it easier to hit with because it moves around less before the bullet leaves the barrel.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/30/2015 at 10:11
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Originally posted by Mr. J Mr. J wrote:

The largest caliber I have become use to is the .308. The longest kill I have confirmed is 725 yards with it give or take a couple yards. I've hit good groups out to 1200 yards with the same rifle with pretty regularly consistency depending on conditions at the time. So I'm very comfortable with my ability to hit targets an put them down at what many consider obscene ranges.
I did not know about the caliber regulations in Africa.
I did look into the .375 an the only thing that I don't like about it is how much drop it has especially when compared to the .338. i would prefer to get a larger caliber for larger pray then my .308 because they loose so much energy at the ranges I'm comfortable shooting at.

I could loosen the lug nuts on my wheels and see how fast I can drive before the tires fall off, it is within my power, but why would I?  Likewise, why take a 700 yard shot on an animal that will suffer and die badly if I make a small error in wind call or angle of shot or if I just happen to not pull the trigger well.  I am a pretty good shot and I don't hunt long range, some do, I have seen animals die in really bad ways because someone wanted to win the "my balls are bigger" contest.

As for long range in Africa, I talked to a fellow member here before I went and he recommended getting very comfortable shooting off sticks and taking shots with about 3-5 seconds of prep time - that advice was invaluable.  Most shots are off sticks, and most shots happen within about 5 seconds of the PH saying "shoot that animal."

On caliber, next time I will take 2 rifles, my 180-gr Barnes from a 300WM damn near tore my klipspringer in half!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/30/2015 at 15:11
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The following might fall into the realm of common sense that doesn't warrant mentioning, but if most of your experience is with smaller calibers, I'll throw it out there.  As you get into the larger calibers for rifles that you expect to shoot a lot, I'd recommend paying a fair amount of attention to the rifle configuration (weight, stock style, muzzle brake presence/absence, etc).  Since you've expressed a desire to use it for extended ranges, it sounds like you expect to put quite a few rounds down the tube, so don't underestimate the effects of recoil.  If you are like most, it will make a huge difference in how much you enjoy shooting that particular rifle. 

 

With the game you've outlined for this rifle, you'll probably want to balance the trade-offs between rifle weight and recoil.   The animals you'd like to hunt with this rifle typically require you to log quite a few miles carrying the rifle, so lighter weight is an advantage.  Light weight can be your enemy though where recoil is concerned for the larger calibers if you're putting in a lot of range time, so pick a stock configuration that fits you well and matches your intended use.  (Muzzle brakes can be a huge equalizer here, but I personally can't stand hunting with them, so I find that getting a good stock that fits me well is huge.)  It's probably not a big deal if you're putting less than a box of shells thru it in a year, but if it's a rifle you're going to shoot a lot and become proficient at extended ranges with, I'd recommend giving some thought to rifle configuration.  (I've had more than a couple hunting acquaintances approach me, proud as hell of their new $2k 300 mag or 338 mag, wanting me to help them site in.  I've learned that shooting a medium-to-large caliber rifle in a lousy stock can be miserable...) 

 

Good luck!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/30/2015 at 16:22
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Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:



300WM will do what you require, and I recommend Barnes 180-TTSX, my PH loved the combination and the results.

I've not hunted Africa (yet), but I agree with the 180 TTSX recommendation from Rancid.  In fact, my 700 Rem loves the 175gr LRX by Barnes.  It's got just a slightly longer ogive and boat tail than the 180, but on impact the result is pretty similar.  I've tried both, and my rifle just seems to group the 175s better.  YMMV.

Deck
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/30/2015 at 19:25
Mr. J View Drop Down
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In response to Rancid coolaid, I shoot long ranges on pray because that is the challenging part of hunting to me. I stalk white tails to within 20 yards on a regular basis during bow season. An with my training and field experience anything within 500 yards is a game of point, shoot an it drops.

I don’t mind the thought of hiking around for a day of two with a heavier rifle and I liked the feel of my model 70 I had in the .308 flavor. I’ve shot a few of the “modern sniper stile” riffles and I cant stand them. Ya there nicer to carry all day in the heat but when lining up a shot I just don’t feel comfortable with them.   


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/30/2015 at 20:02
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Hi There Mr. J...

If you need to ask such fundamental questions about "long" range rifles and shooting it would sort of indicate that that you have not done much of that.

Don't even think of taking that second shot at an extended range because the animal if hit and wounded will not be available for a 2nd shot.

Of interest, even the very best of .308 Win loads or ammo go subsonic at somewhat over 1100 yards, this greatly affects accuracy.

Don't practice on some game animal, especially one classified as dangerous.




Edited by Stevey Ducks - November/30/2015 at 20:31
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/01/2015 at 16:50
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My .338 Win. Mag did fine on an 8'3" brown bear.  One hit, and he dropped DRT (dead right there).

I don't think increasing this caliber to .338 RUM,  .340, or the .338 Lapua is necessary for effectiveness on game, and you will pay a significant price in terms of additional recoil and/or rifle weight.

If you plan to go to Africa and hunt dangerous game, the .375 is a better choice than the .338 for the reasons many of these excellent forum members have cited.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/01/2015 at 19:00
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/02/2015 at 11:06
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Is that how you do it?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/02/2015 at 21:27
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right now im using a .300wby and a .375H&H, ask me if im afraid to shoot anything that walks on this or any other continent.Big Grin
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