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Thread: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

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    ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    I have a Browning A-Bolt .338 win mag that I want to make into a long range hunting rifle. Do you think this will make a good long range rifle?

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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    Berry

    I see this is your first post. Your question is kinda broad.

    1. What do you call long range?
    2. Yes a 338 Win Mag can be an effective LR hunting round with limiations which are accuracy and there by distance.
    3. Is your Browning a LR hunting rig? Not really, probably not accurate enough. The only way to know is take it out and shoot it at the distance you want to shoot. The target will tell you what you need to know.
    4. Can your Browning be rebarreled/reworked into something that is more accurate to extend it's effective range? Yes
    Dave Tooley Tooley Custom Rifles Gastonia, NC 704-864-7525

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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    I am looking at becoming proficient at 1000 yards on the range. I will probably never shoot beyond 800 yards at an elk. I am shooting a 225 hornady sst bullet at about 2900 ft per second. Looking at a nightforce 5.5-22 x 56 NXS for the optics. I am shooting about a 4inch group at 300 yards. Any comments or suggestions appreciated.

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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    Originally Posted By: Berry
    I am shooting a 225 hornady sst bullet at about 2900 ft per second.


    A couple things to think about...

    Your 4" shot at 300 yds equates to about 11" at 800 yards. That means you can hold just under a kill-zone sized group *IF* you have perfect placement. Elk are unbelievably tough animals so you want to hit the right spot the first time. So, *IF* you guess the wind right, *AND* place your shot perfect, you're in the ballpark.

    Wind...

    The 225 SST moves 14" further than the 208's from my 300WM in a 10MPH wind at 1000 yds. 54" total @ 800yds. That's 5.4" for a 1 MPH wind. That means if you missed your wind by 1 MPH, you hit an elk in a place you didn't really want to. You might get lucky, or you might track him for three days.

    The 250's are better and the 300's are king in .338 when it comes to wind, and the .338WM really doesn't have the poop to drive them.

    I would probably limit my shots to 5 or 600 yds. max with that setup.

    John
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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    I'm with jrob 300 on this. I use a Win M70 in 338WM as my hunting rig. I can shoot it to about 1/2 moa out to 600 yds under ideal conditions. However I'm running the 250 AB bullet @ 2800 fps. Even then I limit myself to about 500 yds on animals. If I needed to hit an elk beyond that I'd drag out my 300WM comp rifle, & even then I would limit myself to 800 yds or less, depending on conditions.

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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    What do you think of my choice of scope, for that setup?

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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    That is the scope I use on my comp rifle. I wouldn't want it on my hunting rifle. It's too big, & is way overkill for a hunting rig. I prefer a 3-12, or 4-14 ish scope for my hunting rifle.

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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    Originally Posted By: Berry
    What do you think of my choice of scope, for that setup?


    A lot of that depends on the terrain and cover where you hunt and your preferred hunting techniques.

    If you zero at 100 yds and dial or adjust your zero so that you just hold and shoot, the only problem might be the 5.5 on the bottom.

    If you hold on the reticle for elevation or windage, I'd recommend an FFP, because it's accurate at all magnifications.

    I have a Razor 5-20. It's a little high on the bottom part of the magnification for NW Montana. There's a lot of close brushy cover here and 5x does not give much FOV if something jumps out. And like Bigwheels said, it's really heavy and bulky.

    It's perfect for Eastern Montana. You can shoot as far as you can see. The 5.5-22 would be perfect for that. For dense cover and hillier terrain, I'd go with a 3-15 or 4-16. 12-16x is PLENTY for 500 yds.

    John

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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    Would you go with the 3.5-15 x 56 NXS by nightforce or some other brand?

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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    Again, it depends on what you expect from your equipment. If you want something that will survive a fall down the hillside and hold it's zero then you want something like the NF.

    You still haven't said HOW you hunt. If you dial that's one consideration. If you need FFP, that's another.

    John
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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    What is FFP? I would like to dial. As far as how I hunt, I hunt hard in ruff steep country.

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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    FFP means that the reticle is in the first focal plane (and will appear to grow and shrink with magnification, but in reality stays the same in relation to your target) which means that no matter what magnification your scope is set at, the hash marks or mil dots are accurate. With a SFP (second focal plane) the appears to stay the same size (but actually changes with relation to the target) and the hashes are only accurate at one magnification.

    If you're going to dial wind AND elevation, just get an SFP. If you're going to dial elevation and hold wind, get a FFP.

    John
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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    I wouldn't dare take a shot at an animal at that range with a "lighter" rifle unless i KNOW i can make the shot and have considerable experiance with the gun and even then i'd be hesitant.

    All animals deserve an ethical death. To me its more important to make sure its as fast and painless as possible for the animal.

    Me personally, i couldn't bare knowing i had caused such an animal so much pain for such a long time. That being said, i am a hunter and love it. Just wanted to make that clear.

    Regards,
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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    With all due respect, I don't recall the OP asking for ethical advice on the pros and cons of long range hunting.

    This is about equipment and capabilities. If you can't separate the two, I understand. Just leave your judgements at home and watch.

    Please stick to the topic at hand or stay out.

    John
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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    I am with Terror on his ethics, because it is very relevant for ALL hunters.

    Berry,

    Do yourself a favor and listen to the gentlemen on this forum. They know EXACTLY what they are talking about. A good example is the first guy to answer your post, Dave Tooley, is an elite gunsmith.

    You will hear phrases like "buy once, cry once" and you will cringe, if you were like me. but in the end, they are right on. I saved for a NF 5.5-22 and realize now why they said to do it. I moved from light bullets to heavier bullets and realize they knew exactly what they were talking about.

    I had a Browning A-bolt in 300wsm and loved it. That being said, the rifle was not built for 800+ yard shots. The pencil barrel and plastic stock didn't help. Good luck and come here with a learning attitude and you will not be disappointed.
    "Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to wrath."

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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    Originally Posted By: mram10
    I am with Terror on his ethics, because it is very relevant for ALL hunters.


    Ethics are certainly important. But logic alone would seem to dictate that the OP's setup was inadequate. Ethics are a very personal matter. Logic, on the other hand is universal, and I find this topic is MUCH more palatable if kept to the facts as opposed to an emotional appeal.

    John
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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    I don't mind the ethics post. I am 56 and hunted the Mountains of Wyoming all my life. My father taught me to regard all life as sacred and that man should be a wise steward over land and animal. I will not take a shot that I do not feel confident in taking in an ethical manner. I have been drawn to this forum seeking knowledge and will consider all that has been said. I am thinking my first step is to improve my optics ( Either a Vortex Razor HD 5-20X50 or the nightforce afore mentioned ) after that I will see what my Browning is capable of. If I am not satisfied with what it can do I will be looking at a custom rifle from Snowy Mountain Rifles. Probably a .338 Norma mag. Again I would appreciate any advice if any here think my thinking is flawed.

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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    Originally Posted By: jrob300
    With all due respect, I don't recall the OP asking for ethical advice on the pros and cons of long range hunting.

    This is about equipment and capabilities. If you can't separate the two, I understand. Just leave your judgements at home and watch.

    Please stick to the topic at hand or stay out.

    John


    I appologize, next time i'll keep to answering the question asked. I in no way meant to push my beliefs on anyone and i can see where i made that mistake. I should not have posted at all in the first place because everyone is different and its not my place to give others advice on ethics.

    To be blunt and clear:

    No, i don't think the rifle will be an adequit fit for long range hunting. If it is, and it very well could be, then awsome. But if not, a custom would be the best way to go in my opinion.

    Best of luck,
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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    Terror, Berry and others,

    I apologize for reacting SO strongly to the ethics thing. I've seen this conversation go really bad so many times, so I try to steer it away from the ethics and back to logic, which seems to arrive at the same place without all the drama.

    Originally Posted By: Berry
    My father taught me to regard all life as sacred and that man should be a wise steward over land and animal.


    Berry,

    We believe in the same things. Part of the problem I have with the ethics discussion is that people will get all holier than thou about an elk at 800 yds. but not think twice of taking a poke at a coyote at 750 yds. or laughing at prairie dogs doing the death dance, or NOT raising the ethics flag when we're talking about shooting an "insurgent" (read: man, son, father, husband, human} at 2807 yards.

    I know what *I* am capable, because I have done the work. I have no idea what *you* are capable, which is why I address your setup.

    Sorry if I spoke out of turn for you. This is your thread.

    John
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    There is no such thing as "The Perfect Scope". But I continue to look...

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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    sorry i dont think the rifle is up to the required accuracy that you will need to humanly dispatch elk at that sort of distance i would think of it more 500 yards Max. the rifle is just not accurate enough you will need to get a rifle that is a true 1/2moa rifle all the time not one that is over 1 moa. the custom rifle route would be a great option if you can streach that far. you can rebarrel and re stock the existing rifle if you are attached to it but it would be likley better just to get a rifle built to do the job. the 225;s and the 338 win mag are marginal for the job at 800 yards aswell it will work for you if the placement is perfect but your rifle's accuracy is working against you. we just recently build a light hunter for a guy a trued Rem700 with 26" no4 profile PacNor barrel and it easily shoots 1/2 moa and is setup for shooting to around 800 yards but he is having issues with projectile performance as he wants to use 250gr Hornady match peojectiles and they are not expanding well so he has to change his projectiles to be able to take the shot. the whole system is important and the rifle is only part of it. your scope also needs to be perfect and you are at least looking into them. you need to also have a look at laser range finders as they are needed aswell as a pda with ballistics software then a windmeter and level on the rifle to make sure you are not canted then you should also look at a cosign indicator to make sure you can place the cosign angle into your ballistics progrem to precisly arrive at the correct dope to take the shot and have the animal humanly dispatched.

    So sorry i dont think the rifle is any where capable for the use you would like to use it for.

    Without a way of measuring distance and angle this would realy limit you to 300 yards with that setup in my opinion but if you can range with the reticle and have data cards 500 yards would be max.

    Cheers Bill
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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    I understand your reaction and absolutly agree with your point of view. I wont ever hunt prarie dogs because i don't have the stomach for needless slaughter of a creature that never did me any harm and wont be used in an effective way (being a means of food). Coyote's are a bit of an overpopulated race here in AZ and they need to be controlled, if they were smaller in numbers i wouldn't hunt them. All other animals i will and do only hunt for food. I do enjoy hunting, alot, but its not something i take lightly.

    This is just my opinion and i know many wonderful people that hunt for trophies and it truly makes me sick but its not my place to say what they're doing is wrong because that is only my opinion and i understand that.

    As far as the killing of insurgents, i don't believe it should be spoken of at all. Im going to leave it at that and be done with it

    I don't want this to go the wrong way here either, i can't stand religious posts because they flat out make me angry about how unaccepting people truly are and ethical topics are close to if not as bad and im sorry i made this one of them.

    Again i do appologize from the bottom of my heart, i never meant to screw up the OP's thread.
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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    I also agree with Wild Bill, in that the stated accuracy is NOT up to par for a LR hunting rig. The other issues he brings up are equally important. The scope you are looking into I commend you. The 5.5-22 NXS IS a great choice for a rifle you will walk to a log pile with a terrific view, & wait for an Elk. But if you are going to be packing it around, looking for elk I think it is too big, & I recommend one in the 12-14X range. Also the LRF. I have 2. One for steel @ long range, & another for hunting. The one I use for steel is a Swaro, & I love it, but for hunting it won't work for me. I have tried to range things with it , & just a smidgen of fog, or snow, it will read 13 yds. My Lupy LRF is much better at ranging things through a little snow, or fog, but several times it has also read incorrectly. For example,340 yds on trees that I know from ranging in good weather is actually @ 420 yds. So I don't trust them all the time under "hunting conditions". Add to that a little cosine error, & or cant, not to mention wind call, & you may have a wounded elk. In the time it would take me to cover the 420 yds to start tracking a wounded elk it will be in the next county.
    Going back to the accuracy part. Don't take this wrong, as I don't know your level of skill, but I would want to know if YOU can hold sub MOA @ those ranges. The rifle may be capable of the necessary accuracy, & you just need more practice, & experience.

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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    Berry,
    I think you are on the right track with the 338 Norma.If I were to do a 26" barrel build, it would be with the Norma or Lapua. I would also look at the 338 EDGE with a 28-30" barrel.
    Go the custom route for a long range rig.
    As far as optics, as stated, if you are going to carry your rifle for a mile or two, then setup and glass for game, a 5.5x22 NXS is the way to go for a scope.
    If you are going to carry your rifle all day, I would look at a lighter scope like the 2.5-10 NXS, which I use on my 300WM out to 800yards.
    Another light weight scope option would be the new Viper PST's coming out.
    Another thing to think about is rifle weight. Don't go to light on a 338 build as recoil will be difficult and very light rifles for me are hard to shoot accurately in that caliber. I would like my rifle to weigh at least 12-13# with scope. Light enough to carry a good distance, heavy enough to get good accuracy out of it.
    BLUEJAZZ

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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    If you rebarrel to 338 Edge, get a better stock, stick a NF on top, and practice, you'll be good to 1000 yards theoretically, however it will take a TON of practice.

    Your current setup would be enough to 500 I'd say, maybe a bit further in dead calm conditions.
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    Re: ? .338 win mag as a long range hunting rifle

    Hi Tyler i understand your logic but the Browning action is not big enough for the edge in my opinion the tennon is marginal and the action length is to short a different action would be needed.

    Any of the 338 LApua, Norma or Edge will serve you well for a dedicated long range hunter. even a factory 338 Lapua from remington if it shoots under 1/2moa would be an option all of the early ones were total puss but i have heard the latest ones are better but the bolt size is also on the minimum for the Lapua headsize so dont hotrod loads if you look at one of them.
    Cheers Bill
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