Transitioning from 6.5 Creedmoor to 338 Lapua Magnum

Nik H

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Hi all,

I recently had the good fortune to purchase a LH AI AXMC in 338 LM. I always wanted to own a large caliber rifle to allow me to try out shooting at a mile or greater. I have owned an AI AT for a bit and have become pretty proficient with it out to 1200 yards. When I shoot 5 round groups with the AT, which is not often, I can hold 0.5 MOA or better out to 500 yards. This is using 6.5 Creedmoor with high quality ammo like PRIME or Berger. I don't reload and likely never will.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have fired about 40 rounds of various ammo through the AXMC. My group size at 100 or 200 yards has increased to about 1 MOA. I have shot better than that but on a consistent basis, it is about 1 MOA.

I totally believe this is because I am flinching or said better, I am failing to hold the rifle steady through the firing sequence. I am not doing a good job managing the recoil or with follow through. I believe that this is the case because I am having some degree of difficulty calling my shot when firing the 338 LM. I don't have this problem with the AT shooting 6.5 Creedmoor.

The question is what do I do about it? Please also bear in mind the following information.
  1. Don't suggest the live/dummy round exercise. This test does nothing more than identify that the shooter has a flinch but it is not a solution. I already know that I am subconsciously flinching.
  2. Dry firing - I have been dry firing using the IOTA and have no issues with moving the rifle or calling the shot. I think that since I know the gun isn't going to fire, I don't try to anticipate it.
  3. The AXMC uses the standard AI trigger while the AT uses the new comp trigger. I don't think that this matters but I offer it up as information.
I would appreciate any suggestions.
 

Steel head

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I really enjoy shooting 338 lapua sand 338 normas.
with the bigger magnum I can’t cheat on position like my 260.
I absolutely make sure everything is good as I can get it with the big boomers
Proper fit to rifle
Build a position as comfortable as I can get it.
Bipod not on a bouncy mat, I always get it on dirt or rocks.
bag is nice and straight, compacted and set to minimize squeezing necessary.
Make sure my NPA is sorted out so I’m not forcing rifle onto target.
I was to be relaxed when the shot break so my muscles act like dampeners not springs.
 

W54/XM-388

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If it's your first foray into the super magnums, I would call 1 MOA consistently out the gate, pretty good and suggest that if you work at getting used to the recoil, getting use to the energy and getting comfortable with it over the next 100 rounds, your groups will tighten up.

Do you have the big factory AI brake on it or one of the smaller ones that is designed to slip a suppressor over?

There is a big difference in how punishing the rifle is and I've had them side by side to compare.
The full large AI factory brake or something like a Cadex Defense MX1 makes it really soft shooting

The suppressor mount brakes make it a lot more punishing.

The downside to the brake of course is a rather increased concussion wave that even with doubled up hearing protection buffets you a bit.

In my case I usually don't go for more than 10 or so rounds of .338 in a go and normally shoot my .308 AI first to warm myself up to the next level of recoil.

Here would be my suggestions based on what works for me:

Get a baseline for the maximum accuracy potential with the rounds you are using by shooting the rifle fully supported on a bench where you only need to touch the trigger carefully. I'd recommend this because depending on the ammo you are using, you might not be able to do better than 1MOA till you get a different loading. For example shooting the S&B stuff the groups tend to be bigger than when I shoot Lapua stuff.

Get used to the trigger or change it to the same competition trigger you are using otherwise because you might be ever so slightly pulling the shot because you are used to one trigger over the other.

Warm up with 10 to 20 rounds from your 6.5 creedmoor before going to the big boy.

With a 6.5, you can get away with muscling the rifle onto the target a tiny bit, but when you move up to a hugely more powerful cartridge in a similar weight class rifle, you can't. The recoil and concussion wave will cause your muscles to momentarily relax, so you have to work hard on your position very carefully and make sure it is rock steady without forcing it.

Learn to love the recoil much like enjoying rough sex HA!

One other thing you could try if you haven't already, is if you are shooting at 1000 yards or closer & especially at 100 to 500 yards, try something like the 250gr Lapua Scenar factory loads. They are very accurate in most AI guns, run at high speeds for minimal drop at short ranges, and are a lot softer shooting than the 300gr stuff.

For me, I like shooting my .338LM AI rifles, but I run into my limits quickly and can probably do 10 shots before I need to call it a day, (to compare, after about 40 shots of .308 I usually need to call it a day) so I usually shoot my .308 a bit, then the .338LM and then the .308 a bit more. I find for me it's not something I can "push through", I can tell when I've hit my limit and my accuracy for the day is over, so I usually call it a day about then since it's not cheap ammo.
 

Nik H

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@W54/XM-388 Thanks for the comments...let me answer some of your questions
  1. It is the AI factory brake. It certainly has a concussion.
  2. I only wear my MSA Sordins for protection and it is amazing how much louder the blast is. I have wondered whether an in ear with the Sordins would help
  3. I only shoot 10-15 rounds in an outing. Any more and I have trouble concentrating and as you say, the ammo is pricey. Even cheap ammo is expensive.
  4. I shoot S&B, PPU and FGMM. My group size doesn't vary much based on ammo but this is limited to the 50 rounds shot from 100-300 yards. All the ammo I have tried so far is 250 grain.
  5. I don't mind the recoil....rough sex and all...HEHEHEHEHEHE.
  6. One thing I didn't mention is that @Steel head mentioned is that I am shooting from a concrete bench top using an Elite Iron Bipod. I am wondering whether that is why the recoil management is proving very difficult and calling the shot is harder. I need to try it prone on dirt.
  7. I thought about moving the trigger over to give it a try. I may do that. I will tell you that mentally, I am waiting for the break much more so than when shooting the AI AT in 6.5. This is why i believe the flinching is really the culprit...the fear of the blast so to speak. Maybe doubling up on the hearing protection will help.
  8. I will definitely focus on my position and its stability.
Nice to hear that 1 MOA out of the gate isn't a bad result.
 

W54/XM-388

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I always double up hearing protection on those, using in ear soft foam plugs and then Peltor over ear muffs I'd recommend double as a good idea.

I'd suggest definitely trying the Lapua 250gr Scenar rounds over what you have been using.
specifically: Prod. no. 4318017 / Code GB488

If you are shooting from a concrete bench top, I'd suggest skipping the bipod and doing all front / rear bags instead.

If you go prone on dirt, then the bipod has some better grip to work with.

You are correct about unconscious fear of the blast/recoil/shot, but that goes away if you warm up and with a bit more practice.

I'm wondering if it might also be because if you are just a tiny bit "jumpy" the competition trigger goes off a lot earlier into the pull than the standard unadjusted factory one will and possibly in that fraction of a second you are unconsciously giving just a tiny bit more movement.
 
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Enough Said

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STRAIGHT BACK with the three "graspers" of the firing hand with pressure equal to the weight of the rifle. Also a very firm grip on the rear bag and your pincers this time (thumb and fore finger) should be controlling the stock's desire to fishtail. If your fundamentals are otherwise correct, you should recover from follow-through with the sights on or very near the target. Lowlight and I do a "Recoil Management Demo" at all our classes with a suppressed .338. The recoil only moves the rifle a quarter inch or so. (we've slo-mo-video'd it)

Keep practicing with the expressed intent on recoiling with crosshair still on target. It takes a little getting used to but you will eventually overcome the slop.

-- Taylor
 

LawnMM

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That caliber is a flinch factory, buy a better brake, solid rear bag, and a comfy cheek pad

Beyond that, it's just succumbing to the beating 🤣
 
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Nik H

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I am doing much better now. 3-4 round groups at 0.5 MOA.

I videoed myself shooting and was flinching enough to cause the issue I reported initially.

I focus on proper fundamentals and follow through now and it made all the difference in the world

Thanks for the good help and suggestions
 

Steel head

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I am doing much better now. 3-4 round groups at 0.5 MOA.

I videoed myself shooting and was flinching enough to cause the issue I reported initially.

I focus on proper fundamentals and follow through now and it made all the difference in the world

Thanks for the good help and suggestions
First time I shot a 338 I couldn’t hold moa for three shots.

I really enjoy them now.
 
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GrantB

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The 3 main things to concentrate on is fundamentals fundamentals fundamentals. When I first started playing with the big boys I always shot on the ground prone and shot really well. One day the mirage was terrible so I decided to shoot prone from the truck bed and man was it bad. I could barely hit a 4’x4’ target at 1200 yards. I was high then low then left them right. I couldn’t control the gun at all. When shooting from a hard bouncy surface you really have to be on your toes and I wasn’t. A tip, always use the same setup every time. Just a different rear bag will change your poi.
 

Dthomas3523

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FYI, the random dummy round does much more than identify the flinch.

As long as it’s not known when the dummy round is in the chamber, it will force to to be very vigilant with your fundamentals. The key is it being random.

I’ve used it to cure a lot of flinches (including myself with pistol).
 
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Nik H

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FYI, the random dummy round does much more than identify the flinch.

As long as it’s not known when the dummy round is in the chamber, it will force to to be very vigilant with your fundamentals. The key is it being random.

I’ve used it to cure a lot of flinches (including myself with pistol).
Agreed as long as you don’t know the position of the dummy round. I would think that the increased focus to fundamentals should also improve my shooting of the 6.5 Creedmoor (my AI AT).
 

TacticalDillhole

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FYI, the random dummy round does much more than identify the flinch.

As long as it’s not known when the dummy round is in the chamber, it will force to to be very vigilant with your fundamentals. The key is it being random.

I’ve used it to cure a lot of flinches (including myself with pistol).
I have my wife or kids load my mags sometimes when I’m using dummies so I have no idea where they are.
 
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