Lethal .338 Winchester Magnum

The snow was fluffy and soft, like wool. For the night, he is not hardened. This allowed quietly to slip on the trail between the trunks of pine trees. The tracks went down the shallow slope of the canyon and disappeared in the thicket on the opposite slope.

Come out into the open would be foolish, so I stopped at an old tree. It gave me an opportunity to escape from the eyes that surely could observe your own trail.

Feeling close to the end of the hunt overcame me.

Re-stare, eight-fold reinforced German miracle optics, and stopped again on the dark horizontal branch, which somehow was not snow.

Now, when I drew attention to the lack of snow, I was almost sure that the tree she had nothing.

A few tense seconds of searching, and over a branch blinked his eyes. After a moment, moved all of the branch horns.

The distance to the first Bush, 180 m, to the driftwood, behind which lay the bull – even 30 meters. The rifle boomed, the sound muted, the same cotton-like snow. Return I haven’t felt.

Strange, but the distorted sound of the shutter seemed unnaturally loud metallic clang in conflict with the magic of anticipation and suspense.

The deer disappeared between the trunks and drifts into the vortex of the snow fluff, I don’t have time to do the second shot. But he did not took, I found my elk just twenty steps from where he caught a bullet from my Winchester under .338 Winchester Magnum.

This is a natural and predictable result, if a bullet of this caliber gets there, where she directed arrows. This is one of the most effective and possibly the most versatile hunting cartridge, if not to take into account the “big five”.


Exactly 35 years ago, in 1958, debuted cartridge .338 Winchester Magnum. With him, “Winchester” presented to the public and shooting a boat tail .264 Winchester Magnum. But two years before this came to light the first cartridge from winchesterbros family of “short Magnums” (not to be confused with the modern short Magnums), .458 Winchester.

The formation of the collection was completed in 1963 when it appeared last member, .300 Winchester Magnum. All of these cartridges based on the old nice .375 H & H but shortened to 2.5 inches (63.5 mm).

It is necessary to say a couple of words about each of these rounds, because the history of every interesting in its own way, it will help us get to know our main character.

After the Second world war, African Safari have become more popular than ever. American factories untouched by war, have adapted quickly to the production of civilian goods for a new, expanding market. Work was plenty, wages were increased, and the dollar only became stronger.

Although hunting in Africa has never been cheaper for the American hunter, however, in the 1950s and 1960s for many of the dreams she has turned into an affordable reality.

American arms manufacturers until that time was never particularly interested in the production of large-caliber rifles designed for hunting in conditions of the Black continent. This market was quite narrow.

Most of the clients of an African Safari come from countries where the right to own rifled weapons was severely limited. The possession of very powerful weapons was limited because it was highly specialized and not suitable for other hunts.

Very often after returning from the African people sold their heavy rifles. Often these rifles were just rented or borrowed the guide of a professional.

Even after the war, restrictions on arms in many countries has not changed, and in some cases stricter. The lessons of Hitler and Stalin did not go for the future of the European governments.

In America things were different. Restrictions on the possession of hunting weapons did not exist. Hunters and shooters-enthusiasts, of which there were enough inspired by economic security and the availability of hunting in legendary Africa, was ready to buy a new, more powerful weapons and in large quantities. Thus was born a new market.

In 1956, the Winchester has announced the release of a new cartridge, designed exclusively for the big beasts of the dark continent, .458 Winchester Magnum. Diameter (11,63 mm) and bullet weight (500 Grand, or 32,4 g) now do not cause problems, but the length of the liner caused quite a fair surprise: only 2.5 inches (63.5 mm).

But let’s leave the analysis of this phenomenon for other material. And while we will note that, despite the fact that winchesters developers failed to achieve a ballistic par with the old .470 Nitro Express their cartridge within just 10 years in the hands of the African professional hunters and their clients has become one of the most popular “stopper” for hunting a dangerous animal.

Cartridge a boat tail .264 Winchester Magnum also almost instantly became popular, mainly due to well-organized advertising campaign. Ballistic data, it is only slightly superior to the .270 Winchester, and the appearance of “the magnificent seven” Remington (7mm Remington Magnum) just blew a boat tail .264 from the market. A pity, it is also a good cartridge.

Three hundred Winchester from the start did what it was prescribed for the developers. And 30 years after his birth continues to be one of the most popular hunting ammunition, and deservedly so.

Finally we come to the main subject of our conversation. But first find out where this strange “thirty-third” caliber.

In the States the first cartridge with a bullet diameter 0,338 inch (8,59 mm) was the .33 Winchester, which appeared in 1902. Along with Rychagova M-1886 he enjoyed relative popularity, but in 1936 was replaced by the .348 Winchester and the M-71.

But the very first cartridge 33 caliber that could really do what he was famous for this caliber, seems to be considered the .318 Westley Richards. This cartridge appeared in 1910, it was used a bullet diameter 0,330 inch (8.38 mm).

The best option of equipment for this cartridge (bullet weight 250 grain or 16.2 g muzzle velocity 730 m/s) has proven himself in Africa, combined with the wonderful sports oberndorfer a revolver. In appearance and in the working volume of .318 slightly inferior quite popular among connoisseurs of the cartridge .338-06.

Perhaps the most direct ancestor of the .338 Winchester Magnum is the .333 Jeffrey, sarasaviya bullets with a diameter of 0,333 inches (8,46 mm) and a weight of 250 and 300 Grand with a muzzle velocity of 760 and 610 m/s, respectively.

Before the war, and after the war, the cartridge was used like the shotgun and bolt rifles. A perfect cross-load the long bullets has earned him a solid reputation as a reliable ammunition for hunting the largest and tolstoshkurye animals. Then the .375 H & H has not been adopted as the minimum acceptable for hunting Buffalo, elephant, etc..

In 1950-e years the American team of experimenters composed of Charles O’neil, Elmer Keith and don Hopkins very seriously experimented with the old .30-06 and .300 H & H caliber bullets of the .333 Jeffrey.

The result of their work became “cartridges-savages” .333 OKH and the .334 OKH. This Trinity can be considered to be responsible for the implementation of the “Winchester” his .338 Magnum.

That’s just the final choice of the diameter of the bullet the Winchester left behind, perhaps because they had tools for making bullets for the .33 Winchester.

So, the .338 Winchester Magnum is a shortened Magnum, that is, he (as, indeed, all members of the family) is quite suitable for the standard receiver, and a standard adopted .30-06 Springfield. And, therefore, the maximum length of all cartridges in this family are in packaged form must not exceed 3.34 inches (of 84.83 mm).

Now let’s think. After all, hindsight is much to explain and to suggest. Why do the Winchester have decided to take a short cut? I mean what was so important to push the new cartridges in the receiver under .30-06?!

Conjectural answers to this question can be given several. But they will remain assumptions. Because M-70 already had in its Arsenal a full-sized Magnum .375H&H. They could afford to have new cartridges with a length of 2.85 inches (72,39 mm) and in packaged form 3,515 inch (89,28 mm).

Obviously, .458 Winchester would be much better with a larger powder charge. .458 Lott – perfect proof of this. But then a boat tail .264 would not make sense to create, trunks burned after 300 – 400 shots (too much fuel, too close furnace), and .300 Winchester on a full-size casing only would repeat the already proven ballistics .300 Weatherby.

If the .338 Winchester Magnum was created on a long sleeve, then certainly it would be much faster, and hence more powerful. But for most shooters the level of impact would be far beyond the limits of their patience.

That is, he would be just there, in the sense of bestowal, which is now .340 Weatherby Magnum. It is quite possible that Roy Weatherby and then did not introduce this cartridge in 1962. But we have what we have – a practical and effective cartridge.

WHO NEEDS a .338?

Cartridge .338 Winchester Magnum began his forward movement to the top commercial and hunting success is fairly slow. Option nice M-70, who first took the new cartridge, winchesters marketers have dubbed “the Alaskan”. Honor and praise them.

But in fact, the new rifle was no different from the brothers in the model range: barrel – 24 inch (610mm), open sights, rubber recoil pad. It was just a publicity stunt, but once properly put the new cartridge in store for the niche.

The cartridge was declared to be the perfect ammunition for hunting bulldozerbass moose and bears in Alaska. Still one are unable to anticipate marketers Winchester: patron was destined to become the best of the best when hunting the largest of all deer American elk.

Now it is quite difficult to determine why the .338 Winchester so gradually reached the hearts of shooters and hunters. It is possible that the role played by rumors of his excessive recoil. Not without reason, by the way.

Especially if to take into account the fact that the transition from the .270 Winchester and .30-06 to .338 was a pretty radical step. But no need to forget that 30 years ago in the States was much less opportunity to hunt for elk compared to our days.

Anyway and for whatever reason, but the rifle and the cartridges for .338 Winchester in a few years sold quite slowly. And now this caliber is seriously lagging behind from the smaller magnums. And this is understandable, as the power is a special purpose cartridge.

He will never reach the level of sales the 7mm Remington or .300 Winchester. Yes, and this is not necessary, he has his own well-deserved place on the world shelf hunting ammunition. Any person manufacturing arms and ammunition, who wants to play a significant role in the hunting market, building rifles chambered for .338 Winchester Magnum and make ammo of this caliber.

I bought my first rifle in this cartridge for the same reason that many other hunters. I wanted eventually to be in Alaska and have the opportunity to hunt bears there. But in Michigan, where I lived, it was possible to use such a rifle.

In this state there is a small herd of elk, consisting of approximately 1,200 heads. The local Department of natural resources is trying to the beginning of winter to reduce the population of these deer to 900 heads. Licenses only played the lottery and only for residents of the state, and in the late 1990s introduced a new initiative: hunter, produced a deer, has the right to participate in the lottery only 10 years, so the rest will be more chances.

So, my first rifle for this cartridge was the Winchester M-70 classic, which had at the end of the barrel the weight controller vibration, BOSS (Ballistic Optimizing Shooting System), which is also a muzzle brake. The last factor proved to be very useful, as it significantly absorbs the impact.

But after the first hunt I shot of it without the headphones, I decided to get rid of it: I figured I’d rather get hit in the shoulder than on the ears. Although I have to admit that the BOSS works here and directory: you can choose the best charge which will love your rifle and it will send the bullet to the bullet (but mind your ears!).

I think that a good proof that I’m partial to the .338 Winchester is the fact that after the first, which almost stunned me, followed by four more: Winchester M-70 Supergrade, Ruger M77 Mk II (spezzacatena from the “mountain Rifles”) and Sako hunter (not M-75, and the previous generation).

The first 3 controlled feeding of the cartridge, “Finca” with a pusher. High accuracy stands out the Ruger. After proper break-in of trunk and minor debugging rifle began to “print” group not more than 0.75 arc minutes.

In it I used winchesters cartridges with a bullet “Fail safe” weight 230 grain (15 g), muzzle velocity – 860 m/s Front part of the projectile is very similar to “Barnes’s” the fact that it consists of a solid copper alloy with a groove in the center.

But the similarity ends: the internal rear part is filled with lead, steel and glass fulfills the role of preventing the partition between the bow and stern. Very strong bullet, almost always saves more than 90% of its mass.

The bullet has a special coating of black color “globalex” that contribute to less friction inside the barrel and lowers the copper plating of the barrel. The rest of the shoot within 1-1. 2 MoA, but other charges.

About the bullets FOR the .338

Manufacturers are equipping hunting cartridges .338 Winchester bullets of different mass: 200 Grand (12,96 g), 210 grain (13.6 g), 225 Grand (14,58 g), 230 grain (15 g) and 250 grain (16.2 g). But this caliber of a good is its ability to send at high speeds with heavy bullets with a high transverse load and excellent penetrating ability.

And since this caliber and is intended for large, stable on the wound of animals, I believe that messing around with light bullets is not worth it. Stop your choice on one of the heavy (225, 230, and 250 Grand). And the choice, as ever, good.

In order. The Winchester, in addition to the aforementioned options, has an even more serious: the bullet “Partisn gold” a mass of 250 Grand (an improved version of the long-known original shell John Nosler). Muzzle velocity catalog: 808 m/s.

Remington has a good selection. Two old, well-established charge bullets “Core-lokt” weight 225 and 250 Grand. Muzzle velocity catalog: first – 848 m/s, the second – 811 m/s.

In the second half of the 90s they added to their Arsenal a magnificent bullet “swift A-Frame”: 225 and 250 Grand Prix; muzzle velocity equal to, respectively, 850 and 815 m/s. These bullets are designed on the principle of “partisan” (partition), but have a thicker shell, and the baffle is much thicker and forward.

One of the relative new products can be considered bullet “swift Sirocco”, design it like a bullet Nosler “Ballistic Type”, but has a very thick shell, and its core in a special way attached to it, which makes fragmentation of the bullet is impossible. Remington uses this bullet weight 225 grain (14,58 g).

In the hard drive I have several years of use the ammunition “Remington Safari grade stuff” with a bullet “swift A-Frame” weight 225 Grand (14,58 g). Muzzle velocity on the chronograph of the 26-inch barrel (66 cm) – 870 m/s Path: 100 m – 5 cm above the aiming point at 200 meters is 0 to 300 m and 20 cm below the aiming point for 400 m – 50 cm below the aiming point.

With this charge I managed to get a few very large deer, a few black bears and a Yukon grizzly. All the bullets went right through, even when the shot was on the diagonal.

A good variety of options and equipment .338 Winchester from “Federal”. There are 3 bullets weighing 225 Grand: “Barnes XLC” (solid copper with a groove and coated on molybdenum blue-based color, which reduces the copper plating of the barrel), “Trophy Bonded Bear claw” (expansive, but with a monolithic back) and standard shell “Siera Pro-hunter.”

Two charging options apply bullet”, Nosler Partisan” weight 250 grain (16.2 g), one with a muzzle velocity of 811 m/s, the other (a series of “high energy”) – with a muzzle velocity of 854 m/s. This last “forced” charge from the barrel of my Sako flew at an average speed of 870 m/s. On the shoulder is also felt.

The company “Speer” there are 2 good version of the equipment of this cartridge with a bullet of their own “Grand Slam” (225 and 250 Grand). Swedish “Norm” uses the bullet “swift A-Frame” with a mass of 225 Grand. Firm PMC in a series of “Eldorado” uses a super-punchy “Barnes X”. Finnish “Sako” charges their own “Hammer head” (sledgehammer).

Of the above diversity is seen that those who pick up a strong shell for your .338 can do it. Especially if our trading structure will help us with this assistance.

Above I stated that with light bullets to bother not worth it. Light bullets, of course, at a higher muzzle velocity will give a more flat trajectory, but we should not succumb to the temptation. We should not relegate .338 to the level .300. Bullets weighing 200 grain (12,96 g) better correspond to .300 caliber. To prefer a light bullet means to make a mistake, in my opinion.

What bullet weight categories 225 – 250 grain (of 14.58 – 16.2 g) made .338 Winchester real superstar. I ideal accept the above listed bullet weight of 225 grains. Their higher speed, combined with solid construction allows them to whistle through both shoulders a half-ton moose, and bears.

Good ballistic performance, combined with deadly penetrating power strong bullets did .338 Winchester Magnum is suitable for hunting almost all animals of our planet. At least with finasterise .338 puts you on an equal footing with the biggest and toothy.

Cartridge 338 Winchester Magnum, no wonder is the most popular cartridge among professional hunters of Alaska. Yes, many and carry a .375 H & H and .416 different, but finasterise cartridge has proven its ability to calm any of the angry grizzly.

I had a chance or pull the trigger .338, or to be a witness of how this cartridge completed the hunt. I saw my old friend Ivan Lapin two shots laid very angry Cape Buffalo (.416 Remington, unfortunately, remained in the camp).

Together with his friend Ron Wynn, who I assisted a few times, we were forced to climb in the impenetrable jungle to retrieve a wounded client kovacskoko brown. I didn’t have to shoot, but I was there when Ron from your .338 with two shots almost in focus stopped throwing a half-ton bear.

In our country, .338 Winchester, too, is where to turn. Siberian deer and Siberian deer – large and resistant to the wound, the animals, moreover, do not always have the opportunity in the middle of the shot. .338 – and powerful enough and sufficiently long-range cartridge. And our Kamchatka than not Alaska?

My good friend Oleg, Nametchenko half of Africa with his “Browning” under the .338 Winchester Magnum has passed and in Kamchatka it is very successfully hunted. On account of his military semi-automatic carbine leopards, moose, bears, Kudu and another dozen large and very large trophies.

By the way, about hunting in Africa. If you plan to take on Safari 2 rifles, the .338 Winchester can be great company to anyone .416 (Remington, Rigby, Weatherby). The heavy rifle for the biggest and biting animals, and .338 for everything else. But if suddenly happen that you instead will be .416 .338, he won’t let you down.

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