338 Win Magnum Ammo
History of 338 Win Magnum Ammo
In 1958, Winchester introduced their .338 Winchester Magnum to a specific group of hunters of large North American game. The popularity of the cartridge soon spread to Africa, where hunters used it to harvest medium-sized game as well as some large animals.
The .338 used a .375 H&H Magnum case that had been necked down to take the smaller .338 caliber bullet. This allowed the use of a rather heavy bullet, which meant that with enough powder, a 200 grain soft point bullet could reach 3,000 feet per second and a muzzle energy exceeding 3,800 foot pounds. The Winchester Model 70 Alaskan was among the first rifles chambered for this cartridge and was designed with the hunter of big Alaskan game in mind. With a reputation for being one of the best cartridges for hunting elk in use today, the .338 has also been employed with great success for bear hunting. A great advantage of this cartridge is how well it retains energy at long distances. With the right load, it has nearly 2,000 foot pounds of energy available at 400 yards – making the effective range of the .338 better than the .375 H&H Magnum.
But all that power and reach comes with a cost. The rifles that fire .338 are built heavily and weigh an average of eight to ten pounds. More often discussed than gun weight is the recoil factor. While the .30-06 generates recoil in the range of 15 foot pounds, the .338 Winchester Magnum generates recoil in the range of 30 foot pounds! This is a significant number for recoil, but it's not enough to dissuade hunters who need the performance that this cartridge presents.
Several major manufacturers sell rifles chambered for the .338 Winchester Magnum, including Winchester (obviously), Ruger, and Remington. Weatherby and Savage also make some of the more well known options. Bolt action rifles are the most common platform, although Browning makes a BAR semi-automatic rifle that is chambered for the .338.
.338 Winchester Magnum ammunition is also for sale from nearly every U.S. manufacturer. Federal and Hornady sell high-performance ammo for hunting, and their advanced bullet designs make this excellent hunting cartridge even better.