338 Federal Experiences? Thinking of building new AR10

Discussion in 'Big Game Hunting Forum' started by carlschmarl2, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. carlschmarl2

    carlschmarl2 Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
    271
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Location:
    NEOH
    338 Federal Experiences? Thinking of building new AR10

    Does anyone have any experience with the 338 Federal round? I?m thinking about building my next AR10 with a 338 upper versus the standard 308. I know the 338 is a necked up 308 with a slightly larger diameter bullet. I?d like to use it mainly as a deer gun. But if the situation ever arises, maybe bear, elk and/or moose. I like the idea of the 338 because of the wide range of weights to choose from. Also, it?s starting to become more prevalent and is sitting on more store shelves. Maybe someday I'll get into reloading and I'll have better luck finding/making cheaper rounds.

    What kind of distance can I expect out of the 338 Fed? "They" say it's a mid range caliber - whatever that means?

    Is the 338 Fed around to stay? Or is it just a novelty round?

    Or should I just stick with the tried and true 308?

    What other big bore calibers should I look at?

    I was originally looking at the 50 Beowulf, 450 SOCOM and/or 450 Bush but those are only 150-200yds rounds at best. The plus side of these is that all I would need is a dedicated upper for one of my AR15 lowers. But ammo availability can be a bitch. I can shoot half that distance with my 20ga and damn near that with my 50 cal smoke pole. The idea of having one of these uppers would be neat, but I think I can do more or just the same with said slug gun and muzzle loader.


    Recent pic after the range with a few toys:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. CutEmAll-Boyz

    CutEmAll-Boyz Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
    687
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2003
    Location:
    Maine
    Not sure if it's accessible online but I just read a great article/review of the 338 Fed. in THE NORTHEAST SPORTING JOURNAL. I'll try to get the author and link info for ya.
     
  3. CutEmAll-Boyz

    CutEmAll-Boyz Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
    687
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2003
    Location:
    Maine
    David G. Walker is the author....Can't access anything online through the Journals website...Maybe his email is online somewhere?
     
  4. Captain Finlander

    Captain Finlander Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
    593
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Location:
    Florida
    I have been studying it as of late because all of the gun scribes keep propping it up so much. We really have to do our own research and not believe everything we read in the gun mags. Writers get paid to say good things about stuff and leave out the bad.

    Actual ballistics show a different story. All guns kill so to say it kills any better is really not saying anything. It does not produce any more energy than a 308 and you give up trajectory and energy.

    Consulting my new Nosler manual #6 it shows that the new federal cartridge is being loaded to a 98% to 115% compressed load to generate velocities of 2728 FPS out of a 24" barrel using a 180 grain bullet, assuming you can safely achieve that in your rifle. That sounds impressive until you look at the bullets sectional density and ballistic coefficient. The 308/180 has a BC of 507 and SD of .271 the 338/180 has a BC of .372 and SD of .225

    When compressed to 104% the 308 pushes a 180 grain bullet to 2718fps. They both produce the same energy at the muzzle but the 308 will carry better over distance. This is using the 180 grain accubond for both.

    Lets load the 225 grainer for show. The Federal can generate 2400 fps out of a 24" barrel and it only shows a modest energy improvement over the 338/180 but produces less energy than the 308/180 at all ranges. I can see why federal is only offering the 180 grainer.

    The 338 Federal does not offer flatter trajectory nor does it offer greater energy. I like the 338 caliber but it really needs to be pushed to offer any advantage. I would say that the 338-06 would be my minimum case size for the 338 caliber and the win mag being the most popular.

    My vote is for the 308 based upon published data.
     
  5. CutEmAll-Boyz

    CutEmAll-Boyz Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
    687
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2003
    Location:
    Maine
    You may not be familiar with the newspaper I referenced. Authors recieve $225/month for their contribution. We're not talking about Deer and Deer Hunting "gift hunters" here.
    As I prefer to reference people that have dropped game with a cartridge instead of read about it, I would also suggest you post some inquiries on some of the midwest sites to see what experiences people have had dumping elk in the field with it.

    CutEm
     
  6. Captain Finlander

    Captain Finlander Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
    593
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Location:
    Florida
    I am a statistics nut and have killed many animals in the field myself. I have witnessed Bison being taken cleanly with a 140 grainer from a 270 winchester. You can take a .223 and kill an elk with it but it doesn't make it any better.

    The devil is in the details and statistics are the concrete facts that tell a much better story than how successful Joe Blow was using it on his last elk hunt. The statistics in this case are not extraordinary and I'll bet all the gold in Fort Knox that the same field results could be found using the 308 with equal weight bullets.

    I never said that it wouldn't do the job, just that it shows no statistically measurable advantage to prove it.

    I have compared the 30-06 to the 338-06 and there is little statistically measurable difference between them until you get to the 250 grain bullets. The Ballistic Coefficient and Sectional Density advantages boost the 06 performance until you get to a bullet weight not offered. This same comparison effects the 308 vs the 338-08.

    Conversely, going the other direction. The 7mm08 is better than the 308 using the same bullet weights because of the BC & SD advantages.

    Statistically speaking if you fire two equal grain bullets at the same speed the one with the highest BC & SD will always out perform the latter.
     
  7. carlschmarl2

    carlschmarl2 Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
    271
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Location:
    NEOH
    So do we think the 338 Federal is around to stay? Or is it just a nonentity caliber?

    For the time being, I?m building a 6.8 SPCII. I have an extra lower without an upper mated to it and I?ve heard good things about the 6.8. I?m leaning towards an AR Performance or Bison barrel for this build.

    I would still like a larger caliber AR10 platform/variant in either the 338 Fed or 308. I also found a manufacturer that?s making upper for the 338 Win Mag, but until they catch on and prices come down a little more, I?m going to stick with something a little more common.

    Thanks for the replies guys!
     
  8. Captain Finlander

    Captain Finlander Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
    593
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Location:
    Florida
    To answer your first question.

    In its current available 180 grain loading my money is on it fading away in a couple of years because it doesn't offer a better solution to the already established 308. Federal is spending allot of money pushing this caliber but eventually the truth will come out that supports what I have over stated already. Even the military is making the switch to a smaller diameter bullet, to take full advantage of ballistic's, with its new 6.8 SPC.

    Your looking at the 338 Federal at the peak of marketing. Everyone is quoting, writing, endorsing, etc... right now but that is not what keeps a cartridge around over the long run. The 338-06 is significantly better at pushing bullets but it is still struggling to keep its head above water so how do you expect the tiny Federal to fair over time. Once the fan fair is over the gutsy writers will start to penn real world comparisons with statistics that will kill any more sales of the caliber but, as long as their all collecting a check, you can continue to expect more hoopla about it.

    Any cartridge has to fill a niche in order to survive the long haul and the Federal has to dethrone the 308 to do it, IMO.

    The 260 Rem. is another really good cartridge that fills a vacant niche, has no real competition but continues to not be chambered in any good rifle configurations. It is only offered in stubby barrel models from both Ruger and Remington and that really surprises me considering it's a Remington offspring.
     
  9. CutEmAll-Boyz

    CutEmAll-Boyz Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
    687
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2003
    Location:
    Maine
    I thought it was available in 180-210 factory offerings?
     
  10. Captain Finlander

    Captain Finlander Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
    593
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Location:
    Florida
    I stand corrected, it is also available in 200 grain Fusion and 210 grain Nosler Partitions.
     

Share This Page