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  #1  
Old 04-10-2004, 11:51 PM
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Question Which one? 338 Win mag or the Rem Ultra?


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I will most likely be moving to AK this December if we get orders as we anticipate so I find myself asking a lot of questions these days.
The bulk of my past experience is hunting in Maine (I'm hooked on moose hunting), and I understand that the Maine woods is tame in comparision to Alaska and the moose are bigger too.
It is evident to me that I need to get a more powerful rifle than my 444 Marlin or 308, so I am looking into a 338 Win Mag or a 338 Rem Ultra Mag. It seems that those are the most versatile cartridges for AK if you are going to use just one rifle. The 338 Win Mag is the MINIMUM that has been recommended to me for big Browns. The problem I am having is the 338 Win Mag ( in a Savage 116 FSAK) has a magazine capacity of 3, and the Ultra Mag has a capacity of 2 but a lot more power and range. So I would like to get some expert Alaskan opinions on that one. I plan on ALWAYS having my 500 S&W on me in the woods, but if a brownie can run upwards of 30mph (and get there quick), I don't know if there is much time to draw, aim, and shoot inside of 150 yards (after firing a rifle) if the bear decides to launch. I have been told to always prepare for an immediate follow-up shot, but I wonder if the added bullet weights, increased load choices ( I handload),and velocity of the Ultra Mag would make up for the extra round in the magazine in the Win Mag?
Could someone give me a hand deciding? If anyone has any other info feel free to tell me.
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  #2  
Old 04-11-2004, 01:17 AM
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Disclaimer: I've never been to Alaska.... That being said, I'd go for the 338 WM in the Savage. You've got one more shot in the magazine, and it's (and this is a guess) a proven killer that may be more universally available in stores. I'm also guessing that your .444 will also make things up there pretty dead. I'll be curious to see the replies from more knowledgable Alaskans.
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  #3  
Old 04-11-2004, 11:16 AM
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Both are fine. Out to 350-400 yards, I doubt there is a hair's worth of difference between the two. The bullet is what does the work on animals, and the Win Mag version provides enough velocity to get the bullet into is operating velocities to 500 yards or more and velocity is high enough for enough penetration into the vitals and very often completely through animals at most any angle (if using premium bullets) for those ranges. The edge the RUM has is less drop at extreme long ranges. That is out past where I'm comfortable taking shots.

The RUM ammo is harder to find, but if you handload that makes little difference. Brass might be hard to find in stores, but since we have the internet and Sportsman's Warehouse just moved into Anchorage, that is probably a non-issue, too.

What it comes down to is which you had rather have. The Win Mag maybe a little easier to shoot, also might be in a little lighter rifle. If you are going to be using this for bears, I'd recommend a CRF action, something that may or may not be available in the RUM. The Win Mag has no flies on it, but neither does the 340 Wby, 330 Dakota, 8.59 Lazzeroni, or the RUM.

I have always felt that the rifle, itself, is much more important than the cartridge it is chambered for, within reason. Which ever rifle fits you better and you can handle better is probably what you should carry.

Hunting in Alaska is bit different than elsewhere. There aren't a lot of places that you can hunt where you park your truck and head into the woods for the day. Typically you will be on multi-day, float type hunt, fly-in, or backpack hunt. You'll be carrying your rifle while hiking over hill and dale, mountain and glacier. I wouldn't be carrying anymore than I had too. When you are carrying your camp and food on your back for days on end, every ounce counts. Personally I'd leave the big handgun at home if I were carrying any of the rifles you mentioned. Fine for fishing or camping (even then, I'd look for a lighter, shorter handgun), but you don't need it if you are carrying a rifle. You might consider carrying a .22 handgun for pot shooting grouse or ptarmigan, though.

The 338 Win Mag is by far and away the most popular of any of the 1/3" cartridges in Alaska. The RUM version hasn't been around very long, but the Wby Mag version has and doesn't come close to the numbers of the Win Mag version.

Personally, I don't think there is a perfect rifle for all the hunting in AK. I know I don't use one rifle for everything. However, if there are good populations of brown bears in the area I'm hunting and I expect shots to be on the long side, I do carry my 338 Win Mag. If I expect shots on the short side, I plan on carrying the 411 Hawk I had built (just as soon as loads are developed). I think your 444 would be fine for bears, bison, musk ox, and moose at close to medium ranges if loaded properly. The 308 will work fine for deer, goats, sheep, elk, caribou, moose, black bear.
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  #4  
Old 04-12-2004, 07:31 PM
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How valuable do you think is the ability to load a 300grain bullet with the 338RUM versus a 250-270Grain bullet with the 338Win Mag? I know what this means in terms of energy and max effective range, but I don't yet know what the true practical application of those numbers would be since I have never even seen, let alone shot a Brown Bear.
I need to get off the fence pretty soon and choose, I already ordered the 116FSAK in the 338Win Mag but have just a few days to change the order. I was thinking I like having one more in the magazine, and like having 8 ounces less weight to carry (I still plan on carrying the 500 with the 8 3/8" barrel, I have grown quite fond of it and will cut weight elsewhere to accomodate him). There was also the issue of less recoil in the Win Mag, but since I handload I might be able to fix some of that in the RUM.
I guess I am splitting hairs, but I really want to know if the 300 vs 250 grainer/ 3 shots vs 4 is going to make any difference with a well-placed shot?
  #5  
Old 04-12-2004, 09:46 PM
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In practical hunting situations, I don't think it will matter one whit between the 250 and other heavier slugs. The 250 Nosler Partition is a stout bullet, as are other premium bullets. They will handle any hunting situation at "normal" ranges very well. I do know some folks really liked the Speer 270 grain, but not enough seemed to have liked because Speer dropped it from their line.

The best selling 300 grain .338 bullet would probably be the Sierra Match King, definitely not a bear bullet. That bullet was designed for long range target punching. Nothing more, nothing less. I'd take the 230 grain FailSafe, 240 grain North Fork, or 250 grain Nosler Partition over it any day for hunting. I'm not much in the loop with stuff over 250 grain bullets, but I think the Match King offering may be the only 300 grainer available in any quantity. It is NOT a game bullet.

What the Win Mag can do with the 230-250 grain bullets, so can the RUM. Personally, I'd take the Win Mag, but that is just me. The RUM can do everything the Win Mag can, but it does come at a cost of more expensive loading and more recoil. Something about the Win Mag, I still think Winchester should have named it the 338 Alaskan Express. Indeed Winchester's original M70 offering in the 338 was aptly dubbed "The Alaskan".

3 or 4 shots, I don't think you need worry. The only time you will be using that many is if you don't do your job on the first one and/or second one. IF you botch the first shot on a big bear, you will have your hands full and a thousand round clip in a BAR isn't going to make you feel better. Keep in mind, almost every hunter I know up here hikes and spots game with an empty chamber. It's only when the shot is immenient is the round chambered. When visibility is low and bears are in the area, the gun is in your hands, the round is chambered and the safety is on. I don't know anybody that climbs the hills, or goes into the woods while going to or coming from the spot/stalk routine that has a round chambered. If you are actively stalking, yes the round is in the chamber, but not before.

The only time I would use the 270 or heavier grained bullets in the 338 would be for bear protection loads. But sounds like you have that covered with the 500 S&W.

The best part of your dilemma is you really can't go wrong with either. It's up to you and what you want.

Let us know what you decide, and how it works for you!
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  #6  
Old 04-13-2004, 04:48 PM
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Thanks, that was a big help. I just told my dealer to go ahead with the Win Mag. The next thing on my list of things to is mount a scope on it, I put Leupolds on my other rifles because I have aleays liked their customer service, and their sight picture seems very clear to me. I am contemplating just going with the VXII 2x8x33mm and not going with a bigger (40 or 50mm) objective. I am not sure if I will need it, but if I do, I could always swap it with my Tactical 3.5x10x50mm. What kind of scope do you run on your all purpose rig?
  #7  
Old 04-13-2004, 05:24 PM
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Oh by the way, I have a younger brother that thinks his 7mm Rem Mag is suitable for Brown Bear. I told him that I thought he needed a little more gun than that, although I firmly believe that it would do the job if he had good bullet placement, and is probably great for everything else, but from what I have heard the 7mm could come up a little short. I have heard of people taking everything on the North American continent with the 30-06, but I dont know if that is really prudent. Feel free to give feedback on his 7mm, I am curious to know if my suspicions are correct.
  #8  
Old 04-13-2004, 06:08 PM
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Smokinjoe,

I've been involved in only 3 Brown Bear kills, (30-06,and 2 300win mags) All 3 were broken down with the first shot. ALL required a second shot. I guess what I am trying to say is either one you choose you can't go wrong. As long as you do your part the bear will never know the difference between a win mag and a RUM. Also, as said earlier brass is more readily available in the win. If you ever find yourself in Galena, Dillingham,Illiamna, etc... and you forget to pack or your ammo was lost in route. Good luck finding RUM.

P.S. I have a 340 Wby only because it was giving to me. Darn the luck. Mostly I use a 300Winny. Just shoot too good not to
  #9  
Old 04-13-2004, 06:10 PM
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All of my rifles wear the Leupold VariX-III's. I personally don't care for the 50mm objectives, especially on something like the 338. One thing is that they are heavier and more bulky. Two, most of the time, you have to use a higher base/ring setup. Trust me, on something like the 338, you want the scope as low as possible. If you have to lift your head up unnaturally to see through the scope, you will feel recoil much worse.

My 338's have worn 1.5-5's, 1.75-6 (current setup), and 2.5-8x.

As for the 7mm Mag, a lot of big bears have fallen to them. Warren Page used his 7mm Mashburn Mag almost exclusively when he hunted in Alaska. It would work fine with 175 grain well constructed bullets 99% of the time, probably. I wouldn't want to go into the alders after a wounded bear with a 7mm. I think you'll be much more comfortable with the 338. I've seen a lot of moose shot with all kinds of cartridges, and there is a difference in killing effect between the 7mm and the 338. The 338 will shoot flat enough for sheep and goat, in a rifle that isn't too heavy to lug up and down the mountains. It'll handle the big bears also, but in a lighter rifle than the 375 H&H or the various over 40 cal rifles.
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  #10  
Old 04-13-2004, 08:17 PM
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Well, I think I'll tell my brother that he had better let me work up some loads for his 7mm if he intends to keep it. As for me, it sounds as if I will do well with my choice of the Savage 116FSAK 338 Win Mag equiped with a VX-II or III variable with a 33mm or 40mm objective.
  #11  
Old 04-14-2004, 10:18 AM
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Lightbulb Heavy Loads For Bear?

Joe, just a thought - but if you are hunting bear or in an area where you expect big brownies, you could always bring along some heavy (300gr) loads and put at least one in the bottom of the magazine for a stopper @ close (closer) range where you won't need the velocity as much as the power & penetration....

I don't know how anyone feels about 12ga slugs as backup or bearstoppers, but James Gates new TERMINATOR Slug pushing a 745gr .73 caliber "bullet" in a fully rifled barrel @ 1350fps is awfully impressive. He's sorting out an entirely new (PREDATOR) dual purpose version (for smoothbore & fully rifled barrels) that will be a little less weight and more velocity, but the same hard cast construction with a " diameter meplat on the nose. Park Rangers & State Troopers in Alaska take out problem bears each year with 12ga slugs... The new Terminator & Predator slugs will hopefully make their job safer and easier when it's available in Alaska.

Just noted that Benelli is offering their 12ga M1-Super 90 "Interia" auto with a 24" fully rifled barrel with rifle sights now, too... Everyone is picking up on the big bore slug rage right now.

GOOD LUCK IN ALASKA!!

Last edited by Gowge; 04-14-2004 at 11:22 AM.
  #12  
Old 04-14-2004, 11:02 AM
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Hawk makes a 300gr bullet for the 338 win mag, and will put the crimp groove where you want it as well. thats the thing I like about the 338 it likes big heavy bullets, throws a heavy bullet farther and flatter with authority, than a lighter one. I would like to add if your hunting Alaska go with a all weather rifle, you won't regret it. Aim small hit small. RAMbo.

Last edited by Rmouleart; 04-14-2004 at 11:05 AM.
  #13  
Old 04-14-2004, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
thats the thing I like about the 338 it likes big heavy bullets, throws a heavy bullet farther and flatter with authority, than a lighter one.
I don't get this statement Rick. What I have found shooting the 338 Win Mag, for most long range hunting, bullets in the 225-230 grain weights are ideal for that work. The 250's just can't match them. Anything over 250 and drop becomes more pronounced. The 225-230 grain weights, when loaded near the top seem to be a little flatter than the 200 or 210 grain loads. I do have some 215 grain Sierra's, but haven't tried them yet.
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Old 04-14-2004, 02:43 PM
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Alaska338 sorry I did not state that right, I ment the 338win mag throws a bigger bullets better than most other carts like the 30 cals that seem to like 150-200gr bullets, well I found 225gr-300gr bullets shot the best in my Ruger Mark II, I read a artilce it was written bye Elmer Keith he was testing the 338 win mag, he stated he found the bigger heaver bullets 250gr-300gr where more accurate with reaching out past 250 yards,were not as wild as the lighter bullets, also had better penatration than the smaller 200gr bullets, can't remember where I read this article, Getting old LOL. Aim small hit small. RAMbo.
  #15  
Old 04-14-2004, 06:59 PM
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Thumbs up

Thank you all for the input, I think I will be heading in the right direction with the Savage "Weather Warrior" Model 116FSAK in the 338 Win Mag. It is a stainless rifle with a synthetic stock, adjustable muzzle brake, and the "AccuTrigger"(which is adjustable as well).

As for the 12ga, Those new .73 slugs sound awesome (3015 Ft/lbs), and just immagine the penetration. Talk about momentum and surface area(remember that the surface area is a multiplier too). I think my wife is going to carry that when we are out with our kids who will be 4 and 5 when we get there. She is a decent shot with her Glock19, but I don't think she will do anything except annoy a bear with that. I am working at getting her up to speed with the defensive shotgun.

Concerning the bullet selection for the 338, I am thinking about starting with two basic loads; one for distance, and one for heavy penetration under 250 yds. Has anyone used the Barnes 250gr solid RN? I will most likely try the others that have been suggested as well. Also, If anyone can remember what publication the Elmer Keith article was in I would greatly appreciate it.
  #16  
Old 04-15-2004, 07:20 AM
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Here is some food for thought from Elmer Keith, but this is not the article I spoke about, still always a good read if Elmer writes it. Aim small hit small. RAMbo.

http://www.gunsandammomag.com/gun_co...624/index.html
  #17  
Old 04-15-2004, 06:28 PM
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A very good read indeed. It makes the RUM sound intriguing, but for the sake of ammo availability in AK I will most likely stick with the Win Mag until the RUM gets popular there.

I was looking at the Barnes website and noticed that they claim the same results (penetration)from their 225gr solid copper as one would get from a 250gr lead core from another brand, if that is so one could probably get a few more fps and a little flatter trajectory & range, making the 338 Win even more versitile in regards to terrain. Thoughts anyone?
  #18  
Old 04-15-2004, 09:21 PM
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You probably can squeeze a few more feet per second, I'm not exactly sure about the penetration part. As the saying goes, I'll believe it when I see it.

One thing to consider when using the Barnes X bullets is Barnes recommends seating them a little further off the lands than conventional bullets with a lead core. Recommendations are to start around 0.050" off the lands. Also, the Barnes X, since it is a solid bullet, is longer for weight than conventional bullets, so even the 225 grain seated .050" off the lands and it being long, you may intrude into your powder capacity as much as the 250 grain Nosler. They are great bullets, there's no doubt about that. Some rifles like them, some don't. They copper foul barrels worse than conventional bullets also, so if you have a barrel that suffers copper fouling, the X may not be for you. My Ruger barrel is one such. It's accurate, but fouls terribly, even worse so with the X. Some have noted higher pressures when using the X bullets, but I wonder if that is because they don't back them off the lands enough or not.

There's the North Fork line, they offer a 225 and 240 grain .338" bullet. I've just received a couple boxes to start working on loads this spring. I'll let you know how the Ruger No.1 likes them. Reports have been outstanding on performance. The 230 grain FailSafe is another exceptional bullet. I've never recovered one from game animals. I can't say that they out penetrate any other bullet, but I've never recovered one. I haven't found a super accurate load with it, but accurate enough for my hunting style and circumstances.
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  #19  
Old 04-16-2004, 07:33 AM
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The bullets I found performed very well using the Ruger MarkII M77 338 win mag. The Nosler BT 200gr, Barnsx 225gr, Hornadys SST 225gr, Speers Grandslams 250gr, Hawks 300gr...All these bullets performed very well, Note: funny how the 338win can shoot all these different bullets and still with out adjustment of the scope or sights all hit a 4 inch area at 100 yards, not many carts can do that using different weight bullets Just my observations while working up loads last year...To me the 338 win mag is a 30/06 on steroids LOL. Aim small hit small. RAMbo.
  #20  
Old 04-17-2004, 01:07 PM
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You cant go wrong with the 338winny. Very good choice. I only use mine for caribou and mountain critters. Most of the areas I hunt I am lucky to get a 100yard shot so I use my 45/70 and 35whelen. Your 444 is a good choice along with the 308.

Where are hoping to get stationed? anchorage or Fairbanks?

As for bullets, I would be happy with a 225gr (lightside) and a 250gr premium bullet. Luckily my savage loves 250gr barnes X, and right now I'm working up a load with 225gr XLC's.

I use a 3x9 on my 338. used to have 1.5x5 but it found a new home on my whelen.

Overall it sounds like you have yourself a good 3 gun battery for up here.
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