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Discussion Starter #1
Didn't really know what to name it but you get the idea. I am thinking of getting a new gun. I would use it for PA black bear and if I ever get the chance I would use it for elk. I want something a little bigger than my 270 but no bigger than a 338 of some kind. I want something that is not a magnum but still gets decent velocities and that doesn't kick too bad. I really want a 338-06 but I don't really want to pay to have one built and doubt that I will find one at the store. So any suggestions. Oh yea I kind of want something that is not the normal 30-06 or 308.

Thanks for the help.
 

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The .338 Federal is close to the .338-06, and it is available as a factory offering from a number of rifle makers. It's a good cartridge, and definitely good for black bear and elk. It is marketed as having the energy of a 7mm Remington Magnum but with notably less recoil, and they aren't exaggerating. It is definitely not a standard vanilla caliber.
 

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Another vote for the .338 Federal. I have one in an LR-308 and it is a very potent round. I doubt it will equal the .338-06 just as the .308 will not equal the .30-06 with heavy bullets, but it is darned good none the less.

Or, and I think this is one of the best '06 based rounds ever devised, the .35 Whelen and ammo is readily available and cheaper than the .338 Federal I imagine since more companies load it, but I have not checked.
 

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You might also consider the 338 Marlin Express, if this is a gun to be used primarily for black bear, which are usually encountered at modest ranges. If you consider the 30-'06 sufficient for elk, the 338ME would be just as good. However, for a dedicated elk gun, I would pick the 338 Federal over the Marlin.
 

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Another vote here for the .338 Fed. I own one chambered in a Ruger Hawkeye and it's a well made and accurate, sub MOA rifle. Recoil, when being fired in a like rifle and side by side, feels exactly like a 30/06 shooting 180s when I fire a 200gr load in my .338F. A good buddy of mine has a Marlin .338ME and took a nice Maine black bear with it on our 2009 hunt. He used the 200gr FTX load and had a one shot kill with full penetration. There is also a 250gr Remington SP load for the .338ME now as well. If you want a lever rifle, the .338ME would make a fine choice, but in a bolt rifle the Federal version is slightly more powerful and has a lot more loads to choose from. Performance in factory form is pretty close to the .338/06, which I used to own as well. The ammo for the .338F is generally less expensive than for the .35W (I own and hunt with both). The load I've used in my .338F and been very happy with, both in accuracy and performance on game, is the 200gr Fusion from Federal.
 

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I know where there is a beautiful Remington 700 classic in 35 Whelen.
SHould have enough power for anything you're looking at.
It's used but looks new. They wanted $700.00
 

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I'd suggest a Model 7600 Remington in .35 Whelen. The pump allows quick follow-up shots in thick timber and is a good large black bear and elk cartridge. It is the rifle (with a 1.75-5x scope) I use when I'm there for both the bear and deer rifle seasons (also my "backup" rifle for elk). You'll find the bigger (slightly slower) bullets destroy much less meat than your .270. Commercial ammunition is also easier to find than the .338-06 . It shoots flat enough so that no holdover is needed to about 250 yards even with 250 gr bullets. Where in Pennsylvania are you located?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the help guys. I reload so getting ammo is not really a problem. I live in south central pa in adams county but go up to the northern part in cameron county and around there when we go bear hunting.
 

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Do it! It's not as bad as you think.

Then you can download it to .338 MX levels for deer/black bear.
I agree. I had a 338-06 built on a Mauser military surplus action. New walnut sporter stock, Adams & Bennett barrel, PME 3-position safety, new Timney sportman's trigger, drilled & tapped for scope mount. All for around $700 with gunsmith time. Reloading 30-06 brass is easy.

Depending upon rifle action preference, you might find an old Rem mod 700 (or Win Mod 70 push-feed) 30-06 or 270 for a good price that you just rebarrel and avoid stock, safety, and trigger costs ($325-$350 or so for those items).

Nothing wrong with the 338 Federal, especially in PA.
 
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