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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need some input from some experienced hunters about a rifle purchase. Sometime in the (hopefully near) future I want to start elk hunting again. Currently, I have a couple rifles that will work for elk, but none of them are what I would consider great elk rifles. I wanted to set myself up with a dedicated elk rifle and I thought the 300 Win. Mag. would be the best choice.

Of course, it didn’t end there - I still hope that someday I might make it to Alaska or even Africa and this rifle would probably go there too. The 300 WM is still a good choice, with the exception of maybe brown bear, but that was enough to get me looking at a 338 Win Mag and the 325 WSM. Writers such as Towsley and Boddington also praise the .338 for use on elk.

Lastly, cost and availability is always a consideration. I am leaning toward the 300 and 338 WM’s because of the wide variety of rifles and ammunition available. I have a limited budget, so affordable rifles such as the Weatherby Vanguard, Stevens 200, and Ruger Hawkeye are about what I can afford (Kimbers are out, sorry).

So, what I’m looking for is a powerful, versatile, and affordable rifle primarily for use on elk, but also capable of taking brown bear, moose, eland, etc. I’ve narrowed it down to three calibers, 300 Win Mag, 325 WSM, or 338 Win Mag. Can anyone provide some input on which one would be best?

My current centerfire rifles are:
Stevens 200 in .223 Rem. (my coyote rifle)
Weatherby Vanguard in 25-06 Rem. (my primary antelope/deer rifle)
Remington Model 7 in .308 Win. (my do-all, general purpose rifle)
Marlin 444S in .444 Marlin (for moose, black bear, and big stuff up close)

I also have a couple of Savage 99’s for nostalgia
Circa 1980 99A in 250 Savage
1952 99F in 300 Savage

And of course a few .22’s, shotguns, and handguns.
 

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You have some very sensible choices there that you've narrowed it down to. So far so good!

The 300 win mag is capable on any North american species with proper bullet selection. It shoots a bit flatter than the 338 win mag. Either the 300 or 338 win mag would do well for you on Elk. I would suggest thinking about where you are going to hunt Elk. If you anticipate long shots over mountain meadows, I would give the nod to the 300 win mag. If it's heavy timber that you expect to be in with close shots, then an edge to the 338 based on bullet diameter.

Elk can be tough, big boned and real big. A good bullet is important.

325 WSM ammo is going to be more difficult to find. I would stick with the .30 or .338 caliber due to (as you mentioned) availability and how cheap components are.

As far as African plains game, your Elk hunts will be good tutelage. If you can consistently kill elk with good shot placement, you should be good to go in Africa. Anything bigger than plains game and you're going to have to step up in caliber anyway.
 

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if i was to build or buy a dedicated elk rifle it would be a 300 or a 338 rem ultra mag on a model 700 with a 28 in barrel i have the 375 in ss laminate and have nothing bad to say about it and have killed a bull and two cows with it the win mags you mentioned would be fine but personly i like a little more omph
 

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You've picked good choices there and i would give the 300 Weatherby a look as well. It's a bump up from the 300 WM and very flat shooting. There is a new Weatherby Vanguard S2 Series going to be in stores by the end of the month or beginning of next, they have an sub-moa accuracy guarantee like the original but much less in cost. The blued version comes in 300 WM, 300 WSM, 300 Wby Mag and 338 WM. There is a SS verion also in 300WM and 300 Wby Mag. The blued versions are $450-$480 and the SS version around $600. Good luck
 

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Looking at gunbrokers they show the new Weatherby Vanguard Synthetic at $399 plus shipping .The Sub MOA Models are listed between $750 and $820.In these parts ya have to add $100 to that for total cost.If they have them in a local shop you may save some dollars.I wonder if I drove over to Weatherby they would sell me one.Its about 50 miles up the road.Sounds like a good deal either way and I would go with the 338 Win Mag.
 

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I personally would go with the 338 win mag. I have one, it is a awesome elk round. I have owned a 300 win mag and wasnt very impressed with it, its bassically a hot loaded 30-06, it really doesnt do much more than a hot loaded 06. I replaced mine with a 300 RUM, that is a real 30 cal magnum, also a fine long range elk gun. But for the choices you listed I would deffinitely take the 338. JMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would suggest thinking about where you are going to hunt Elk. If you anticipate long shots over mountain meadows, I would give the nod to the 300 win mag. If it's heavy timber that you expect to be in with close shots, then an edge to the 338 based on bullet diameter.
In western Montana, the shot opportunities are all of the above. Most of the shot opportunities are either over 300 yards across a canyon, or less than 100 yards in the timber. Relatively few shots between 100 and 300 yards due to the nature of the cover and topography. For that reason I tend to think the .338 loaded with a 210 gr. TTSX would be more versatile than the .300.

The one chance I had to shoot at an elk was 423 yards according to the laser. I was packing my .308 Win. and, needless to say, passed up the shot. We tried to close the distance, but once he got in the timber, we never saw the bull again.
 

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I haven't shot an elk with a rifle, but I do like what my .338 Win Mag does to pigs. DRT!!! Can't see anything wrong with it.
 

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Looking at gunbrokers they show the new Weatherby Vanguard Synthetic at $399 plus shipping .The Sub MOA Models are listed between $750 and $820.In these parts ya have to add $100 to that for total cost.If they have them in a local shop you may save some dollars.I wonder if I drove over to Weatherby they would sell me one.Its about 50 miles up the road.Sounds like a good deal either way and I would go with the 338 Win Mag.
The original sub-moa's are $750 and up. They have a new sub-moa called the Vanguard S2 Series and they are listed at $450-$480 for the blued version and $600 for the SS version. They will be available at the end of the month or beginning of the next. I called Weatherby to find that out.:)
 

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There are lots more loads available today for the .325WSM today then when it debuted in 2005. There was one major manufacturer back then, Winchester and it had 3 loads.. Now there are a bunch of loads available through a multitude of loaders, at least 3 different major makers (10 different loads on Midway, alone).

I know this, because I own one. If a hunter looks no further than moose or elk with a rifle (not hunting grizzly bear) then the .325 is a better bet, IMHO, than the .338. I'll carry mine next week in an area where there are grizzlies as well as the black bears we'll be hunting and I'll feel very comfy. Just take a close look at the numbers. The .338 only excels when bullets get to 250gr or larger (and so does recoil). You've got a shorter action and shorter barrel needed using the .325. Buy whatever floats your boat (after all, it's your rifle, not mine ;))

But, just be sure you know all that's actually true about the loads you're looking at. :D
 

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In western Montana, the shot opportunities are all of the above. Most of the shot opportunities are either over 300 yards across a canyon, or less than 100 yards in the timber. Relatively few shots between 100 and 300 yards due to the nature of the cover and topography. For that reason I tend to think the .338 loaded with a 210 gr. TTSX would be more versatile than the .300.

Hmmm..... Nosler lists the BC of the .30 caliber 200 gr Accubond as .588 with a sectional density of .301 with velocities in the 2950 fps range using IMR 4350, RL22 or IMR 4831. The BC of the .338 caliber 200 gr Accubond is listed as .414 with a sectional density of .250 with velocities once again in the 2950 fps range.

If you're thinking of the 210 gr TTSX, I would surmise it is something similar for comparison. The jist of all this being that in the lower 200 gr bullet weights you will get better aerodynamics in the .30 caliber which equates to better retained energy at longer ranges. The .338 caliber really comes into it's own (at long range) with the heavier slugs pushed fast.

With the .338's I say go heavy or go home.:D Just a joke from my wry sense of humor, not making light of the discussion or anyone's opinion.

It's all fun and games anyway with these guns of ours.

Good luck!
 

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I have never shot anything larger than an elk with a 338 but I have killed 13 elk with a 338 plus a multitude of smaller big game. While the 300 is a great cartridge, I prefer the 338 with 250 Nosler Partions.
 

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A shame you've not included the .300 Wby in your narrowed-down list.

It can be had in a Vanguard, the ammo is pretty widely available and not crazy priced and I would include it in my list of the top 5 all-time factory offered, dedicated elk rounds:

1. 338 RUM
2. 340 Weatherby
3. 300 RUM
4. 300 Weatherby
5. 300 Winchester
 

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Hmmm..... Nosler lists the BC of the .30 caliber 200 gr Accubond as .588 with a sectional density of .301 with velocities in the 2950 fps range using IMR 4350, RL22 or IMR 4831. The BC of the .338 caliber 200 gr Accubond is listed as .414 with a sectional density of .250 with velocities once again in the 2950 fps range.

If you're thinking of the 210 gr TTSX, I would surmise it is something similar for comparison. The jist of all this being that in the lower 200 gr bullet weights you will get better aerodynamics in the .30 caliber which equates to better retained energy at longer ranges. The .338 caliber really comes into it's own (at long range) with the heavier slugs pushed fast.

With the .338's I say go heavy or go home.:D Just a joke from my wry sense of humor, not making light of the discussion or anyone's opinion.

It's all fun and games anyway with these guns of ours.

Good luck!
Have you ever looked at Cutting Edge Bullets? They have a 252gr. hunting bullet with the B.C. of .700 that will out perform ANY .308 caliber bullet on the market out of a 300 win mag at long distances in the 338 win mag.
 

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Have you ever looked at Cutting Edge Bullets? They have a 252gr. hunting bullet with the B.C. of .700 that will out perform ANY .308 caliber bullet on the market out of a 300 win mag at long distances in the 338 win mag.
Never looked at that particular bullet but was aware of the need to go for heavier weights in the .338 for long range work. That's why I posted; "The .338 caliber really comes into it's own (at long range) with the heavier slugs pushed fast".

The OP was thinking about the 210 gr TSX and hence my post.

I would guestimate those 252 gr bullets are leaving at about 2700 fps.
 

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Never looked at that particular bullet but was aware of the need to go for heavier weights in the .338 for long range work. That's why I posted; "The .338 caliber really comes into it's own (at long range) with the heavier slugs pushed fast".

The OP was thinking about the 210 gr TSX and hence my post.

I would guestimate those 252 gr bullets are leaving at about 2700 fps.
You can easily get 2800+fps out of that particular bullet in the 338 win mag., if you have a chronograph and work your way up on the load as long as your rifle isnt showing excessive pressure. I am getting 2900fps out of 250gr. SGK on the chrono out of my 338 win mag with a 24" barrel without showing excessive pressure. Use caution though!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hmmm..... Nosler lists the BC of the .30 caliber 200 gr Accubond as .588 with a sectional density of .301 with velocities in the 2950 fps range using IMR 4350, RL22 or IMR 4831. The BC of the .338 caliber 200 gr Accubond is listed as .414 with a sectional density of .250 with velocities once again in the 2950 fps range.

If you're thinking of the 210 gr TTSX, I would surmise it is something similar for comparison. The jist of all this being that in the lower 200 gr bullet weights you will get better aerodynamics in the .30 caliber which equates to better retained energy at longer ranges. The .338 caliber really comes into it's own (at long range) with the heavier slugs pushed fast.

With the .338's I say go heavy or go home.:D Just a joke from my wry sense of humor, not making light of the discussion or anyone's opinion.

It's all fun and games anyway with these guns of ours.

Good luck!
You've hit my dilemma right on the nailhead. I've run the ballistics a dozen times and there's always a tradeoff between bullet diameter and BC. Barnes lists the 210 gr. TTSX at a BC of .482, slightly better than the Accubond, but still behind the 30 calibers. On elk at least, I think it is a wash, but on bigger critters the .338 can use heavier bullets. You can always go to the 225 gr. Accubond or the 250 gr. Grand Slam if need be.

On the 300 Wby. It actually isn't totally ruled out. I've looked at it several times, but it didn't make the top 3 for two reasons: 1. ammo is a bit more expensive and 2. I'm not sure how well it would work in the Vanguard's 24" barrel. Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the 300 Wby. need a 26" tube to reach full potential? Anyway, it would still be my 4th choice and could still be a contender.

I want to thank everyone for your input. It is appreciated and I'm sure it will be helpful when I make my final decision.
 

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I need some input from some experienced hunters about a rifle purchase... I have a limited budget, so affordable rifles such as the Weatherby Vanguard, Stevens 200, and Ruger Hawkeye are about what I can afford (Kimbers are out, sorry).

So, what I’m looking for is a powerful, versatile, and affordable rifle primarily for use on elk, but also capable of taking brown bear, moose, eland, etc. I’ve narrowed it down to three calibers, 300 Win Mag, 325 WSM, or 338 Win Mag. Can anyone provide some input on which one would be best?
First of all I must qualify this post with the following disclaimer, "It's all about what you want and not about what you need.", as all three of these cartridges will do the job just fine.

You already have a medium performance .30 in your .308. Another .30 that goes a little faster would not in my view be a meaningful improvement.

The 325 seems like an allright cartridge but does not as yet enjoy the diversity of options of the .30's or the .338's. I lack direct experience with the 325wsm.

While it is true that the 300wm is slightly flatter shooting overall out to 500 yards the difference is not meaningful - around 5 inches I think. Thats shooting 250NP's with the 338 and 180NP's with the 300wm. Where I really see the difference really comes in though is banging steel at 200 to 500 yards.

A group of us shoot through the winter and summer to stay sharp. There are 308, 3006's, 300wm, 300whby, 300wsm, 7mmrm's, and my 338wm. Out to 300yds there is no difference between the divots the bullets make in mild steel (I use 1" plate). At 400 and 500 yards the 7mm and the 30's dust the paint on the steel - the 338 is still pounding divots in the steel.

Recoil is pretty subjective and is effected by not only the cartridge but also the stock and how recoil tolerant an individual is. From my experience there is not much difference between a 300wm, a 300 weatherby, and a 338wm.

I built a 338wm about five years ago and have not looked back. It piles up elk, moose, deer, black bears, and Grizzly bears with one shot and no fuss except for one ill-natured large black bear four years ago (but that's another story). The 338wm has been for me an excellent cartridge.

Of the rifles you have mentioned I would take the Ruger.
 

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Yes it does need a 26" barrel to acheive its full potential, personally I would go with a 300 RUM before I would go with the Weatherby, there is more selection of ammo, ammo is cheaper and easier to find, and it out performs the Weatherby. Also the 300 RUM is one of those rounds that is just inherently accurate. Just something to concider.
 

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Not long ago I faced the same decision and chose the .338 WM. Don't have elk experience with it yet but have no reason to think it wouldn't work well.
 
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