Shooters Forum banner

1 - 20 of 72 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Been hunting and reloading for years, and have reloaded and hunted with some stout loads in a Marlin 45-70. I prefer a milder recoiling cartridge for most of my needs, but for some dang fooled reason I had to have a 338. No, I didn't lose a critter and look for a bigger gun, but I did want something to hammer our larger than average black bear, should the chance present itself.

Anyway, I lucked up (?) and got a really good deal on a nice older Abolt in 338 Winmag, stainless and synthetic with the BOSS. It came with everything except the manual, and 115 rounds of 225 grain Hornady SST's. I mounted a trusted Leupold scope and started shooting it.

I've fired somewhere around 50-60 rounds mostly target practicing, and have noticed accuracy to be erratic, at best, getting pie plate sized 3 shot groups. I have tried getting a friend to load the magazine for me, sometimes on a fired case, to see how much factor flinching is for me with this rifle. While there is some flinch, it's not as bad as I expected or have seen in other shooters. There is some flinch, but little enough that I'm all but writing that off as being not the problem or a small part of a bigger problem. 3 shot groups running 6" at 100 yards are not uncommon. On the same day with other rifles I have shot nice, normal groups, so I don't think it's wind, range conditions, etc.

I've cleaned the barrel. Played with the boss settings quite a bit. Made sure the boss and everything else was 'tight'. I took it apart and 'improved' the factory (I think) bedding job by bedding more of the back section of the barrel, and free floating the fore end ahead of the bedded area. I've also changed scope bases. Current bases are Talley. The scope is a Leupold 3-9x50 mm. I know that sometimes a 50 mm scope gets beat to death on top of big magnums.

I'm about to start handloading for it, using some Sierra 225 GK bullets. Probably play with Imr 4350, Re 19. I also have some H4831SC and Viht N160 I could play with. While I can handle about 15 to 20 rounds at a bench session, any more and I start getting pretty fatigued, honestly. Any suggestions as to a good starting point loading this caliber would be appreciated, but I think the IMR 4350 and bullets seated fairly close to the lands should do me fine.

I'm still concerned about the current groups. It seems to want to go from 2" groups to 6" groups and then back again sometimes. I'm wondering if I'm letting the barrel heat up too much, or the scope's going bad, or what's going on. I can get guilty of shooting a little fast when I get focused. With a lighter recoiling rifle I don't mind keeping playing with it a bit, but it's disappointing to shoot something that kicks this much and not getting decent groups.

I've also added a limbsaver pad, and a mercury recoil reducer, and these seem to help with recoil quite a bit, the pad probably more than the recoil reducer.

Thoughts, suggestions?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,768 Posts
I'm not sure on what could be ailing the rifle. But when shooting the big boomers I always have to remind myself and everyone I let shoot them, to calm down.

You need to be as relaxed as possible, take your time, and make sure you do everything perfect. I find a lot of guys tense up when they shoot their big guns and they generally don't do well with them. Myself included at times. Recoil is just a part of it. Not going to really hurt you but it's going to happen :) once you get that sunk in, you'll shoot the big guns as well as you shoot the small ones.

If the problem is the rifle itself then none of that helps ya! If it's shooting 2" groups then opening up to 6" then I'd say something is definately going on there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,165 Posts
I have a brother that has that rifle, he claims it shoot's very well. But I would avoid it for that potato on the barrel. Sound's like you bedded under the chamber. Easy spot to mess it up. Check the front of the bedding, it must go straight across the barrel channel or it will throw shot's all over. Way to fic it is to put a couple layers of tape around the barrel in front of the chamber. Even if some bedding gets under it then, the barrel will still float. When your finished, check for receiver bind by tightening both guard screw's. Then loosen the front screw slowly watching the barrel in front of the action. It should not rise at all, any movement will be caused by stress in the action. It move's at all I re-bed the action also. When re-bedding the action, I wrap tape several time's around the very front of the stock to stop the barrel from weighing don the action and pulling the rear screw hole op. I do bed the rear hole at the same time but no screw in it. Plug the screw hole in the action with clay and don't worry about the hole in the wood. When it's finishing drying, take it out of the stock and run a drill bit the size of the screw hole through it from the bottom side up, clean's the hole right out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
Back in the early '90s I had a A-Bolt Stainless Stalker in 300 Win Mag, without the BOSS. I tried nearly every factory cartridge brand/weight and quite a few handload recipes in it. Had the same group sizes you're seeing. With my two Remington 700s in 300 Win Mag, I had at that time, I had no problem shooting less than 1-1/4 MOA five round groups with either rifle and factory 180gr CoreLokts. Sent the A-Bolt back to Browning. They rebarreled it. When I got it back the best it would shoot was @ 2 MOA three round groups with a couple brands of 180gr loads and the same with the best handloads I came up with. Bedded the action, floated the barrel, changed scopes, rings and mounts, lapped the bore and recut the crown. Barely got the three round groups down to 1-1/2 MOA. Finally got rid of that rifle!

I have had great success with the BOSS system on several Winchester M70 Classics (CRF). One of them is a M70 300 Win Mag Stainless that I put a HS Precision stock on. After dialing in the BOSS, it nearly bugholes four rounds of Barnes 180gr TTSX at 100 yards. My son has claimed that one!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,945 Posts
Shawn Crea, a member here has the same rifle if my memory is correct. As a rule Abolts shoot good so I'd reconsider before messing with stuff that may affect accuracy for the worst.
My .338 is a MKII but it tends to shoot bullets over 200 grains very well, Don't like the light ones at all.
The two worked loads for it are 225 and 250 Accubonds. It also shoot other bullet makes almost as well. Same with powder IMR4831 and RL-19 seems to be two it does good with. Have gone with the RL-19 for more velocity since the 4831's sweet spot is closer to the starting load.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
630 Posts
Velocity Disease

You are suffering from velocity disease. You probably ignore recommendations for humane harvest in foot pounds impact on game for humane harvest.

Either of the two calibers you mention will shoot reduced loads calculated for humane harvest that are well below factory level recoil.

I tailor my big Black Bear load for humane harvest power to 150 yards for my all up 10 lb Colt Sauer .458 WM or my 10 lb Handi 500 S&W Mag both to shoot a 350 gr bullet at 1700 fps MV. The load kicks less than a 30-30 lever rifle in my 10 lb rifles and flattens big Black Bear to 150 yards. I can comfortably shoot 50 rounds at the range with no bruises and no flinching.

You can tailor your 45-70 or your 338 loads to duplicate my load energy without problems. Consider adding weight to your rifles for recoil taming.

Gary
 

·
The Shadow (Super Mod)
Joined
·
7,186 Posts
Played with the boss settings quite a bit. Made sure the boss and everything else was 'tight'.
To know if you just "missed" it, take the boss completely off and shoot. But honestly, and meant very politely, let someone else shoot it.
Your description of some flinching but not too bad, tends to be more wishful than actual. So pull the boss of and have someone who won't flinch and is a shorter, see what it can do.
That will tell you if the boss is fighting you, or the rifle has problems.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I'd start with verifying the torque specs for the action screws. Shoot it. If problem still exists, double check the bedding under the chamber.
I don't know the torque specs, but I literally shot the gun loose once in 52 rounds (just counted fired rounds, doing brass prep tonight). I picked the gun up out of the sandbags, and could feel the barrel/action flopping around in the stock! Tightened it up temporarily and resumed shooting till I could get home. Bedded the chamber area, and attempted to bed the rear action area. The trigger shape makes bedding this part trickier than on the 700's and Model Sevens I've done so far.

Anyway, once I fooled with the bedding, I torqued the front like an angry gorilla, and the rear good and snug, but nothing overly tight. The middle screw seems to do little more than hold the trigger guard.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
You are suffering from velocity disease. You probably ignore recommendations for humane harvest in foot pounds impact on game for humane harvest.
Gary
Appreciate the suggestion. I've shot deer with 30-30's and a 45-70 as well as muzzle loaders and a bunch of other calibers. We're allowed to shoot 6 deer a year, and I usually get 6 a season, I've been at it for 20 years.

Some friends and I came to the conclusion that speed kills. Too much speed can be a bad thing, but with most rifles, you're more likely to have just right velocity or too little than too much. One of us eventually read something about the whole 2600 fps striking velocity and hydrostatic, and we noticed that it tended to fit with what we had been noticing ourselves. I've taken deer with hand cast lead bullets and balls, but I'd much prefer a 270 to a 30-30. It's just a faster game dropper. In our area, the woods are thick, and something that stops them where they're at can often make a huge difference. To add insult to injury, bear are notorious for fat clogging the bullet holes and/or fur absorbing more blood than on a deer. The whole reason I became interested in this caliber is to stop a feeding or walking bear in its' tracks, rather than have to trail it off in the bushes while it dies from a slower bullet.

While I see the usefulness of using foot pounds as a rough gage to measure the killing power from one caliber to another, I've never really gotten very hung up on it. Generally if I'm hitting game at or above 2600 fps with a 'normal for caliber' game bullet, I don't worry too much about it.

However, your suggestion (and Darkkers about recoil and flinching) has given the idea to load some lighter practice loads and see if I need to work on my tolerance to recoil. If I can find a light weight plinking load, maybe 2/3 of the recoil with decent accuracy, it might even make a good deer load. Could prove interesting in itself! I remember when I was shooting my 1895 Marlin, I worked up a healthy tolerance to recoil after a while. I might need to 'recultivate it'.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,768 Posts
Sometimes certain muzzle devices can be like a really bad crown on a rifles muzzle. There is also the risk of over-torquing the muzzle device too.

I'd pull that sucker off and see if it cleans up accuracy. I've swapped muzzle devices on my "tacti-cool" varmint rifles before and seen big differences in POI and accuracy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
284 Posts
My load for my Lapua is a 250 gr. Smk over imr4350. You might check into it. I too agree about the flinching. I didn't have to work on the flinching but I did have to learn to shoot it so it didn't bruise me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
630 Posts
Load reduction

42.5 gr H4895 with your 225 gr in 338 WM yields 2100 fps and just over 1000 foot pounds at 150 yards for a 150 yard humane harvest Deer load. Youth loads are calculated to this level. This load will kick less than a 30-30 lever rifle with factory ammo. H4895 is highly recommended by Hodgdon in their youth loads PDF and has good ignition with down to 1/2 available case room. Reduced loads with H4895 generally are equal to more accurate than factory ammo and have good clean kill power to 150 yards for Deer. Any cartridge/ bullet weight where H4895 is recommended by Hodgdon may be reduced by Hodgdon recommendation down to 1/2 available case room.

The powders you have are not safe to reduce like H4895 is.

For reference, the Hodgdon Data START load with your bullet weight in 338 WM is 53 gr H4895 for 2505 fps and that load has 1000 ft pounds out to 250 yards humane harvest.

g
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,774 Posts
Humane harvest deer load, WTF?? Shoot what you like and can shoot well and just don't use AMAX bullets....lol. Holy smokes...."humane harvest". Whats next, PETA friendly loads??? O&O
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,945 Posts
You are suffering from velocity disease. You probably ignore recommendations for humane harvest in foot pounds impact on game for humane harvest.

Either of the two calibers you mention will shoot reduced loads calculated for humane harvest that are well below factory level recoil.

I tailor my big Black Bear load for humane harvest power to 150 yards for my all up 10 lb Colt Sauer .458 WM or my 10 lb Handi 500 S&W Mag both to shoot a 350 gr bullet at 1700 fps MV. The load kicks less than a 30-30 lever rifle in my 10 lb rifles and flattens big Black Bear to 150 yards. I can comfortably shoot 50 rounds at the range with no bruises and no flinching.

You can tailor your 45-70 or your 338 loads to duplicate my load energy without problems. Consider adding weight to your rifles for recoil taming.

Gary
If that remark is meant for me I'm not buying.
Those Accubond's effective velocity is between 1800-2800 fps. which works well for a .338's terminal velocity.
 

·
The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
Joined
·
36,093 Posts
Silliness abounds whenever 'foot-pounds' comes into the discussion. If you want to reduce loads - figure out how far away you will shoot a critter, and then how fast the bullet needs to be going to expand (if it is an expanding bullet) and then the problem will work itself out.

As an example to the above, if Nosler says an Accubond will expand at 'x,xxx' feet per second, and you'll be shooting deer out to 150 yards (or whatever), then make sure that your loads start out fast enough to meet the recommended threshold of expansion at that range. So, off the top of my head, probably 400fps faster than the minimum expansion threshold? Just a guess, look it up in the trajectory tables. They are in every reloading book I own. If that's too complicated, then just use recommended starting loads and don't shoot deer too far away.

A .338 Win Mag will surely kill any deer that ever walked the earth, but the pointy bullets have to expand to be any good. On the other hand, flat-nosed bullets in the .35 Rem work just great, pretty much no matter the muzzle velocity. Have to know what you are dealing with before making predictions.

Shooting a .338 off the bench.... I have a Ruger 77 and you had best be holding the forend like it owes you money, before touching off a round. If you do that, it isn't bad. If you fail to do that, you won't do it twice. Guaranteed! But it is accurate when I do my part. Years ago I found some Federal Premium loads with the 210 gr. Partition, reasonably priced. They are (sadly) almost all gone, and shot like a house afire. Will that work for your gun? I don't know. But try some of the lighter bullets. The 210s were more pleasant, and by chance, more accurate than 225 or 250gr. bullets. Probably just random chance.

May have to go back to a slightly smaller cartridge, say the .30-06, and work your way back up. Just a thought. I don't shoot my .338 a lot and generally, it is one group to test the zero and back in the cabinet it goes. Just not my idea of an all-day gun to wear out at the range.

Just a few thoughts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
162 Posts
Years ago I traded away a Win Mod 71 in 348 because it just became too valuable to take out for elk in the rains of the Olympic Peninsula. I replaced it with a 338 WM (plus a Citori 12 ga) and because I knew how lethal the 348 was on elk out to 150 yards, I downloaded the 338 to match the 348 because even with the muzzle brake, the 338 was rather unpleasant to shoot with full house loads. The muzzle velocity of both those 250 gr 348's and the 270 gr 338's were/are about 2000 fps. If that works well on Roosevelt elk 150 yards, it will work fine on black bear. These days I shoot 225 gr cast lead bullets in the 338 all year at an MV of 1800 fps for fun and the POA is almost the same as the 270's at 2000 and both are 2.5 MOA with iron sights. The noise, even with the brake makes fewer people complain at me at the range and those cast bullets at lower velocity are down right fun to shoot all day at a cost of about 28 cents or less a shot. FYI - my 338 won't stabilize those 225 gr cast lead bullets at velocities below 1600 fps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
630 Posts
My Bear and Deer loads are cast in Lyman #2 Alloy, That alloy requires 1,000 foot pounds on impact to expand the bullet double in caliber with flat nose #2 alloy bullets and has zero weight loss. It is not coincidental either The alloy was developed for expansion on impact at 1000 foot pounds with Deer loads and Deer hunting range with a 30-30 when factory loads were all cast bullets. Modern bullets only dream of that performance. Lyman, Winchester and Remington research on this is well over 100 years old. Sure new bullets can be shot at much higher velocities than cast but they don't kill as well as cast in the power zone of cast loads.

The term Humane Harvest has been around much longer than PETA and was originated by Hunting Guide associations worldwide well over 100 years ago and clearly defined by them to keep under-gunned hunters from crippling game while hunting with a guide that limits shots to skill level and load power of the client. Good guides will draw an idiot line of Humane Harvest for people that are too idiotic to know they are idiots about how to kill stuff.

This has no relevancy with modern factory ammo and modern Deer cartridges other than to estimate effective range with an energy standard. However, it does become critically important to the ammo reloader when tailoring reduced loads and that is why I mentioned it in this context for the original poster about reduced recoil 338 loads. I have no idea how much he wants to reduce his load, but minding humane harvest is an ethical matter in that pursuit.

If you wish to identify someone with Velocity Disease, they are the ammo reloaders that say START loads are stupid.

Gary
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Onondaga, I appreciate your suggestions.

I mentioned it in this context for the original poster about reduced recoil 338 loads. I have no idea how much he wants to reduce his load, but minding humane harvest is an ethical matter in that pursuit.

If you wish to identify someone with Velocity Disease, they are the ammo reloaders that say START loads are stupid.

Gary
My needs and wants are fairly different than yours, but I can see that you've spent quite a bit of time experimenting and loading and tinkering to gain this knowledge, and, I respect you for that.

I probably DO suffer from velocity disease, I normally do think starting loads are stupid. Let me explain, that wasn't meant to be knocking you, I've just always been of the opinion to buy a weapon that under normal operation (factory ammo) is the power class you want it. Yep, you can make a 30-06 shoot at 30-30 or even 30 carbine power levels with the RIGHT load, but, respectfully, if a boy wants a 30 carbine, buy a 30 carbine, not a 30-06. I've also seen boys with the right barrel and handloads get the old 30-06 to nearly rival the power of a 300 magnum (usually by fudging the handloads on the hot side with a longish barrel). However...

I do know this rifle recoils a lot more than what I'm used to. But, I do want full power, flat shooting loads for bear hunting, in MY neck of the woods. A normal bear hunting scenario here is to catch the bear feeding in a field or crossing the road on a cold winter morning, and something that shoots -flat- and hits hard is quite the order of the day. I've made more than a few kills on deer in the 200-275 yard range, and I'd like to use this skill to my advantage hunting bears. In my mind, that calls for something that hits hard and hopefully doesn't require me to think too hard about holdover while I'm already a bit excited and all with a bear in front of me. I passed up several shots on a sow with a mature cub this year at right around 250 yards. I could have taken her legally, but I wanted to wait for a boar or a sow without a cub present, even though it was a second year cub (you can tell from the size). With my 7mm Remington magnum and handloads, I'm pretty sure on the marksmanship side, it would be a fairly easy shot, but I'm not content that the round would squarely anchor her (or a him) to the spot. The terrain off the sides of the field are extremely thick. Think of wading through briars and brush on soft, squishy flat ground, and little blood to follow. That's why I leaned towards the 338 and don't want to use my quite capable 7mm Remington magnum. I'd like the bear to expire where it's standing, and hit it with authority. It's not my desire to turn this into a bear hunting thread, although suggestions to that end are kindly appreciated.

I might well have been better served for my needs with a 300 magnum of some sorts, for my exact scenario. I totally understand that. I also know that with some practice and a good range finder I could certainly take the same shot with a 45-70, or loads such as you suggest. But, like I said above, for some reason, I really wanted a 338 Winchester, preferably with a BOSS. Maybe, I'm a fool and perhaps a glutton for punishment! :D

All that said, I really like the idea of a 'starting load' or other approved 'reduced loads'. I totally get the concept that you can't just reduce any old load, it may cause a pressure spike and blow up the rifle, and, I'm not into all of that excitement. But an approved reduced load or starting load may be just the ticket to help me over any flinching, and perhaps check the rifle with some ammo other than what came with the gun: Hornady Superformance SST's.

Realistically, I'll probably shoot a few deer along the way, because deer season always coincides with bear season here, and here and there I'll probably pop a doe or maybe even a buck because the rifle happens to be in hand when I'm waiting for a bear, but see a deer and decide to collect some meat and call it a day. A little too much gun is less of a crime than not enough gun in my book. My preferred deer round is a 260 Remington, but I've taken plenty with 243, 30-30, etc. 338 is way overkill in my book, but it definitely worked on a 80 yard doe last fall, and to say the least, she didn't suffer!

I appreciate everyone's comments, I love rifles, love experimenting with different calibers, and hunting. The biggest thing I've learned about guns and hunting on the internet is that many people's hunting scenarios are DIFFERENT, (close range, long range, thick cover, open terrain, mountains, swamps, hunting with hounds legal/illegal), and what works perfectly for one fellow in one corner of the world, may not always suit another fellow hunting the same animal in another place. The animal is the same, but the hunting conditions and needs of the individual hunter can vary quite a bit.

All that said, thanks for any and all suggestions. I love guns, hunting, shooting, and good conversation on those topics! Ears open, mind mostly open, and enjoying every minute of it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
**Wanted to add: this isn't my everyday deer rifle. I have a closet full of deer hunting guns, and our gun season for deer is currently 9 weeks long. We can take 6 deer and a bear. This rifle will take a deer or two, but I have other, better, more 'normal' rifles for the task. I know I can probably kill every black bear in NC with a good 30-06, but, I wanted a 338, and I'm having fun shooting it, even if I do need ibuprofen after 20 rounds! :D Stay warm, wherever you are today.

Mommicked
 
1 - 20 of 72 Posts
Top