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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Some folks are still a little unclear on basic physics....

Bullets require impact velocity to expand (the rate of deceleration is the key). KE is merely incidental to the velocity; go up in weight, at a particular velocity, and guess what.... the combination might yield MORE than the 'required' KE; go DOWN in weight and the combination might yield LESS than the 'required' KE. So - ipso facto, KE is cannot be a 'requirement' for expansion. Only impact velocity can (in conjunction will bullet composition, and the density of whatever it hits).

Impact velocity that is appropriate to the bullet being used. That's what hunters need to be aware of. The manufacturer can supply the design parameters of the bullet. The handloader is responsible for the velocity part. The hunter needs to be aware of the range involved, and have some idea of the downrange ballistics, especially before using any sort of reduced or low power load.

And, flat nosed cast bullets don't require any expansion at all to give a wound channel; hence, KE is especially irrelevant with them.

So forget KE. It was dreamed up by ad copy writers and paid shills in the gun rags to sell new and improved 'stuff.'
 

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338 win mag max reloads

I have a Ruger Sporter in 338 win mag that I have shot over 200 reloads of RL 19. The load is a225 gr bullet at 2944 fps, with this cartridge I have killed a moose ,black bear and a 8x9 elk. I can say this is a very accurate load and a lethal killer , the elk I shot was at 224 yards and he dropped dead on the spot. The blackbear was a head shot and needless to say he dropped instantly. I could not imagine how these animals could have been harvested anymore humanely. This is a very powerful cartridge that many people do not shoot because of the recoil. Lots of things are said about clean kills with smaller rounds but a 225 gr bullet at that speed is hard to beat when it comes to energy and penetration. There is never any question about having enough gun just can you handle that much power, at both ends. If you have good shot placement and reasonable distance you will never be disappointed. When you compare the amount of powder used and energy created it is hard to beat. Check Reliant 's website and compare other cartridges and efficiency will be quite evident.
 

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My experience with the .338

My experience with the .338 was a trip I made to South Africa. The rifle was a Ruger 77 with a 4x Leupold scope. The ammo was some factory 250 gr. and some handloaded 300 gr. Barnes Originals. I do not remember the velocity, but it was on the slower side. Every animal ended up dead with one shot. I was a lot younger and do not recall the recoil bothering me at all. I shoot .22 rimfire now at paper. It is a great cartridge. I have never used a BOSS but if it directs muzzle blast to the rear to help with recoil, it will also be damaging your hearing. Bullets need to get to where the heart is and expanding bullets driven too fast sometimes don't get to where they need to be. Heck, if you are only going to load 225 gr. bullets you might as well get a .30-06 and load 220 gr which have a better sectional density. But you have the rifle. If it were me, I would take the BOSS off and have a Smith recrown the muzzle. I do not understand the rifle coming apart after shooting a couple of boxes of ammo, something is wrong. But what ever it is, it needs to be fixed. Good luck.
 

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I have two .338 mags. One a TCR83 and a custom jobbie based on a Mark X action and Shilen barrel. Both rifles like heavy bullets when it comes to accuracy; 250 grain or better. I really like the 275 grain silvertips and the 300 grainers if i can find them. I use IMR 4831 with middle of the road velocities. From Alaska to Nevada and now to Virginia, game has no chance! Bullet expansion is always great! Just sayin!
 

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Have a Tikka in .338 An incompetent gunsmith ported the barrel when I asked for a brake.. Totally messed it up. had a new (Sako) barrel installed with a brake. i don't like the noise with the brake so at the range use a caldwell lead sled to tame the recoil. Shoots well with factory setting including C.O.A.L. and factory velocities. I use 185 gr. bullets with great success, especially GMX, for everything unless I am hunting in Griz country when I switch to 225 gr...Recoil is always an issue with big bores but for that shot in the field I don't even feel it. Mulies and whitetail don't require a second shot
the barrel will heat up quickly and when warm will shoot inconsistenty and usually travel horizontally so don't over think it at the range.
 

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My favorite hunting rifle is a 338 Win. Mag, but I have never had that kind of problem with it. When I first got it, the recoil was so fierce that I had to add a muzzle brake, but after that It seems quite mild for a magnum, and you already have that Boss on the muzzle, so I cannot imagine why you should be having so much trouble with it.

May I suggest that you try a different scope. If you have something else, or could possibly borrow something that would work in those rings, that may tell you something, or maybe not. If it does, you can send that Leupold back to the manufacturer and ask them if perhaps the recoil has knocked something lose. They do have a pretty good Warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Range Report

Tuesday afternoon I had 2 hours to spare, clear skies, no detectable wind, 55 degrees. Lightly cleaned barrel, and NO BOSS PRESENT (notice, I have both the ported and non ported BOSS sleeves, when I use the BOSS, I use the non ported one, I don't like the extra noise). I loaded 3 rounds of each starting load according to the Hodgdon manual, plus one group of Hornady Superformance 225 gr SST (the ammo that came with the rifle, which I've been shooting). Velocities listed are Hodgdon's and Horanady's suggested velocities, and not from my chronograph, which I didn't have time to setup.

I4350, 67 grs, 3 shots: 1.5" 2650 fps
Varget 52 grains, 3 shots: 2" 2480 fps
I4064 57 grains, 3 shots: 2.5" 2580 fps
H225SST Factory, 3 shots: 6", 2850? fps

Note, all groups shot in the same 2 hour window, letting the barrel cool between each 3 shot group. No cleaning was done between each group.

Thoughts and possible conclusions:
1. Groups show that the rifle, scope, shooter, and rest have potential, and are NOT overly subject.
2. Each group was larger than the previous group. Shooter fatigue possible, but was not directly observed by the shooter, who seemed relaxed and not overly taxed by the shooting.
3. No brushing/cleaning was done between each 3 shot group; could be that the rifle prefers a clean bore for good shooting, or shooter fatigue is a possibility, but again, not noticed by myself, I have shot more rounds of this caliber than this in one sitting and would gladly do so again.
4. Rifle does NOT seem to like the Hornady factory ammo. This isn't a slam on the rifle or Hornady, both of whom I really like, just an observation that they don't play well together.
5. When I was shooting the rifle with the BOSS installed, I did get tighter groups than this one (usually) with the Hornady ammo than without it, usually about half the size for a 3" group, but it varied a lot, perhaps hot barrel or dirty barrel? Some barrels foul quicker than others, it seems.

I may try 'pulling' a few rounds of the Hornady ammo and seeing if I have any luck with the Hornady tips and say, a starting load of I4350 powder, discarding the powder from the factory load, into my garden. Gunpowder makes great plant food!
 

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If the rifle is bedded properly, it should not work the action screws loose,,,so fix that if still needed. "Any" weight on the end of the barrel will be suspect. If it were me, I'd have that BOSS cut off and have a good crown added. What is your trigger pull like? Is it creepy, spongey, too heavy or too light and "getting away from you"? On boomers/cold weather rifles I like 3#, crisp. Then try your best grouping loads again. Start with a cleaned barrel, fire a couple of fouling shots, let cool. Shoot 3 shot groups, cooled barrel in between. If tired "stop", don't push it, wait another time to continue. In a lighter weight rifle, like that Browning, in a big magnum, actually 1.5" is very ,very good accuracy!
 

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Discussion Starter #30
If the rifle is bedded properly, it should not work the action screws loose,,,so fix that if still needed. "Any" weight on the end of the barrel will be suspect. If it were me, I'd have that BOSS cut off and have a good crown added. What is your trigger pull like? Is it creepy, spongey, too heavy or too light and "getting away from you"? On boomers/cold weather rifles I like 3#, crisp. Then try your best grouping loads again. Start with a cleaned barrel, fire a couple of fouling shots, let cool. Shoot 3 shot groups, cooled barrel in between. If tired "stop", don't push it, wait another time to continue. In a lighter weight rifle, like that Browning, in a big magnum, actually 1.5" is very ,very good accuracy!
Rev Jim, always enjoy your comments and ideas. I really do.

I'm hoping that the crown will do as is, it's the deepest recessed crown I've ever seen on any rifle. It doesn't appear damaged. Normally I'd put a glass marble and some lapping compound on it, but it's recessed way too far for that. I might touch it up (or mess it up!) with a brass screw head ground down to the right size to fit into the recessed crown, and grind gently with a cordless on low speed, and lapping compound. I've seen it work wonders on 'shot out' deer rifles that see a lot of muzzle in the floorboard duty.

The trigger is so so. I like a good timney. This is not too bad of a trigger, but also sadly not readily adjustable like a Rem 700. I can order new, lighter weight springs from Midway USA, and may do that down the road. Not overly expensive, might have to add it to the list.

I may need to put some lead shot bags on the front of my rest. I'm using a huge bean bag type rest from Midway, but my 'nice' heavy 3 legged rest would jump clean off the bench from recoil, usually the left front leg jumping up. A bag of birdshot ought to hold her down!

Monty: on the Loctite, never thought to use it on action screws, but not a bad idea. I might try boiled linseed oil first, I've heard old timer gunsmiths who used it before Loctite for a threadlocker, and liked it because it held but could be broken free. If boiled linseed oil doesn't work, I'll step up my game and go Loctite. Thanks for a really good suggestion that I should have thought of myself! (Sometimes you stare at a problem too hard, you can't see the forest for the trees, and this was me on that one).
 

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A bit on the loctite. If you wasn't aware, it comes in different strengths. What I use on Abolt action screws is #243 blue. It can be disassembled without heat using normal tools.
For smaller screws like scope bases the #222 purple is a lower strength thread locker.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
A bit on the loctite. If you wasn't aware, it comes in different strengths. What I use on Abolt action screws is #243 blue. It can be disassembled without heat using normal tools.
For smaller screws like scope bases the #222 purple is a lower strength thread locker.
I'm familiar with blue and red, I've always used blue on bases/rings, didn't know about purple. Have to look for that...thanks.

I'll try some blue on my A-bolt, although (pardon me) I'm going to go light first and see if just a little will do the trick. I'm scared of the action being stuck in the stock, holdover from doing glass bedding jobs, lol.

Anyone

Probably going to try to do a ladder with I4350 and a clean barrel. Probably pull a few of those SST's and see what a few of those will do over a modest charge of some random appropriate powder. N160, Re19, 4831SC, Varget, I4064, I4350 would all work. I'd just like to see if the barrel doesn't like the bullet, or if it's Hornady's powder/charge weight. I'm leaning towards the powder charge. I've had mixed luck with their high velocity ammo. I'd love to load/use the SST's if they work over another powder/powder charge weight.

I think I'm content with the crown and scope as being satisfactory for now.

What would be the crime in dropping back to say a 200 grain or 210/215 grain bullet versus the 225? I've often preferred the lighter for caliber bullet weights, and it would shoot flatter and bump up my velocity a bit, probably with a little less recoil.

I've seen where folks said things like 'if you're going to shoot bullets in that weight range, you may as well be shooting a 300 magnum'. Maybe, but my bullet is fatter, and, I don't own a 300 magnum. Also, I don't think I currently own a 30-06, which couldn't shoot nearly as flat with a 200 grain bullet as a 338 WM. I do have a nice 308, but now we're starting to stretch things a bit.
 

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I see nothing wrong trying lighter bullets. In my case, the rifle didn't like them but shot well with the heavier pills. I prefer sorting out which bullets which shoot best first then work on optimum powder.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
Staying at hunting camp, trying to get some pics to upload but the signal is weak out here. I did a ladder with I4350, and 8 shots stayed in the mouth of a coffee cup (3") at 100 yards. 4 of them clustered around an inch or so near the top charge weight. I stopped one round short of max as my (Federal 215) primers were looking a bit flat. Ran one dry patch in between each round, clean bore. For giggles, I fired 3 careful rounds of the Hornady ammo for fouling shots; they made a 4-6" group. The rifle seems to really hate that particular ammo. I like the concept of the Boss, I may put ut back on and play with it to see if it'll tighten my groups any tighter. Can't hurt. I'll try and post a few pics when I get to some wifi/better signal.
 

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I'm guessing that the guy you got the rifle from wasn't into reloading, thus the large quantity of factory ammo that came with it!
He most likely couldn't hit the side of a barn with it either and that's why he sold it to you!
I would never purchase more than one box of factory ammo before testing for accuracy with any rifle; I do however shoot reloads in all my center fire rifles when hunting!
You may well have gotten a great rifle for a good price and I would encourage you to continue with tweaking your reloads until you find the one that shoots the way you like. Just don't let it beat you up too bad before you take a break!
I'm a little surprised that you tried so many things including messing with the beading before you addressed the ammo issue, that is where I always start!
 

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I love it when a plan comes together!!
 
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