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Discussion Starter #41
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!
I'm with you, I'm guessing he bought the gun with a large quantity of ammo, it beat him up, and he got rid of it rather than trying to figure it out. Guns for sale on Gunbroker often have deals where you can buy a large quantity of ammo in the caliber rifle you are buying at a decent price; I'm guessing that's what he did.

Honestly, I was kinda surprised when I figured out it was the ammo/gun. I used to have a Browning Bar that was nearly a tackdriver without a BOSS. I figured the A Bolt should be more accurate, and with a BOSS, even better. And, I had a trusted Leupold that had been on several rifles without incident or question, so...
Hornady: I've had great luck with their ammo, and they have become one of my go-to ammos for most things that I use factory ammo for. I had really expected great things from this ammo/rifle combination.

I've been shooting rifles seriously (handloading, amateur bench shooting, etc) for 20 years now, and have NEVER seen a gun hate a factory ammo that badly. Even the SKS's I've owned and my Mini 14 will group better than that! It just had to be the rifle if it was shooting that badly. Then add the fact that normal 'deer ammo' that I buy locally runs $15-20 a box. and .338 WM runs $45 a box, plus shipping and handling, and isn't available locally. In my mind, it just had to be something out of sync with the rifle, or the scope went bad, or maybe it was me.

Eventually, this caused me to 1. Level and improve my shooting bench. 2. Work the kinks out of my midway shooting rest. 3. Load some good ammo. 4. Play with a BOSS for the first time, something I've wanted to do for years (yes, I like it, no, I don't care what it looks like). 5. Work on my recoil tolerance. 6. Wind up with a really great bear rifle, that will turn heads when someone asks what I'm shooting (haha). 7. Get a really great group, that I now consider one of my personal bests (lots of folks can shoot bughole groups with a 22 ppc, it's different getting a 5 round group with a 338!).

I'm really glad I kept at it, I've learned a lot from and had fun playing with this rifle. I'm looking forward to shooting it some more. I wonder if I could lighten it and still get good accuracy?!? Lol
 

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Greetings Mommicked,

I have a New Haven Model 70 based 338wm that I have shot, reloaded for, and harvested critters with for years. I do not own an Abolt but friends that have them seem to have good results with them.

A couple of starter thoughts... Get a limbsaver recoil pad, if I missed that you have one sorry. As another poster stated take off the BOSS - at least for now. Make sure the trigger breaks cleanlt at 2.5 to 3 lbs. If it doesn't take it to a reputable smith and get it done. Oh yeah, MAKE SURE THE SCOPE IS MOUNTED TIGHT AND CORRECTLY. I've been caught on this too, no shame in it, only embaressing if you don't double check.

Now buy an additional slip on recoil pad and use it on the bench. I bought one when I first got the 338 and it really helped as I was testing out powders and bullets and working loads up.

I was lucky because my Winchester seems to shoot anything fairly well, but IIRC I used IMR 4350, RL19, RL22, H4831, and H4831sc. I settled on H4831sc because it was the most consistent. The RL series at the end of 4 point season when its -25C were not as consistent, the H4831 did not seem to be effected by the cold.

I settled on using 250grn Swift Aframes for hunting and 250grn Hornady intrlocks for practice as they seem to fly about the same. My reasoning was consistency in point of impact and results from said impact. I can shoot 180s, 200's, 225's, 250's, and 275's with the 338 - but why? Everyone has a different POI and the lighter bullets trend to fly to fast and start bloodshotting the meat. And I found the 275 drops a little to fast because I will shoot out to 500 yards.

The 250 combines high sectional density along with a good ballistic coefficient. Filled up the case holds about 71 grains or so under a 250 and that flys at about 2650 to 2700 at muzzle. This is my goto load that gives me very good accuracy and good real life results. The only 250 I have ever recovered was on the opposite side of a Grizzly after it broke a few ribs going through his boiler room, taking out his heart and lungs, smashing the shoulder on the far side and coming to a rest under the skin on the far side. All the rest have been through and throughs with a nice big wound channel.

Anyway, I hope reviewing my journey with you has helped, good luck to you sir.
 

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338 Win. Woes

Put the 338 in the back of your gun safe and get a 257 Roberts or 6.5 Swede rifle. You'll be a happier camper and save bruises on your shoulder but your testicles may shrink a bit.

Otherwise, load the 338 to starting loads velocities and enjoy shooting it ...a little.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
Put the 338 in the back of your gun safe and get a 257 Roberts or 6.5 Swede rifle. You'll be a happier camper and save bruises on your shoulder but your testicles may shrink a bit.

Otherwise, load the 338 to starting loads velocities and enjoy shooting it ...a little.
My first deer rifle was a Swede, my favorite deer rifle is a little Remington Model Seven in 260 Remington, ballistic twin to the Swede round. I love that handy little rifle, but wanted something with more 'oomph' for large black bear. I was torn between a 338, a 375 H&H, and a 35 Whelen. The 375 seemed too big, the Whelen didn't shoot as flat as I wanted, and I always wanted an A Bolt with a BOSS, so the 338 won. Ammo availability was a (minor) consideration. I have enough 'oddball' calibers, so I wanted something more or less 'normal' for a big gun.

As for the recoil, the group shown above, about 1 1/8" 5 shot group with full throttle 338 Magnum loads suggests that I'm getting along with the recoil pretty well! I'm still not sure about my testicles, the bigger the gun, often the smaller the pair! :D
 

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My first deer rifle was a Swede, my favorite deer rifle is a little Remington Model Seven in 260 Remington, ballistic twin to the Swede round. I love that handy little rifle, but wanted something with more 'oomph' for large black bear. I was torn between a 338, a 375 H&H, and a 35 Whelen. The 375 seemed too big, the Whelen didn't shoot as flat as I wanted, and I always wanted an A Bolt with a BOSS, so the 338 won. Ammo availability was a (minor) consideration. I have enough 'oddball' calibers, so I wanted something more or less 'normal' for a big gun.

As for the recoil, the group shown above, about 1 1/8" 5 shot group with full throttle 338 Magnum loads suggests that I'm getting along with the recoil pretty well! I'm still not sure about my testicles, the bigger the gun, often the smaller the pair! :D
Hard to figure why folks talk so rudely about someone else's personal choices. Facts are just fine to relay, but comments on someone else's shoulder and then their "man parts" are simply another example of someone hiding behind their keyboard. :confused:

The .338 mag is a great cartridge and one that has a great reputation, as do the other two cartridges you mentioned. I think you're very close (if not already there!) to a very capable load. I don't worry about what others think about what I "should" carry and use to hunt with and neither should you! Best of luck as you continue on!
 

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You must determine if its you first of all, since it jump all over the place it likely..otherwise I would have the bedding checked, maybe glass bed the stock..I notice you have a muzzle brake, it should calm the .338 to about like a 243 as a rule..

I shoot the .338 a lot and its my go to elk rifle..My gun shoots under an inch for 3 shots with most loads and factor ammo..The .338 is an accurate rifle as a rule..Good luck.
 

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I just recently purchased a 6 1/2 pound Mossberg Patriot in 338, talk about a sweet shooter. 1 inch groups with 180 grain Accubonds in my handloads. I don't know how they did it, but I figured this thing would beat the poo poo out of me on the bench, I didn't think it was all that bad. 20 rounds down the pipe the first day, 20 rounds down the pipe a few days later. I do not even mess with Factory Ammo that much anymore, I have had a few rifles shoot very disappointing with off the shelf ammo ( well except for some of the higher end ammo) I have a Ruger 338, and it shot just ok with Factory Ammo, started loading for it and the groups got smaller, load it hotter, the groups got even smaller.

I cannot decide what should be next a 375 H and H or a .375 Ruger. Maybe both!

Recoil is just that recoil. Lighten your trigger, on big boomers, a heavy trigger will cause you to either flinch more or pull more shots. Relax, breath and squeeze. If you feel the muscles in your hand, or even your forearm flex to pull the trigger, or you have to increase the pressure of your thumb on the stock, your trigger is to heavy. When the rifle fires, it should almost surprise you. Of course this is all my opinion, and how I do things.
 

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**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
10-4 on that! I had a co-worker sell me a pristine BAR Safari in 338, and it has an older LEUPOLD "high-dollar" scope on it. It's very accurate, but I put that one in the collection, and not in the woods to hunt with. I bought a new box of bullets for it, and paid pretty good for it. Then, I went to a "country" gun auction locally, and they had about 6 boxes of NOS .338's. Think I paid 8.00 per box. Nobody else around here needed them. One day, I'm gonna hunt with it....
 

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Discussion Starter #49
10-4 on that! I had a co-worker sell me a pristine BAR Safari in 338, and it has an older LEUPOLD "high-dollar" scope on it. It's very accurate, but I put that one in the collection, and not in the woods to hunt with. I bought a new box of bullets for it, and paid pretty good for it. Then, I went to a "country" gun auction locally, and they had about 6 boxes of NOS .338's. Think I paid 8.00 per box. Nobody else around here needed them. One day, I'm gonna hunt with it....
Irving I don't know what parts you're from, but here in Carolina if you tell someone you're hunting with a .338 they look at you like you've lost your mind (and, probably rightly so). Our big deer might weigh 200 lbs, guts feathers and all. We don't have any elk, grizz, or bigger stuff. We do have a good black bear population, and seeing a 300-400 lb black bear is not that unusual, but someone in my immediate area will kill a 600+ lb black bear every other year it seems. While I might not be the one to see or shoot him, I'm in as good a spot as any, and...I have the 'rifle collector's disease', and wanted a bigger gun. Doubt I'll ever make it to Africa, but if I ever go out west or up to Alaska to hunt, I've got this sweet 338 and she WILL shoot! As for local deer, I took one with it while hoping for a bear, and it didn't disappoint. But you mentioned buying ammo for it locally on the cheap. I once bought a whole bunch of .35 Whelen ammo for pennies on the dollar; no one here wanted it and I fed it to an old sporterized Mauser I had bought used in that caliber. Too big of a gun for here, also, but it was fun to shoot. Kinda wish I hadn't let it go!
 

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Discussion Starter #50
I just recently purchased a 6 1/2 pound Mossberg Patriot in 338, talk about a sweet shooter.

I cannot decide what should be next a 375 H and H or a .375 Ruger. Maybe both!

Recoil is just that recoil.
I looked at the Mossberg Patriots, but I had a hankering for an Abolt with a BOSS, and patiently waited for a good deal. Glad to know they're shooters, have to remember that!

I've shot a 375 H&H. Free hand at a 50-75 yard target. The old man who owned the rifle had it for bear, and seeing I was carrying a .45-70 Marlin with hot handloads, he asked me if I wanted to shoot the 375. I said sure! I chambered it, aimed, and smoked the target. Recoil was surprising, I had expected a lot more. I asked him for another round, and he looked a little surprised and grinned and said 'These are my practice loads, the factory hunting ammo is too expensive to waste on plinking!". He was a fairly well known gentleman hunter in these parts, and well respected as being a sportsman and not just a beer guzzling hunter.

Get yourself a good 375 H&H and I doubt you'll regret it.
 

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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.
Agree. I use lots of IMR 4831 in the 243 and 270 Winchester, but RL 19 is the go to powder in the 338 with 250 grain bullets.

Nothing wrong with a 45-70/338 combination. Have exactly the same myself. For elk hunting in all conditions, go with the 338. If they're holed up in the timber, the big Marlin is the go to.

Zero experience with BOSS, so can't comment on that, but I'd mount another TESTED scope on the 338 before starting to tear it apart. When I got my 338 about ten years ago, it was a package rifle with a garbage Simmons mounted. I purposely left it on to see how many full power loads it would survive. Answer: About twenty. My load of 71.5 gr. of RL 19 behind a 250 grain Hornady SP went from 1.5 MOA to minute of backstop in one box of ammo. Mounted the Nikon 3x9 I'd already bought for it right away, and it'll consistently group three shots under 5 inches @ 300 metres (330 yards), making it a 400 yard elk rifle.

Edit: I see you've already tested it with a trusted scope. I'd try it once more with another one, and if it's still erratic, start looking for something seriously wrong with the bore, the crown, or the bedding. Any modern bolt rifle with decent ammo that groups larger than 3 MOA is seriously screwed up. I have a 1938 Mosin that's a 1.5 MOA shooter with cheap steel case ammunition.
 

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Discussion Starter #52
Edit: I see you've already tested it with a trusted scope. I'd try it once more with another one, and if it's still erratic, start looking for something seriously wrong with the bore, the crown, or the bedding. Any modern bolt rifle with decent ammo that groups larger than 3 MOA is seriously screwed up. I have a 1938 Mosin that's a 1.5 MOA shooter with cheap steel case ammunition.
I got a 1-1/4" 5 shot group with a .338, I'm good enough for meat in the accuracy department now! I sorta came up with an accidental hybrid accuracy test that seems to work very quickly at getting a good 'load' fast, and it's worked with 2 different rifles now. Not a complete, comprehensive test, but it's sorta based off of the Ladder and the OCW, mixed in with a little bit of redneck get 'er done. It helps save time and components (i.e. money), and shortens the loading session as well.
 

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Just for the record, I have been successfully shooting my M-700 in .338 WIN MAG cal since 1991. I have killed a lot of deer with it at varying ranges from 50 yd to 267 yd......all with the same results. They have dropped where they stood.....in Wisconsin. Point-of-aim has been just behind the jaw bone and I have NOT wasted any meat. I have had WIDNR wardens tell me that this was too much rifle for Whitetail deer hunting. It is my "hands down" favorite rifle, caliber and load. It does what it want it to do and is very accurate with groups as small as 1.25" x .90", which I can shoot all day long at my range from the bench. Granted, it DOES generate significant recoil, but I AM NOT RECOIL SENSITIVE. A friend in my EAU CLAIRE NATIONAL RIFLE CLUB had a 16-yr old daughter, that shot this rifle with 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" inch groups......who was probably only about 120 lb. Of course, she has shot at that rifle club since she was was about 9 yr old, graduating to higher calibers (such as my .45-70 SHARPS, using a 510 gr bullet that also had a "significant recoil"). That being said, I have not hit any bones (which, by the way, would cause meat destruction with nearly every caliber). Myl favorite load has been 72.0 gr of IMR-4350, a WLRM primer under a HOR# 3320 225 gr bullet.


So, if "anyone" tells you that you are using "too much rifle" for a specific hunting situation, just remember, that the rifle that you can master and have consistent hits at a reasonable distance with a reliably decent group.....DON'T LISTEN TO THEM!!"
 

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Totally agree with you, it's really hard to say there's too much gun being used for most situations. There can be the wrong cartridge chosen like a .338 Win Mag shooting fast action in a prairie dog town. Or 22-250 being carried somehow on a moose or bear hunt if it even was legal to do.

I shoot a 35 Whelen Ackley improved, it does fine from small mule deer bucks to Rocky Mountain elk. I don't choose to shoot for the head or neck, however a Barnes X/TSX/TTSX of 200, 225 or 250 gr behind the shoulder through the lungs ruins zero meat and has proven quite effective. And gives me the ability to take a strong quartering shot and traverse diagonally a 450-500+ pound animal.

I've always had a soft spot for the 338 Win Mag, except I had a 35 Whelen AI built instead. The 338 Win Mag would probably be even better for the entirety of Colorado hunting given the ability to load a lighter faster bullet for antelope on the plains which the 35 Whelen AI is a bit short on the ranging. Then load that 338 up with a bullet like you are using and take any elk that has ever walked with a shot that puts the vitals in line with the path of the bullet.
 

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I think you inadvertently answered your own question!! You said there was some flinch but not enough to be a problem..My suggestion is there is no such thing as "some flinch" indicating that a little bit of flinch isn't a problem..

That is not the case at all, there is a flinch or their isn't, any flinch what so ever will cause the problem you describe!, end of story, it can be fixed but its not easy, just keep in mind flinch never killed a shooter..
 

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I had a Browning ABolt stainless synthetic for years. Shot my first caribou with it. No BOSS, but didn't really want one anyway. Nothing wrong with a properly crowned barrel.

This rifle shot excellently with factory ammo - think I was using Remington Safari ammo at the time. My only complaint was the trigger. Sometime perfect, sometime slow or dragging.

Had a gunsmith "improve" it, but the next winter it froze after several hours in freezing weather. Took the bolt apart, cleaned it good but still had problems. With a heavier recoiling rifle, this makes for an accuracy issue.

Might consider replacing the trigger. I've had good success with Timney. Accuracy is a confidence game! Good luck!


PS: BTW, my son shot his trophy whitetail (see pic) with his .338 Win Mag in Browning FN Safari rifle. Nothing wrong with lots of power. What's wrong is too little power!!!
 

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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

What on earth makes you think the 7mm is not capable of doing everything you want done to a black bear? I think THAT is your mistake. It is a perfectly capable cartridge for black bear that will do all you say you want from the .338. Now, if you just want a .338, that's a reason to own one, but if your .338 is causing "issues" I would just sell it and use the 7mm.
 

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If one has to stop and think, this gun won't hurt me, or have any emotion to the recoil of a large rifle, then he is overgunned and should sell his .338 and use a 30-06..My favorite med bore is a 338 Win, I have two, a Ruger no.1, and an African model...The other option is a muzzle brake and that works well enough regardless of the nay sayers, it makes a lot of folks better marksman, as to hearing use protection....I hear so many recommending the 210 Nosler bullet and its a good one, but my 30-06 with a 200 gr. Nosler gets the same velocity, so the .338s advantage lies in 10 grs. of bullet weight, go figure on that??? For that reason alone I shoot the heavy bullets in my 338s, I like the old Speer 285 gr. Grand Slam and I have a supply of them, The 250 Nosler and the 300 gr. Woodleigh and with that 300 gr.Woodleigh I have shot Cape Buffalo, Hippo, Lion and my 289 score elk..The 300 gr. Woodleigh in .338 cal and the 300 gr. Woodleigh in the 375, gives the 338 better Sectional density, and the 375 a better cross section, IMO the 375 barely wins by a hair, and it the field Ive never been able to tell the difference...
 

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With respect to the post above, what version of the 30-06 are you shooting that gets between 2900 fps to over 3,000 feet per second feet per second with a 200 grain Nosler Partition???

As that is the velocity for about any 210 grain bullet out of the 338 Win Mag in recognized load manuals.

?
 

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the OP has a serious problem with the RIFLE, not the caliber, unless he's scared of it. The .338 is a very well balanced and inherently accurate caliber.

Look for a pattern to the inaccuracy. Does it print two together then fling three? In which direction in which order? Most inaccuracy problems are bedding problems but I assume you've examined the metal to make sure it's right.
Headspace? Crown? Lug engagement?

Bedding check--- Hold the gun so one hand bridges between the action and the stock. Loosen the rear tang screw. Did you feel movement between stock and the action? If so, there's your problem.
Do the same test with the front tang screw with the rear re-tightened. Any more than .010 movement upwards is a problem. If it moves at all, it means the barrel is making contact with the stock. Where? How much?

From there, its more nuanced and depends on other factors but those test will catch 99% of the problems.
 
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