338 Federal loads

PantherCity

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I just bought a kimber Montana in 7mm-08 with 22” barrel that I’m going to send off to JES to be rebored to 338 Federal. With a Maven RS.2 in Talley LWs it might come out under 6lbs. I think the SHR reticle will have useful holdover subtensions with the 338 and will make a good scope for a 300yd ultralight rifle.

Who has experience with this caliber and what are your thoughts on the factory ammo available? I’ll probably start with some factory stuff and keep brass and reload for it if I can’t find a load it really likes or I want to try something different. I’d love to hear your pet loads or any tips and starting points for the 338 federal. Will I run in to mag length issues with heavier bullets in the kimber?

Factory offerings:
200gr trophy copper
200gr trophy bonded
200gr power shock with Nosler ballistic tip
200gr Fusion soft point

I guess they stopped reloading the 210 partitions, which is a shame.

I’m not really interested in the 185gr stuff, but I’ll listen to whatever experience you have.

This will probably be used mostly for deer and pigs but I might take it out for a bear or bigger game as well.

I thought this will be a nice light weight 300yd and under gun that falls between my 6.5creed and 300WM.

Thanks,
Chase


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Dirt Wagon

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I tried out some Nosler 200 grain Accubonds out of my Tikka before I sold it. All the rounds I loaded were pretty much right @ moa & under, but I never got to play with the oal before selling it. I don't have my paperwork handy at the moment but groups were tighter at max charge. Pretty sure I had used IMR 4064 for those loads.

Also, from the research I've done on it, if you want to use 210, 215,or 225 bullets, the powder that offers the best performance is Hodgdon's Leverevolution.

I ended up buying a Sako 85 and sold the Tikka. I just recently picked up a Leupold 2-8x36 VX-3i to top off the Sako but haven't gotten to the range with it yet. I also picked up some Barnes in 185 & some 225 SST's to try out along with with my 200 Accubonds.

In retrospect I should have kept the Tikka for the long action and fix the magazine in case I wanted to load the bullets a longer oal. The Sako is a short action so it may limit me on what I can reload with.
 

prm

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I’d recommend the 160 TTSX with a faster powder such as AA2230, 8208 XBR, or Benchmark. Depending on your barrel and where you find accuracy, they’ll run 2950-3050 FPS. It performs remarkably well on game. I’ve killed stuff as small as Impala and as big as elk and Kudu. All one shot kills and animals never went far. Turns insides into soup.

edit: for factory stuff, the Fusions have shot the best. The Trophy Bonded Tips have been acceptable as well. The TBT and Fusions clocked as advertised, the 200 Trophy Copper was much slower. The 185 TTSX worked real well on a whitetail, pig and bull elk. TAC or 8208 got mid 2700s and excellent accuracy. The 200 AB never shot consistently well for me. The 180 and 200 Woodleigh are stout bullets that shot well. Never used them on game though.
 
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forealboreal

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I handload for mine. 210 partitions with H4895 running 2465fps out of my chopped Kimber Montana with a 20” barrel. It’s a hair over what quickload is recommending in terms of psi but it’s on the OBT node for barrel timing. It’s my backpack elk rifle for the thick Bush I hunt.

You have to load it to book recommended OAL it will just fit in the 84m action. The 210s at least in my rifle were only 0.030” off the lands.

I’m tempted to try out some 185gr ttsx to see if I can get it shooting sub moa. I had 250gr Interlocks shooting under 3/4moa just extremely slow.

Any specifics just shout.
 

Blockcaver

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I own a Kimber Montana that is a .338 Federal. Used and came with reloading dies, brass, bullets. The 200 gr Hornady softpoints shot well, forgot the reloading data. The 185 gr Nosler Accubonds did not with the loads I tried.

As noted by prm I like the Barnes 160 gr TTSX over IMR8208. Shoots very well at 3,000 FPS making nearly 7mm Rem Mag energy at the muzzle. (Equals or beats the .280 AI). Anyway, I bowhunt so only use it for trailing arrowed bears in the thick stuff or going back in on a carcass to retrieve meat. Never needed to use it so far. I did loan it to a friend that flew in to hunt moose with us a couple yrs ago. He killed a nice 48” N. B.C. moose with the Federal. Shot it twice at 15-30 yards in the chest cavity. Both 160 gr TTSX went through the far side and did the job just fine. Powerful little cartridge, and I find the 200 gr loads are pretty jumpy in the 5#12oz combo with the rifle, Talley lightweights and a Leupold VX2 2-7x33 with LRDots scope. And surprisingly the ballistics are not much inferior to an identically set up Montana in 7mmx08 that I have shooting 120 gr TTSX bullets at 3080 FPS, or my nearly identical .223 shooting 70 gr Berger’s at 2900 FPS or so (it has a VX3 2.5-8x36 B&C reticule) I like the Montana platform!!).
 
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PantherCity

PantherCity

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Thanks for the replies guys, keep them coming.

I’m surprised to see everyone liking the 160 TTSX. I was thinking I would shoot some heavier bullets with this bigger bore rifle, but I will give them
A try. Always been a fan or the TTSX in other calibers


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PantherCity

PantherCity

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Thanks for the replies guys, keep them coming.

I’m surprised to see everyone liking the 160 TTSX. I was thinking I would shoot some heavier bullets with this bigger bore rifle, but I will give them a try. Always been a fan of the TTSX in other calibers


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That was meant as an edit


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longbarrel

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Other than load data in Speer, Accurate Arms, Nosler, etc. manuals, I recommend Ken Waters' article in Handloader 177, Oct. 1995. Of course, it was the .338-08 back then.
 

shmtastic

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Maine
My DPMS always has been fed RL15 and 200gr HotCor bullets. Very accurate rifle and got me into the cartridge.

My Ruger M77 likes either H335 with the 180gr Accubond or MR2000 and the Speer HotCor. I'm currently working with the 210 Partition and RL15 in the Ruger, showing acceptable results so far. Never did very well with H4895. One of my favorite rifles I own.
 

EmperorMA

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I’m surprised to see everyone liking the 160 TTSX. I was thinking I would shoot some heavier bullets with this bigger bore rifle.
Remember that a 160gr Barnes TTSX is likely to retain as much weight after passing through the animal as a 225-250gr Nosler Partition. It will be traveling a helluva faster on its way, too.

That 160gr TTSX is an absolute hammer in the .338 Federal. I’ve clobbered a couple of nice bull elk with this load at 150 and 200 yards and I’m not even sure the bullet slowed down after breaking both shoulders each time.

The 180 ACCUBOND and 200 Fusion factory loads are also excellent on game.
 

prm

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The 160 TTSX is a bad little mo’ fo’. I’ve only had one stop in one broadside animal, and that was the Waterbuck pictured <<there. It was caught in the far side hide that was very thick. The bullet had opened to .75” across and completely destroyed the near side shoulder and the internals. I shot a bull elk in the chest and it looked a small grenade went off where it impacted him with blood an hair splattered all around. Didn’t find that bullet. I would confidently hunt anything in N.A. with that bullet out of the Fed.
 
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PantherCity

PantherCity

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Awesome, glad to hear the enthusiasm you 338 shooters have. I’m was honestly 2nd guessing this decision a bit but now I’m thinking a 6lb 338 FED will be a nice addition to my safe


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