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Old 09-07-2013, 07:53   #1
FullClip
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338-06 or 35 Whelen?

I'm thinking about going a little off the beaten path and getting something chambered for one of the above. Maybe a Cooper Arms Model 52. Right now I'm leaning towards the 338-06 as a few years ago I mistakenly picked up a box of .338 Nosler bullets that somehow got mixed up in the .308 caliber stuff. (figure I'll save a few bucks by already having some of the reloading components on hand...)

I know I don't need it for deer or even moose if I ever get lucky enough to win a lottery in Maine...but want something a little on the eccentric side of things.

Anybody have a rifle chambered in one of the above and anything to say about these chamberings??
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:46   #2
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I have wanted a .338-06 for some time now but just cannot justify it. My 30-06 does everything I need it to do. The .338 bullet can be pushed faster than a .30 of the same weight out of the same brass. More bullet for the powder charge to push against and more bore area for it to burn. Fred has a .338 he will be along soon.
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:54   #3
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I have wanted a .338-06 for some time now but just cannot justify it. My 30-06 does everything I need it to do.

Ditto. Keep wanting to rebarrel my 700 BDL.

If you get a Cooper, I definitely want to see pics!!!





ETA - performance is close. I'd lean .338 bullets, as you'll have a much better selection.

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Old 09-07-2013, 15:26   #4
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Had a 35 Whelen, but I think if I were to get another I'd opt for the 338-06 for better bullet selection.
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Old 09-09-2013, 20:24   #5
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Have shot a lot of deer with a 350 Remington Magnum. Can't say enough good about that cartridge.
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Old 09-09-2013, 23:57   #6
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Had a 35 Whelen, but I think if I were to get another I'd opt for the 338-06 for better bullet selection.
^^THIS^^^
I had one made years ago, always a big fan ever since reading old Elmer Keith. It is a very good hunting round on anything world wide short of the big five, but would probably handle the big cats just fine.
My go to bullet is the 210gr NP pushed @ 2750fps. It shoots as flat as a 180gr/06, hits just a bit harder IMO. It is a 300yrd + a bit round IMO, but then that is hunting isn't it? Everything I have shot with it has gone down in one shot, from 30# Duiker to my best bull elk, Kudu & a Zebra.
SOme will say the WHelen because you can use pistol bullets, but really, who does that? POI is so diff from the heavier 225gr-250gr Whelen bullets, I just never saw the point. Brass is easily made from any 06 & Norma even makes good cases for the 338-06. If you just want something a little diff than vanilla 06, the 338-06 is a really good hunting round that doesn't beat the crap out of you in a 8# ready to hunt rifle.
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Old 09-10-2013, 03:07   #7
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^^THIS^^^
I had one made years ago, always a big fan ever since reading old Elmer Keith. It is a very good hunting round on anything world wide short of the big five, but would probably handle the big cats just fine.
My go to bullet is the 210gr NP pushed @ 2750fps. It shoots as flat as a 180gr/06, hits just a bit harder IMO. It is a 300yrd + a bit round IMO, but then that is hunting isn't it? Everything I have shot with it has gone down in one shot, from 30# Duiker to my best bull elk, Kudu & a Zebra.
SOme will say the WHelen because you can use pistol bullets, but really, who does that? POI is so diff from the heavier 225gr-250gr Whelen bullets, I just never saw the point. Brass is easily made from any 06 & Norma even makes good cases for the 338-06. If you just want something a little diff than vanilla 06, the 338-06 is a really good hunting round that doesn't beat the crap out of you in a 8# ready to hunt rifle....

Fred, when it comes to hunting I defer to your knowledge. Excellent, as well as very convincing, summary.
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Old 09-10-2013, 11:22   #8
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Quote:
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.................................................................................... Everything I have shot with it has gone down in one shot, from 30# Duiker to my best bull elk, Kudu & a Zebra.

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Well, last I checked Kudu and Zebra permits were pretty hard to come by in Maine!! But know for sure it would be a great moose gun if I ever get my tag pulled in the sate lottery and not overkill for white tails. Actually, I've already got a couple 30-06's and a 30-378 that would more than be enough for moose, and my deer gun is a .308 Kimber, but I'm looking for something a little exotic and excuse to buy a nice rifle. I let a Weatherby 338-06 slip though my hands a few years ago and have been kicking myself ever since.

I had a Weatherby 338-378 that was a killer on both ends but a hoot to shoot. Since I'm not as much of a masochist as I was back then, figure the -06 version of will be a whole lot gentler on the shoulder, loose fillings and eye sockets.

Thanks for the information....think it will be a 338 version.

What kind of rifle is in the picture? Nice looking unit for sure.
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Old 09-10-2013, 12:33   #9
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Well, last I checked Kudu and Zebra permits were pretty hard to come by in Maine!! But know for sure it would be a great moose gun if I ever get my tag pulled in the sate lottery and not overkill for white tails. Actually, I've already got a couple 30-06's and a 30-378 that would more than be enough for moose, and my deer gun is a .308 Kimber, but I'm looking for something a little exotic and excuse to buy a nice rifle. I let a Weatherby 338-06 slip though my hands a few years ago and have been kicking myself ever since.

Thanks for the information....think it will be a 338 version.

What kind of rifle is in the picture? Nice looking unit for sure.
I only mention the African game to show the versatility. It's an 06 on steroids. With a 200gr Speer sp @ 2850fps, it's a decent antelope or longer range deer round. The 185gr TSX @ 2900fps+ shoots even flatter & still will expand some out @ 400yds. Bullet expansion does limit the round for me to about 300-0350yds. I killed my best 6pt elk with one round @ a ranged 325yds. The bullet was a pass thru broadside, so while not recovered, it showed little expansion. In fact, only ever recovered one bullet. This one was from the Kudu, shot lengthwise chest to behind the last rib far side, right around 125yds. Bullet on left is wetpack test, right was recovered from the kudu.
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That is an older Ruger M77 w/ tang safety. The rifle has been hunted pretty hard, snow & rain in elk country, rain & heat in Africa. The lam stock is pretty stable. My best loads will routinely shoot MOA for 3rds, good enough for anything I will ever hunt.
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Old 09-10-2013, 20:48   #10
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Alway wanted a 338/06. Made up my mind one day to to it. A pre 64 Win. M70 in 338 Win mag showed up at a price I could not turn down. Loved the cartridge and the rifle.
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Old 09-10-2013, 21:42   #11
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I had a Weatherby 338-378 that was a killer on both ends but a hoot to shoot. Since I'm not as much of a masochist as I was back then, figure the -06 version of will be a whole lot gentler on the shoulder, loose fillings and eye sockets.
Must have been a real barrel burner.
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Old 09-11-2013, 11:48   #12
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I'm guessing the 338 Federal is not erotic enough.







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Old 09-11-2013, 12:28   #13
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I'm guessing the 338 Federal is not erotic enough.

The 338Fed is just not enough vel for most 338 bullets IMO. A nice little 250yd or less round that can be put up in a 7# rifle & still be easy to shoot. Both are sort of factory rounds. At least Wby used to make 338-06 ammo?
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:34   #14
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I'm guessing the 338 Federal is not erotic enough.







I don't think even in my most PBR and Jameson-y posts on GT that I would call either cartridge "erotic".

.338 Federal is a darned efficient cartridge. Just like .308 and .30-06, the longer case has more room for powder and will edge out the shorter cartridge. Simple as that.

I also happen to have a long action rifle, which would be easily converted to .338-06. AR platforms seem to be well suited to the 338 Federal.
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:45   #15
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The 338Fed is just not enough vel for most 338 bullets IMO. A nice little 250yd or less round that can be put up in a 7# rifle & still be easy to shoot. Both are sort of factory rounds. At least Wby used to make 338-06 ammo?
I read Wby dropped both the 338-06 guns and ammo from their line.

Midway has a bunch of Nosler factory 338-06 A-square ammo on their sight. Have not found much non a-square ammo though.
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Old 09-11-2013, 13:50   #16
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I was lucky enough to grab an old Savage that had been converted to 338-06 off of GB about 5 years ago. I finally got dies and bullets and started loading for it some months back. While I bid on it as a bit of a gamble, it's a keeper for sure.

I have wanted a 338-06 since i started reading about it in an old Speer handloading manual. I, too, have a 30-06 that hunts everything I want to hunt in the Pacific NW but I just like the 338 and had to have one.

I also looked at the 35 Whelen and discounted it because the bullet selection is a bit limited. Of course, if you cast bullets you can get anything you want. But if I was going for a strictly cast bullet gun I'd opt for something more efficient like the 358 Winchester or even a 40 caliber custom number.

So far I have been loading 225 grain Hornady bullets (those which were on sale, ha!) with AA 4350 and have been impressed with the accuracy and the notable lack of severe "magnum" type recoil.

Like the 30-06, the 338-06 is boring... it just keeps going on and on and getting the job done without the fanfare and blast of sexier, exotic and/or magnum cartridges.
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Old 09-11-2013, 16:20   #17
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The 225gr bullet seems the ideal weight for the 338-06 but mine refuses to shoot any of them well unless I get vel down to about 2550fps. At that speed, might as well shoot he 250gr. It shoots 200-210gr well & 250gr anything, but just does not like 225gr @ the vel I want. The 225gr HRDY is a really good choice from wetpack testing I have done, but he 210gr NP, made for that round IMO.
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Old 09-14-2013, 18:02   #18
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Both have fans, for good reasons. I'd pick either one and be happy.

Back in the pre-internet days of printed magazines, campfire tales, and hunting trips, this question was known to come up every now and then...

That posted, those old days were also pre ATV, and not having any pack animals, I had to use footpower to pack any future meals back to camp. That means short distance hunting in our wooded hills, and not from ridge to ridge. A Lever in 356Winchester came home and has done well ever since.
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Old 09-16-2013, 00:25   #19
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While the 35 caliber rifles I've used, were like a hammer on game, I don't know that their performance would justify the added price of the rather harder to come by 35 caliber bullets.


I do miss my 358 Norma though. The one gun I regret selling, and will forever be looking for.
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Old 09-16-2013, 17:01   #20
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I think If I wanted to go to a larger diameter bullet than the .338 on the old '06 case I think I'd just make the jump to the 9.3 x 62mm. A .366" bullet in 286 grain guise could spell mayhem for elk, moose and bear...
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