.338 Winchester Magnum: The Ultimate Big-Game Caliber

.338 Winchester Magnum: The Ultimate Big-Game Caliber

The flat-shooting .338 Win. Mag. is ideally suited to a wide range of big game including elk and moose.

HistoryHUNP-171000-OF-003

Introduced in 1958, the .338 Win. Mag. was inspired by big-bore aficionados such as Elmer Keith. It dominates a vast territory between the much-loved .30 calibers and the .375 H&H so popular among those who pursue dangerous game. Rightly so: It offers tremendous performance on an incredibly broad spectrum of game at an affordable cost in recoil. Even now, at 59, the .338 Win. Mag. is so popular that every major rifle manufacturer chambers it and every major ammunition company builds ammo for it.

Application


Conceivably at its best on elk, moose, and bison-size game, the .338 Win. Mag. isn't too much for deer and antelope, and with a heavy-for-caliber, tough bullet designed to break heavy bones and penetrate deeply, it's an outstanding choice for big bears. A broad array of projectile types and weights enables the hunter to tailor it to the specific task. For deer-size game, choose a lighter bullet, such as Nosler's 200-grain AccuBond; for elk and moose, a midweight bullet, such as the 225-grain offerings from Nosler and Barnes; and for bison and the biggest bears, a heavy Barnes 250-grain TSX or Swift 250- or 275-grain A-Frame.


Ballistics

Because of the wide range of available bullet weights, it's difficult to place the .338 Win. Mag. into one ballistic category. Muzzle energy ranges from 3,400 ft.-lbs. up to about 4,000 ft.-lbs. Let's examine a great all-around bullet: Nosler's 250-grain AccuBond. With a BC of .575, when pushed to 2,600 fps, it offers good extended-range ballistics and retained terminal performance. In standard sea-level atmospherics, when zeroed at 200 yards, it impacts 2.1 inches high at 100 yards, drops 9.1 inches at 300 yards, carrying 1,737 ft.-lbs. of energy — enough for any elk or moose walking this continent.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 13: Forest Buffalo

Craig Boddington returns to Mozambique's fame Coutada 10 for a shot a forest buffalo that's eluded him for 10 years.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 16: Cedar Break Bucks

Kevin Steele treks to the cedar breaks and coulees of north-central Nebraska for a shot at a big prairie whitetail.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 7: Beginner's Luck

Host Kali Parmley takes first-time hunter Danae Hale of CZ-USA to Wyoming for a mule deer hunt. After covering all the basics with Danae, the girls head into the field and what happens next goes way beyond either of their expectations!

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 9: Aloha Axis Deer

Host Mike Schoby joins his buddies Jon Dubin and Jeff Johnston on the island of Lanai for a deer hunt Hawaiian style!

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Didn't draw? Here are five great places you can make a last-minute mule deer hunt. North America

5 Great Last-Minute Public-land Hunts

Joseph von Benedikt

Didn't draw? Here are five great places you can make a last-minute mule deer hunt.

Since the first explorers and pilgrims landed, the inhabitants of this glorious country have been Shooting

7 Favorite Truck Guns

Joseph von Benedikt - May 11, 2015

Since the first explorers and pilgrims landed, the inhabitants of this glorious country have...

Perfection takes practice, a little skill and the understanding that not all steaks are created equal. Recipes

How to Properly Grill Venison Steak

Hank Shaw

Perfection takes practice, a little skill and the understanding that not all steaks are...

Looking for a great gun for the young hunter in your family? Here are eight favorites. Guns

8 Great Youth Guns Designed for Growing Hunters

Brad Fitzpatrick - July 18, 2016

Looking for a great gun for the young hunter in your family? Here are eight favorites.

See More Trending Articles

More Ammo

When ultimate accuracy counts, consider handloading. Ammo

Handloading for Predator Hunting

Keith Wood

When ultimate accuracy counts, consider handloading.

At the NWTF's annual Still Target Championship last fall, the Winchester Long Beard XR ammunition Ammo

Winchester Long Beard XR Hits the Benchmark

PH Online Editors - February 09, 2018

At the NWTF's annual Still Target Championship last fall, the Winchester Long Beard XR...

As the season approaches, fulfill all your ammo needs at Academy Sports + Outdoors! Ammo

6 Deer Hunting Ammo Options in the Most Popular Calibers

Lynn Burkhead

As the season approaches, fulfill all your ammo needs at Academy Sports + Outdoors!

Sig's focus for the past 18 months has been developing hunting ammunition. Ammo

Ammo for Africa: Sig Sauer Elite Performance

Joe Arterburn - March 31, 2020

Sig's focus for the past 18 months has been developing hunting ammunition.

See More Ammo

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.