Skip to main content

.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

Top Ten Hunts

Top Ten Hunts

Here at Petersen's Hunting we have compiled the 10 best hunts caught on camera from the last 2 years of Petersen's Hunting TV. Enjoy!

Moon Phase Rut Tips

Moon Phase Rut Tips

John Dudley, technical writer and host of Nock On TV discusses why it's imporant to follow moon phases for the rut.

Camp Chef at SHOT Show: Elk Venison Slider Burgers Recipe

Camp Chef at SHOT Show: Elk Venison Slider Burgers Recipe

Have a freezer full of ground elk venison from your fall hunting trips? Never fear, the folks at Camp Chef have a great SHOT Show recipe that is lean and mean, easy to prepare, and a crowd-pleasing favorite!

Hunting Coues Deer South of the Border

Hunting Coues Deer South of the Border

Former Delta Force Operator Kyle Lamb hikes the rugged desert mountains of northern Sonora in pursuit of the diminutive Coues species of whitetail.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Since the first explorers and pilgrims landed, the inhabitants of this glorious country have been7 Favorite Truck Guns 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...

Hunters may not have as much influence on buck movement and behavior as we think. Deciphering New Deer Data for Rut Success Whitetail

Deciphering New Deer Data for Rut Success

Jeff Johnston

Hunters may not have as much influence on buck movement and behavior as we think.

The outdoor industry gets serious about recruiting new hunters with some curious marketing strategies.Are New Hunter Recruitment Strategies Working? Conservation

Are New Hunter Recruitment Strategies Working?

Andrew McKean - May 05, 2020

The outdoor industry gets serious about recruiting new hunters with some curious marketing...

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these guns.Which Firearm Is Best for Bear Defense? Survival

Which Firearm Is Best for Bear Defense?

Larry Case - July 11, 2018

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these...

See More Trending Articles

More Ammo

The ammunition shortage of 2020 is staggering but manufacturers are putting out more ammo than ever before.What's Behind the Ammunition Shortage? Ammo

What's Behind the Ammunition Shortage?

Joe Ferronato - December 31, 2020

The ammunition shortage of 2020 is staggering but manufacturers are putting out more ammo than...

Strolling down the ammunition aisle at your local gun shop will reveal a multitude of differentHistory and Development of Hunting Bullets Ammo

History and Development of Hunting Bullets

Phil Massaro - August 14, 2018

Strolling down the ammunition aisle at your local gun shop will reveal a multitude of different

Whatever your hunting philosophy, there's a capable deer bullet that fits your needs. Here's a look at a handful of the finest available today.The Best Deer Bullets Anywhere Ammo

The Best Deer Bullets Anywhere

Joseph von Benedikt - January 22, 2019

Whatever your hunting philosophy, there's a capable deer bullet that fits your needs. Here's a...

Sitting on the rifle range for the start of a December 2017 Mossy Oak hunt at Vatoville, aWhitetail Hunt Shows Off New 224 Valkyrie Cartridge Ammo

Whitetail Hunt Shows Off New 224 Valkyrie Cartridge

Lynn Burkhead - January 28, 2018

Sitting on the rifle range for the start of a December 2017 Mossy Oak hunt at Vatoville, a

See More Ammo

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Petersen's Hunting App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

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

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now