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Hey all, I have a hankering for a mid-bore to use as a backup for next year's moose gun (hunting Manitoba, blind hunting lake shores) and as a possible primary black bear rifle. I am leaning towards a 338-06, but I also really prefer to hunt with a suppressor. I know I can't do that in California-North (Canada) so for that I will be using a Witt Machine SME. As such, I want to keep the barrel around 20".

So, in a 20" barreled rifle, is there a significant difference between a .338-06 and a .338 Federal? My gut tells me no, but as I have no practical experience with long-action cartridges in shorter rifle barrels, as all the long-action rifles I own have standard length barrels. I figured I would ask the Fire to get your thoughts.

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I have a 20" .338 RCM and really like it. I run the 225's at 2720 fps and the 250's at 2530 fps. The .338 Federal does ok with the lighter projectiles such as 180 to 200 grain, but the case doesn't hold enough powder for it to do really well with the 225 to 250 grain projectiles, which is what I like to use. I would definitely go 1. .338 RCM and then 2. .338-06 any day over the .338 Federal.

Last edited by Riflehunter; 08/07/22.
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I have a 24" 338-06 and a 22" 338 FED. Performance wise my 338-06 is around 100 fps faster wtth the same bullets and it doesn't run into COAL issues with bullets longer than the 210 grain Partition like my 338 FED does. I shoot the 338 FED more because I like the package better than the 338-06 and for my purposes the 210 grain Partition is a bullet that gives me a nice balance of speed, accuracy, and penetrtion potential. I figure that if I'm not confident shooting something with a 210 grain 0.338" bullet, I should probably be moving up to a 286 grain 0.366" bullet fired from my 9.3x62.

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I figure you need to go to a 350 grain .375 to notice a performance gain over a 250 grain .338. If I was building a .338 RCM or .338-06, I'd go with a 22" barrel over the 20" I have. It would give a marginally flatter trajectory in the open spaces, yet not get hung-up much more than the 20" in the thick close-in places.

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I've never had a .338 Federal but have had a .338 Win Mag and .338-06 with 22" barrels. My .338-06 got around 2700 with 225s. A couple inches less barrel would probably take 50 fps or so out of that number.

You didn't ask this, but if you're concerned about velocity, one other thought is a .338 Winchester Magnum. It's a pretty moderate cartridge and loads down well with medium burn rate powders to .338-06 or .338 Federal velocities. I've never had one with a 20" barrel, but my 22" guns have been fine. I wouldn't hesitate to do a 20" gun, especially if loading 4895, 4064, RL15 or some other powder in that range.

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Originally Posted by 260Remguy
I figure that if I'm not confident shooting something with a 210 grain 0.338" bullet, I should probably be moving up to a 286 grain 0.366" bullet fired from my 9.3x62.

It’s this logic that actually keeps me out of the 33s and 35s for the most part. I figure if a 200 grain 0.308 won’t get me there … I’m grabbing a 9.3/0.375. Looney logic at its finest.

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The .338's pair well with a .270. On deer size game I use a .270 with 140's. Anything bigger I use the .338's with 225 or 250 grains. Except for buffalo and then its .45 with 500's.

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Thanks for the comments, gents. I appreciate it.

From what I am gathering, it looks like the 338-06 is the way to go as I would probably be wanting to use at least 225 grain bullets for my chosen application.

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Originally Posted by HandgunHTR
Thanks for the comments, gents. I appreciate it.

From what I am gathering, it looks like the 338-06 is the way to go as I would probably be wanting to use at least 225 grain bullets for my chosen application.

Well...

The .338/210 gr. NP is supposed to punch well above its weight.

But w/ a 20" Bbl., you will probably be lookin' at ~ 2400 fps at the muzzle, and an effective range of ~ 300 yards (1800 fps).

... and a trajectory like a 30-30.


A 24" Bbl would add 50 yds and flatten things a bit.

A .338-06 would add a 100 yds to the short Bbl. and flatten things considerably.

A 24" .338-06 would shoot ~ like a Factory .30-06/180 gr., albeit more recoil.




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I get 2720 fps with 225s in a 20" .338 RCM using Reloder 17. In a 20" .338-06 using Reloder 17, I would expect about 2650-2670 fps with 225's.

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Originally Posted by AKwolverine
Originally Posted by 260Remguy
I figure that if I'm not confident shooting something with a 210 grain 0.338" bullet, I should probably be moving up to a 286 grain 0.366" bullet fired from my 9.3x62.

It’s this logic that actually keeps me out of the 33s and 35s for the most part. I figure if a 200 grain 0.308 won’t get me there … I’m grabbing a 9.3/0.375. Looney logic at its finest.

I’d partake in the logic…. But I just really wanna “test” them tweeners, just to make sure whistle


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I don't own a 338-06, so can't compare the 2. Being a notorious skinflint, I like the Federal. Less powder, VERY effective with 185-200gn bullets, and doesn't need a long action. I've been well pleased with it's performance on hogs, a couple up to 300lb, and whitetails. It's a good all round hunting round, unless your shot opportunities are way out there (300 yards or more).


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With the little 338 Federal, if you forgo all the useless ballistic tip and boattail bllsht, what you end up with is 225 grain bullets that eat up no powder capacity. For the type of hunting you would use a 338 Federal for, you don't really need the overly long bullets.

With dense ball powders, you're looking at 48-50 grains of powder capacity under that 225 grainer. A very efficient place to be with a 20" barrel.

Of course you'll have a bit more range with the 338-06 and more opportunity to use the heavier, overly long boat tail bullets like a 225 grain ttsx.

Then there's the 358 Winchester. It easily launched 275 grainers just as deep into big bull moose as 9.3 caliber 300 grainers and 41 caliber 350 grainers.

With the painful expense of gun powder nowadays, the 338 Federal is looking even better.......

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If you get one, Midway has 210 Partitions 2nds right now for $55 per 100.


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Same difference in case capacity gets the 35 Whelen 150 fps, maybe 200 fps faster with most bullet weights vs a 358 win.

But as Mainer said, 308 based cartridges seem to kill all out of proportion to their recoil and the amount of powder they burn.

Does your suppressor limit you to .338?

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Originally Posted by TX35W
Same difference in case capacity gets the 35 Whelen 150 fps, maybe 200 fps faster with most bullet weights vs a 358 win.

But as Mainer said, 308 based cartridges seem to kill all out of proportion to their recoil and the amount of powder they burn.

Does your suppressor limit you to .338?

It doesn’t, only because I haven’t purchased it yet. That being said, there are a couple of 338 cans that would work for me (not Lapua sized), however there are very few .35 cal suppressors. For those, you need to go with one of the modular 46 cans, which I am not a fan of.

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Originally Posted by HandgunHTR
Originally Posted by TX35W
Same difference in case capacity gets the 35 Whelen 150 fps, maybe 200 fps faster with most bullet weights vs a 358 win.

But as Mainer said, 308 based cartridges seem to kill all out of proportion to their recoil and the amount of powder they burn.

Does your suppressor limit you to .338?

It doesn’t, only because I haven’t purchased it yet. That being said, there are a couple of 338 cans that would work for me (not Lapua sized), however there are very few .35 cal suppressors. For those, you need to go with one of the modular 46 cans, which I am not a fan of.

Which suppressors are you considering that will clear a .338 bullet but not a .358? I know there are a few 338 suppressors out there for the Lapua but they are all really heavy and long.

Anyway, just interested. I ended up getting my .358 suppressors custom built and I'm not sure that company even does that anymore.

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I have a 358 Win (700), 350 Rem Mag (700) and a 35 Whelen (700). I suspect that the comparison between the 358 and the other two would be similar to your 338 Federal and your 338 A-Square.
I like all three of my 35's. The short action limits cartridge length, that might be a consideration. My 358 is close to the same weight as the 35 and heavier than my 350 Remington 600 was and about the same weight as my 350 RM Classic. I don't mind heavy rifles at all, but that might be a consideration. If you're recoil shy that would be a consideration - I sold that 600 because it was getting hard on my arthritis, bursitis and old age.

I'd take any of the three of mine with appropriate bullets for moose. (I took a 338 Win Mag and 250 grain partitions with me when I went to Alberta a couple years ago.) The ~30-year-old guide thought I was "over-gunned".

I really like the 35's, but most writers seem to like the 338 versions better. So, I'd guess that either of your choices would be good. (I'd lean towards the 338-06, partly because I like long actions better.)


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Originally Posted by TX35W
Originally Posted by HandgunHTR
Originally Posted by TX35W
Same difference in case capacity gets the 35 Whelen 150 fps, maybe 200 fps faster with most bullet weights vs a 358 win.

But as Mainer said, 308 based cartridges seem to kill all out of proportion to their recoil and the amount of powder they burn.

Does your suppressor limit you to .338?

It doesn’t, only because I haven’t purchased it yet. That being said, there are a couple of 338 cans that would work for me (not Lapua sized), however there are very few .35 cal suppressors. For those, you need to go with one of the modular 46 cans, which I am not a fan of.

Which suppressors are you considering that will clear a .338 bullet but not a .358? I know there are a few 338 suppressors out there for the Lapua but they are all really heavy and long.

Anyway, just interested. I ended up getting my .358 suppressors custom built and I'm not sure that company even does that anymore.

I didn't mean to imply that a .35 cal suppressor couldn't be used for .338, it is just that there are .338 suppressors out there, but for .35 caliber rifles, you need to step up to one of the .46 cal modular suppressors that are made for rifles or pistols.
The suppressor that I am looking at is the Griffin Sportsman Ultra Light .338 (https://www.silencershop.com/griffin-sportsman-ultra-light-338.html).

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It's been hinted at,but there's simply no "comparison",as the short actions are devoid COAL latitude. Hint.

Opting long action and going 338-06,reaps a myriad of dividends,less any "concessions". Hint.

700's are obviously the superior path and .358's are hilariously fhuqked,from any/all angles. Bullets matter wayyyyyyyyyy more than headstamps ladies and COAL with RPM,simply connect dots,that you fhuqktards can't fathom. Read that again. Now one more time. Hint.

Pass the S/S 700 L/A 338-06 and 250 Skinner magfed Smooches at 3.635",for chasing lands in the OEM box. Hint.................


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