After a long day of trying to get product questions answered by the Maria Callas and Enrico Caruso contingencies within manufacturers’ organizations, I thought I would sit back for a moment and enjoy the influences of my newest mix of heart medication and adjust to a healthier perspective. Ah yes, there we are… Calm on the outside, Yosemite Sam on the inside.
I’ve been shooting the 338-378 Weatherby Magnum since 1999, of course with appropriate breaks for meals and the rest of of life’s activities, and building 338 Remington Ultra Mag long range chassis rifles for the past five or six years. They are cartridges with lots of long range potential and both are larger and more powerful than the 338 Lapua Magnum. That said, the Lapua is a cartridge embraced by the military and law enforcement around the world and it is chambered in firearms from numerous manufacturers. Subsequently, I suspect ammunition development and availability will be on the rise in the foreseeable future and the price of ammunition will decline as supply continues to grow.
Hornady priced their Lapua ammunition at $85/20, compared to the Lapua price of $125/20. Federal has introduced their American Eagle brand 250 grain ammo at $52/20, so the trend is apparent. Then there is the potential of handloading with lots of components available for many applications, including eighty one bullet choices for hunting a precision long range target shooting.
Easy round to handload
The following represents four different handloads with typical bullet weights for hunting applications and none are for hunting dense woodland… Maine. My first thought… that would be the uninformed thought, was that the 215 grain would be to fragile. The bullet was designed for 338 Winchester Magnum and 340 Weatherby Mag class cartridge and it is too stout for cartridges such as the 338-06, 338 Federal for proper expansion. So when handloading, it would be good to keep in mind a 3000 fps to 3100 fps muzzle velocity and avoid earth scorchers . Sierra classifies the bullet for use on deer to elk size game. If I were loading this lighter weight and pushing the Lapua limits, I would probably go with a Nosler Partition or Swift A Frame at 225 grains.
The Sierra GameKing 250 grain is a tough bullet, intended for heavier 338 caliber cartridges beyond the 338 Winchester. It is made with a very heavy jacket and hard lead core. Sierra recommends its use on everything from Alaskan moose and brown bear to African plains game.
The Swift A Frame 275 grain protected point bullet is in the same class as the Sierra 250, but a tougher yet and two piece core construction to assure deep penetration on basically anything.
The Nosler 300 grain AccuBond is a long range heavy hitter. With its 0.720 ballistic coefficient and very heavy base jacket, it expands fully, hangs together and penetrates deep. If they would just change the color of the tip to make it easier to photograph. It’s all about ME.
|Warning: Bullet selections are specific, and loads are not valid with substitutions of different bullets of the same weight. Variations in bullet length will alter net case capacity, pressure and velocity. Primer selection is specific and primer types are not interchangeable. These are maximum loads in my firearms and may easily be excessive in others. All loads should be reduced by 5%, and developed following safe handloading practices as represented in established reloading manuals produced by component manufacturers. Presentation of these loads does not constitute a solicitation for their use, nor a recommendation.
The decision was made to shoot groups at 200 yards as 100 yards just seemed silly. I would have rather shot at 1000 yards or so, but I don’t think the folks in New Hampshire would appreciate the incoming. Anyway, more than 200 yards would have forced me to bring out the clearing saw, which often leads to too much saw fun and running out of daylight before getting off a shot.
The Remington Model 700 Police MLR 338 LM kind of reminds me of my 300 Remington Ultra Mag Sendero II, right down to the palm swells, big boom and the feeling I could hit anything that was the point of aim. The 700P has better manners. Could be the cartridge or the brake, but it is a relatively easy big gun to shoot. I have no sniper training, so I could not properly evaluate the Model 700P and its features within that very complex context.
For me, hunting and recreational long range shooting, I might also look at the Model XCR Tactical, stainless under TriNyte, fluted barrel and Bell & Carlson composite/aluminum frame stock and a little softer price tag. I have not shot one along side the Model 700P, but that would be necessary before making a decision. Very nice rifle and, based on the rifle’s performance, I will stop making fun of people who need to over enunciate the name Lapua.