March 2004

Two .338 Winchester Magnums Vs. Remington’s .338 Ultra Mag

Who brings home the backstrap in this competition of booming bolt actions? We find merit in all three, but prefer the Ruger.

There are many good arguments that can be made that .30-caliber rifles, no matter their intensity, are not as good for general hunting as a larger-bore rifle. The grand old master of firearms, Elmer Keith, thought that a rifle of .338 caliber would be far better than any .30 as an all-around rifle for most North American hunting. The grand old .318 Westley Richards, which threw a 250-grain bullet of .330-inch diameter at 2400 fps, won a reputation second only to the .375 H&H Magnum as one of the finest all-around cartridges for Africa’s medium game. This cartridge was very similar to Keith’s .333 OKH and to the .338-06. Clearly Keith was right on track.

The .338-caliber cartridges are one “notch” above the .30s (avoiding the 8mms). There are many fine bullets available in that caliber for reloaders, and in loaded ammunition as well. The generally available calibers are the .338 Winchester Magnum, the .340 Weatherby, and the new Remington .338 Ultra Mag. There are other .338 cartridges, one of the best being the .338-06, but no major factory has yet adopted that cartridge, despite many rumors. Wildcatters offer various other .338s, but none of them are on your dealer’s shelves.

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