.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!

.500 S&W vs. the King of the Beasts

.500 S&W vs. the King of the Beasts

Smith & Wesson's Tony Miele and host Kevin Steele track an African lion across the Kalahari for the ultimate handgun showdown with the King of the Beasts.

Is That a Grizzly Bear?

Is That a Grizzly Bear?

Kevin Steele and Jason Morton are above the Arctic Circle pursuing grizzly bears in Alaska and put a stalk on what they believe is a good one.

Cheeseburger Poppers

Cheeseburger Poppers

David Draper shares his recipe for making delicious cheeseburger poppers with wild game in this edition of "Fare Game."

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

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

Salty capers add a burst of flavor to the sauce, which pairs beautifully with the grilled venison loin in this recipe. Recipes

Grilled Venison Loin with Caper-Mustard Sauce Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Salty capers add a burst of flavor to the sauce, which pairs beautifully with the grilled...

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...

These are our favorite new products of the year for the archery crowd. Bowhunting

Best New Bowhunting Gear for 2020

Petersen's Hunting Editors - May 21, 2020

These are our favorite new products of the year for the archery crowd.

See More Trending Articles

More Ammo

With new loads like Federal Premium's Heavyweight TSS in #9 shot, the right .410 shotgun can Ammo

Old School .410 Bore Shotgun Offers New Spring Turkey Hunting Options

PH Online Editors - February 21, 2018

With new loads like Federal Premium's Heavyweight TSS in #9 shot, the right .410 shotgun can

We have had many new cartridge designs in the last three decades, from the revival if the .416-inch Ammo

4 Lost Classic Hunting Rifle Cartridges

Phil Massaro

We have had many new cartridge designs in the last three decades, from the revival if the...

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!

With the Federal FireStick and NitroFire from Traditions, muzzleloading is now more accessible. SHOT Show

Federal & Traditions Team Up to Make Muzzleloading Easy

David Draper - January 20, 2020

With the Federal FireStick and NitroFire from Traditions, muzzleloading is now more accessible.

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.

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