TTAG reader Accur81 put our female firearms expert to the test with the following:

I recently purchased a Savage 110 BA 338 Lapua with a 1:10 barrel twist. I currently have the stock 20 MOA base installed. I’m planning on purchasing a Viper Vortex PST 6-24x FFP or second focal plane scope or similar with US Optics 30 mm rings. What ammo would you suggest for informal 1000 yard target shooting? I am planning on purchasing the 300 grain BTHP Lapua round, but Midway USA just sold out. I’m also curious if the aforementioned round would be appropriate for long range (300-600 yard) elk hunting, or if the BTHP round would be too fragile to ensure adequate penetration depth.

Click here to read Ms. Weiss’ response in our Free Fire Zone forum.

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28 Responses to Ask Kirsten Weiss: What Ammo for “Informal” 1000-Yard Target Shooting/Elk Hunting?

  1. 2 points. 1. Hope the anti’s and panty wetters don’t see this photo of the evil sniper rifle posted overlooking the helpless city below. 2. There’s no such thing as informal 1000 yard shooting. that’s serious business at all times.

    • DiFi might just have a myocardial infarction if she saw that photo. BRB emailing it to her office now.

    • I currently live in that city (St. George, Utah) and the spot where that photo was taken has a fairly busy road that runs right below it. Even in a gun-friendly place like Utah, I imagine if the wrong person looks up and sees you it’s a good way to get a SWAT team called in on you.

  2. As a happy owner of a Savage 110ba sporting a nightforce scope, I cannot imagine humping that heavy mofo into the field. More power to you if you do it.

  3. I’m waiting to see if Robert posts her answer to his question about dating a non-gun type…

  4. I sold my lapua after picking up a 250ct box of matchkings for reloading. They sit there in the corner, mocking me as other bullets come and go. Too bad we’re in different states, or I might just give them to you. Not doing me much good with no gun.

  5. Ouch. Not a good headline for the ethical hunter types that enjoy this site.

    Also, the background for the photo should have eliminated that shot as material for publication.

    • The gun would actually serve as a backup for my father in law who has bad knees. I’m not sure how far he can hike through the woods with his 7mm mag, so the 338 would be sort of an over watch type hunting gun. The hunt is 6-18 months away (if ever) so we are in the equipment gathering stage prior to the testing stage. Unless we can’t get the 338 tested – then we’ll be looking at his 7mm mag and my Win 70 .30-06. As for me, I’m not sure if I’d hump that sucker through the woods very much.

      I would thoroughly test any system that I would use on a long range shot prior to hitting the woods, but I’m not sure how interested I currently am in ultra long range hunting, but a long shot might work for my father in law provided he has practice with the system and used me as a spotter. My plan was to incrementally sight in from 100 to 1000 yards in 100 yard increments with the 338 prior to attempting any shots beyond 400 yards. Long range target and silhouette shooting is definitely good times, though. Angeles Crest range in So Cal has a silhouette range out to 600 yards. My longest successful shot at a game animal was an 8 pt buck at about 320 yards with Hornady Light Mag 180 grain BTSP.

      But I’ve only shot a half dozen 338 rounds, with a NightForce scope, at close range at Rahuages, so I’m open to input.

      • +1 on the Angeles range. Gave my AR one hell of a workout there after I got it and had a blast! Haven’t been back in a while though cuz the wifey wont let me sell a kidney to buy ammo…

        They raffled off one of those rifles at my local LGS, would’ve entered but the cheesy NRA-branded knife they were including with each ticket didn’t really appeal to me. On top of the minor detail that I would have no clue where to go to hunt with the rifle…

    • Yep Proverb, thats why I mentioned the caveats. They’re just a few of the many things to consider when evaluating the ethics of long range hunting.
      Long range hunting, when the shooting skill is acquired, can be a good way to keep someone who is physically limited/handicapped (like a father-in-law with bad knees) in the hunting game. Long Range is a broad term, and I’ve heard guys use it even for 200 yards! But once you hit the 700yrd+ there’s a lot more to consider…

  6. I also had this question a few years ago when I purchased my Barrett MRAD chambered in 338 Lapua Magnum. Fortunately, the experts at SnipersHide have done extensive drills to determine the best 338LM round.

    • Thank you for that excellent read. The Berger 300 grain is looking like a great round – although I believe the Lapua load uses a different bullet.

      • You seem to still be having trouble finding ammo for your .338. Have you ever considered a different caliber? For the ranges you speak of, a lighter caliber like a 7mm will work with good bullets. Berger makes some nice hunting rounds, glad you found them. We’ll get your father-in-law hunting yet 🙂

  7. Berger makes target and hunting lines that are similar to the SMK bullets that are out of stock, however I wouldn’t suggest using any BTHP for hunting use. Barnes has developed a line of long range solid copper rounds known as LRX. There are two appropriate bullets for the .338 as you require.

    • That’s part of the problem – the Berger BTHP are allegedly decent hunting rounds, but Gunwerks is sold out of their 338 Lapua ammo. The beauty of the target ammo would be to use the same round for punching paper that I’d use hunting. Otherwise, I’d have to punch holes with hunting ammo. I’ve done that plenty of times before, its just a whole lot more expensive with 338.

      • Are you thinking about using target ammo for hunting? Am I understanding that right? You really want a bullet made specifically for hunting, to properly down an elk. Most target bullets may just punch a hole straight through the animal, and thats not good for anyone. You want a bullet that will travel the distance, but also mushroom at the right time, creating better wound cavity.

        • I guess I was hoping for what I consider to be a dual purpose BTHP like the Gunwerks ammo, which can be used for hunting. That round is rated at a G1 ballistic coefficient of .818, although I suspect the actual BC would be a bit lower. If Lapua made their 300 grain BTHP in the same manner, I think they would really have something. From what I’ve seen, the Lapua brass is the best.

          Otherwise, plan B may very well be the Gunwerks 7mm Mag ammo with the 168 grain pill at 3025 FPS, who Tyler Kee (I believe) shot with great success around 1000 yards. I know that gel isn’t everything, but it would be interesting to see 1000 yard gel shots to see actual penetration information regarding long range hunting rounds.

          Thanks for the info.

  8. Anyone who can’t get closer than 300 yards to an elk just doesn’t understand hunting. The whole point is to get close enough to an animal so that you can guarantee yourself a clean one-shot kill. Far too many “hunters” think that being able to brag about that “dark-side-of-the-moon” shot is something to be proud of. It is not. Far too many animals are wounded by such antics, only to crawl away and die a painful death out of sight or sound of the hunter. The meat is lost, the trophy is lost, and, if the shooter ever possessed any sense of ethics, such a pointless shot will have destroyed those as well.

    • Agreed. In my 25+ years hunting I’ve bagged game or came across game that were already injured from some jackarse trying to shoot it from great distances. I witnessed it as well once in Illinois where some group out around 1,000 hit a nice whitetail just 200 yards from us in it’s rear and the thing bucked off in great pain only to be bagged the next morning by someone in my party. They didn’t even stalk it down. They took their shot saw the hit and went in the other direction. Had they been closer I might have just took a shot back at them for endangering those in our party.

    • I understand what you’re saying, and by and large I agree with you. It seems to me that the hunt, first and foremost, should be about using your stalking skills to get close enough to make an accurate, ethical kill. On the other hand though, I can understand a hunter practicing long-range shooting so that if an animal is visible outside of normal stalking range he (or she, im not sexist) can confidently make that one shot kill. To be fair alot of bad shots take place at closer ranges as well due to inexperience, overconfidence, and human error. I do think that the potential for those errors increases with the range of the shot being taken. But who am I to judge what is sporting and ethical?

      • These are all points worth mentioning. I’ve also been seriously exploring the ethics of long range hunting. I’ve hunted game all my life, and part of the fun is getting really close to nature–even if its not hunting! I think theres this idea that long range will wound an animal, but close range won’t. What it really comes down to is the knowledge and skill of the shooter. I’ve seen guys shoot deer wherever they can at about 30 yards, just so they can follow the blood trail. UGH. The heart of the true hunter is to know when to shoot and when not to. To know his own limits, be honest with himself, and practice that discipline–even when staring at a trophy! The respect of the animal is #1. Some animals sense you even at 1500 yards and go berserk (wolves in particular) others might see you but if they do, aren’t as bothered (antelope, elk). Hands down its more fun to stalk the animal and try to get close, imo. That’s how I grew up. But to be fair, both forms of hunting can make a clean kill in the hands of a knowledgeable, skilled hunter/shooter.

  9. LOL 1,000 yard elk hunting? Why? If you have to take shots at an elk at those distances maybe you need a new hobby. I have done all kinds of hunting and have bagged a many different animals, elk being one of them. I downed a elk near carson national forest at 300 yards with a Ruger sporter in .45-70. I could have got closer but wanted to test my new 300 grain +p ammo. Half the fun of hunting elk and similar game is stalking them, getting as close as possible to them before detection. If you want to shoot something at 1,000 do like Kirsten and shot at paper.

  10. I have that scope, on a customized Rem 700 .308, and have a 100% hit rate on 18″ steel at 1066 yards with it, prone or from a tripod. Definitely get the FFP version. Having 1 mrad always be 1 mrad, regardless of zoom level, will help when trying to adjust for follow up shots.

    You might want to look into a 30 MOA base. The point of having a canted base is to give you more up elevation, at the cost of down adjustment. But you don’t need more than 1 mrad of down. Now shooting a .338 out to 1000 yards, you won’t need much elevation, but if you want to go loooong range later, pushing the .338 to its limits, you’ll be happy you can dial your elevation up.

    And speaking of cant, get a scope level or you’re not going to hit anything reliably at 1000 yards.

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