Should You Buy a .338 Lapua Rifle?

Should You Buy a .338 Lapua Rifle?

.338 Lapua cartridge

For better or worse, long range shooting is all the rage today. I find that there are several camps that exist in this particular division of the gun culture, and each has their own favorite cartridges and rifle types. Today we are going to be taking a look at what is perhaps the largest and most powerful commonly owned long range caliber, the .338 Lapua Magnum, and where it sits today.

The .338 Lapua Magnum was developed in the 1980’s as a dedicated round for military sniper rifles. The .338 Lapua rifle became something of an intermediary between the long-standing .308 Winchester and .50 BMG cartridges in widespread western service, but has now branched out worldwide to the militaries of over 30 countries. It outclasses most other long range rounds, including the fearsome 7.62x54R which, despite being a design dating back to the 1890’s, is a near omnipotent and overwhelming threat in modern warfare.

.338 Lapua rifles were purpose-built as sniper weapons in the early years of the cartridge. That has changed as the round has become more popular with civilians and as a result it has seen widespread production by companies like Remington, Savage, Ruger, Barrett, and others. Common bolt-actions include the Barrett MRAD, Savage 110, Ruger Precision Rifle, and Remington 700. Semi-automatic rifles are also available from Noreen, Alexander Arms, and DRD Tactical.

While these are not typically true military sniper rifles, they are generally quite accurate and affordable relative to their military brethren. The downside to many ‘military’ .338 Lapua rifles is that they are inordinately expensive for no other reason than, at least to me, to be discriminatory to the purchaser base.

The popularity of the cartridge in long ranges circles stems from its use as a military sniper round. As a result, it has developed a healthy cult following in many long-range circles and among competition types, but is banned from use in certain games. I suspect the reason for the bans are that the .338 Lapua, in a 300gr or larger load, produces an unfair ballistic advantage over other cartridges. Indeed, most gaming rounds like 6.5mm and 6mm Creedmoor are put to shame by the .338, but have advantages in terms of recoil and cost. A competitor with money to burn would outclass most others by using the .338 Lapua.

From a practical civilian perspective, the .338 Lapua makes little sense. It’s a very, very powerful round that is difficult to master, even in a quality bolt action rifle. I have had the privilege to fire a number of top-shelf .338 Lapua guns over the years and, while they were extraordinary in their own right, they were certainly not worth the base price of the rifle or the $5/round ammo cost considering the ranges most people shoot at.

It is my opinion that the .338 is expensive just because it can be and the idea that it’s pricier because it uses a non-standard action and bolt face is only an excuse in the age of advanced manufacturing.

I understand the fascination with the .338, but it’s a bit misplaced in my mind. There are a number of end users who have need for an accurate round that can deliver a 250-300gr bullet at a mile away, but they are few and far between.

The excessive cost of the .338 Lapua is the major issue. Even handloads are expensive for most shooters due to the fact that most loads use upwards of 100gr of powder, which is four times what’s used in most 5.56mm loads and over double a .308 Winchester. Bullets are expensive too, usually double the price of comparable .30 caliber options.

To compare it with another common cartridge, the .300 Win Mag, the .338 Lapua is still excessive. The .300 Win Mag can be handloaded with 220gr+ bullets that closely resemble the 300gr .338 Lapua, but at less than one third the price. The .300 Win Mag uses about 25% less powder and bullets that are about 50% less expensive to achieve a similar effective range and trajectory. Brass is also much cheaper for equal quality.

Should You Buy a .338 Lapua Rifle?

.338 Lapua 300gr SMK vs. .300 Win Mag 220gr SMK

The rush to long range rounds has created a false sense of what long range really is. Everyone loves to talk about the ballistic charts and the numbers surrounding their favorite round, but the reality is that most people will never make full use of the effective range of their 5.56 and 9mm, let alone 6.5 Creedmoor or .308 Win. I consider long range targets to be in the 800-1,200 yard range and long range hunting to be ethically limited to ranges inside 500 yards. A .338 is essentially overkill in terms of power and price for these ranges.

The average shooter in America will likely never be able to commit the time and resources to reliably or repeatedly hit their intended target at ranges past 500 yards. Pessimistic, I know, but it’s the truth based on my experience. The long range community is comprised of a dedicated few with dedicated equipment and even then, they typically lack the disposable income to fire cartridges that exceed $5 each. For the everyman, three rounds of .338 Lapua is more than the cost of a case of beer.

The trend to smallbore rounds like 6.5mm and 6mm has resulted in a decline in the overall popularity of the .338 Lapua due to the fact that the cost of punching paper is significantly less with the smaller bore and bullets. Match quality barrel life is similar to the 6mm and 6.5mm Creedmoor at 2,500-3,000 rounds, however I spoke to many good .338 shooters before writing this article and they claim their choice round has an accurate life that exceeds 7,000+ rounds.

I know one man who shoots matches weekly with two Sako TRG rifles, one in .338 Lapua and one in 6.5 Creedmoor. He claims he has had to re-barrel the 6.5 Creedmoor (formerly a .308 Win) yearly due to his round count, around 2,500 a year, but hasn’t had to touch the .338 in ten years of shooting.

He claims to be at the 6,500 round point and has yet to have an issue. His lifelong load for the .338 Lapua is the classic Sierra 300gr SMK in Lapua brass with 90gr of H1000 powder. He claims to fire about 50 rounds a month plus matches, which is significantly more than most shooters will ever fire through their own .338 Lapua. I don’t consider this typical, as most .338 shooters I spoke to don’t fire more than 100 rounds a year.

Should You Buy a .338 Lapua Rifle?

.338 300gr SMK and .30 caliber 225gr Hornady ELD

The truth about the .338 Lapua is muddy due to the fact that the most good, accurate guns are too expensive and most cheaper guns don’t justify the excessive cost of ammo given their accuracy potential. The .338 Lapua rifle is a status symbol for many and is usually a safe queen as a result. I have seen what it can do as compared to smaller calibers, but I fail to see what it does better for the price given that you could afford both a long range gaming caliber rifle like 6mm Creedmoor and a .300 Win Mag for hunting for substantially less cost than one .338 Lapua rifle.

All that said, if your heart desires a .338 Lapua rifle, by all means go out and get one. It’s your American right to choose, but be aware that it’s a high-cost, low-volume rifle/ammo combination that offers only marginal benefits to the average shooter.

comments

  1. avatar D says:

    338 LM rifles are mislabeled. They are not chambered for the 228 LM cartridge, they are chambered for $5 bills.

    In reality, 300 Norma Mag has replaced the 338LM for long range shooting.

  2. avatar Ruthless Objectivity says:

    I love my Savage 110 in .338. I can ring steel at 3200 meters, and I can outshoot 300 Norma, .50 bmg, and even the vaunted 6.5 Creedmoor all day. More importantly, I took an elk last month in Montana at 990 meters.

    That said, I practice a great deal, and I can afford to. Without practice, caliber is irrelevant.

    1. avatar S says:

      Savage 110, 338LM 3200 meters. I thought it was December, not April Fools day?

      1. avatar Ruthless Objectivity says:

        Luckily for me, your opinion does not change the facts of the situation.

        1. avatar Big Sky says:

          Not to pick only on you Ruthless, but hunting elk at 900m is not hunting. It is sniping. You might have been successful but there are plenty of wounded elk out there due to your fellow less skilled (or less lucky) snipers.

          That all said, I too took an elk in Montana with my .338. However I was in western Idaho when I took the shot.

        2. avatar JMR says:

          Awe man, I really didn’t want to defend Ruthless because of his 6.5 Creed comment which leave me puzzled.

          But, who made you king shit on what constitutes Hunting Big Sky?

        3. avatar Big Sky says:

          I did. And my friends in congress.

        4. avatar JMR says:

          People like you are no different from the Fudds who run around saying “oh you don’t need that type of weapon” you’re an anti hunter who still thinks he’s not, you are just as much an enemy to hunting as peta.

        5. avatar Big Sky says:

          Might want to look in a mirror JMR.

          “Hunting” at a thousand yards is not hunting. If you would rather divide and fall over that simple fact, then you, my friend, are the enemy.

          I never defined guns or gun ownership. Just pointed out that if you cannot see the game at the hunting distance, then you are not hunting. An elk at over half a mile is a brown speck with a white dot on its butt. But go ahead, burn down our 2A house. That’s what people like you do.

        6. avatar Mark Webb says:

          I took an 8×8 point elk in Colorado, this last October with a 338/378 Weatherby magnum, while I was sitting on my porch in Florida, shooting from a bench rest…..

        7. avatar LarryinTX says:

          A bench rest is cheating, you’re not a real man …

        8. avatar JMR says:

          No big sky you should take a look in the mirror, the only one here who has proclaimed what Hunting is and isn’t is you, i’ve Said no such thing.

          What I said is that you’re the type of person that has to be fought because you don’t like how someone else does something. You’re the type of person that things giving an inch will appease the other side, on the instances when you’re in the middle, and your the type of person that is in the other side in some instances.

          At this point you don’t even know what my opinion is of of long range hunting, you have assumed it.

          I imagine when you’re not on the Internet telling people what they’re doing is wrong, your sitting in you’re rocking chair in the front porch yelling at kids to get off of your lawn while they stroll down the sidewalk.

          You are an enemy of freedom.

        9. avatar Big Bill says:

          I would say this escalated quickly, but the fact is, it devolved.
          Fudds calling other fudds fudds.
          Hey, I once shot a white tail fawn (they’re smaller) from over 450 yards (um, I mean meters, I think) from here in Phoenix. With my Ruger 10/22, with iron sights. Using Winchester white box ammo. In the rain. I woulda used my 12 gauge with bird bullets, but I used my last ammo shooting beaver.
          And anyone who says I didn’t, isn’t a real hunter.

        10. avatar Josh Wayner says:

          Big Sky is right. It is not truly in the spirit if hunting if the game in question cannot be aware of the hunter or mount an escape in the way of fair chase. Long range hunting is categorically immoral and is not praiseworthy. All it shows is that the individual in question is by definition a sociopath who has no degree of concern for the living thing being shot at. We as hunters have nothing to do with the 2A, as it is not about hunting in a basic sense. As far as being an enemy of freedom, the right to bear arms is an individual basic right to prevent tyranny, where hunting is a privilege wherein game is strictly regulated by the state as a natural resource, so Big Sky is no foe in any sense. A long range shot is not skill based, but rather based on a set of predictive elements that are at best close guesses as far as trajectory and terminal performance are concerned. In short, a simple error in wind estimation at 900m is the difference between a heart shot and a gut shot. We are morally obligated as hunters to give the game a quick and merciful death, with anything else constituting moral bankruptcy. There is absolutely nothing admirable or courageous about long range killing and it is corrosive to the spirit of the hunt, which is not at all about the distance at which an animal is killed, but rather the surety of the hunter to make a patient shot.

      2. avatar George from Alaska says:

        I guess if it was a bit bigger than a man sized target then it would be possible. Big piece of steel, good scope but most of all a good trigger finger. I don’t have more than 330 yards to practice at but with my Savage 110 338LM I can consistently break 4″ clays all day.. 3″ clays about every other time but when I miss its just barely, so I’m an average moa shooter. I don’t see why I couldn’t shoot much further, maybe without wind… I haven’t got that down at extreme distances. I shoot with a suppressor and it makes it feel like shooting a 7.62 NATO.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Your suppressor reduces recoil?

    2. avatar D says:

      Sorry, I guess if you were aiming for a bus at 3200 meters, a factory Savage 110 would be fine

    3. avatar Kendahl says:

      The issue isn’t the maximum distance at which you can reliably make the shot. It’s whether the animal can move far enough during the flight time of the bullet to turn a shot that would kill quickly into one that causes a protracted, agonizing death.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Interesting point. If the bullet’s average velocity along the entire 990 meter path was 2,400 fps (which is probably optimistic), it would take that bullet about 1.4 seconds to hit the target. Unless something spooked the animal, I don’t think it would move very far in 1.4 seconds if it was grazing.

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Not more than 2 or 3 feet…

      2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        Also, the wind can be quite variable over the course of 1082 yards (990 meters). You can have a 10mph crosswind from left to right at your location and a 12mph crosswind from right to left at the elk’s. And you’ve got the basic problem with standard deviation. Is this bullet coming out of the barrel at 2700fps or 2680? Or 2720? And is this shot at a downward angle of 8 degrees or 10? And am I shooting to the east or west, because the rotation of the earth will make the bullet (in effect) rise if I’m shooting to the east and fall to the west (or did I get that backwards?). Every 3.28 feet (meter) farther you go the variables compound. 1000 yard shots are rarely made on the first shot in the field.

    4. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      What Ruthless Objectivity failed to mention about his ability to ring steel targets at 3,200 meters is that his steel targets are 16 feet in diameter!

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        And by ‘ring’ he didn’t mean to ring the steel like a bell but rather to place his shots all around the steel to form a ring around it.

    5. avatar TheBroke1 says:

      JMR<
      Well said in reply to not so big in Big Sky, I appreciated your truth in this sportsmen are sportsmen and until we can all embrace the fact we all have to stand together as one, will we continue to divide ourselves until we fall. Common sense isn’t so common in this day and age.

    6. avatar possum says:

      3200 meters is a long way to drag an Elk back to the Ford pickmup.

  3. avatar LarryinTX says:

    I definitely should have a .338 Lapua, but I need that 3200 yard range first. Pretty sure I could afford one of them, but it would not be the range.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      3200 *meters*? Even worse. And I also need EDIT!!

  4. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Should you buy a .338LM?

    Sure. The more the merrier.

    I still think the CheyTac rounds, tho, adapt better to more actions. Once you’re into a .338LM, your options in rifle actions narrows considerably.

  5. avatar Hellguard says:

    Rounds like .338 LM are a Jump the Shark moment for most shooters. At the point you could buy a good 338 is the same point you could buy an accurate entry level 50bmg. And who doesn’t want a 50? Alternatives to the 338 are quickly becoming apparent to the 2k+ yard shooter like the 300 Norma mag, 300 PRC and 30 Nosler 2here the projectiles are as good if not better than their 8mm cousins, and cost slightly less.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Hellguard,

      I think the primary utility of anything beyond .300 Win. Mag. is being able to stop trucks, airplanes, and helicopters. And at that point, I imagine .338 Lapua Magnum is a bit light for taking down airplanes and helicopters. And since there is marginal cost difference if you step up to .50 BMG, you might as well step up to .50 BMG and know that you have a platform that will bring down an airplane or helicopter.

      Of course my comments above only apply to a wartime scenario. So the utility question really becomes, “Do I expect a wartime scenario on U.S. soil?” That is an entirely different can of worms.

      (Disclaimer: please do not construe my comments here to suggest that I am discouraging anyone from purchasing a rifle in .338 Lapua Magnum for any and every reason. I am simply speaking to the utility of a rifle in .338 Lapua Magnum.)

      1. avatar arc says:

        Essentially why I purchased a fairly high quality .50BMG rifle. I do expect a wartime scenario on US soil in my life time and wanted a rifle that can stop armored vehicles and perform well with anti-material work.

        Unfortunately, I didn’t stock up nearly as much as I should have on ammo when the prices were down a few years ago. Prices look like they have increased. used to be around $2.50 for cheap stuff, now its $2.90-3.40 for lower end of bulk ammo.

  6. avatar RCC says:

    The only times I’ve used .338Lap was at a range that stopped at 800 metres. Ringing 12” steel was easy at that range. Even better as several manufacturers were trying to sell their “sniper systems” to organisation I used to be with the ammunition was free.

    Fun to shoot occasionally but too dear and too big for regular use.

  7. How is it possible that the long-range accuracy of
    the .338 Lapua is better than the .50 BMG?

    1. avatar Geoff "You'll shoot your eye out, kid!" PR says:

      “How is it possible that the long-range accuracy of
      the .338 Lapua is better than the .50 BMG?”

      Better BC than the .50 BMG, perhaps?

      (Long and thin, slides right in ;)…)

      1. avatar Mark Webb says:

        Hornaday .50 750 gr A-MAX® BC of 1.050

        Nosler .338 300 gr HPBT BC of .80

        Clearly the BC of the “fifty” is much better……

        1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          There’s a little footnote that should be used when comparing G1 Bc’s, however:

          The G1 form function isn’t valid when looking the new VLD bullets. It is more appropriate to compare G7 Bc’s, because the G7 form function is based on what these modern bullets look like: boattail bases, long ogives, sharp points. The G1 form function is for older, flat-based spitzer bullets, with a much blunter point on the front.

    2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      The .338 bullets available have higher Bc’s. A higher Bc pill gets pushed around less by the wind, and retains more velocity to the target.

      When looking at long-range shooting, my advice has always been: “Pick the best bullet you can launch first, then let’s worry about what cartridge you use to launch it.”

      There are 300 grain bullets in .338 that have very, very nice Bc’s.

      The only way you’re going to achieve better Bc’s in the .50 is to increase bullet weight to probably over 800 grains…

      1. avatar Mark Webb says:

        You sir, are wrong.

        1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          Were you going to give any evidence of same, or just give a proof by assertion?

  8. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    ‘For the everyman, three rounds of .338 Lapua is more than the cost of a case of beer.’ – As much as I love to shoot, there’s no way I’m letting it cut into my beer budget. That’s where I draw the line.

    The reason a .338 Lapua bar rel might last longer than a Creepmoor is that you’re more likely to put rounds through in fairly rapid succession with the Creepmoor giving it less time to cool and that leads to throat erosion.

    1. avatar Kevin says:

      “As much as I love to shoot, there’s no way I’m letting it cut into my beer budget. That’s where I draw the line.”

      Now THERE’S a man with his priorities in order. Bravo!

      1. avatar Guitarcia says:

        Here here!

      2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        I’m not an alcoholic, but I am addicted to beer.

        1. avatar Rick Hess says:

          While Ben Franklin really did not say “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”, he should have. 8>)

  9. avatar tdiinva says:

    Josh is one of the reasons that I still visit the site.

    My 300 winmag is a safe queen because it doesn’t do anything for me that a 30-06 can’t do. I can’t see owning a 338 LM or anything Creedmore.

  10. avatar MB says:

    No .338 Lapua for me, not at $5.00 a shot. 7.62x54R at 20 cent’s a round works for 99.9% of anything under 900 yards, and under 150 yards a .17 HMR is pretty devastating.

  11. avatar George from Alaska says:

    Thanks but this is a useless argument starting statement and followup discussion by you. I’ll buy and shoot whatever the heck I want because I can. I’m not a sniper or a wannabe Seal Team 6 member but I do hunt and like to shoot a lot of different guns. I’m probably going to get another useless Pre 86 keeper machine gun and a Barrett 50 with next years tax refund check, I’m writing off home damage not covered by insurance over the next few years and get all my Federal tax paid back for now).
    Just because I can.
    Lets get back to fighting the enemy and the possible upcoming bump-stock ban which could lead to a ban on binary triggers, competition triggers and eventually dangerous and ugly looking semi-automatic guns like my Ruger 10-22.
    Get f’ing real with your posts, especially at this point in time… we don’t need anymore “Is the .45 dead” or “9mm vs .40 – the story the FBI doesn’t want you to know” articles… Do your job, get everyone on board against “them” for now and you can play stir up shit later…
    I’m rapidly tiring of these articles.

  12. avatar New Continental Army says:

    “including the fearsome 7.62x54R which, despite being a design dating back to the 1890’s, is a near omnipotent and overwhelming threat in modern warfare.”

    Hahaha. Please tell me I’m not the only one who gets this statement.

    1. avatar MB says:

      What wrong with 54R? I wouldn’t want to be in range of that, would you? Will take down any creature in North America , 4 or 2 leg variety. New is not necessarily better. Russian military still using it.

      1. avatar New Continental Army says:

        Nothing wrong with it at all. It’s a great round. What I was referring to was the perception it has created in western military’s minds, since Afghanistan. The whole military desire for “overmatch”.

  13. avatar Southern Cross says:

    Me personally, no. Many local ranges don’t allow them as it either exceeds their bore size limit in their license or the range operators will ban it specifically by name.

    But 30-cals, including Winchester and Norma magnums, are considered fine and can be used anywhere.

  14. avatar Junior says:

    A couple of years ago I was at Bass Pro gun counter and a young couple was talking to the guy behind the counter. The wife was probably raised hunting and the man not. He was looking for his first rifle, more or less a do all rifle. Might do a little deer hunting down the road. The gun the salesman recommended was a 338 Lapua. He said ammo is a little expensive, but if you start reloading, its not too bad. I just shook my head and left.

  15. avatar Seizure doc says:

    You never know when the civil war will start. Can we depend on 6.5 Creedmoor to win it for us ?

    1. avatar 22winmag says:

      Successful insurgencies still depend on rusty old bolt action rifles firing obsolete cartridges, so… no.

    2. avatar Mad Max says:

      If you want to win that civil war, let out enemies have the 5.56mm NATO and we’ll use the old 30-06 Springfield for the win.

      1. avatar neiowa says:

        You pickup all the dropped .06 ammo you can find and I’m sure I can pick up all the 5.56 I need.

        Lets both hope we’re not coming across 5.8x42mm.

  16. avatar gary moore says:

    Had the SAKO TRG in 338, Rock chucks & Coyotes, and dinner plates. Loaned it to my son, I think he thinks I gave it to him. The TRG is AWESOME, but to shoot it you MUST reload. At this point I don’t really care if I get it back, been over 75 years, and it is way to heavy !!

  17. avatar anonymoose says:

    I was talking to a friend of mine last night who asked me if he should ditch his Rem 700 in .300 WinMag for a .338 Lapua for hunting elk. Short answer, no. Long answer, NOOOOOO!

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      I can’t see why anyone would bother hauling a .338 Lapua into the field for hunting, when a .338 WinMag will reliably take down anything in North America. I mean, if you want to, go ahead, but by the end of a hunting trip, you’ll probably be wishing for something lighter to pack around. Somewhere over 10lbs, rifles become very, very heavy by the end of the day…

  18. avatar Mister Furious says:

    I have a Remington 700LSS in 338 RUM that’ll do anything the Lapua will do and it only cost me $675. I got 5 boxes of ammo for $100 at a gun show, and my hand loads group at less than “.75. I’ll stick with that.

  19. avatar 22winmag says:

    Try .325WSM if you already have enough long-action dinosaurs in your arsenal.

  20. avatar Florian Geyer says:

    Will .338 LM that is commercially available to civilians be able to defeat level IV body armor or intercepter vests? If not, what will besides 50 bmg?

    .338 doesn’t make much sense as a long range competition or hunting cartridge, but in a post-rule of law situation, being able to stop cars or armored attackers and still be man-portable would be an asset.

  21. avatar Wild Bill says:

    If you can afford one get one and learn to reload. I enjoy shooting my Savage Stealth. The 338 gets people’s attention at the range since you don’t see them every day. But I don’t shoot it a lot when I do. It does have a hefty muzzle blast from the brake and nice recoil but it does wear on me. After about 10-15 shots or so I am done. At that point I am ready to shoot my 6.5 Creedmoor or something else not so over the top. But it is a great caliber for those who don’t want or have to place to shoot a 50 BMG since some ranges don’t allow the big 50.

  22. avatar jbob says:

    Best discussion on TTAG ever.

  23. avatar Joe says:

    What a pity party. I thought this would be discussing details of the .338 Lapua, not 15 out of 17 paragraphs whining that “it sucks cause it’s so expensive!!”

  24. avatar possum says:

    No 338 lapew for me, my 06 does everything I need done. more guns is always good if you can afford them. I’m kinda spending most of my ” gun money” on ammunition at this time.

  25. avatar GS650G says:

    I don’t hunt terrorists half a mile away with Uncle Sam buying the equipment so no on .338 Lapua for me.
    My lowly .308 Savage Axis is good enough for hunting and target shooting and it was less than 5 bills.

  26. avatar Michael Bane says:

    I thought this was a really goid article, and I liked the discussion.

    I love long-range shooting, and I have guns dedicated specifically to that, but damn, even in Colorado it’s not the easiest thing to do. The clubs to which I belong are maxed out at 300 yards…the longer ranges are up in Wyoming or more than 2 hours from me. No complaining…just the truth. I ‘m repurposing an old .22LR bolt action for NRL competition…that 2 1/2 inch steel at 100 yards is a challenging shot (.22s in the wind is a laugh riot).

    Hunting, we made the decision to cap the distances on the shows I produce at 500 yards, and we have gone to some lengths (working with the great instructors at FTW Ranch in Texas) to show what is necessary for first shot kills when the distances get pushed out. Nothing against long range hunting, but we think it’s important that the hunter HONESTLY understands his or her limitations. Oddly, the better I have gotten at long distance shooting, the less interested I am in long distance hunting…have hone back to handguns and lever action rifles. Go figure…

    Michael B

    1. avatar Josh Wayner says:

      Contact TTAG’s email address and tell Dan to forward my contact information to you. I believe I am the only mainstream journalist talking about (and against) the unethical drive to long range hunting and would be happy to share my experience and insight with your audience.

  27. avatar jwm says:

    The .50 bmg is illegal here in CA. Our deer are runts. Our ranges are mostly under 300 yards. I personally see no need for anything heavier than a .308, .30-06 if you don’t travel for your hunting.

    But, you do you. I don’t tell folks what is right for them.

  28. avatar bontai joe says:

    I liver in the Poconos so 200 yards is very long range for me. I fully understand the “legend” aspect of the .338 Lapua as a military round. And I understand the bigger is better mindset of some shooters, and that is all good if that is what makes you happy. For me personally, all my hunting needs are met with my lowly 30-30 or 44 magnum lever guns in the rack. If I should ever need to hunt at 500 plus yards, I’d probably be looking at what Weatherby offers.

  29. avatar Anonymous says:

    Nope! You should buy a 50BMG.

  30. avatar Silentbrick says:

    I don’t need such a rifle. If I need to kill something that far away, it’s time for artillery or buying a Ma Deuce

  31. avatar Tom Jacobs says:

    I figure 3200 meters is around 2 miles as the crow flies. Personally, beyond 2500 meters I favor the 81 mm mortar with 6 charge. It’s a bigger upfront cost but, overall I save on $5 per round 100 round practice sessions not to mention the Swarovski scope and sundry accessories. Gives me a little more flexibility, range and radius. Windage is less of a problem too. It also makes packing out the elk a whole lot easier than having to quarter it when I find the downed animal(s). Nitrile gloves (I’m allergic to latex) zip-loc bags and Kool-pacs make for an easy trek.
    I use a similar technique when fishing. Grenades save me money on worms and tackle. All I need is a boat, net and a cooler. I guess being lazy is its own reward! But hey, it’s all about the meat

  32. avatar Mike Coglione says:

    338 Lapua is totally useless for most shooters, I know and found out just how by owning one! I love how the author mentioned that most of us aren’t coming even close to maxing out 556 or 9mm. The truth is that the majority of shooters are restrained to either 25 yard commercial indoor ranges or max 2-300 yard outdoor ranges at their rod and gun club with the lucky ones having access to 500 yard outdoor range. Never mind this silly 6.5 fad lately, even 556 or at most cheap milsurp 7.62 NATO does just fine within those limits if you’re ever lucky to shoot that far!

    Worst gun money I ever spent was a Savage 110BA in this silly caliber when a friend bought a large plot of land that eventually ended up falling through. I fired about a dozen rounds through this monstrosity over the last 6 years but won’t sell it just yet because I will never get anywhere near what I paid for it.

    The trigger is so soft you never know when it’s going to go off which makes it terrifying because when it goes bang it feels like I got hit with a grenade between the fierce and sharp recoil as well as the offensive muzzle blast, even with double ear protection. The gun is so damn heavy the only thing it’s good for is bench rest shooting. This makes it scary to imagine how painful or hard a more “normal” or portable 338 that doesn’t weigh 20lbs that you could use for hunting or more realistic shooting scenarios instead of being a prisoner of the bench would kick. The ammo indeed is obscenely expensive as well and it’s not really any more accurate than a halfway decent 556 at 200yd or less. Honestly how many times have you even had to dope for windage at the 200yd rifle range at your rod and gun club with your 556 or even pistol caliber carbines?

    I have enjoyed on some level almost all the guns I have shot in my life: not the 338 Lapua. I don’t recommend it unless you have access to this ultra long range stuff and the preparation, study, expense, dedication is so focused and singular on just one thing that is so not applicable to anything real world or practical it takes a very particular owner. I want to keep it as flattering as possible and am readily willing to admit my own deficiency of intellect ailing me when I had the hairbrained idea to buy one but 338 fever reeks of a deadly combination of too much money and too much time meeting insufficient brains.

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