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Email blast from Wilson Combat (Remember: no one uses an “assault rifle” for hunting.)

When you need impressive power and range with the advantage of quick followup shots the .338 Federal in a Wilson Combat AR rifle is a potent choice. The .338 Federal from Wilson Combat is ideal for any medium-large game hunting in North America including trophy wild hogs, elk, moose and bear. Considered by some ballistic experts to be the ideal cartridge for North American big game . . .

the .338 Federal is also known for superb accuracy and stopping power in a controllable package. The .338 exhibits impressive downrange ballistics comparable to 7mm Magnum or .338 Winchester Magnum class cartridges with the added ability to fit in a lightweight short action semi-auto like our BILLet-AR rifles. The .338 Federal cartridge is based off the .308 Winchester and uses the same receivers, bolt and magazines as its parent cartridge without any loss in capacity.

These rifles utilize our lightweight, in-house machined BILLet-AR receivers and Wilson Combat Match grade barrels. This rifle is further enhanced with our renowned custom features like our button-rifled Match Grade barrels, T.R.I.M hand guard rail and crisp, reliable Tactical Trigger Units.

The rigid but lightweight BILLet-AR receiver with 14.7” barrel and pinned muzzle device of your choice is one of the handiest semi-auto big game rifles on the market. The .338 Federal is also offered in a medium profile 16” fluted and unfluted barrel versions.

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    • A larger (.338 caliber) bullet at higher muzzle velocity. They don’t compare, .338 Fed is an excellent and far superior round.

      • Could you please cite load data with higher muzzle velocities for .338F? From what I have found at Nosler’s, etc., .338F have no advantage at muzzle velocity at all.

        Of course, it leaves with more energy (heavier bullets), and since it is not exactly long range cartridge by design, lower BCs are not a problem.

  1. Agree…. but they gotta get paid for the well written and researched material they write.

    • The ad doesnt claim that the gun/cartridge can stop bears. The 14.7″ may only deliver a little over half of the round’s potential energy but the fireball will set the bear on fire at CQB range….. And isnt setting bears on fire what uber tactical bear hunting all about?….. Make sure to wear you knee and elbow pads.

      • I have a .338 Federal with a 15″ Encore handgun. You can load it so you don’t have a fireball, it is awesome on hogs! I think the AR platform would be awesome

    • The barrel lengths are definitely suboptimal for 308-based cartridges. Plus, it weighs 8 lbs clean, so it starts off heavier than a standard bolt action hunting rifle with a scope (and a longer barrel). And at $3k MSRP it’s priced to move…

      I’ve got no beef with folks who hunt with MSRs, but sometimes it seems like a square peg-round hole situation.

      • Yep. A bolt action rifle plus scope is going to be in the same weight class for half the money.

        I don’t know if Browning still makes their semi auto hunting rifle but that was one sweet package.

      • 14.7 is very short, but at .338 bullet diameter, a .308 class cartridge doesn’t need that much barrel.

        That being said, unless .338 Federal has gotten more popular recently, virtually all available bullets are tough and hard ones designed for Win Mag (And perhaps Lapua……….). Making reliable expansion a bit of a gamble even out of regular length barrels.

        • Doesn’t the .338 Fed have similar velocity to .338 Win Mag, like only 200-300 feeps slower at all distances?

        • Like Dyspeptic said. 400 slower. And being “The National Caliber of Alaska”, most available .338 Win Mag bullets aren’t exactly of the soft and fragile kind to begin with.

          The reason I have any clue at all about this rather exotic caliber, is that I once, visiting Alaska, asked a local guide what he though about me getting a Kimber Montana chambered in .338 Federal, as I’m no fan of Win Mag recoil and blast. To make it short, I was basically told to go back to the lower 48, and practice until I could handle a suitable rifle…… 🙂 Pretty much the same response I got when I suggested perhaps a Glock 10mm was a viable alternative to the giant, hard kicking magnum revolvers even 13 year old girls carry around up there 🙂

  2. Question: Does anyone make uppers for AR-10 style rifles in calibers other than .308, in the same manner that so many manufacturers make uppers for AR-15s in calibers other than 5.56?

      • …however, larger caliber “AR10” pattern rifles don’t have the same parts interchangeability that standard AR15 rifles boast. It was once boiled down into two categories (DPMS platform or Armalite platform) but that’s no longer so. The point is, you can’t always buy an AR10 upper and expect it to fit any old AR10 lower.

    • Sounds like any .308 upper will do, just add a .338 barrel. Starting to wonder about subsonic .338….

  3. 1. Why the hell would you do a 14″ or 16″ 338?
    2. Why the hell would you mount a scope that high on any rifle? I guess cheek weld doesn’t apply to operators.
    3. Why would you drop thousands of dollars on a high end 338 and put a Trijicon Accupower scope on it? (I have one. Your money is much better spent on a $300 Leupold.)
    4. The handguard profile doesn’t match the receiver profile.

    Wilson Combat needs to stick to 1911s.

      • Personally, I find this hard to believe. Your questions in the previous post seem to point to knowing very little or nothing at all about shooting, hunting, cartridge, or freedom of choice (which is just damned unAmerican). Neither Wilson Combat nor ATK Federal are designing for you so you’re inability to “cotton up” to the 338 or Wilson’s rifle mean very little. Actually, I think they’re designing things just for me??

        But whatevs. Troll on Bromandingo. Enjoy your life in the dark.

    • 1. Why the hell would you do a 14″ or 16″ 338?
      Why? Basically because a lot of folks have the ability to think for themselves and love the economy of doing more with less. A 338 in a 14″ or 16″ barrel will generate the same or more power than a 308W in with loads typical to 338 Fed. while generating recoil between 308 and 30’06. I’m guessing that a typical 338 200gr load is moving roughly 2500 fps out of a 16 inch barrel. Zero’ed 3 inches high at 100 yard puts you just 10 inches down at 300 yards while still generating roughly 1600 FPE at that distance. For deer, moose, etc. that’s point and shoot hunting. Damned fine ballistics. 338 performance suffers less in a short barrel due to its larger diameter which in turn gives you more barrel volume allowing for a more complete powder burn for equal lengths of barrel. The shorter bullet doesn’t seat as deeply giving its cartridge more powder space when shooting heavier bullets. All of those advantages contribute to the amazing efficiency of the 338 Fed. in a 14-16 inch barrel. Performance gain in a 24″ barrel in minimal. You’d only gain a little more than 100 fps. With the same load. Maybe I’m wrong about all that, but I’m pretty doggone close.

      2. Why the hell would you mount a scope that high on any rifle? I guess cheek weld doesn’t apply to operators.
      The scope mount looks about typical of any AR to me. Maybe a smidge higher. But lucky for you, I don’t think that scope or mount is included with the rifle at its meager $3000 asking price. You would be able to pick whatever you wanted. Maybe you have a little pin head and need a much lower mount. I don’t know. Either way, HOORAY! for living in the free world. Choices are awesome. You’d could even just duct tape a scope on there.

      3. Why would you drop thousands of dollars on a high end 338 and put a Trijicon Accupower scope on it? (I have one. Your money is much better spent on a $300 Leupold.)
      Why would you drop $3K on a rifle and but $300 glass on it. If you bought a Ferrari would you but a $300 set of tires on it? Would 87 octane be good enough? Would you stink up its stereo with a Bieber CD? If you spent money on glass that you don’t like, that sounds like a personal issue. Sell it and get yourself three or four low end Leupolds. I just want you to be happy with your scopes. Personally, I bought a Accupoints. Why? ‘Cuz nuclear is cool as a hell and I like nice things. The Accupower has no appeal to me. I think you wasted your money. I like my Leupy VXRs, too. But, hey man, glass is subjective. I like $89 Nikons when I can find them on sale. Good glass doesn’t have to be expensive, true, but maybe different eyes see things differently when peeping through a scope. I don’t understand the Analog vs Digital music argument. I’m no audiophile. My ears just don’t hear the difference. But my eye can see the differences in scope, so… there’s that.

      4. The hand guard profile doesn’t match the receiver profile.
      Which part? The rail is perfectly aligned. The full profile looks like it was designed for a forged upper. But it’s also designed to be really lightweight. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to match,. aww,.. Dang it! Now you’ve got me nit-picking meaningless points about this rifle.

      Wilson Combat needs to stick to 1911s
      What’s a 1911? My Glock can’t translate those numbers to anything meaningful. My Glock is perfect. It says so on its box. If it doesn’t’ understand, then I don’t either.

      My suggestion. Read up. It’s a big innarwebz out there. You can learn a lot. Also, start reloading. It’ll give you a new appreciation of cartridges other than those on shelf at WalMart. Also, have an open mind. Just because you hate something doesn’t mean it isn’t somebody else’s favorite. I learned that little life lesson working in a comic book store. Apply that to the firearms world and you can explain why High Point sales so many pistols.

      • >>I’m guessing that a typical 338 200gr load is moving roughly 2500 fps out of a 16 inch barrel

        Not 2500, I’m afraid. Relatively pressure-safe 200gr load with Varget leaves 24″ barrel at that velocity.

        • Yo, dawg. Its been documented that one can hit 2500 fps with 200 gr 338 fed loads. But forget that. See what the 200 gr federal fusion loads are clocking in some 16″ guns. Lots of 18″ guns are clocking the full advertised velocity. But,.. for your sake, lets say i’m wrong (and i’m not) and you could only squeeze 2400 fps from a 16 in barrel. The drop is so negligible that one is still hunting “point and shoot” style out to 300 yard. Power loss is less than 100 FPE. That in the 1500 FPE range at 300 yards. Which is still kinda boss. But,.. credit to the 308 Win it can move 180 gr JSPs between 2400-2500 fps from a 14″ barrel. Makes the same energy and ballistics.

          Like I said. Its a big internet. Read up. Compare data. Find the truth. Its out there.

  4. .338 federal is a cool round, certainly not in the magnum class, especially out of the short barrel.

  5. I get that a .338 makes more sense as far as bullet selection especially for reloaders but that rifle in .358 Winchester would be all kinds of cool.

    • Are there really that many bullets suitable for the lower velocities of .338 Fed available now? Win Mag and Lapua are much, much hotter rounds. The bullets made for those won’t necessarily fare too well at Federal velocities.

  6. A little short to talk about “impressive range”. Hell, just short.

    Punching minute-of-bear group from like 50 yards might be cool, though.

    • I doubt that one could obtain 2500 fps MV from this round in a 16″ barrel. Most load data I see for the .338 Federal shows a 24″ barrel, and only a few powders show 2500+ fps for the .338 Federal out of a 24″ tube.

      That said, the .338 Federal in a 24″ rifle is giving up very little vs. a .338 WM out of the same length barrel. My .338 WM with a 24″ barrel is shoving a 210gr Nosler Partition downrange at about 2900 to 2950 fps. In my experience, the 210gr Partition is a real game-killing bullet without lots of meat damage.

      For ranges up to 300 yards, I think that lots of people would be better served with a premium mid-30 caliber bullet, with a mass over 200 grains, launched at 2400+ fps rather than these lightspeed magnums with low-mass bullets. .338, .35/.358, 9.3mm – pick one and run with it in the cartridge of your choice: .338 Federal/.338-06, .358 Win/.35 Whelen, or one could become very classic and go with the one cartridge that started it all: the 9.3×62 Mauser.

      • After loving my .338WMs for so long, I started shooting my .338-06. Sold my magnums. I’d feel just fine hunting with the .338-06 anywhere on the continent.

        • Now you know why the saying among gunsmiths is: “You can’t go wrong recommending a .30-06.”

          If the customer finds it isn’t quite what they want, they can neck it up/down, stuff on a different bullet, and then be happy with the results – on the same action, with the same bolt face, the same magazine, etc.

  7. Or… I could buy a legit magnum… Like a ruger American magnum in .300 win mag, a scope and a nearly a lifetime supply of ammo for what they’re asking. If you want a short handy hog hammer get yourself a savage hog hunter .338 win mag for $500 (on paper the .338 win mag generates almost 33% more energy than the .338 federal)

  8. Why not an 18″ barrel? It’s a reach out potential round that’s been around a long time. Previous post mentioned .300 Win Mag,
    I’d be more inclined to drop that kind of $$$$ for that.

  9. Just what I needed — another caliber.

    And Will from Oregon is right about the .300 Win Mag, although the recoil can be tough. Then again, IMO if it can’t be done with a .30-06 Spr, maybe it doesn’t need to be done at all.

    • With the newest powders, the .30-06 is closing in quickly on the province of the .300 WM.

      At the rate we’re going, there’s little reason to bother looking beyond a .30-06 if one doesn’t have the time to do lots of ballistic research. Out to 300+ yards, it’s all the power you need in North America, especially with the latest premium bullets. If one wants to do it “just a little bit better,” then drop down to a 7mm pill, or up to a .338/.35 pill for the application at hand.

      • While the .30-06 is closing in on classic .300 Win Mag power levels, it’s fair to say the .300 Win mag has improved as well. I’ve got 3250 + FPS from my 26″ barrel stainless Winchester 70 .300 Win Mag with Hornady 165 grain GMX Full Boar standard pressure ammo. Underwood loads even hotter. It’s not hard or unsafe to get loads over 4,000 foot pounds with a 24-26″ barrel and the right loads.

  10. Please listen to a better class of “ballistic experts”. The 210 gr. .338 bullet has a poor BC and SD; the 175 gr. 7mm bullet has a great BC and SD. 7mm Rem Mag is a far better cartridge for anything beyond say 200 yards. And it’s a fine 1000 yard target cartridge. This thing– not so much.

    • This rifle, not so much. Bigger bores need longer barrels to allow slow-burning powders to keep the pressure on the bullet to achieve high(er) MV’s.

      The .338 bullet space has some excellent bullets, going head-to-head with or beating the best that the 0.284″/7mm bullet offerings have. You just have to go up to 250 to 300 grain pills in .338 to obtain these Bc’s. Berger’s 250gr .338 hunting bullet is on par with their 7mm hybrid VLD target bullet for Bc. The 300gr .338 beats anything under .30 cal with a G1 Bc of 0.800.

      That said, I think that the ultimate long-range AR might be realized if someone took the time to sort out the feeding of a .284 Winchester in an AR-10/etc type AR. The magazine might end up being the real nut to break on this cartridge, but if done so, you’d have 7mm RemMag ballistics in an AR.

      Still, the approval of the Bc of the .338 Federal must be taken in context: To shooters and manufactures who can’t seem to take the time to learn that there are better rifles out there than the AR, the ballistics of the .338 Federal look like a huge improvement over the miserable Bc’s, rainbow-like arcs and .22LR-like energy at long range of the .223. AR fans keep trying to make the AR into things it is not. It is as tho all creativity and originality has departed the minds of American gun designers, they’ve all become infected with a AR-700 venereal disease that attacks the brain, and they can’t seem to think up new rifles that depart from the AR or Rem700 action.

  11. This seems like a “because we can” rifle.

    If you are buying something in .338 you probably aren’t planning to clear rooms or fight from a vehicle, so why the short barrel.

    This seems like a range toy more than anything given the setup. Hey, some folks buy things simply to gain the attention of people around them.

    Me, I want a .338LM in a semi auto package that isn’t fragile, can hold 1 moa, comes in at 10 pounds or less and doesn’t cost $6k+. No it doesn’t need to look like an AR.

  12. The .338 Federal is a fantastic pig round. For that purpose, I’d rather see it integrally suppressed with 18″ of rifled barrel in a bolt action rifle. Which is why I’m currently building one.

  13. After read sometings on i would say it performance in relation 2 inches better as 308 in sbr”s so that an 8 inch 338 federal have the velocity as an 10 inch 308 sbr.

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