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Author Topic: I like big guns...and I cannot lie  (Read 3436 times)

Offline luvmystang67

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I like big guns...and I cannot lie
« on: February 20, 2024, 01:15:53 PM »
Okay, so here's something I've been thinking about lately, and there's no real reason, just theoretical conversation.  The crux of my question is: If I shoot the same grain bullet through a 338 Lapua versus a 375 H&H, and it hits at the same velocity, am I going to see a difference in "killing power" on an animal?

I've got a .375H&H, which is fun.  I can shoot a 270 grain bullet at ~2730 fps and get about .30-06 trajectory with one heavy bullet.  I've been working on loads for this gun, and its pretty fun.  If I put a 300 grain bullet in there, we're looking at more like 2500 fps.  I'd like to feel like I could kill an elk at 500 yards with it, mostly because if I can't do that, I'll always take my 300WM instead.  We can beat back and forth whether I should do this, but I don't really care too much about your opinion on that front.

Now, I've always wanted a big 338 for longer range shooting.  For some reason, not necessarily logical, since I first read about 338 Lapua, I've wanted one.  So, when I start looking at 338 rounds for a 338 lapua, I see what I can launch the same weight projectile as my 375 H&H, just as fast, with better downrange ballistics.

If I hit, say an elk, or a moose, or heck, a grizz at say 200 yards or even 300 or 400 yards with the same weight and same speed 338LM vs the 375H&H will there be any difference?  Is there a scenario where the 375 is better, beyond 100 yards?  I know this is a debate with little proof, but I'm curious to hear opinions.  The sectional density is better on the Lapua, but certainly a bigger hole makes some statement.

Offline callturner

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Re: I like big guns...and I cannot lie
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2024, 01:40:21 PM »
Well you're gonna get a lot of answers here probably. I've shot A338 win for about 40 years. I built a custom 338 lapua and it was a fine rifle I started out with a stiller action, A Ron Smith barrel, gain twist of course. I believe it was 11 to 22 custom built for the bullet that I like to shoot which was a 250 grain Sierra game king. I had it all custom and laid into a Tom Manners stock. I ended up selling it to put a roof on my house after I became disabled or so they say I had terminal cancer that turned out not to be terminal. Do I miss it not really. It was a fun toy but I still have two 338 win mags and they do everything I need them to.

Online Karl Blanchard

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Re: I like big guns...and I cannot lie
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2024, 01:47:47 PM »
The only thing that matters in terms of bullet performance is impact velocity. Full stop. If I was a betting man I'd wager that there is no measurable difference between the same bullet and weight in 338 vs 375. Energy has no bearing on bullet expansion, only velocity. So the 270gr bullet going faster out of the 338 going 200fps faster is going to have a higher impact velocity which will upset the bullet more "violently" creating a larger wound channel.
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Re: I like big guns...and I cannot lie
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2024, 01:48:30 PM »
The 375 sure is fun to shoot though :chuckle:
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Offline Taco280AI

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Re: I like big guns...and I cannot lie
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2024, 03:13:26 PM »
Really been thinking about the 338 RPM. Would be nice for AK moose next year, or Idaho elk.

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Re: I like big guns...and I cannot lie
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2024, 03:20:42 PM »
I'm not sure your getting the same velocities out of those two cartridges if you are maximizing the load.  I'm getting over 200 fps faster out of my 338 lapua with a 260 grain bullet.  That said, we are talking nominal differences when your are talking that heavy of a bullet.  I would look at impact velocities at range and compare the two to see which one has more horsepower at the range you want to effectively kill at.  I can tell you my lapua will kill out to 850 yards based on the speed my bullet needs to perform.   I prefer to not hunt much beyond 600 and it still has 2121 fps and 2598 ft lbs of energy. 

Bullets do make a difference....My bullet needs 1800 fps to function reliably.  The faster it is traveling on impact will make for a more violent wound channel.  Below 1800 fps...I'm gambling on whether it performs like designed.  Point being....look at your bullet and see if it will work at the desired range with velocities it is designed to function within.   


Offline Rob

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Re: I like big guns...and I cannot lie
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2024, 04:40:05 PM »
All things equal on the bullet other than diameter, sectional density comes into play.

E.g. if you have two rods the same weight they impact a target at the same speed, and the only difference between them is the diameter (one skinnier that the other), the skinnier one will penetrate deeper.  The reduced surface area can penetrate the target easier, but even more important is that the skinnier rod has more weight behind it in terms of lbs per square inch.

If that makes any sense
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Offline JimmyHoffa

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Re: I like big guns...and I cannot lie
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2024, 04:47:22 PM »
Once above somewhere around .35 cal, the bullet diameter is such that the size of the wound channel is significant from the bullet alone, and not due to expansion from being driven at high velocity.

Offline BULLBLASTER

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Re: I like big guns...and I cannot lie
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2024, 05:13:13 PM »
There is no question that 338 equal bullet weight/model will be ballistically superior to 375. The bc proves that. The 338 will keep the high impact velocity much further.

Any difference in “killing power” is the result of bullet construction. Something like a 300 berger will do a lot more damage and tissue devastation than something like a 300 grain partition or the like.

For me, shootability would 100% lean toward the 375. The slower recoil impulse is not near as abusive as a 338 lapua (not sure the science there)

All that said, i wont ever give up my H&H.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2024, 05:21:04 PM by BULLBLASTER »

Offline bearpaw

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Re: I like big guns...and I cannot lie
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2024, 05:18:00 AM »
I'm guessing the 338 Lapua will do better on North American game at longer range due to the higher B.C.

Unless you have a brake on the .338 it will recoil noticeably more than the 375. I've done a fair amount of shooting with a 375 and the recoil was surprisingly manageable. I have a 338/378 (similar to a 338 Lapua) and without the brake it has a lot more recoil than the 375's I've shot, but with the screw on brake its about like a 243 (but annoyingly loud).
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Offline Cougartail

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Re: I like big guns...and I cannot lie
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2024, 08:49:56 AM »
I thought the thread was about "big" rifles?

Big bores start at .400 inches.   :chuckle:
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Offline Rob

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Re: I like big guns...and I cannot lie
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2024, 09:14:43 AM »
I thought the thread was about "big" rifles?

Big bores start at .400 inches.   :chuckle:

40?   What, are you from Washington State?  458 is the starting point for big-bore.  (the OP said big guns though, not big bore)
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Offline Rob

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Re: I like big guns...and I cannot lie
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2024, 09:16:27 AM »
I partially retract...  416 qualifies as big bore too.
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Offline luvmystang67

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Re: I like big guns...and I cannot lie
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2024, 10:25:33 AM »
This is some good banter. 

I'm mostly curious... say you're hunting cape buffalo, and you show up with a 338 shooting 300 grain bullets, and a 375 shooting 300 grain bullets.  Is your PH going to have a preference or just say "meh, same same, use whichever you'd like"?

Offline Rob

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Re: I like big guns...and I cannot lie
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2024, 10:53:36 AM »
Likely he will say 375 is the minimum legal caliber to take Cape Buff with!

Legality aside, A good PH would probably say he is most comfortable with you shooting the one you are able to shoot the best.

They love the 375 HH in Africa though.  Such a versatile cartridge.   Solids are pretty popular in Africa and there are lots of great options in 375.

I used a 338 WM with I want to say 250 grain Barnes on my first trip.  All plains game and it worked very well. 
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