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Is a .338 win mag too big for deer?

Old 06-23-2003, 06:25 AM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Gypsum KS USA
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Default RE: Is a .338 win mag too big for deer?

I wouldn' t say it' s too big for deer, but I' ve hunted deer with a .375H&H and a .416Rigby, have designs for my .458Lott being hunted this fall...yes, it is incredibly over-powered for deer, but who cares, dead is dead, you' ll have a different breed of rifle in the safe and something that would cover you IF ANY hunt(other than large dangerous african game) should offer itself your way. I' d use hard bullets in it, like I do in my 40 bores, the hole from the bullet diameter itself and ANY energy transfer is enough to do the deed, you don' t need an ' expanding' bullet for that, you' d only be wasting meat, and mess!
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Old 06-23-2003, 07:23 AM
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Default RE: Is a .338 win mag too big for deer?

Not too big for deer hunting but maybe too big for you. I don' t " like" to shoot my big guns that often with hunting loads, but it has to be done. If you can' t handle it to get real accurate with it then buy it, and then trade it for the " deer" rifle that you want.

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Old 06-23-2003, 08:02 AM
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Old 06-23-2003, 09:52 AM
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Default RE: Is a .338 win mag too big for deer?

Hey, if its incredible deal go for it. I am sure you will probably go elk hunting or bear one day. I understand your dilemma. But it sounds like you might be a little new to the high powered rifle scene. Maybe not, and the 338Win mag ain' t a learners gun. Might make you develop a flintch that you might not be able to get rid of. But you can always buy the gun and keep it around if you got another rifle to use deer hunting. Then learn to master it.

I hate letting deals go by. But I bet when you see the price of factory ammo, you might think twice on using it on deer. Last I checked it was around 45 dollars or so.
Old 06-23-2003, 10:02 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Brook, IN
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Default RE: Is a .338 win mag too big for deer?

The .338 win mags power is clearly not needed on deer. Having said that you can use any cartridge you can shoot accurately. If the deal is truely a GREAT deal go ahead and get the rifle, you might need it in future hunts for BIG game. To a degree there is no such thing as overkill.
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Old 06-23-2003, 10:34 AM
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Default RE: Is a .338 win mag too big for deer?

If it' s not too big for you, it' s not too big for deer!
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Old 06-23-2003, 12:25 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: NW Georgia, USA
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Default RE: Is a .338 win mag too big for deer?

If you can handle the recoil and shoot it accurately, then it will be fine. If you buy it and it makes you flinch then the answer will be yes.

There are light bullets available for the .338 Win Mag. If you get into handloading or have a buddy that doesn, you could load a 180g Ballistic Tip down to about 2800 fps. That wouldn' t kick too much more than a .30-06.
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Old 06-23-2003, 06:56 PM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Pine Hill Alabama USA
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Default RE: Is a .338 win mag too big for deer?

If you only plan to hunt deer I think its too much. I mean it will kill deer dead but you are talking about a gun that generates about 32 foot pounds of recoil. Thats almost twice as hard as a 30-06 kicks. That much recoil will make a lot of people flinch and that hurts accuracy. Also unless you reload most factory rounds are going to have a 200 grain or larger bullet. I personally don' t think that a deer is large enough for these big bullets to even fully expand on. Like a BB through tissue paper in other words. Its also hard to see where you hit a deer when you are staggering aroung for 30 seconds after the shot waiting for your vision to clear up.
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Old 06-24-2003, 12:03 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Garner NC USA
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Default RE: Is a .338 win mag too big for deer?

More info from another website I saw:

The .338 Magnum is indeed an Elk gun. Besides the moose the .338 isn' t much good for other game that lives in the lower 48.
Bullet weights for the .338 start with a 200-grain bullet and go up to a 300-grain bullet, and is thought by many to have more power than is needed to kill an Elk.
It is a popular caliber amoung the serious Elk hunter, especially those who make a hunting trip for game animals that also hunt back, like bear.
There are some good reasons for choosing the .338 Winchester Magnum though. It' s knock down power at extreme ranges cannot be denied.
Even with a less than perfect shot on a Bull Elk at 400 yards with the .338 Winchester it will still drop him fast. The velosity of the 250-grain bullet will not drop off as quickly as that of lighter bullets traveling at the same speed. And the heavier bullet is not as susceptible to wind drift.
At 400 yards the the 250-grain bullet is still traveling along at some 2,000 fps. And the energy is around 2,000 ft/lbs at that same distance.
It does have a kick though. Some say that the recoil of the .338 Winchester Magnum is as much as three times that of the .270 Winchester.
And they are indeed heavy, usually 8 - 10 pounds. That is a lot of gun to carry all day.
You may wish to consider hunting on horse if you are planning on using the .338 Winchester Magnum. Believe me I know. I have a Ruger #1 .338 and I love it, but it is a heavy rifle to carry on an all day hunt.
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Old 06-24-2003, 06:11 AM
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Default RE: Is a .338 win mag too big for deer?

Here' s how I look at it. It' s kind of like saying " I came across a super deal on an F350 powerstroke dually" ....but all I ever haul is groceries. Yep, it will haul the groceries just fine, but another vehicle would be better suited for the job.

It really is up to you. Like GTBuzz said, if you can handle the recoil, and shoot it confidently, sure it' s fine. IMO, it' s overkill, but it will definitely do the job.
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