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Re: Newly Energized Interest in "Fiddling"
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Old 02-20-2021, 07:19 PM
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Default Re: Newly Energized Interest in "Fiddling"

Sounds like fun, Nels. I recall your accounts of the 9.3x57 Swede. The following is not intended to be "selling" the .338 MAI cartridge, just my observations/rationalizations.

Once I broke through the psychological .30 caliber barrier, I started looking at all the bigger calibers. In the end, I settled on the .338 primarily for external ballistics reasons. The 'big deal' for me is that the .338 has more high-BC bullets available than the bigger calibers do. There's not a single .35-or-larger caliber hunting bullet with a BC higher than a couple of .338 bullets, regardless of the weight of the bigger caliber bullets. (There is an 'experimental' .416 FMJ BTSP target bullet with a crazy BC over 1, and of course the .50 BMG, but really now. ) Add to that the terminal performance of the Accubond, and the .338 lands right in the 'sweet spot' of delivered energy, trajectory, and 'friendliness-on-my-end'. Put that .338 bullet on a "nice" case like the x57 Mauser case, and voila', you get my favorite hunting cartridge. (It also doesn't have a shoulder akin to snake hips like the larger calibers do when put on the x57 case OR the -06 case. Meaning, as you point out, positive headspacing from cartridge to cartridge.) By the same token, .338 doesn't 'go down' from the 57mm case particularly well. On the 51mm case of the .308 Win, the case capacity is just on the small side for those high-BC .338 bullets. Barely, but too small, nonetheless. In a barrel of reasonable length, it simply can't drive the 200g+ bullets with the high BCs, fast enough to compete successfully with the 57mm case.

Like I said, I'm not 'selling' here. Just explaining why I have become infatuated with this cartridge and why I haven't moved on up the caliber ranks in seeking a "better" general big game cartridge for North America.


Paul
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