While there is some overlap in the applications of these rounds, there are also going to be certain shooting situations where one might be better suited than the other. And that’s the goal of this article; we are not looking to claim one of these cartridges is better than the other. Instead, we want to take an unbiased look at the performance of both and use that information to make better decisions of which cartridge will better serve you depending on the situation.
.300 Win Mag vs 338 Lapua: A Brief History
.300 Win Mag
The 300 Win Magnum is a magnum cartridge that can be chambered in standard action rifles. It was introduced by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company in 1963 and has remained available to the general public since that date.
Even though there were several other magnum rounds at the time, including the 7mm Rem Mag (1962) which we have spent some time discussing in other cartridge comparisons and the .300 Weatherby Magnum, few magnums have gained the popularity of the .300 Win Mag. Winchester itself produced several magnum rounds in prior years though none were able to take the popular .30 Cal bullet. The ability for the cartridge to receive a .30 cal bullet as well as there being several popular rifles chambered for the round led to the initial success of the cartridge. And that is, of course, leaving out the performance of the cartridge itself.
With it being a magnum, you already know that the .30 cal bullets can be sent downrange at high velocities even with the heavier bullets the .300 Win Mag can take which usually range between 150-200 grains. This can be done because of the large capacity of the cartridge which can hold a large volume of powder charge.
The .300 Win Mag is popular in both long range shooting and hunting circles, though the latter to a much greater extent. When it comes to big game in North America and other parts of the world, the .300 Win Mag is undoubtedly one of the most popular and most effective cartridges for this application. And while there may be some pretty drastic differences between it and the other cartridge, we will look at in this article, namely the kinetic energy, remember that the applications will be different and the smaller numbers associated with the cartridge does not, in any way, indicated a lesser cartridge.
.338 Lapua Mag
The .338 Lapua Magnum has a much shorter history than the .300 Win Mag. The 338 LM was designed and produced in the late 1980’s. The purpose of this cartridge was to provide snipers with a long range round that had incredible terminal ballistics and had the ability to penetrate several layers of body armor at extreme distances. As you can assume, this is a hard hitting round, but it does provide the performance to fill certain shooting niches. It saw service with the military in both Afghanistan and Iraq and is still in use with military personnel today.
The range and terminal ballistics of the .338 LM were such that its use could fill several niches in civilian use including long range precision shooting and big game hunting that required massive power at long ranges. The increased interest in the .338 LM in civilian circuits has resulted in more round options though still limited compared to other competition and hunting rounds. The majority of popular civilian rounds for the .338 LM are going to fall within the 250-300gr bullet weight range, though there are more options when it comes to hand loading.
338 Lapua vs 300 Win Mag Specs
|.338 Lapua Mag||.300 Win Mag|
|Parent Case||.416 Rigby, .338/416||.375 H&H Magnum|
|Max Pressure (SAAMI)||N/A||64,000psi|
When we look at the cartridge specs for the 300 Win Mag vs 338 Lapua Magnum we see some immediate differences that will likely lead to differences in how these two cartridges perform. The .338 LM rounds are a larger caliber than the 300 Win Mag and have a slightly longer case and overall length. The .338 is also able to be fitted with much heavier bullets than the 300 Win Mag rounds.
While both of these can be considered large cartridges, especially when compared to others, the .338 LM is at another level. Just look at the amount of powder that can be loaded into the 300 Win Mag versus 338 Lapua Magnum. While factory loads are going to be loaded well below the max capacity, it shows just how much power is possible with these rounds. Both are also able to withstand large amounts of pressure when the powder is ignited, which is needed to push the heavier bullets down range with the proper terminal performances.
The 300 Win Mag can take a withstand a whopping 64,00psi according to SAAMI specifications. While there is no SAAMI rating for the .338 LM, the international CPI rating is 60,916psi though with their safety standards; this means they safely fired the cartridge at psi’s over 75,000psi.
To get an idea of how these two cartridges compare in their ballistic and other performance categories, we need a selection of rounds for each cartridge. We have picked five popular rounds for both the .338 LM and .300 Win Mag that range from range to hunting rounds. We are aware that this is a small sample size compared to the options that are available, but it will still give us a nice window into how these two cartridges stack up against each other in several performance categories. We have listed these ten rounds below.
- 300 WM Hornady Superformance SST 180gr
- 300 WM Federal Trophy Bonded Tip Vital-Shok 180gr
- 300 WM Nosler Trophy Grade AccuBond Long Range 190gr
- 300 WM Barnes Precision Match OTM 220gr
- 300 WM Federal MatchKing BTHP Gold Medal 190gr
- 338 LM Hornady SP-RP Interlock 250gr
- 338 LM Hornady ELD Match 285gr
- 338 LM Federal MatchKing BTHP Gold Medal 250gr
- 338 LM Nosler Trophy Grade AccuBond 300gr
- 338 LM Barnes Vor-TX LRX Boat Tail 280gr
These are factory loads, and the performance data we are looking at comes from the manufacturer’s website and well trusted and accurate ballistic performance calculators. While this is fine for comparing specific rounds, it doesn’t mean that the numbers are set in stone.
Shooting these rounds from your platform might result in slightly slower velocities or different trajectories when compared to this data or even to another shooter. Still, for comparing two cartridges, computer generated data is the best source of comparison and will be consistent from round to round. What we are saying is that the differences in performance here will translate to differences in performance for you when using the same firearms, so the comparisons are still valid in our opinion.
While most experienced hunters or competitive shooters are not too concerned with the amount of recoil and we think you can become accustomed to most recoil over time, others still might be, and those with less experience are concerned. And recoil does play a role in choosing a cartridge, especially if you are dealing with a decision on cartridges that can be used for similar applications.
We used a ballistics calculator to generate the recoil energy (ft.lb) generated from firing each of the ten factory loads that we have chosen for comparison. Quite a few factors can influence the recoil such as bullet weight, the amount of powder, as well as the firearm weight. We have kept some of these variables as constants to better compare the two cartridges. We have a 12lb rifle weight for the .338 rounds and a 10lb rifle weight for the 300 Win Mag round to better simulate the weight of firearms you would be using in the field. We have also kept the powder loads constant for each cartridge and used a conservative number since we are dealing with factory loads.
With that in mind, you can see how the recoil energy can change based on several factors. So while these numbers can vary, the general trend of recoil energy between these two cartridges remains constant.
So, let’s take a look at the recoil energy (ft.lb) between the 338 Lapua vs 300 Win Mag rounds that we have selected for comparison (Graph 1).
Our first reaction from this graph should be that both of these cartridges produce a good deal of recoil. Enough recoil to easily throw off a shot and enough to become uncomfortable after a short amount of time shooting.
The .338 LM rounds have an average of almost 10ft.lb more recoil energy than the 300 Win Mag even when being fired from a heavier rifle platform. 20ft.lb of recoil energy is thought of as enough to cause flinching and negatively influence shot placement. Several of the .338 LM rounds are double this number while all of the 300 Win Mag rounds are 7-12ft.lb greater.
This is not an unexpected result as we have already discussed the differences in bullet weights and cartridge specs. This high amount of recoil energy is going to be a “necessary evil” to obtain the speeds, range, and power that comes with these two cartridges.
For anyone looking to decide between two cartridges, the ballistics are going to be their main source of comparison. Regardless of whether you are choosing a cartridge for hunting purposes or competing, understanding how your cartridge behaves once shot and their limits is critical to successful shooting.
In this section, we will take a look at several ballistic categories including the velocity, the ballistic coefficient, as well as the short and long range trajectory of the 300 Win Mag vs 338 Lapua Magnum. By looking at these ballistic characteristics, we are going to gain a lot of valuable information to better determine which shooting application each cartridge might be better suited for.
The velocity is a critical performance spec for any cartridge comparison because of the influence that it has on just about all the other performance categories we will look at. It influences recoil, it influences trajectory, and it even influences stopping power of the bullet, and that is only the categories that we are looking at specifically in this article. Just by knowing the velocity of the bullet and how well it maintains its speeds along its flight path can tell you a lot about the terminal ballistics such as bullet expansion and at which ranges you can have maximal energy transfer and penetration.
It is a common mistake to think that the maximal velocity you can get out of a round means a better overall performance. Too hot of a round can be dangerous due to extreme pressures and if the round is not paired with the correct twist rate of the barrel, the bullet can be highly unstable in flight. There is a fine balance between maximal velocity and maximal performance. It’s just something to keep in mind, especially if you wander into the world of hand loading.
We have compiled the velocity data from the ten rounds from the manufacturer’s website, and when we look at the velocity (ft/s) (Graph 2) from the muzzle to out to 500 yards, we see some interesting points of discussion.
What stands out to us is that there doesn’t appear to be any clear differences in velocity when looking strictly at the 338 Lapua vs 300 Win Mag cartridges. There are rounds with higher velocities from the muzzle out to 500 yards, but it is dependent on the specific round. The averages from the muzzle might give a slight advantage to the 300 Win Mag rounds, but we are only talking about 200 extra fps, and this trend remains similar out to 500 yards though the difference falls to around 60fps of difference.
While the .338 LM rounds can hold more powder, the 300 Win Mag rounds are not that far behind, and the lighter bullet weights allow them to reach higher velocities without risking destabilization out of the muzzle. The high ballistic coefficients, which we will discuss next, and the increased weight of the 338 Lm rounds also allow them to maintain velocity at a slightly higher rate than the 300 Win Mag rounds as they move downrange.
The ballistic coefficient is derived from an equation that includes input variables from specific cartridge specifications. The physics and math behind the ballistic coefficient and its implications, while interesting, is not something we are going to attempt to convey in this article, but we do urge you to check it out.
In the simplest explanation possible, the ballistic coefficient gives you an idea of how well a bullet is streamlined. The higher the BC, the better the bullet can cut through the wind, meaning it resists drag and wind drift and deflection much more efficiently than a bullet with a lower BC. SO, for long range shooting where the wind might be more of a factor, a better ballistic coefficient is something you might be looking for. Even for hunting, where windy conditions are sometimes a factor, having a bullet with a high ballistic coefficient is going to aid in long range shots.
We have compiled the BCs for the ten rounds we are using for comparison and have graphed them here (Graph 3).
From this graph, we see that the .338 LM rounds have on average, higher BCs than the 300 Win Mag rounds. There is definitely some variation between cartridge to cartridge as the .338 LM rounds vary from between .431 to .789. Likewise, the 300 Win Mag rounds vary between 0.481 to 0.64.
Still, both of these cartridges have pretty impressive BCs, and this tells us that they have the potential to be used in long range applications. Let’s examine this further and see if the trajectories also back this up.
As with any comparison of two cartridges, the trajectory of their flight path is going to be an area of discussion. As you all know, the flight path of a bullet is not a straight line, and as the bullets move downrange, they are going to be bleed velocity and lose altitude. Buller design and their BCs influence the trajectories as well as velocity. How well a bullet is stabilized also affects the trajectory of the bullet. Flatter trajectories, less bullet drop, make it easier to adjust for long range shots and for two cartridges designed to give long range performance, it’s an important performance characteristic to examine closely.
While both of these rounds are known as having the capability to be used in long range situations, both are also used in a hunting capacity, which means shots taken at a shorter range are probable, so we will also take a look at the short range trajectories.
Before we focus in on specific ranges using our ten selected rounds, we wanted to provide a visual of only two rounds, one for each cartridge, that are made from the same manufacture and have similar bullet weights (Graph 4).
From this example, we see that the .338 LM round is showing an overall flatter trajectory than the .300 Win Mag round with the biggest difference being 10″ at the 500-yard mark. We could widen or tighten this difference by playing around with the bullet weights, and this is a good example of why a larger sample size is needed for cartridge comparisons. Let’s take a look at our ten rounds and see if this same trend holds up.
We will first look at the short range trajectory out to 300 yards (Graph 5).
We are looking at the bullet drop (in inches) over this range with the firearm zeroes in at 100 yards. At the 200 yard mark, all of the rounds are tightly clustered around the -3” mark though averages give a slight (.5”) advantage to the 300 Win Mag rounds.
As we move out to the 300-yard mark, we see the different rounds begin to space themselves out. We still see on average, less bullet drop from the 300 Win Mag rounds (-11.16″) versus the .338 LM rounds (-12.92″). At this point, all of the 300 Win Mag rounds show flatter trajectory than the .338 LM rounds with the exception of the 338 LM Federal MatchKing BTHP Gold Medal 250gr round.
Since both of these cartridges are popular in long range shooting situations, let’s take a step outwards out a bit and look at the long range trajectory (Graph 6).
Overall, when looking strictly from an angle of the 300 Win Mag versus the 338 Lapua Magnum, there is not a huge difference in the long range trajectory of these factory loads. On average, the 300 Win Mag does have a flatter trajectory with a difference of .78” (300yds), 1.96” (400yds), 3.76” (500yds), 5.74” (600yds), and 8.54” (700yds).
If we look at individual rounds and disregard the cartridge, the four rounds with the flattest trajectory are a mix of two .300 Win Mag and two .338 LM rounds.
So while there are options for both calibers to give you a flat trajectory, it might come down to whether or not the stopping power is where you need it for your intended game, especially for hunters.
In this section, we are going to take a look at the stopping power of the two cartridges. Now, the term stopping power entails a lot of different variables, and there isn’t any one piece of data that we can use to quantify it. Some of the different variables include the bullet’s kinetic energy, the penetration of the bullet, and the momentum of the bullet. You will find countless arguments for which of these variables give you the best approximation for how well a cartridge is going to bring down specific game. We believe that trying to pick only one variable is a huge disservice to you, so we are going to take a look at all three components, and hopefully, this gives you a better picture of the stopping power between these two cartridges.
We are also aware that this section is going to be a bit more important for those interested in using these two cartridges for hunting purposes. If you’re not interested in stopping power, jump ahead a few sections where we get into the price and availability of these two cartridges.
And for those sticking around, we also want to make clear that while we believe all of these different sub-categories for stopping power are relevant and provide a lot of useful information, they are are still not the only factors that go into a cartridges stopping power. We are not going to look at bullet design and their expansion properties, which is a pretty important part of bringing down an animal cleanly. And more than anything, proper shot placement is going to be a huge part to how well a cartridge brings down game.
For the methods in this article that we are using for comparing the two cartridges, we are going to stick with the categories that we can put numbers to. We think by doing this, we can gain a lot of information on these two cartridges but we wanted to be clear that what we are looking at is only a fraction of the full story.
The energy that is carried by the bullet is only one factor of a round’s stopping power, but it is an important one nonetheless. We know that F=(m)(a) so this tells us that the characteristics of different cartridges are going to give us different terminal performance. If the cartridge can be fitted with larger and heavier bullets and send them downrange at increased speeds (more powder) than they should carry extra force with them. This extra force may or may not be needed depending on the game you are chasing.
This kinetic energy associated with the bullet is transferred to the target on impact and can cause massive damage to the surrounding tissues and organs. This transfer is also affected by how the bullet reacts on impact, such as how the bullet expands. This expansion also relies on velocity, but we will leave that topic for another time.
The amount of stopping power that is thought to bring down game effectively is debatable and shot placement is a key component to this baseline as well. 1,000ft.lb of force is warranted for deer, 1,500ft.lb for elk, and this trend continues as the game size increases.
So, let’s take a look at the bullet energies (ft.lb) of the ten selected rounds (Graph 7).
For this particular category, there is a clear distinction between the two cartridges. The .338 LM rounds have a much higher kinetic energy than the 300 Win Mag rounds throughout the 500-yard range except for the 338 LM Hornady SP-RP Interlock 250gr which falls into the 300 Win Mag range at the 400 and 500-yard mark. We also see that the 300 Win Mag rounds tend to maintain their kinetic energy at a higher rate than the .338 LM rounds. On average we are looking the pretty large differences between these two cartridges; Muzzle (989ft.lb), 100yds (897ft.lb), 200yds (859ft.lb), 300yds (799ft.lb), 400yds (741ft.lb), and 500 yds (688ft.lb).
This will obviously be a point to come back to when we look at the applications of these rounds.
Penetration is another component to a bullet’s stopping power. The bullet must be able to penetrate deep enough into the tissue to reach and disrupt vital organs. More penetration does not mean you have a bullet with more stopping power. You also have to think about the type of game you are hunting. A bull moose is going to require more penetration than a whitetail deer.
There are several components that go into how well a bullet will penetrate including velocity, the caliber of the bullet, the weight of the bullet, and the bullet’s design. The caliber of the bullet, as well as its weight, can be used to determine a bullet’s sectional density (SD).
The sectional density correlates with the amount of penetration a bullet will have on target and since we are not looking at bullet types and designs in this article is a good standard for comparison of the two cartridges and the rounds we have selected for each.
A higher sectional density means deeper penetration. As an example, let’s take two different bullets of the same design traveling at the same velocity. Both bullets weigh 100gr, but one has a diameter of .300″ while the other has a diameter of .200″. The sectional density of the .200″ round is going to be higher, and it should penetrate deeper than the .300″ round. This is because the energy driving the bullet is localized to a smaller area effectively pushing it further with lesser resistance than a larger diameter bullet would impose. That’s the simplest way of thinking about SD and penetration.
When picking out a round for use, it is important that you take into account all of the factors when determining the amount of penetration you will need from your round. For simply comparing cartridges we have left this part out, but understanding your bullet design, how it expands, and the velocity needed for proper expansion and penetration is a huge part of successful hunting.
When looking at the sectional densities of the ten rounds, we have been comparing throughout the article (Graph 8) we see the .338 LM rounds generally have a higher sectional density than the 300 Win Mag rounds, though it is not by much. When averaging the rounds between the two cartridges, there is a .05 difference in SD between the 300 Win Mag vs 338 Lapua Magnum.
Though the 300 Win Mag has a smaller diameter, the increased weights of the .338 LM rounds give them higher sectional densities. As you can see, if you go with heavier .300 Win Mag rounds, such as the Barnes Precision Match OTM 220gr, you can get SD similar to the .338 LM rounds.
And as we stated earlier, while looking at the SD is perfectly fine for simply comparing two cartridges, it alone is not a full picture of the penetration the round will show in the field.
We always have a bit of an issue when talking about accuracy for two cartridges. The problem stems from a number of variables that go into accuracy that are hard to account for in the data. The best method of measuring accuracy is MOA measurements, but even then, the environment, the firearm, and more importantly, the user can affect what we would determine as the “accuracy” of the cartridge.
And we don’t want to discount this method of demonstrating accuracy. There are plenty of sites with this data that is generated by incredible marksmen and are valuable resources. Others, not so much.
We know accuracy is important and in the end we think when looking at the 338 Lapua vs 300 Win Mag, both cartridges can be extremely accurate when used with the right platform and in the right hands. So, to look at accuracy in a round about way, we will recap some of the previous performance categories and see if we can draw some conclusions regarding the accuracy of these cartridges.
While there was not a clear difference in velocity between the two cartridges, we did see a general trend towards the 300 Win Mag having a flatter trajectory than the .338 Lm rounds, though it was not a huge difference when looking only at the averages. We should also note that there were both high performing and low performing rounds for each cartridge, so there are definitely viable options for both cartridges when you want a flat shooting round. Of course, the .338 LM rounds are also significantly heavier than the 300 Win Mag round and if you need a lot of power, the few inches more bullet drop is worth dealing with.
How this trajectory translates to accuracy can be debated, but we think the slightly flatter overall trajectory of the 300 Win Mag makes it a little easier on you adjusting shot placement for a given range. And in our experience, a few inches flatter trajectory can make a world of difference, especially when you have big game in the crosshairs and the adrenaline is flowing.
We also saw much higher ballistic coefficients for the .338 LM rounds than the 300 Win Mag rounds, though both have high BCs when compared to other types of cartridges. For long range shooting, the increased BCs for several of the 338 LM rounds are better able to resist certain environmental conditions and could result in slightly better accuracy.
Regarding recoil, the .338 LM cartridge produces quite a bit more recoil than the 300 Win Mag. How much this impacts accuracy falls more on the user’s experience, and we’re not going to go into if this would give one cartridge an advantage in accuracy, but it was worth mentioning.
Price & Availability
When we look at the price of these two cartridges, you will notice that neither of them are cheap. Even so, the .338 LM rounds are significantly more expensive than the .300 Win Mag rounds. Hand loading these rounds can save you some money per round, but the materials are still going to be more expensive compared to smaller cartridges. The issue is that if you need the distance and power that these cartridges provide, you’re going to have to fork out some extra cash to obtain them.
When thinking about the availability of these rounds, both can be difficult to come by unless you are at major retail stores that carry a large assortment of ammunition. It’s all about demand, and the 300 Win Mag is still a much more popular hunting round than the .338 LM which means manufacturers are making more of 300 Win Mag rounds. Both can be frustrating when trying to find specific loads in retail stores, but luckily the internet has made that a bit easier.
|300 WM Hornady Superformance SST 180gr||$30.99 (20 Rounds)|
|300 WM Federal Trophy Bonded Tip Vital-Shok 180gr||$46.99 (20 Rounds)|
|300 WM Nosler Trophy Grade AccuBond Long Range 190gr||$48.99 (20 Rounds)|
|300 WM Barnes Precision Match OTM 220gr||$48.99 (20 Rounds)|
|300 WM Federal MatchKing BTHP Gold Medal 190gr||$52.99 (20 Rounds)|
|338 LM Hornady SP-RP Interlock 250gr||$79.99 (20 Rounds)|
|338 LM Hornady ELD Match 285gr||$85.99 (20 Rounds)|
|338 LM Federal MatchKing BTHP Gold Medal 250gr||$117.99 (20 Rounds)|
|338 LM Nosler Trophy Grade AccuBond 300gr||$134.70 (20 Rounds)|
|338 LM Barnes Vor-TX LRX Boat Tail 280gr||$112.99 (20 Rounds)|
Now that we have taken a look at the performances of the 338 Lapua Magnum vs 300 Win Mag for several categories, we can begin teasing apart in which situations each cartridge might be better suited.
Let’s start out with talking precision and long range shooting. From just the aspect of factory loads, the 300 Win Mag gives a slightly flatter trajectory, though there are rounds for both cartridges that behave very similarly in long range trajectory. With that, the .338 LM rounds have the advantage when it comes to hand loading as they can be loaded slightly hotter and the heavier bullet and higher BC might sway you towards it as your long range cartridge of choice, but we could easily make the argument for the 300 Win Mag as well. We think it all comes down to what you have the most practice and experience with. With enough hours on the range, you can do some pretty amazing things with both of these cartridges out to 1,000+ yard ranges.
You also have the recoil to consider. From just a couple dozen rounds, the .338 LM cartridges might be more fatiguing to you than the 300 Win Mag though both can be uncomfortable when used by less experienced users.
For hunting, both of these cartridges carry a considerable amount of bullet energy and potential penetration for large game. They also are large enough calibers that with proper expansion you are going to have enough of a deep wound creation for a quick kill with a properly placed shot.
The .338 LM is better reserved for larger game, and we are talking moose and larger, like Africa Big Five larger with over 3,500ftlb even at 300 yards. It can be used for elk and moose and might be useful if you are taking shots greater than 400 yards though those ranges tend to be on the limits that most hunters are willing to take shots at. With the amount of stopping power these cartridges have, it is overkill for deer and other medium sized game. The drawback to this cartridge for hunting has to do with the firearm. It’s going to be tough hauling around a 12-15lb weapon in the field. If you’re driving out to a spot to sit, it doesn’t matter, but for hunting situations where you might be logging a couple of miles, that extra 15lbs is going to be fatiguing.
The 300 Win Mag is also a long range, big game firearm. All of the cartridges we looked at in the article had bullet energies of well over 1.500ft.lb at 500 yards. We have seen plenty of deer and other medium sized game taken with this rifle at 300+ yards. Some hunters have issue with the recoil for this sized game since just as effective rounds can take deer with much less kick. To each their own, but the 300 Win Mag is going to give you more range along with more power and flatter trajectories than most other hunting cartridges used for the same game. The 300 Win Mag is also more than capable of taking larger game such as elk and moose at these ranges as well.
Before we wrap up this cartridge comparison, we do want to take a few moments to outline a couple of our favorite factory loads for each cartridge for certain shooting categories. We are only basing this decision on our ten selected rounds so that as you read, you can go back and compare with the graphs. Like anything, you’re favorite round might be completely different from what we outline here and as long as it’s getting the job done and you are happy with its performance, go with it.
Top Hunting Round
For hunting, one of our favorite 300 Win Mag rounds is the Nosler Trophy Grade AccuBond Long Range 190gr. For North American big game, this round has all the numbers that point towards it being effective, and it has the following that backs up the numbers in real hunting situations.
This round maintains over 2,000fps velocities even out to the 500-yard mark which helps with proper expansion, and it also aids in the rounds ballistics. It has one of the better trajectories of the 300 Win Mag rounds that we looked at. Even out to 700 yards there is a little under 100 inches of bullet drop. That is irrelevant for hunting, but if you look at 300 to 400 yards, this round is well below the 20-inch mark. And of course, this round is a heavy 30 cal that is perfect for large game, and it brings the energy and momentum that is needed for large game even at 400 yards.
For the .338 LM we think big game hunting, and for taking down large and often dangerous game, we lean towards the Nosler Trophy Grade AccuBond 300gr. This round has a muzzle energy of 4,677ft.lb and still carries nearly 3,500ft.lb of energy at the 300-yard mark and 2,842ft.lb at 500 yards. The SD and velocity paired with the controlled expansion of the heavy 300gr AccuBond bullet make this a deadly round for big game at a wide selection of ranges.
Top Target Round
While most competitive long range shooters are going to be using hand loaded rounds, we still wanted to discuss some our favorite factory loads for long range shooting.
For time on the range looking to pop targets at long ranges, we like the .338 LM 285gr Hornady ELD Match. Of our selected .338 LM rounds, the Hornady ELD Match maintains its velocity at a high rate through 500 yards and will remain supersonic well over 1,000 yards. It has an incredible G1 BC of 0.789 and shows one of the flattest trajectories of all the rounds we examined making shot adjustments much less severe.
The 300 Win Mag, one of the flattest shooting cartridges available, and especially when maximized with hand loading has several excellent factory loads for long range shooting as well. We enjoy the 190gr Federal MatchKing BTHP Gold Medal round for this application. This round has the second flattest trajectory of all the ten rounds we have looked at in this article and maintains well over supersonic velocity out to 1,000 yards. The 190gr BTHP bullet its BC is able to resist drag and wind drift well enough to be put on target at 700+ yards. As with most factory loads, they do fall short of the maximal distance that you can obtain with hand loads.
Conclusion: 300 Win Mag vs 338 Lapua Magnum
As with most cartridge comparisons, a lot of the decision eventually comes to what you are comfortable using and what you are confident in using. With that, there are situations where one cartridge might be a better option than others.
In this article looking at the 300 Win Mag vs 338 Lapua Magnum, we hope that the data presented and discussed has outlined which applications both of these cartridges are better suited for and given you a better resource for making that decision.