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Mar 25th, 2012
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338 Federal for Elk/Nilgai #5510422 12/31/14 04:39 PM
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gunslinger922 Offline OP
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Would like some feedback from actual experience with the 338 Federal on Elk/Nilgai sized animals. I have future planned hunts for both and currently own a 338 Federal but have never used it on Elk sized game. I do reload so that is a plus. Any feedback/advice would be appreciated

Re: 338 Federal for Elk/Nilgai [Re: gunslinger922] #5510514 12/31/14 05:29 PM
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C3 guide Offline
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We've shot some large game with them. Largest being a wildebeest. We did kill it but it took 3 good shots. We shot a addax in the lungs and it worked fine. Scimitar in the lungs also was no problem. That's all I can help out. I think your fine on the elk but the nilgia I would make sure your shot is perfect.

Re: 338 Federal for Elk/Nilgai [Re: gunslinger922] #5510638 12/31/14 06:21 PM
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Well not with a 338 federal, but I have a friend that has taken a lot of game Nilgai size (elk,African plains game)with a 358 win and prefers it, And I have shot a ton of game with a 9.3x62 with 232 grain bullets (hogs, deer, axis, and African plains game, nilgai) the 338 fed should be right there with 225 and 250 grain bullets...it should work great.

Re: 338 Federal for Elk/Nilgai [Re: gunslinger922] #5510670 12/31/14 06:34 PM
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What range are we talking? The 338 Fed is a real thumper, but it ain't got much for legs. Use your 30-06 if it's out past 200 yards would be my guess.

Re: 338 Federal for Elk/Nilgai [Re: gunslinger922] #5511307 12/31/14 11:55 PM
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gunslinger922 Offline OP
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Thanks for the feedback. I need to give more thought to the max range

Re: 338 Federal for Elk/Nilgai [Re: gunslinger922] #5513746 01/01/15 11:56 PM
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Well I do not know what some of these posts are referring to. The .338 Winchester magnum with federal premium ammo is a beast thumper without equal unless you go to some of the super magnums like Weatherby, or Lazzeroni, and the trade off in recoil is not IMHO worth the performance upgrade. Like all calibers, bullet placement is the number one criteria. You could kill a T-Rex with the .338. I have guided many hunters using a .338 on a ton of African plains game, and some dangerous game as well, and over a dozen WILD North American elk kills. If hit anywhere in the "kill" zone elk will fall. I had a hunter that used the much beloved .30-06 with 180 grain Noslers and hit a five point in New Mexico five times in rapid order at about 250 yards. The elk stood, the hunter fired and kept on pouring it in. After the fifth shot the elk collapsed. Upon reaching the elk and gutting it we found all 5 shots had hit the heart within a hand sized area, taking out a few ribs and destroying the vitals. The guy could shoot, but he hit NO skeletal structure and the shots passed straight through. I had a similar Colorado bull take a .338 at 350 yards on the point of the shoulder and it collapsed as if made of hot air. Ditto for wildebeest, waterbuck, kudu at 450 yards, and a half dozen eland at various ranges. If I was limited a non dangerous game rifle for use anywhere in the world the .338 would be my all over pick. It is flat shooting (depending on bullet weight), hard hitting, and with good bullet construction and placement will efficiently kill anything that walks. Not my first choice for Jumbos, hippo, or buff, but more than enough for lions, leopards, and crocs. A Nilgai or the biggest elk that ever lived is no problem. Shoot your gun a lot. Find the right load it loves and groups well, and practice, practice, practice...

Re: 338 Federal for Elk/Nilgai [Re: gunslinger922] #5513761 01/02/15 12:01 AM
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Oops. The wife just pointed out I missed the .338 Federal designation and assumed the .338 with Federal ammo. Apologies all around. The Federal .338 is just a necked up .308 case if memory serves. It is a short range weapon and does not compare with the .338 Win Mag. at all… I guess my glasses need to be replaced or I has too much New Years Cheer!!

Re: 338 Federal for Elk/Nilgai [Re: gunslinger922] #5513996 01/02/15 01:19 AM
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The .338 Federal is an awesome cartridge. With 200 grain Fusion ammo, I have used it on animals up to mule deer size in the US. (Killed a mule deer in Colorado this year at 200 yards - it went five yards). I was a little nervous about using the Fusion ammo in Africa since I couldn't find any info on the plains game size animals that I would be hunting. I still took the .338 Federal to Africa but I used the 210 grain Nosler partition.

Used it on 10 animals - two kudu, wildebeest, two hartebeest, warthog, gemsbok, blesbok, springbok and a zebra. Shot ranges from 50 to 225 yards. All were one shot kills. I did loan it to a buddy on a giraffe. He shot it twice with my gun and twice more with a .300 win mag before it went down. Just wasn't enough gun for that size animal.

If you practice with it, you can become proficient out to 400 yards but it will drop faster than some of your faster cartridges. Just know your holdover and you will be fine.

I have hunted with this gun for over five years. Lots of stopping power and kicks about like a .270 without a muzzle brake.


Rick Welch
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Re: 338 Federal for Elk/Nilgai [Re: gunslinger922] #5610765 02/21/15 01:46 AM
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I love the 338 federal. Shot a big bull moose using the 210gr partition and a couple deer and hogs. Awesome combo. Id say elk would be no problem at all.

Re: 338 Federal for Elk/Nilgai [Re: gunslinger922] #5611686 02/21/15 07:26 PM
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Btw....the moose was down with one shot through the lungs. 15 yds and down.

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