There’s nothing earth-shaking about this new cartridge. It was probably created more than 40 years ago by a wildcatter (basement handloader) who stretched the neck of the 308 Winchester case to fit a .338 bullet, then barreled a short-action rifle to match.
Changing neck size is standard procedure for iconoclasts who refuse to settle for what the big manufacturers offer. Over the years the 308 Win. was necked down and up to become the 243 Win., 260 Rem., 7mm-08 Rem., and 358 Win. Why it took so long to legitimize the .338 version remains a mystery, but Federal has finally done it. But why?
In a market saturated with highly successful standard cartridges like the 270 Win. and 30-06, plus belted magnums, long magnums, short magnums, and super short magnums, who needs a 338-08? Well, maybe you do. This little powerhouse fits a classic short-action, which means it cycles faster than the 30-06-length cases, if that matters to you. The case is narrow, so more cartridges fit into a magazine/clip than do fat, short magnums. Guns built around such small cartridges can be made about a half-inch shorter, lighter and more responsive than magnum rifles. They’re more fun to carry and shoot. Then there are the ballistics…
338 Federal Cartridge Surprise — Ron Spomer Outdoors is written by Ron Spomer for www.ronspomeroutdoors.com