Winchester .338 v .340 Weatherby
Q: I'm tossing up whether to buy a Model 70 Winchester in .338 Win. Mag. or a Weatherby Mark V in .340 Weatherby Magnum. How do these two cartridges compare in size and performance? I plan to use the rifle in the N.T on buffaloes and banteng and in Canada on grizzly, moose and caribou. What factory ammo and what bullet weight would you suggest I use that will handle all the game I list?
A: The .338 Win. Mag. has a 63.5mm belted case formed by necking down the .458 Win. Mag. The .340 Wby Mag. is based on the .300 Weatherby case, slightly shortened to 71.76mm which gives the latter considerably greater powder capacity. The .338 Mag. case holds 85.6gn of water and the .340 Wby holds 102gn (19 percent more) which makes the .340 significantly more powerful than the .338.Winchester has four loads for the .338 best of which are the PowerMax Bonded with a 200gn PHP bullet at 2960fps and 225gn ABCT at 2800fps. Weatherby offers six different bullets in the .340, but the best ones are the 225gn Barnes TSX at 2970fps and the 250gn Nosler Partition at 2941fps. Both cartridges are ideal for bear, elk and other North American big game, but the .340 offers an edge of about 150-200fps and produces up to 26 percent more muzzle energy, outperforming .338 over-the-counter fodder by about 1,000 ft/lbs. If you find recoil to be a factor, the .338 recoils with around 32 ft/lb against 49 ft/lbs for the .340 - a shoulder punishing increase of about 50 percent. In addition to being more powerful, the .340 is surprisingly flat shooting with the 250gn load dropping only 20cm from a 200 metre zero. Take your pick, both cartridges are entirely adequate for North America's largest game and with a stout 250gn bullet I'd say you'd really be "loaded for bear."