The .338-06 A-Square

By Chuck Hawks

This old wildcat was finally legitimized by the relatively small A-Square loading company in 1998 and Weatherby briefly produced factory made rifles for the cartridge. As I write these words in 2016, a semi-custom Shaw Precision rifle on a Savage bolt action is probably the best way to acquire a .338-06 at a reasonable price.

The .338-06 is nothing more than the .30-06 case necked-up to accept .338" bullets, the same diameter used by the popular .338 Winchester Magnum. The result is one of the best balanced, versatile and effective medium bore cartridges on the market.

A-Square offers three factory loads for the .338-06. One drives a 200 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet (SD .254, BC .414) at a muzzle velocity (MV) of 2750 fps with 3358 ft. lbs. of muzzle energy (ME). At 200 yards the figures are 2364 fps and 2482 ft. lbs.

The other two factory loads use 250 grain bullets (SD .313). These start with a MV of 2500 fps and a ME of 3496 ft. lbs. The more streamlined of the two, a boat-tail spitzer, is still traveling at 2134 fps and carrying 2528 ft. lbs. of energy at 300 yards.

For the reloader, bullets of 200, 210, and 225 grains are probably the most useful. Staying within permissible pressures, reloaders can equal, but not substantially exceed, the velocities of the factory loads. According to the fifth edition of the Nosler Reloading Guide their 210 grain Partition bullet can be driven to a MV of 2490 fps by 48.0 grains of IMR 4320 powder, and 2690 fps by 52.0 grains of IMR 4350. This should be an good all-around bullet in the .338-06, suitable for most thinned-skinned big game.

Note: A complete article about the .338-06 can be found on the Rifle Cartridge Page.

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Copyright 2004, 2016 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.