The footage shows it’s here to Stay.
This article aims to provide as much real world data specifically shooting the 338 Lapua out to 2000 meters based on competition shooting footage shown here at Extreme Shot Italia III with Expert commentary.
The 338 Lapua Magnum cartridge, you may think we had almost missed this on rifletalks.com. The forefather of long range shooting and sniping – it’s the feeder cartridge to many other ELR cartridges and competitions.
You can bet a few boxes of 338Lapua that any one that today has a heavy class ELR rifle, at some point crossed paths with the 338Lapua himself, ask any big bore shooter you know.
This website would not be complete in the long range rifle and ELR scene if we didn’t cover the 338Lapua Magnum. To date, I had not yet covered this cartridge as I wanted to place sufficient first-hand info and feedback to those that are looking into it not the usual ballistic charts but as we like to do here at rifletalks.com, provide the most relevant, real world, data driven approach. Today I hope to give you that and abit more.
The 338 Lapua magnum is probably the most straight forward long range rifle caliber which is still considered ‘light class’. I say straight forward because it is a factory offering, you can walk into any armory worth its salt and you shall find 338Lapua ammo of some sort. Most major manufacturers have atleast one model rifle today in 338Lapua, from the economic offerings of Savage 338LM to Ruger precision, Sako TRG42 to Accuracy international AW 338LM, Voere X3, Victrix Scepter, RPA Rangemaster 338, Desert Tech 338LM, FN Ballista 338Lapua, Haenel HLR 338LM, Brugger & Thomet APR 338 and there are more – not even starting to consider the many custom rifle shops that offer some sort of 338 Lapua magnum be it for tactical, hunting or target matches such as Surgeon, Cadex, BAT, Defiance, Kelbly and so many others that I can keep firing names for another paragraph or so.
Saro Iacono shooting a 32″ barrelled 338 Lapua Magnum. He placed 2nd overall out to 2000m, great shooting!
338 Lapua Effective Range
Extreme Shot Italia competition has been a great Extreme long range shooting event with 1-1.5MOA targets from 500m to 2000 meters. Over the last 3 years were we have witnessed numerous shooters coming along with their 338’s and I can probably now say that I can add some value added with this article to those looking to make up their mind on one. Keep in mind that ultimately, it is the spotter/shooter combo that will make the real difference, but if over 50% of shooters of this competition still trust the 338 Lapua, something must be going for it. Let’s find out.
Over the 5 day event in Sicily, we saw many shooters engaging the targets, we collect data from their scoring cards and this year we also have LIVE STREAM video to show you in this article! We saw many hundreds of shots in competition at these small steel plates at distances which matter where the shooter must connect with the target with a first, second or third round hit.
Below: TEAM WINDCUT BULLETS from ITALY taking a shot at 680m then at 2000m with their 338Lapua Sako TRG 42 Rebarreled with a 32″ pipe. Shooting a 300gr bullet at 2000m is a feat in itself. At this distance, the bullet is subsonic, and minor changes in the wind even of just 1mph will put you off the plate. It’s larger brother the 33XC cartridge pushes a 300 Grain bullet at just around 3200ft/s with ease!
The ultimate test is engaging targets under competition conditions at 2000m with the 338 pushing the boundaries.
Consider how many new cartridges have come to the scene since the 338Lapua first made its debut ‘almost forty years ago, back in 1982, when the . 338/416 cartridge was developed for the United States military purposes. Officially, the project was to develop a target rifle and cartridge for 1000 yards, but in reality the purpose was more likely to develop a 1500 meter sniper rifle.’ (www.lapua.com)
I first shot the first 338Lapua Magnum about 15 years ago at Yverdon les Bains, Military range in Switzerland during one of the shoots of the FCSA Swiss run by British Pete Reynolds who was very kind to me and onboarded me in his club with a taste of the ‘light gun’, his Sako TRG42 and then proceeded to his AMSD Nemesis 50BMG, one of the most interesting 50BMGs I had the pleasure to operate seen below.
I went from shooting 223s to 338s in one day. At the time there was the TRG42, A PGM Mini Hecate 338lapua, a DSR-1 338Lapua, a Brugger and Thomet APR 338 and a Wind runner in 338 Lapua. I remember that most 338Lapua rifles at that club were high end factory offerings. Custom rifles were not a big thing in Switzerland like in the US or the UK. We shot Ruag ammo mainly there, their Swiss P line that came in a green box with a 25m zeroing target at the back. Most shooters loaded the 250Scenar or the 250/300SMK I remember. Not much has changed since then for the 338Lapua.
Above: PGM Precision in 338Lapua and March Genesis 6-60×56 Scope as used by Silvain Monney.
Anyhow fast forward a decade or so, I shot with a few other shooters in my circle that ran the Voere 338 rifle made in Austria and the Accuracy International in 338. I seized the opportunity to snap an RPA Range Master in 338Lapua but before I even fired the first round, I switched the barrel to a 300Norma Magnum and I’ve range this caliber for the last 4 years. I knew the latter kicked less and with the heavier bullets was equally capable.
RPA Rangemaster in 338Lapua / 300Norma Mag.
When I first started Extreme Shot Italia in 2020 during that rough patch of Covid lockdown, (maybe one of the good things that came out of that $hitty period) I probably tried 6 or 7 different 338 Lapuas as friends geared up their rifles for the first edition out to 1 mile, we called it Extreme Shot One Mile Italia in fact back then.
Most shooters had a factory rifle in 27” barrel with some having already swapped it around for a 30” barrel. Meanwhile other makes came out with their 30” offerings as well namely PGM precision who made a 32” barrel for their mini Hecate as well as Victrix that made a purposely built target rifle model with a longer barrel. At least 3 of the shooters I know run this combination, Steven Giannone, Rosario Iacono Victrix Shooter and James Bugeja, all of whom competed in this competition using this rifle. Now that I’ve seen many 338’s shooting on training days as well as competition both here and in France at ko1M, I feel I can show you some real world competition performance of the 338 Lapua Magnum.
Firstly, if you don’t handload and you’re happy dropping €7 a pop, you can buy factory ammo in Europe from Ruag, Fiocchi, RWS, PRVI, Lapua, Norma, Sellier and Bellot and HPS Ltd. There maybe others. When we first visited ColdBore Range in Denmark, we bought some 338Lapua ammo to shoot on the 2mile range there. In the US you’ll have even more offerings from the like of BlackHills, Berger, Federal gold medal Match, Hornady Match, Desert Tech ammo, HSM Trophy Gold 338, PPU
If you want to handload for it, you can find a good staple dose of 338LM cases. I have seen many once fired being sold in the UK especially if you want to run a little cheaper typically with the 250/300SMK load. My friend Godfrey Pisani runs the 300gr Hornady A-Tips in his 338LM while many others are loading the 300berger such as Rosario Iacono who placed 2nd place at Extreme Shot Italia.
338 Lapua ballistics with David Rey
This is a 338Lapua fit for a King. David Rey won king of 1 mile in France shooting it out to 1800m in competition and winning the France match against 110 teams and placing 3rd place at Extreme shot Italia after Rosario Iacono Victrix Shooter that also shot a 338 Lapua. Perhaps David will remain known for his very fast string of shooting. Read FULL INTERVIEW with David here.
We asked him how about his 338 lapua ballistics.
David shoots a 300berger at 869m/s at 14degrees Celcius. (2851ft/s) using N570. He tests his ammo at 300m and 600m using a barrel tuner. It seems to do a great job for him. IF you watch his 1 mile string, he held a very tight vertical out to 1 mile with his 338 Lapua.
He told us that at 1900rounds, he replaces his 32″ barrel.
Below We printed the ballistics of David Rey’s load with 300berger OTM at 2851 ft/s
|Caliber:||0.338 in||Weight:||300.0 gr|
|Ballistic Coefficient:||0.419 G7 (ICAO)|
|Muzzle Velocity:||2851.0 ft/s||Distance to Chronograph:||10.0 ft|
|Sight Height:||3.00 in||Sight Offset:||0.00 in|
|Zero Height:||0.00 in||Zero Offset:||0.00 in|
|Windage:||0.000 MOA||Elevation:||0.000 MOA|
|Line Of Sight Angle:||0.0 deg||Cant Angle:||0.0 deg|
|Wind Speed:||10.0 mph||Wind Angle:||90.0 deg|
|Target Speed:||0.0 mph||Target Angle:||90.0 deg|
|Target Height:||15.0 in|
|Temperature:||28.0 °C||Pressure:||29.92 in Hg|
|Humidity:||60 %||Altitude:||0.0 ft|
|Vital Zone Radius:||15.0 in|
|Std. Atmosphere at Altitude:||No||Pressure is Corrected:||Yes|
|Zero at Max. Point Blank Range:||No||Target Relative Drops:||Yes|
|Mark Sound Barrier Crossing:||Yes||Include Extra Rows:||No|
|Column 1 Units:||1.00 MIL||Column 2 Units:||1.00 MOA|
|Round Output to Whole Numbers:||No|
|Elevation:||4.910 MOA||Windage:||0.000 MOA|
|Atmospheric Density:||0.07255 lb/ft³||Speed of Sound:||1141.4 ft/s|
|Maximum PBR:||542 m||Maximum PBR Zero:||458 m|
|Range of Maximum Height:||248 m||Energy at Maximum PBR:||3363.9 ft•lbs|
|Sectional Density:||0.375 lb/in²|
David Marcore is running the WindCut Bullets that are available in numerous weights out to 320gr. I want to bring you some footage out to 2000m with the 338LM, not just any footage, competition footage where shooters have to use the best qualities offered by the round to make impacts from 680m – 1340m on day 1 and 1400-1640m on day 2 and 2000m on the Finals on day 3.
Then you can make up your mind if that is what you are really after. I have also interviewed the winner of King of 1 Mile in France 2023, David Rey about his 338Lapua Magnum loading techniques. David shoots the 338Lapua Magnum in a left bolt version even if he is right handed and he runs through his rounds as fast as a semi auto enabling him to put as many rounds on target as possible when he catches a certain wind condition. We saw some fantastic action which you can see below.
Below are the 338 Lapua magnum shooters and their rifles.
Savage 338 Lapua
Fabio Manganelli shoots a stock Savage 338 Rifle with a Burris scope.
Giulia Trevisan – 338Lapua Ritter and Stark
Ales from Kahles – Ritter and Stark 338 Lapua
Rosario Iacono (2nd Place)
Alfio Musumeci SAKO TRG 42 338 Lapua
Emilio Augusta Shoots a Ruger 338 Lapua
Luigi Lando Sako TRG M10 338 Lapua
Hauri Dominique PGM 338 Lapua Magnum
Olivier Berthet PGM 338 Lapua Magnum
Giuseppe Curcuruto Ruger 338 Lapua Magnum
Salvatore Oddo (coming)
James Bugeja (coming)
Monney Silvain (coming)
Godfrey Pisani (coming)
338 Lapua VS 33XC
Thanks to Mauro del Mastro for sharing this impact moment of the 300 berger with us!
33XC Wind drift
How much flatter is a 33XC wind-wise compared to your current 338 Lapua?
Just deduct 1 MOA from your windage at 1000m, 2 MOA at 1600m, 3 MOA at 2000m and 2.25MOA at 2 miles
The table below compares a few ELR cartridges from 300Norma, 338 Lapua, 33XC, 37XC, 41 XC and the mighty 416 Barrett with popular loads maxed out for ELR using long barrels. (Again work up loads in your rifle using standard safety procedures and best practices.)
Why do I speak of wind drift numbers? Because once you dial your elevation, you’re fine but as we’ve seen at Ko1M in France, it’s the windage that kills your points hitting half a plate out whereas a flatter wind-shooting cartridge would have meant a hit! At this level, everything matters. More energy down range kicks up more dust making life easier for your spotter as well. Watch the yellow string here below for the 33XC.
Notice how using the same parent cartridge and changing bullets/calibre from .338 to 0.375 (37XC), the wind deflection drops considerably burning the same amount of powder [better bullet, higher BC]. The only difference here being the bullet costs from shooting conventional copper jacketed 300 Bergers to shooting monolithic solids in 37XC and increasing bullet weight from 300grain to 400grains.
What’s it like to spot for this cartridge?
Here we can see Oliver Saliba shooting the second day of the match from 1407,1507m and 1640m using his Barrett MRAD 33XC. The 33xc provides an additional 300-350ft/s more than the 338 Lapua giving significant advantage for wind drift or lack thereof.
338 Lapua at 1 Mile
Stay tuned for part 2 of this footage showing 1640m and 2000m shots with these amazing 338 Lapua rifles.
Steve Giannone’s come back
Watch Steve Giannone drill those targets out to 1 mile with his 338 Lapua Victrix Scepter. Watch out for the 1 mile plate which he hits 4 times!!
Wait till 4:42 to see Steve’s awesome 4/5 Impacts at 1 Mile in competition!
Steve Giannone’s awesome one mile string
Giuseppe Curcuruto Ruger 338LM 1400m t0 1640m