Ok, things are getting a little complicated. To answer your responses to my other post, yes, I have experience in shooting heavier calibers but, here is the deal. (Please excuse the length of this post)
I have a 25/06 that is a very fine rifle for hunting small to medium game both back in Alabama and here in Colorado. However, I am giving this family (3 generations) rifle to my youngest son and will be replacing it with a Tikka T3 Lite Stainless or Savage 16 in left hand. My question is this, do I want a 300WSM (165 - 180 grn Barnes-X) or a 338 Win Mag (180 - 225 grn Barnes-X or Nosler) for Elk, Mule, Bighorn, Bigfoot, Swamp monster...... You get the point. I have access to some GREAT land with plenty of game and expect to make shots up to and exceeding 350 yards. Pain in recoil is not a problem since I cut my teeth on 300 H&H mag from my Grandpa's Win pre-64 model 70 as a boy shooting bottles in a trash dump. I now use the lead Caddy at the range.
I really like the 300WSM with its 130 - 180 grn variety but, I am more confident in the 338's killing power for the big guys I am now able to hunt. I know that the 338 is overkill on Mule deer but not on bigfoot.
Here are some stats I need to consider. I hunt using Fed premium ammo. 300wsm 180 grn Barnes zero of 300 yards +- under 4" is 0-350 yards. At 350 yards Vel is 2562, Energy is 2624, Trajectory is -3.8 with a -3.0 at 100 at the other extreme. 338 win mag 180 grn zeroed at 300 yds is -2.9 at 100 yds and -3.8 at 350. At 350 Vel is 2494, Energy is 2487, Traj. is -3.8. 338Win Mag 225grn at 350 yards Vel is 2236, Energy is 2499, Traj is -4.8 with the other extreme being -3.9 at 100. What I am seeing tells me that the 300WSM delivers more than the 338 at 350 with no real change in Traj. The B.C. is as follows: 300WSM 180 is .552, 338WM 180 is .372, and the 338WM 225 is .386. Oh, for a perfect world right about now. What is a guy to do??? I am also wondering about the rifle, given its barrel weight and stock design, will it perform and stand up better using the 300WSM vs. the 338WM. I do not expect to fire the rifle that often outside of the initial sight in but, barrel burnout is a consideration. Does anyone know about this factor with these calibers?
I have also been told that the 165grn bullet in the 300WSM was the flagship of the caliber. Is that too light for ELK? I have been told that my 25/06 or a 270 is capable of dropping elk. However, I do not want to loose an animal due to lack of killing power at the 350+ yard ranges. Up to date, my longest shot on medium game has been under 200 yards (deer in Alabama and a Muley here last season). I do plan on a cow elk this year or next.
Anyway, I would appreciate drawing on others’ experiences.
Bob in canon City, CO