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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I inherited a rifle and dies in the aforementioned caliber from my father. While cleaning out his reloading room I was unable to find any of his pet loads written down anywhere. My best friend had a rifle chambered in the same caliber at the same time as my father by Wyatt in So. Oregon. My father reloaded ammo for both rifles.
I have scoured the internet for load data but can only find data for the 338-06 A-Square. I know the cartridges are close in volume but I am hoping for some help from dedicated 338-06 AI 40° reloaders.
I am most interested in data using a Barnes 185gr TTSX. But honestly, I will take anything I can get.
My friend would like to get the rifle up and running again.
Any help you provide would be much appreciated. Thanks.

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I shot a 280AI with a 168gr bullet and have great luck with Retumbo, I'm shooting 63gr which is a compressed load and have zero pressure signs. The 280 shares the same case and similar volumes the main difference will be bullet weight. If I were developing a load for that cartridge I'd start with Retumbo and slightly less than 63gr and work my way up until I was happy, I know a lot of guys running Retumbo in large mags with heavy bullets as well.
 

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With just a quick Google, there is a lot of chatter on 338-06 AI
It will look like this, not officially published :

I would be comfortable starting with the standard 338-06 loads and working up.

I'd also want to be using 200-210 bullets in a 338-06
A standard 30-06 will drive a 180gr just fine and with a better B.C.
 

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I started with standard data and learned the listed load filled the improved case into the bottom of the neck. Didn't go past that, chickened out. Haven't done a whole lot of experimenting so not any first hand knowledge. It kicks a lot.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
With just a quick Google, there is a lot of chatter on 338-06 AI
It will look like this, not officially published :

I would be comfortable starting with the standard 338-06 loads and working up.

I'd also want to be using 200-210 bullets in a 338-06
A standard 30-06 will drive a 180gr just fine and with a better B.C.
Thx DD. I know this wildcat was built around the 200-225 bullet weight but we are limited to copper down here. Copper likes speed and the 185 will perform like the heavier lead core with some side benefits. My plan, like your suggestion, is to use A-square data and work up if needed. I am just hoping for some dedicated 338-06 AI guys to chime in!

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I started with standard data and learned the listed load filled the improved case into the bottom of the neck. Didn't go past that, chickened out. Haven't done a whole lot of experimenting so not any first hand knowledge. It kicks a lot.....
Hehe. My friend is recoil sensitive hence the 185 grn plan. When they had the guns made I was shooting a 300 WM. The gun weighed just over 6lbs and was shooting 200 gr speers. I laughed at them for talking about recoil.

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I like the 338-06 on paper. I never owned one, but I have owned several 35 whelens which are almost the same. I've had plenty of fun debates around the campfire about the merits of each...I doubt any critter could tell the difference if they were hit with either.

I've had good luck with Nosler data. I haven't used any copper solids in it but, the ones I'm working with in other rifles seem to be more picky about rifle twists.
 

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Retumbo is way, way to slow burning for 338-06...You want a medium burn rate...H4350 range.. I use Re 17 with excellent results... Hodgons has data on their site..Start 1 grain below their 338-06 max data and work up using standard reloading practices..338-06 is not finicky and you should have no problem finding an acceptable load.Good luck...Excellent chambering.. For 185's I would look at H4895- Re 15- BLC-2..
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thx smokeploe and santiam338. Never thought about the 35 Whelan data. I have lots of H4350 and Varget. Need to look to see if i have 4895

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My load is 54 gr imr 4350 behind a 225gr accubond. 2500fps from a 26” bbl. It’s a coast bull hammer, dead right there first shot every time. Of course that’s depending on good shot placement ;)

-Scott
 

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Never had any idea this cartridge was so common among us.

Scott: Your load is fairly soft which doesn't really matter is it gives the results your happy with. You can get more but at a cost of more recoil. 58.5 gr. Hybrid100V should produce around 2640 fps at a somewhat low pressure. 59.5 gr. of H4350, maybe 2670 fps. This data is for standard .338-'06, not AI. Both are compressed charges in the standard case. You may need to increase the powder to get the same or better performance in the AI case.... if that's what you want. I don't have any data for the Accubond but with a different bullet, book shows the best powders are H414/W760, H380, BL-C(2). Book shown max of 61 gr. IMR4350 for 2710 fps. in the standard case. You could probably coax another 60 fps. out of the AI case while staying within pressure limits of 63,000psi. All data is with a 24" barrel.

Cull: Barnes 185, X, 59 gr. BL-C(2) gives the best performance, 2943 fps. out of the standard case. TSX/TTSX bullet doesn't show BL-C(2), but you could play around with it. The TSX/TTSX should produce less pressure so you've got some room.

The load I used for deer was 63 gr. H414 behind a 200 gr. Hornady. Never shot any deer so can't talk about bullet performance but I suspect deer would die with a large exit wound. Never chronographed the load but it should be around 2740 fps. or a little more. Other powders will produce more velocity according to the book. 57 gr. IMR4320 shows 2827 fps.The ammo went bang and it is accurate out of my barrel. H414 is a good substitute for H4350, (not grain for grain) they are very similar in performance.

I think good starting loads for the AI would be the maximum load listed for the standard case.
 

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I used 57 grains of RL15 in mine with a 185 barnes tsx. I think it ran just under 3K fps. I wasn't real impressed as the bullet failed to pass through 2 mule deer.
I switched to a 210 partition. I use 63.5 grains of H4350. I never clocked it but it should be a little north of 2800 fps.
This load passed through a 5 point bull this year. Hit in the right lung, top of the heart and then exited right shoulder. Little over 200 yards. I tried pushing this bullet faster but accuracy suffered.

Both loads are basically maxish a-square loads but I figured I could go a little hot with the AI. However, if I had to do it again I probably wouldn't have gone with the AI in this cartridge as it doesn't give that much more capacity. It is fun though.

I think this is a very good elk cartridge for the way most people hunt elk and I find the recoil very similar between these 2 loads. I don't love recoil but this is very managable.
 

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Bullfrog: Agree with staying with the non-AI. That sounds like a good load for the 210 P, very low pressure, decent velocity. Depending on the barrel, you might be a bit shy of 2800 fps. BL-C(2) will get you there and more, according to the book. Don't think it matters much to an elk. Kind of surprised the Barnes failed like that.
 

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I used to run the 200 gr Hornady interlocks before they discontinued them.. Switched to the 200 gr Speer hotcore.. 62 gr of Re 17 gets me 2830 fps with a 25" barrel.. 1947 transition model 70 in standard 338-06 ,,It has accounted for several bears out to 350 yards without a runner of any kind..Dead right there..
 
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