The 338 Lapua: A Brief Guide

Most shooters and hunters have heard of the .338 Lapua (8.6×70mm or 8.58×70mm), which received its status as a 1500 meter sniping round. A .338 Lapua launches 250 grain bullets over 3000fps and 300 grain bullets over 2850fps, with good hand loads and sub 1/2 moa accuracy.

The .338 Lapua Magnum cartridge, designed in the eighties, is a NATO codified, a high-powered, long-range cartridge for military snipers. Because it was later used in the 2001 Afghanistan War and the 2003 Iraq War, its popularity gained momentum and it became widely available. The loaded cartridge is 14.93 mm (0.588 in) in diameter (rim) and 93.5 mm (3.68 in) long and developed to penetrate multiple layers of armor at ranges up to 1,000 meters (1,090 yd). Muzzle velocity is dependent on the barrel length, seating depth, and powder charge.

Its casing design paid attention toward thickening and metallurgically strengthening the case web and sidewall. In modern solid head cases, brass hardness is a big factor that determines a case’s pressure limit before being subjected to plastic deformation. Lapua achieved this with a hardness distribution from the head and web (hard) to the mouth (soft) as well as a strengthened (thicker) case web and sidewall. This created a pressure resistant case. The exterior case shape was designed to for reliable feeding and extraction in firearms like a bolt action, automatic, and semi-automatic when under extreme conditions.

It provides a sufficient amount of barrel wear, which is a key for military snipers who fire off thousands of rounds annually, just in practice. Lapua coupled a sensible case volume (7.40 ml) to bore area (56.86 mm2/0.5686 cm2) ratio (13.01 Oratio) with more than enough space for loading long slender projectiles that provide aerodynamic efficiency and external ballistic performance.

The .338 Lapua Magnum has a stout recoil, an appropriate fitting stock and effective muzzle brake to reduce recoil-induced problems. This allows the shooter to fire a lot more rounds before feeling uncomfortable, which ultimately affects accuracy.

Over and above its use in the military, the .338 Lapua Magnum is gaining momentum with hunters and long-range shooters. When the sport shooting target is beyond 1 500 meters, the.338 Lapua Magnum is a perfect choice. The .338 Lapua also has great capability in taking down game animal. It’s suitability for hunting dangerous game, such as the hippopotamus, and elephant is questionable although some southern African countries, it is legal to use the .33 Lapua for big game if the loads have about 5,400 Joules muzzle energy.

The factory loaded .338 Lapua Magnum cartridge has five different bullets:

  • The Naturalis is a pure copper, third generation of the lead-free hunting bullet and can be used where lead core bullets are prohibited. It produces a consistent and controlled expansion. The polymer valve uses a hydraulic force to produce an optimum mushroom effect for a wide velocity range.
  • The Scenar is an open tip match bullet with a boat tail design, ideal for competitive shooting. This competition projectile has a good track record at mid-range and long-range rifle matches and bench rest shooting at an international level. It comes in a wide selection of calibers.
  • Lapua’s Lock Base bullet combines a full metal jacket and boat tail with a patented base design. This rifle bullet is suitable for mid-range and long-range shooting and has proven its worth in sport shooting arenas as well as military and law enforcement applications.
  • AP (for tactical use only)
  • API (for tactical use only)

Lapua offers superior accuracy characteristics that are reliable with timely ignition, optimal muzzle velocity and excellent ballistic properties as a result of well-designed and carefully manufactured ammo components. This versatility of the .338 Lapua Magnum fills the gap between weapons chambered for standard military rounds such as the 7.62×51mm NATO and large, heavy rifles firing the .50 BMG cartridge.

The American .338-378 Weatherby Magnum cartridge introduced in 1998 and the American .338 Remington Ultra Magnum (.338 RUM) cartridge introduced in 2000 are the closest ballistic twins of the .338 Lapua Magnum, which have been commercially available since 2007.

The .338 Lapua Mag has made it into the list of sniper kills over 1,250 m (1,367 yd) three times:

  • In November 2009, Corporal Craig Harrison used .338 Lapua Magnum LockBase B408 bullets in his Accuracy International L115A3 from a distance of 2,475 m (2,707 yd).
  • In August 2008, Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle used .338 Lapua Magnum in his McMillan Tac-338 from a distance of 1,920 m (2,100 yd).
  • In August 2009, Corporal Christopher Reynolds also used the .338 Lapua Magnum LockBase B408 bullets in his Accuracy International L115A3 from a distance of 1,853 m (2,026 yd).

Best Options for Rounds

The Black Hills .338 Lapua Magnum is a high-powered round for rifle shooters who are looking for exceptional power and notable long-range accuracy. Black Hills manufacturers some of the most accurate and effective ammunition in America, leading the United States Military to pick them to load their match grade competition rounds.

Black Hills also produce a wide range of products for law enforcement and private citizens and they have a full selection of products for both handguns and rifles. When you are buying long range ammo, accuracy is the most important attribute.

Perfect for use in match or precision shooting, or plinking at the range, the Black Hills rounds come in a brass casing are loaded with 250 grain and 300 grain Hollow Point Boat Tail Sierra MatchKing bullets. These Sierra MatchKing bullets are some of the best projectiles available that demonstrate consistent.

These cartridges give offer impressive power from the barrel to the target. The projectile has a muzzle velocity of over 2,750 feet per second and a muzzle energy of 5,037 foot-pounds, which enhances target shooting at incredible distances. With the boat tail projectile, the powerful cartridges have straight-line trajectories for longer shot placement. These rounds manufactured by a trusted supplier offer peace of mind for ultimate shooting.

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