When it comes to choosing the best caliber for big game & long range, we can’t ignore the 2 good options: .338 Lapua vs .308 winchester.
The .338 Lapua Magnum is well known for its excellent long-range performance and stopping power. The caliber is mostly used by precision shooters and military snipers.
On the other hand, .308 Winchester is mostly used by hunters, law enforcement agencies, and recreational shooters because of its versatility, moderate recoil, and easy availability.
So, both cartridges are capable of great accuracy and power, but they have some differences that make one good over the other.
Let's move further to know the detailed differences between 308 vs 338 Lapua. This will be helpful to choose the most suitable option for specific shooting needs.
Before moving to the topic: don’t forget to check our previous comparison guide between: .38 Special vs .357.
|Specifications||.338 Lapua||.308 Winchester|
|Cartridge Length||3.681 in (93.5 mm)||2.015 in (51.2 mm)|
|Bullet Diameter||.338 in (8.6 mm)||.308 in (7.82 mm)|
|Case Length||2.724 in (69.2 mm)||2.015 in (51.2 mm)|
|Bullet Weight Range||200-300 grains (13-19 g)||110-180 grains (7.1-11.7 g)|
|Muzzle Velocity Range||2,800-3,000 fps (853-914 m/s)||2,600-2,800 fps (792-853 m/s)|
|Effective Range||1,500-2,000 yards (1,370-1,830 m)||800-1,000 yards (730-914 m)|
|Commonly Used in||Long-range sniper rifles, military applications||Hunting, sport shooting, law enforcement|
|Availability||Less Common||Widely Available|
The .338 Lapua Magnum is a rimless, bottlenecked, centerfire rifle cartridge that was created by the Finnish ammunition manufacturer Lapua in the late 1980s.
It is one of the world's most potent cartridges and was created for long-range shooting.
The 8.61 mm bullet diameter and 93.5 mm case length of the.338 Lapua Magnum. It is loaded with many kinds of ammunition, such as match, hollow-point, and soft-point bullets.
Depending on the load, the.338 Lapua Magnum's muzzle velocity can change, but it normally lies between 2,800 and 3,000 feet per second.
Long-range shooting is made efficient by the.338 Lapua Magnum cartridge. It is able to reach out and touch targets at great distances thanks to its flat trajectory and high muzzle velocity.
It is a great option for hunting big animals because it has a very strong cartridge.
The.338 Lapua Magnum, however, also has certain shortcomings. It has a significant recoil, which some shooters may find challenging to control. Additionally, the cartridge is reasonably priced.
The.338 Lapua Magnum cartridge is a particularly successful round for long-range shooting overall.
The .338 Magnum is a fantastic option if you're searching for a cartridge that can reach out targets at large distances and give devastating terminal performance.
In 1952, Winchester Repeating Arms introduced the.308 Winchester, a rimless, bottlenecked centerfire rifle cartridge.
Despite having a slightly shorter case and a greater chamber pressure, it is based on the 7.62*51mm NATO cartridge.
The.308 Winchester cartridge works well for hunting, target practice, and military applications. It is a popular choice for many shooters because it is a reasonably priced cartridge.
The case length is 71.1 mm, and the bullet diameter is 7.62 mm. It is loaded with many kinds of ammunition, such as match, hollow-point, and soft-point bullets.
Depending on the load, the.308 Winchester's muzzle velocity can change, but it normally lies between 2,400 and 2,700 feet per second.
A fairly efficient cartridge for hunting medium- to large-sized game is the.308 Winchester. It is strong enough to kill bears, elk, and even deer.
It is a fantastic option for target shooting as well, and with the correct load, it may be utilized for long-distance shooting.
Overall, the.308 Winchester cartridge is fairly well-liked and adaptable. The.308 Winchester is a fantastic choice if you're searching for a cartridge that is simple to use and reasonably priced.
The .338 Lapua Magnum and the .308 Winchester are two very different cartridges, and their bullet sizes and performance reflect that.
The .338 Lapua Magnum has a larger bullet diameter than the .308 Winchester.
The Cartridge Length of 338 Lapua is 3.681 in (93.5 mm) & bullet Bullet Diameter is .338 in (8.6 mm).
On the other hand, the .308 Winchester cartridge length is 2.015 in (51.2 mm) & Bullet Diameter is .308 in (7.82 mm).
This means that the .338 Lapua Magnum has more mass, which gives it more energy and penetration.
Here is a table that summarizes the key differences between the two cartridges in terms of their bullet size and performance:
|Characteristic||.338 Lapua Magnum||.308 Winchester|
|Bullet diameter||8.6 mm||7.62 mm|
|Bullet mass||168-250 grains||150-180 grains|
|Energy||3,000-3,400 ft-lbs||2,500-2,800 ft-lbs|
Comparing ballistics is one of the most important topics to cover, while comparing the calibers. Under ballistics, we need to examine the trajectory, muzzle velocity, energy, and accuracy of both cartridges.
Trajectory means the bullet’s flight path to its target. It's measured in bullet drop. When we compare the .338 Lapua & .308 Winchester by its Trajectory, the .338 Lapua has a flatter trajectory than the .308 Win. That means the .338 Lapua will drop less over long distances. This makes it an accurate choice at longer ranges.
Muzzle Velocity is known as the speed at which a bullet leaves the barrel of a firearm. Between .338 Lapua & .308, the muzzle velocity winner will be .338 Lapua. It has higher muzzle velocity as compared to 308 winchester. This clearly indicates that the .338 Lapua will travel faster and maintain its velocity over longer distances.
Energy, in simple words, is the amount of force a bullet carries. Between .338 Lapua & .308, .338 Lapua has a higher energy. It simply means that the .338 Lapua will hit with more force as compared to 308 winchester.
Bullet accuracy is counted as the ability of a firearm to hit a target consistently. Because of its flatter trajectory and higher muzzle velocity, the .338 Lapua will be the winner in accuracy tests for log range. On the other hand the .308 Win is still accurate at shorter ranges and will be a good option for hunting and target shooting.
Here is a table comparing the ballistics of the .338 Lapua and .308 Winchester:
|.338 Lapua||2,800 fps||4,000 ft-lbs||0.3 mils/100 yards|
|.308 Winchester||2,400 fps||2,800 ft-lbs||0.4 mils/100 yards|
As you can see, the .338 Lapua has a significant advantage in terms of muzzle velocity, energy, and trajectory.
This means that the .338 Lapua can shoot flatter and hit harder at longer ranges than the .308 Winchester.
Recoil can affect the accuracy and shooter comfort, so knowing the recoil is very essential while choosing the calibers.
The 338 Lapua Magnum is a powerful cartridge that can produce significant recoil. Depending on the rifle and load, recoil energy can range from 35 to 40 foot-pounds.
The 308 Winchester, on the other hand, has modest recoil of about 20 foot-pounds of force. The lower recoil of the 308 Winchester makes it an excellent choice for beginner shooters or those who are sensitive to recoil.
The .338 Lapua has more recoil than the .308 Winchester. This is because the larger bullet and case capacity of the .338 Lapua generate more recoil energy. However, the recoil of the .338 Lapua is still manageable with a good recoil pad and a properly fitted rifle.
Here is a table comparing the recoil of the .338 Lapua and .308 Winchester:
|Cartridge||Recoil (ft-lbs) Velocity|
|.338 Lapua||20-40 ft-lbs|
|.308 Winchester||15-25 ft-lbs|
As you can see, the .338 Lapua has more recoil than the .308 Winchester.
This means that the .338 Lapua will be more difficult to shoot accurately for long periods of time.
Both calibers are ideal choices for military, law enforcement, hunting, and long-range shooting when we compare.338 Lapua &.308 Winchester by application & uses.
Despite having similar strengths and weaknesses that make them better suited for various purposes, they are both strong cartridges with great ballistics.
The .338 Lapua Magnum is a popular choice for military and law enforcement applications because it has a long effective range and can penetrate body armor. It is also a good choice for anti-materiel applications, such as taking down vehicles or light structures.
The .308 Winchester is also a popular choice for military and law enforcement applications, but it is not as powerful as the .338 Lapua Magnum. The .308 Winchester is a good choice for general-purpose use, such as providing fire support for infantry units or engaging targets at shorter ranges.
The .338 Lapua Magnum is a popular choice for hunting large game, such as elk, moose, and bear. It is a good choice for hunting at extended ranges, and it can provide a quick and humane kill.
The .308 Winchester is also a popular choice for hunting, but it is not as powerful as the .338 Lapua Magnum. The .308 Winchester is a good choice for hunting medium-sized game, such as deer and antelope.
The .338 Lapua Magnum is the clear choice for long-range shooting. It has a long effective range and can maintain its accuracy at extended distances. The .308 Winchester can also be used for long-range shooting, but it is not as accurate as the .338 Lapua Magnum at extended ranges.
Here is a table that summarizes the key differences between the two cartridges in terms of their applications:
|Application||.338 Lapua Magnum||.308 Winchester|
|Military and law enforcement||Yes||Yes|
|Hunting||Yes, large game||Yes, medium-sized game|
Ultimately, the best cartridge for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences.
Still, .338 Lapua will be good option for extended ranges and take down large game, And on the other hand, if you are not used to shooting high-powered rifles or if you are on a budget, the .308 Winchester is a better option.
There are huge differences between cost & availability of .338 Lapua & .308 Winchester.
Cost: The .338 Lapua Magnum is significantly more expensive than the .308 Winchester. This is because the .338 Lapua Magnum is a more specialized cartridge, and it is not as widely produced.
Availability: When it comes to availability, there is a huge difference between these two cartridges.
The .308 is a popular caliber for medium to large size game in North America, that's why more manufacturers produce this caliber. It's widely available to buy online & in stores also. On the other hand, .338 Lapua is also easily available to buy but in less quantity as compared to 308 Winchester.
|Characteristic||.338 Lapua Magnum||.308 Winchester|
|Cost||More expensive||Less expensive|
|Availability||Less available||More available|
|CPR||$1.00 To $6.00 for 20 Rounds***||$0.75 To $5.00 for 20 Rounds***|
So, we can say that the .308 Winchester is by far the better choice when it comes to ammo cost & availability.
Buying in bulk is always smart, make sure to check out our stock of bulk ammo to get the best price & stock.
Depending on your unique requirements and shooting style, you'll need to choose the best cartridge.
The.338 Lapua is a solid option if you're seeking for a cartridge with great ballistics and penetration for long-range shooting.
The.308 Winchester is a good option if you're seeking for a more adaptable cartridge that is less expensive and has less recoil.
So, after the deep comparison of “.338 Lapua vs .308”, we can say that both calibers have their own strengths and weaknesses.
The .338 Lapua is a great choice for long range shooting because of its higher muzzle energy, flatter trajectory.
On the other hand, the 308 Winchester is a popular choice for medium to large size games. It has a lower recoil, lower cost, and wider availability of ammunition than the .338 Lapua.
Ultimately, the choice between the two cartridges depends on the intended use and personal preferences of the shooter.