Throwback Thursday .338 Lapua on the Cheap

By CTD Rob published on in Firearms

Customers often ask us what the best long-range rifles are. This is a loaded question since most calibers have a niche they fill or job they do particularly well. In the world of long-range precision, the .338 Lapua has overtaken most of the other calibers in popularity. Despite the lower kinetic energy when compared to the .50 BMG, the .338 currently holds three places in the top 10 longest confirmed sniper kills. It fills the role of an anti-personnel and anti-material round nicely. Civilians and military alike have embraced this cartridge as a young legend, and it is only growing in popularity. However, the .338 Lapua has one distinct disadvantage—it is outlandishly expensive.

For the average shooter who takes their .270 or .308 to the range on weekends, the .338 Lapua is like a Ferrari Enzo. Without devoting a lot of time and resources, the cost of owning and maintaining a rifle in that caliber is too great for the payoff. However, being the stubborn sort, I figured there had to be a way to shoot the .338 while not having it rip a Grand Canyon-sized dent in your wallet.

The Gun

Savage 110 in .338 Lapua

Savage 110 in .338 Lapua

We will start with the easy part. If you can find one in stock, Savage makes excellent quality bolt action .338 rifles for 1200 to 1500 bucks. I know that may seem like a fortune to pay for a bolt gun, but when you compare that price tag to some of the other custom .338 rifles on the market, you know you are getting a smoking deal. For example, Steyr’s SSG-08 rings in at around seven grand. With the Savage 110 or 111 Hunter, you get a detachable box magazine, muzzlebrake, AccuTrigger, Picatinny rail, and one darn accurate rifle.

.338 Lapua Hornady Custom Match BTHP

.338 Lapua Hornady Custom Match BTHP

The Glass

Everyone says not to skimp on the glass. I agree. Like many things, when it comes to scopes you get what you pay for. One consideration to maintain is the .338 Lapua has a fair amount of recoil, much more than your .308. However, with that muzzle brake, the recoil won’t be out of control, but stay away from the bargain basement scopes since they tend to not hold up. An SWFA SS 10×42 scope for around $300 will hold up to the recoil and give you an outstanding mil-dot reticle. For a little over $400, you could grab a Vortex Viper. It gives you a BDC reticle and a stellar reputation for an outstanding scope. Don’t forget to pick up some quality scope rings either. I like the quick detachable models in steel or aluminum. The steel rings tend to be stronger, and since this is already a heavy rifle, you won’t notice the extra weight steel rings bring to the party.

The Ammo

This is by far going to be the most expensive part of running this rifle. If you are not reloading your ammunition, you’re wrong. Start reloading and learn what your rifle likes to eat. If you purchase regular factory ammunition, a box of 20 rounds can cost well over $100. But if you can reload that brass, you’re going to save a lot of money.

Even though getting into the .338 Lapua game can get expensive, it isn’t out of reach if you are determined to get it done. There are plenty of lower cost options to give you a leg up. Who knows, you may start to outshoot the less expensive components of your setup and start investing in some seriously heavy-duty gear.

Are you a .338 fan? What’s your longest range shot? Share your answers in the comment section.

Tags: , , , , ,

Trackback from your site.

The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, "The Shooter's Log," is to provide information-not opinions-to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (36)

  • Doug Shuster

    |

    I purchased the Savage 110FCP-HS just before Christmas 2012 for a present to myself. The rifle currently is back at Savage HQ in Massa2shits because it won’t hit the broad side of a barn. At 100 yards & my windage on my NF 5-22×50 NXS buried to the right, the rounds impacted 7 mils to the left of center bulls eye!!! NOT Happy! In addition, 100 new Lapua cases costs $265.00! 250 Berger 300gr. OTM hybrid bullets is $150.00. 1-lb of H1000 powder is @ $30.00. My old Savage 10FP in .223 is a laser out past 600 yards. Should have saved up and bought a Sako TRG-42 in .338 Lapua & cried once. Just my opinion.

    Reply

  • Tom

    |

    Nah! Most firefights occur at it furtherist of 100 yards with the next at 50. I think this is an ego thing going. Check out the Russian chick who took out over 300 men with a 7.62×45.

    Reply

  • tom miller

    |

    I would love to have one but the best,lowest cost, no recoil, and inexpensive med. range round that anyone can own is the 6.5 grendal. It can be a thousand yard round in a light gun in bolt or AR format and very easy on the budget. It is also a great Deer gun and long range varmint. I have three and it is a step up from the 308 on the cheep. Tom Miller

    Reply

  • Mark Dimitroff

    |

    I wanted a .338L for a long time and just could not justify the overall cost, so I stepped down and bought a Rem 700 series 300 win mag. What a fantastic weapon. Looking at ballistics the 2 are so close. It has a 26″ Schneider heavy barrel, and I am having
    a brake installed. Ammo is much less. I don’t think I will be reaching out and touching someone at 1400 meters, but I feel a 1000 yard shot is quite possible. I am going to replace the trigger but need some help on picking one out. I like one that is self adj and will brake crisp at about 2.5 lbs.
    If I can get some recomendations I would be very gratefull. As many before me have said it takes away almost half the cost of ammo, and you get to design the round that rifle likes to eat.

    Reply

  • Cort Stevens

    |

    What is the cost for tempering and distressing, does Savage already due that w/ the fluted barrel? I’ve owned the 110 model for about 6 months and could not be happier with it. Gun Tests news letter did a side by side with it against another well known brand that ran over $6000.00 and they said the Savage held its own and for the money, it is a steal.
    I’m still playing with different scopes, I may end up going with the Vortex Viper.
    I’m also still waiting for my Tax Stamp approval for the ThunderBeast Suppresor, they say it will also benefit the accuracy- jumping out of my boots with anticipation of its arrival.
    Just starting to reload, anyone out there that has sound advise regarding this, please touch base w/ me to help keeping it safe and any info that is germane to the Savage would be appreciated.
    Stay safe and make our government adhere to the 2nd and 3rd amendment!

    Reply

  • Peter Specht

    |

    I have been shooting the .338L for some years now and find it to be the best of the mid-long range calibers currently in use. I still use my .300 Win Mag for much of my day to day work from ranges of 100 to 1100 meters. If “Long distance, the next best thing to being there” is what your after then I suggest you aquire one of the Barret .416’s. I have found this long gun to be the antithesis to reaching out. However, My prefered platform is the Sako TRG-42, toped with a Nightforce NXS 3.5-15×50 Zero Stop NPR1 Reticle, with the High Speed .25 MOA Turrets and currently using my Barret Bors system. Consistent accuracy and on target strikes are attained in the 1250 to 1400 meter distance, on the bags or bi- pod. The factory munitions for this caliber are very accurate and extra care and QC seems to be taken with their production to produce above average product. Very expensive! Reloading is a must if you plan to shoot more than 20 or 30 rounds a year. Your cost decrease a great deal and you can produce exactly what you need to feed your system. Brass is available but get it now before the goverment makes outlaws out of us. This is a costly system to buy, maintain and feed. Quite frankly, if your not using it for its designed purpose or for long distance hunting. You should think about sticking with the .308, .300 WinMag, or .338 WinMag.. They cost less to aquire, there’s more of the available, cost less to feed and even in the sporting versions may be used to reach out to that 1000 meter mark. I have shot the Savage chambered for the Lapua round and was very pleased with the results. Get the very best optics you can afford. You won’t be sorry if you do, ever. And two last thoughts, give a look at a product made by XADO for gun barrels and consider sending you guns to have Cryogenic Tempering and De- stressing done. The function and accuracy doing either or both of these is the difference between night and day. That’s my two bucks worth.

    Reply

  • MMSDave

    |

    Looks like I will be sticking to my Chilean Mauser/7.62N for a while longer.

    Reply

  • undex

    |

    I agree the .338 is the preferred little brother to the .50. However, the brass for .338 is at the top of the list for ammo control by the regime. True one can reload policed brass (as long as primers and points are available) a limited number of times. However, like all high power cases, the brass will start to split and a shooter will find themselves with a very expensive club. Purchasing and humping/tubing a sufficient amount of .338 ammo NOW will be cost prohibitive and become a liability instead of an asset. This is like having that Ferrari Enzo as your prime mover in Podunk Alabama where there are no resources for keeping it running when a Chevy pickup would make more sense. Don’t get me wrong… In a perfect world, I would prefer the .338 over any other range round. However, I believe the .308 still makes the most sense as the brass is plentiful and with the right weapon, I can use foreign surplus military rounds if my source for Win dries up.

    Reply

  • AJ Wilkinson

    |

    If you’re not, quite, up to a .338 Lapua lifestyle, you can make do with the poor man’s version–the .325 WSM, which should be accurate if you want to push it out to 1200 – 1300 meters or so. It has similar pressures, and Savage makes several with muzzle brakes starting at around $900.

    Reply

  • Joe F

    |

    I don’t see the cost of this gun and or ammo at such a price. I have tried a top line one in AZ with high grade ammo. Not impressed. 50 cal still has me hooked.

    Reply

Leave a comment

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

%d bloggers like this: