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Whopper Bubba

.338/.378 Factory Loadings

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Back in the day, you could not match Weatherby ballistics with handloading. I presume Norma used powder not available to the public. However, today, it is just the opposite. The factory loading of  250 gr bullet in the 338/378 is 3050 FPS. I have loaded the 338/378 with 250 gr bullet in custom rifles to 3450 FPS with just the very start of showing pressure. I discontinued that loading because it was a barrel burner. I backed off to 3250 fps and have used that for years. It is 200 fps faster than the factory 250 gr 338/378 and 250 fps faster than the 338 Lapua. I don't understand why W'by lags behind. I am just using 4350 and not a better big magnum powder.

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Roy is gone.  Who owns the name now?  I assume it's a corporate entity with no interest in firearms, per se.

 

Is Howa still making the rifles in Japan?

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Roy's son owns the name. Nice to see a family business still (like Ruger).

 

Howa makes the Vanguard for W'by  It is the same as the 1500 Howa. I have seen another US manufacturer with the same action. Might be Mossberg...cannot remember exactly.

 

The Mk V metal is made in Maine by Saco (not to be confused with Sako). The wood changes now and then. It was made by an Italian outfit in the late 1990's. I was an expert witness against W'by in the early 2000's when the Italian outfit forgot to put the steel rod through the grip to prevent the thin grip from cracking. It broke all the way through and the scope nailed the guy between the eyes giving him brain damage. W'by lawyers thought they could blame the Italian outfit for the problem and good luck suing the Italians. However, the post on the lower metal rear screw position wasn't round like on a Mauser 98 used with a sleve to reduce bearing stress. It was a 4-sided diamond which acted like a splitting mall. So a design mistake AND a quality control mistake. I have NEVER seen 4 lawyers so upset in my life. Their world went from easy victory to flushed down the drain defeat.

 

I am used to big boomers and can shoot the 338/378 WITH a muzzle break all day long. HOWEVER, one of (4) 378's I have owned did NOT have a break. It was the worst kick I have EVER experienced (including 416 and 460 W'by, 470 Nitro, and .50 BMG). The other big ones DID have a break. The 378 has been written up as the worst kicker of all guns with the problem only partially being the total energy. The rest being the extreme velocity. My old 8" .458 was a ***** cat in comparison (no break). The two together is MAJOR pain and discomfort.

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I have a first year Saco Mk V in 338/378 and like it very much. It replced a 300 Mk V I hunted with for 49 years. It was a beautiful German gun with a screwbean mesquite stock. The 338/378 has a fluted barrel and a removable muzzle break  which is a welcome addition. It is a powerful round. It is very accurate and a bit heavier (tho not a lot) than the standard Mk V. I am very favorably impressed. (5) 338/378's were made in the 1960's (with the last one named the 340/378). Probably dropped due to lack of good powders.

 

As far as the Howa 1500 and Vanguard (same gun), I am impressed with how smooth the action is but I have not owned either. We sell a number of both in our shop and have had no complaints. There are very few guns I pan, but I am favorably impressed with these. Current Remington (and Marlin made by Remington) I pan due to poor QA/QC.

 

However, the MK 5 is now so expensive (retail $2495.) that it is out of the price range of most people. As a result, the used market is in the toilet in comparison. It is hard for my shop to get over $900-$1000 for a used Mk 5 even in like-new condition. We had one on the shelf for a year and finally sold it at auction for $600-650. As a result, this is an excellent choice for someone wanting a really nice gun. We currently have 4 Vanguards in the $650 range and getting a Mk 5 for that kind of money is a really excellent move. I haven't done an Idaho show in some years but there were a lot of used Mk V's when I last did a show there. I don't know what they go for there, but it might be a good place to find a good deal.

 

Brownings are also a bit out of the normal range and used guns are good buys.

 

Hope that info helps you.

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On 5/24/2018 at 9:34 PM, Whopper Bubba said:

Yeah, in fact, white pro hunters in Africa won't allow a customer with a gun with a brake unless it is removed. Hearing is an important sense.

When I was in Namibia a few years ago, my PH made a point of mentioning how happy he was that my rifle--a Mark V in .340 Wby--didn't have a brake.  Brake or not, I still felt sorry for him when he told me to use his shoulder for a rest on a quick shot at a Hartmann's zebra.

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On 6/2/2018 at 8:12 PM, BrianBM said:

Didja hittha zebra?  

 

Are zebras considered "tough," by the standards of African plains game outside the Big 5?

Had a very short window before it was going to bolt, and got confused by the stripes (they really do work); ended up aiming a little high.  Hit where I aimed, the zebra dropped at the shot but got up and ran about 75 yards before expiring from being hit higher in the lungs than it should have been.

 

Based on that, I would say that they're not all that tough, but conclusions based on one experience aren't much better than conclusions based on no experience at all.  The author of "The Perfect Shot," which is more or less the Bible for where to shoot African game, claims that they are a little tougher than average--but nowhere near as tough as wildebeeste, an animal that wasn't native to the area that I hunted in Namibia.

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