How Effective Is the 338 Lapua Hunting Rifle for Hunting?

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Our Associate portal can be found here


The .338 Lapua is by far the largest and most commonly used caliber for long-range hunting today. Many long-range shooters have their favorite rifles, but a considerable gun culture camp settles for the .338 Lapua magnum cartridges.

Military snipers call the .338 Lapua round their death ray in the war against terror, mainly because of its laser-like trajectory. 

Let’s take a closer look at this effective round; explicitly designed for long-range shooting.

The Shadowy, Illusive .338 Lapua Magnum Cartridge

1986’s gun digest referred to a new .338 caliber rifle targeted at snipers and long-range hunters as ‘the mystery sniping cartridge.’ At one time, this round’s profile remained in the shadows, and later adopted as the .338 or 8.6 x 70mm Lapua magnum in 1987. 

This was a dedicated military sniper cartridge for rifles, serving as an intermediary between the then longstanding .50 caliber BMG and .308 Winchester. The .338 Lapua Magnum outclasses many other sniping rounds, and its use has since branched into long-range hunting.

It was developed in the late 80s by Nammo Lapua Oy, a Scandinavian defense contractor, and is popular with snipers in militaries across the globe. Rifles such as Accuracy International or those from Sako use the .388 Lapua as standard long-range performance rounds.

One specific purpose for the .338 Lapua design and development was to provide body armor and other barrier penetrating power at extensive distances. With its .338 caliber slug, this is nothing but a hard-hitting round.

Its massive knockdown power comes from 200 plus grains of bullet weight and the leveraging of velocities to equal lighter cartridges. Speed and weight of this round result in exceptional ballistic coefficients for sure long-range trajectories.

A British soldier using an AI rifle holds the longest sniper kill according to military sources. He chambered the .338 Lapua and took out two Afghani Taliban machine gunners. 

Typical muzzle velocit