Cartridge Sizes .30-06 verses .338

by Mark Braddy

Is a .338 caliber cartridge bigger than a 30.06 caliber?

Hi Mark, and thanks for your inquiry. Yes the .338 caliber cartridge is considerably larger than a 30-06 as can be seen in the image below.

.338 and 30-06 cartridgeFrom left to right: 7mm GPC, 30-06 Springfield, and 338 Winchester Magnum Image courtesy of Wikipedia

With more powder capacity because of a larger diameter and longer casing, as well, the .338 takes a larger diameter bullet, the .338 is capable of delivering a much heavier bullet with more energy at the target.
The 30-06 bullet diameter is .308 inches while the .338 bullet is .338 inches.

Let Do Some Comparisons

  • Muzzle energy of a .30-06 with 180 grain bullet = 2913

  • Muzzle energy of a .338 with 200 grain bullet = 3225

  • Muzzle velocity of a .30-06 with 180 grain bullet = 2700

  • Muzzle velocity of a .338 with 200 grain bullet = 2630

  • Bullet drop at 300 yards with zero at 200 yards - .30-06 with 180 grain bullet = 8.6 inches

  • Bullet drop at 300 yards with zero at 200 yards - .338 with 200 grain bullet = 9.4 inches

There is not an appreciable difference between these two cartridges... except to the shooter!
The downfall of the .338 is recoil. The .338 is most unpleasant to shoot unless the rifle has a muzzle brake installed (.338 ammunition costs more too).

Either one of these fine cartridges would be very suitable for moose hunting or for hunting of moose sized game.

Cartridge information gathered from

Comments for Cartridge Sizes .30-06 verses .338

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.338 data
by: Anonymous

MV .338; Winchester Magnum with 200 gr. Accubond 3020 FPS.

Both will work
by: Anon

Both 30-06 and .338 will work fine on moose. Naturally the .338 may do it with more authority so to speak. With proper shot placement and a range yielding ample energy the 30-06 has already proven itself. The .338 needs no more elaboration than that either. The .338 does cost more to shoot, will likely be a heavier rig and definitely has noticeable recoil to many.
It comes down to a matter of preference if you know you’re capable enough with a 30-06. Do I want the extra insurance of a .338s energy and size? Or am I good enough with the 30-06 to place the bullet? Either way, a moose will sometimes react as if it weren’t hit at all. Or maybe just a flicker of skin and muscle as if it were merely bit by a mosquito-lol. Pretty big beasts those moose.

30-06 is all you really need
by: Anonymous

30-06 will kill any animal on the planet. And it already has. .338 is larger and will do it with more effectively; and with greater recoil and cost. When there were no minimum cartridge requirements in Africa, many elephants were taken with 7mm even. As one gets older they will appreciate less recoil. Especially if you like to practice a lot. 30-06 is most anyone really needs if they become a good shooter. Now if a coastal bear, bison, Cape buffalo, elephant or rhino are charging you,you would certainly feel better with a .338(or bigger)!

Split the difference
by: Anonymous

I was always a 30-06 fan. A .308 diameter is as much as most need. I like 30-30 and 7.62x39 also. They just work. I got bored and bought a couple of 8mm(325wsm and 8x57). 8x57 performance is same as 30-06. I tried a magnum and was thinking.338 but settled for two 325wsm rifles. Probably should have got .338 instead. Not much difference between .325 and .338 performance wise. However, any new rifle is fun . Magnums give you more energy but really not necessary. 30-06 is king in my mind. There are other great ones but 30-06 is good enough for almost anything. .338 has recoil many start to notice. Especially bench work. Considering that , 30-06 is far more practical being the .338 doesn’t perform all that much better than a 30-06 when being used by a good rifleman.

by: Anonymous


200 gr 338 is way faster than 2600 fps
by: Anonymous

Even a 225 gr 338 WM bullet goes 2800 fps from the factory.

Velocity of 338 200 gr low
by: Boredintr

I hand load spec hornaday 200 gr bullets at 7100 gr powder and get a book speed of 2900 fps faster then this example and drops black bears in their tracks!

Show the rest
by: Boredintr

Ok if you limit this comparison to 200 gr bullets but check the 225 grain 338 bullet it has the muzzle energy of the 30-06 at 200 yards

338 deadly on moose
by: trapper

I have shot 8 moose with a 338 win mag. I use 210 gr. Nosler partition fed. bullets. 6 of the 8 have dropped in their tracks. Some were shot at 30 yards, and the longest at 250 yards.
I would use the Nosler bullet in any caliber 270 and up.

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