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  W e l c o m e ,    d e m o
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The Art of Reloading - AmmoGuide Cartouche Series


 
Mike's Monthly Monologue About Shooting
Volume 1, Issue 7 - December 1, 2012  -  Other Issues  -  Articles/Downloads

THUNDER AND STEEL
by Mike Price
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I remember being excited to finally receive my Custom Mark V chambered in .340 Weatherby Magnum from Ed Ott. I really like Ed's work but more importantly I trust his work. He has always put together real shooters for me. His work is straight-forward, uncluttered, looks good, very clean, but most importantly it is accurate. This .340 Weatherby Magnum had a #2, 26" Krieger Moly Chrome barrel with a German Mark V receiver supporting Talley bases and rings. It is bedded in a McMillian stock with a Timney trigger. This is a serious and significant big game rifle and cartridge. Anyone who has owned a Mark V rifle chambered in some of the other Weatherby cartridges is usually a fan of the .340 Weatherby Magnum. It is a real magnum with enough recoil to prove that claim, but not enough to require a muzzle break if you are used to shooting a magnum.

This is truly one of the best if not "THE" best cartridge Roy Weatherby ever produced. It is an exceptionally versatile all around cartridge for

.340 Weatherby Magnum
big game with reasonable recoil. The 250-300 gr bullets are a little too much for some who are used to shooting magnums. Most of us who use the magnum cartridges when hunting big game will not have an issue with the recoil. The new cartridges like the .338 Federal, the .325 Winchester Short Magnum and the old classic 338 Winchester Magnum are not able to run with the .340 Weatherby Magnum.

The .338 Remington Ultra Magnum is not really a big improvement over the .340 Weatherby Magnum. The .338 Remington Ultra Magnum has 104.6 grs case capacity while the .340 Weatherby Magnum only has 93.5 grs case capacity. Now to be fair Weatherby does load their ammo to greater pressures than the .338 Remington Ultra Magnum ammo is loaded. The hand-loader can duplicate Weatherby loads with the .340 Weatherby Magnum for the following reasons. 1. The Mark V action. 2. The Free-bore of the Weatherby rifle. 3. The powder choices we have today. The .338 Remington Ultra Magnum does suffer more from diminishing returns than does the .340 Weatherby Magnum. The .338 Remington Ultra Magnum has a rebated rim which I don't like, but some don't like the belt on the .340 Weatherby Magnum.


Photo by Ed Ott

In my opinion the ..340 Weatherby Magnum's case volume is the limit that makes any sense for a bullet of the .338" diameter in a pure hunting rifle. I know there are those who really like the .338 - .378 Weatherby Magnums, but I do not like muzzle brakes on my hunting rifles and that eliminates the .338 - .378 Weatherby Magnums as far as I am concerned when one is discussing a pure hunting rifle for spot and stalk and general use. Without a brake it is not very pleasant to shoot and I am not recoil sensitive. The .340 Weatherby Magnum is a perfect balance of velocity, powder charge, bullet weight, power and performance for a serious big game cartridge in the .338 caliber.

This allows the .340 Weatherby Magnum to be right in the middle of good company filling a true niche, making it a true all around big game cartridge. When you consider that it is chambered in the Mark V rifle and shoots flat (like some of the .300 magnums) and hits hard (like the some of the .375 magnums) there is no doubt about its pedigree.

The .340 Weatherby Magnum is not a compromise by any stretch of the imagination. On the contrary, with the bullet and powder selections of today, the .340 Weatherby Magnum is

225 gr Accubond
arguably the best all-around big game cartridge ever conceived. It is surely one of the best elk and moose cartridges, and has no problem anchoring the biggest bears in quick fashion. Interestingly enough, if your .340 Weatherby Magnum can accurately handle lighter bullets, it can reach out hitting deer and hogs like Thor's Hammer, not destroying any more meat than the 7mm and 30 caliber magnum cartridges.

A hunter in the field with this one cartridge could take everything from deer to the largest Alaskan Brown bears and even put a Bison down in short order. With the 230-300 grain bullets it will buck the wind at distances that most hunters would consider reasonable and with plenty of energy to anchor anything in North America and most of Africa (where legal to use in Africa). Also, with some bullets and loads in the right hands and with good optics, it is a very effective round that can be used to take game at long ranges.

Since 1962 as a response to the .338 Winchester Magnum, the .340 Weatherby Magnum has performed without question. It is easy to load, accurate, has reasonable recoil (if stocked correctly), and it hits like a sledgehammer. With velocities that are perfect for premium big game bullets manufactured for the .338 caliber - the .340 Weatherby Magnum can kill everything from "Mice to Tyrannosaurus Rex ". It would certainly take down a big mean-spirited brown bear up close.

Most seasoned hunters know that the 30-06 with a 180 gr bullet is very effective on most game given proper circumstances. Also the effectiveness of the .300 Winchester Magnum or the .300 Weatherby Magnum using a 180 gr bullet is unquestioned. In light of this fact a .340 Weatherby Magnum using a 250 gr bullet, has a striking energy that is 40% greater than a 30-06 that uses a 180 gr bullet. Also, the cross-sectional area of the 250 gr bullet allows it to hit like a freight train. The greater momentum factor of the 250 gr bullet, allows for deeper penetration while releasing much more energy over a greater distance along the wound channel. This is due to 70 grains more weight and higher velocities. The .340 Weatherby Magnum is a .338 Winchester Magnum on steroids.


To put things in perspective, the 30-06 moving a 180 gr bullet at 2800 fps generates 3,122ft pounds of energy at muzzle with a 180 gr bullet. The .340 Weatherby Magnum using a 250 gr bullet turns out 3,137ft pounds of energy at 400yds. This is a highly effective big game cartridge with a lot of authority at its disposal and power to spare for up close and far off work when taking game.

The .340 Weatherby Magnum has tremendous potential as an all-around big game cartridge for even the largest, toughest and heaviest game in North America. It is a tremendous medium bore that really reaches out on long shots and still has a big punch when it reaches the animal. It is truly a fast cartridge like the .300 mags, hitting harder with a quick crushing blow like the 375mags. Bullet selection ranges from 180 grains to 300 grains to meet any need the North American hunter would engage. It can be down loaded to .338 Winchester Magnum levels and still produces excellent accuracy if one takes the time to work with the lighter loads. The .340 Weatherby Magnum really shines with the 240 and 250 grain bullets. The 240 gr North Fork is my go to all around hunting bullet on big, heavy tough game as well as dangerous game up close or at medium ranges. The 250 gr Accubond, Partition and Sierra Game King bullets are my favorites for deer and elk at any reasonable distance.

On smaller species of big game one can use the 180 gr to the 215 gr bullets. There are three bullets in this weight class that stand out on the smaller species of big game, while being the exception in this group due to the fact that they are also highly effective on the larger species of big game. I am making reference to the 200 grain North Fork, 210 grain Nosler Partition and the 210 gr Swift Sirocco. The 210 gr Partition and Sirocco's can be pushed at velocities of between 3150 fps and 3225 fps with very good accuracy. They are flat shooting and hard hitting. The intermediate class for the .340 Weatherby Magnum is the 225 gr bullets. A few bullets in this class stand alone on terminal results like the Accubond, A-Frame and the North Fork. These are bullets that produce tremendous terminal impact on game and won't come apart. They are able to penetrate deep and this allows the .340 Weatherby Magnum to stand out as an alternative to the heavier bullets on bigger animals, including dangerous game.

When hunting the really big stuff the 230 gr, 240 gr, 250 gr and 300 gr bullets due to their great shapes and construction, are best. The 230 gr - 300 gr grain bullets do not have to apologize, nor are they inferior for any of the tasks handed them when taking big or dangerous game.


The .340 Weatherby Magnum using Weatherby Factory Ammo:

  1. The 200 gr Accubond at a Muzzle Velocity of 3225 fps with a Muzzle Energy of 4620 ft. lbs.

  2. The 200 gr Hornady Spire Point at a Muzzle Velocity of 3221 fps with a Muzzle Energy of 4607 ft. lbs.

  3. The 225 gr Barnes TSX and X and Hornady Spire Point at a Muzzle Velocity of 3001 fps with a Muzzle Energy of 4499 ft. lbs.

  4. The 250 gr Nosler Partition at a Muzzle Velocity of 2941 fps with a Muzzle Energy of 4801 ft. lbs.
The .340 Weatherby Magnum using handloads:
  1. The 240 gr North Fork at a Muzzle Velocity of 3066 fps with a Muzzle Energy of 5009 ft lbs.

  2. The 250 gr Nosler Accubond at a Muzzle Velocity of 3032 fps with a Muzzle Energy of 5103 ft. lbs.

  3. The 250 gr Nosler and Sierra at a Muzzle Velocity of 3041 fps with a Muzzle Energy of 5133 ft. lbs.

    1. The above are hand-loads using IMR7828 and RL-25

The .340 Weatherby Magnum is hard to beat as an all-around big game cartridge. It is easy to load, shoots flat, hits hard according to many hunters and guides. It truly is and has been one of Roy's classic cartridges and in my opinion it is his best. Yes, I even like it better than the .300 Weatherby Magnum, which I have owned and hunted with off and on for many years.

The .338 Winchester Magnum has been fun to hunt with and is a very effective cartridge on game, but the .340 Weatherby Magnum is everything the .338 Winchester Magnum is and more. The .340 Weatherby Magnum will, for years to come, be used by the discerning and informed North American hunter and those who appreciate the outstanding qualities of the Weatherby Mark V series of rifles. Yes, the .340 Weatherby Magnum Mark V is truly, THUNDER AND STEEL.


Mike Price is a lifelong shooter, hunter and reloading enthusiast. He has been published at AmmoGuide.com, Guns & Ammo and Nosler. His article "Green Boxes", available at AmmoGuide.com, is posted in the bullet production area at Sierra. Mike has traveled to Africa, Europe, Asia, parts of Central America. His favorite two hobbies are spending time with grand children and taking them hunting. Mike holds a Ph.D in Philosophy and Psychology, is a licensed clinical therapist, adjunct professor and Minister in the Church of Christ. To read more by Mike, CLICK HERE.

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