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#196374 - 12/02/18 11:40 AM Hunting with the 338 Woodswalker
Mech 8
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Registered: 08/30/11
Posts: 191
Loc: San Antonio, TX

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My adventure with the 338 Woodswalker began earlier this year when I acquired a used 14 inch SSK barrel complete with TSOB mount and 4 port M-N-P. The barrel also included a RCBS die set, but didn't include any brass. I didn't do much research on the cartridge prior to the purchase, but remembered when JD Jones of SSK introduced it in "The Sixgunner". I remembered that he had created it for primarily being used in a 10 inch barrel for "woods" hunting. The stated ballistics of a 200 grain bullet put it on the heels of the 33 Winchester in a rifle. Everything looked like it was going to be a great addition to my barrel collection until I started getting ready to purchase the components. The parent case is the 8.15X46R. I did what most people do, and checked my normal sources of components like Midway, Grafs, Midsouth, Wideners, etc. No luck. I then emailed SSK and asked it they had brass, and they responded that they didn't and to check with Huntingtons. I checked their website and it was listed, albeit at $2 each. I called them to place an order of 100 pieces only to find that they were out of stock, and weren't due to receive any until the end of April. The woman I spoke to said she would call me when it arrived so I left her my number with hopes it would arrive soon. Meanwhile I had no way to play with my new toy. I had to find something to feed my newest addition and I didn't want to wait. I pulled out my "Cartridges of the World" book and did some research. I found that the 225 Winchester is very close to the 8.15X46R in all respects except it is longer. I had about 50 of the 225 Win brass prepped for my 7mm JDJ for fire form loads, so all I had to do was open them to .338 and trim to 1.800. Simple enough I thought, and proceeded to prep the brass for 338 Woodswalker use.
Everything went well until I made a dummy round to establish overall cartridge length. The cartridge would not go completely into the chamber and I couldn't figure out why until I inked the bullet and case to find out where there was interference. What I determined was the brass was too thick on the case mouth, and with the bullet inserted into the case created about a .003 interference. This meant I would have to turn down all the brass with an outside case mouth trimmer. While I considered doing this, I didn't have the tools to perform the operation. I started looking at alternative solutions and realized the 30-30 Winchester has pretty much the same dimensions except length and rim diameter. I had several hundred of these cases laying around so picked 100 and started to work. I ran them through the FL size die, I trimmed them, and then found out that the rim was just a little to big. How to turn down a rim without a lathe? I improvised a tool and began the tedious job of turning the rims to match the 8.15X46R. Now everything fit. I loaded some fire form loads of Hornady 200gr SST's, 29.5gr H4198, and a Fed 210. I seated the bullets .005 inch into the lands in order to keep case stretching to a minimum. These loads are doing a hair over 1900 fps, and hold 1 1/2 inches at 100 yards. Cases came out perfectly formed. I then tried several other powders like H335, and IMR 8208, and other bullets including Nosler 210gr Partitions. Nothing was really looking promising so I went a different direction. I researched the Barnes 160 grain TTSX's and the reviews online were positive, but everybody was using them in 338 Federals, 338 Win mag, and other higher velocity cartridges. Would it work in the Woodswalker? I picked up a few boxes of bullets and seated them .055 inch off of the lands, and went back to H4198. I started at 30.0 grains and proceeded .5 grain at a time, and found 34.5 grains grouped just over an inch at 100 yards and was clocking 2250 fps. I loaded some more of this load and did an expansion test at 100 yards to see what would happen. It completely penetrated 3 one gallon jugs filled with water and provided the expansion shown in the photo. This might work I thought, so I worked up additional loads up to 36.5 grains. At 36.0 grains I had a group just under an inch and velocity was now at 2355 fps. No pressure signs of stiff, sticky opening or extraction. No signs on the primer or brass. I loaded 20 more of these and shot two more 5 shot groups. Everything looked good with no issues. Time to go hunting. First kill was a feral hog and I used a fire form load to take him. Shoulder shot and he ran about 60 yards. Second kill was with the Barnes load. Another hog with a high shoulder shot breaking the spine. He just flopped in the mud. Third kill was a coyote that made the mistake of stopping in an opening to look at the blind. I hit him just in front of the shoulder putting him down right there.
I really like this cartridge with the exception of the brass situation. Oh, by the way, I did get a call from Huntington's about the brass. It was finally available in July! I still ordered 100 pieces.













Edited by Mech 8 (12/02/18 07:53 PM)

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#196377 - 12/02/18 12:37 PM Re: Hunting with the 338 Woodswalker [Re: Mech 8]
Russell
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Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 1895
Loc: Oklahoma

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Looks like you've got a winner!
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It's not the gun, but the man behind it.

Sheriff Russell Cottle, Ret.
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#196379 - 12/02/18 01:43 PM Re: Hunting with the 338 Woodswalker [Re: Russell]
Bob Roach
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Registered: 03/02/10
Posts: 829
Loc: Missouri Ozarks

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I enjoyed your story. Great job with your wildcatting by the way.
It seems to me that Mark Hampton may have had a 338 Woodswalker years ago.

Bob R
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#196380 - 12/02/18 01:48 PM Re: Hunting with the 338 Woodswalker [Re: Russell]
45MAN
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Registered: 08/13/17
Posts: 911
Loc: brownsville, texas

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MECH8: EXCELLENT REPORT
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"ADAPT OR DIE". I USE ALL CAPS, NOT BECAUSE I AM YELLING, BUT BECAUSE IT IS AN OLD HABIT FROM MY ARMY DAYS, PLUS IT IS EASIER TO TYPE AND READ.

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#196382 - 12/02/18 02:03 PM Re: Hunting with the 338 Woodswalker [Re: 45MAN]
Mark Hampton
addict


Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 610
Loc: Missouri

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Mech 8, Bob is correct - I did have a 338 Woodswalker back in the day. Mine was on a 10 inch barrel and was very accurate. Took a big axis and a few other critters with it using 200 gr. FP bullets (if my memory serves correctly) You have a beautiful gun and I hope you enjoy it!

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#196383 - 12/02/18 02:16 PM Re: Hunting with the 338 Woodswalker [Re: Mark Hampton]
500WE
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Registered: 02/12/07
Posts: 1667
Loc: North Carolina

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I also have a 10" .338 Woodswalker, and like it a great deal. I 've used the Nosler 180 BT, the 200 gr. Horn Spire point, and my favorite, the discontinued Horn. 200 gr FN.
Unfortunately, the 8.15x46R cases are worth whatever you have to pay for them.

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#196385 - 12/02/18 03:41 PM Re: Hunting with the 338 Woodswalker [Re: 500WE]
jamesfromjersey Moderator
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Registered: 01/18/04
Posts: 8701
Loc: New Jersey

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You sure put your time in to take those boar... Your story reminds me of old articles from back in the day where handloaders made brass for their handgun and turning down the neck was part of the process...I remember when the 338 Woodswalker was introduced as the single shot answer to to its name.. a gun for walking the woods.. Good for you and congrats on two good boar....
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#196392 - 12/02/18 09:59 PM Re: Hunting with the 338 Woodswalker [Re: jamesfromjersey]
Okie Hunter
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Registered: 07/08/09
Posts: 614
Loc: Oklahoma

happy Online
Congrats.
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With God all things are possible. Matt.19:26

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#196393 - 12/02/18 10:52 PM Re: Hunting with the 338 Woodswalker [Re: Okie Hunter]
RH Custom Guns
stranger


Registered: 10/17/18
Posts: 15
Loc: TX

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Necessity is the mother of invention. Well, done!

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