Guns have gained quite the popularity in recent years. Whether it be for hunting or target practice, people have really begun to invest in such a hobby.
For hunting, you are required to keep a large distance from your target, and for that you need a precision rifle with accurate firing over long distances. The .338 Lapua rifles are ideal for scenarios like these, providing accurate shots over distances of up to 1000 meters!
Investing in a .338 Lapua rifle can be a perplexing decision because of the many brands that offer rifles with different specialties.
So, today we are going to look at some of our top picks for the best 338 Lapua rifles to help you get the right one suited to your needs.
Best .338 Lapua Rifles Comparison
|ACCURACY INTERNATIONAL – AXMC 338 LM||10+1-ROUND||27″||48″||Check Price|
|SAVAGE ARMS – 111 LONG RANGE||4+1-ROUND||26″||50″||Check Price|
|BARRETT MRAD 338 LAPUA||10 Rounds||24″||–||Check Price|
|SAVAGE ARMS – 112 MAGNUM TARGET||1-ROUND||26″||49.8″||Check Price|
|FN – BALLISTA 26IN||8+1-ROUND||26″||49″||Check Price|
|NOREEN FIREARMS BAD NEWS||–||26”||–||Check Price|
|WEATHERBY INC – MARK V TACMARK||3+1-ROUND||28″||48″||Check Price|
|WEATHERBY INC – MARK V ACCUMARK||3+1-ROUND||28″||48.5″||Check Price|
|WINCHESTER – XPR 24IN||3+1-ROUND||24″||46.5″||Check Price|
What Is a .338 Lapua Good For?
If you’ve been acquainted with firearms before, then you already know the caliber of the .338 Lapua. Due to its flat trajectory, this is considered to be a deadly weapon.
With its large barrel and heavy-duty body, this rifle can penetrate body armor from a distance of over 1000 meters. Although there are other guns within the same caliber range, they tend to be longer and heavier when compared to the .338 Lapua rifle.
Body Weight Ratio
For extremely long distances and precise shots, this precision rifle is a blessing. Other rifles might seem difficult to handle and recoil control is a major issue. The .338 Lapua can cover long distances like all other rifles in its class range while maintaining a low body weight ratio.
To adjust yourself to a rifle, you need to fire multiple rounds without the fear of wearing out the barrels. Other rifles in the similar class to the .
338 Lapua rifle tend to be more susceptible to wearing out, which is an inconvenience since snipers need to fire many rounds in order to polish their skills. The .338 Lapua does not have this wearing out issue due to the innovation put into building this rifle.
Is There A Difference Between .338 Lapua and .338 Lapua Magnum?
When you compare the .339 lapua with the .338 lapua magnum, you must know that the cartridge is the same in both. In the early days, the .338 lapua sniper cartridge was made to ground itself on a .378 Weatherby case, but was soon altered for more precision and penetration power.
Upon making further improvements, the finish manufacturers made the .338 Magnum rounds compatible with semi-automatic weapons. The modern day .338 lapua magnum is a rimless bottle-neck shaped cartridge. The new shape of the bullet round aids the trajectory and also enhances its muzzle velocity.
How Accurate Is A .338 Lapua?
Since the Finnish made .338 Lapua Magnum served its time in the military as a sniper, we can already predict how accurate it possibly be.
Initially, this rifle was built to shoot a 16.2-gram bullet to penetrate military-grade body armor from a distance of 1000 meters. But the round was able to hold its velocity further to have an effective range of 1750 meters. Due to the gun’s kinetic energy build up, this one will still hit the target at even longer distances than that!
The accuracy of the gun however, will still depend on the bullet choice. Fitted with an anti-material cartridge loaded with the 16.2 gram/ 250 grain bullet, this will have you firing accurately from even 2000 meters apart. In recent times, the popularity of this rifle has pushed manufacturers to make ammunition for hunting and casual shooting.
While it’s true that bullets play a large role in terms of the gun’s accuracy, you will still be able to get a good shot from the rifle even without the 250 grain bullets.
Top .338 Lapua Rifles Review 2020
After putting in a considerable number of hours into our research, we have put out a list of our top 9 picks for you.
Accuracy International – AXMC 338 LM
First on the list we have the AXMC 338 LM from Accuracy International. These manufacturers have left you with a wide range of color options for this rifle from black, elite sand to even green!
For someone who needs a durable and sturdy sniper rifle, your search is over. The AXMC 338 LM comes with a 27-inch Quikloc barrel constructed from stainless steel. Combining this match-grade barrel with the muzzle brake, sharpens the gun’s accuracy by a large mile.
Versatility takes on a new form in terms of this precision rifle, with an innovative foldable stock to encase the bolt. The AXMC338 LM features a multi-caliber magazine which allows you to recalibrate the magazine to use other rounds.
Generally, the mag will feed .338 Lapua rounds, but if you can easily recalibrate the magazine to house 300 Winchester rounds.
The guys at Accuracy International have equipped this .338 lapua magnum with a Key slot mounting technology, enabling you to mount your accessories or scopes easily. The process is super simple too! The three accessory side rails provide you with plenty of space for your external additions.
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Savage Arms – 111 Long Range Hunter 338 Lapua
This next rifle has caused quite the commotion in the long-range hunting world. This 111 long range model is one of the best .338 lapua magnum rifles of the Savage center fire line and rightfully so.
Constructed around a 26-inch barrel made of carbon-steel, the 111 Long range hunter is not one to be meddled with. The large barrel will increase the muzzle velocity and provide you with top-tier accuracy.
The heavy magnum barrel features a button rifle design and is topped with a muzzle brake of three inches. With its combination of the heavy barrel and proportioned laminate stock, the recoil of the gun is minimized as much as possible.
This bolt action sniper rifle comes packed with Savage Arms’ Accutrigger technology. This lets you tune the trigger and set it as low as 6 ounces of pull, giving you more flexibility.
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Barrett MRAD 338 Lapua Rifle
Right off the bat, the Barrett MRAD gives off one of the meanest looks in the rifle market. Built with some of the highest quality materials, this really is a precision rifle of sheer class.
The rifle’s 24-inch fluted barrel will have you wondering whether it will perform as well as the ones with larger barrels. You have nothing to worry about, because the Barrett MRAD rifle’s short barrel length is well optimized with the muzzle velocity of the gun.
This gives you accurate shots that match rifles with larger barrels. The short barrel also makes it easy to maneuver without much trouble.
Equipped with a match-grade trigger, you will hardly put in any effort when pulling it. The motion of the trigger on the Barrett MRAD is exceptionally fluid, allowing you to focus on your aim and recoil more.
You might be surprised to know about the ten plus one round capacity of this rifle. If you ask us, that’s enough ammo for any sort of rifle related activity.
The Ambi mag release on this Barrett MRAD goes hand in hand with the magazine capacity as it lets you change mags easily, even though you have to shoot for quite a while before you eventually run out of rounds.
Savage Arms – 112 Magnum Target 26In 338 lapua
Up next on our list, we have yet another pick from Savage Arms. The 112 Magnum is a successor of the 111 long range hunter which was previously mentioned.
Similar to the 111 long range hunter, this rifle comes with a 26-inch barrel made of carbon steel. Equipped with a muzzle brake, make sure to keep the spectators at a safe distance because the muzzle will be loud. The combination of this with the heavy barrel and laminate stock gives you the best firing rounds with minimal recoil.
This rifle features Savage Arms’ AccuTrigger technology which lets you tune the trigger according to your preference. With a smooth trigger motion, the rifle lets you keep your accuracy in check.
The 112 Magnum gives a single shot action which might put you off, but combined with its heavy barrel, that’s all you will really need.
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FN – Ballista 26In 338 Lapua
The Ballista by FN is one of the game changers in the rifle industry. Being a modular and multi-caliber rifle system, the Ballista will give you unmatched versatility than most rifles out there.
When using the Ballista, you’ll notice that pretty much everything about this rifle is adjustable. Whether it be the trigger, buttstock, muzzle piece, you name it and you can change it. Investing on this precision rifle is like playing around with building blocks, you decide how you want it to work.
Since it is a multi-caliber rifle, you can change the rounds based on your preference and that too very easily. From the stock .338 Lapua caliber, the Ballista will let you switch to a .308 or even a 300 Win Mag, with just a push of the pins at the base of the barrel.
This rifle will let you adjust the trigger from a single stage release to a two-stage trigger. You can even adjust the trigger pull based on your requirements. With so many adjustable components, hunting with this rifle gives you a tailor-made feel as it compliments your firing style.
Noreen Firearms Bad News .338 Lapua Magnum Rifle
The Bad news is considered to feature Noreen Firearms’ signature rifle designs. With its long barrel and accurate firing range, this rifle is nothing short of a competition with the elites.
For a rifle with a 26-inch barrel, it is super lightweight, weighing in at just about 13 pounds. The innovative piston driven design makes use of semi-automatic side charging mechanics to give you minimal recoil and max penetration range.
When buying this rifle, you can choose whether you want a five round magazine or a ten round model carrying the stock .338 ammo. This, once again, depends solely on your needs and how you use the rifle. To further smoothen your shooting experience, you can choose to install a match-grade trigger.
The 26-inch barrel makes good use of the 1/10 twist rate, firing your bullets at a flat trajectory over a long rage. The muzzle brake has a ⅝-24 thread design which will reduce the recoil as much as possible. This is particularly helpful in the times when you will fire multiple rounds in rapid succession.
Weatherby Inc – Mark V Tacmark Elite RC 28In 338 Lapua
This next rifle on the list is the Mark V Tacmark Elite by Weatherby. The American manufacturers were not playing around when they introduced this gun to the market.
This rifle features a receiver constructed with machined steel which aids durability. The included muzzle brake does compliment the 28-inch barrel well enough to minimize the recoil to a more controllable level.
Weatherby takes great pride when they talk about the construction of their rifles, made from only the best quality steel, durability will not be an issue.
When the 9 lug Weatherby bolt action and LXX trigger come together, this precision rifle will provide you with one of the smoothest shooting experiences in the market.
The Mark V tacmark elite features a detachable 5 round magazine which isnt alot but is still better than one shot rifles. With the long barrel and muzzle control working together, we hardly doubt you will see the 5 round magazine as a limitation at all.
Weatherby Inc – Mark V Accumark 28In 338 Lapua
We have yet another pick from Weatherby’s Mark V series of rifles. The Accumark is a more toned-down version of the Mark V Tacmark elite we discussed previously, but it does provide a quality shooting experience.
Weatherby really focused on getting this rifle to look right. With its simplistic dark color, this rifle screams danger. The dark matte textured colors accentuate the shine of the steel barrels and make this rifle worth looking at.
Featuring a fluted No. 3 contour barrel which is 28-inches of one of the most sturdy barrels in the market. This will give you accurate shots and penetrate your targets with maximum velocity.
The Accumark is also said to be one of the most customizable models on the Mark V line of products. Built on both 6-Lug and 9-Lug and left-handed receivers, you are in total control of the comfort level you derive from this rifle.
Winchester – XPR 24In 338 Winchester Lapua Magnum
The last rifle on our list is the XPR 24-inch Rifle by Winchester. Out the box this rifle is not one to be messed with. With a total length of 46.5 inches, this rifle features a simple design while providing you with top quality shooting experience.
The XPR features a 24-inch barrel which might seem shorter when compared to other rifles with a 28-inch set up.
But trust us when we say, this rifle does not compensate for the shortened barrel with a dip in accuracy or shooting range.
You can expect the XPR to give you top quality accuracy with only a reduced muzzle velocity. The shortened barrel will actually help you in maneuvering quickly through the woods.
Although not of multi-caliber, this precision rifle lets you fire three rounds plus one of the stock .338 round. Combined with its lightweight body and 24-inch barrel, the magazine capacity should be more than enough for you.
What to Look for Before Buying
Considering the wide range of firearm manufacturers producing the same caliber rifles, it can be quite confusing to choose the best 338 lapua rifles for you.
Before making the decision, you must consider certain factors that will enable you to better fit your choice to your preferences.
Length of the Barrel
Muzzle velocity is important for penetration at long distances, so with rifles that have longer barrels the muzzle velocity is greater.
Since the bullets have to run a longer distance before shooting out, this gives your shot a flatter trajectory which is also easy to predict, aiding accuracy.
But that doesn’t mean you should always choose a sniper with a long barrel length, because the longer the barrel the more the weight.
Some of the best .338 lapua rifles have an excellent body to weight ratio which compensates for the barrel length. So, choose one that fits your needs accurately.
Smoothness of the Trigger
The trigger is the switch that lets you fire your shot at the target. The smoothness of this semi-automatic switch is crucial, even the slightest bit of friction on the trigger can affect your aim.
Having a match-grade trigger is the ideal complement to the .338 Lapura rifle, giving smoother shots and a more accurate shot trajectory.
Capacity of the Rifle
When hunting or bench shooting, you need to go for a rifle with a high magazine capacity. This will differ from person to person but it is always ideal to have a decent magazine capacity, this way you don’t have to reload too frequently.
Some of the top 338 Lapua rifles actually give you a higher than average magazine capacity, while some even come with separate magazine options which let you choose whether or not you want to spend extra and get a larger capacity.
Durability of the Rifle
Let’s talk about durability and reliability, because this is one of the most crucial factors when it comes to rifles. You should be able to use your rifle whenever you want to go out hunting or shooting while not being too worried about its longevity and maintenance.
The top rated 338 Lapua rifles come with the Cerakote finishes which boost the durability of the rifle and makes it less susceptible to wear and tear.
Exposure to harsh conditions and wear and tear is a given when it comes to rifles. So, you should always consider choosing one that can survive the extreme conditions the best.
Best Uses for A .338 Lapua
Being a member of the military, this rifle is nothing short of being a heavy-hitter. So, when you’re planning on taking some long-range shots make sure you pack one of these.
Challenges and Competitions
The increasing popularity of guns have brought about a wide variety of uses for them other than just hunting and target practice.
Tournaments and other shooting competitions have started catching the attention of all those competitive shooters that like to be challenged.
For long-range challenges and competitions, the 338 Lapua is the best candidate for you. With its precise shooting accuracy and long-range excellence, this gun will not disappoint you one bit.
In terms of hunting, you need to be very still and quiet in order to catch the animal by surprise. Being able to shoot from long distances gives you an edge as it gets harder for your target to spot you. If you’re going to hunt a deer, keeping a distance of 800 yards or so should allow you to get the perfect shot.
Taking shots at clay or paper targets are great ways to hone your shooting skills. If you’re looking to flaunt your long-range accuracy or firing skills, then the 338 Lapua is the way to go.
Frequently Asked Questions
Lapua happens to be the name of a town in Finland and also the name of Finnish manufacturer that makes target ammunition.
Although the recoil isn’t too harsh, the Muzzle blast from a braked 388 can prove to be difficult for a new shooter to handle.
The 388 Lapua is serviceable for hunting and will get the job done because of its considerable range and power
The 338 Lapua has an effective maximum range of 1910 yards.
No, you cannot expect to get the same results from other calibers as a .338 Lapua round. Due to the grain size and the weight of the round, the distance covered and the trajectory changes. But using good quality rounds on your rifle can make it compete against even a 50 bmg round.
Investing in a rifle requires a lot of thinking and research, but more importantly it depends on your requirements. Keeping in mind the barrel length, magazine capacity and trigger smoothness, you should be able to choose the best 338 lapua rifles suited to you.