The .338 Lapua magnum is a Finnish cartridge designed
by Lupua. The cartridge is for military, hunting and long-range
rifles. The .338 Lapua magnum came into use in the 1980’s during the
Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. Since then the .338 Lapua magnum has
become the bullet of choice in over twenty countries for military
and law use. The actual maximum shooting distance of the .338 Lapua
magnum cartridge depends on the weight of the bullet, the velocity
of the bullet, the rifle used, the climate in addition to other
factors during the shoot.
The .338 Lapua magnum is a unique rimless bottlenecked center fire cartridge that was specifically designed for military sniper rifles and mastered in 1989 by Lapua. The .338 Lapua magnum proved sufficient in the both the Afghanistan and Iraqi conflicts in the 80’s and early 90’s. The .338 Lapua magnum is not only popular with military personnel but is also enjoyed by hunters and civilian long-range shooters. There are currently over twenty-two countries that are associated with the .338 Lapua magnum cartridge in either the military or law.
The British Army and Royal Marines are currently using the cartridge in the current ongoing conflicts that are happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. The .338 Lapua magnum cartridge has very thick brass walls that result in a 7.4 ml. The exterior of the case was crafted to allow feeding and removal in semi-automatics and bolt action rifles under extreme conditions. The parent case is a .416 Rigby. The diameter of the bullet is 8.58 mm with a base diameter of 14.91 mm. The overall length of the cartridge is 93.5mm with maximum pressure 420.0 Mpa.
In order for the cartridge to be available to consumers the rifle cartridge combo has to be proofed at 125% of the maximum amount of C.I.P. pressure. The performance with a standard cartridge will give you a maximum shooting distance of 1640 yards with high end factory and standard Lapua military. The climate will affect changes in the shooting ranges though. During freezing point conditions the actual range at a non-moving target is around 1203 yards.
It is only during the warmer climates that a shooter can actually reach a range of 1640 yards. The range can be improved to go farther distances if you use aerodynamic small arms ballistics. The lower muzzle velocity will allow for greater distances of up to 1969 yards. Improvements in the cartridge are possible. The bullets have to be longer and the overall length of the cartridge must exceed 93.5 mm.
The .338 Lapua magnum cartridge is used as a parent case in the German designed 7.62 UKM and is also used as a parent case for a variety of other modified variants which are not officially sanctioned or registered with by C.I.P. or its American equivalent. These cartridges are often known as wildcats. Wildcat cartridges are simply custom cartridges for a firearm that are not in mass production. Other registered and sanctioned rifles include the Asymmetric Warrior ASW338LM MOD-1A2 PSR, ArmaLite AR-30 and the TRG-42 amongst others.