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Hornady Announces New 338 Marlin Express

December 2, 2008.

The 338 Marlin Express is the latest in a series of offerings from Hornady over the last several years. For elk hunters with a thing for lever guns, this could prove to be an interesting cartridge.

Hornady engineers were charged with getting every ounce of performance out of the Marlin platform, so they delivered a medium bore cartridge based loosely on the 376 Steyr, a short action powerhouse.

They added an abbreviated rim and shortened the cartridge slightly and necked it down to .338". The resulting cartridge delivers solid ballistics; driving the 200-grain FTX bullet at 2,565 fps from a 24" Marlin XLR lever gun.

The bullet matches 180-grain .30-06 ballistics in terms of energy and trajectory out to 400 yards. The 200-grain FTX is built and designed for hunting large game like elk, moose, and bear, but would be equally at home hunting whitetails.

The 338 Marlin Express is the first ever long-range, big-game levergun specific cartridge to hit the market, and opens a new class of hunting to the levergun.

Ballistics information, including comparative data with the .338 Federal:

  Muzzle 100 200 300 400
.338 Marlin Express, 200 grain FTX
Velocity (fps)
2562
2365
2174
1991
1820
Energy (ft/lb)
2921
2483
2099
1760
1471
Trajectory
-1.5
3
1.2
-7.8
-25.9
.338 Federal, 210 grain Nosler Partition
Velocity (fps)
2630
2412
2204
2007
1820
Energy (ft/lb)
3325
2712
2266
1878
1545
Trajectory
-1.5
+2.3
0
-9.4
-27.3
.338 Winchester Magnum, 225 grain A-Frame
Velocity (fps)
2785
2517
2266
2029
1808
Energy (ft/lb)
3871
3165
2565
2057
1633
Trajectory
NA
2.0
0
-8.8
-25.2

Interestingly, Chuck Hawks had proposed this cartridge on his website a while back, although the actual offering from Hornady seems to have exceeded his expectations a little.

More information is available on the Hornady website, including a video with Wayne Van Zwoll and Craig Boddington.

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