.338 Marlin Express

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.338 Marlin Express
Marlin Expresses.jpg
Right, with .308 Marlin Express (center) and .308 Winchester (left)
Type Rifle
Place of origin USA
Production history
Designer Marlin / Hornady
Manufacturer Hornady
Produced 2009
Parent case .376 Steyr
Case type Semi-rimmed, bottleneck
Bullet diameter .338 in (8.6 mm)
Neck diameter 9.45mm
Shoulder diameter 12.60mm
Base diameter 12.76mm
Rim diameter 13.92mm
Rim thickness 1.14mm
Case length 47.90mm
Overall length 65.62mm
Rifling twist 1:12"
Primer type WLR
Ballistic performance
Bullet mass/type Velocity Energy
200 gr (13 g) FTX (Hornady Flex Tip Expanding) 2,565 ft/s (782 m/s) 2,922 ft·lbf (3,962 J)
Test barrel length: 24"
Source(s): 338 Marlin Express LEVERevolution at Hornady web site & MidwayUSA

The .338 Marlin Express is a new cartridge developed by Marlin Firearms and Hornady. It is based on the .376 Steyr with a goal to duplicate the venerable .30-06 Springfield's performance in a cartridge compatible with lever-action firearms. The cartridge uses a slightly shorter, rimmed case to function in lever action rifles with tubular magazines, as introduced in Hornady's LEVERevolution line of cartridges, it follows the design logic of the .308 Marlin Express which preceded it. The .338MX fires heavier .338 caliber bullets than the .308 Marlin Express at roughly the same velocity. It is chambered in Marlin's Model 338MX and 338MXLR rifles using the Marlin Model 336 action.[1]

Design History and Cartridge Performance[edit]

Whereas the .308 Marlin Express began by modifying the .307 Winchester, Hornady and Marlin engineers started with a previous collaboration between Hornady and the Austrian arms maker Steyr, the .376 Steyr, when designing the .338 Marlin Express. The case of the .376 Steyr was given a thicker web for added strength, then necked down to .338. The .308 Marlin Express, on the other hand, was made with a thinner web than its parent case, the .307 Winchester, for additional capacity. Although the thicker case webbing reduced capacity, new powders allow the .338 Marlin Express to achieve velocities similar to the .338 Federal with significantly lower pressures. Hornady engineers then looked to the projectile for the new cartridge, they settled on the 200-grain .338 projectile from their .338 Winchester Magnum line. The existing bullet was remade with a thinner jacket in order to promote expansion and upset at longer ranges, this 200-grain .338" projectile is able to impart significantly more energy than the 160 gr projectile used in the .308 Marlin Express, despite similar muzzle velocities. Further, the projectile's high ballistic coefficient allows the .338 Marlin Express to maintain velocity to greater distances than big bore lever cartridges such as .45-70, .444 Marlin, or even the high performance .450 Marlin. Although the heavy bullet weight of these cartridges allow them more muzzle energy, the ballistic advantage of the .338 Marlin Express's projectile begins to show beyond 100 yds. After that point the .338 Marlin Express's projectile retains more energy than even the .450 Marlin. Like the .308 Marlin Express, the .338 Marlin Express was designed to be a relatively flat shooting cartridge, taking advantage of the relatively high Bc bullets Hornady designed for the rounds. Its trajectory is similar to the .30-06 Springfield.[2]


The .338 Marlin Express has a larger diameter than its .308 companion.

The .338 Marlin Express was designed to produce performance similar to the .30-06 Springfield. This would give lever-action hunters improved performance over their .30-30 Winchester rounds. The table below shows how the rounds compare. Note that reloading data for 200-grain (13 g) bullets for some of the cartridges is not available. Extensive loading data for the .338 Marlin Express is not yet available. The powder used in the Hornady loading is also not yet commercially available as of Feb '09, this round was designed with an elastomer tip, so that the .338 projectile would be safe for use in the tubular magazines of lever action rifles. Traditional spitzer bullets are not compatible with the tubular magazines, this is due to the danger of the hard, pointed bullet-tip igniting the primer of the round in front of it under recoil impulse. The softer tip eliminates the hazards of stacking pointed rounds end to end in a tubular magazine.

.338 Marlin Express quick comparison
Cartridge Bullet Weight (gr) Muzzle velocity(ft/s) Muzzle energy(ft-lbf) BC Velocity (ft/s)/Energy (ft-lbf) @ 400yds
.338 Marlin Express 200 2565 2922 .430 1820/1471
.308 Marlin Express 160 2660 2513 [3]  ? 1836/1197
.30-30 Winchester 160 2300 1880 [4]
.30-06 Springfield 200 2542 2879 [5]
.30-06 Springfield 200 2625 3061 [6]
.376 Steyr (Parent Cartridge) 210 3011 4229
Other comparable cartridges and loadings
Cartridge Bullet Weight (gr) Muzzle velocity(ft/s) Muzzle energy(ft-lbf) BC Velocity (ft/s)/Energy (ft-lbf) @ 400yds
.307 Winchester 150gr 2693 2416 [7]
.300 Savage 150gr FMJ 2765 2547 [8]
.308 Winchester 150gr FMJ 2809 2629 [9]
.30-06 Springfield 150gr FMJ 2900 2820
.308 Winchester 180gr Nos AccuBond 2550 2598 [10]
.30-06 Springfield 200gr SP 2542 2879 [5]
.30-06 Springfield 200gr OPP 2625 3061 [6]
.338 Federal 210gr Nos Part 2630 3226
.325 WSM 200gr Accubond CT 2950 3866
.338 Winchester Magnum 200gr SP 2950 3866
.35 Remington 200gr Lead Flat Nose 2084 1929
.348 Winchester 200gr 2530 2840
.358 Winchester 200gr SP 2500 2776
.35 Whelen 200gr 2798 3478
.340 Weatherby Magnum 200gr SP 3221 4607
9.3x62mm Mauser 231 gr Oryx 2600 3550

See also[edit]


External links[edit]