What are The Differences Between 338 Lapua vs 50 BMG Ammo?

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338 Lapua Vs. 50 BMG: Which Is The Better Long-Range Rifle-Caliber?

You are looking for a powerful long-range caliber and have shifted your attention to the 338 Lapua and 50 BMG. They are all heavy-duty pellets and can satisfy various shooting needs.

However, the values and shooting experience they bring are not the same. Which caliber should you choose between 338 Lapua vs 50 BMG? How are they different regarding recoil, power, and precision?

Don’t skip this post if you are confused between these two popular ammo categories. I will compare the 338 Lapua and 50 BMG in detail to give you more insights into their traits and qualities. Continue reading to learn more!

What Are The Differences?

Here are the basic specifications and differences between these two calibers. In the following sections, I will discuss their performance and utility in more detail.

338 Lapua
338 Lapua

Comparison Table Of 338 Lapua Vs 50 BMG

Features 50 BMG 338 Lapua
Year Released  1921 1989
Bullet Diameter 0.510 inches 0.338 inches
Rim Diameter 0.804 inches 0.588 inches
Case Length 3.91 inches 2.724 inches
Total Length 5.45 inches 3.681 inches
Total Weight 650-800 grain 200-300 grain

Core Differences Of 338 Lapua Vs 50 BMG

The 338 Lapua and 50 Browning Machine Gun are ideal for long-distance shooting using a sniper rifle. The latter released BMG 50 possesses superior specifications and traits than the 338 Lapua.

At first glance, the 338 Lapua Ammunition features a smaller size and lighter total weight with only 200-300 grains, about 3 times lighter than the 50 BMG. It also has a smaller rim and bullet diameter, which will come with certain advantages.

Yet, the specifications solely don’t tell everything about the good old 338 Lapua.

Its performance is nearly as excellent as the 50 BMG in every competitive shooting, with nearly identical accuracy at 1000-yard distances.

Both calibers are also ideal for hunting, but the 338 Lapua gives the shooters more options and easier management. Meanwhile, the 50 BMG is an excellent option for low and mid-range shooting due to its weight.

How do they perform regarding speeds, velocity, and damage? Keep scrolling down, and I will show you.

50 BMG Design
50 BMG Design

Price Of 338 Lapua Vs 50 BMG

Though the shooting experience and performance are the most critical factors when choosing a pellet, its price is also worth considering. Since the 50 BMG comes out later and features superior specifications, it has a slightly higher cost.

Meanwhile, the large-size 338 Lapua is a more affordable option. However, it is not always true since the caliber’s price varies from time to time. The lowest cost of 50 BMG recorded is $3/round, while the figure for 338 Lapua is $2,7/round.

The price also varies depending on the manufacturer and the option the ammo comes with. Commonly, if you go to an ammo store and compare these two products, the 338 Lapua is more likely to have a slightly lower price.

Velocity Of 338 Lapua Vs 50 BMG

Through a real test with the Hornady 338 Lapua and 50 BMG, the 338 Lapua’s muzzle velocity recorded is 2,745 fps. Meanwhile, the 50 BMG reached 2820 FPS.

For both downrange and muzzle, the 50 BMG commonly delivers higher velocity, which is not so surprising due to its smaller size. The lighter the pellet, the faster it travels and the farther it can reach.

Design And Use Of 338 Lapua Vs 50 BMG

The small and vintage design of 338 Lapua makes it an ideal option for civilian purposes, such as hunting or competitive shootings, especially competitions that prioritize precision.

Meanwhile, the 50 BMG is more suitable for military and police uses. However, regular civilian shooters can still use this caliber. 50 BMG is more popular in shooting competitions and hunting with extreme distances.

However, due to the heavy total weight and large size of 50 BMG, you need more gadgets and heavier weapons to use this ammo safely.

50 BMG Is More Popular In The Military
50 BMG Is More Popular In The Military

Energy Of 338 Lapua Vs 50 BMG

There’s no doubt that the 50 BMG features more energy and damage.

Since it is 3 times heavier and much bigger than the 338 Lapua, its penetration capacity and damage caused are simply superior.

Therefore the 50 BMG is an ideal option for hunting large animals from a further distance, which keeps you safe from potential dangers.

The muzzle energy recorded of 338 Lapua is 4,768 foot-pounds, while the figure for 50 BMG is 13,241 ft-lbs, about four times higher. So there’s not much to discuss since 50 BMG is a clear winner.

Trajectory Of 338 Lapua Vs 50 BMG

At close to medium shooting distances (from 200 to 1000 yards), the 50 BMG delivers a better bullet trajectory with less drop downrange.

However, at a longer distance, the trajectory of 338 Lapua is more amazing.

With a flat trajectory, you take less time to adjust and aim, so it is ideal for precision-shooting competitions from 2500 yards and above.

Recoil Of 338 Lapua Vs 50 BMG

Both 338 Lapua vs 50 BMG bring quite a powerful recoil due to their large sizes and heavy weights. However, it is obvious that the much lighter 338 Lapua will feel more comfortable on your shoulder.

You don’t have to carry heavy guns and support to fire the 338 Lapua. It is also easier to manage and adjust the shooting position. If recoil and comfort are your priority, the 338 Lapua is an ideal choice.

If you need more detailed comparisons, consider watching the video below.


Which One Should You Choose Between 338 Lapua Vs 50 BMG?

338 Lapua Is The Winner Regarding Recoil
338 Lapua Is The Winner Regarding Recoil

To sum up, both categories bring high accuracy and power at long-range shooting distances. If your priorities are comfort, precision, and affordability, then the 338 Lapua is a more suitable option.

It also brings more versatility and ease of adjustment, suitable for competitive shootings at a high distance. Meanwhile, the 50 BMG gives more power and a more powerful shooting experience.

It is suitable for hunting and shooting at close to medium or extreme distances. So, consider your priorities to make the wisest buying decision.

Final Thoughts

Thank you for reading full article comparing the difference between 338 Lapua Vs 50 BMG. I hope that the in-depth information provided can help you select a suitable product for your needs and preferences. If possible, I recommend you try out both categories and opt for the product you prefer.

Last Updated on November 13, 2023 by

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