The two most common hunting cartridges are the .338 Rum and the .338 Lapua. Both of these cartridges offer excellent performance and accuracy at long ranges, but they have some distinct differences that make them suitable for different applications.

As their close performance and similar exterior quality, they are often used for long-range hunting. But they are not the same cartridges. There are some significant differences between the two.

Depending on the application, either the .338 Rum or the .338 Lapua may be the better choice. Allow me to help you find the right one between these two cartridges.

338 Rum

The .338 RUM, or .338 Remington Ultra Magnum, is a powerful rifle cartridge known for its impressive ballistics and long-range capabilities. Developed by Remington Arms Company, this cartridge was introduced in the late 1990s as a part of the Ultra Magnum series.

The .338 RUM is designed for hunters and shooters who require excellent accuracy and terminal performance at extended distances. It’s a high-powered cartridge that offers a good balance between recoil and performance, making it suitable for a variety of big game hunting, including elk, moose, and other large animals.

The .338 RUM is capable of propelling heavy bullets at high velocities. This combination of caliber and velocity results in impressive stopping power and energy transfer, making it effective for taking down game even at considerable distances.

The cartridge can launch bullets ranging from 200 grains to over 250 grains, allowing shooters to tailor their ammunition to their specific hunting needs.

However, it’s worth noting that the .338 RUM generates significant recoil, which can be challenging for some shooters to manage, especially during prolonged shooting sessions.

338 Lapua

The .338 Lapua Magnum, often simply referred to as the .338 Lapua, is a powerful and versatile rifle cartridge known for its long-range accuracy and exceptional ballistic performance.

Developed in the 1980s in Finland, the cartridge was designed to meet the needs of military and law enforcement snipers, as well as long-range shooting enthusiasts.

The .338 Lapua is characterized by its significant case capacity, allowing it to accommodate a relatively large amount of propellant.

This, combined with its aerodynamic bullets, enables the cartridge to maintain a flatter trajectory and carry more energy downrange compared to many other rifle cartridges.

As a result, the .338 Lapua is highly effective at extended ranges, making it a favorite among marksmen who need to engage targets at distances beyond what traditional rifle cartridges can reliably reach.

The cartridge’s popularity is not limited to military and law enforcement circles; it has also gained traction in civilian shooting sports, such as long-range competitive shooting and hunting. Shooters appreciate the .338 Lapua for its excellent ballistic coefficients, which contribute to its ability to buck wind resistance and maintain stability over long distances.

While the .338 Lapua offers impressive ballistics, it also comes with substantial recoil and a higher cost compared to more common rifle cartridges.

338 Rum Vs 338 Lapua – Key Differences

338 Rum vs 338 Lapua

Case length

.338 RUM has a case length of 2.760 inches (70.1 mm), while .338 Lapua Magnum has a case length of 2.724 in. This means that the .338 Lapua Magnum has a longer case and can hold more powder, which allows it to achieve higher velocities and energies.

Overall length

The overall length of a loaded .338 RUM cartridge is 3.600 inches (91.4 mm), while the overall length of a loaded .338 Lapua Magnum cartridge is 3.681 inches (93.5 mm). This is because the .338 Lapua Magnum has a longer case and a larger bullet.

Cartridge Design

The 338 Rum was designed in 1995 by Remington as a hunting cartridge, while the 338 Lapua was designed in 1988 by Lapua as a long-range target and sniper cartridge.

Both are based on the .338 Winchester Magnum case, but the 338 Lapua has a longer case and a larger powder capacity, which allows it to generate higher velocities. The 338 Rum has a maximum pressure of 65,000 psi and a maximum velocity of 3,000 feet per second.

It is typically loaded with a 200-grain bullet. The 338 Lapua has a maximum pressure of 65,000 psi and a maximum velocity of 3,250 feet per second. It is typically loaded with a 250-grain bullet.

The 338 Rum is well-suited for hunting large game at medium to long range, while the 338 Lapua is designed for long-range target shooting and sniper applications. Both cartridges offer excellent accuracy and terminal performance.


Ballistics is the science of projectiles and their motion through the air. When comparing two cartridges, like the 338 Rum and 338 Lapua, ballistics is used to compare the performance of the two.

The 338 Lapua is a larger cartridge and is capable of firing a heavier bullet at a higher velocity than the 338 Rum & It has a greater potential for accuracy and range than the 338 Rum and is used in long-range shooting.

The 338 Rum is a smaller cartridge, which is capable of firing a lighter bullet at a lower velocity than the 338 Lapua. This is used for hunting and short-range shooting.

Both cartridges are capable of producing excellent accuracy and performance, depending on the application.

Bullet selection

The .338 RUM is typically loaded with bullets in the 250- to 280-grain range. The .338 Lapua Magnum can be loaded with bullets in a wider range of weights, from 200 grains to 350 grains.

This gives the .338 Lapua Magnum more versatility, as it can be used for a wider range of hunting and shooting applications.


Both the .338 RUM and the .338 Lapua Magnum are powerful cartridges that produce significant recoil. However, the .338 RUM typically has slightly less recoil than the .338 Lapua Magnum. This is due to the shorter case and the lighter bullets that are typically used in the .338 RUM.

Trajectory and Energy

.338 RUM: The higher muzzle velocity of the .338 RUM results in flatter trajectories and more retained energy at longer distances.

.338 Lapua: Despite slightly lower velocities, the .338 Lapua’s excellent ballistic coefficients allow it to maintain energy and trajectory stability over extreme distances.


Both cartridges are designed for long-range shooting and hunting applications and are capable of taking down large games.

The 338 Lapua is a larger and more powerful cartridge than the 338 Rum. It has a higher velocity and is capable of launching heavier bullets at longer distances. This makes it better suited for long-range shooting and hunting applications.

The 338 Lapua also has a higher recoil, which can be a concern for some shooters. The 338 Rum is a smaller and less powerful cartridge than the 338 Lapua. It has a lower velocity and is better suited for medium-range shooting and hunting applications.

.338 Rum also has a lower recoil, which makes it easier to shoot and handle. When choosing between the two cartridges, it is important to consider the type of application you are looking for.

If you are looking for a long-range shooting or hunting cartridge, the 338 Lapua is the better option.

If you are looking for a medium-range shooting or hunting cartridge, the 338 Rum is the better option. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and the intended use of the firearm.

338 Rum Vs 338 Lapua – Similarities

The .338 Remington Ultra Magnum (RUM) and the .338 Lapua Magnum are both powerful long-range cartridges that are capable of delivering excellent performance. Here are some of the similarities between the two cartridges:

  1. Caliber: Both cartridges are .338 caliber, which means that they use bullets that are .338 inches in diameter.
  2. Purpose: Both cartridges are designed for long-range hunting and shooting applications.
  3. Velocity and energy: Both cartridges are capable of producing high velocities and
    energies, which makes them effective for taking down large game animals at long ranges.

Recoil: Both cartridges produce significant recoil, so they are not suitable for everyone.

What are the advantages of using the 338 Rum over the 338 Lapua?

The Rum variant of the cartridge is smaller in height. This also makes it a bit lighter. You may not feel it on paper, but lighter ammo is always easy to carry if you are out there hunting the entire day.

The flatter trajectory also helps it achieve a lot more range. Granted the penetration power is a bit less compared to Lapua. But for casual long-range shooting or hunting, it will do perfectly fine.

Closing Thoughts

The 338 Lapua is a much more powerful round than the 338 Rum and is more suitable for long-range shooting and hunting large game.

The 338 Rum is more suitable for hunting medium to large game at shorter ranges. Both rounds are capable of delivering excellent accuracy and performance, but the 338 Lapua is the clear winner when it comes to long-range shooting.

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