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December 05, 2007

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Ruger’s New Compacts: The .30 RCM and .38 RCM

For the indecisive gun owner life is about to get more complicated. The number of cartridges in the short fat magnum category continues to grow like mushrooms in a cave. Witness the latest cartridges to sprout from the partnership between Sturm Ruger and Hornady ammunition.

On the heels of last year’s .375 Ruger, a standard-length cartridge that delivers .375 H&H performance, we now have the .30 and .338 RCMS—short for Ruger Compact Magnums—built on the .375 Ruger case.

Both cartridges have intriguing characteristics, but the .338 RCM is particularly interesting. It is going to go head-to-head with the .338 Federal, which was unveiled at the 2006 SHOT Show, and which has carved out a niche among its devotees as a versatile all-around big game cartridge. One criticism of the .338 Fed., however, is the relatively light weight of the bullets offered. The heaviest current load is a 210-gr. Nosler Partition, a wonderful bullet to be sure, but not in the class of the 225- and 250-grain bullets many fans of the .338 Win. Mag. swear by.

The concern with larger bullets in the .338 Fed. is that they will eat up too much powder capacity, reducing performance to sub-par levels. The .338 RCM takes direct aim at this supposedly weak chink in the .338 Fed.’s armor. Hornady’s two initial offerings will be a 200-gr. SST and a 225-gr. SST, which Hornady says will exit the muzzle at 2,850 fps and 2,710 fps, respectively.

How much of an advantage will this give the .338 RCM? It’s a good question. The real measure of success for a new caliber is the number of rifle makers that pick up on the chambering, so we won’t be able to accurately judge this for another couple years.

—John Snow



Since no one else seems to want to jump in on this one I will.

I don't see the need for the overlap in cartridges that is going on. Every year new cartridges come out that are just a "bit" better @ this or a "tad" faster than that.

They say variety is the spice of life, but I don't see how all these chamberings can survive in the market. There does come a time when there are too many choices.

Just look @ all the WSM's from a few years back. People hardly talk about them anymore. Seems like everyone still buys .270, 30.06, and .308's.

More power to 'em, but I don't see either cartridge changing the shooting world.



Pardon my ignorance, but the .338 RCMS is superior to the .338-06 because...?


From my military days, I used a Remington 700 LEFT HAND in 7MM RemMag and now I wanted a Remington 700 LEFT HAND in the 7MM or 300 RSAUM, but couldn't get it from the factory!

Now I'd prefer the new Ruger .300 RCMS (because I love Rugers, own several rifles and pistols of various sizes and calibers) in a LEFT HAND model. Hope I can get this, because I only plan to buy one more rifle and this will be it - if it's available.

And I believe these two new calibers will stay around because of the research done to make them and there will be other rifle makers who use these calibers for larger game.


There is a phrase for this. It is called "planned obscelesence.


This rifle offering is practicle
because it gives performance between 338-06 and 338 win in a short package. first, even if reloading speeds with available powders are not what hornady ammo gives with its powders, you still get more performance than a 338 federal(338 federal is behind 338-06 in power).Believe me, a rifle that is 40 inches overall length as opposed to 43" or 45" is much more comfortable to carry in all hunting cituations. So, the RCM's are more efficient than the WSM's and more compact. What more does one want?


.338 Ruger offers .338 Winchester performance(or close to it) from a .308 Winchester lenght cartridge. Another point is that since A Square came out with the .338-06(which is a longer lenght and thusly probably less efficient than the newer .338 Ruger) NOBODY else other than Weatherby has seen it fit to produce ammo and from what I understand ammo from A2 and Weatherby are slightly different, who needs this? I believe this .338 RCM should be looked at as being here to replace: .338 Federal, 338-06, 350 Remington Magnum, 358 Winchester, 35 Whelen.


The .338 RCM is far better than the .338 Federal because it can use 225 and 250 grain bullets instead of the light for caliber 185 and 210 of the .338 Federal. While it may not be a lot better than the .338-06, at least a major ammunition company is producing ammunition and a major firearms company is producing the rifles. Nosler does sell ammunition for the .338-06, but no one chambers a rifle for it ever since Weatherby stopped offering it in their overpriced ultralight rifle. If Weatherby had offered the .338-06 in the Vanguard rifle, or any other firearms manufacturer like Savage offered a rifle chambered for .338-06, Ruger and Hornady wouldn't have had to produce the .338 RCM rifle and cartridge. To be honest, we'd probably all be much happier if Ruger, Savage, Weatherby, Federal, and Hornady had just produced .338-06 rifles and ammunition instead of the .338 Federal and .338 RCM.


when you look at how many manufacturers are dropping the WSM line from there list, you need to ask why?
I beleive it has to do with the royalties payed to Mr Jamison for the WSM. I have heard it is 3% of every rifle chambered for the wsm.

Ruger have taken a stance against the royalties by introducing the RCM line of cartridges.
Remember also that this range was introduced by Hornady and Ruger donated actions which Hornady rebarreled to produse these cartridges. As I said Ruger have capitalised on this and I beleive other manufacturers will follow before long.

Wayne Baker

Has anyone heard or know if plans to make either the 338 Federal or Ruger's new 338 rifle in a lever series rifle - Savage or Browning

David V. Dahlin

I am a technician that is interested in performance of all calibres.

Gary Sawyer

I have had the .338 Win for several years in a custom made stock and glass seated barrel with a German Mauser bolt action. Since 1976 when I first acquired this rifle, I knew then the .338 Win would be a long lasting hunting cartridge. The only consideraiton for change would have been the WSM but now that the RCM has come out, I am like the respondent above, I plan to only buy one more rifle and the .338 RCM may well be that rifle and calibre. The .338 Win is capable of taking ANY North American or African game. I've taken Texas White Tails at 400 yds and know it is capable of longer shots. I like my .338 Win and hope I can find a nice .338 RCM sometime too.

Aaron Thiel

I'm interested in the 338 RCM.

It may allow me to re-chamber my Armalite .338 fed barrel in a much more powerful cartridge and stay under my limit of 2.82 OAL

It is ether that or I neck a 300RUM up to 338.

Micah Blomgren

I was thinkin' along the same lines.
How about a .338 RCM SuperSASS?

Bruce Bolster

I have a Ruger 1B in .338 Win Mag. This is a fine powerful rifle with great external ballistics from the 26 inch barrel, but heavy to carry and hard on the shoulder. I would gladly trade it for the more handsome No. 1 medium sporter with the Alex Henry forend and 24 inch barrel, and could live with only slightly compromised ballistics in the .338 RCM (and perhaps a bit less recoil) in return for a more practical and portable rifle.