I'm a big fan of the .338 WM and think it would be a great choice. I own a bolt action M70 and the recoil is not much more than a .30-06 with a 180 grain bullet. I shoot 225 grain Soft points. If you want the auto for less recoil. OK.
I own a .375 H&H and like it as well, but the 338 has more horse power at 200 yards than does the 375.
I do not have a whole lot of experience with the BAR other than shooting others once and a while.
I do not see that the gas system and the shorter barrel will bleed off much energy.
I know a 12ga shot shell speed is based on a 28" barrel. For every inch shorter you loose 5 feet per second and a gas system will bleed of less than 1%. So figure your not going to get the full 2800 feet per second out of a 26" barrel. Even loosing 5% of your velocity due to the 2" shorter barrel and the gas system your still well over 2600 FPS at the muzzle with a large hunk of copper and lead.
.338 will do what you want for large game and does wonders on deer with out meat damage. Ammo and bullet selection is plentiful.
Great gun, have always wanted one myself, just too cheap to go and buy one. One thing you might want to consider is weight. If you will be carrying this gun for walking hunts, they get pretty heavy after a few miles. They are heavy to begin with, but after carrying them far they seem to be made of lead. That is the only objection I see. Good luck deciding. Rog
The .338 is a great round. The guys in the bush that I know that have semi-automatics clean them with gasoline, dry them completely, and then hang them outside the house and leave them there. They never take them inside in the winter to keep moisture out of them from condensation. I have operated a pump at -20 to -40 with no problems, single shots, and revolvers. But have never tried a semi at negative numbers.
I use a mini-14 all winter and have no problem with it. I spray the inside down with WD-40 to get all the oil off the parts inside. I keep it inside in the vault most of the time, but when I go out I just take it along, and so far it has not failed to work properly. Once I am out I leave it outside on the snow machine. I do not take it into the cabin since the cabin sometimes gets humid and I want it to stay dry. Once I am back I bring it inside and let it warm up. Once it is warm I then clean it again using WD-40 to make sure all the moisture is gone then let it dry propped in a cornet near a heat convector where it is warm. Then back into the vault.
I used a BAR with the BOSS system in 300 mag for years in NW Wisconsin in harsh winter weather. It worked very well, a little heavy but after a few days you seem to acclimate. The BOSS system was loud but tamed the recoil down to almost nothing. The 338 would be even better, I recommend it.
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