I'm a .35 buff myself so naturally the .358 Winchester would be my first choice. In fact I have a Remington Model 7 .308 I got with that thought in mind but with my bum shoulder I probably should make it a .243. :'(
If you want a .338 I'd go with the SAAMI spec .338 Federal not the wildcat .338-308 as it will likely have more value down the road and be easy to find factory loads for as well.
JMO, but the .308 you already have will do just about anything needed on this continent - and without a lot of recoil, either.
If change you must, a simple $150 rebore/rerifle (only) would give you your choice of two commercial cartridges that use the same basic .308 case/chamber - the relatively new .338 Federal, and the .358 Winchester.
Go with the 358. I have both the 358 and a 338-08. Both are excellent rounds for just about anything. Warning though, you need to be a reloader to get the best out of each one, 358 factory ammo is available now and then, but only in the 200 gr. Silvertip. As Graybeard said, if you go the 338-08 route, do it to the 338 Federal, that way you could buy factory ammo if needed.
Since the action is a 98 Mauser thus full length I would not bother with the short rounds and move straight to the full length 338-06 or 35 Whelen. I have been shooting them both for years and they are each worth 150-200 fps over the short stuff (which I also shoot). I see no reason to chamber a long action with a short cartridge.
I'm with Boxhead, go for the 35 whelen, have ER Shaw rebarrel with a 26 inch barrel, and you can get 2750 fps out of the Nosler 225 gr Ballistic Tip bullet which will slay anything on this continent including the bears...i have one of these rifles and i really like the way it shoots, the action is big enough without any alteration and it feeds perfectly, no problems with the rifle...JimP.
I, too , agree with boxhead to skip the short stuff.
338-06 now has factory ammo as does 35 whelan, BOTH are awesome, BUT........
For wildcat short stuff, I built a .270/08 for a guy several years ago and it performs superbly, but you gotta neck down 308 brass or neck up 260 Rem brass.
I also know that the 270/08 AI is a touch faster.
.260 Rem is a mild recoiling (for the grandson) excellent factory round a touch faster than a 6.5 swede
Hope this opens the mind a bit
John (ye olde gunsmith)
I pick up an Adams & Bennet barrel in .35 Whelen for under $ 100 from one of the big supplers a while back. I am waiting for a call from the smith to tell me the barred action is readu so I can stock it and give it a try. Should be able to get the rifle to gether for under $ 400, including doner action. Nothing fancy, just a hunting rifle.
I would vote for the 35 Whelen Might as well take advantage of the model 98's long action length. The 338-06 is also a viable choice. In practical terms, they are both pretty similar. I like the Whelen more for nostalgia, and a soft spot for 35 caliber.
I have a 1909 Argentine Mauser, made by DWM that I bought when I was 16. I had the barell cut down to 22 inches, had it re-bored / chambered to .35 Whelen, bolt handle lowered, drilled and tapped, mounted a Lyman peep sight, and re-contoured / refinished the wood. Still have that rifle, and would feel confident hunting about anything that walks with it.
Got my 8x57mm Persian Carbine when I was 14 years old. It's still my "go-to" rifle, my best girl some of my friends call it, because I never leave it home! My grandson just turned two years old, so it will stay on my rack for a few more years before I pass it on to him. My Dad passed his Interarms Mark X custom barreled in 30-06 to my son. (I get the rest of them! LOL)
You've got a long action - go with the long cartridge. My vote goes to the 35Whelen for all the previously posted reasons above. Doubt your grandson will know the difference and will be thrilled simply because it was Grampa's!!!
A forum community dedicated to the great outdoors and hunting enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about hunting, fishing, survival, archery gunsmithing, optics, reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more!