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DRD TACTICAL’S “KIVAARI”™ RIFLE: .338 Lapua Magnum Take-Down Rifle

By Chris A. Choat

For those of you that have never fired or don’t know much about the .338 Lapua Magnum round let this author bring you up to speed. It was a joint venture between Finnish rifle manufacturer SAKO and the British rifle manufacturer Accuracy International along with the Finnish ammunition manufacturer Lapua. The .338 Lapua Magnum is a rimless, bottle-necked centerfire cartridge that was originally designed for the military to use in their long range sniper rifles. Snipers were wanting a cartridge that could outperform the venerable 7.62 X 51 NATO (.308) but did not have the weight and recoil of the .50 BMG round. During the Afghanistan and Iraq wars the .338 Lapua Magnum round proved to be just the ticket for those 1000 yards plus shots that needed to be taken in the desert environments. The round did this without having to have a corresponding rifle that weighed in at around the 50 pound range. The round outperformed the .308 by far and was lighter and had considerably less recoil than the .50 BMG round so more ammunition could be carried by the individual soldier. During combat it was found that the .338 Lapua round could effectively defeat military body armor at ranges out to 1000 meters with no problem. The round actually had a maximum effective range of almost 2000 yards. It also set a new “longest confirmed sniper kill in combat” shot at a range of 2707 yards (2,475 meters). The .338 Lapua Magnum round has now found a place among not only military and law enforcement snipers but also among civilian shooters whether shooting competition or hunting dangerous big game.

Up until just a couple of years ago the .338 Lapua was available in bolt-action firearms only. The round was never really designed to be fired in a semi-auto platform rifle. This mostly had to do with the way the ammunition was built. The .338 Lapua is a very high pressure round and not all manufacturers were consistent with their quality control. But today the ammunition available...


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