The .338 Lapua Magnum (8.6×70mm or 8.58×70mm) is a rimless, bottlenecked, centerfire rifle cartridge. It was developed during the 1980s as a high-powered, long-range cartridge for military snipers. It was used in the War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War. As a result of this, it became more widely available. The loaded cartridge is 14.93 mm (0.588 in) in diameter (rim) and 93.5 mm (3.68 in) long. It can penetrate better-than-standard military body armor at ranges up to 1,000 metres (1,090 yd) and has a maximum effective range of about 1,750 metres (1,910 yd) with C.I.P. conform ammunition at sea level conditions. Muzzle velocity is dependent on barrel length, seating depth, and powder charge, and varies from 880 to 915 m/s (2,890 to 3,000 ft/s) for commercial loads with 16.2-gram (250 gr) bullets, which corresponds to about 6,525 J (4,813 ft⋅lbf) of muzzle energy.
British military issue overpressure .338 Lapua Magnum cartridges with a 91.4 mm (3.60 in) overall length, loaded with 16.2-gram (250 gr) LockBase B408 very-low-drag bullets fired at 936 m/s (3,071 ft/s) muzzle velocity fired from a L115A3 Long Range Rifle were used in November 2009 by British sniper Corporal of Horse (CoH) Craig Harrison to establish the then-new record for the longest confirmed sniper kill in combat, at a range of 2,475 m (2,707 yd). In reports CoH Harrison mentions the environmental conditions at Musa Qala were perfect for long range shooting: no wind, mild weather, clear visibility.In addition to its military role, it is increasingly used by hunters and civilian long-range shooting enthusiasts. The .338 Lapua Magnum is capable of taking down any game animal, though its suitability for some dangerous game (Cape buffalo, hippopotamus, white rhinoceros, and elephant) is arguable, unless accompanied by a larger "backup" calibre: "There is a huge difference between calibres that will kill an elephant and those that can be relied upon to stop one." In Namibia the .338 Lapua Magnum is legal for hunting Africa's Big five game if the loads have ≥ 5,400 J (3,983 ft⋅lbf) muzzle energy.

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