.416/.338 U.S. Navy-Haskins Sniper

I have what I beleive is a case for the 8.38 x 69 Multiple Flechette round. It is an empty brass case with a reversed primer cup. Headstamp is R.M.C.C.A. 1985. I assume it is a souverior case made for the 1985 meeting of the Rocky Mountain Cartridge Club Association. Does anyone remember this and do I have the case type correct? If it is ID’ed correctly, did it come with the flechettes or just the empty case. I would guess, based on the style of the headstamp that it was made by B.E.L.L. Can anyone confirm this?

Could this be an early .416/.338 case (i.e. what became the .338 Lapua Magnum)? Head diameter of the 8.38 flechette is 14.29 mm vs 14.89 mm for the .338 LM.

Paul–You are probabily correct as the head does measure 14.75mm (0.581). Do you know if R.M.C.C.A. put out a souvenior case in 1985 in .338 Lapua Magnum?

I have a loaded cartridge with the “R.M.C.C.A. 1985” headstamp, or at least I assume it is loaded. There is something that rattles like powder in the case, and the case has a nickeled-cup primer. I don’t see how it can be the .338 Lapaua Magnum, although the measurements of my specimen are close, as the Lapua Magnum, according to what I have in my files, was introduced about 5 years later, in 1990.

Ron - are you sure the head on your case measures 14.75 m/m? Mine, measured with an exlectornic LED digital caliper, measures an incredibly uniform 14.85m/m at a point immediately above the extractor groove bevel. Interestingly, that is the exact measurement (14.85-0.10) that appears on a Norma factory drawing of the .338 Lapua Magnum. The case length is on for the .338 Lapau also, according to my round and the Norma drawing. The Norma drawing shows 69.20-0.30 and mine measures 69.25m/m. The biggest point of departure between my round and the Norma drawing is the measurement at the point just below the shoulder - on my round it is 13.75 m/m and Norma shows 13.80-0.10. I have not bothered to give the neck diameter, since my round is loaded and the Norma drawing is of the empty case. The bullet diameter of the FMJ GM spire point bullet in my round is 8.56 m/m measured at the case mouth.

I will admit this round is sure close to the .338 Lapua Magnum, but the 1985 date throws me a bit as again, everything I have says the Lapua round came out about 5 years after that.

I wish I knew more about these sporting rounds. Is there a round almost identical to the Lapua that came out earlier. I guess there might be many versions of .338/.416 Rigby, which is what someone told me this rounds s based on. Again, I am "intellectually deprived, or perhaps depraved, when it comes to these types of ammunition.


I know that it is late but you have be baffled by the above sentence. The Norma dimension of 13.80-0.10 means that it can vary from 13.80 down to 13.70. Your measurement of 13.75 therefore falls smack in the middle of this tolerance range, not a big departure. Or am I missing something?


No, gravelbelly, you are not missing anything. I am missing something. My cranial engine is only firing on half its cylinders! I got the decimal point moved over one spot in my mind! Sorry about that. That makes it even more baffling that we have what appears to be a .338 Lapua Mag dated about five years before it came out in Finland. Did Lapua simply name an existing wildcatm uch like happened with what is now the .22/250?

Anybody associated with the R.M.C.C.A. that can find out what they intended this cartride to be?

OK-I was hoping someone that attended the 1985 RMCCA show would remember this and respond. Here are scans of the case and headstamp. I beleive this is a product of B.E.L.L. not Norma, for two reasons. 1) the headstamp has that “look” about it of all of B.E.L.L.’ s headstamps. 2) I recently found this round lurking in an ammo box full of cartridges I bought at the Chicagoland show the year Jim Bell allowed us to tour his facility. I know the box full of stuff is all from that show because in also contains a draw set for the .700 Nitro. I beleive this cartridge is most likely something I found found on a bench during that tour.

Here are some more dimensions:

Neck O.D.–0.369
Neck I.D.–0.330

It is clear that this was never meant to be a “live” round as can be seen by the reversed primer cup.

I have a round in my collection (shown far right below) which measures 8.38x69 - it is called the .330 Amron Aerojet, and contains three flechettes. The most obvious difference from the ones described so far is that the case is of light alloy.

Tony–That is the case I had originally ID’ed mine as. The terminalogy I used was from Lenselink’s book “Patronen”.
I did not remember until you mentioned it that all of these, as far as I know, are an anodised aluminium type of materail instead of brass, so I guess, that eliminates that as a possibility. I’m pretty sure it is a .338 Lapua Magnum, but,as John has pointed out, 1985 is almost too early for that.

According to CotW, work on what became the .338 Lapua was started in the USA in 1983, and initially resulted in the .338 BELL. It wasn’t put into production by Lapua until later.

Tony–OK. I guess that clears things up a bit. The part about it being originally called the .338 BELL ties in very nicely with my supposition that this was a B.E.L.L. product. And the 1983 starting date makes the 1985 date on the headstamp plausable. Thanks.

Now to decide if I should catalog it as .338 Bell or .338 Lapua Magnum.

The 8.38mm (aka .330 Aerojet) was first produced in brass. This is a picture of an early fired case beside a loaded alloy cased round.

The .338/.416 was developed by a US company called Research Armaments Industries in 1983 for long range sniping. RAI was working under contract for the US Navy.

Initial trials were with renecked .378 Weatherby and then a blown out .378 Weatherby without belt. Work then shifted to using the .416 Rigby. The basic .416 rigby was redesigned internally (to strengthen it) and this work was done by Bell.

I’d be inclined to name these early cases the .338/.416 USN Sniper

Reference: article by Dr. John Taylor in Tactical Shooter. January 1999. pp. 52-65.

As usual, Paul is right on. I don’t know why I didn’t remember this. In the early 1980s, when the annual cartridge show now at St. Louis was held at Oakbrook, I went out to BELL with a friend of mine, then the Criminalist for the county I live in. We had a good time there, as almost no one was around except a tool and die maker who showed us (by appointment) all the machinery and how he had redesigned old (even WWI) military machinery, sometimes to do a function it was even originally built for, saving large amounts of money on new machinery and actually getting better results. At any rate, they had just run some of the .338/416 brass for the Navy, and he told us about it under promise of secrecy. Of course, the secrecy about that project is gone now. As I recall, he gave each of us a reject case, but since I didn’t collect that stuff, I kept it a couple of years to honor my promise, and then when I saw bits and pieces appear on the cartridge, knowing that the “cat was out of the bag” on it, I gave it to a friend for his collection. I don’t recall if it had a headstamp or not, but it wasn’t the R.M.C.C.A. headstamp, that is for sure. That came later, and I got mine at a Chicago show. I am a little perturbed at myself that I didn’t recall that trip right away - it was one of those all-around great days that we usually remember a life time - my first trip to anything resembling a real ammunition factory. I suspect it was in 1983 or 1984, because in 1985, I had a chance to tour FN in Belgium, and it was definitely before that.

I just heard from friend Otto Witt, and it goes right to Paul’s information. The cartridge was developed by Research Armaments, with brass made by Bell. It has two other designations besides .338/416 U.S. Navy etc. One is “Keberst .338/.416 Rigby.” I haven’t a clue who or what “Keberst” is. The other is “8.58x71mm RAI.” It is the round used for the R.M.C.C.A. club cartridge of 1985.

I was sorting through a box of stuff that had been packed away for years and found the April 1985 bulletin for the R.M.C.C.A. It had the order form and article for this round. I thought I would post it to confirm our ID and the date. Note the name was, according to the order form, [color=blue] .416/.338 U.S. Navy-Haskins Sniper Rifle Cartridge. [/color]

On the St-Louis show 2006 I bought some .338 cartridge’s from Ron Fuchs(McMillan)
And he told me that It was the first production for the Navy Seal’s
with Bell-cases and a Hornady-hollow point.


I have the same R.M.C.C.A. 1985 headstamped cartridge, but mine is loaded with a copper jacketed soft point, and also has the nickel primer properly inserted as John’s does. It appears to me to be a loaded round. In addition, I have a fired case with no headstamp.