.308 vs 7.62...


August 19, 2003, 08:38 AM
are these the same round, if i get a rifle in .308 will it also shoot 7.62?

ala .223 vs 5.56...


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August 19, 2003, 09:13 AM
Someone more knowledgeable than I can answer this better. That being said,
the term '308' usually means 'Winchester .308'. The term '7.62' usually refers
to 7.62 X 39mm - a very different round and usually associated with AK-47
variants. The same diameter bullet does not mean the same round.

A .308 is a 7.62 X 54mm (I think).

August 19, 2003, 09:34 AM
I'm under a different impression: a 7.62 is presumed to be a 7.62x51 unless otherwise stated (7.62x25, 7.62x39, 7.62x54R, 7.62x63, etc).

I suppose it depends on the region in which you live.

BTW, a .308win would be the civilian version of the 7.62x51. The 7.62x54R is Nagant and Dragonov fodder (as well as a host of other foreign military rifles). If I'm not mistaken, the 7.62x54R is the oldest military cartridge currently still in military use. Enough with the trivia.

All those that I know who own .308 rifles, including myself (SAR48) will occasionally use military surplus, which is always labeled as 7.62x51. I understand that's quite common among owners of .308win chambered semi-automatic rifles. With milsurp so cheap, it's hard to pass up.
As for a nice bolt action, I would suppose only nice-n-fresh factory .308win would suit the shooter. However, they are more than capable of firing 7.62x51 military surplus.

That's my take.

Art Eatman
August 19, 2003, 09:40 AM
The .308 Winchester and the 7.62 NATO are the same animal.

The 7.62 x 39 is the AK cartridge.

There is a whole bunch of discussion about the .223 and the 5.56 differences, mostly having to do with the length of the bullets and the amount of leade in military rifles. I have used both military and civilian loadings in AR15s, Ruger Mini-14s and a Ruger 77 MK II bolt action. They always went Bang! with zero problems of any sort whatsoever.


August 19, 2003, 10:25 AM
A smaller issue would be the difference in pressure levels. All else being equal, a commercial round is usually loaded to somewhat higher pressure levels than a NATO one.

August 19, 2003, 10:49 AM
IMHO: 7.62X51 = 7.62 Nato = .308 Winchester. Three designations for the same thing.

Others will surely point out that SAAMI has a different drawing for the military and civilian versions, and different pressure specs, also. Most commercial manufacturers are savvy enough to make sure their weapons chamber both, although there is maybe one or two that specify only one or tother. HTH

August 19, 2003, 10:53 AM
For a great discussion of this very topic follow this link. (http://home.sprynet.com/~frfrog/miscelld.htm#same round)

I use surplus 7.62x51 NATO ammo in my Savage .308 bolt action without any problems and am not concerned about it. However, I would be hesitatnt to do so if I had some sort of $1,500 uber sub-MOA match rifle.


August 19, 2003, 10:53 AM
As stated above, in the US, 7.62 typically refers to 7.62 NATO (or 7.62x51).

7.62x51 mm and .308 Winchester are pretty much the same with very minor case dimension differences, slightly different pressure levels in loading and typically different "strength" of the case...e.g., it isn't uncommon that a commercial 308 round can have a case separation in a surplus rifle during extraction. I know if several instances where a CETME exractor ripped a commercial case in half.

August 19, 2003, 11:06 AM
I believe the real answer is "technically different, but practically the same"

Whatever your opinion of Fulton Armory, they do have some good info on their site. Here is their write up on the subject.


In the free world "7.62" means 7.62 X 51.

August 19, 2003, 11:22 AM
it depends on the chamber:


Opinion: In general it is a bad idea to attempt to fire 5.56 rounds (e.g., M193, M855) in .223 chambers, particularly with older rifles.

Fact: SAAMI specifically warns against the use of 5.56mm ammo in .223 chambers._ The .223 SAAMI specification was originally made with bolt rifles in mind.

Q. What is the difference between 5.56?45mm and .223 Remington ammo?

In the 1950's, the US military adopted the metric system of measurement and uses metric measurements to describe ammo._ However, the US commercial ammo market typically used the English "caliber" measurements when describing ammo._ "Caliber" is a shorthand way of saying "hundredths (or thousandths) of an inch."_ For example, a fifty caliber projectile is approximately fifty one-hundredths (.50) of an inch and a 357 caliber projectile is approximately three-hundred and fifty-seven thousandths (.357) of an inch._ Dimensionally, 5.56 and .223 ammo are identical, though military 5.56 ammo is typically loaded to higher pressures and velocities than commercial ammo and may, in guns with extremely tight "match" .223 chambers, be unsafe to fire.

The chambers for .223 and 5.56 weapons are not the same either._ Though the AR15 design provides an extremely strong action, high pressure signs on the brass and primers, extraction failures and cycling problems may be seen when firing hot 5.56 ammo in .223-chambered rifles._ Military M16s and AR15s from Colt, Bushmaster, FN, DPMS, and some others have the M16-spec chamber with a longer throat and should have no trouble firing hot 5.56 ammunition._ The big difference between the two chambers is in the chamber dimensions._ Military M16s have slightly more headspace and have a longer throat area, compared to the SAAMI .223 chamber spec, which was originally designed for bolt-action rifles._ Commercial SAAMI-specification .223 chambers have a much shorter throat, a smaller diameter bullet seat and less freebore than the military chamber._ Shooting 5.56 mil-spec ammo in a SAAMI-specification chamber can increase pressure dramatically, up to an additional 15,000 psi or more.

The military chamber is often referred to as a "5.56 NATO" chamber, as that is what is usually stamped on military barrels._ Some AR manufacturers use the tighter ".223" (i.e., SAAMI-spec and often labeled ".223" or ".223 Remington") chamber, which tends to give you more accuracy but, in self-loading rifles, less reliability, especially with hot-loaded military ammo. Some AR manufacturers use an in-between chamber spec, such as the Wylde chamber._ Many mis-mark their barrels too, which further complicates things._ You can generally tell what sort of chamber you are dealing with by the markings on the weapon, but always check with the manufacturer to be sure.

Typical Colt mil-spec-type markings: "C MP 5.56 NATO 1/7"

Typical Bushmaster markings: "B MP 5.56 NATO 1/9 HBAR"

Armalite doesn't always mark their barrels.

5.56 v. .223 Remington specification.

See also: Remington's description of the differences between .223 and 5.56mm.

Q. Which should I be looking for in an AR15, 5.56 NATO or .223 Remington chambers?

This is really a matter of the role for which you plan to use your AR._ .223 Remington chambers will give you slightly better accuracy, which is important for a match or varmint rifle._ Any loss of feeding and cycling reliability and the restriction against shooting military ammo isn't as important as the accuracy gains for a rifle used in these roles, because for these rifles, accuracy is everything._ People who just want to plink or who plan to shoot military ammo (such as most of the cheap surplus ammo available), and especially those who may use their AR as a weapon, should choose 5.56 chambers.

The FAQ section of www.fultonarmory.com has some .308 data


What's the Difference between .308 Winchester & 7.62x51mm NATO?

by Clint McKee and Walt Kuleck
dumb question i alway thought these 2 ammos where interchangeable but some have told me otherwise whats the story??? jim

Hi, Jim,

This is a perennial topic, kinda like ".45 vs. 9mm" or "Best Guns & Loads for Deer."

They are not the same.

They are the same.

They are not the same, 'cause the .308 Win was released by Winchester several years before the Army standarized the T64E3 as the 7.62MM. You'll get an endless discussion of pressure specs, endless because SAAMI and the Ordnance Dep't measured pressure in different, unrelateable ways. Howver, the chamber drawings are different.

They are the same, 'cause nobody (and Clint's been looking for many years!) makes 7.62MM ammo that isn't to the .308 "headspace" dimension spec. So 7.62MM ammo fits nicely into .308 chambers, as a rule.

But in some 7.62MM rifles the chambers are long (to the 7.62MM military spec), notably the Navy Garands with 7.62MM barrels. Thus, using commercial ammo in such a rifle is not a good idea; you need stronger brass. Use military ammo or the best commercial only, e.g., Federal Gold Medal Match.

Most of the time it's a distinction without a difference. But if you intend to shoot .308 commercial in a military arm chambered for 7.62MM, first check the headspace with .308 commercial gauges first. You may get a surprise.

Best regards,

Walt Kuleck
Fulton Armory webmaster
Clint, What's the difference between .308 Winchester & 7.62x51mm NATO?

Jerry Kuhnhausen, in his classic Shop Manual (available from Fulton Armory; see the M1 Rifle Parts & Accessories or M14 Rifle Parts and Accessories Pages under Books) has published a somewhat controversial recommendation concerning .308 Winchester and 7.62x51mm NATO ammo, headspace & chambers. I broached the subject with him some months ago. He had his plate full, so we decided to chat on this in the future. When we do I'll report the results of our conversation.

I completely agree with Jerry that if you have a chamber with headspace much in excess of 1.636 (say, 1.638, SAAMI field reject), you must use only U.S. or NATO Mil Spec Ammo (always marked 7.62mm & with a cross enclosed by a circle) since the NATO mil spec calls for a far more "robust" brass case than often found in commercial (read .308 Winchester) cartridges. It is precisely why Lake City brass is so highly sought. Lake City brass is Nato spec and reloadable (most NATO is not reloadable, rather it is Berdan primed). Indeed, cheaper commercial ammo can fail at the 1.638 headspace (e.g., UMC) in an M14/M1 Garand. Many military gas guns (e.g., M14 Rifles & M60 Machine guns) run wildly long headspace by commercial (SAAMI) standards (U.S. Military field reject limit for the M60 & M14 is 1.6455, nearly 16 thousandths beyond commercial (SAAMI) GO, & nearly 8 thousandths beyond commercial (SAAMI) field reject limit!).

I also agree that 1.631-1.632 is a near perfect headspace for an M14/M1A or M1 Garand chambered in .308 Winchester. But I think that it also near perfect for 7.62mm NATO!

I have measured many, many types/manufacturers of commercial and NATO ammo via cartridge "headspace" gauges as well as "in rifle" checks. If anything, I have found various Nato ammo to be in much tighter headspace/chamber compliance than commercial ammo. Indeed, sometimes commercial ammo can not be chambered "by hand" in an M14/M1A with, say, 1.631 headspace (bolt will not close completely by gentle hand manipulation on a stripped bolt, although it will close & function when chambered by the force of the rifle's loading inertia), though I have never seen this with NATO spec ammo. I.e., if anything, NATO ammo seems to hold at the minimum SAAMI cartridge headspace of 1.629-1.630, better than some commercial ammo!

So, why set a very long 1.636 headspace in an M14/M1A or M1 Garand? It probably is the conflict mentioned above. Military headspace gauges say one thing, SAAMI headspace gauges say something else, as do the spec's/compliance covering ammo. In a court of law, who will prevail? I think Kuhnhausen gave all those who do this work a safe way out. However, I believe it not in your, or your rifle's, best interest. Whether you have a NATO chambered barrel (M14/M1 Garand G.I. ".308 Win."/7.62mm NATO barrels all have NATO chambers), or a .308 Winchester chamber, keep the headspace within SAAMI limits (1.630 GO, 1.634 NO GO, 1.638 FIELD REJECT). This subject is a bit confusing, and for me difficult to explain in a one way conversation!

Clint McKee

August 19, 2003, 01:31 PM
I have never heard of a rifle damaged by interchanging civ/mil in either caliber. But special built match rifles could be finicky, even with varience in civilian ammo.

August 20, 2003, 09:51 AM
for all the info,

heres the reason for my question, i want a remmy vs in .308 but i also saw this very sweet cz bolt action carbine in 7.62 that i can't stop thinking about :rolleyes:

so im wondering will i be able to purchase ammo that will satisfy both and avoid having to keep 2 cartridge sizes, granted i would use them for different purposes but if i could find an inexpensive round for use at the range for just fun that would fit both rifles it would make me a happier camper


August 20, 2003, 10:22 AM
My opinion is that either one you named will shoot either, 280Plus.

August 20, 2003, 11:22 AM
bolt actions tend to be OK with either

its when a calibrated gas system needs a specific amount of tug to extract that it might get goofy

August 20, 2003, 11:54 AM
If the CZ you're looking at is a 527, It's chambered for 7.62x39, not the 7.62x51 also called .308wcf/7.62 Nato.
The 7.62x39 is the SKS/AK Soviet round is is somewhat lower powered than the other.
If it is a 550, it is probably the .308wcf, et.al.

August 20, 2003, 07:45 PM
i better check that cz again, i'm not sure which it was.

it was one i saw on the rack at a shop i don't frequent often, i just asked my usual guy to price me one in .308 if available like that so i'm waiting for his answer

i'm going to assume the 7.62 x 39 would not be the best round for deer?

what do you guys think?


August 20, 2003, 08:45 PM
7.62 Russian (aka 7.62x39mm) is roughly equivalent to a 30-30, which most people consider a 200 yard deer rifle (mostly though because of it's usual platform, a lever action with open sights). I believe the 30-30 beats the 7.62 R below 150 yards or so by a couple hundred feet per second but that is negated at 150+ (probably mostly because of the bullet design). Millions of deer have fallen to the 30-30.

308 will do you fine with a flatter trajectory out much further. Downside is more recoil and more expensive ammo.

Really can't answer your question fully until we know your intended usage (e.g., eastern US deer hunting vs western)

August 21, 2003, 07:22 AM
theres enough of em around,,, :)

hmmm, requires more thought,,,

the remmy is for target

glad i asked these questions, anything else i should know?


after more thought and a visit to cz site,,,

yep, you nailed it, 527 cz =7.62 x 39, or .223

and no .308 or 7.62 x 51 in 527 or 550 models

so can we now say .308 will not fit this rifle?

incidentally, the cz site had it $70 cheaper than the one i seen in the store,

now to see what my buddy says...

could we go further and say this might not be the best platform for deer and a lever action carbine in .308 would suit me better in terms of getting a second shot off as well as ammo compatability with the remmy?

i'm interested in open sights 200 yds or less

in brush, which is why i say carbine

i believe i want a bolt action for the added accuracy

is it a choice of which i want to sacrifice (speed vs accuracy) or is the difference in accuracy negligible?

i'm assuming lever action is slightly faster than bolt. (which is probably an argument all its own)

chances are i'll only get 1 shot anyhow,

see what happens when you think about something for a while??



August 21, 2003, 11:56 AM
What no CZ's in .308! Or do you mean the regular hunting rifles?
They did have a couple of heavey barrel "varmint" rifles in .308. I gotta go check their site right now.

August 21, 2003, 12:07 PM
Well they still list the heavy barrels and the 550 American in .308.

Sure you didn't scroll down to the list for the medium(I think that would be correct) actions? But for some reason they are a trifle higher in cost than the ones listed above them.

Here's a link to that page:


BTW- They also make a nice mannlicher type one in .308 but now I'm drooling over that in 6.5x55 SE.:)

August 21, 2003, 01:14 PM
causing an uproar again,,,



i was talking about their 527 carbine, i didnt see that in .308 just .223 and 7.62x39

i found i was actually not at their site when i looked either so i'm probably mistaken about the 550 but not the carbine, as far as i know


August 21, 2003, 01:17 PM
7.62 x 39 is an "OK" deer round, with the right load, at close range, etc, etc.
You'd be far better served with a .308 (7.62 x 51).

I didn't think you could hunt with a rifle in Connecticutt...?


August 21, 2003, 01:25 PM
i can hunt private land with a rifle but not state, slug guns or ".22 caliber"

i wonder if that includes centerfire .22 rounds (eg, .223) but wouldn't want to use one anyhow

feel free to correct me. i know a friend who shot his last 2 with a 7mm on private land now that i think about it. now theres a big round, too much for a deer i think though


August 21, 2003, 01:37 PM
A 7mm is smaller than a 7.62. It also comes in a variety of flavors - 7mm Mauser, 7mm08, 7mm Mag, .280 Remington, etc.


August 22, 2003, 07:09 AM
i was at dicks and i saw a round and they called it 7mm, with no designation.

the case looked huge to me

he was showing it to another guy who was headed off for elk IIRC

and then my buddy refers to his as a 7mm, no desination either, i actually havent ever seen any of his ammo so i assumed 7mm and 7mm was the same, who woulda thought?

i'm sorry, there's just too many different rounds out there,

it'd be nice to walk into wally world and just say "gimme a box of bullets" and that would be the end of it, :D

so now for me it comes down to this question...

bolt action or lever action for open sight deer hunting in brush?

and what are the better choices of rifle in each action?

i'll assume remington would be the best choice in bolt, how about lever action rifles, any favorites?


August 22, 2003, 09:42 AM
Prolly a 7mm mag. That is a considerably larger case with a slightly smaller bullet than the .308/7.62x51. When most people refer to 7mm that is what they are talking about.

Just my opinion, but a Winchester or Marlin lever in 30-30 sounds like a good fit for what you are describing. Plenty of power for short-range hunting, lightweight, and just a fun rifle to have around. I inherited a Winchester '94 manufactured in the 50's, and it is a great little carbine. You usually find used ones in very good shape for reasonable prices (i.e. under $300).

Hope that helps!:)

August 22, 2003, 04:09 PM
i'm beginning to believe that this would be the right one, i was originally swayed by the very nice looking cz carbine in 7.62x39 cause i just really liked the gun

but the more i talk to you guys the more i'm leaning away from it.

and i'm not the type to buy anything thats not going to be of any particular use to me, just cause it's pretty...

and i guess if youre going to have a lever action, it should probably be a winchester,

wouldnt wanna tick off jimmy stewart now, would we?



August 24, 2003, 12:58 AM
I would think that the 7.62x39mm would do just fine on deer up to about the 200lb range.
The 7.62x39mm gets a little flatter trajectory than the 30-30 because of its pointed bullet. Ends up with about the same power and effective range though.
There is some good US made SP ammo out there for hunting, but I would stay away from the Wolf and Barnaul stuff for that purpose. It is OK stuff to stockpile for the invasion of the Red Army and it is great for plinking with an AK or SKS, but I would use something else for hunting.
If you like the rifle, by all means, buy it and use it.
It would at the very least be as good as a Wichester for hunting deer, and since it is both a CZ and a bolt-action, it would likely shoot rings around a lever action. Fast handling and a quick action are good, but hitting where you want is better. In brush, you can't really just wing a bullet through and hit what is on the other side. You have to aim through openings and holes in the brush and make your shot count.
To tell the truth, I think the little CZ 527's are cool as well. If they can be used with that cheap steel cased Wolf, imagine how much practice shooting you could do with it before you hit the woods.
Cheap practice ammo is a good thing, and it would give the CZ an edge over the Winchester.

I did get a refund for a defective gun today, so that may very well be on my list. Hell, you almost have me talked into one. You should go into sales.
In my experience, you can't go wrong with a CZ. I have a CZ-75BD and a 452. Both are really good guns. On the same note, Winchesters and Marlins are good guns as well. It all comes down to what you want.
Either choice will do the job.

If you are dead set on a lever action, a 30-30 Marlin or Winchester will do fine for head shots out to about 100 yards (if you are good enough) and body shots out to about 150.
I use a bolt action Savage .308 with a 2x forward mounted scope, but it is really more gun than I need for the close range hunting that I do here in PA. The deer I got last year was taken at about 60 yards, which is about average.
Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't take a 20MM AA to kill a deer. Unless you are going to shoot at long ranges, a 7mm Mag is excessive. The best way to hunt deer is to sneak up close anyway. It is harder, but the shots are easier when you are close.
Closer=bigger target=better chance of killing it.
Farther away with a big scope and really powerful gun means that the shooter has to be more skilled at hitting in the first place, and that he has to be better at estimating wind and range as well. Factor in that you are new to hunting, so you will have to contend with all kinds of surges and shakes from adrenaline. Close is good.
Learn how to hunt. You know the deer is in range when you can smell his breath.

BTW- I know I am longwinded, but I forgot to mention the venerable model 99 Savage. They are lever action, and they can be had in .308. My dad and my grandfather both used Model 99's for years (in .300 Savage) and they will hold their own against anything else. I think they are now discontinued, but that was a mistake.
Blessed father, please forgive Savage Arms, for they know not what they do.

August 26, 2003, 07:20 AM
"In brush, you can't really just wing a bullet through and hit what is on the other side. You have to aim through openings and holes in the brush and make your shot count."

are you sure YOURE not a cz salesman... :neener:

cause you just sold me!

after all that, cz 527 it is...

now wheres my gun guys #, he must have a line on one by now...


Art Eatman
August 26, 2003, 08:23 AM
My "school of thought" about guns'n'deer is that I have concern about a bad hit. You bust the white spot in a deer's neck, and almost any little old centerfire will work. A good hit in the upper heart/lower lungs will put a deer down, and it doesn't take a whole lot of cartridge.

But deer can decide to take a step as you tell your finger to press the trigger. Or, they can turn and you have an angling shot, with an extra foot of deer between you and its heart. That's why, to me, the venerable thutty-thutty is pretty much the minimum deer cartridge.

That possibility of a bad hit is why I've passed on shots with a .243 that I would have taken with my '06.


August 26, 2003, 09:23 AM

I don't think you can go wrong either way, but the one thing I will give the 7.62x39 over the 30-30 is the price of ammo. Cheap ammo means more practice, and more practice means better shots.

Heck, I have upwards of 500 rounds of 7.62x39 sitting in my ammo stash, and about 40 rounds of 30-30. Why? Price. For that reason alone I tend to shoot my SKS about 5 times as much as I shoot the old Winny. (Other reasons, too, but that is a big one....)

Let us all know how it turns out! (Pictures! We want pictures!!! ;))

August 26, 2003, 05:07 PM
its on order,,,

i'll be happy to post a few pics soon as i can!

fwiw,,,i'm into the food aspect of this so i'll be aiming for the young small ones, not the big old gamey bucks, (i already got an 8 point rack from an ancient excursion gathering dust around here somewhere) so the 7.62x39 should suffice even at a bad angle,

if not well,,,then we'll look into that 30/30 i suppose,

"but honey, its not a new gun,,,"


one thing i got goin' for me, the SO likes venison,,,


and did you say cheap ammo? :drooling smilie:

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