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Head to head 308 Win vs 7mm-08 Rem

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Kachok, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. Kachok

    Kachok Well-Known Member

    This is a topic I see discussed at length on the forum, and seeing as I shoot and handload both I felt the need to address this topic. Many would suggest that the 7mm-08 is the vastly superior cartrage for shooting any real range but let's look at some real numbers.
    Say you want a reasonably fast flat shooting load for deer hunting that will retain a healthy amount of energy out to 500yd. Lets use max load data from Nosler #6 as a reference point.
    168gr Ballistic Tip 308 Win 52.5gr Big Game 2910fps (24" barrel) w/.490BC
    The trajectory w/200yd zero is -7.07" at 300 -20.44" at 400 and -41.07" at 500yd.
    Energy is 3159 ft/lbs at the muzzle and 2074, 1791, and 1539 ft/lbs respectively at range.
    140gr Nosler Ballistic Tip 7mm-08 47.5gr Big Game 2953fps (26" barrel) w/.485 BC.
    Trajectory is -6.86" at 300, -19.84" at 400 and -39.91" at 500
    Energy is 2711ft/lbs at the muzzle, and 1776, 1532, and 1315 ft/lbs respectively at range.
    In an 8lbs rifle recoil for the 308 checks in at 19.3 lbs and the 7mm-08 with a 14.4lbs.
    At no point of this comparison does the 7mm-08 hold any large advantage over the 308 in trajectory, the difference in fact is hardly noticeable. The only real noticeable difference is in the energy/impact of the heavier 30 caliber bullet and the lower recoil of the 7mm-08. Take that with a grain of salt though because in the case of my rifles (a Model 70 Featherweight and a Browning A-Bolt) my 308 has less felt recoil because of a few ounces more weight and it has a better recoil pad. I like this comparison because Big Game powder is the fastest for both calibers and the only variable is the 2" more tube on the 7mm-08 which makes up the 43fps difference between them. The sectional density of the 168gr 308 and 140gr 7mm-08 is very nearly the same.
    I could compare lighter or heavier bullets if you wish, the matchup between 180gr 308 and 160gr 7mm-08 is a close one too, though in that case the 7mm-08 holds a tiny bit more of an edge in trajectory, still a very close race though.
  2. TexasPatriot.308

    TexasPatriot.308 Well-Known Member

    I own some of both, use some of both, whatever suits my fancy when I open my safe. both do the job and please me.
  3. greenlion

    greenlion Well-Known Member


    Interesting video if you haven't seen it yet.

    I would love to see a mainstream .270-08 cartridge sitting between the .260 Rem and the 7mm-08. I think it might be the perfect balance between low recoil and high BC.
  4. browningguy

    browningguy Well-Known Member

    Firstly, I've never heard anyone suggest that the 7mm-08 is vastly superior to a .308. LEGAL NOTICE:I own one .308 for hunting and one precision rifle in .308 and would not replace either of them with a 7mm-08. I do also hunt with a 7x57, because you can load heavy for caliber bullets that will penetrate just about anything. I think the 7mm-08 is fine for the ladies and young children :), but it gives up to much powder space to run the heavy bullets efficiently (162 and 175 gr.).

    With that out of the way, no one shooting long range cares much about bullet drop, that's simple physics and can be easily calculated, and adjusted for altitude, temperature etc. Now wind drift, that's the issue with long range shooting and it gets reduced by running bullets with a high Ballistic Coefficient at a reasonable speed.

    I actually shoot a .243 for long range shooting (600 yards and over). Running 107 SGK's it has a pretty significant advantage in wind drift over my .308 with the 175 SGK. And all of the winners in long range competition use 6, 6.5 and 7mm rounds, all due to the ability to shoot high BC bullets at reasonable speeds and reduce wind drift.
  5. Kachok

    Kachok Well-Known Member

    Same here, there is absolutely no doubt that a stout 7mm-08 is more then enough for any deer that ever walked, and as I said my 7-08 is the lighter and the more compact of my short actions, it is my newest rifle and I have yet to harvest any game with it yet, but if my 6.5x55 can drop all those deer with a 140gr at 2740fps I have no doubt my 7mm-08 would not do just as well with it's 140s at 2877fps.
    I have often wounderd why there has not been a commercial .257 and .277 version of the 308 case since that is the standard short action nowadays. A .270-08 should give about 3000fps with a 130gr only 60-80fps behind the long action 270 win, handloaders might be able to hit 3100 before it runs out of case.
  6. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    Kachok I'm rather surprised that you've not had the revelation most of us handloaders have given time messing with enough different cartridges.

    That revelation is that as you neck a cartridge DOWN at the same pressure the velocity potental per given bullet weight DECREASES

    All you gain by necking down is a reduction in recoil. Because to shoot bullets at similar BC and velocity you must reduce bullet mass. Very rarely does necking down result in a cartridge actually shooting "flatter" with bullets of similar suitably for game.

    This is why I like to chuckle at and tweak your nose a little when you get to waxing all romantic about 6.5x55 because other than kicking less it really doesn't do anything special compared to say my most awesome 30-06

    Another think its easy to get caught up on BC and SD, for deer hunting any bullet above 100g@6mm and 125@7.62 is sufficient in SD for whitetail inside 300 yards and BC really doesn't matter till your beyond 300 at wich point you really should be comparing Magnum cartridges.

    The deer I've killed with a 55g 223 @ 15yds was just as dead as the one I killed with a 125g b-tip from a 7.62x39 @ 280yds wich in turn was just as dead as the one shot with a 180g CT from a 300wby @150

    Put a bullet of suitable construction in the right spot and you're golden. Shoot deer beyond 200 and you must not only know the range but your loads drop to that range at wich point what does it matter that one cartridge takes four clicks of come up vs five for another?

    Short answer is it doesn't.

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  7. Kachok

    Kachok Well-Known Member

    Really??? How about a 35 Whelen vs the 280 Rem? I would run the numbers for you but they are laughable to say the least.
    Truth is that there are ideal ratios of case capacity to bore for a given situation, and please understand that a 35 Whelen or 338-06 will in no way compete with a 280 or 6.5-06 for long ranged trajectory. I am not knocking the 35, it is a fantastic cartrage for real world hunting ranges (under 300 yards) but if you are shooting 500 or better it is easily outclassed by the 120+ year old 6.5x55.
    I own and hunt with a 30-06 as well, but for deer class game my 6.5x55 shoots flatter, faster and more efficiently with alot less recoil and no deer has ever lived long enough to notice the difference between the two, that is why it is my favorite. I highly doubt anything larger then a 25-06 or 6.5x55 (120gr @3000fps with either) could kill a deer any faster, but for larger game my 30-06 with 165-200gr bullets gets the nod, not that my Sweed could not do the job but because a 30 cal is more appropriate and ethical.
  8. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    35 whelen and 280 is a tricky comparison because there's no bullet weight overlap and 35 caliber bullet development has been stagnant for awhile.

    However if you compare projectiles with similar BC and SD I think you'll find that the axiom still holds true.

    Once you move beyond the fantasy that what constitutes a great long range target round has anything do do with what makes a great deer round you'll come to the not so fun realization that virtually no cartridge does anything special

    Again what difference does four clicks up vs 5 or 6 matter when shooting at a deer you've already had to lazer range and build a good shooting position up on?

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  9. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

  10. taliv

    taliv Moderator

    maybe i shouldn't post after midnight, but are you saying necking a 308win down to 260rem or down further to 243win, with their corresponding 175/140/105g decreasing bullet weights and increasing velocity 2700/2850/3100 fps doesn't result in flatter shooting?

    maybe i'm misunderstanding, but my experience watching trace is that for the same pressure, i can shoot a 6mm way flatter to 1000 yards than a 308win.
  11. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    Normal hunting rifles with 24" or shorter barrels and factory or saami spec handloads don't launch 105g 6mm bullets much faster than 2900fps much less 3100. In fact they shoot 100g bullets of similar BC about as fast as a 308 does 150g projectiles.

    Also note this thread isn't about 1000 yards its about hunting inside 500. We understand you long range guys need to wring every ounce of ballistic performance out of your loads, but as I point out above what makes a good f-class setup really doesn't have much bearing on Bambi shooting inside 400

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  12. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    If I take your 105g 6mm load at face value and assume a .500bc

    I get from a 200yd zero 17.5" to 400 @ 1300ft lbs

    I'm going to assume its a pretty hot load so ill compare it to 150g hornady superformance w a sst bullet BC .415 @3000fps

    On the same zero the 308 drops a mere 2.5" more yet hits with over 200 ftlbs more energy.

    Now if I trim your load back to 2950 fps as would seem a bit more realistic for a 24" bbl there's only A HALF INCH difference in drop to 400 and almost a 500ft lb disparity of energy with the 243 barely making 1000 ft lbs

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  13. stubbicatt

    stubbicatt Well-Known Member

    I am confused real good now.

    As I understood the original post, as bore diameter decreases, the velocity attainable from a projectile of the same weight goes down. Ferinstance, a 120 grain 308 bullet compared to a 120 grain 6.5 bullet. The velocity attainable through the 308 bore with the same weight projectile is greater, at least that's how I understood the OP. If so I think this is true.

    That said, even with a higher velocity, I suspect that the 308 bullet will run out of steam before the 6.5 mm bullet, assuming they are optimized each one for good BC.

    Did I get that or am I still foundering....??
  14. Kachok

    Kachok Well-Known Member

    R.W. Dale While I don't load 243 I don't think it would have as much trouble reaching 3k as you think, 44.5gr of N560 drives a 100gr partition to 3144fps in a 24" tube and yes that is a modern published load.
    The 280 Rem and 35 Whelen comparison is fair enough if you always assume that the larger caliber always has better external ballistics, the 280 beats it without a doubt and by a pretty wide margin. They are based on the same case are they not? Sure they don't have any overlapping weights but the 7-08 and 308 were not compared at the same weights either, you know why? Because it would be silly, a more realistic comparison would be of similar SD and BC which is what I did.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  15. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    Kachok we cannot have a discussion about external ballistics as long as you labor under the illusion that the velocity given in the manual is anywhere close to what you may actually get out of a rifle.

    I have load notes and experience loading for these cartridges in various firearms and actual Chronograph data to fall back on.

    Whereas your nosler manual if full of nothing but hopes and dreams for velocity figures, ever moreso the more overbore a cartridge is.

    Do you even own a Chronograph? Well I do and a 24" 243 is in fact struggling to get 2950 with 100g and if you shorten the barrel ANY from there you merely have a glorified 30-30


    Pay especial attention to the link in post 19

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  16. taliv

    taliv Moderator

    ok, i understand it is an irrelevant tangent for hunting inside 500 y.

    i will continue to dispute your conclusion though outside the hunting discussion. i'm not going by any manual, just the fact that pretty much everybody in the PRS is running 105 berger hybrids with no pressure right up to the 3150 fps velocity limit using whatever flavor of short action cartridge you like (6.5Creedmoor necked to 6CM, 6SLR, 243win, 6XC, whatever) with H4350. granted, they're using 26-28" barrels.

    at the same time, for matches that have antique military caliber restrictions (i.e. 308win only) i don't know anybody pushing 175g bullets faster than 2750.

    the proof is in the dope. realistically you're looking at 6.2 mils vs 9+ mils to 1k.

    and yeah, we chrono
  17. jmr40

    jmr40 Well-Known Member

    Just to add another perspective. There is no need for the heaiver bullets in 2013. An old school 165 gr 308 will lose anywhere between 30%-50% of its weight on impact which will result in a bullet weight of around 100-120 gr. We all know that works, it has for decades. But one of the 120 gr Barnes or other monolithinc bullets bullets from a 7-08 can be pushed to 3100 fps from a 22-24" barrel. That bullet will retain 100% of its weight, or darn close to it, and still expand to the same size as a 308.

    The end result is a bullet that is at the same weight or heaiver driving through game, and starting almost 400 fps faster. You will get flatter trajectory and a substantal reduction in recoil. Of coures I can do the same thing with a 308/130 gr. Barnes bullet.

    The mono bullets aren't perfect. Impact speeds need to be at least 2000 fps, and they don't have the BC for long range target shooting. But for hunting at 300-400 yards they work very well.

    On a different point. I've been reloading for a while, own a chronograph and have had no trouble reaching the velocites listed in my loading manuals. I cannot do it with just any old powder, but by trying differnt powders I've always made it work. I don't load 243, but with 30-06, 308, 338-06, 7mm rem mag, and 300 WSM I have always been almost exactly on the book velocity with a max load. I don't always get the best accurcy there, and with some loads drop down 1/2 grain or so. I don't see how a 243 would be any different.

    My go to loads with Sub MOA accuracy are as follows.

    30-06/150 @3025 fps - 60 gr H-4350
    30-06/156 @ 2900 fps - 58.5 gr H-4350
    30-06/180 @2800 fps - 57 gr H-4350
    308/150 @2880 fps - 47 gr Varget
    308/165 @2760 fps - 46 Gr Varget
    308/130 @ 3050 fps - 48.5 gr TAC

    Those are chronographed loads with a 22" barrrel
  18. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    That's kinda my point Taliv. You guys are getting your numbers in 26-28" bores that are high end hand lapped affairs shooting bullets with reduced bearing surface in guns with very thight chambers to facilitate loads that I assume are over saami maximums.

    Kachok reads this and looks in an optimistic manual and assumes he can get the same numbers from a 22" remchester deer rifle.

    This is why I don't go to my notes and drag out load data from my 30" McGowan barrelled 308 and throw in the mix. Because its literally comparing apples to a toaster.

    ETA: 175nosler CC from a 30" 308 2880fps avg. But yeah that's a THIRTY INCH barrel too.

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  19. RPRNY

    RPRNY Well-Known Member

    I respectfully submit that in this very post YOU are (correctly) suggesting that the 7mm-08 is superior to the .308.

    The point is that with the ballistic coeficients and penetrating qualities of the 6.5 - 7mm bullets, anything that will drop with a 180 gr .308 bullet or less, will do so more efficiently, with less recoil in 6.5 - 7mm between 140 - 160 gr.

    For normal ethical hunting ranges (which are much shorter than 90% of people believe they are able to accurately shoot), the discussion is academic and obscure. At the ranges at which 90% of people are "qualified" to hunt, the 30-30 will serve just fine, let alone the .308 or 30-06. However, once you get past 500 yds (which is utterly irrelevant to me, for example), the 6.5 - 7mm faimily of medium action cartridges are superior to all of the non-magnum .308 family. This is relevant to a small number of highly skilled shooters, internet Jesuits, and ballistics bickerers.

    Continue, for I am none of the above :neener:
  20. MCMXI

    MCMXI Well-Known Member

    I agree 100% with this. Also, long range target shooters don't give any thought to terminal performance either ... it's all internal and external ballistics, specifically pressure, velocity and BC = wind drift.

    As for the discussion at hand, I don't see any real world advantage to the 7mm-08 Rem over the .308 Win for any kind of hunting situation. Like others I own rifles chambered for both and reload for both but if I had to choose one or the other it'd be the .308 Win without a doubt.

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