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.308...The .357 of rifles cartridges??

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by LooseGrouper, Jun 11, 2005.

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  1. LooseGrouper

    LooseGrouper Member

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    .308...The .357 of rifle cartridges??

    I'm a big fan of the .308/7.62 NATO cartridge. I've been thinking lately that the versatility of the round reminds me of the .357 magnum in handguns. Here's what I mean:

    Widely available.
    Incredible variety of loadings/bullet config
    Chambered for untold varieties of rifle
    Capable of taking almost any game (yeah, I know it's debateable, but I think it meets the minimum for ANY non dangerous game, and can be effective on bears, lions, etc).
    You can load it down with 110gr TAP and use it for CQB/home defense (again, controversial...but feasible)
    You can load it up with 168gr match and use it for sniper stuff
    You can load it with (sort of) cheap surplus and plink with it.

    In short, if I could only have one rifle it would definatly be a .308. Anyone care to agree or disagree?

    Anyone know of a better "all around" cartridge?
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2005
  2. wizard of oz

    wizard of oz Member

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    I loved to shoot 7.62X51 when our army used the SLR (ie FAL) and M60. Now I use .308 in a bolt gun for hunting. Sure is fun and effective. However, if I had only one rifle it would be in .22LR.
     
  3. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

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    I am pretty much in the .308 camp as well - a very good all round caliber and with many bullet designs to choose from - versatile too.

    Many will still favor the 30-06, which is fine but - there have been thoughts expressed to suggest that the same bullet out of .308, whilst a tad down on power, does perform better for accuracy. ... probably a subtle effect.

    Certainly if I had to choose just the one hi-power rifle cal, and no more - .308 would be it. :)
     
  4. Quintin Likely

    Quintin Likely Member

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    I think it's hard to find a .308 that won't shoot good and do what you need it to do, within reason of course. Lots of available components if you roll your own, brass, bullets, powders, etc., lots of load data, great barrel life, known accuracy; everyone needs at least one. :)
     
  5. jefnvk

    jefnvk Member

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    I'm one of those '06 camps. At least around here, the '06 is more plentiful than even the .308. There may be a few commercial loadings availble for the 308, but there are much more around her for the '06. About the only other rifles that come close are the .270 and .30-30.

    But .308 is still a great cartridge.
     
  6. griz

    griz Member

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    I gotta agree. The 308 is on the big side for tiny stuff and is on the light side for truly big jobs, but is about perfect for the middle 80%. In fact, if limited to one rifle and one handgun, I think they would be 308/357.
     
  7. 24kshooter

    24kshooter Member

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    Good comparison - the 308 is very versital and handles the minimum jobs as well as can be used for maximum situations in a pinch.
     
  8. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    I think that .308 is an ultimate calibre--it will hit what you're aiming at, and blow it into next year. It is used by high-quality sporting arms, as well as a variety of SLR's (Self-Loading Rifles) that have gained some noteriety, including the FAL and the CETME. Seems that just about everything using .308's has become memorable to the industry, which makes you wonder :rolleyes:
     
  9. onecruiser

    onecruiser Member

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    I only have one "highpower" rifle and it is chambered in .308. The military uses it. The police use it. Hunters use it. You use it and you will be satisfied. Mine will put junk ammo into 1 inch holes at 100 yds.

    The .357 uses 125 grains at 1250 to 1450 and the .308 uses 150 grains at roughly twice that velocity. Go for it.
     
  10. roscoe

    roscoe Member

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    The 30-06 has a greater variety of factory loads, in different bullet weights, much like the .357. Plus, you can get black-tip AP for those times you need to take out an armored car.
     
  11. natedog

    natedog Member

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    I generally prefer to use a mix of 5.56mm/7.62x39mm (former preferred over the latter) and .30-06- different tools for different jobs. The 5.56mm has an edge under 200 yards, while the .308 has the edge further out. For an all-around cartridge, .308. For an anti-personel or defensive round, 5.56mm.
     
  12. Tony Williams

    Tony Williams Member

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    The .308 is the most versatile choice today simply because it's so popular that there's a huge range of loadings and weapons for it.

    It's worth observing, however, that it does nothing that the 7x57 Mauser wasn't capable of doing more than half a century before the .308 was thought of.

    Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and discussion forum
     
  13. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    My opinion

    is favorable to the .308 Win. Good round, capable of doing most anything you'll need for North America. If you truly need something bigger, even an '06 is not enough, go to the .33's
     
  14. Andrew Wyatt

    Andrew Wyatt Member

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    I think the aught six is more versatile, primarily because it;ll handle 220 grain bullets and the like much better.
     
  15. birddog

    birddog Member

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    My opinion is not completely objective, but I went from a .30-.30 (which nicely killed everything I shot with it) to a .308 with which I hunted for years. I finally settled on a 30-06 about ten years ago.

    Every one of those calibers killed big game in the 25-150 yard range at which most of my deer / bear have been shot. However -- and sure, maybe it's just my imagination -- the critters hit with the '06 (180gr. pointed soft point) just seemed to be hit so much *harder* than those that I've taken with other calibers. Their deadness was definite. I'm a firm believer in the 30-06 (but still own those other calibers, too!).
     
  16. greg531mi

    greg531mi Member

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    But all that 308 surplus is around.....Try to find 30-06 surplus.....not much around except for some Korean...
    There are trade-offs to the 30-06, it has 100 fps more, but it is a 1/2 longer, and loaded less CUP's/PSI, because of all those older 1903 out there..... The 06 has a greater bullet weight range, while the 308 is inheritly more acccurate.....

    Both are good cartiages....You will never have trouble finding ammo for them anywhere....and are both good rounds.....
     
  17. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    Yep, the .308/7.62x51mm. NATO is deservedly popular. I have half-a-dozen rifles in this caliber, and it's my "go-to" standard for anything in the Lower 48 (although I happily use other rounds as well, for variety's sake! :D ).
     
  18. Keitha

    Keitha Member

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    What is it that makes the .308 "inherently more accruate"? I am in the process of chosing between the .308 and 30-06 for my first hunting rifle (hopefully getting a WY antelope tag). I am leaning towards the '06 but not 100% sold on it yet.

    thanks,
    Keith
     
  19. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

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    I really like my M1A, but I can't complain about my M1 and 03A3 in 30.06 either.

    I don't really have anything bad to say about either one.
     
  20. Rabbi

    Rabbi Member

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    I will find out next week. Just ordered my first .308 rifle. Oh yeah!!!
     
  21. ocabj

    ocabj Member

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    If you look at the .308 and .30-06, you're going to realize that they are virtually the same, in terms of both ballistics and accuracy.

    While you see .308 being used matches and military/LEO sniper use, there isn't a reason why you can't use .30-06 instead. And while you see .30-06 used for hunting, there isn't a reason why you can't use .308 instead.

    The reason I'd take the .308 over the .30-06 for precision shooting isn't because of the cartridge, it would be because of the action. The short action gives you a stiffer receiver and shorter bolt operation compared to a long action.

    That said, I like both cartridges, but I'll never rebarrel one of my Garands to 308.
     
  22. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

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    I wish I had to hand one or two of the pieces I have read over time. All I recall is that seemingly ''those who know'' have said that the same (165 grn shall we say) will run marginally better for accuracy from the .308 platform.

    Whether it is to do with the slight reduction in velocity, twist of particular barrels, I really am not sure. Sorry not to be more precise.
     
  23. rbernie
    • Contributing Member

    rbernie Member

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    Funny you should mention that.

    For a while now, my 7x57 ('95 Mauser) has been my go-to rifle for just about any situation. I'd load 100gr Hornady HPs for varmints, 120gr Hornady SP for axis/fallow/whitetails, 139gr Hornady SP for larger mulies, and 175gr Hornady SP for da big non-dangerous stuff. My only real complaint with the 7x57 has been the dearth of interesting rifles chambered in it, and the reduction in factory loadings for it. From a power perspective, I can readily push a 140gr bullet at 2800+fps and a 175gr bullet at 2500fps - plenty of oomph for almost any need inside of 350 yards. From a handloading perspective, I can find as many decent bullets in the .284 range as I can in .308 diameter.

    However, I've recently spent a lot of time with my Savage 99's, and more pointedly with several that are chambered in 308. I've found the 308 to be modestly more efficient than the 7x57 (velocity for a given charge weight for a given bullet weight) but not dramatically so. What *has* made an impact upon me is how many decent rifles (of all action types, from single-shot to levergun to bolt) I can get in 308 and how ubiquitous factory ammo is relative to most any other caliber.

    As much as I like 7x57, the 308 is starting to win me over in large part because I can get it chambered in interesting rifles. But I sure wouldn't mind it if I could get a Savage 99 chambered in 7x57... :D
     
  24. rockstar.esq

    rockstar.esq Member

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    Keitha What is it that makes the .308 "inherently more accruate"? I am in the process of chosing between the .308 and 30-06 for my first hunting rifle (hopefully getting a WY antelope tag). I am leaning towards the '06 but not 100% sold on it yet.

    The 06 has a longer case than the 308. The 06 is generally downloaded by today's standards to prevent someone from destroying a trapdoor Springfield rifle. As a result of the longer case and lower loading, there is generally more unused space in the loaded cartridge. Revolver cartridges show varying velocities due to powder slump in the loaded case. This velocity differential is less evident in the 06 except for those longer range shots. The 308 is loaded to higher pressures with a small case that is completely filled with powder. Hence no slump, no velocity differential. Also the shorter case of the 308 allows for a short action which allows for greater stiffness which in turn results in greater potential for accuracy. Additionally, the 308 was designed in an era where highly accurate auto's (M14 etc..) were being invented. All things being equal, I think your average shooter will not be able to see the difference between the two performance wise. That said, I am a huge fan of the 308. I am constantly dissapointed at the meager # of rifles so chambered new on the rack. If you are not going to handload ( which would allow you to really maximize either cartridge) I would reccomend the 06 simply because there is hardly a hardware store in the country ( that sells ammo) that won't have a box of 06. .22Lr and or 12G shot.
     
  25. AZ Jeff

    AZ Jeff Member

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    A few points to note:

    1. The .30/06 as sold commercially is NOT "downloaded" to allow the M1903 Springfield rifle to handle the cartridge.
    2. And the "Trapdoor" Springfield, also called the Model of 1873, was NEVER chambered for .30/06
    3. The .30/06 can shoot heavier bullets than can the .308, making it an overall more flexible cartridge.
    4. The availability of surplus ammo is NOT a measure of a cartridge's flexibility. It IS a measure of how cheap it is to acquire and shoot that cartridge, and to this, the .308 gets the nod.

    The reason the .308 is "more accurate" than the .30/06 is that the cartridge is more "volumetrically efficient". Loosely translated, this means the case is loaded more fully with propellant.

    That said, the amount of accuracy the .308 has over the same load in a .30/06 is pretty small. Most of us will NEVER shoot well enough to be able to notice the difference.
     
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