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AR Style Platform .223 vs. .308

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by TStorm, May 28, 2008.

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  1. TStorm

    TStorm Member

    Dec 31, 2006
    Upstate, SC
    I may have been listening to a few too many gun related podcasts or election news broadcasts, but I'm interested in purchasing a rifle on an AR-type platform.

    I have previous experience shooting the AR-15 in 5.56/.223 and recently had the opportunity to run one at the range, but am interested in something with a bit more knock-down power to make it more vertatile to bridge between hunting, competition, and home defense, etc.

    I've got a few basic questions, that I haven't found on searches here or w/ mfrs:

    a) What's the caliber range of the different lower/receivers ARs? I see from a few mfrs that there is a definite break around .243(?).

    b) What's the recoil difference for the .308 caliber on this type platform as compared to .223?

    c) What are the pros and cons of a larger .308 platform for home defense, and/or practical shooting competition? I guess there is a big difference in optics for this one, but that's another subject.

    (Reason for Edit: I wanted to clarify my question is asking about the rifle platform and not to rehash any ballistic arguments necessarily. Not looking for wall penetration, etc. I assume all my firearms will penetrate. I just want to get something I will shoot and shoot often, hunt reliably and humane, etc.)

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited: May 28, 2008
  2. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

    Sep 8, 2005
    a.) The reason for that is that the .243 uses the .308 case. So do the .260, 7mm-08, 7.62 NATO and .338 Federal. Guns in these calibers, whether bolt, lever, pump or semiauto, are all the same, with different chambers and bores. The bolts, magazines, actions, etc. are shared. 6.8 SPC, 6.5 Grendel, .50 Beowulf, etc. are designed specifically to fit in a .223-length action, though unlike the .308 family, they can't use the same bolt since they have different bases from the .223.

    Anyway, the whole AR has to be lengthened to fit the larger .308 family of cartridges. It gets longer and heavier as a result. That's the "break" you see. It's pretty much a whole different gun that shares its general appearance and some trigger group parts.

    b.) Night and day. I have a 20" HBAR, so it's a bit different from a lightweight carbine with no brake, but my .223 AR has essentially no recoil. Shooting it is like shooting a louder .22LR (I have a .22LR AR upper also so I can compare). A .308 recoils like an average hunting round, because that's what it is. The weight of an AR scaled up to .308 mitigates that a bit, but it's still a full-sized big game and "main battle rifle" round, not an "assault rifle" or "varmint" round like the .223 is.

    c.) Pro? It's a great hunting round, popular among police snipers, and good for long-range shooting. Cons? Loud, expensive, the gun is pretty big and expensive.

    Much as I like my regular AR, I'm not all that tempted to get an AR in .308. It's not a bad platform or anything; I just can't afford to put 100 rounds through it for the hell of it anyway, and for hunting on foot I'd rather have a lightweight, compact rifle.

    But that's just me. Give me a bunch of money to blow, and I might get a .308 AR. I doubt it would go deer hunting with me, though.
  3. ShOcKeRpb

    ShOcKeRpb Member

    May 27, 2008
    a) Calibers for AR's can go from .22s to 50 cal (50 Beowolf). Some of the 30 cal rifles are built heaver for the round and take special mags and breaks. Since the upper receiver can detatch, you can get a veriety of calibers, barrels and configuration while keeping the same lower. No other background checks are usually required, but check local laws anyway.

    b) Recoil will noteably increase going from a standard 55-62 grain bullet to 150+ grain one, but with a decent pad and good technique, it will be far from painful. One option you might want to look into is the "Shark" muzzle break, almost no felt recoil.

    c) Home Defense
    Pros for .308: More power
    Cons: rifles tend to be heaver, ammo more expensive these days, uppers are almost as much as a new .223 AR
    Pros: .308 is an accurate round, heavy rifles tend to reduce recoil to have faster follow up shots.

    This is just what I know so far, so there will most likely be more people to add to what info I have gave.
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