Help me decide Ruger Compact: 308 or 7mm-08

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Jun 30, 2003
Pls help me decide. I'm considering getting a Ruger Compact (laminate) in 308 Win or 7mm-08. I'm a handloader. I'd like a short, lightweight bolt action. Recoil is therapy. I love it and it doesn't affect me.

Deer, black bear, coyotes, woodchucks, crows.

The online catalog shows a LOP of 12.5 inches. Is that a concern?

Anyone have one? Reputation?

i would choose the 308. but either seems fine. can't say whether the LOP would be an issue for you but it wouldn't for me. i have short arms for my hieght.
as a reloader of a 308 in a Ruger RSI i like Winchester 748. i figure ballistics are close to a 300 Savage given the short barrel. good thing you like recoil because it's going to get up in your face with full throttle loads. 165 grainers are painfull. 130 grain bullets are not so bad.
I checked out the Ruger compacts the other day. NOT IMPRESSED the action was slopy and very rough. The fit and finnish was sub-par for a $650 rifle IMHO I was kind of upset because I LOVE the way they look from a distance. I would much rather have a new Winchester 70 Featherweight :)..............(SIGH) If only they still built them in 6.5x55.
I have a Ruger Frontier (same gun with the ability to mount a scope forward of the action) in 308. In general, I am pleased.

I am 6 ft. tall, and do not find the LOP an issue, particularly when I am wearing a heavy coat. The action on mine is smooth. It will shoot 1.25" at 100 yards with Hornady Custom 165 gr. factory loads.

The short barrel and LOP make it very handy. I used it to take a little 8 pt. on the ranch several weeks ago. I will have to think about changing out the scout scope with one mounted over the action. The issue is light gathering when trying to sneak a bullet through the brush. Balance with the scout scope is fine.
.308 does better in short barrels.

Ruger M77 actions are rough when new, same with CZ's. Work it a few hundred times, lube it up and it'll be smooth as silk.
The 308 would be my choice as well. I like the Hawkeye's actions. They feel pretty darned smooth after you cycle the bolt about 1000 times.
Jake1996 said:
7mm-08 has more energy when you get out there

My match/hunting load is a 178gr A-MAX with an MV of 2,650 fps. It has around 1,900 ft-lb of energy at 300 yards. You'll be hard pressed to find a comparable 7mm-08 load using factory ammunition or handloads. If you know of one, be sure to post it here since I'm going to be working up loads for my 7mm-08 soon (hopefully that is).
308 will do anything the 708 will do and do it better. As to being acccurate at long range id say that would have to go to the 308. NOTHING wins more long range shooting compition then the 308. It will shoot a 150 as fast as the 708 will shoot a 140. It will also handle heavier bullets better. They will intrude less in the powder space. Nothing wrong with a 708 i have one myself but the 308 is more versitile more bullet weights are avalible and if you dont load finding ammo will be alot easier. The 708 might be a bit flatter shooting but when comparing the same weight bullets its not enough to make a differnce in the field.
I have owned both. I recently sold the 7mm08 and kept the 308. I found that the recoil and trajectory differences between 7mm08 and 308 were largely academic in actual field/hunting use, and the 308 simply gave me more brass and bullet options than 7mm08.

I found the factory stock's LOP to be an issue and bought a Boyds 'classic' stock, which I very much prefer.

I like the Ruger 77MkII action in general, but they do seem somewhat crude in comparison to my Tikkas. Then again, everything seems crude in comparison to a T3. :)
What? No 260?

I had one of these neat little rifles in 260 Rem. Very little recoil and it was dynomite on whitetails. Now Nosler makes a 100 gr Partition that could make things really interesting.
I will say .308. Since you handload the availability argument doesnt really work. But the .308 is known to work well in shorter barrels, Im not sure about the 7mm08.
In a pinch, it is a lot easier to find 308 factory than 7-08 at the local discount store.

I have the 308 Frontier and a 7-08 Model 7 with an 18.5 inch barrel. The 7-08 is more accurate with its pet load, but the 308 is 3 inches shorter and a bit more handy in the pickup.

At the end of the hunting day, both are effective deer guns. I am not sure that the 308 will kill a deer any quicker or cleaner than a 7-08--or vice versa.
I agree with CaptCurt! The compact in .260 is a great whitetail rifle! Easy handling, light recoil, and an effective round. .308 would be my second choice though.
7mm-08 has more energy when you get out there

If that's a big concern of the OP's he probably shouldn't be buying a 18.5" "compact" rifle.

And in that respect, anything the 7-08 will do the .260 will do better.
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Ordered the 308

Thanks for all the input.

I just ordered the Hawkeye Compact (laminate) in 308 Win. I chose the 308 because of the wider range of bullet weights available, and the huge amount of load data published. The barrel is 16½". I'll probably add a spacer and a Pachmayr Decelerator to adjust LOP.

I have a Weaver Classic 2.5-7x32 for it. Should be a neat combo.

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