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The Real 7.62/.308 Origin Story

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by jonnyc, May 4, 2012.

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  1. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

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    Sorry to get back after the closing of the last 7.62 vs. .308 thread, but those of you who use Wikipedia to get your history are about 180 degrees wrong. The military 7.62 round predates the Winchester commercial name-change.
    The 7.62mm NATO cartridge was the end result of a 1944 request by US Army
    Ordnance Department for a shortened 30-06 cartridge based on the 300 Savage cartridge. After the initial success of the studies using 300 Savage cases loaded with 30-06 ball and AP bullets, Frankford Arsenal developed a series of cartridge cases (and cartridges) starting with the T65 (T65) in 1945 and culminating with the FAT1E3 (T65E3) which was first evaluated in 1950. It was this last case type and cartridge that were formally adopted by NATO in August 1954. However, the US Army had publicly revealed the cartridge in
    late 1951. In early 1952, Winchester (who were aware of the Frankford
    Arsenal work) was given permission to use the FAT1E3 case commercially and
    later that year introduced the cartridge to the civilian market as the .308
    Winchester. As an aside, the early designation for the cartridge at
    Winchester was the 30-80 WCF, a very rare round.

    Bottom line is that the 7.62mm NATO cartridge developed at Frankford Arsenal gave birth to the .308 Winchester rather than the other way around! The two designations, 7.62x51 and .308, are simply different names for the same round.
     
  2. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    Good bit of history. The reason the .308 was developed to begin with was for the M1 Garand. The M1 Garand, as many enthusiasts know, required a then-obsolete version of the .30-06 round to function properly. The pressure curve had to be correct or it would bend the operating rod. This forced the military to keep producing the older ammunition. The 7.62x51 round was intended to match the Garand's requirements, without any special loadings.

    7.62x51 and .308 are interchangeable as far as case goes, but the commercial .308 is often loaded hotter and with heavier bullets than the military 7.62x51 ammo is. Because of this, any .308 rifle can safely fire 7.62x51, but not all 7.62x51 rifles can fire all .308 ammo.
     
  3. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

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    "but the commercial .308 is often loaded hotter"

    Not quite true, especially for US commercial loadings. You might find a few hotter ".308s", and you might find just as many hotter "7.62s". In almost every case, factory 7.62/.308 ammo is perfectly interchangeable. There are some commercial loadings with primers too sensitive for military inertial firing pins. Military rifles are proofed significantly higher than the pressure of any heavy bullet factory .308 loading.
     
  4. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

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    "The reason the .308 was developed to begin with was for the M1 Garand. The M1 Garand, as many enthusiasts know, required a then-obsolete version of the .30-06 round to function properly. The pressure curve had to be correct or it would bend the operating rod. This forced the military to keep producing the older ammunition. The 7.62x51 round was intended to match the Garand's requirements, without any special loadings."

    I believe this is almost completely incorrect, except for the part about the .30-06 being obsolete. Can you please cite where you got this info?
     
  5. o Unforgiven o

    o Unforgiven o Member

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    Mind sharing why you feel 30-06 is obsolete?
     
  6. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

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    Interestingly, over on the posting about the (( http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=657851 )) Burris internal range finder scope, I followed Burris' links to the set up data for the scope and went through their tables to look at the various .308/30-06 loads and was happy to see that at least on a commercial level, the 30-06 is more than holding its own, case/action length not withstanding.
     
  7. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    While the military version spawned the civilian version. The civilian version was actually available before the military version. This is probably the source of the confusion.

    Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but I don't think anyone is saying the 30-06 is obsolete. This is the key phrase.

    In order to function properly in semi's 30-06 ammo had to be loaded fairly light and within a narrow pressure range. Newer loadings, including the new 308 round made certain versions of 30-06 loads obsolete, but certainly not all of them. At least that is how I read it.
     
  8. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

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    oUnforgiveno, by the end of WWII, the governments of most of the combatant powers considered a full-sized .30 cal.+ rifle cartridge to be too big and powerful for infantry use at ranges below 300-400 yards. The US and Britain were already reviving pre-war experimentals and looking to reduce the size and weight of infantry ammo. The Germans had already successfully introduced the 7.92x33 round, and the Soviets were testing a 7.62x41 cartridge (soon to become the M43 7.62x39).
    So, although many of us still happily shoot .30-06, and it is still one of the most popular and widely-used cartridges today, by 1945 it was at least obsolescent, if not obsolete, as a military small arms round. Sorry.
     
  9. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    I think jonnyc has got it right.

    The T65 cartridge was based on the .300 Savage which could be called 7.62x47.5mm. Skipping T65E1 and T6532, the T65E3 cartridge was essentially the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge (with a longer neck and less steep shoulder than the .300 Savage), and was developed before .308 Winchester. WCC (Western Cartridge Co) made cartridge casings for the 1944-1956 trials and tests for the transition from M1 to M14, which implies Winchester had inside development info on the cartridge, and developed the .308 Win from the T65E3. While the chicken was first released to the public, the egg came first.
     
  10. 303tom

    303tom member

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    OK..........
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013
  11. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

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    As long as there are people out there who insist on posting that 7.62x51 and .308 are different rounds, and that the .308 spawned the 7.62 Nato, the horse ain't dead.
     
  12. USSR

    USSR Member

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    I'm not aware of anybody stating that the .308 spawned the 7.62x51. Winchester just got the commercial version out in the market before the gov't got the 7.62x51 out to the troops.

    Don
     
  13. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

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    There was a previously locked thread that spawned this one.
     
  14. zhyla

    zhyla Member

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    You know, wikipedia has an "edit" button that you can use when you see something that's wrong.
     
  15. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

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    I'm a high school teacher. I would spend 22 hours a day "fixing" the crap that's on Wikipedia. My students have one research rule........you can look for links off Wikipedia, but nothing else.
     
  16. roadchoad

    roadchoad Member

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    303tom, is that the horse from the other thread? I guess .308 is good enough then , eh?
     
  17. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    ^ Post #10
    [​IMG]

    Beating is the wrong way to handle a living dead horse, unless you can destroy the brain (Zombie 101).
     
  18. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Member

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    The "REAL truth" or the "Horse lives".

    I thought this was a dead horse but it appears to have a life of it own. Below is a copy of a article FALPhil wrote several years ago. I havn't seen a post from Phil in several years and I believe he may have passed. RIP.

    Anyway, this is the best article I have read on the subject. If anyone can document errors please let me know. Wikipedia is not documentation.:rolleyes:

     
  19. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

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    Without getting an engineering degree, I can find no fault there at all. Great article. I have to agree with his info and conclusions.
    Now if we could just e-mail this to everyone......
     
  20. 303tom

    303tom member

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    I don`t know how many times I have put that article out on the web, but the question still rears its ugly head................that`s why I say it is a DEAD HORSE.
     
  21. desidog

    desidog Member

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    Is this a comparison strictly of pressures; is that why HEADSPACE has been omitted so far?

    I'm intrigued as to where the line is drawn between cartridges. If two things are alike but designated differently, are they different?

    A .308win can be loaded with a 150gr projectile, or a 220gr projectile; they are still the same cartridge, no one argues that. However, that is as big a difference, or, arguably bigger than .308win and 7.62NATO loads with the same weight projectiles in each.

    Similarly, let's look at the .30 Mauser and a 7.62x25Tok: .30 Mauser is 2/100ths of an inch longer. Most firearms will fire either, but the 7.62x25 is considered to be loaded too hot for the M96 Mauser. Is this not the same relationship or delineation between .308win and 7.62NATO? I don't hear anyone arguing that those two are the same cartridge.

    In this argument, if we consider the M96 Mauser pistol, and the pre-98 small-ring Mauser rifle action, are these truly interchangeable cartridges? Sure, some people will have interchanged them without a kaboom. However, just because you once walked through a minefield without losing a leg doesn't mean it's safe to walk in minefields.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
  22. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

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    Always - never, all - none, me - you, both - neither, us - them, my found data - your found data, my experience - your experience, ***VS***, I heard/read - you say...
     

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  23. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Member

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    I can see Rifle Country being filled with dead NATO vs. WINCHESTER threads...
     
  24. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

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    Yeah, but some Goober who can't read SEARCH will come along and ask again. And then Internet-Ijits will post a bunch of crap. And then bull-dogs like myself will feel the need to correct the Ijits and educate the Goobers. And then........
     
  25. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Member

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    Definitive proof, and absolutely no speculation, with citations from legitimate sources will end it once and for all.
     
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