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Upper limitations of the .308 win cartridge?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by vincyr, Feb 20, 2013.

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  1. vincyr

    vincyr Member

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    What would you say are the limitations of the .308 win cartridge?

    I am getting an H&R Survivor in .308 win... primarily getting it as a deer/maybe black bear rifle, a role in which I am confident the .308 should perform adequately, and I know it can be downloaded for hunting smaller critters without blowing them apart, but I was wondering what most consider the upper limitations of that cartridge... IE, how big of a critter could it reliably, and more importantly, humanely take, with one shot... not planning on traveling to go after really big stuff, but with moose populations on the rise in northern NY (heck, we even get a few down here in the southern tier from time to time), and rumors increasingly floating around up about the possibility of DEC potentially introducing elk in the future, there is a pretty good chance of my options eventually expanding here in NY... plus, it never hurts to know your options, just in case plans change...
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    The .308 with a premium bonded or partition hunting bullet is capable of killing anything in the USA.

    I would not pick it to go after a Kodiak bear in the alder bushes.
    Or a wild bull Buffalo in a stock pen, if I had to get in the pen with it.

    But other then that, if you put a 165 or 180 premium bullet through a game animals lungs?

    I will fall down and die, just like you used a .300 Magnum.

    rc
     
  3. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Member

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    Sorry,not a 308 cal guy. In fact I just read a piece in Petersen`s Hunting mag (Go Deep,shoot Long) in which the author says while talking about killing a nature Bull Elk cleanly. "You need plenty of energy at the far end of the trajectory." "My apologies to you 308 lovers,but it just don`t cut the mustard."
    He names a few,that in his eyes will get it done. .270 Win. 7mm mag. and of course the ....30-06. All quotes.

    I`m just the messenger here. :)

    March 2013 issue.
     
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    So, he says "and of course the 30-06" will kill an elk, but a .308 won't.

    Mercy mercy! :banghead:

    I'm a 30-06 kinda guy!
    But that right there is total BS.

    rc
     
  5. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    ^ What he said.
    308 is fully capable of taking anything in the states, but is a poor choice for the large dangerous game, if you want to use it for elk class game (or larger) be very picky with your bullets not all 180gr is designed for CXP3 Core-Lokts have a good reputation in their heavier weights, as do Nosler Pratitions, but for the ultimate in 308 killing power I would opt for the TSX it is a standalone for terminal performance on thick bodied game. Saw a 10% BG test with the 180gr TSX it expanded perfectly and penetrated 42"! That is almost double what a decent cup and core of the same weight will do.
     
  6. T.R.

    T.R. Member

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    Back in the 1980's, I took down a huge bodied bull moose in Saskatchewon, Canada with my .308 carbine. Two quick shots into the chest organs at approx 125 yards got the job done. I hunted with plain but effective Remington 180 grain core-lokt ammo. The curled up bullets were found underneath the hide and they looked just like the ads for the deadliest mushroom in the woods.

    My Cree guide hunted moose, bears, and caribou with an antique Remington auto-loader in 35 Remington. He was the third owner of the rifle and no telling how many large animals it had taken.

    Hit 'em right with a good bullet and a hunter can kill just about any animal that walks with his .308 rifle.

    TR
     
  7. TexasPatriot.308

    TexasPatriot.308 Member

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    sav 250, guess I will have to remind all those military snipers that took out targets at extreme ranges with a .308 that it just doesnt have what it takes.
     
  8. Bio-Chem

    Bio-Chem Member

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    Put the right bullet in the right place and the .308 will do all you need on an elk even at ranges most hunters have no business attempting shots at. The limitation in this scenario is the hunters ability not the cartridge.
     
  9. dubbleA

    dubbleA Member

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    The TSX might work well in ballistic gelatin but I can vouch that they dont always perform as advertised.

    Case in point. This 168gr TXS was fired from my handloaded 300WSM with a MV of 3000fps. The shot distance was about 104 yards with the Canadian whitetail was facing head on. The buck was punched right in the center of the chest. The TSX did travel through the deer and the bullet was found under the hide on the left rear ham. It penciled through the heart , guts and all and the deer went about 30 yards with a spot of blood spilled. Since that day I am leary about using them and I dont other than in my 375 H&H and 416 Rigby's for plinking and hogs.

    [​IMG]




    I also tried some Lost River Ballistic J36 homogeneous copper hunting bullets due to their claimed high BC and effectiveness on game at 800-1000yds.

    These LRB 210 VLD's were fired from my 338 Lapua at a chronographed 3300fps MV These were recovered from the berm behind my 100yd target frame. I know it's not ideal test media but I never used them on game due to what I saw. They were pretty expensive bullets at $2 a pop. LRB is no longer in business.

    [​IMG]


    Again this is personal experience, your mileage may vary.
     
  10. 41 Mag

    41 Mag Member

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    Speaking from my own experience with a Ruger Compact in .308 with the 16.5" barrel, put the shot where it needs to go and get out your knife. This little rig don't get any blazing muzzle velocities what so ever, so it does all boil down to putting the shot where it needs to be and relying on the bullet to do it's job. In using plain ol factory ammo at ranges out to 400'ish yards I have never felt undergunned.

    I have primarily use Rem 150gr CL's in it, with some of the Fed blue box 150gr ammo thrown in due to finding it on sale. For deer or hogs it is perfect, and I have taken some big hogs with it.

    I used some Fed 180's on a cull hunt for a cow elk and it was only due to not being able to find any 165's. The shot was around 75'ish yards and was quartering away. It entered just at the back of the onside ribs and exited just in front of the offside shoulder she might have gone 10 steps before piling up.

    Other than that if your serious about putting the right bullet through something it would be hard to beat the 165gr Partition IMO. It will get you a little better velocity with a little added weight and should be fine for anything that don't have teeth and claws.
     
  11. bailer

    bailer Member

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    I've been pretty happy with the tipped tsx's. Used a 180 grain ttsx out of my Tikka 30-06 on the Kaibab mule deer hunt this year. Shot was a little under 100 yards, bullet entered through the ribs, destroyed both lungs, broke bones in the off side front shoulder, was recovered under the hide. Not sure what more I could expect from a bullet, other than lower cost.

    For the OP, my .308 doesn't like 180's, if it did I wouldn't have any concerns hunting elk with it.
     

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  12. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Don't go believin' everything you read. :rolleyes: There's a boat load of elk been killed with .257" bullets from stuff like .250-3000, .257 Roberts, .25-06, .257 WM. With a good Barnes controlled expansion 140 grain all copper bullet which is as long as any 160 grain lead bullet and I can drive to 2900 fps out of a 20" barel, there's not an elk alive that will know it from a .30-06 or a .300 Win Mag at least out to 300 yards where energy falls below 1500 ft lbs and I'd limit the .308 to that.

    Lots of gun writers are just as opinionated as internet posters. Read for entertainment, but take the "sage wisdom" with a grain of salt...and logic.
     
  13. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    Wow, don't see too many TSX failures, I am loading the Tipped version for the 308, hope they prove more reliable then the HP has been for you.
     
  14. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Properly loaded a 308 is about as small as I'd want to go on the big bears. The 30-06 has proven to be more than capable when loaded with 200 gr bullets. At close range velocity just isn't nearly as important as SD and bullet weight. I doubt the big bears will notice.

    If you compare the 308 to 30-06 you end up with almost exactly the same velocity and energy numbers,just 50-100 yards closer. If a 30-06 is capable of killing elk at 500 yards, (it is) then a 308 will do the same thing at 400-450 yards.


    With my handloads my 30-06 maintains 1550 ftlbs at 500 yrds. The 308 loads don't drop below that number until almost 450 and my 300 WSM out to 600 yards. The key is using good bullets with a high BC that maintain velocity at range. I'm not advocating shooting at that range, just pointing out the numbers. Truth is that out to 400 yards where most people have no busness shooting anyway no elk will ever know the difference.
     
  15. 4season

    4season Member

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    The upper limit of a .308 is the hunter's ability. For some reason many hunters today have fallen for this super dooper magnum will kill better than a good shot placement crap. A .308 is capable of taking any game on the planet. I wouldn't choose it for dangerous game but just look up “Karamoja” Bell and see that a small cartridge can even take elephants with the right shot. Same thing goes for long range shots. If you are shooting over 300 yards you need to figure drop and windage for any cartridge. That said, with my ability I would limit myself to game smaller than moose or brown bear and shots under 400 yards.
     
  16. vincyr

    vincyr Member

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    between the hills and the woods around here, 250-maybe 300 yards is about the furthest I could possibly ever imagine having to shoot... plus, most of my hunting is going to be in some pretty thick woods, and even if I spot something across a field, I like to get as close as possible(only partly to be more sure of the shot... is there anything more thrilling than successfully stalking up close on an animal, especially out in the open?)... for most situations, I probably could do as well with a 30-30 or similar, but there are a few scenarios I can envision where a long shot might be my only option, and I like to be able to take it...
     
  17. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Well, I can get 200+ fps more velocity out of my SIL's 26" .308 than out of my 20" M7. Would make a difference. Dug my ballistic calc on the Barnes X 140 out of my notebook. It shows a BC of .398 and an initial velocity of 2822 fps. 275 yard energy is 1555 ft lbs. 300 yard energy is 1487 ft lbs. Love the gun, light and handy, but it does have a short barrel.

    Now, I'm loaded slightly below max charge, but accuracy is outstanding at 3/4 MOA. Since I don't hunt out west anymore, let alone elk (never hunted elk), I like it. :D Now, were I to suddenly get an elk hunt, I'd probably go with my 7 mag and a 160 Nosler Partition, but the .308 sure is light in rough country. Carrying that 7 can get old. Been there, done that. Great shooting gun, though, and it's got PLENTY of power well out past what the .308 will do. However, I have no intention of shooting at game past 400 yards. The big 7 carries PLENTY of energy at 400 yards, though, more than MY .308 has at 150. But, out to 300, it wouldn't kill an elk any deader.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  18. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    I don't like all-copper bullets. When Barnes first came out with their 'X' bullet, I bought some for my 7mm. The accuracy was substandard and expansion was iffy. I shot a doe and a coyote the same day with them. The doe went about 180 yds with little blood from a lung shot. The bullet wasn't recovered. The coyote dropped on the spot. The bullet went through the front of his shoulder exited from the gut cavity, re-entered the opposite thigh, traveled down the leg and exited through the foot. They both acted like FMJs.
    High price, poor accuracy, overly long for the weight, and iffy expansion sealed the deal for me on copper bullets.
     
  19. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I've had good luck with the 140 Barnes on hogs, not expecially big hogs, but got good expansion and an exit wound. They shoot to 3/4 MOA in the gun. I don't load 'em anymore as I've learned the 150 Nosler BT is indeed a great bullet on deer and hogs with plenty of penetration and not any of the explosive nature that folks seem to think it has. It'd probably be explosive at 300 win mag speeds, but at 2780, it's a great bullet from 30 yards to 400. So, I pretty much stick with 150 Nosler BTs anymore in my .308.
     
  20. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    The X was a little rough around the edgers, but it was a new idea, the TTSX seems to be a bit more reliable in the expansion department, I'll let you know once I get to test these out on some pigs. Nosler Ballistic Tips are noting even close to explosive, rapid yet controlled expansion is that not the ideal? They have always done right by me in 6.5mm, 270, and 30 cal, but then again I never used the pre 98 versions either :) Max speed I have ever hit a deer with was around 3200fps impact speed (Noslers listed max) on a close ranged shot with a 270 WSM, bullet expanded nicely and exited even on a raking shot behind the shoulder and out the neck on a 6pt buck. Never intend to use the WSM or any magnum at close range but hunting has a way of surprising you like that.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  21. blindhari

    blindhari Member

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    165 yds, 180 CoreLokt, handi .308 cut to 18 1/2" and recrowned at home, one shot, one lady elk on the ground

    I am not sure about bull elk as I have always put in for cow tags, Three so far with 308 and only had to blood trail one.

    Last lady elk was with a 45-70 handi shortened to 18 1/2" but as I am getting old I was sitting by a cattle trail to a water tank, At less than 40' there wasn't much doubt of outcome, ammo was a Buffalo Bore 350gr

    blindhari
     
  22. egg250

    egg250 Member

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    The .308 Winchester is ballistically similar, almost exactly, to the .30-06. To say the .30-06 completely outclasses the .308 is misleading.
     
  23. Alaskan

    Alaskan Member

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    Moose

    I shot my first moose with a .308 180gr Remington corlokt. 1 shot in the neck at 150 yds and a whole lot of packing later he was in the truck.

    I have hunted with a .308 my whole life. I have taken everything from ground squirrels to moose with it anywhere from 25yds to 250yds. Until 5 years ago I didn't own anything but .308's.
     
  24. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    308 vs 30-06 Noticeable difference, not night and day but defiantly noticeable especially with the heavier bullets. I would know I load for both and at full stroke the 06 is a beast, flattened the hell out of some primers in the 308 trying to keep up, it won't do it, they are both 22" tubes.
     
  25. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Well, I concede that the naught six has more powder capacity to load a slower powder in and get more out of a longer barrel. I like the 20" M7, though, as a rifle. It's all about the rifle to me and .308 is the right round for that gun, well, there's the 7-08 and .260, but I like the original case. :D I found the gun slightly used on consignment and pounced on it as it was what I'd been looking for. If I'd found it in 7-08, I'd been happy enough. The .260 didn't exist at the time.

    I really doubt that the .30-06 could work any better than the .308 out of a compact 20" barrel rifle like this. Too, its extra recoil would likely be noticeable and it'd be harder on the ears in a hunting situation. The 06 really needs a 24" barrel like my 7 mag came with.

    All that said, I'll say again, nothing I hunt would know the difference. The .308 kills deer and hogs like lightening. I need nothing more. I think one could do a whole lot worse than this little rifle in .308 for hunting rough country Elk, too. It's got the juice and when you get to that shot, you won't likely be breathing as hard as if carrying a 2 or 3 lb heavier rifle. If you mostly hunt bean fields or senderos from a tower stand, well, you'd be better off with the 06's slightly better exterior ballistics.....or a .25-06 or .270...:D If you're hunting elk at longish range, well, the 06 has an edge....or a 7 mag, or a .300 mag...:D I have hunted the desert and open country for whitetail deer and mulie, but not elk. And now days, I'm in the brush and the woods.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
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