About 308 Ammo
First introduced in 1952 by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, 308 ammo (or .308 Winchester) was developed as a commercial hunting round based on the military 7.62x51mm NATO Cartridge.
With good power and range, the 308 and 7.62x51 are considered the standard hunting caliber throughout the United States and are known for their power, range, for being lightweight, and easy to handle.
Although very similar to the military 7.62×51 NATO specifications, the 308 cartridge is not identical and special considerations may apply when comparing the two cartridges. The most important thing to note is that modern 308 Winchester firearms can safely chamber and fire 7.62x51, but not the other way around.
Today, 308 ammunition is one of the most readily available commercial rounds on the market, and its value is not limited to just hunting.
It’s also a popular round among target shooters and military and police snipers and related uses.
7.62x51 NATO vs 308 Ammunition
While 7.62x51 NATO and 308 Win ammo look identical, there are subtle differences between the two, boiling down to three key factors: Pressure Capacity, Case Sizing, and Chamber Dimensions.
308 Win ammo is loaded to a higher pressure than the 7.62x51 NATO cartridge. This is partially due to the military wanting to ensure the universally reliable function of 7.62x51 weapons for NATO countries around the world, while the 308 Win was originally only being sold to civilians in the US.
The brass casing walls used in 7.62x51 NATO ammunition are thicker than the brass used in 308 rounds. This creates less room internally for propellant and allows for the brass casing to expand slightly without rupturing.
The chamber dimensions of 7.62x51 NATO and 308 ammo are slightly different. While the cartridges are the same size externally, the chambers of the 7.62x51 NATO cartridge are typically cut to slightly larger dimensions than those of the 308 cartridges to allow for expansion, as well as the fact that NATO cartridges can be manufactured all over the world and can sometimes vary in minuscule dimensions.
Common Names for 308 and 7.62x51 Ammo
Since their initial production over 65 years ago, 308 Ammo and 7.62x51 Ammo have had many different name variations. Some of the most common include:
- 308 Ammunition
- .308 Ammo
- 308 Win Ammo
- 308 Winchester Ammo
- 7.62x51mm Ammo
- 7.62 NATO Ammunition
Regardless of your preferred terminology, 308 and 7.62 NATO Ammo have gained massive popularity over the years and are available in the lineup of every significant American ammo manufacturer.
Popular 308 Ammunition Rifles
SMITH & WESSON
M&P-10 308 Rifle
Sport 308 Rifle
Ruger American 308 Win
Ruger Precision 308 Win
Ruger Predator 308
Savage 110 Predator
Savage 110 Tactical
308 Ammunition Features
308 ammunition is known for its good accuracy, making it a popular choice for target shooting and long-range hunting.
The .308 cartridge delivers good stopping power, making it an effective choice for hunting medium to large game.
308 ammunition is designed to work in a variety of firearms, including bolt-action rifles, semi-automatic rifles, and even some handguns.
Regarding performance, 308 / 7.62x51 ammunition is renowned for its accuracy (although this is also largely dependent more on the shooter's skill).
Additionally, both ammunition's offers low recoil compared to other cartridges without sacrificing penetration power.
308 ammo is available in a wide range of bullet weights and types, including Full Metal Jacket (FMJ), Soft Point (SP), and Hollow Point (HP).
This variety allows shooters to choose the best type of ammunition for their specific needs and preferences.
In many ways, gun enthusiasts and avid outdoorsmen consider 308 and 7.62x51 ammo the standard hunting caliber throughout the United States and the ammo is widely available by most manufacturers at gun stores.
308 Ammo FAQ
QUESTION: What is 308 ammo?
ANSWER: When someone refers to 308 ammo, they're referencing the 308 Winchester rifle cartridge.
Released in 1952 for the Winchester Model 70 bolt action rifle, the round quickly gained popularity for hunting medium to large game. Today, 308 ammunition is one of the most popular hunting rounds in the United States for white-tailed deer, elk, and many others.
QUESTION: What are the different types of 308 ammo?
ANSWER: In today's market, owners can choose from a wide variety of 308 ammunition, ranging from the traditional full metal jacket (FMJ) to hollow points used for hunting.
In addition, pointed soft-point (PSP) cartridges offer greater accuracy over longer distances, and specialty ammo like polymer-tipped is also available in 308. Lastly, most 308 Winchester ammo will have brass or steel casings that house the bullets and weigh between 100 and 200 grain.
QUESTION: What caliber is a 308 Winchester?
ANSWER: Caliber is the technical term for a bullet's diameter. The caliber of the 308 Winchester cartridge is 308-inch.
Features include a projectile that sits in a rimless, bottlenecked casing and a total length of 2.800 inches.
QUESTION: What is the difference between 308 ammunition and 7.62x51 Ammo?
ANSWER: While the 308 Win and the 7.62x51 ammo cartridges look alike, the rounds are different and the two cartridges are loaded at different pressures.
The civilian 308 round at 62,000 pounds per square inch, and the military 7.62 NATO loaded to 50,000 copper units of pressure (CUP), which equates to an estimated 58,000 psi.
According to the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI), special considerations that may apply when mixing these cartridges with 7.62×51 NATO, and 308 Winchester chambered arms.
QUESTION: What manufacturers make 308 ammo and 7.62x51 ammo?
ANSWER: There are several manufacturers to choose from when looking to purchase 308 and 7.62x51 ammunition. Many owners will select their ammo brand based on what activity they're doing (IE) hunting and target shooting.
At Ammunition Depot, we carry the top-name brands you trust, including Winchester USA 7.62x51 NATO, Federal 308 Winchester, Armscor Precision 308 Win, PMC X-TAC 7.62x51, and many more.
QUESTION: Does the military use 308 or 7.62x51 Ammo?
ANSWER: The US military does not use 308 Winchester ammunition. Instead, in 1954, the military adopted the 7.62x51 NATO, a cartridge that was developed from the 308 Win, but has significant differences.
The civilian round is loaded to a higher pressure than the military round, and the parent case features a smaller headspace and thinner casing than the NATO cartridge.
QUESTION: What is the best grain for 308 ammo?
ANSWER: The best 308 ammunition weight depends on the shooter’s specific needs, including the environment they’re hunting in, the distance of their shots, and the game they’re trying to harvest.
The most popular 308 rounds have bullet weights of 150 grain (gr), 165 gr, and 180 gr, both in commercial ammo and handloads and can all be used for hunting. Generally speaking, as the .308 bullet becomes heavier, it decreases in velocity and increases in muzzle energy.