GunMagopedia: 308 Winchester

There are countless cartridges on the market designed for long guns, but some stand out as classics that have stood the test of time. One such cartridge is 308 Winchester, a round with more than 70 years history to back it. Even if you are not a regular user of this cartridge, you might find the history interesting, especially considering the various cartridges that exist as a result of its inception. Let’s take a closer look at the cartridge, from it’s history to its current use, and the details in between.

The Winchester Ammunition plant.
The Winchester Ammunition plant. (Photo credit: Winchester)


The Company Behind the Cartridge
308 Winchester Background
Why did the U.S. Military want 308 Winchester?
How Accurate is 308 Winchester?
How far can you shoot with 308 Winchester?
Hunting with 308 Winchester
Personal Defense with 308 Winchester
308 Winchester Specifications
308 Winchester Available Loads
Firearms Manufacturers Making 308 Winchester Rifles
Manufacturers Making 308 Winchester Components
Frequently Asked Questions



The Company Behind the Cartridge

It is easy, and common, to think of Winchester Ammunition as the company behind lever-actions and cowboy action shooting, but they’re a great deal more than that. Winchester just happens to be known as the gun maker that created and produced the “gun that won the west,” the Model 1873, a lever-action rifle, but they’ve not only grown since then but helped to expand technology in the gun industry. For example, on the ammunition side of the market, the Model 1873 would not have existed without the 44-40 Winchester Center Fire (WCF) to run it. The creation of that cartridge, like many others, depended on Winchester Ammunition.

The company is part of the Olin Corporation, a company with ties to Winchester Firearms and Browning. The Olin Corporation has a lengthy history that stretches its roots all the way back to 1892. That’s when Franklin Olin founded the Equitable Powder Company in East Alton, Illinois. Back then, Olin was focused on the coal industry, which made good sense for the era. He created his company for the purpose of supplying explosives to mines and quarries, which was technically dipping his toe into the explosive world of ammunition. Even so, the company’s foray into ammunition didn’t technically get underway until 1898. At that point, OIin founded the Western Cartridge Company, a name you’re likely at least somewhat familiar with. He was intent on competing with Remington and Winchester (yes, Winchester already existed as a separate entity with the Western Cartridge Company being totally on its own at that time).

It ended up being quite a challenge for Franklin Olin and his sons to get the company going thanks to serious competition from both Remington and Winchester. But as time went by, Olin made it happen. The Western Cartridge Company acquired a paper manufacturer, primer and lead shot facilities, and businesses that made brass cases and shotgun wads. They’d ultimately become the competition themselves. Eventually they began to turn a profit, and in 1931 they bought Winchester, rebranding them as Winchester-Western. That was a significant win for Olin and his family.

catalog cover
Winchester is perhaps best known for their connections to the Wild West. (Photo credit: Winchester)

Numerous business ventures and events occurred in the intervening years, and the Olin Corporation was officially formed in 1969.

Here’s where things can get a little confusing. In 1980, Olin had no choice but to leave the gun-making business (this involved various financial decisions, among other things). He opted to sell Winchester firearms to the employees. That is how US Repeating Arms was first formed: to encompass the firearms side of what was then the Winchester empire. Unfortunately, by 1989, US Repeating Arms had gone bankrupt and ended up being sold to a French holding company. In no time at all, the holding company sold it to Herstal Group, the Belgian company that owns FN and Browning. Today, the firearms arm of Winchester is known as Winchester Repeating Arms and is technically separate from the ammunition side. Through all of that, Olin held onto the Winchester Ammunition business and kept on designing and producing ammunition.

Highlights of Winchester Ammunition’s 150-years-plus history include:

  • 1873 introduction of 44-40 Winchester Centerfire (the company’s first centerfire cartridge)
  • 1886 entry into the shotshell market
  • 1895 design and launch of the first smokeless powder cartridges
  • 1939 creation of Silvertip line
  • 1921 Super-X shotshells
  • 1952 branded 308 Winchester for the civilian market
  • 1955 introduction of 243 Winchester
  • 1963 introduction of 300 Winchester Magnum
  • 1970 introduction of 270 Winchester
  • 2019 introduction of 350 Legend

Today, Winchester Ammunition headquarters remain in East Alton, Illinois, with manufacturing facilities also located in Oxford, Mississippi.

PMC ammunition.
PMC 308 WInchester ammunition. (Photo credit: PMC)



308 Winchester Background

As its name suggests, the cartridge was designed and launched to the public market by Winchester Ammunition. However, there’s more to its creation than that.

Following World War I, the United States Military began considering coming up with something to replace their old rifle platforms and cartridges. By the 1940s, the United States Military decided they did indeed need a new duty cartridge. Now, some say the 308 Winchester can actually trace its roots to the 1920s if you consider the military’s research as a lengthy whole, but it didn’t really come to be until active experiments began in the 1940s.

At the time, a span which included World War II, soldiers were being issued various guns including the M1 Garand. That rifle saw quite a bit of use during World War II not only by American soldiers but by the axis at large; it was chambered in 30-06 and was a bolt-action rifle. It’s understandable that the military felt the need to advance technology beyond limited-capacity bolt-actions.

For their study, the military based their initial research on the 300 Savage. This led to what is known as the T65 line of experimental cartridges. The first T65, which had less of a taper than the 300 Savage, was created by the Frankford Arsenal. Frankford Arsenal was working to create this new military cartridge using 30-06 Springfield cases, only with thicker case walls. In the end—which didn’t come about until the 1950s—they came up with a cartridge that retained the original case head diameter as the 30-06 Springfield with the case trimmed to 2.015 inches and a 20 degree shoulder (30-06 Springfield has a 17.5 degree shoulder).

Winchester was, of course, involved in the research and experimentation going on with the T65 cartridges. And while the military took its usual time finalizing and releasing their 7.62x51mm NATO for service use, Winchester chose to move faster. It was 1954 when the 7.62x51mm NATO entered use with our military and 1952 when Winchester launched the 308 Winchester to the open market. Although they might not have known it at the time, they’d introduced what would become a fantastic cartridge to the gun world, one that would end up parenting many others.

This photo was taken in 1952 of Marine sniper John Boitnott with an M1-C.
This photo was taken in 1952 of Marine sniper John Boitnott with an M1-C. (Photo credit: historial archives)



Why did the U.S. Military want this cartridge?

Technically, the United States Military didn’t want the 308 Winchester, they wanted the 7.62x51mm NATO. Although the two cartridges are extremely similar—so similar as to be nearly indistinguishable—they aren’t exact clones.

Yes, the two cartridges are related in their design and history, making them technically interchangeable in most instances. It’s important to note the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute doesn’t consider it unsafe to fire the two rounds in guns chambered for either/or, but it’s also wise to be aware of the differences. What it really comes down to is that the chambers of the rifles made to fire them differ, but even those differences are minute. For example, the headspace for 308 Winchester is between 1.630 and 1.640 inches and the headspace for 7.62x51mm NATO is between 1.635 and 1.6405 inches. In addition, 7.62x51mm NATO has slightly thicker case walls.

The bottom line is that it’s wise to consider checking headspace before running 308 Winchester through a 7.62x51mm NATO chambered rifle because the thinner case walls of the 308 Winchester could potentially thin as its fired. That could result in a catastrophic failure. It’s certainly incredibly rare, but not impossible.



How accurate is 308 Winchester?

It is an accurate cartridge. Of course, accuracy and precision depend on many factors including the gun being used, the shooter’s skill, and the ammunition. As a general rule, though, it is true that 308 Winchesters are accurate guns in whatever platform (lever-action, bolt-action, AR). Quality counts, so if you’re interested in accuracy, take the time to be sure your gun can deliver the results you want. Don’t forget to take the time to train yourself as well.

How accurate is 7.62x51mm NATO?

Overall, 7.62x51mm NATO is as accurate as 308 Winchester. However, between the two, 308 Winchester does tend to be more precise. If you’re looking for a precision rifle, choosing one chambered in 308 Win rather than 7.62x51mm would be worthwhile.



How far can you shoot with the cartridge?

When considering the effective range of any cartridge it’s important to remember there’s a difference between being effective on a stationary paper or steel target and making an ethical shot on a game animal. 308 Winchester is touted by many as having an effective range on whitetail deer of 300 yards with some loads extending beyond that. In fact, with the correct, quality setup and skills, hunters may find it gets the job done out to 500 yards. Beyond that, most if not all factory loads will not yield a reliable, ethical result on game animals or predators.

On paper or steel, it does have some reach. According to the United States Army, its effective range on those targets is approximately 875 yards while the United States Marines Corps stretch that to 1000 yards. Those measurements tend to be done in ideal conditions, so keep in mind the specific loads, guns, and weather all affect the outcome of long-range shots.

Noveske Gen II N6 Switchblock.
Noveske Gen II N6 Switchblock in 308 Win. (Photo credit: Noveske)



Hunting with 308 Winchester

It should come as no surprise that this cartridge is considered a reliable hunting cartridge. Although there have been many newer, “hotter” rounds to hit the market, it remains a favorite for good reason. Aside from its effective range on game animals and predators, it’s a solid performer overall. It transfers enough energy and creates a large enough wound cavity to drop animals with greater speed than smaller, popular cartridges are capable of (for example, 223 Remington).

It can be used on a variety of game, including deer—whitetail, blacktail, Axis, muleys—antelope, sheep, and elk. It’s also great for predators and varmints such as coyotes, feral hogs, and javelina. There’s really no such thing as a round being too large, because the larger calibers typically deliver quicker results. What you need to consider is meat loss, so take that into consideration when pairing a cartridge with a specific animal.



Personal Defense with the Cartridge

Guns chambered in 308 Winchester aren’t as popular for personal defense as those chambered in cartridges like 223 Remington, but they can certainly be used for it. AR-platform rifles and pistols have become more commonly used in recent years for home defense and truck gun use, and this cartridge is a viable option. Not only are ARs more maneuverable in close quarters than many other long guns but they typically hold a larger number of rounds and deliver more devastating shots than some others.

One issue frequently mentioned when it comes to using ARs for home or other personal defense is the problem of over-penetration. In reality, any and all rounds are capable of over-penetrating a wall or door give the right set of circumstances. Knowing your target and what is beyond it is vital to defensive situations and one of many reasons proper training is so important. Guns chambered in 308 Winchester can certainly be good choices for defensive use, but as with any firearm, training matters.

308 winchester dimensions
.308_Winchester.jpg (Photo credit: Francis Flinch at en.wikipediaderivative work: CaboverPete (talk) – .308_Winchester.jpg, Public Domain.)



308 Winchester Specifications

Name: 308 Winchester  
Designer Winchester
Designed In 1952
Produced 1952 to Present
Country of Origin United States
Variants 7.62x51mm NATO
Parent Case 300 Savage
Case Type Rimless Bottleneck
Cartridge Type Centerfire Rifle
Bullet Diameter .308 Inches
Land Diameter 0.300 inches
Neck Diameter 0.3433 inches
Shoulder Diameter 0.4539 inches
Base Diameter 0.4709 inches
Rim Diameter 0.4728 inches
Rim Thickness 0.0539 inches
Case Length 2.015 inches
Overall Length 2.800 inches
Case Capacity 56 grain H20
Recommended Rifling Twist Rate Varies
Primer Type Large Rifle
Maximum SAAMI Pressure 62,000 psi
Maximum CIP Pressure 60,191 psi
Maximum Cover Units of Pressure (CUP) 52,000 CUP

7.62x51mm NATO Specifications

Name: 7.62x51mm NATO  
Designer Frankford Arsenal
Designed In 1950s
Produced 1954-Present
Country of Origin United States
Variants 308 Winchester
Parent Case T65 Experimental Cartridge Series (300 Savage)
Case Type Rimless Bottleneck
Cartridge Type Centerfire Rifle
Bullet Diameter .308 inches
Land Diameter 0.300 inches
Neck Diameter 0.345 inches
Shoulder Diameter 0.454 inches
Base Diameter 0.470 inches
Rim Diameter 0.473 inches
Rim Thickness 0.050 inches
Case Length 2.015 inches
Overall Length 2.800 inches
Case Capacity 52 grain H2O
Recommended Rifling Twist Rate 1 in 12
Primer Type Large Rifle
Maximum NATO Pressure 60,191 psi
Maximum Copper Units of Pressure (CUP) 50,000 CUP



Available Loads

After more than 60 years on the market, there are a lot of 308 Winchester loads available. Of course, not all rounds are created equally or meant for similar purposes, so it’s important to get to know your ammunition. The following are a few of the popular loads on the market now.

Hornady Custom 308 Winchester 150 grain SST

Hornady Custom 308 Winchester 150 grain SST
(Photo credit: Hornady)


  • Custom ammunition loaded with SSTbullets
  • Superior expansion and penetration
  • Balances expansion and penetration to be exceptionally well-suited on medium and large sized game animals
  • Versatile
  • Secant ogive design
  • Designed to deliver the ideal blend of ballistic efficiency and bearing surface for a flatter trajectory and less drag
  • Sectional density .226
  • Ballistic coefficient .415 (G1)

From Hornady:

Millions of successful hunts have proven the accuracy and deadly effect of the famous Hornady®…SST®…bullets we load into Hornady Custom rifle ammunition. Every round of Hornady Custom ammunition is hand inspected before packaging to ensure the highest levels of quality control. At Hornady, we manufacture Custom ammunition to give shooters and hunters the advantage of handloaded accuracy in a factory load.

Distance (yards) Velocity (feet per second) Energy (foot pounds) Trajectory (inches)
Muzzle 2820 feet per second 2648 foot pounds -1.5 inches
100 yards 2601 feet per second 2252 foot pounds 1.8 inches
200 yards 2392 feet per second 1905 foot pounds 0
300 yards 2192 feet per second 1601 foot pounds -7.9 inches
400 yards 2003 feet per second 1336 foot pounds -23.1 inches
500 yards 1823 feet per second 1107 foot pounds -47 inches
*24 inch test barrel      

Winchester Silver Tip 308 Winchester 150 grain Defense Tip

Winchester Silver Tip 308 Winchester 150 grain Defense Tip.
(Photo credit: Winchester)


  • Polymer tip designed for defensive use
  • Large diameter tip for rapid, reliable expansion
  • Alloyed lead core
  • Optimal energy transfer to rapidly halt threats
  • Nickel-plated jacket
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Reliable feeding
  • Consistent expansion

From Winchester:

Trusted when it matters most, Silvertip maximizes terminal ballistics with it’s large polymer tip for the Power to Defend.

Distance (yards) Velocity (feet per second) Energy (foot pounds) Trajectory (inches)
Muzzle 2620 feet per second 2286 foot pounds -2.8 inches
50 yards 2508 feet per second 2094 foot pounds -0.7 inches
100 yards 2398 feet per second 1915 foot pounds 0
200 yards 2187 feet per second 1593 foot pounds -3.3 inches

Remington 308 Winchester 150 grain UMC

Remington 308 Winchester 150 grain UMC.
(Photo credit: Remington)


  • Full Metal Jacket bullets
  • Ideal for target shooting
  • Non-corrosive
  • New brass can be reloaded
  • Boxer primer
  • Ballistic coefficient 0.314 (G1)
  • Designed for high-volume shooting

From Remington:

For…target shooting, training exercises or any other high-volume shooting situation, UMC centerfire rifle ammunition offers great value with absolutely no compromise in quality or performance. Loaded right here in the USA, UMC rifle ammunition offers the choice of either full metal jacket or jacketed hollow point bullets in several popular rifle calibers. You’d be hard pressed to find a better value anywhere.

Distance (yards) Velocity (feet per second) Energy (foot pounds) Trajectory (average range, inches) Wind Drift (10 MPH wind)
Muzzle 2820 feet per second 2648 foot pounds N/A -0.0 inches
100 yards 2532 feet per second 2136 foot pounds 0 1.1 inch
200 yards 2262 feet per second 1705 foot pounds -3.9 inches 4.4 inches
300 yards 2009 feet per second 1344 foot pounds -14.7 inches 10.4 inches
400 yards 1774 feet per second 1048 foot pounds N/A 19.6 inches
500 yards 1560 feet per second 811 foot pounds N/A 32.8 inches

Federal Premium Power Shok 308 Winchester 150 grain JSP

Federal Premium Power Shok 308 Winchester 150 grain JSP.
(Photo credit: Federal)


  • Reliable, consistent performance
  • Versatile enough for small and large game animals or predators
  • New brass can be reloaded
  • Jacketed Soft point
  • Deep, devastating wound cavities on game animals for ethical shots
  • Affordably priced
  • Bullet length 1.020 inches
  • Ballistic coefficient 0.313

From Federal Premium:

The only tag these loads won’t fill is the price tag. The traditional lead-core hunting bullets in Federal Power•Shok rifle loads provide solid accuracy and power at an affordable price. They feature reliable Federal brass, primers and powder and are suited to a wide variety of medium and big game.

Distance (yards) Velocity (feet per second) Energy (foot pounds) Trajectory (average range, inches) Wind Drift (10 MPH wind)
Muzzle 2820 feet per second 2648 foot pounds N/A -0.0 inches
100 yards 2532 feet per second 2134 foot pounds 0 1.1 inches
200 yards 2261 feet per second 1702 foot pounds -3.9 inches 4.4 inches
300 yards 2007 feet per second 1341 foot pounds -14.7 inches 10.4 inches
400 yards 1771 feet per second 1044 foot pounds N/A 19.7 inches
500 yards 1557 feet per second 807 foot pounds N/A 32.9 inches

Norma Ammunition Whitetail 308 Winchester 150 grain SP

Norma Ammunition Whitetail 308 Winchester 150 grain SP.
(Photo credit: Norma Ammunition)


  • Soft Point bullet
  • Rapid expansion
  • Consistent, reliable performance
  • Deep wound cavity
  • Designed for medium game animals
  • Ballistic coefficient 0.274 (G1)

From Norma Ammunition:

This is the sporting version of 7,62x51mm NATO. It was introduced by Winchester in 1952 – only a year after the new NATO cartridge. As most other military cartridges it was expected to become popular for hunting quickly and Winchester wisely decided to make a civilian version with their name. The purpose of the new military design was to make a more compact cartridge with a quicker cycle rate than the .30-06, and enabling a soldier to carry more rounds. It also has excellent accuracy potential and is favored by many target shooters. As the .308 Winchester fits into short bolt actions and delivers almost the same energy as the .30-06 with medium weight bullets it has become one of the most popular cartridges in the world. The case capacity is not suited to bullets much heavier than 180 grains, however, and accordingly some hunters finds it too light for the largest species like the big bears. It is important to know that the .308 Winchester is not entirely identical to the 7,62 NATO in all dimensions due to differences in tolerances, and some rifle chambers cannot handle military ammunition.

Distance (yards) Velocity (feet per second) Energy (foot pounds) Trajectory (inches) Wind Drift
Muzzle 2789 feet per second 2590 foot pounds N/A N/A
100 yards 2457 feet per second 2010 foot pounds 0 1.2 inches
200 yards 2149 feet per second 1538 foot pounds 2.1 inches 5.3 inches
300 yards 1864 feet per second 1157 foot pounds N/A 12.7 inches

Firearms Manufacturers Making 308 Winchester Rifles

Springfield M1A SOCOM 16
Springfield M1A SOCOM 16 in 308 Winchester. (Photo credit: Springfield)

70-plus years of production means there are practically endless supplies of firearms manufacturers making rifles chambered in the cartridge including ARs, bolt-actions, and even lever-actions. Those include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Howa
  • Heckler and Koch
  • Remington Arms
  • Century Arms
  • FN USA
  • Weatherby
  • Springfield
  • Ruger
  • Mossberg
  • Winchester
  • Henry Repeating Arms
  • Smith and Wesson
  • SIG Sauer
  • FN Herstal
  • Savage Arms
  • Thompson Center
  • Browning
  • Bergara
  • CZ USA



Manufacturers Making 308 Winchester Barrels

Choosing the right barrel for your 308 Winchester takes some research and experience. Before deciding on a barrel length or twist rate, stop and consider what you need the gun to do and go from there. Numerous manufacturers make barrels, including:

  • Aero Precision
  • Bear Creek Arsenal
  • Ballistic Advantage
  • Proof Research
  • Acme Machine
  • Primary Arms
  • Wilson Combat
  • Faxon Firearms
  • Rainier Arms
  • Christensen Arms
  • AR-Stoner
  • Luth-AR



Manufacturers Making 308 Winchester Components

Building your own rifle—typically an AR-10—chambered in this cartridge takes a lot of parts (anywhere from 60 to 100, depending on its configuration). There are a lot of companies producing various components, including:

  • Aero Precision
  • Acme Machine
  • Geissele
  • Anderson Manufacturing
  • Timney Triggers
  • Elftmann Tactical
  • Magpul
  • JP Enterprises
  • Precision Armament
  • SilencerCo
  • Bear Creak Arsenal
  • Proof Research
  • Brownells
  • Midwest Industries
  • Seekins Precision
  • Spikes Tactical
The SWS in 308 Winchester.
The SWS in 308 Winchester. (Photo credit: Pinterest)



Frequently Asked Questions

Can you shoot 308 Win through a 6.5 Creedmoor barrel?

No, you cannot. They are entirely different cartridges; in fact, the 6.5 Creedmoor’s parent cartridge is not the 308 Winchester, as some believe, it’s the .30 TC.

Can I convert my AR-15 to 308 winchester?

No, you cannot convert an AR-15 platform rifle to 308 Winchester because the cartridge was specifically designed for the bigger, heavier AR-10 platform. Its cartridges are meant for a longer, larger chamber.

Do All AR-10s Take 308 Winchester?

No, they do not. There are quite a few cartridge options on the market for the AR-10 platform. For example, there are 6.5 Creedmoor, 260 Remington, and 300 Winchester Magnum.

Do AR-15s take 308 Winchester?

No, they do not. AR-15s were first designed in the 1950s by Eugene Stoner, who created them as lighter-weight platforms originally chambered in 223 Remington. Although AR-15s are available in a wide array of chamberings, 308 Winchester is not one of them.

Is the 308 Winchester a wildcat cartridge?

No, it is not. It is an official SAAMI and CIP cartridge.

Are there 308 Winchester bolt-action rifles?

Yes, there are. In fact, it’s an extremely popular cartridge for bolt-action rifles.

What was the 308 Winchester’s parent cartridge?

300 Savage, although it was also a result of the T65 experimental cartridge trials the U.S. Military carried out which resulted in the 7.62x51mm NATO.

What company designed 308 Winchester?

Winchester Ammunition.

Does the military use it?

No, they do not. The United States Military uses 7.62x51mm NATO, hence the “NATO” designation. Although they are almost identical, there are some slight differences.

Do all ammunition manufacturers make 308 Winchester?

No, they do not. However, it’s accurate to say the vast majority of ammunition manufacturers produce some 308 Winchester loads.

Who makes the best 308 Winchester?

That depends on the use. For example, do you intend to use it for hunting, target practice, or precision shooting? There are so many different 308 Winchester loads on the market your choices are practically endless. When choosing a load, first consider what you’re going to use it for, remembering that different barrels will have varying results depending on the load used.

Is steel-cased 308 Winchester good?

This tends to be a matter of opinion, but as a general rule it is best not to use steel-cased ammunition in your 308 Winchester rifle.

Was 308 Winchester or 7.62x51mm NATO made First?

Technically they were borne from the same study—the T65 experimentation based on the 300 Savage—but 308 Winchester hit the market before 7.62x51mm NATO’s design was fully completed and put into use by the United States Military.

Can I hunt with 308 Winchester?

Absolutely. In fact, it is a fantastic hunting cartridge for a variety of game animals and predators.

Is 308 Winchester better than 7.62x51mm NATO?

They are such similar, related cartridges it’s difficult to declare one better than the other. The 7.62x51mm has minutely thicker case walls than the 308 Winchester, and you would be wise to check headspace before running 308 Winchester through a 7.62x51mm NATO chambered rifle due to the fact the thinner case of the 308 Winchester could thin as it’s fired. In some ways, 308 Winchester might be considered better because it’s more widely used in the general gun market, but the United States Military certainly prefers the 7.62x51mm NATO.

An AR-10 with a 16 inch barrel.
An AR-10 in 308 Winchester with a 16 inch barrel. (Photo credit: Fed Arms)

Can I build my own 308 Winchester?

Yes, you can. There are endless options for components to build a rifle chambered in the cartridge.

What is the SAAMI maximum pressure of 308 Winchester?

62,000 psi.

What is the CIP maximum pressure of 308 Winchester?

60,191 psi.

Is 308 Winchester better than 6.5 Creedmoor?

The answer to whether it is better than 6.5 Creedmoor depends on how you’re comparing their uses. As a long-range cartridge, 6.5 Creedmoor does have a superior trajectory. 308 Winchester is favored by a lot of hunters because it works well on a range of game animals and predators.

What magazines do I need for 308 Winchester?

Standard AR-10 magazines work for 308 Winchester.

What’s so special about the cartridge?

One of the things that makes the cartridge interesting is that it was a spin-off of the military’s attempts to create 7.62x51mm NATO. Thanks to Winchester, 308 Winchester started production two years before the military got around to finalizing and using 7.62x51mm NATO. Today the 308 Winchester remains a popular, classic cartridge among hunters and sport shooters alike.

What Bolt Face is 308 Winchester?

0.470 inches.

Is 308 Winchester the same as 7.62x51mm NATO?

The two cartridges are extremely similar and are related in their design, making them technically interchangeable in many instances (although there are exceptions). It’s really the chambers of the rifles made to fire them that differ, and even those differences are minute. For example, the headspace for 308 Winchester is between 1.630 and 1.640 inches and the headspace for 7.62x51mm NATO is between 1.635 and 1.6405 inches. In addition, 7.62x51mm NATO has a slightly thicker case.

Is 308 Winchester the same as 7.62x39mm?

No, they are entirely different cartridges. 7.62x39mm was designed in the Soviet Union around 1949 for use in the AK-47 and SKS. Although it might seem logical that it would be the same due to the 7.62 designation, it has significant differences from the 308 Winchester.

Is 308 Winchester the same as 7.62x25mm Tokarev?

No, they aren’t only different cartridges, but 308 Winchester was designed for use in rifles and 7.62x25mm Tokarev is technically a pistol cartridge. 7.62x25mm Tokarev was created by the Soviet Union in the 1930s and saw the most use in the TT-30—Tokarev—pistol, although there were some others chambered in it as well.

Is 308 Winchester the same as 7.62x54mmR?

No, they are entirely different cartridges. 7.62x54mmR was designed in the then-Russian Empire in 1891 for use in the Mosin-Nagant. It has different dimensions and case capacity, among other things, from the 308 Winchester.

Is 308 Winchester the same as 6.5 Creedmoor?

It is often discussed in comparison with 6.5 Creedmoor, but they are different cartridges with varying applications. For example, 6.5 Creedmoor produces a longer, flatter trajectory and is a better long-range option than 308 Winchester.

What caliber is 308 Winchester?

.30 cal.

Can I shoot 308 Winchester through a 7.62x51mm NATO barrel?

The answer to whether you can shoot 308 Winchester through a 7.62x51mm NATO is that it depends. There is a slight difference in the headspace of chambers designed for the two cartridges; 308 Winchester chambers have a SAAMI official headspace between 1.630 and 1.640 inches while 7.52x51mm NATO has a headspace between 1.635 and 1.6405 inches. This is a tiny difference, but it matters. You can utilize a 308 Winchester Go/No-Go headspace gauge to find out if a specific 7.62x51mm chamber can run your 308 Winchester ammunition. If it fits—meaning the bolt closes when the Go gauge and doesn’t close with No-Go—you’re good to go. There are also Field gauges available to check chamber size, and if you want to run 308 Winchester in a 7.62x51mm NATO barrel, the bolt shouldn’t close on a Field gauge.

Can I shoot 7.62x51mm NATO through a 308 Winchester barrel?

As a general rule, you can safely fire 7.62x51mm NATO through a 308 Winchester barrel. It’s possible, but highly unlikely, you’ll come across 7.62x51mm NATO with a greater length than 308 Winchester to the point it won’t chamber properly. In that case, the ammunition would not be compatible, but that’s a rare instance. Typically it is considered safe.

Is there a 308 Winchester handgun?

Yes, there are handguns chambered in the cartridge, but not in a small platform. Bolt-action pistols are still considered handguns and are made in 308 Winchester.

Is There a 308 Winchester Bolt-Action Pistol?

Yes, there are bolt-action pistols chambered in the cartridge.

How long has 308 Winchester been around?

Design began in the 1950s with Winchester officially launching it to the public in 1952.

What is the case capacity of 308 Winchester?

56 grain H20.

What is the minimum trim length for 308 Winchester?

2.005 inches.

What is the cartridge good for?

Shooters can use it for a number of applications such as hunting, target shooting, precision shooting, and personal defense (although the bulk of an AR-10 can make the latter somewhat challenging).

Will it work in an AR-15?

No, it will not. 308 Winchester is a larger cartridge that was specifically designed for the AR-10 platform.

What is 308 Winchester Magnum?

The cartridge you’re probably thinking of is 300 Winchester Magnum, which is a larger and more powerful cartridge than 308 Winchester.

What is the difference between 308 and 308 Winchester?

Many gun owners simply refer to 308 Winchester as “308” but they’re the same thing. If you’re concerned about avoiding confusion, use the cartridge’s entire name.

Is 308 Winchester good for deer hunting?

Yes, it is good for deer hunting. Not only does it transfer significantly more energy to the target than smaller cartridges, it creates a much larger wound cavity which results in more effective, ethical kills with a single shot.

Will 308 Winchester kill a feral hog?

It is especially good for hunting feral hogs. Even better, when it is loaded into an AR-10, the magazine capacity makes it possible to shoot multiple hogs from a single sounder without worrying about reloading. This is a huge bonus considering the fact that feral hogs are pests that do enormous damage to farm and ranch land.

Kat Ainsworth Stevens is a long-time outdoor writer, official OGC (Original Gun Cognoscenti), and author of Handgun Hunting: a Comprehensive Guide to Choosing and Using the Right Firearms for Big and Small Game. Der Teufel Katze has written for a number of industry publications (print and online) and edited some of the others, so chances are you've seen or read her work before, somewhere. A woman of eclectic background and habits, Kat has been carrying concealed for over two decades, used to be a farrier, and worked for a long time in emergency veterinary medicine. She prefers big bores, enjoys K9 Search & Rescue, and has a Master's Degree in Pitiless Snarkastic Delivery.


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