Making A Case For The 308 Winchester
Do we dare compare the 260 Remington? Again, neither one proves that the other is inferior, but all of these examples prove that the 308 is not the stick in the mud that so many shooter make it out to be. If a shooter really wants to blow the 308 out of the water, he or she really needs to look at a bigger case regardless of bullet diameter. You cannot blow a caliber out of the water by sticking a smaller bullet in the same case. You can in some cases improve some aspect of it but you cannot spank it. Why is that?
It is common knowledge that if 2 bullets are of equal weight, design and materials yet are of different calibers, the smaller one will have a higher BC than the bigger one. What is commonly overlooked is two key items. 1: the smaller bullet requires a tighter twist. This increases the pressure. At max pressure for max pressure, the velocity potential between the two is not the same. And 2: as the bore gets smaller, the burn area is reduced. This further reduces the velocity potential.
Of 2 barrels of equal length shooting the same weight bullet, the bigger bore will win in the velocity department. Throw in a slower twist for the bigger bore and you now have even more velocity potential for an equal bullet weight. So now what? We use a longer, heavier bullet with a better BC and bring the velocity down to the other caliber, which is using a lighter bullet. Throw in better barrel life and a bigger hole in the animal and less radial torque from a slower twist, and all of a sudden the 308 seems fairly practical.
Now I am not one to have only one tool in my tool belt. I have different size screwdrivers for different size screws. I have different size rifles for different sizes of game at different distances. I love the 308 as my go to rifle because bullets are easy to find, its accurate, it has minor recoil, barrels last forever (this is important for a guy who likes to shoot a lot) and it is very effective. It is effective because it is easy to hit a small target at fairly long ranges.
When used with the right bullet it can even be a good moose rifle. My moose load is a 200 grain Sierra Game King loaded to 2500 FPS. With its high weight, low velocity expansion and excellent BC, there is not a moose that is safe within 750 yards. At that range the bullet still hits with over 1600 FPS, over 1000 foot-pounds of energy and has enough bullet length to make it through even the shoulder blade and reach both lungs. My fun load is the 208 AMAX, still at 2500 FPS. In standard air density, it delivers over 1000 foot-pounds of energy at 900 yards with enough impact velocity to open up on a deer or sheep. Is the 308 sexy? No. She sure is practical though.
Now before you get that rope, remember that I am not saying the 308 is better than the 7-08 or 260 Remington, etc. Each has good qualities, and some of those qualities in some situations can be better for a given circumstance. But none of these calibers are inferior or superior to the other.
I am not going into the details of the good qualities about the 260 or 7-08 as this is an article about the 308 and you guys reading this know what those good qualities are. I just want to remind the shooting community that there are good things to be had in the 308, as it seems like it has been forgotten for far too long.
As a side note: Most of the big game that I have taken throughout my life, including nearly all of my Alaskan game, has been with the 308. Many of my friends have used my 308s to harvest some of their game as well. When shots present themselves at ranges farther than they have dialed their rifle in for, the 308 has been there for them.
A few noteworthy long range kills with the 308:
1: Dall sheep 763 yards. One shot.
2: Dall sheep 600 yards.
3: Bull moose 438 yards. Dropped with one shot.
4: Dall sheep 400 yards. 2 shots (only needed one)
5: Mule deer 318 yards. Dropped with one shot.
Michael Eichele has lived in Alaska for 10 years. He has killed 4 Dall rams. The largest was 38" long with 14 1/2" bases. The longest was 763 yards.
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