Why do snipers use .308 with so many other options??? What is best re

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by superlite17, Mar 15, 2007.

  1. superlite17

    superlite17 Well-Known Member

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    Hi all, as you may have read my other post I am looking for new varmint gun... also considering a new larger calibre. I currently shoot 7mm Rem and am considering 7mm STW.

    Mainly I want the calibre that provides the best coeficient, etc and mos accurately repeatable results OFF THE SHELF, and from there, grow my ability with it... tune my loads, smith the gun, etc. But I want to begin at the best starting point.

    What I cannot comprehend, is why say, the best shooters in the world, with UNLIMITED resources (military) choose the calibres they choose. I mean... humans are or would be considered large game, so the parallel could be drawn between their game and mine... deer, bear, boar, etc.

    Well when i look at it the 223 and 308 are not as flexable as even my 7mm, and on paper the data on those rounds would not appear as good, yet those shooters OFTEN rely on their weapons in EXCESS of 1000+ yards! Why?

    Not that I could DREAM of that shot, but in wanting a gun with the ABILITY of providing the absolute most repeatably consistant accuracy for large game... What would that gun be? What would you all choose???

    I cannot provide those results now, but enjoy the shot as well as hunting. What calibre provides the best results, all other things being equal???

    Thanks ALL, as always! Rod
     
  2. britz

    britz Well-Known Member

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    you have to remember that the U.S. military dictates what rifle is to be used, but it is true that many sharpshooters, long range target shooters use the .308. The 308 is an inherently accureate cartridge due the the shape of the case and the pressures it runs at... 30 cal is a very popular calibre among shooters because there is a huge variety of match grade ammo for it (308 seems to be the most common factory produced match ammo). Hathcock used a 30-06 to do most of his sniping, primarily because that is what the Army gave him to use. The 308 wasn't as popular in the military as a sniper rifle yet. Hathcock also favored the 300 win mag for his compatition shooting. A little food for thought.
    britz
     

  3. jwp475

    jwp475 Well-Known Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Hathcock used a 30-06 to do most of his sniping, primarily because that is what the Army gave him to use. The 308 wasn't as popular in the military as a sniper rifle yet. Hathcock also favored the 300 win mag for his compatition shooting. A little food for thought.
    britz

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Hathchock, was not given anything by the Army as he was in the Marine Corp....
     
  4. Triggernosis

    Triggernosis Well-Known Member

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    Rod,
    I just had a conversation with a SDM (Squad Designated Marksman) and his sniper buddy just a couple of weeks ago.
    There's a couple of factors why they use the .308.
    First, the .308 (or 7.62) is a NATO military round..can get hold of some in a pinch if need be.

    Secondly, and probably most important - the Fed. Govt. (i.e. military, FBI, etc.) has done TONS of ballistics studies on the .308 and know how it will perform under almost any given condition....shots through plate glass, shots through canvas, steel, whether the weather is hot and humid or cold and dry....you name it. For police snipers, having this data to back them up when they go to court for blowing a big hole in a perps. head helps their case hold up.
    The .308 ballistics aren't necessarily the best, but they're well-known. Most snipers either count clicks for yardage or hold up/over (that's what my SDM buddy does).

    I can put you in touch with my SDM buddy if you want to get more info. on this subject. He's active on SnipersHide.com and is a wealth of knowledge regarding sniping. He and I and few other guys from the site are getting together in a couple of weekends to do some shooting on a 1,000 yard range and I'll bring up the subject again to see what else I can learn.
     
  5. ppro

    ppro Well-Known Member

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    Re: Why do snipers use .308 with so many other options??? What is best

    What superlite 17 said....plus

    I have been to counter sniper LEO shoots where guns of the "spared no expense" were competing in competition. These are some of the best guns LEO depts can afford. In the end, in the sudden death at unknown ranges when the shooting stopped, only the .308's were left shooting. There were countless examples of other reasonable cartridges and some, were officers personal weapons but....again...last man standing was the .308 Winchester and the last guns competing down to the last were all .308.

    Highly developed match bullets wherein the bullet companies have all but spared no expense to develop the very best 30 cal match bullets possible. Same with the match loading for .308 More effort and money has gone into the .308 Winchester refinement, than ANY other U.S. cartridge for accurate long range shooting, over quite a period of time.

    Paul
     
  6. britz

    britz Well-Known Member

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    woops, I guess I should have remembered since the book is Marine Sniper /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/blush.gif
     
  7. superlite17

    superlite17 Well-Known Member

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    BUT... is the 308 the most inherently accurate cartridge available??? Ballisticly speaking??? Was so much effort put into this cartridge because it is inherently accurate or because it is NATO?

    SURELY there is test data available (even if i cannot find it /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif ) as to which of the projectiles performs the absolute best. I mean surely this is considered when developing new rounds... for example Ruger had to know that with the 304 they were producing an excellent performer before even the firs die was cast... based solely on drag, velocity, coeficient, etc. I REALLY do not understand physics... but kinda grasp the CONCEPT of physics.

    Which projectile is that "ultimate performer", or projectiles, surely there is info somwhere that say, given all same variables there are one, two, three calibres that will slice through wind/elements etc at their given velocity better than any others. I, through research was able to come up that the 7mm was good, if not excellent when i bought it... actually through data found here. But, I want to find the "BEST" and build my rig and skills around it. And I just cannot find that data anywhere.

    HELP!
     
  8. NYLES

    NYLES Well-Known Member

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    Id say the simple fact of how many rifles were produced in.308. And every rifle I own is between .277-.308. You did real good with .284.

    Your still leaving one part of your question out...you said for big game.... but big game can be FL sized whitetails to an Alaskain moose.
     
  9. britz

    britz Well-Known Member

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    if your question is which one will slice through the air best, there is no single answer. What you need to consider is that certain bullets will preform better at certain ranges. For instance, a 50 bmg w/ a 750 grain bullet and a high balistic coeficient will out preform almost any smaller calibre hunting rifles at extreme ranges (1500-2000 yards). A 6mm PPC will out shoot most guns out to 500 yards. These are just two examples.
    You have to decide on how much recoil you are willing to take, what game you want to take, and so on. The key to "slicing through the air" is high velocity and High BC. They key to slowing the effects of wind drift is more weight for the bullet. If there was one catrtidge out there that did it all, no gun shop would be able to stock their shelves with it. It has a lot to do with personal prefference and what function you want. But generally speaking, people will be able to shoot more accurately with low recoil rifles.
     
  10. NYLES

    NYLES Well-Known Member

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    britz,

    Thats why the M16 ended up in .223. "people will be able to shoot more accuratley with a rifle with low recoil."
     
  11. CatShooter

    CatShooter Well-Known Member

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    Re: Why do snipers use .308 with so many other options??? What is best

    This debate has been done a thousand times, and it always starts with, "Why doesn't the military use (my favorite magnum cartridge), instead of the wimpy .308.

    Keep in mind that there are many deficiencies to magnum loads.

    It's not about accuracy, though the .308 has a proven record of accuracy... so does the .300 Win Mag. And the target is a 40"x24" area, so you don't need a benchrest rifle... 1" moa is acceptable accuracy. Rember that he is not shooting from a solid benchrest, but from a hide that is in the dirt, where concealment is more important than solid dirt.

    It's about having a reliable rifle...

    ...with a cartridge that is easy to shoot prone, all day long, by guys that might weigh 120#.

    ... whose barrel won't burn out in 1000 rounds (or less).

    ... whose muzzle flash is non-existent so the shooter won't draw heavy fire each time he shoots.

    ... that is easy to train on.

    ... that can hit reliably at ranges up to 800~ish yards, without revealing where the shooter is located by flash, kicked up dust, or moving brush from the blast.

    Forget those stories of 1,100+ shots. Those are not the ranges that military snipers shoot at, unless they are in friendly lines and taking "potshots" at enemy positions.

    In the bush, sniper ranges are 150 to 600 yds, 98% of the time.

    You don't need a 7mm STW for that.

    .
     
  12. Triggernosis

    Triggernosis Well-Known Member

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    Re: Why do snipers use .308 with so many other options??? What is best

    [ QUOTE ]
    Forget those stories of 1,100+ shots. Those are not the ranges that military snipers shoot at, unless they are in friendly lines and taking "potshots" at enemy positions.


    [/ QUOTE ]
    That is EXACTLY what my SDM and sniper buddy told me the other day.

    For the really long-range stuff, they use the .50 cal Barrett. And no, they don't take headshots or shoot eggs with it at 4 miles....they use it to take out a piece of equipment most of the time.
     
  13. Brown Dog

    Brown Dog Writers Guild

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    [ QUOTE ]
    What I cannot comprehend, is why say, the best shooters in the world, with UNLIMITED resources (military) choose the calibres they choose.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    ...well, I would firstly say that resources are not unlimited; then point out that (superimposed on this) is the reality that procurement decisions are often politically driven.

    With regard to 30-06 and 308 (and I would stand correction here!) I believe (pre-WW2) the US decision not to adopt a .276 round ballistically better suited to the demands of combat was based on two things: the sheer amount of 30-06 on hand coupled with the fact that it was thought that rifles should fire the same ammo as machine guns. In the 1950s, another ballistically more appropriate round (.280) was fielded by the Brits in the EM2 and FN FAL but didn't make it for no better reason than that the US Army Chief of Ordnance didn't want to go below .30 ........(so I suppose you could add 'personality' as a procurement limiter too!) I guess he'd moved on when the 5.56 was adopted /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif
     
  14. James Jones

    James Jones Well-Known Member

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    1) the 308 is one of the basic Mil round like the 223 , 9mm and 45acp , all of which are bought in batchs of the millions for our troops as well as produced by other countries so ammo can be easly found.
    2) The 308 is used over the 223 as a sniper round because of its better ballistics and on target performance , the next step is the 50 BMG

    The US army had the forsite when the "desgined" their sniper weapon ,the M-24 , to use a long action instead of the short action , at some point their was rumor that the 300 Win mag would becoame adopted by the military. That has not yet happened.

    Now some of the Spec Ops guys use 300 amgs as well as the 338 Lapua and the new 408 Chytac and pretty much whatever else they want to get the job done

    Law Enforcement snipers use several differant calibers , I have seen 308 , 300 Winmag and 30-06. Why because those calibers are offered in "Match" loaded batches that are made to be the most accurate factory loaded ammo out their. Why don't they use custom hand loads , a couple reasons I can think of but the biggest factor being legal issues. Their are gonna be lawyers involved in EVERY shooting that a police officer has especaily if sombody dies. And if a sniper has to give some scum sucking varmint a craniotomy then you can bet the varmints family is gonna try to sue and if the poor sniper used a hand load then its surely going to deemed "a special super lethal killing round" thats soul purpose was to kill "Bootsie" the 16yr old gang banger that was such "good boy and never done nobody nutin" reguardless that he just killed a couple poor folks, robbed a bank and is now holding a child hostage.
    Anyway , no LE department is goijng to allow its officers to use NON-FACTORY ammo in their duty weapons wether it be a SMG , shotgun , pistol or anything else , its just to big of a liability.