Yet another caliber question

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by rdsii64, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. rdsii64

    rdsii64 Well-Known Member

    Dec 11, 2008
    Folks I have a rather interesting question when it comes to long range hunting as apposed to long range target shooting. When it comes to shooting targets, a .308 winchester has the horsepower to ring the bell at a 1200 yards.(this is assuming the shooter has the skill) Now when it comes to taking an ethical shot at a game animal, how long of a shot would you take with a .308 and why.
  2. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2002
    Here is my opinion. The 308 with proper bullets and a well placed shot will easily kill stuff. The maximum distance would depend on the individual skill of the shooter. Just keep in mind when shooting that beyond say 500 yards you would have to be perfect with no room for error considering a little high, low, front or back. No bone, no gut and basically center of the chest cavity. That is why I would get a bigger rifle for the job. Many times hunting is not in the best of conditions and the slow 308 winny gets caught in the wind pretty hard. Up and down is no problem but the wind is the most difficult factor in long range hunting so you want to minimize that variable as much as possible.

  3. rdsii64

    rdsii64 Well-Known Member

    Dec 11, 2008
    That actually makes a lot of sense. If I understand you correctly to hunt at the ranges some of the people on this board have. I would be well served with something that will launch a much heavier bullet with enough authority to anchor an animal even if the shot goes through bone or what ever. Inversely if I confine my shots to inside 350 to 400 yards the .308 launching a 180 grain round will get good results.
  4. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    With that said , there is one other factor that should be considered . Down range energy.

    Using a 168gr hunting bullet the 308 will have about 1500 ft/lbs of energy @ 300 yrds (Enough
    for an Elk if the shot is well placed.

    At 525yrds the 308 only has 1000 ft/lbs of energy left and this is the recomended minimum
    on deer size game.

    So with all of these factors in play if you wanted to hunt beyond these distances a more
    powerfull round would be recomended.

    For an example= the 300 win mag would have the same energy at 550yrds(1500 ft/lbs) and
    800yrds (1000 ft/lbs).

    I hope this will help answer your question.
  5. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

    Jun 12, 2004
    I have never really felt a certain level of energy is very meaningful for finding the max range of a cartridge. I prefer retained velocity to insure proper bullet expansion and the range that I can hit consistantly with that round.

    In my testing, in ideal conditons, the 308 can make a consistant 800 yard rifle but if the wind blows at all, I find that I have a hard time consistantly hitting vital sized targets at ranges much past 600 yards. That is not saying the round can not do it, just that I personally am not confident in my ability to judge the range conditions that accurately.

    In comparision, a 300 Win Mag level of performance adds significantly to my ranging ability, mainly as I would use much higher BC bullets in the Win Mag to help give me some cushion on condition errors.
  6. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    I too am concerned more with impact velocities for a given bullet than the mathematical energy of any bullet. It takes 1800 FPS to open an accubond and 1600 FPS to open a ballistic tip. I personally tested the 178 AMAX at 1150 FPS and they showed perfect expansion. The 178 at 1150 FPS doesnt offer a huge amount of energy. Neither does a 357 magnum pistol. However, if you put the 178 in both lungs on a deer size critter with the expansion I have seen, it will end up in the freezer.

    I personally have taken game out to just under 800 yards with the 308 win and have guided another hunter to a kill out to 600 with the 308 winnie.

    IMHO it is the most scoffed at, missunderstood, overlooked round out there. The fact is that it works. That said, the 308 as well as every other cartridge has its limits.

    In my opinion the 308 is very reliable out to 600 yards on game for most LR shooters/hunters. 800 yards in the hands of a very capable marksman and 1000 yards in the hands of a good marksman AND in good conditions AND with appropriate bullets. Past 600 yards the shooter really needs the experiance with his rifle to know if he can or cannot make a clean kill. He will have to take into account even the air density to see if there will be enough remaining velocity to open the bullet. It can be done but requires added precautions. Fortunately, the 308 is cheap enough to operate and barrels last long enough to allow a shooter to really get to become very profficient with it. This IMHO is what makes anybody capable of clean kills reguardless of caliber choice.
  7. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

    Nov 3, 2008
    You know, I've never heard any complaints from a walking corpse hit with a 175 grain SMK hit by a sniper at 900+ yards! To be an effective long range shooter with any caliber, this is the precision that should be considered. Oh for deer, 800 in the vitals or noggin unless your a sniper, then 1000 in the head. :D