How far can a 308 responsibly take game?

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by mmh, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. mmh

    mmh Well-Known Member

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    I am just learning about LRH, but have been a hunter and a avid shooter for many years. My hunting has been in western PA where 'long range' was less than 100 yards, and most shots within 100 yards. I am starting to get interested in LRH and beginning to do some research and planning.

    A 308 can push a 180 grain bullet at 2700 fps. If we get more specific, and look at a Hornady Interbond (which has a BC of .48), then at 500 yards, then the bullet is moving at 1849 fps and has 1366 ft.-lbs. of energy. At 800 yards, the bullet is moving at 1438 fps and has 826 ft.-lbs. of energy. For comparison, if the muzzle velocity were 3000 fps (launched from a 300 WinMag or 300 WSM), then the distance would be extended by approximately 150 yards (A 300 Magnum at 650(950) yards would have a similar velocity/energy as a 308 at 500(800) yards).

    Obviously, how far depends on what game is to be taken. But shot placement is more important than 'explosive', 'devastative' expansion. When I hunt, I work hard to take shots that will penetrate both lungs & tag the heart. So, how much velocity/energy does a 180 gr. 30 cal. bullet need to have WITH proper shot placement for deer/antelope, and for elk?
     
  2. yobuck

    yobuck Well-Known Member

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    its somewhat surprising to me that being a long time shooter from pa you arent
    more informed on long range hunting than you are?
    especialy since modern day long range hunting has its roots there. also since the
    first 1000 yd benchrest club originated there more than 50 years ago. all of this has
    been taking place within half day driving distance of anyone in the state.
    pa also has some of the most well known long range gunsmiths in the country
    living there all of whom are also long range hunters.
    if its knowledge your seeking you certainly could have had all you need long before now.
    you are no doubt on target with your opinions and assesment of the situation.
    western pa and well placed 100 yd shots with your 308 seem a perfect fit to me.
     
  3. mmh

    mmh Well-Known Member

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    Yobuck, why the antagonistic reply? I am a long range shooter, but not hunter. I am asking questions because I am trying learn about LRH. I do not dispute PA roots in hunting/shooting. As my interest in LRH has just started, I am just at the beginning of my learning curve which is why I have not asked the questions before. I do not have many opinions yet, and am just stating my understanding. I am seeking informed, experienced opinions to further my understanding. I would appreciate answers to my questions and not judgements on my opinions, background, etc. that you so kindly offered.
     
  4. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    You'll get a lot of different answers but in perfect conditions 500yds with proper shot placement would not be beyond the realm of reason especially with that bullet. For deer sized game you can add another hundred or so.

    If you are going to plan on such shots though you might want to consider the SST which will mushroom a little better at lower velocities.

    Sorry for the rough welcome. We're not all quite so friendly.
     
  5. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    Hell of a way to roll out the welcome matt there YO. You didn't even bother answering the man's question.

    Great job.
     
  6. Rogue Hunter

    Rogue Hunter Well-Known Member

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    mmh,
    Though the .308 isn't the best choice for a LRH hunting round, it will take antelope and deer out to 600-700 yards. The key is choosing the right bullet for the task, and your ability to place it correctly. Many of the premium long range hunting bullets need 1800 fps to expand properly once they reach their intended target. For elk, the range would be somewhat less. They can soak up a bunch of lead. Personally, I would draw the line there at 300-350 yards with a .308 Win. Also keep in mind that these are shots taken from field positions with the adrenaline going, and that's where only you can decide how far you are comfortable taking an accurate shot regardless of the rifle you are shooting:Dgun)

    -Mike
     
  7. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

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    300-350 yards is well under the 308s capabilities.

    This like any other cartridge will be subject to bullet selection, velocity and shot placement. My personal longest 308 kill was 763 yards on a dall sheep. Have also taken sheep at 702. Deer at 440 and 500.

    The amax extends the 308s range with their low expansion threshold. The 208 amax extends her range even more due to its high BC.

    With 26" barrel 2750 is easily attained with the 178. At 5000' elevation that gets you a reliable deer killer way past 350 yards. 600-800 is more realistic. Running rl17 or VV500 series powders they can be driven even faster.

    The 208 on the other hand can exit at 2600'sec. At 5000' elevation you're well over the 1000'# mark at 1K with the windage of a 260 running 140 VLDs.

    The subscription to the thoughts that the 308 is not a long range hunting cartridge comes from what she was capable of 25 years ago and prior. 18-22" barrels were about it. Slow twists and low BC 150 grain class offering were the norm. Yes 25 years ago she wasn't much. Today is vastly different.

    If elk is on the menu, the 200 grain Sierra game king can be shot at 2600-2650 giving you 1000'# at 1k at 5000' elevation. This bullet has a 1500'sec expansion requirement. 1500'sec is what she's doing at 1k, 5000'. Even more at elk altitude. With the 200 SGK delivering over 1500'pounds at 625 yards, I wouldn't even think twice about taking an elk there.

    M
     
  8. mmh

    mmh Well-Known Member

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    WildRose & Rogue Hunter – thanks for your replies.

    I understand that a 308 is not the best choice for LRH. However, it is more affordable to shoot (even if you reload) and not as aggressive in recoil which both will translate into more meaningful practice for myself & my 15 year old son. In addition, I have a 308 that nicely set up and shoots around .75 MOA. Someday when I graduate I may move up to more gun, but for now I’d like to stick with the 308.

    I plan on spending this summer determining what kind of groups my son & I can keep at long ranges under varying conditions. We will also shoot off of sticks & other simulated field conditions. This should put us in a pretty good position to know what we can do during the actual hunt. We have both taken deer before and while this is not a guarantee that we won’t get a little excited when we see a nice buck, we should be able to keep it under control. That being said, I think we will be in a position to call our shots, factoring in everything including the buck fever.

    Probably looking at deer/antelope for our first LRH, but, I am just at the exploratory phase and am trying to get educated. Even if we don’t have an opportunity to do any LRH this year, time at the range & determining what we can do will be fun in and of itself. The possibility of a LRH just gives us a goal while we are practicing.

    Thanks again for your replies.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2014
  9. sendero72

    sendero72 Well-Known Member

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    You have an excellent platform to start with. The Amax is a great round for whitetails. Practise working your way out to 600 to 700 yds on paper and switch over and to all those groundhogs you have in Pa. If you can consistently hit a groundhog at 400 to 500 yds, a deer will be a piece of cake. Nothing like practising on live targets to get rid of the "buck fever". Good luck and let us know how it goes.
     
  10. Rogue Hunter

    Rogue Hunter Well-Known Member

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    This was in regards to hunting elk. -just my opinion....
     
  11. mmh

    mmh Well-Known Member

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    Micheal Eichele & Sendero72, I am a fan of the AMAX bullets but thought that they were not meant for hunting. I like the 178 and am going to play with the 208 this year. My gun has a 20” barrel & a 1:10 twist so it should not have problems stabilizing the 208. As far as velocity goes, it will be first verified w/ a chronograph, and secondly by bullet drop at extended range.
     
  12. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

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    I understand. I know first hand how tough elk are. 200 grain SGKs and R17 definitely extend her range. I know if this were a 300 win mag thread regarding elk 1000 yards would get thrown around. The 308 running 200 SGKs will do exactly at 600-650 yards what the 300 win mag will do at a grand. Just putting it in perspective.
     
  13. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    Everything Michael said is spot-on! I can send 210 Bergers out of my 24" .308 @ 2,400 fps. and still holds 1,009 lbs. of energy to 800 yards. It's not the hottest load, but it's damn-accurate out of my rifle. So I have no complaints. Like Michael said, today's technological advancements means you ain't shooting grandpa's slow under-powered .308 anymore.
     
  14. one crazy kid

    one crazy kid Well-Known Member

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    I would say that the 308 would make 800yds easy with the right load.