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Expecting more than just "adequate"

08 May 2023
@ 01:21 pm (GMT)

Daniel Schindler

To those of you with more experience with the .308 Win than I…

Currently 75, over the years, I’ve been blessed to own multiple rifles in as many calibers / cartridges. Been hunting and reloading since I was 15. Meaning I know more than some and a lot less than others like Nathan and your good-selves. As for hunting experience, I’ve done enough to know how to choose my rifle & loads carefully, kill ethically.

Starting at the .270 Win level, most of my BG hunting has been with cartridges 30-06 and up. 1 time with a .458 Win. Totally unnecessary but that was my choice. It worked…and then some. That should tell you something about me. Please hold onto that.

Now…add to that…having never “dialed” a scope before, I’ve always depended on my “hold-overs” to hit game cleanly at 300 yards and maybe a bit past that. Counting on my 7 Rem Mag, .300 and such for their flatter trajectory and energy “out there a ways.”

I’ve recently purchased a bolt action rifle in .308 Winchester. My goal being: this will be my primary hunting rifle for the basic big game in North America, excluding the big bears. 2 early trips to the range with a few boxes of Federal Factory, 168 gr Sierra Match bullets have proven…this rifle is accurate with a capital A. Reloading with Nathan’s recommendations will begin soon.

Which brings me here. Forgive my admitted ignorance but I’m having a difficult time believing (trusting?) that this .308 cartridge will be…shall we say “enough” with a live animal in my scope at an ethical range? As my dialing skills are climbing, I’ve imposed a 500-yard shooting limit on myself. Maybe, in time, I’ll be confident to 600? So far in my life, my friends know me to be a DRT shooter. Not a brag mind you, just a statement backed up by careful planning, preparation and execution. I don’t want that to change. Hence my anxiety about this rifle / cartridge.

Would appreciate any “.308 Winchester” thoughts, cautions, insights, etc. Thank you kindly.



08 May 2023
@ 05:42 pm (GMT)

Andrew Murray

Re: Expecting more than just "adequate"
Hey Danny,

I've been lugging around a 308 for a little while. I'm based in Australia and the 308 is a wonderful calibre for all our game here. It is overkill for some things, but if I'm trying to grab a pelt from a fox, I'll use a 22... I generally know this stuff before I get out into the field however.

With all things, projectile selection is paramount. The 308 does have a bit of a rainbow type trajectory when compared to newer calibres. It is susceptible to wind-drift moreso when compared to say the 7mm calibres. But this is not unique to 308, but the 30 cal family more broadly.

If you set your expectations right, match the projectiles to game weight/size expected and adjust accordingly you'll be right. Once you have done your load development you'll be able to develop an accurate drop chart to compensate for wind drift and bullet drop.

All of everything I've said above has likely already crossed your mind, no one calibre is a panacea, but the 308 gets pretty close.
09 May 2023
@ 02:54 am (GMT)

Daniel Schindler

Re: Expecting more than just "adequate"
Thank you Andrew for your response. More than just informative, it was most helpful.

A short story on why I presently have (had) reservations on the .308.

Way back, when we kids had no money, we owned 1 rifle and factory ammo for everything. Varmints up to and including Black Bear. Since deer were on that list, most used their 30-30’s. No disrespect to the 30-30 now – none – but luck shined on me when I chose the 35 Rem with that “big” 200 gr RN bullet. I can’t count how many times we had to track “their” deer. Mine were DRT. Consistently. Because of that heavier, wider bullet and close-range shooting, typically well inside 100 yards. No…I didn’t know what a bullet meplat was. All I knew was…my game fell where it stood. A memory that carries over to today and why I prefer my 35 Whelen for bigger chores.

It seems I’m over complicating this .308 deal. Having no experience with this cartridge, I’m reading where it is indeed capable. Your reassurance is greatly appreciated. Confidence level took a major step up. I hear you and completely agree, bullet choice and placement are paramount. I will tend to that with Nathan’s sound guidance.

Thank you again Andrew.

09 May 2023
@ 08:01 am (GMT)

Scott Struif

Re: Expecting more than just "adequate"
Looking at external ballistics of any given bullet, it will perform better in a 30-06 than a 308, and better in a 300WM than a 30-06. The advent of the range finder has blurred the distinction. In pre-range-finder days, we estimated distance and hold over. An eye-opener for me was taking a range finder to the top of a hill overlooking a clear cut. My friend and I estimated the distance to various stumps. We couldn’t believe how far off we were. In that situation, even with a range finder, a 308 would have been superior to a 300WM, because the 300WM would have hit higher above the point of aim, due to the downward angle. If you have a range finder that can detect uphill and downhill angles, which have the same effect on trajectory, there’s no advantage, drop-wise, to a a 300WM over a 308.

Wind is another matter entirely. Time of flight matters. But Nathan has shown us that the 308 can shoot the heavy bullets effectively, mitigating wind drift. Also, that it it less sensitive to shortened barrel length.

Danny asks if the 308 is adequate, I assume he means that, with a range finder, he can dial the elevation to place the bullet where he wants it. So his hesitation is a question of terminal ballistics. At 308 speeds, he’s going to need a highly frangible bullet at 500 yards. But I wouldn’t trust a bonded bullet, such as a LR Accubond, at that range, even out of a 300WM.
09 May 2023
@ 11:30 pm (GMT)

David Landwehr

Re: Expecting more than just "adequate"
Hi Dan,
The 300 Win mag pokes a 180gr bullet out at around 3,000fps.
The 308 Win pokes a 180gr bullet out at around 2650fps.
The projectile will shed velocity at about 200fps per 100 yards.
So at 175 yards the 300WM has about the same velocity as the 308 Win at the muzzle or the performance of the 300WM at 500yards is comparable to the 308Win at 325 yards.
A 400 yard shot out of the 308Win with a 180gr pill is very doable and with correct bullet construction will be very effective, but you are approaching1,800 fps at this range (between 400 and 450 yards) and that is the minimum impact velocity of a lot of bullets for reliable expansion.
Heavier high BC bullets (208Eldm) out of the 308Win might get you out to 500 yards but would need some investigation. Thats my 2c.
19 May 2023
@ 10:44 am (GMT)

Daniel Schindler

Re: Expecting more than just "adequate"
David & Scott,

Pls forgive my tardy thank you for your useful posts. I've been working out of town the last 10 days.

Along with my doubts about the .308 is my appreciation of the new rifle. Whereas my Tikka Roughtech .270 Win is consistently capable of less than .5 moa, this Springfield Armory rifle - 5 shot groups @ 100 - has cut that in half. That I am pleased is an understatement.

Anyway... after a lot of research and good advice from folks like yourselves...I'm more confident in the cartridge's capabilities. With Nathan's guidance, the reloading can now begin. As they say...the rest is up to me.

God bless & thanks again.

20 May 2023
@ 06:02 am (GMT)

Robert McLean

Re: Expecting more than just "adequate"
What version of Springfield Armory Rifle is giving you those results? Is it stock?
24 May 2023
@ 03:43 pm (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: Expecting more than just "adequate"
if I didnt own a .270w I would own a .308 or .30/06
I can give it no higher praise


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