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Is The 308 a Punk round for most game

24 Feb 2015
@ 11:18 pm (GMT)

Thomas Pavelka

It has been said, that a wise man learns from his mistakes. A wiser man yet, that learns from the mistakes of others. If I may, I would like to take this a step further and say, The wisest man learns from the experience and wisdom of others.

I own a Savage Model 111 Lightweight Hunter in 308 that weighs in at a scant 5 pounds. I have a Leupold VX R scope on it and while the recoil is fast and sharp as to be expected from a lightweight rig, it is by no means unpleasant, and the rifle groups nicely with 150 Bonded Winchester Hollow Points. It however hates Berger VLD 168 grain bullets to the extent groups are more in line with a buckshot pattern.

I really want to love this rifle as it is a joy to carry in the field. But alas, it is a 308. When I look at the puny cartridge next to a 30-06 it feels naked and underpowered. Perhaps not, but that is the perception I get.

There are many who admire, use, and kill a lot of game with 308's. And while I do not want to put those folks over the edge bashing their favorite round, I am asking for advice so that I can go afield with the little Savage and feel confident that I will drop game and not wound it.

I am not sure why this rifle does not like Berger bullets. Perhaps the ogive? I will say, the brass HSM uses for the 308 appears to be of military type and has been annealed at the shoulder and neck. Even with the 1:12 twist it should stabilize a 165 grain bullet and perhaps a 180?

But even if it did like 165 and 180 grain bullets, I keep looking at the velocity difference between it, and the 30-06 and keep reaching for the faster velocity of the 06 because I know that velocity plays a big part in the killing equation.

Myself, I would consider a 308 to the light side for Bears and Moose, but I would think it would be the berries for deer and deer size game with the lighter bullets of 150 persuasion. The question here if this is so, what would that one bullet be? I'm thinking already I'm hearing 150 Nosler Partition?

I would not expect to take South end shots on North bound game as I don't see the weight and velocity to do that well. But carefully placed shots from a stand one would think would get the job done.

As much as I've dwelled and read here on this site since I found it, and by the way I have never seen so much knowledge in one place, the one thing I find no information on, and perhaps it is here and I just missed it, is the state of the animal at impact of a bullet.

In my limited experience, and animal that has made the hunter and is ready to flee is an animal that is adrenalined up and harder to put down. Where as an animal that is completely unaware of danger often drops at the shot, providing of course a precise hit.

Should I count my loses and trade in the 308 for a 270, another 30-06, or even a 7mm RM and call it a day, or, should I give it a chance to shine?

Thanks in advance for any input as the 2015 season is a mere 9 months away.


25 Feb 2015
@ 12:26 am (GMT)

Jim Moseley

Re: Is The 308 a Punk round for most game
Nothing wrong with the 308. I would take a look at the 178 gr Amax and will the 12 twist spin it? Great bullet for deer. As for the Bergers, you have to use the Hybrids. They are easier to reload. As for Moose or Bear you need the heavy weight bullets which would mean a 10 twist. Now this info is from what I've read from highly skilled shooters. Nathan's books have a great deal of info and the range capabilities of the 308. Read, read, and then read some more! Don't spend money on the rifle until you know exactly what you want it to do.

Good luck,
25 Feb 2015
@ 02:53 am (GMT)

Bob Mavin

Re: Is The 308 a Punk round for most game
Hi Thomas
The 308 is a great calibre!. I've been using 168gn A-max, very happy with them, to a point where they are the only pill I use. I bought 2000 of them.
I shot a big Samba stag yesterday, same result as on small Fallow. .3"entry through the skin opening immediately to about an 1" dia through both sides of the rib cage then 1" dia exit through the skin. I can't fault them.

If the 168gn A-max doesn't work in you rifle, 150 Partitions will handle a Moose. Partitions are too expensive in Australia.
25 Feb 2015
@ 05:53 am (GMT)

John Smith

Re: Is The 308 a Punk round for most game
Using a Ruger No. 1 in .308 I killed two elk in the 1980's with one
shot each. Neither one took a step after being hit. Nothing wrong
with a well placed .308 shot.
25 Feb 2015
@ 06:34 am (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: Is The 308 a Punk round for most game
a .308 today will do what a 06 did 30years ago.
there are a lot of options out there to find a brand of ammo that works for you and if you are reloading even more so. you mention stand hunting...what range are you expecting to be firing????
if you are under 150-200 you could go completely oppisite direction and go copper projectile light in weight driven fast..reducing recoil but retaining penetration and expansion.......
and as my 7.62x39mm is proving to me a .308 150grn pill doesnt need to be super hot to drop deer at 50 yards and thats going much slower than a .308!!!!!
25 Feb 2015
@ 07:09 am (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: Is The 308 a Punk round for most game
on this side of the world Thomas more deer have probably been shot with 303brit then any other calibre, never right off a calibre just cause its not as fast as another one. you got a great advantage if you got 2 rifles in 30 cal as you can try different projectiles between the 2. i would try amax's or even the interlocks or speers btsp but if it only likes 150grain bullets then use best ones for the task at hand, good luck and let everyone know how your getting on
25 Feb 2015
@ 03:57 pm (GMT)

Thomas Pavelka

Re: Is The 308 a Punk round for most game
Thanks for the feedback Gentlemen. If you folks are bumping off Elk with a 308 then I should have no issues using it on White Tail Deer.

I can't say this rifle does not like any 165 or 180 grain bullets as the only ones I tried in it were the Berger 168 grain VLD Hybrid hunting bullets which shoot quite well out of the 30-06.

With that said, I have had many rifles that would not group for beans with boat tail bullets. Why this is I do not know. But when that happens, I switch over to a flat base spitzer and in 99% of the cases the groups behave as they should.

Not sure about the rest of the world, or for that matter the rest of the US, but, here in New England we have somewhat of a horror show going on in our shooting sports and hunting ventures.

It seems no matter what a Chap is looking for, nobody has it. With the Internet one would think this problem could be easily overcome. Not the case.

I just came off the Nosler web site. You have got to be kidding me. $55 USD for a box of (20) 30-06 180 grain Nosler Partitions. It's OK to drool all over the screen, because that's all you are going to get. OUT OF STOCK!

This blows my mind. How can a company that manufactures brass and bullets be out of stock on ammunition?

Oh, but it only gets worse. Try finding Hornady Superformance or any of the Hornady loads talked about on this forum. OUT OF STOCK! I have gone to all of the jobbers like Midway, Mid South Shooters, Cabelas, you name it. OUT OF STOCK-NO BACKORDER. It's enough to make a man break down and cry.

And it's not just ammo. I recently bought a TC Encore Turkey shotgun. I wanted a 12 bore but there was not a one to be found on the planet. So I settled for a 20 ga. Well, as bad luck goes, the bore of the barrel was rusted from sitting around in a warehouse for a few years. The barrel went back to TC/Smith & Wesson and I ended up with a buttstock and frame until sometime in March.

At some point I had thoughts of putting a rifle barrel on the frame and decided to move that project up so I would at least have a complete gun in the cabinet that I could fondle and maybe even get to shoot.

Trust me when I say, it ain't happening. There simply are no barrels available except for the custom houses that make after market barrels for the Encores.

I wasn't looking for some exotic cartridge chambering either. Like 270, 30-06, even 7mm Rem Mag. After well over a month of scouring the net I did find a barrel at a gunshop in the Southern part of the state. I almost dropped the phone when the Dude said he had an Encore barrel in stock. What caliber? 416 Rigby. That is NOT something I want to shoot from a lightweight Encore. Pass.

The point to this sad tale is I am willing to try what you folks suggest in the Savage. But I just may not be able to get it.

Are these "Shortages" going on elsewhere, or just here in New England?

Thanks once again!
25 Feb 2015
@ 04:50 pm (GMT)

Joshua Mayfield

Re: Is The 308 a Punk round for most game
Hello Thomas,
I will echo what's been said in recommending Hornady 30 cal bullets - I've shot the SST, the Interlock, and the Amax and been pleased. On the spendy side I've also liked the Swift Scirocco. I've shot them out of the .30-06, but I mention them because I have shot them all at velocities the .308 could easily match. You know, I don't use them now that I handload, but every animal I ever shot with a Remington Core-Lokt bullet died suddenly. And again, those were fired at velocities attainable with the .308.

As for procuring components, I have had some luck with Graf's out of Mexico, MO. They have a good website and put together a good printed catalog each year. They also have a retail shop should you ever be passing through Mexico, MO. Two other online outlets you might check are Precision Reloading and Powder Valley Inc. Good luck on all fronts.
25 Feb 2015
@ 05:13 pm (GMT)

Thomas Pavelka

Re: Is The 308 a Punk round for most game
Thank You Joshua! Graf's has ammo!! In STOCK! Yeeeeee Haaaaaa. I just may be able to hunt come November this year.
25 Feb 2015
@ 05:15 pm (GMT)

Joshua Mayfield

Re: Is The 308 a Punk round for most game
Great - I've done my good deed for the day - haha.
25 Feb 2015
@ 06:46 pm (GMT)

mark korte

Re: Is The 308 a Punk round for most game
"Long distance is out of the game here abouts. When the leaves are off the tree in late Fall, if one lines up the trees just right, MAYBE a 100 yard shot is in the offering, but that would be about once in a blue moon.

More often than not, shots are taken in feet rather than yards. This comes about from very dense brush, and, or dwelling in trees from stands. Many of the rifle shots are clearly in bow range. "

Thomas -
From the above info you sent in an earlier post I would think anything from a 6.5 on up would be more than adequate for your situation. Why not just pick the rifle you like to carry/shoot/look at (there is still a place for walnut out there!) and run with it? And l agree with Joshua above - I've tipped over a pile of whitetails out to 200 yards with Remington Core Lockt factory loads, only mine were 7x57 - cheap and suprisingly available for a fairly obscure caliber. Ditto Mike's option of the copper bullets which I have since gone to and have been impressed with for all the same reasons he mentions plus they are non-toxic.
Good luck!
25 Feb 2015
@ 09:34 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: Is The 308 a Punk round for most game
Berger bullets like to be seated into or touching the lands. .308 usually has some freeborn so I would not doubt the A-max bullets would do a bit better in your rifle than Bergers. I never bothered with them for my .308 in Midel 700P LTR as the gunsmith I got it from said not to bother.
25 Feb 2015
@ 09:36 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: Is The 308 a Punk round for most game
darned automatic correction on my system...should read "freebore" not freeborn
25 Feb 2015
@ 09:52 pm (GMT)

Thomas Pavelka

Re: Is The 308 a Punk round for most game
I'm taking this all in ......

BTW Bryan, that auto correct CAN be fatal.

A man sent an email to his neighbor announcing that he had been using his wife without him knowing it. He said he felt real bad about it and wanted to know what he could do to make amends.

The husband went upstairs to the bedroom and shot his wife dead.

Five minutes later the doorbell rang. The Husband opened the door to see his neighbor in a sweat. Damn auto correct, I was using your Wifi.
26 Feb 2015
@ 07:15 am (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: Is The 308 a Punk round for most game
let me put it this way........ if I didnt own a .270 winchester
I would most likely have a .308


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