Two cartridges that often end up compared due to their similar applications are the 7mm-08 Remington and 308 Winchester. Both are effective rounds with areas where they shine, so how do you choose? Fortunately, we’re here to help. Let’s compare the 7mm-08 and 308 Win to find out which cartridge is best suited to your needs.
7mm-08 Remington vs. 308 Win Specifications
Why compare 7mm-08 vs. 308 Win?
As the specifications show, the 308 Win is the parent case of 7mm-08. That alone makes them interesting to compare, but there’s more. Comparing 7mm-08 vs. 308 Win makes sense. They’re both short action cartridges with lengthy histories that are usually used for hunting (although they can do far more). Although the 7mm-08 has a shorter overall length and slightly smaller bullet diameter, it has nearly the same maximum pressure as the 308 Win. Does that mean they have mostly equal results on target? We’re here to find out.
The original design and purpose of the 308 Win often lead people to perceive it as a combat cartridge. After all, while it isn’t technically identical to 7.62x51mm NATO, they derived it from it and its overall design is extremely close. Remember, 308 Win is the civilian version of the military’s NATO cartridge and was released to the public by Winchester before the NATO round being approved for military use. As for the 7mm-08, it was also designed by a major manufacturer—Remington Arms—and made for the public, for hunting purposes. These two cartridges have quite a lot in common.
It’s the cartridge vs. cartridge face-off: 7mm-08 vs. 308 Win.
7mm-08 Remington Review
7mm-08 doesn’t get the attention it deserves. You hear gun owners and hunters talking about it sometimes, but it tends to be ignored for the latest hotness and even for classics like the 308 Win. That’s not to say it isn’t a classic in its own right—because it is—only that it gets overlooked rather often. It’s a shame, because 7mm-08 is an excellent cartridge.
7mm-08 Rem History and Purpose
Remington designed the 7mm-08 in 1980, largely for hunting use. It was first introduced as a chambering for the manufacturer’s Model 700 and 788 rifles, both of which were popular and did a lot to promote the then-new cartridge. 7mm-08 wasn’t made to be limited to one specific game animal but was—and is—meant for everything from varmints to predators to large game. And, of course, it’s also used by target shooters.
Although the 7mm-08’s parent case is the 308 Win, it’s also true that it has a similar design to the 7mm/308, which was a wildcat cartridge. The 7mm-08 has a cartridge like the 308 Win’s, only it’s necked down for the different diameter bullet and has a slightly longer case length. It is designed to generate less felt recoil than the 308 Win, although many shooters may not consider the difference significant.
For those who are fans of the late Jeff Cooper, founder of Gunsite Academy, it might be of interest to hear Cooper felt the 7mm-08 was also a worthy chambering for the Scout rifle. It wasn’t just 308 Win he liked. This makes sense, really, considering the design and capabilities of the 7mm-08. It’s great for many game species, produces a flat trajectory and manageable felt recoil, and there’s a wide variety of loads available for it.
Pros and Cons of 7mm-08 vs 308 Win
- Trajectory – 7mm-08 delivers a flatter trajectory than the 308 Win.
- Range – The 7mm-08 has a better effective range than the 308 Win.
- Recoil – 7mm-08 produces less felt recoil than 308 Win.
- Bullet Diameter – The 7mm-08 has a smaller bullet diameter than 308 Win.
- Max Pressure – 7mm-08’s maximum pressure is slightly less than that of 308 Win.
- Availability – Availability of 7mm-08 is typically less than that of 308 Win.
Best Ammo for 7mm-08
There are quite a few different 7mm-08 loads on the market that can compete with the 308 Win. These are our picks for 7mm-08:
308 Winchester Review
With over three-quarters of a century backing it, the 308 Win has had plenty of time to prove itself. Although it’s loved by a lot of hunters, it’s also used by target shooters who prefer the classic cartridge over newer creations. 308 Win is a reliable, proven cartridge with myriad uses.
308 Win History and Purpose
Winchester created 308 Win in the early 1950s as what we might describe as a natural progression during military ammunition trials. That’s how it’s related to the 7.62x51mm NATO—which is used by the military—but it’s not 100 percent identical (granted, it’s close). The military development of the NATO round started with the T65 series of experimental cartridges. That lead to Winchester designing the 308 Win for the public. The 308 Win also beat the NATO cartridge to production.
Hunters have been using 308 Win since 1952. Since those early days, the cartridge has seen use for other applications as well, such as target shooting and home defense. There are even bolt-action pistols chambered in it. This is a cartridge that’s utilized for many uses and is even used in AR pistols and truck guns. It isn’t just hunters who like 308 Win.
This is a mid-range classic cartridge. The 308 Win does produce a bit more felt recoil than the 7mm-08, but it’s not so much that it’s a major detriment. It has a few grains of greater case capacity, which translates to a bit more maximum pressure, and it pushes larger bullets down range. Overall, many gun owners see it as a more versatile round than 7mm-08.
Pros and Cons of 308 Winchester vs 7mm-08 Remington
- Bullet Size – 308 uses a larger diameter bullet than 7mm-08, which means greater wound cavity size.
- Variety – There are usually more 308 Win loads available than 7mm-08 (guns, too).
- Versatility – 308 Win is more versatile than 7mm-08 and used for home defense, target shooting, truck guns, and hunting.
- Trajectory – The 308 Win doesn’t produce quite as flat a trajectory as 7mm-08.
- Recoil – 308 Win produces more felt recoil than 7mm-08.
Best Ammo for 308 Winchester
Because 308 Win is seen as such a versatile round, there tend to be a lot of options for ammo. These are our top picks for 308 Win ammo:
Ballistics Comparison: 7mm-08 vs. 308 Win
Because we’re comparing two short action cartridges, one of which is the parent case of the other, you might expect ballistic results to match. After all, 308 Win and 7mm-08 have extremely close maximum pressures and the case length only varies by a fraction of an inch. So does one cartridge come out on top or are they mostly equal? Check it out.
To compare cartridges beyond 100 yards, we’re going to look at a few different loads. First, let’s consider Nosler Ballistic Tip 7mm-08 Remington 140 grain with a ballistic coefficient of 0.485 against Federal Premium Power-Shok 308 Win 180 grain JSP with a ballistic coefficient of 0.382.
|Distance (yards)||Nosler Ballistic Tip 7mm-08 Remington 140 grain Velocity (fps)||Nosler Ballistic Tip 7mm-08 Remington 140 grain Energy (ft-lbs)||Federal Premium Power-Shok 308 Win 180 grain JSP Velocity (fps)||Federal Premium Power-Shok 308 Win 180 grain JSP Energy (ft-lbs)|
With these loads, 7mm-08 produces more velocity from the start and maintains that lead over the 308 Win. Now, 308 Win does produce greater energy at the muzzle, but by 200 yards that evens out, and at 500 yards the 7mm-08 is delivering more energy than the 308 Win. This ties into the flatter trajectory of the 7mm-08 over the 308 Win and gives you an idea where the 7mm-08 might shine: at longer distances.
If we change over to different loads and compare Fiocchi 7mm-08 Remington 139 grain Interlock BTSP with a ballistic coefficient of 0.486 and Federal American Eagle 308 Win 150 grain FMJ with a ballistic coefficient of 0.408, does 308 Win gain any ground at all?
|Distance (yards)||Fiocchi 7mm-08 Remington 139 grain Interlock BTSP Velocity (fps)||Fiocchi 7mm-08 Remington 139 grain Interlock BTSP Energy (ft-lbs)||Federal American Eagle 308 Win 150 grain FMJ Velocity (fps)||Federal American Eagle 308 Win 150 grain FMJ Energy (ft-lbs)|
The two cartridges are evenly matched in this instance. Even so, the 7mm-08 maintains an edge for both velocity and energy (albeit it is a small one). Let’s take a look at drop and drift rate.
|Distance (yards)||Fiocchi 7mm-08 Remington 139 grain Interlock BTSP Drop (inches)||Fiocchi 7mm-08 Remington 139 grain Interlock BTSP Wind Drift (inches)||Federal American Eagle 308 Win 150 grain FMJ Drop (inches)||Federal American Eagle 308 Win 150 grain FMJ Drift (inches)|
Using these two specific loads, the 7mm-08 and 308-Win are closely matched, but the 7mm-08 does manage to maintain a flatter trajectory. Wind drift rate for the 7mm-08 is also a bit less than that of the 308 Win. Those gaps become even more obvious with different loads.
If you’re thinking that these ballistics charts are pretty similar, you’re not wrong. While the 7mm-08 does deliver an edge over 308 Win for trajectory and wind drift, it’s not such an enormous difference as to be shocking. When that edge really matters, you’ll be grateful for it. Of course, if you want larger, heavier bullets, you’re going to be considering grabbing the 308 Win, not the 7mm-08.
Our Take – 7mm-08 vs. 308 Win
The results of this face-off are mission specific. 7mm-08 does deliver a lot of pros over the 308 Win such as a flatter trajectory, less wind drift, less felt recoil, and a slightly farther reach on game animals. However, 308 Win does have those bigger bullets which translates to bigger holes on target (usually). If you’re looking to gain a slight edge for distance and drop, go with 7mm-08. If slightly bigger bullets and greater ammo availability are your thing, go with 308 Win.
Just because cartridges are very similar doesn’t mean they’re identical. Those slight differences can result in noticeable change down range, and 7mm-08 does manage to outpace 308 Win in many ways. Which cartridge is your favorite?
November 28, 2023
November 28, 2023
November 28, 2023
November 28, 2023