What is the Best 308 Ammo? 👀
The .308 Winchester ammunition, commonly referred to as “308 ammo,” is a popular rifle cartridge that offers a good balance between power and recoil. Introduced in 1952, it was derived from the 7.62x51mm NATO military round, though the civilian variant has slightly higher pressure limits than the military version. Originally developed by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, it quickly became one of the most popular short-action, big-game hunting cartridges worldwide.
The history is closely tied to its military counterpart, the 7.62x51mm NATO. As armies transitioned from the heavier .30-06 Springfield rounds after World War II, there was a demand for a shorter cartridge that could still deliver reliable power. As a result, the 7.62 NATO was developed and shortly thereafter, its commercial variant, the .308 Winchester, was released for civilian use.
Its versatility and performance have made it a preferred choice for various applications. Hunters appreciate its ability to take down medium to large-sized games at reasonable distances, while sport shooters value it for its accuracy and relatively mild recoil.
Moreover, the 7.62x51mm variant has been used extensively by militaries around the world, and as such, firearms chambered in this caliber are common among military and police forces. Furthermore, its accuracy and power have made it a popular choice for precision shooting and long-range competitions. In summary, it has earned a prominent place in the annals of ammunition due to its adaptability, performance, and wide scope of use.
✅ The .308 Winchester, often simply referred to as the .308, is one of the most versatile and widely recognized cartridges in the shooting world. Its primary benefit lies in its adaptability to a range of shooting scenarios. From hunting medium to large games to precision target shooting and even military and police applications, it has proven its worth time and again. Its moderate recoil, combined with substantial energy delivery, makes it suitable for a broad spectrum of shooters, from novices to seasoned marksmen.
✅ Another significant advantage is its global popularity. This widespread use ensures that ammunition is readily available in various loads, catering to different needs. Whether one is looking for rapid expansion for hunting or match-grade precision for target shooting, there’s likely a load tailored for the purpose. This ubiquity also often translates to more competitive pricing and a wide range of firearm platforms chambered for the cartridge.
☑️ It boasts several distinctive features that contribute to its enduring appeal. Its case design, which has inspired several other cartridges, offers efficient powder combustion. This ensures consistent velocities and performance, which is especially crucial for long-range shooting where consistency can mean the difference between a hit or a miss.
☑️ Can accommodate a broad range of bullet weights, typically ranging from 110 grains up to 180 grains or more. This flexibility allows the cartridge to be optimized for various tasks, from varmint control with lighter, faster bullets to taking down larger games with heavier, more penetrative projectiles.
☑️ Another notable feature is its compatibility with short-action rifles. This not only results in faster cycling of the bolt in bolt-action rifles but also often means a lighter and more compact firearm, beneficial for hunters on the move or marksmen who prioritize a nimble platform.
Choosing .308 Ammo 👌
🚩 Choosing the right .308 ammunition is crucial, whether you’re hunting, target shooting, or engaging in tactical scenarios. The .308 Winchester cartridge, which is also used in its military form as the 7.62x51mm NATO, is a versatile round known for its accuracy and power. When selecting the appropriate ammo, you’ll need to consider several factors.
🚩 Firstly, the purpose of your shooting plays a significant role. For hunting, you’ll want to look for expanding bullets, such as soft points or ballistic tips. These are designed to expand upon impact, ensuring a quick and humane kill. Brands like Federal, Hornady, and Nosler offer a range of hunting-specific .308 rounds that have been optimized for various game sizes. For instance, if you’re hunting deer, you might opt for a 150-grain bullet, while for larger game like elk, a 180-grain might be more suitable.
🚩 For target shooting, especially at longer distances, consistency and precision are key. Match-grade ammunition is designed specifically for this purpose. It undergoes stricter quality control and often uses higher-quality components to ensure each round is as identical as possible. Sierra MatchKing and Hornady Match are popular choices among long-range shooters for their proven accuracy.
🚩 Tactical or self-defense scenarios require reliable and effective ammunition. In these situations, you might lean towards rounds that offer a combination of penetration and expansion, ensuring that the bullet will incapacitate a threat effectively. Federal’s Gold Medal Berger or Hornady’s TAP (Tactical Application Police) are examples of rounds designed with tactical applications in mind.
🚩 Bullet weight is another consideration. In the .308 caliber, bullet weights typically range from 110 grains to 180 grains, with 150 and 168 grains being among the most popular. Lighter bullets tend to have flatter trajectories and are faster, while heavier bullets might offer better penetration and stability, especially in windy conditions.
🚩 Lastly, your specific firearm can also influence your ammo choice. Some rifles might have a preference for certain brands or bullet weights based on their barrel twist rate, chamber dimensions, and other factors. It’s always a good idea to test a few different types of ammunition to see which one your firearm prefers.
Best 308 Ammo Review
#1 Nosler 308 Winchester Ammo 168 Grain
The trajectory of this bullet is impressively flat, boasting a muzzle velocity of 2,750 feet per second. Even at 200 yards, this ammunition delivers a forceful impact with 2,091 foot-pounds of energy. The bullet itself begins with a Nosler hollow point, featuring a small meplat that not only reduces drag but also enhances aerodynamics.
This is complemented by a custom jacket that encloses a lead-alloy core, which undergoes rigorous testing for stability and balance. The classic boat-tail design of the bullet ensures optimal performance from the moment it leaves the muzzle to the point it hits the target, making it ideal for long-range shooting.
Backing this bullet is a consistent powder charge housed in the renowned reloadable head-stamped Nosler 308 brass. Before any cartridge is deemed ready for the market, it undergoes a thorough inspection and polishing process. This ensures that each round not only meets but exceeds the expectations of the shooter.
#2 Nosler Match Grade 308 Winchester Ammo 175 Grain
The bullet’s round nose flat design is characterized by its rounded tip and flat base. This design ensures that the bullet maintains a stable flight trajectory, even in challenging conditions.
The 175-grain weight provides a perfect balance of velocity and energy, ensuring that each shot is both fast and powerful. With a muzzle velocity of 2,600 feet per second and an energy of 2,627 foot-pounds at the muzzle, this ammunition is capable of delivering impressive results at both close and long-range distances.
The bullet itself is constructed with a lead-alloy core that is surrounded by a custom jacket. This combination ensures that the bullet retains its shape upon impact, providing consistent and reliable expansion. The brass casing that houses the bullet and powder is of the highest quality, ensuring smooth chambering and ejection.
#3 Hornady Superformance 308 Winchester Ammo 150 Grain
At the heart of it is the Super Shock Tip (SST) bullet. This bullet is meticulously crafted to deliver rapid, controlled expansion with deep penetration. The sharp, pointed polymer tip ensures a faster, flatter trajectory, making it ideal for long-range shots.
The bullet’s weight of 150 grains strikes an optimal balance, ensuring a harmonious blend of speed and energy upon impact. With a muzzle velocity of 2,820 feet per second and a muzzle energy of 2,641 foot-pounds, it promises a powerful punch with every shot.
The SST bullet also boasts an InterLock ring, a unique feature that mechanically locks the core and jacket together. This ensures that the bullet retains its mass and energy, delivering devastating terminal performance. The bullet’s boat-tail design further enhances its ballistic coefficient, ensuring that it maintains a stable flight path, even in adverse conditions.
The cartridges are loaded with high-quality propellants that are matched to each load for optimal pressure, velocity, and consistency. The brass casings are selected for their strength and reliability, ensuring smooth chambering and consistent ejection.
It is also designed with the shooter’s safety in mind. The Superformance (SPF) technology ensures that it delivers up to 200 feet per second more velocity than conventional ammunition, without any increase in felt recoil, muzzle blast, or temperature sensitivity.
#4 Hornady American Whitetail 308 Winchester Ammo 165 Grain
The InterLock bullet features a raised ring inside the jacket that is embedded into the bullet’s core. This unique design ensures that the jacket and core remain locked together during expansion, resulting in deep penetration and maximum energy transfer. The bullet’s weight of 165 grains ensures a perfect balance of speed and impact, making it suitable for a variety of shooting scenarios.
The bullet’s aerodynamic secant ogive profile, combined with its boat-tail base, ensures that it maintains a consistent and stable flight path. This design not only enhances the bullet’s ballistic coefficient but also reduces drag, ensuring that the bullet reaches its target with pinpoint accuracy. With a muzzle velocity of 2,700 feet per second and a muzzle energy of 2,719 foot-pounds, it is designed to deliver a powerful impact with every shot.
It is loaded with high-grade propellants that are specifically matched to each load, ensuring consistent pressure, velocity, and performance. The brass casings are meticulously selected for their strength and durability, ensuring that they chamber smoothly and eject consistently.
Furthermore, the American Whitetail (AW) line of ammunition is designed specifically for deer hunters. It promises to deliver the knockdown power required to bring down a whitetail deer efficiently. The combination of the InterLock bullet and the precision-loaded cartridge ensures that hunters have the confidence to take that perfect shot when the moment arises.
#5 Hornady BLACK 308 Winchester Ammo 168 Grain
This bullet is meticulously engineered to provide a balanced flight trajectory, ensuring that each shot reaches its intended target with precision. With a weight of 168 grains, the bullet strikes a balance between speed and impact, making it a versatile choice for various shooting applications.
The bullet’s Spitzer Boat Tail (SBT) design enhances its aerodynamic properties, reducing drag and ensuring a stable flight. This design, combined with a ballistic coefficient of 0.475, ensures that the bullet maintains its velocity over longer distances, resulting in a flatter trajectory and improved accuracy.
The brass casings are of high quality, ensuring smooth chambering and consistent ejection. The propellant is matched to the load, guaranteeing consistent muzzle velocities. With a muzzle velocity of 2,700 feet per second and a muzzle energy of 2,719 foot-pounds, this ammunition is designed to deliver a powerful impact.
It is optimized for performance in a variety of platforms, including direct impingement, gas piston, suppressed, unsuppressed, inertia, bolt, pump, supersonic, subsonic, rifle, mid-length, carbine, and even pistols. This adaptability ensures that shooters can trust it, regardless of their firearm choice.
#6 Federal Premium Power-Shok 308 Winchester Ammo 150 grain
The Power-Shok series is designed with the hunter in mind, offering a combination of accuracy, reliability, and devastating terminal performance. At its core is the 150-grain Jacketed Soft Point bullet, a design that has proven its worth in the field time and time again. The JSP bullet expands upon impact, creating a large wound channel and ensuring quick, humane kills in the game. This controlled expansion is crucial for ethical hunting, ensuring that the energy is transferred effectively to the target and reducing the chances of wounding.
The bullet’s weight of 150 grains offers a balanced combination of velocity and impact energy. With a muzzle velocity of 2,820 feet per second and a muzzle energy of 2,648 foot-pounds, this ammunition is capable of taking down medium to large-sized game with ease. Whether you’re hunting deer, antelope, or other similar-sized animals, the Power-Shok .308 Winchester 150 Grain JSP will not disappoint.
The brass casings are of premium quality, ensuring consistent chambering and ejection. The primers are reliable, providing consistent ignition and reducing the chances of misfires. The propellant is carefully matched to the bullet, ensuring consistent velocities and a stable flight trajectory.
#7 Nosler 308 Winchester Ammo 165 Grain
This bullet boasts a streamlined polymer tip, guaranteeing a flat trajectory and minimized wind drift. Upon impact, the tip triggers rapid expansion, resulting in a devastating terminal effect. Complementing the tip is a robustly jacketed base, ensuring both weight retention and deep penetration, even against formidable barriers. This unique fusion of swift expansion and profound penetration positions the Ballistic Tip bullet as the optimal choice for pursuing medium to large games.
Weighing in at 165 grains, this bullet strikes a harmonious balance between velocity and impact force. Unleashing a muzzle velocity of 2,800 feet per second, it propels towards the target swiftly and with minimal drop. The impact imparts substantial energy, rendering it efficacious against a diverse array of game species.
The brass casings are meticulously crafted to exacting standards, ensuring uniform chambering and ejection. The primers, chosen for their unwavering reliability, guarantee consistent ignition, significantly reducing the likelihood of misfires. The propellant is meticulously paired with the bullet, resulting in unwavering velocities and a steady flight trajectory.
#8 Winchester SUPER-X RIFLE 308 Winchester Ammo 180 grain
The bullet type is a Soft Point (SP), weighing 180 grains. Soft Point bullets are known for their rapid expansion upon impact, making them ideal for hunting applications.
The brass casing ensures reliable feeding and extraction in a variety of firearms. With a muzzle velocity of 2620 ft/s and a muzzle energy of 2743 ft-lbs, this ammunition packs a punch, ensuring that the target is hit with maximum force.
One of the standout features of it is the PowerPoint design. This assures quick and massive knock-down power, making it especially effective for hunting games. The strategic notching on the bullet ensures consistent and reliable expansion upon impact.
The contoured jacket of the bullet is designed for maximum expansion performance, ensuring that the bullet opens up effectively upon hitting the target. The alloyed lead core of the bullet increases its retained weight, allowing for deeper penetration into the target.
#9 Nosler 308 Winchester Ammo 168 Grain
Nosler’s E-Tip bullet, weighing in at 168 grains, is a lead-free projectile designed to deliver superior penetration and expansion. It is constructed from a solid copper alloy, ensuring that it retains its weight and shape upon impact. This results in consistent and devastating terminal performance, making it a top choice for hunting applications.
One of the standout features is its Energy Expansion Cavity™. This patented design allows for immediate and uniform expansion upon impact, ensuring maximum energy transfer to the target. The bullet’s green polymer tip aids in aerodynamic flight, ensuring that the bullet maintains a flat trajectory over long distances. This, combined with the boat tail design, ensures that the bullet remains stable in flight, resulting in exceptional accuracy.
The brass casing of it ensures reliable feeding and extraction in a variety of firearms. It also provides consistent ignition, ensuring that each shot is as accurate as the last. The use of a lead-free bullet not only makes it environmentally friendly but also ensures that there is minimal fouling in the barrel, leading to extended barrel life and consistent performance.
#10 Nosler Trophy Grade 308 Winchester Ammo 150 Grain
This cartridge, renowned for its versatility and effectiveness, finds its perfect match in 150-grain AccuBond (AB) bullet. This bullet is engineered to provide deep penetration and controlled expansion, ensuring that it delivers a lethal impact on game animals. The AccuBond bullet, with its tapered jacket and special lead-alloy core, ensures that the bullet retains most of its weight upon impact, resulting in consistent and devastating terminal performance.
One of the standout features of it is its white polymer tip. This tip not only aids in aerodynamic flight but also initiates expansion upon impact. The bullet’s boat tail design further enhances its ballistic coefficient, ensuring that it maintains a stable flight path even over long distances. This stability, combined with the bullet’s inherent accuracy, makes it a favorite among long-range shooters.
The ammunition’s brass casing ensures that it feeds and extracts reliably in a wide range of firearms. It also provides consistent ignition, ensuring that each shot is as accurate as the last.
#11 Winchester BALLISTIC SILVERTIP 308 Winchester Ammo 168 grain
Its sleek design, complemented by the silver polymer tip, ensures rapid expansion upon impact. This rapid expansion, combined with the bullet’s ability to retain most of its weight, results in devastating terminal performance. The bullet’s boat tail design further enhances its aerodynamic properties, ensuring that it maintains a stable flight path, even over long distances.
One of the standout features of it is its nickel-plated brass casing. This casing not only gives the ammunition a distinct appearance but also ensures smooth feeding and extraction. The nickel plating also provides corrosion resistance, ensuring that it remains in pristine condition even in adverse conditions.
#12 Federal Premium SIERRA MATCHKING BTHP 308 Winchester Ammo 168 grain
The core is the Sierra MatchKing bullet, a name that resonates with precision shooters worldwide. This bullet, known for its unmatched accuracy, has been the choice of world champions and record holders. Its hollow point boat tail design ensures a stable flight, even over extended distances, making it a favorite among long-range shooters.
One of the standout features of it is its consistency. Each cartridge is loaded to exacting standards, ensuring uniformity in performance. This consistency is crucial for precision shooting, where even the slightest variation can make a difference. The brass casing, primers, and propellant are all selected to provide optimal performance, ensuring that each shot is as accurate as the last.
#13 Federal Premium TERMINAL ASCENT 308 Winchester Ammo 175 grain
It features a bonded lead core and a thick, robust jacket, ensuring deep penetration and consistent expansion. This design ensures that the bullet retains its weight and shape, even when striking bone or tough hide, resulting in a devastating wound channel and quick, humane kills.
One of the standout features of it is its long-range capabilities. It is aerodynamically designed, with a high ballistic coefficient, ensuring a flat trajectory and reduced wind drift. This means that hunters can confidently take shots at extended ranges, knowing that the bullet will hit its mark with precision. The ammunition also features a specially formulated propellant, which provides consistent velocities and reduces barrel fouling.
#14 Winchester DEER SEASON XP 308 Winchester Ammo 150 grain
The Extreme Point bullet, with its oversized polymer tip, ensures rapid expansion upon impact. This design results in a larger impact diameter, translating to massive wound channels and quicker, more humane kills. When a deer is in your sight, and you have only one shot to make it count.
The propellants are carefully selected to provide consistent velocities, ensuring that each shot is as accurate as the last. The brass casings are precision-engineered for reliability, ensuring smooth chambering and ejection, shot after shot.
One of the standout features of it is its versatility. While it’s designed with deer hunting in mind, its performance characteristics make it suitable for hunting a wide range of medium to large game.
Things to Consider Before Buying .308 Ammo for Hunting 🛒
➡️ When contemplating the purchase of .308 ammunition for hunting, there are several considerations to keep in mind to ensure you make the best choice for your specific needs. This cartridge is renowned for its versatility, making it a popular choice among hunters. However, not all of them are created equal, and understanding the nuances can significantly impact your hunting success.
➡️ One of the primary considerations is the type of game you’re pursuing. Different animals require different bullet designs to ensure a quick and humane kill. For instance, if you’re hunting deer, you might want a bullet that offers rapid expansion upon impact, like a soft point or ballistic tip. These designs ensure that the bullet causes significant internal damage, leading to a swift kill. On the other hand, if you’re hunting larger or tougher games like elk or bear, you might lean towards a bullet with controlled expansion and deeper penetration, such as a bonded bullet or a partition design.
➡️ Bullet weight is another crucial factor. In the realm of it, bullet weights can vary widely, typically ranging from 110 grains to 180 grains. Lighter bullets, such as those around 110 to 150 grains, might be suitable for smaller games due to their faster velocities and flatter trajectories. Heavier bullets, in the 165 to 180-grain range, offer better penetration and are often preferred for larger games. The weight you choose should align with the size and toughness of the animal you’re targeting.
➡️ The environment and terrain where you’ll be hunting can also influence your ammo choice. If you expect to take longer shots in open terrain, you might prioritize it with a flatter trajectory and less wind drift. Conversely, in dense forests where shots are likely to be closer, rapid expansion might be more critical than long-range ballistics.
➡️ Another consideration is the specific rifle you’ll be using. Rifles can be finicky, and sometimes they show a preference for certain brands or bullet weights. It’s beneficial to test a variety of ammunition to determine which one provides the best accuracy and consistency for your firearm.
➡️ Lastly, ethical considerations should always be at the forefront of a hunter’s mind. It’s essential to choose one that will provide a humane kill. This means selecting a bullet designed for the game you’re hunting and ensuring you’re comfortable with the effective range and your shooting skills.
➡️ Selecting the right choice for hunting involves a balance of factors, from the type of game and hunting environment to the specific characteristics of your rifle. By giving thought to each of these aspects, you can ensure a successful and ethical hunting experience.
The .308 Winchester ammunition has solidified its position as a versatile and reliable cartridge for various applications, from hunting to target shooting. Its history, closely tied to the military 7.62x51mm NATO round, showcases its adaptability and wide-ranging use. With benefits such as versatility, effective range, manageable recoil, global popularity, reliability, and cost-effectiveness, it’s no surprise that it remains a top choice for many shooters.
The article further delves into the features of this ammo, offering insights into its design, ballistics, and compatibility. Additionally, the article provides a comprehensive guide to choosing the right .308 ammo based on various factors, ensuring that readers make informed decisions. With detailed reviews of top ammo brands and types, this article serves as a definitive guide for those looking to understand or purchase the best ammunition in 2023.
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