There are voices that talk about the end of the good old .308 Winchester. However, this round still has a lot going for it as it was, is, and always will be the best all around hunting cartridge out there, and as such, it is very popular.

Now, to talk about the end of this or that cartridge is not new. Whenever there is one new ueber cartridge, others who are in a similar performance range are seen as on the way out. One example is the 6.5 Creedmoor, the so-called .308 killer. Look at it today, and what do you see? The 6.5 Creedmoor is still around but so is the .308 Winchester. Yes, the Creedmoor even has grown immensely in its popularity, but that does not change that the .308 Winchester is very popular and remains so. In fact, globally, it is one of the mot popular cartridges you can find. You do not have to take my word for it, just look at what is happening on the shooting market.

New cartridges come. They are flashy, they are interesting and they offer a lot to explore. Hunters might switch to them for some time, but in the end, they just fall back to what has proven itself. You do not need a super fancy round if the old and boring one does the job just as well if not better for a lower price and with a better availability.

The Military Take

In the military, the 7.62x51mm NATO, their version of the .308 Winchester, this round is still going strong, and has grown in its importance. Originally, it was supposed to be used in the M14 rifle, M60 machine gun and similar allied weapons, like the FAL. After the M14 was replaced by the M16 and the flashy 5.56x45mm NATO came along, many saw the end of the 7.62 coming. However, newer experiences in combat showed that the hard hitting big old cartridge not only still has its place but is more important than ever. Not only is the battle rifle or the designated marksmen rifle chambered for it back, armies, like the one of the UK, switch back to machine guns chambered for it as the smaller 5.56 could just not bring the performance necessary in different combat situations. This is especially true when the troops were attacked from greater distances where the smaller rounds were sometimes not even able to suppress let alone impress the enemies. Now they rather carry heavier guns with heavier rounds instead of the light machine guns as long as they achieve something with it.

Winchester brought the .308 Winchester to the commercial market 2 years before 7.62 was adopted by NATO. It did not take long before this cartridge gained a following all over the world. This round is just great for hunting, target shooting, and for sniping, be it in the military or police.


Using the .308 Winchester, you can pretty much take out any North American Game. It is used for hunting deer, elk, moose, and black bear. It is also very popular in Europe and Africa for hunting. It has even been used by poachers to kill elephants.

Granted, it is not as powerful as a .338 Win. Mag nor does it come with a high ballistic coefficient as some newer rounds, but it is light enough, hits hard enough, and reaches out enough for the job. Using a .308 Terminal Ascent bullet with a weight of 175 grains, you easily deliver more then 1500 foot pounds at 400 yards. That is plenty for any game in North America and even beats the energy of a 6.5 Creedmoor bullet with a weight of 130 grain at the same distance.

The Recoil Is OK

Power goes two ways. It brings performance down range, and it kicks your shoulder. However, with the .308 Winchester, it is still OK to take the recoil even when shooting heavier bullets out of lighter rifles. It is not much more than say a 6.5 Creedmoor while at the same time delivering a heavier punch on the target. Also, there are harder hitting cartridges out there that are OK to shoot as well. That means that .308 Winchester is by no means at the upper end of what is tolerable. Instead, it is right there where you need it. It does not kick you too hard while kicking the target hard enough to make an impression. In the end, it is a balance. Many hunters and ex-soldiers can attest that in this regard, .308 has just hit the sweet spot.

Super Accurate

For a long, long time has .308 been known for delivering good accuracy at the range as well as in the field. It is no problem to get a rifle to print half-inch groups with it. You do not need overpriced super fancy super accurate rifles for that. You run of the mill mid-priced hunting rifle is more than enough to get your bullets on target each and every time. With match-grade rifles and ammo, you can do even better than that. There are other cartridges used in competitions, but there are also those that allow .308.

Commonly Available

You will be hard pressed to find a store that sells ammo but does not sell .308 Winchester. This cartridge is everywhere. This cartridge is a long-established global standard. Even with the ammo shortage, this cartridge was easy to find while some fancier ones were out of stock. This might be owed to the simple fact that so much of it is in circulation, but who cares where the resilience to shortages comes from. It counts that it is there when you want to buy it.

High Demand

Every year, the .308 Winchester is found to be among the top-selling rifle cartridges. Ammo makers are happy to produce ever more of it and gun manufacturers are equally happy to provide rifles chambered for it. That makes this cartridge available and cheap, and both again together with the rifles keep it in high-demand.

While there are cartridges with better performance coming on the market time and again, it is this availability and the versatility of the .308 that keeps it actual. It is great to go after hogs, elk and deer as well as for target shooting. Also, it is well regarded when it comes to personal protection. That is no wonder as the military and snipers have proven its ability to do some serious damage. If you are looking for something bigger than .223, chances are that you take a .308.

Many Rifles Available

Some cartridges might be great but it is hard to find a gun chambered in it. Not so for the .308. Every reputable gun manufacturer offers at least one rifle chambered for it, and that is because of a simple reason: It just sells. The rifles are affordable, popular, and can be found everywhere and every time.

If you are looking for something fancy, you will also not be disappointed. While .308 is more of a workhorse, and so are the rifles chambered for it, there are also fancier super high-quality ones o the market. There are even lever guns chambered in .308 like the Browning BLR.

Super Versatile

If you need more .308 ammo, there is a ton of option out there. You get different bullet weights, different styles, different loads. The range is from 110 grains to 185 grains for the projectiles, and with that kind of variety, you can pretty much achieve anything you want with this cartridge.

Federal offers 3 different Gold Medal target and 13 Federal Premium loads. Add to this varmint and predator loads with lighter bullets, more affordable loads and a ton more, and you will need a long time to try all of them. Winchester also makes 19 different loads, and then there is Hornady and Black Hills Ammunition. In other words, when it comes to .308, pretty much any imaginable combination of powder and bullet weights is in production, and if not, it is no challenge to handload this cartridge for whatever requirements you might have.

It Works in an AR

Eugene Stoner designed a great rifle that would become the M16. However, before it developed in that direction, it was actually chambered for 7.62×51 NATO. Nowadays, you still find the AR10 design shooting this great cartridge. Granted, it is a little bit heavy, so hunters do not like to schlep it around when lighter rifles can do, but it is an option for example for home or self-defense. Also, with modern technology, the weight of these rifles has gone down significantly.

There you have it guys, the best reasons why .308 Winchester is here to stay. If you can think of another reason, sound it off in the comments. 

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