.308 Winchester/7.62X51 NATO Rifles
The story of the .308 Winchester and the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridges begins after World War II. The military wanted to replace the .30-06 Springfield round with a new one that would meet it in ballistics but have a shorter case.
The military leaders concluded that a 51mm case will do and launched the development of the 7.62x51mm NATO. As it always happens, the testing slowed down, which gave Winchester time to create its own civilian cartridge based on specifications of the military one.
In 1952, the .308 Winchester saw the light, two years before the official adoption of the 7.62x51mm NATO.
Difference between .308 Winchester and the 7.62x51mm NATO
While those two may look the same to many shooters, they aren’t identical. There are three aspects that allow us to distinguish between them: pressure, case wall thickness, and chamber dimensions.
The .308 Winchester round is superior in the amount of generated pressure. The difference fluctuates between 4.000 to 12.000 psi.
Though the cartridges have practically the same exterior case dimensions, the 7.62x51mm NATO has thicker walls. This results in the latter having less powder and, thus, lower pressure and less velocity.
As for chamber dimensions, the 7.62x51mm NATO chambers have longer headspace compared to the .308 Win chambers. A longer headspace allows a cartridge having thicker walls to expand safely. If you chamber a thinner-walled .308 Win round into a 7.62x51mm NATO chamber, it may experience case rupture.
That’s why, in some cases, they are not interchangeable. So check the rifle manual before actually shooting ammo.
.308 Winchester Rifles in Use
.308 Winchester is one of the most popular short-action hunting cartridges in the U.S. and the world. It is capable of taking down almost any big game animal found in North America, from hogs and deer to elk and grizzly bears.
Compared to the other short-action cartridge, the 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Winchester accommodates a bullet of a greater diameter consequently having a larger frontal surface area. It means that a .308 Winchester bullet will make a larger wound and cause greater damage.
The .308 Winchester is also very accurate at long distances. That’s why you can see many shooters with a .308 Winchester rifle at shooting competitions.
Due to such popularity, shopping for .308 Winchester ammo won’t be a problem. There are lots of manufacturers producing .308 Winchester ammo with loads ranging from 110 to 180 grains.
If the .308 Winchester ballistic performance seduces you, take a look at the selection of .308 Winchester rifles Gritr Sports has to offer. We have only the best rifles manufactured by industry-leading brands like Savage, Remington Arms, Ruger, Patriot Ordnance Factory.