Why Compare The 7mm 08 vs 308?
Here we have two of the most useful cartridges ever to grace the deer woods, together with two short-action jewels. Both are simple to use, fit into lightweight, portable rifles, and neither demands a country mile of barrel length for optimal performance. Both serve the hunter well, especially when used as an all-around rifle, even though one was developed for battle and the other was a target cartridge.
We will contrast both 7mm-08 and .308 cartridges in this study that exhibit fairly similar ballistics behavior. Given that the 7mm-08 was only introduced in the 1980s, it is a more recent debate than some others that have been going on for almost a century in the hunting and shooting community.
Both have a place in the hunting and competitive shooting worlds, and we’ll say right up front that both can quickly rise to the top of your list of cartridge choices if used in the correct situations.
Instead of supporting one cartridge above another in this post, we’ll examine how different rounds differ in terms of key performance metrics. With this knowledge, we are better equipped to make judgments about which shooting situations each of these cartridges will perform best in.
A Brief History
In order to match the performance of the outdated 757 Mauser in a more contemporary calibre and cartridge, the 7mm-08 Remington was introduced in the 1980s. The 7mm-08 was created by necking down the.308 Win so that it could take the 7mm bullet, which has a lower diameter.
Because of its ballistic performance and lighter recoil than other larger hunting cartridges at the time of its introduction, 7mm bullets quickly gained favor.
A great hunting cartridge for medium-sized to large game is the 7mm-08. It was meant to offer less recoil while keeping bullet weight and muzzle velocity that could reach out and efficiently dispatch the game. Although the 7mm-08 has a devoted following of users, it does not enjoy the same level of popularity as other hunting cartridges.
The majority of the bullet weights are between 120 and 150 grains, however, there are heavier bullets that are more similar to the typical hunting rounds of the .308.
In 1952, Winchester released the .308 Winchester, which immediately established itself as a standard in the American hunting community. Soon after, the military adopted it because of its remarkable performance specifications, and it saw extensive service in Vietnam.
Despite the NATO version of this round’s brief existence, it has and will continue to enjoy a devoted and loyal market among hunters. This heavier bullet has great penetration, range, and stopping force. It’s a fantastic medium sized game cartridge that, under the correct circumstances, can be used for almost every large game species in the globe.
The .308 has established itself as a hunting round, but it has also performed well enough to earn a place in police and military sharpshooting teams. And even if it may not be as common in these circles as it once was, the cartridge deserves high praise for the fact that it is still used in contemporary tactical forces.
It is simple to match your ammo with your intended hunting or shooting scenarios because of the large variety of ammunition available and the popularity of this cartridge, which is a result of its performance.
The Difference Between 7mm-08 vs 308
Now that we have a better grasp of the origins of these two fantastic rifle cartridges, let’s look at the differences between them so you can choose the right hunting rifle.
7mm 08 vs .308 – Cartridge Specs
We like to quickly review the case and bullet specifications of the two cartridges we will be contrasting. When we examine the various ballistic and other performance characteristics, it not only provides us with some insights into how these 7mm-08 and .308 cartridges might behave, but it also gives us a feeling of why they are similar or different.
The 7mm-08 cartridge was developed from the.308 Win and necked down to accommodate a 7mm diameter bullet, as seen by the 7mm-08 Remington’s reduced neck diameter.
When compared to the.308, the 7mm-08’s casing is a little bit longer and the elongated bullet drops down somewhat within the casing, which limits the amount of powder that can be loaded. Although the bases of the cartridges are slightly, and we do mean significantly, wider for the.308 Win, their total lengths are the same.
Despite such modifications, the case capacity and maximum pressure that the casings of these 7mm-08 and .308 cartridges can withstand are fairly comparable. We will see that there are many similarities and a few minor variances between the ballistic performance of the 7mm-08 and the.308 calibers.
Recoil Difference Between 7mm 08 vs .308
Recoil is often a key consideration for many shooters when choosing between cartridges. It can be due to a fear of the kick, but more often than not, it has to do with making successive accurate shots. No matter the cartridge, you have to cope with recoil, although the strength of the kick varies depending on the target.
We will examine the actual force generated by these 7mm-08 and .308 cartridges in ft.lb. in this section. The amount of kick you feel is influenced by various variables that are impossible to quantify, so what we are monitoring doesn’t exactly translate to “felt recoil.” Nevertheless, more kick is frequently the result of additional recoil energy from one round to the next.
The .308 bullets often provide a few more foot pounds of impact than their 7mm-08 equivalent. While there is some variation in the amount of recoil produced by each cartridge, both produce a sizable amount that can make the shooter flinch and deviate from the intended shot.
All.308 rounds produce recoil energy between 20 and 23.5 ft.lbs, whilst 7mm-08 rounds do so between 17 and 18 ft.lbs. There is only a bit more than 6ft.lb of energy in each round, regardless of which you select.
It might be sufficient to convince some consumers to select one over the other, but for the most, the ballistics and other performance specifications will be more important considerations.
This provides you a reasonable indication of the recoil produced by these 7mm-08 and .308 cartridges, but recoil can vary depending on the weight of the gun, the length of the barrel, and the amount of powder used.
The figures range + or – a few ft.lb force depending on the powder charge used by the manufacturer, but we have tried to keep as many factors constant for each round for comparative purposes (not available).
We shall examine many ballistic categories for cartridge comparison in this section. It will be simpler to determine which hunting or other shooting applications these cartridges would thrive in once you have an understanding of their individual ballistic characteristics. At close and far distances, we’ll examine velocity, ballistic coefficients, and trajectory.
Though we are simply considering each of these areas separately, we believe it is crucial to point out that this only gives you a partial picture. All of these categories, including those not related to ballistics, are interconnected and have an impact on one another. When we get to the application section, we’ll try to tie everything together.
Velocity Comparison Between 7mm 08 vs 308
Selecting the cartridge you want to carry into the field requires careful consideration of the bullet’s velocity. The bullet’s trajectory is less affected by the surroundings, such as wind and gravity, the higher the velocity.
These external forces are minor if bullets can continue to travel at speeds greater than supersonic (1,125 feet per second). The bullets stay on their intended course and you get a more accurate shot when these influences may be reduced.
Additionally, a specific velocity is required for hunting in order to achieve the proper terminal ballistics, such as bullet expansion and penetration. The required quantity of velocity is often supplied by the manufacturer.
The velocity difference between these 7mm-08 and .308 cartridges is not really evident. There are several.308 rounds that perform as well as the 7mm-08 rounds, although on average, the 7mm-08 rounds have a higher muzzle velocity out to 500 yards. The average speed of the 7mm-08 at each range marker is also less than 100 feet per second.
All of these shots are mixed together, rather than the rounds from each cartridge clustering closely together with a clear distinction between the 7mm-08 and .308 cartridges. According to this information, no cartridge clearly has an edge in terms of velocity; instead, it depends on the specific round.
Regardless of which cartridge maintains higher velocities both the .308 and 7mm-08 fly with terrific velocities the entire way. All of these bullets retain velocities above supersonic speeds even at the 500-yard mark, which is an extremely impressive performance.
What Are The Ballistics Coefficients?
We can determine how effectively streamlined a bullet is by looking at its ballistic coefficient. A higher figure indicates that the bullet has less air drag, can withstand crosswinds, and is less susceptible to wind drift than a bullet with a lower BC when the factors are placed into an equation and we get the BC. This translates to retaining both accuracy and speed.
The ballistic coefficients of both these 7mm-08 and .308 cartridges are not significantly different, but if we averaged all five rounds for each cartridge, the 7mm-08 would have a little higher value (.44 vs .434). We are hesitant to predict that any five rounds for each would show this tendency.
Similar to what we saw with the velocity of these two 7mm-08 and .308 cartridges, it appears to be primarily influenced by the particular round rather than the type of cartridge. We will examine a larger sample size in the sections that follow, which should help us understand how the ballistic coefficients of these two 7mm-08 and .308 cartridges compare.
Although neither of these cartridges, at least the ones we have chosen, have ballistic coefficients comparable to those used in long-range shooting contests when shots are fired from distances of 500 yards or more, they are both adequate for use in everyday shooting situations.
Trajectory Difference between 7mm 08 vs 308
What you want to aim for is a flat trajectory where the bullet will travel over a substantial distance without losing too much elevation, which we will measure in bullet drop. This is important for long range shooting competitions or for hunting purposes (inches).
The further the bullet descends, the more modifications are required to make an efficient shot, and the more challenging it is to consistently hit the mark without a lot of practise.
There is not a huge difference between the 7mm-08 and.308 when comparing how flat their trajectories are. These two 7mm-08 and .308 cartridges are quite similar to one another, as we have previously stated and will undoubtedly do so again before the article is finished.
Over the course of the 500-yard range, the average difference in bullet drop is never greater than 2 inches with the 7mm-08 having a slightly less bullet drop.
Accuracy Comparison Between 7mm 08 vs 308?
It is quite challenging to compare the accuracy of two different cartridges, because accuracy is frequently more a function of the shooter than of the cartridge. It is very hard to take into account every factor that affects accuracy because there are so many different ones.
Both cartridges have nearly equal muzzle velocity (fps), trajectory, ballistic coefficient, and sectional density values (within a few percent). One could argue that the 7mm-08’s less powerful recoil would improve accuracy. But as I said previously, this is more a criticism of the shooter than of the cartridge.
Simply said, if you put in the effort, both the 308 Win and the 7mm-08 Rem will deliver sub-MOA groupings.
Stopping Power Comparison of 7mm 08 vs 308
Stopping or knockdown power is likely to be given more consideration when choosing a hunting cartridge than any other ballistic or performance area. It goes without saying that the bullet you are firing downrange ought to be powerful enough to rapidly and humanely bring down an animal without requiring you to pursue it for a thousand yards after the shot.
The efficiency of a bullet in taking down wildlife depends on many factors, including its energy, penetration, fragmentation, and type of wound. We’ll keep with bullet energy, potential for penetration, and bullet momentum for the purposes of just comparing 7mm-08 and .308 cartridges because this topic might be the subject of an entire post by itself.
The primary justification for continuing with these three is that the results are better for comparing two 7mm-08 and .308 cartridges than individual rounds, where a tool like ballistic gels would be very helpful.
And we’ll go ahead and say that we don’t think any one of the three factors we’ll be examining is the ideal predictor of how successfully any of these rounds will bring down the game. Even after taking into account all three, there are still puzzle parts that we are omitting.
How good you are at long range shooting is possibly the most important aspect of the puzzle. However, examining the three factors that contribute to stopping power in this case still reveals a lot about how these two well-liked hunting cartridges contrast.
7mm 08 vs .308 – Energy
The kinetic energy of the bullets is produced by the kinetic energy from the ignited powder and the mass of the bullet as they are propelled downrange by the fired powder. This energy is transferred to the target when the bullet strikes it, causing severe tissue and organ damage.
Generally speaking, if you’re aiming to take down larger animals like deer, you need at least 1,000 ft. lb of force, and when talking about bear, elk, and moose, which these cartridges are frequently used for, you probably need more than that.
Although we believe it is crucial to comprehend and be aware of the energy a bullet is carrying when utilizing these rounds for hunting, we also realize that these standards are arbitrary. Regardless of how much energy the bullet is carrying, proper shot placement is just as crucial, if not more so.
The 7mm-08 rounds we chose are not that far behind the .308 heavier bullets in terms of force, but the heavier bullets do begin with greater energy out of the muzzle than all of the 7mm-08 rounds we have chosen.
The average bullet energy for these two 7mm-08 and .308 cartridges at 300 yards and beyond are within 100 ft.lbs of one another. We can see that.308 rounds have the highest energy, but some 7mm-08 rounds, like the Hornady SST, have a higher energy level than several .308 rounds.
At 200 yards, all of these rounds have well over 1,500 ft. lb of force, and several of them continue to have this force at 300 yards. All of these rounds, with the exception of the 7mm-08 Federal Power Shok 150gr round, have right around or more than 1,000ft.lb of force even at the 500-yard mark. Getting the bullets on target at that distance is the problem.
Overall, at least with the rounds we have chosen, it doesn’t seem like there is much of a difference between the two 7mm-08 and .308 cartridges. Both can be found. There isn’t a single round that dominates this category, though 308 and 7mm-08 rounds may provide more energy than what we have utilized in this comparison. Even if some may have more energy, it is never by that much that it will be preferable for dispatching prey, especially if both are well-placed in the vitals.
Despite the fact that there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between these two 7mm-08 and .308 cartridges when examining these particular rounds, let’s look at the averages after including additional rounds for each cartridge.
Sectional Density Difference Between 7mm 08 vs .308
Another important component of stopping power is the bullet’s ability to pierce the target with a particular cartridge. Although deep penetration is not usually desired, it is necessary to reach and harm key organs in larger game with thick flesh and bones.
Utilizing the sectional density of the bullets is one way to compare the penetration of different cartridges. This figure was calculated using the bullet weight and diameter. We can predict that the bullet will be able to pierce deeper by looking at sectional densities. For the purpose of simplicity, we do not include the expansion or fragmentation of a bullet in this comparison.
These two rounds’ sectional densities raise some intriguing discussion topics. The fact that each of these cartridges have almost identical sectional densities is the first and most noticeable. While the average SD for.308 rounds is 0.26, it is 0.251 for 7mm-08 rounds. This is intriguing considering lesser weight bullets are used in the 7mm-08 caliber. For instance, the 165gr.308 round and the 140gr 7mm-08 round have the same sectional density.
This happens as a result of the 7mm-08’s smaller diameter, which enables more pressure to be localised to a smaller region for deeper penetration. Better trajectory and the same amount of stopping force and penetration are major selling advantages for the 7mm-08 in this regard. As seen by the energy comparison. The differences are not sufficient to choose one over the other based just on penetration. They both have the capability for deep penetration, and the bullet design will ultimately determine which round is selected.
7mm 08 vs .308 – Momentum
When we discuss momentum in relation to bullets, we are essentially discussing the bullets’ capacity to overcome barriers. Simply said, momentum is the ability of an item in motion to continue moving. Both hunters and tactical shooters should take note of this. Increasing momentum isn’t always a good idea; it all depends on the situation.
Tactical marksmen could benefit from extra momentum because it’s a sign that they can go through barriers or armor. The same rules apply to hunters who desire more momentum but yet need a round that will pass through while pursuing prey with thick hide and bones.
It’s possible that other circumstances don’t call for so great bullet momentum to be effective. Additionally, you still need to consider the bullet’s design.
While the disparity between the 7mm-08 and .308 cartridges has narrowed by several lbs/fts at 500 yards, the.308 Win rounds do have a tendency to generate a little bit more momentum at the muzzle than the 7mm-08 rounds.
The averages give the impression that the .308 Winchester rounds have 9 down to 5 lbs/ft more momentum on average than the 7mm-08 Remington rounds. And it makes sense that these rounds produce a fair amount more momentum than the lighter 7mm-08 Remington rounds if you look at the momentum equation.
While the .308 Win great cartridge will typically offer higher bullet momentum, as we shall detail in the applications section, there are still some 7mm-08 rounds that have more comparable momentum statistics than others.
Hunting Applications for 7mm 08 vs .308
We now discuss the subject of hunting, which connects all of this information about ballistic performance. Real-world statistics on how each round performs against varmints, medium, and big game animals cannot be compared to any computations in the world.
Since its introduction in 1952, the 308 has been the hunting industry’s gold standard. In 308, you can find just about any kind of hunting rifle you desire, factory loads for days that is loaded especially for a big game you want to hunt, and reloading information for days if you want to make your own rounds. It’s quite an accomplishment that the 308 Winchester has been a mainstay in deer hunting camps across North America for less than 70 years.
The 308 is a wonderful choice for larger animals like elk, caribou, and possibly black bears because it can shoot heavier bullets and 30 millimeter bullets are noted for their ferocity. The most common factory ammo for the 308 Win is often loaded with bullets weighing between 150, 165, and 180 grains, with 200-grain bullets at the very top end.
There are a tonne (read: dozens to hundreds) of alternatives available for 308 loadings if you enter any sporting goods store in North America. For the 7mm-08, this is not entirely accurate.
Your options for factory ammo for the 7mm-08 Rem are rather more constrained. Typical hunting ammo is loaded with bullets weighing 100, 120, 140, and 150 grains; stronger loadings at 160 and 175 grains are available for big game hunting.
I’d lean more toward the 7mm-08 in this situation if you wanted to go varmint hunting and were shooting at prairie dogs, groundhogs, or coyotes.
It is the best alternative for this application due to its low recoil and lighter grain bullet weight possibilities. A 308 is actually a little bit too much ammunition for a small game. You can use it, but I feel that it’s a little overkill
When we consider deer hunting, we find the overlap between these two rifle cartridges. When it comes to taking down whitetail, mule deer, or pronghorn, both of these cartridges will perform superbly.
Ballistic tip or soft point ammunition is widely available from all the main producers, including Hornady, Barnes, Sierra, Nosler, Remington, and Winchester. We advise utilizing a Barnes TTSX, Hornady SST, Nosler Accubond or Ballistic Tip for a whitetail-sized game. All of these are available for 7mm and 30 caliber rounds.
When we consider deer hunting, we find that these two rifle cartridges overlap. In terms of harvesting whitetail, mule deer, or pronghorn, both of these cartridges will be great. All the main producers, including Hornady, Barnes, Sierra, Nosler, Remington, and Winchester, offer a ballistic tip or soft point ammunition that is simple to locate.
We advise using a Nosler Accubond or Ballistic Tip, a Hornady SST, or a Barnes TTSX for whitetail-sized game. You can find all of these for 30 caliber and 7mm bullets.
But which ammunition is more effective at killing deer? It depends on the cartridge you want, the rifle you own, or how comfortable you are using, therefore I’d say there isn’t a clear winner.
Big game hunters generally agree that the 308 Winchester will be the better option for huge game like elk and African wildlife like kudu.
These cartridges are the best option for humanely harvesting great bears, Cape Buffalo, and even elephants because of their increased penetration and kinetic energy. However, it also does not imply that a 7mm-08 cannot be used to complete the task.
When you have a trophy game animal in your sights, accuracy and shot placement are everything. Which rifle cartridge do I shoot better with is the true question you need to ask yourself.
You can choose the rifle to bring on your next hunt based on the answer to that question.
Component and ammo availability is something to think about if, like me, you like to handload. By far, the 308 will be simpler to procure parts for than the 7mm-08 Rem. Numerous powders can be tested, brass is inexpensive and widely accessible, and there are numerous alternatives for bullets in the caliber 30.
Every reloading dealer will have these; you can easily pick up a bag of 500 or more 308 brass casings from your neighborhood range or gun fair.
Since the majority of individuals who shoot it also reload it, 7mm-08 brass is a little more difficult to come by. This forces you to either buy new brass for your 7mm-08 or reload factory brass, which is acceptable but does increase the cost slightly.
Because the 308 has been around longer and reloaders have worked with it more, reload data is also a little more readily available for it.
Although both rifle cartridges are simple to hand reload, you shouldn’t be afraid to try reloading 7mm-08; just be aware that you’ll want to keep your brass and that it’s unlikely you’ll discover any lying around at your local long range shooting distance.
Conclusion: Is The 7mm 08 Remington Better Than The .308 Winchester?
We finally reached the end of our comparison article. As we have seen, there are not usually marked variations in cartridge performance. When comparing the ballistics of the 7mm-08 and.308, it is difficult to distinguish any real differences between the two cartridges.
Nevertheless, these two cartridges differ enough from one another to fill similar and distinct market niches. We hope that this essay has provided a clearer line of reasoning regarding these minor variations and better addressed how these variations affect performance in the field.