7mm-08 vs 308 – 2022 Comparison Guide

Winchester was smart enough to grab the opportunity to release the 7.62 NATO’s civilian version on the market just a couple of years before it was inducted into the military. The .308 Winchester has since been an extremely widespread and popular cartridge among civilian users. 

Wildcat cartridge developers realized the importance of the round and then transitioned it into a smaller caliber. This was later commercialized by Remington and came to be known as the 7mm-08 Remington.

This guide will make a detailed comparison between these father and child cartridges, and evaluate if one is better than the other. 

TL;DR: 7mm-08 vs 308

Here is a table to quickly compare the pros and cons of both these rounds. This will give you an overview of which one to choose.

7mm-08

Photo credit: wikipedia.org

308

308 Caliber Round
Photo credit: wikipedia.org

Pros

7mm-08

Low recoil and lightweight rifle

Short action design for quick cycling

Flat trajectory and suitable for long range engagements

Easily available, just like many other mainstream cartridges

Sometimes show high BC and SD for comparatively lightweight bullets

308

Easy available and inexpensive

Suitable for medium or long range accuracy

Versatile round suitable for many applications

Short action design can be used in semi-auto rifles

Mainstream cartridge. Similar to the 7.62 NATO used by military

Cons

7mm-08

Limited options and expensive ammo

Better options available in the same caliber

Only suitable for game up to the size of deer

308

Eats up barrel pretty fast

Heavy recoil compared to the 7mm

Feels overpowered for short range applications

Best For

7mm-08

The 7mm-08 can be seen as an underpowered version of the .308 Win and is suitable for hunting and long range shooting

308

The .308 Win is an exceptionally versatile cartridge with heavy stopping power and a good long range accuracy. Great for hunting, sniping, and even competitions

7mm-08 Overview

Basically, a 7mm-08 is just a .308 case necked down to accept a 7mm bullet and a resulting case with a slightly increased case length. The 7mm-08 is a somewhat direct descendant of the .308 Winchester. I say somewhat because, after the introduction of the .308 Win in 1954, the cartridge was modified to accept 7mm bullets. 

The resulting 7mm/.308 Wildcat cartridge was adopted by the Remington Arms Company a couple of decades later and it became known as the 7mm-08 Remington. A mass-produced, mainstream cartridge that became extremely popular among the masses. 

Photo credit: shootingtimes.com

The 7mm-08 can be fitted with almost any 7 mm bullet and delivers amazing trajectory, range, and accuracy over the short and long range. The differentiating factor for the 7mm-08 is the flatter trajectory compared to .308 and .30-06 cartridges. I will elaborate more on this in the further sections, explaining these differences with data and a technical perspective. 

The ability to condense the power of a .30 caliber cartridge in a .28 caliber cartridge, along with a significant improvement in trajectory is what inspired people to use this round. The 7mm-08 is just second in popularity after the .243 Winchester on the American market. 

308 Overview

The .308 Winchester was a perfectly timed marketing decision by Winchester. Introduced on the market in 1952, just a couple of years before the adoption of the 7.62×51 mm cartridge by the NATO forces as their primary rifle round. The .308 Win is almost the same as the 7.62 NATO round with the only difference being its higher loading pressure.

The .308 Win uses a .308 inch diameter bullet and has an overall length of just 2.80 inches. This overall length is an important factor because it allows the round to be fed from standard action rifles and also in semi-automatic firearms. This is a great feat over similar previous rounds like the .30-06 Springfield that was longer and heavier. 

Photo credit: gunsandammo.com

I have absolutely no doubt in saying that the .308 Winchester is among the most successful civilian rifle cartridges in the world. At Least in the United States, the .308 is the most common and versatile round for hunting and tactical applications by LEO sniper operatives.

The hard-hitting power of a .30 caliber bullet in a short case is what makes this round very popular. The .308 Winchester has also been a parent cartridge inspiring the design of seven other modern cartridges. 

7mm-08 vs 308: Cartridge Specs

Take a quick peek at the comparison of the 7mm-08 with the .308 cartridge for dimensions and loading specs. 

7mm-08308
Bullet Diameter0.284 in (7.2 mm)0.308 in (7.8 mm)
Neck Diameter0.315 in (8.0 mm)0.3433 in (8.72 mm)
Base Diameter0.470 in (11.9 mm)0.4709 in (11.96 mm)
Case Length2.035 in (51.7 mm)2.015 in (51.2 mm)
Overall Length2.80 in (71 mm)2.800 in (71.1 mm)
Case Capacity55.2 grains56 grains
Max Pressure (SAAMI)61,000 psi60,191 psi
Typical Casing MaterialBrassBrass
Typical Bullet Weight (gr)140-175 grains150-180 grains

Since the 7mm-08 is inspired by the .308 and uses the necked-down case, the difference in case length is minuscule. Even with the same shoulder angle, this is still a difference. The same case design means the same case capacity and base diameter. The only exterior difference you can see between these cartridges is the neck diameter.

Both these rounds are comparable to the .243 Winchester in terms of base diameter, case capacity, and maximum pressure. Even the difference in case length and maximum overall length isn’t much. 

The .308 Win uses a bigger diameter bullet and is capable of creating a bigger wound channel. As far as bullet weights are concerned, the 7mm-08 starts with 100 grains and goes up to 200 grains. On the other hand, the .308 Win starts with 125 grains and goes all the way up to 220 grains. However, the most common bullet weights for both these cartridges are very similar. The 7mm-08 also shoots more aerodynamic bullets compared to the .308 Win. 

Photo credit: gunnewsdaily.com

7mm-08 vs 308: Ballistics

Under the ballistics section, we will learn about the behavior of the bullets during their flight path. The ballistics data covers the trajectory, kinetic energy, and velocity characteristics of a bullet. This helps determine the accuracy and suitability for different types of targets. 

Since the 7mm-08 uses .308 Win as the parent case most design and specification characteristics are similar for these two cartridges. It will be interesting to see how each of these performs ballistically. This section will give you a broad idea about which of these bullets is suitable for long range engagements and which of these is good for hunting what size of game animals. 

7mm-08 vs 308: Trajectory

Let’s take a look at the trajectory characteristics of these cartridges. I have used the most common and very comparable bullet weights and types to generate this data. This will give us a very accurate idea about the short and long range accuracy. 

7mm-08

24”barrel/BC 0.335/120 gr
Fusion Soft Point
24”barrel/BC 0.485/140 gr
Nosler Accubond
24”barrel/BC 0.408/150 gr
Jacketed Soft Point
100 yds: 0 “ Drop100 yds: 0 “ Drop100 yds: 0 “ Drop
200 yds: 3.2 “ Drop200 yds: 3.4 “ Drop200 yds: 4.4 “ Drop
300 yds: 12.2 “ Drop300 yds: 12.5 “ Drop300 yds: 15.8 “ Drop
400 yds: 28.4 “ Drop400 yds: 28.2 “ Drop400 yds: 35.4 “ Drop
500 yds: 53.6 “ Drop500 yds: 51.4 “ Drop500 yds: 65.7 “ Drop
1,000 yds: 431.4 “ Drop1,000 yds: 340.3 “ Drop1,000 yds: 469.1 “ Drop

.308

24”barrel/BC 0.408/150 gr
FMJ Boat-tail
24”barrel/BC 0.489/168 gr
Berger Hybrid
24”barrel/BC 0.536/175 gr
Edge TLR
100 yds: 0 “ Drop100 yds: 0 “ Drop100 yds: 0 “ Drop
200 yds: 3.6 “ Drop200 yds: 4 “ Drop200 yds: 4.4 “ Drop
300 yds: 13.5 “ Drop300 yds: 14.4 “ Drop300 yds: 15.5 “ Drop
400 yds: 30.6 “ Drop400 yds: 32 “ Drop400 yds: 34.2 “ Drop
500 yds: 56.3 “ Drop500 yds: 58 “ Drop500 yds: 61.5 “ Drop
1,000 yds: 405.5 “ Drop1,000 yds: 384.2 “ Drop1,000 yds: 392.5 “ Drop

The ballistics coefficient of a bullet is a metric that describes the level of wind resistance. The higher the value of BC, the more a bullet is resistant to drift from the wind. While the BC for both these rounds is almost the same for comparable bullet weights, the 7mm-08 has a slightly higher BC (by a minuscule quantity) on average. 

This does not translate to a significant difference, and the type of bullet you choose will decide the kind of BC you should be expecting. 

Talking about trajectory, the lighter and more aerodynamic bullets of the 7mm-08 exhibit a flatter trajectory. Again, the difference between these two rounds isn’t much, but as the range progresses, it can sum up to a significant extent. However, the .308 Win is clearly a better performer with heavier bullets. For example, a 150-grain 7mm-08 bullet shows a 469 inches drop at 1,000 yards, whereas a .308 Win 150 grain bullet shows a drop of only 405 inches at 1,000 yards. 

For conclusion, the 7mm-08 is a flatter shooting round for its weight and caliber class, but the .308 Win will still be a better choice for long range engagements, especially if you are aiming at live targets (hunting/tactical). 

Photo credit: academy.com

7mm-08 vs 308: Velocity & Kinetic Energy

After the trajectory, let us now look at the velocity and kinetic energy data for these cartridges. 

7mm-08

24”barrel/BC 0.335/120 gr
Fusion Soft Point
24”barrel/BC 0.485/140 gr
Nosler Accubond
24”barrel/BC 0.408/150 gr
Jacketed Soft Point
100 yds: 2,719 ft/s, 1,970 ft.lbs100 yds: 2,660 ft/s, 2,200 ft.lbs100 yds: 2,435 ft/s, 1,975 ft.lbs
200 yds: 2,455 ft/s, 1,605 ft.lbs200 yds: 2,479 ft/s, 1,910 ft.lbs200 yds: 2,231 ft/s, 1,657 ft.lbs
300 yds: 2,206 ft/s, 1,296 ft.lbs300 yds: 2,304 ft/s, 1,650 ft.lbs300 yds: 2,036 ft/s, 1,380 ft.lbs
400 yds: 1,971 ft/s, 1,075 ft.lbs400 yds: 2,137 ft/s, 1,419 ft.lbs400 yds: 1,851 ft/s, 1,141 ft.lbs
500 yds: 1,753 ft/s, 819 ft.lbs500 yds: 1,976 ft/s, 1,214 ft.lbs500 yds: 1,679 ft/s, 939 ft.lbs
1000 yds: 1,032 ft/s, 284 ft.lbs1000 yds: 1,309 ft/s, 533 ft.lbs1000 yds: 1,073 ft/s, 383 ft.lbs

.308

24”barrel/BC 0.408/150 gr
FMJ Boat-tail
24”barrel/BC 0.489/168 gr
Berger Hybrid
24”barrel/BC 0.536/175 gr
Edge TLR
100 yds: 2,597 ft/s, 2,246 ft.lbs100 yds: 2,518 ft/s, 2,365 ft.lbs100 yds: 2,437 ft/s, 2,308 ft.lbs
200 yds: 2,385 ft/s, 1894 ft.lbs200 yds: 2,343 ft/s, 2,048 ft.lbs200 yds: 2,280 ft/s, 2,021 ft.lbs
300 yds: 2,183 ft/s, 1,586 ft.lbs300 yds: 2,176 ft/s, 1,766 ft.lbs300 yds: 2,130 ft/s, 1,762 ft.lbs
400 yds: 1,990 ft/s, 1,319 ft.lbs400 yds: 2,015 ft/s, 1,514 ft.lbs400 yds: 1,984 ft/s, 1,530 ft.lbs
500 yds: 1,808 ft/s, 1,089 ft.lbs500 yds: 1,860 ft/s, 1,291 ft.lbs500 yds: 1,845 ft/s, 1,322 ft.lbs
1,000 yds: 1,130 ft/s, 425 ft.lbs1,000 yds: 1,239 ft/s, 573 ft.lbs1,000 yds: 1,271 ft/s, 628 ft.lbs

Both these rounds show effective velocity characteristics and stay supersonic out to a distance of 1,000 yards. Hence, it can be said that these rounds can be easily estimated to be accurate out to a long range and are suitable for such uses. 

The velocity of these rounds is quite similar out to a range of 500 yards, and the heavier .308 rounds show a better velocity at 1,000 yards in some cases. Either way, the velocity characteristics are very comparable and easily mark these cartridges to be suitable 1,000-1,200 yard uses. 

Talking about the energy characteristics, the venerable .308 Win is undoubtedly a very powerful round. The heavier loads retain about 1,500 fpe at 400 yards, and that kind of energy is enough to humanely bring down a moose or elk-sized game. The close to 2,000 fpe of the heavier grain bullets makes it a decimating round within that range.  

As far as the 7mm-08 is concerned, it carries close to 1,000 fpe at about 400 yards. That much energy is considered fit for humanely killing a deer-sized game. 

The energy retention for both these rounds is about the same at 1,000 yards and these can be used for tactical applications like sniping. 

7mm-08 vs 308: Stopping Power

The stopping power of a round elaborates on its capability to effectively bring down a target with the minimum number of shots. Generally, larger bullets are considered to have a better stopping power due to their bigger diameter. However, that is not always the case. Let’s understand this in more detail. 

7mm-08 vs 308: Momentum & Sectional Density

Here’s a quick comparison of the momentum and sectional density values for these bullets. 

7mm-08

24”barrel/BC 0.335/120 gr
Fusion Soft Point
Sectional Density: 0.213
24”barrel/BC 0.485/140 gr
Nosler Accubond
Sectional Density: 0.248
24”barrel/BC 0.408/150 gr
Jacketed Soft Point
Sectional Density: 0.266
100 yds: 46 lb.ft-s100 yds: 53 lb.ft-s100 yds: 52 lb.ft-s
200 yds: 42 lb.ft-s200 yds: 49lb.ft-s200 yds: 47 lb.ft-s
300 yds: 37 lb.ft-s300 yds: 46 lb.ft-s300 yds: 43 lb.ft-s
400 yds: 33lb.ft-s400 yds: 42 lb.ft-s400 yds: 39 lb.ft-s
500 yds: 30 lb.ft-s500 yds: 39 lb.ft-s500 yds: 35 lb.ft-s
1,000 yds: 17 lb.ft-s1,000 yds: 26 lb.ft-s1,000 yds: 22 lb.ft-s

308

24”barrel/BC 0.408/150 gr
FMJ Boat-tail
Sectional Density: 0.266
24”barrel/BC 0.489/168 gr
Berger Hybrid
Sectional Density: 0.253
24”barrel/BC 0.536/175 gr
Edge TLR
Sectional Density: 0.264
100 yds: 55 lb.ft-s100 yds: 60 lb.ft-s100 yds: 60 lb.ft-s
200 yds: 51 lb.ft-s200 yds: 56lb.ft-s200 yds: 57 lb.ft-s
300 yds: 46 lb.ft-s300 yds: 52 lb.ft-s300 yds: 53 lb.ft-s
400 yds: 42 lb.ft-s400 yds: 48 lb.ft-s400 yds: 49 lb.ft-s
500 yds: 38 lb.ft-s500 yds: 44 lb.ft-s500 yds: 46 lb.ft-s
1,000 yds: 24 lb.ft-s1,000 yds: 26 lb.ft-s1,000 yds: 27 lb.ft-s

The sectional density (SD) of a bullet is the ratio of the mass to the cross-sectional area. The higher the value of SD for a bullet, the more penetrating power it has. Bullets for hunting deer have an SD of between 0.220 to 0.270. Whereas bullets suitable for hunting bigger game have an SD greater than that. 

As far as our data is concerned, the 7mm-08 bullets falling in the higher weight grains always seem suitable for hunting deer. Similarly, the .308 Win bullets up to 175 grains are great for deer. Whereas, heavier bullets can also be suitable for bigger games like elk. It is also important to note here that the SD of bullets also depends upon the design of the bullet. So there are a lot of options to choose from. 

Moving on to the other characteristic which is momentum. It can be seen as the measure of the transfer of energy from one object to another upon collision. At least as far as bullets are concerned. The higher the value of momentum, the more stopping power for a bullet.

The .308 Win will always have a slight edge over the 7mm-08 in terms of momentum. That is because of the higher mass of bullets and the slightly higher velocity at which they move. This concludes that a .308 Win bullet will generally have more stopping power when compared to a .308 Win. 

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7mm-08 vs 308: Use Cases & Effective Range

Now comes the important part, which is to summarize the effective applications of each of these cartridges. 

Long Range Applications

It will be safe to say that both these rounds are perfect for long range engagements. By long range, I mean distances out to 1,000 yards. However, you will have to be very much selective with the 7mm-08 ammo to get the optimal performance. 

The .308 Win outshines the 7mm-08 in terms of trajectory pretty much every time. While the difference in trajectory may not seem too much with selective ammo types, a pro long-range shooter will mind the slightest of difference. If you ask me, I will always prefer a .308 Win out of the two for 1,000 yards. That is also because I do not mind the extra recoil of the .308 Win. 

However, within a range of 600 yards, either of these rounds will deliver almost the same trajectory. So that is totally up to you. Although, if recoil is a concern, I will generally pick a .270 Winchester over the 7mm-08 any day for its flatter trajectory for long range shooting.

Short Range Applications

For short range uses, both these rounds will be considered overpowered. Yes, and by short range, I mean distances inside of 200 yards, or maybe 300 for that matter. While both of these are standard action cartridges and can be used in semi-auto rifles, these rounds have limited short range use.

Photo credit: rokslide.com

Hunting

Again, the .308 Win hands down the best hunting round out of the two. The reputation of the .308 Win precedes itself and it has been the most loved hunting round for almost seven decades. The main reason for this is the versatility of the .308 Win ammo. It carries enough power to puncture through a deer, an elk, an eland, and even a bear. 

As far as the 7mm-08 is concerned, I will classify it as an amazing deer hunting round, but not very suitable for a bigger game. Although it does carry enough energy to kill a moose at 300 yards, the sectional density does not seem enough.

Range Practice

The 7mm-08 Remington is an amazing round for range practice, especially if you are just stepping into long range shooting. The low recoil, lighter rifles, and more controllability will be helpful in training neophytes. 

On the other hand, the .308 Win is also great for range use due to its low price and long range accuracy characteristics. Plus, it is also a very versatile training round and can be seen as the stepping stone for transitioning towards heavy calibers. 

7mm-08 vs 308: Costs, Availability, & Compatibility

Understand the costs, availability, ammo, and rifle options for both these rounds to get a better idea of what you need.

Price and Availability

The .308 is an insanely popular cartridge and can be found for as low as 50 cents per round. There is a lot of milsurp ammo and deals for this round and enjoying mag dumps will not create an economic burden. On the contrary, the 7mm-08 rounds cost about $1.5 per round on average. That is almost twice or even thrice than the price of a .308. 

Photo credit: reddit.com

Talking about availability, both these cartridges are readily available at online and offline stores. In fact, the insane popularity of the .308 Win made it somewhat difficult to find during the Covid-19 panic buying. However, the 7mm-08 was still readily available, and without much inflation in price.

On a side note, the .308 Win will always be a better option for survival, SHTF, or prepping because it is very common among the masses.

Ammo and Rifle Options

It is an obvious fact that the .308 Win has a ton of ammo options out there. The seven decades of popularity have created tens of ammo combinations to choose from. The 7mm-08 also has a few ammo options, but they seem very limited in comparison to the .308. 

The same is the case with finding a rifle for either of these cartridges. The .308 Win has a ton of rifle options to choose from, which includes both semi-auto and bolt action. On the other hand, the 7mm-08 is mostly found in bolt-action configuration and there are only a few semi-auto models available for it.

The .308 Win is also the primary cartridge for the AR-10 rifle, which opens up a plethora of options for customizations and uses. 

Bottom Line

The .308 Winchester is the civilian version of the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridges used by the military and NATO forces since the 1950s. It fires a .308 inch diameter bullet and is used for short as well as long range uses. The 7mm-08 Remington uses a .308 Win parent case and fires a 0.284-inch diameter bullet. 

It can be seen as the smaller caliber version of the .308 Win with lower recoil and lighter bullets. It has a very flat trajectory, but not as amazing as the .308 Win on long range. The .308 Win certainly has an edge over the 7mm-08 in terms of stopping power, velocity, energy, and even trajectory. The .308 Win is a versatile round suitable for many applications, whereas the 7mm-08 Remington is good for deer hunting and some long range sniping. Especially when teaching newbies the basics of long range shooting. 

People Also Ask

A quick FAQ section to outline answers about some common queries for the 7mm-08 vs .308 discussion.

Is 7mm-08 Bigger Than 308?

The 7mm-08 is just 0.020 inches longer in case of length than the parent .308 Winchester round. Additionally, the overall length and case capacity are also almost the same. The biggest difference is the bullet diameter for the two.


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