300 Win Mag vs 308 Winchester
Which is Best for You? The 300 Win Mag vs. 308 Cartridge.
Every hunter has their caliber of choice for bringing down game. For our purposes today, we are going to look at two cartridges that seem similar, yet have distinct differences needs.
The cartridges in question are the 300 win mag vs. the 308 Winchester caliber. Do you have a preference in which round you use?
Just to be clear, there is no right or wrong choice. We are merely going to look at the specs of each one for due diligence.
Interactive Ballistics Graphs:
What is the History of the 300 Winchester Magnum vs. 308 Winchester?
300 Winchester Magnum
Winchester Repeating Arms Company created the 300 Win Mag cartridge in 1963. The company developed a family of Winchester Magnum cartridges.
Through the years, hunters have found this cartridge to be a favorite. One reason is that hunters like the bullet grain range from 150 to 200 allowing for a variety of hunts and conditions.
This caliber is found in many bullet styles as well, ranging from inexpensive SP ammo selling for $ 1.15
per round, up to high-end Match Grade 230gr ammo selling for $ 2.45 per round (If you are serious about consistency and quality, these Berger bullets will not disappoint)
The grain variations give hunters clear choices for the need they have.
Competition shooters like the long-range power of the 300 win mag. Many law enforcement and military personnel find the long-range capabilities to be ideal for their particular needs.
The 308 is a slightly different cartridge. This bottlenecked rifle cartridge was created in 1952. It was derived from the same round as the 7.62×51. NATO took on the 7.61×51 mm for military purposes including being used in Vietnam.
Of all rounds in existence for hunting, the 308 model is one of the all-time most popular selections for many shooters. Because it is a short-case bullet, the 308 caliber works well in short-action weapons, such as the ever more popular AR-10 platform.
Since it is a favorite cartridge for hunters and competition shooters, the 308 is apt to see a long life ahead.
Technical details of the 308 vs. 300 Win Mag comparison
Which has more “kick” or Recoil?
When we talk about recoil we are referring to the “kick” you receive when the cartridge powder is ignited.
So which one, 300 win mag vs. 308 has the stronger recoil? When we have shot both cartridges, the 300 responds with a stronger push back.
But we need to deal in specifics to gain a more precise comparison.
- The 300 win mag generates approximately 27-33 ft/lbs. of pressure.
- The 308 generates approximately 21-25 ft/lbs. of pressure.
Various powders, projectiles, and loads of different the different cartridges will affect the recoil each cartridge generates in ft/lbs. of pressure. So what does that translate to for the shooter?
Well, how tough is YOUR shoulder??!
No, recoil may have a factor in how effective your hunt is. You need to know yourself. If recoil is a significant factor, we recommend borrowing a friends gun before buying. Choosing a lighter load, lighter projectile, or heavier gun can help reduce the felt recoil.
The above statistics are based upon factory loads. The results from someone reloading their own cartridges will differ.
What does the Ballistic Coefficient Tell Us?
Ballistic coefficient is not an academic “puzzle” to cause you dismay. It is a way of taking various aspects of different cartridges to compare and contrast important points.
Ballistic coefficient is how air drag and the overall effect of the bullet as it cuts through the air. The better a bullet is streamlined or travels through the air, the higher it’s coefficient.
In varying tests, the 300 win mag proves to have less drag making it more streamlined.
How is that important for the 308 vs. 300 comparisons? It means as you hunt, a 300 win mag will handle better at greater distances.
Velocity is a Major Telling Point.
How the 300 win mag vs. 308 handle velocity makes a big difference.
The overall speed of a bullet is affected by many environmental factors. How fast the wind is blowing. The pull of gravity. If a duck flies in the path of the bullet. (Ok the last one seems a bit extreme.)
But the environments input is lessened the faster a bullet reaches its target.
At distances up to 500 yards, both 308 and 300 win mag velocities seem to be equal. Past this point and the differences become more apparent.
The 300 win mag with its higher powder load is going to continue further. This means the velocity maintains its speed for more accuracy. Thus we can agree that the hunter is more apt to select the 300 win mag for longer shots.
The Trajectory or Which Drops More
The further out a projectile travels, it will experience an eventual drop from its line of travel. This information is essential when hunting. As a bullet travels, the distance of its drop for every 100 yards makes a huge difference.
At up to 300 yards, the trajectory of the 308 vs 300 win mag has minimal variation. This translates to both calibers meeting close to the target at this range.
However, as the distance increases, the payload of the 300 win mag affects its maintaining a flatter line of travel. Even though the bullet is more substantial, the 300 carries more powder.
The 308 in comparison, will exhibit increased drop with every 100 yards. Its effectiveness in a kill is best at up to 400, maybe 500 yards.
- At up to 300 yards both the 300 win mag and 308 travel similar lines.
- At the 300 yard marker, the distance difference in drop begins to increase.
- The closer the 300 win mag vs 308 get to 600-700 yards, a difference in the drop of up to 20 inches appears.
The Energy Involved is Crucial.
What are we talking about with energy concerning the cartridge? At its basic form, the energy is the force applied on the target, or animal.
Time could be spent in figuring overall mathematics in deciphering the formula involved. But for our purposes, we simply need to understand one thing:
As the cartridge travels, its foot/lb. pressure will decrease over distance.
The 300 win mag starts over 3,000 ft/lbs. and is at approximately 1500 ft/lbs. at 500 yards. At a similar distance, the 308 starts at nearly 2700 ft/lbs. and drops to about 1,000 ft/lbs. At that distance, the 300 win mag will be more effective at bringing down an elk cleanly vs the 308.
Where deer are involved, both calibers will do the job.
Penetration is also important.
The fact that the avg bullet weight of the 300 win mag is more than the 308 will affect penetration.
The 300 win mag with slightly heavier projectiles and higher grain capacity, the bullet penetration will be slightly deeper. However, a 308 penetration will be just as effective in an overall kill. It merely needs to reach vital organs or be able to sever bloodlines.
So How About Accuracy?
The previously mentioned points influence overall accuracy.
The most important factor in accuracy will come down to the shooter’s abilities.
Yet, we can still factor in the basic comparisons between the 308 vs the 300 win mag.
The ballistics, velocity, trajectory, and energy all point to the 300 win mag; however, to be fair, those are based upon factors over a large distance, let’s say 300 yards for our arguments.
As the distances increased, the 300 win mag exhibited far superior results. Within the ballpark of 300 yards, both calibers appear to have about an even match.
So if you can shoot well, your groupings on a target should be similar up to three football field lengths.
Pricing and Availability of Both Calibers
Not going to lie. Purchasing either the 308 or the 300 win mag is easy to do.
They are both available through sporting retail shops and online. These are favorites for many hunters, and their availability is not soon to disappear.
The 308 is generally less expensive than the 300 Win Mag. That comes from its shorter size. If you plan on purchasing the 300 win mag, you will pay more for the same model of rifle.
It comes down to one thing. How involved in hunting are you, and which cartridge (300 Win Mag vs 308) meets your needs
Applications for Both Calibers
What is your preference in hunting?
Are you a deep woods hunter?
Do you go where you will have some distance from the prey?
Once again, the numbers and facts speak volumes. At under 300 yards, both the 308 and the 300 win mag are proficient and comparable. It’s when you get out past the 300-yard distance that the negotiation for performance changes.
The 300 win mag proves to have the stronger trajectory, the greater velocity, and the increased penetration. These and other specs seem to make the 300 a clearer choice when the shot distance is increased.
Knowing both weapons should be a part of every big game hunter. The more you understand and have experience with, the better the outcome of your hunt.
The Best Rounds to Go With.
There are various manufacturers of the 308 win and the 300 win mag.
These seem to be top choices based on comparative shopping and being put to the test.
For hunting the Nosler Trophy Grade, Partition 200gr stands out. Why?
Glad you asked.
For 300 Win Mag, the Nosler exhibits greater stopping power and better trajectory from many of its compatriot choices.
There are cheaper rounds, but we are talking about hunting. That means you want the best to bring down the animal…effectively.
For the 308 the Winchester Fusion ammo provides proven round for the 308.
You should do your own tests, but these are some of our choices.
Hunters have their caliber of choice. There are more that have yet to be touched upon.
For the purposes of comparing the 308 vs the 300 win mag, we hope these specific points help you in deciding.
There really is no way of saying one round is better than another simply from these factoids. The facts and opinions laid out here are merely to allow the ability to compare notes.
All the numbers and comparisons can do is educate you about what options exist. Your hunt will depend upon your abilities as a shooter and understanding your weapon.
Hopefully, we have given you enough information to make an informed choice between the two cartridges!
The post 300 Win Mag vs 308 Winchester appeared first on MyHuntinGear.com.