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  • Post last modified:April 9, 2023

In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of the 7mm-08 vs 308 calibers, comparing their capabilities and exploring their unique nuances. 

The 7mm-08, known for its exceptional long-range accuracy and flat trajectory, shines in hunting and long-range shooting scenarios.

On the other hand, the versatile .308 excels in both short to medium range shooting and sniping applications. 

7mm-08 VS 308 - Key Differences

both the 7mm-08 Remington and .308 Winchester are versatile, short-action cartridges suitable for deer hunting and easy to shoot.

The .308 Winchester is more popular due to its military background and wider availability of rifles and ammo. The ammo is readily available, easy to find and reload.

The 7mm-08 offers better ballistic coefficient and sectional density values for bullets of the same weight, while the .308 has a larger frontal diameter. The 7mm-08 has less felt recoil, making it easier for young or inexperienced hunters to master.

Brief History

308 hunting ammo

The .308 cartridge was developed after the Korean War to improve the U.S. Military's battle rifles. The goal was to create a short action cartridge that had similar performance to the 30-06 Springfield.

The result was the 7.62x51mm NATO, which was used with the M14 rifle in 1958. The civilian version, called the .308 Winchester, became popular for hunting and long-range shooting competitions.

Nowadays, the .308's popularity is declining, as newer cartridges like the 6.5 Creedmoor and 300 Win Mag gain favor. However, some military and police teams still use it for its accuracy and power.

7mm-08 hunting ammo

The 7mm-08 is a cartridge that was created by "wildcatters," who modify existing cartridges for different purposes. It is a modified .308 Winchester that uses a 7mm bullet.

In the 1980s, Remington began producing the 7mm-08 cartridge. It offers several advantages over the .308 Winchester and is similar to the famous 7mm Mauser cartridge, which has a long history in military and hunting use.

7mm-08 vs 308 Dimensions




Bullet Diameter



Neck Diameter



Base Diameter



Case Length



Overall Length



Standard Bullet Weight

110 - 220 gr

140 - 175 gr

The 7mm-08 and .308 cartridges are very similar, but the 7mm-08 has a 7mm caliber and slimmer bullets with a higher ballistic coefficient, making it a better performer in the field. If you can't find pre-sized 7mm-08 brass, you can resize .308 brass.

The 7mm-08 is a short action cartridge that uses less metal, resulting in a lighter rifle. Hand loaders have a wide selection of bullets to choose from when using the 7mm-08 cartridge.

As far as reloading goes, 308 bullet and empty shells are definitely easier to find than 7mm-08.

7mm-08 VS 308 For Elk 

For larger game, such as elk and bears, the .308 is generally considered superior. However, shot placement is more important than caliber selection. Ultimately, the best hunting cartridge is the one you shoot better.

deer shot placement broadside

When hunting elk, use a heavy bullet for a clean and ethical kill. Backcountry hunters minimize their kit weight, including rifle setup that 7mm-08 platform offers. For elk hunting, choose a bullet with good penetration, and lighter recoil like the Hornady ELD-X or Barnes LRX.

These bullets are designed to expand upon impact, which creates a larger wound channel and results in a quicker kill.

thermal hunting hogs

In addition, The 7mm-08 is also ideal for varmint hunting like prairie dogs, groundhogs, and coyotes.

The 7mm-08 cartridge has slim bullets with a high ballistic coefficient, and resizing .308 brass is also an option.

7mm-08 VS 308 For Home Defense

308 definitely more popular for personal defense use. There are many popular rifles like the AR10, FN SCAR, Tavor 7 chambered for 308. While most 7mm-08 rifles are typically hunting rifles.

The Wilson Combat Tactical Hunter is like an AR10 that chambers the 7mm-08, but firearms like that aren't readily available to find.

7mm-08 VS 308 Ballistics

Ballistic Coefficient

Ballistic coefficient (BC) is a number that shows how smooth a bullet is as it flies through the air and how much it can resist wind pushing it around.

Usually, heavier bullets have a higher BC. A higher BC means the bullet is more like a sleek race car, fighting off crosswinds better, and not getting pushed around by the wind as much as bullets with a lower BC. Since the .308 Winchester can shoot heavier bullets, you'd think all .308s have a higher BC. But that's not always true.

Distance Affects bullet

In general, .308 bullets have a slightly higher BC than their 7mm-08 buddies, but the difference is small. Some 7mm-08 bullets perform better than the .308, and some don't.

The .308 Winchester is a proven and popular cartridge for long-range shooting due to its availability, consistent performance, and a wide variety of bullet choices.

However, the 7mm-08 Remington has gained popularity for its lighter recoil and its capability to maintain better velocity at longer distances, thanks to its aerodynamic bullets with higher ballistic coefficients. This makes the 7mm-08 Remington better at resisting wind drift, which is crucial for long-range shooting.

Trajectory Performance

The 7mm-08 shoots slightly flatter and further. Although there's a slight difference in trajectory at extreme range, the 7mm-08 and the 308 have very similar trajectories at almost all ranges.

When we compare the 7mm-08 and the 308 in ballistic tables, we see that they have almost the same bullet drop at 400 yards when comparing bullets of similar weight. However, the difference between the two cartridges becomes more noticeable at longer ranges.

Even so, at 700 yards, the 308 bullet drops about 138 inches, while the 7mm-08 bullet drops about 126 inches. That's only a 1 ft difference.

You could argue that this small difference might mean the difference between a hit and a miss, and you'd be right. But it's not common to shoot factory ammo at such long distances, so this is mostly for reloaders. 

Sectional Density

Sectional Density is about cutting through thick skin, bones, and muscles of animals. 

To find the Sectional Density, we look at the bullet's weight and size. The bigger the number, the better it is at breaking through barriers. When comparing the 7mm-08 and .308 calibers, sometimes they have the same superpower strength.

For example, a 140-grain 7mm-08 bullet has the same Sectional Density as a 165-grain .308 bullet, both at 0.248. This seems strange, but it's because of physics - the secret sauce that makes it work.

Without getting lost in hard math problems, the 7mm-08 design lets it push harder on a smaller area. This lets it break through barriers just as well as a heavier .308 bullet.

This is a big plus for the 7mm-08 - it can break through barriers just as well, but with less kick and a lighter bullet.

7mm-08 Ballistic Energy & Effective Range

7mm-08's ballistic performance varies with different loads, offering options for various game types and hunting distances. A minimum bullet energy of 1500 ft-lbs upon impact with a 162-grain bullet in the 7mm-08 cartridge meets this energy requirement to seize a kill.

The maximum effective range of the 7mm-08 reaches 400 yards, where the bullet's energy is about 1555 ft-lbs.

If the elk presents a perfect broadside or a slight quartering-away angle, the 1500 ft-lbs energy threshold is acceptable. However, if the elk is in a quartering-to angle (facing you), the bullet will need more energy to ensure a deep-penetrating wound. In such cases, shooters must use their discretion.

Here are some 7mm-08 loads worth mentioning:

Hornady ELD-X: Known for its excellent penetration and expansion capabilities, the ELD-X bullet ensures a clean, ethical kill. Its high ballistic coefficient offers long-range accuracy and effectiveness.

Barnes LRX: This bullet offers exceptional penetration and controlled expansion, making it an excellent choice for hunting elk. Its design ensures optimal performance, even at longer distances.

Nosler AccuBond: The Nosler AccuBond bullet combines accuracy, expansion, and weight retention for a well-balanced hunting round. Its bonded core ensures deep penetration and reliable performance on big game animals like elk.

Federal Premium Terminal Ascent: This all-range hunting round features a bonded design and high ballistic coefficient. It offers consistent expansion, deep penetration, and optimal weight retention for ethical kills.

Sierra GameChanger: The Sierra GameChanger bullet combines match-grade accuracy with hunting-specific performance. Its polymer-tipped design and tapered jacket offer controlled expansion and deep penetration, making it an excellent choice for elk hunting.

308 Ballistic Energy & Effective Range

These design differences highlight the varied purposes of each cartridge. The 223 Rem and 5.56 NATO aim for high velocity with low recoil, relying on bullet fragmentation and hydrostatic shock, while the 6.5 Grendel prioritizes delivering large amounts of kinetic energy into the target with heavier bullets.

Keep in mind that barrel length greatly impacts muzzle energy and velocity. Manufacturers often provide ballistic data based on proofing barrels - typically 20” for 223/5.56 and 24” for 6.5 Grendel.

Here are some 308 loads worth mentioning:

Hunting Rounds:

Hornady Superformance SST: The Superformance SST round features a polymer-tipped bullet, which offers excellent aerodynamics and rapid expansion upon impact. It provides consistent accuracy and reliable terminal performance for hunting big game.

Nosler Partition: The Nosler Partition bullet is designed with a dual-core construction that ensures controlled expansion and deep penetration. It is suitable for hunting medium to large game animals, including elk and deer.

Federal Premium Vital-Shok: This round features the Trophy Bonded Tip bullet, which combines a solid copper shank with a bonded core for deep penetration and high weight retention. It is an excellent choice for hunting big game animals like elk and deer.

Winchester Ballistic Silvertip: The Ballistic Silvertip bullet provides rapid expansion and fragmentation, making it suitable for hunting medium-sized game animals. Its polymer tip ensures consistent accuracy and reliable performance in the field.

Personal Defense Rounds:

Hornady Critical Defense: Designed specifically for personal defense, the Hornady Critical Defense round features a patented FTX bullet with a hollow point and a flexible polymer tip. This design ensures reliable expansion and controlled penetration for self-defense situations.

Federal Premium HST: The HST round is known for its consistent expansion and weight retention, making it a top choice for personal defense. Its specially designed hollow point bullet offers optimal performance in self-defense situations, providing a balance between penetration and expansion.

7mm-08 VS 308 Ammo Cost

ammo prices

On average, 7mm-08 hunting round costs about $1.8 - $2.8.

308 hunting round costs about $1.2 - $2.5

For plinking and tactical rifle training, 308 is definitely cheaper and widely available for about $0.86 - $1 per shot.


Does a 7mm-08 kick harder than a 308?

On average, factory-made ammo for the .308 Winchester has about 22 ft-lbs of felt recoil energy. In comparison, the 7mm-08 Remington has around 17 ft-lbs of felt recoil.

This means the 7mm-08 has about 20% less recoil than the .308, which is a big difference! Keep in mind that different gun designs, like the piston-driven AR10, SCAR 17, can make the .308 feel different in terms of recoil.

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