Full Circle – The .308 Winchester

I have been stewing on this for some time so here goes. Many of us have purchased the AR-15 or similar rifle. Unless you have lots of money to spend on ammo, it sits in the gun safe after the first 500 rounds and is a great varmint rifle but as a big game rifle it is a waste. If you are just concerned with home protection,a second amendment rifle, good for competitive shooting,  it is a great choice, don’t get me wrong.

If you hunt too, the better solution for some is perhaps the M1A in .308 Winchester perhaps if you want a semi-auto and want to hunt too.

Fact is, the more I study the .308 Cartridge the more respect I have for it for home and hunting. I have hunted Africa for plains game and believe the .308 Winchester is just fine out to 200 to 300 yards for almost all except giant eland. (no big five). Why? It is about shot placement not just power. The recoil of the .308 is considered mild to moderate and with a state of the art recoil pad it is easy for a young or newer shooter to shoot accurately.

Alas, we have been brain washed a bit, me included, to shoot bigger more powerful cartridges. I took a .338 Winchester Magnum to Africa, still a medium bore cartridge,  however it takes practice to master it’s heavier recoil. I do love the bigger bore rifles however, they deliver punch, in spades like my .375 Ruger that I hand-load. The ubiquitous and classic 30:06 is a great middle ground and it can be shot in an M1A semi-auto too.

As a reloader,  the .308 Winchester cartridge design is highly efficient and cost-effective in powder usage for reloaders. These facts when coupled with the accuracy of the .308 cartridge and bullet selection for hunting big game make it a great selection as a deer and black bear rifle at ranges out to nearly 500 yards or so or as a long-range target rifle at 1000 yards. As a simple hunting rifle that can be tack driving accurate, easy on the shoulder, ready to reload inexpensively, can be shot as a semi-auto as in the M1A, I believe the .308 is poised for resurgence.

I shot one the other day at the range out of a Remington 700 with a Leupold scope at 100 yards. Groups were astounding, just like the groups I shot out my son’s Savage .308 at 1/4 inch a few years back. Yesterday I shot consistently less than 1/2 inch groups, in fact, if the trigger was adjustable as I suggested and set at around 3 pounds, the groups would merge into a ragged hole and put a real smile on  my face. ©2015

This entry was posted in Big Game Hunting, Cartridge Reloading by Ed Hale. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ed Hale

I am an avid hunter with rifle and Bow and have been hunting for more than 50 years. I have taken big game such as whitetail deer, red deer, elk, Moose and African Plains game such as Kudu, Gemsbok, Springbok, Blesbok, and Impala and wrote an ebook entitled African Safari -Rifle and Bow and Arrow on how to prepare for a first safari. Ed is a serious cartridge reloader and ballistics student. He has earned two degrees in science and has written hundreds of outdoor article on hunting with both bow and rifle.