Yes, the 7mm-08 defeats 308. Still. Again. Always. Nothing personal against the 308 Winchester. It’s just that the 7mm-08 Remington a more ballistically efficient cartridge.
Perhaps I should apologize for pointing this out so often (like in this blog.) It ticks people off, as revealed in the comments posted on my You Tube video that compares the 7mm-08 Remington, 308 Winchester and 260 Remington.
I guess if I owned a rifle in 308 Winchester and loved it to pieces, I’d resent some smart ass like Spomer pointing out that there are better options. But my objective is not to denigrate anyone’s pet round, so please don’t shoot the piano player. I’m merely shining the hard light of reality onto what is often a murky world — the world of centerfire rifle cartridges and ballistic performance.
Apologizing for “7mm-08 Defeats 308” Claims
Hey, I’m sorry, but physics is physics and truth is truth. Run the ballistics, shoot the bullets, look at the holes — and the truth shall set you free. The 308 Winchester — efficient and popular though it may be — just can’t outmuscle its descendent, the 7mm-08. Or the 260 Remington, another direct descendent — not even if you load that 308 Win. with some of the sleekest, most efficient, low-drag, high B.C. bullets on today’s market.
This doesn’t mean the 308 Win. is no good and you should kick yourself for owning one. This efficient little round is capable of taking any game in the world — and probably already has. But that doesn’t make it better than the 7mm-08.
A viewer recently wrote that his 308 Win. would “…out shoot your 7m08 or 260 all day with my 308 178 gr at 1000 yards.”
No, it wouldn’t. Now, the gentleman himself and his rifle might prove more accurate than I and my rifle, but his 308 Winchester, even with a high B.C. 178-grain projectile, isn’t going to outperform a 7mm-08 with a similar high B.C. bullet, as the following ballistic charts show. We will be comparing two of the highest B.C. bullets in their weight classes on the market. (We won’t even bother with the 260 Rem., but it beats the 308 Win, too.)
Trajectory Table Shows 7mm-08 Defeats 308
308 Winchester, Hornady 178-grain ELD-X, B.C. .545, zeroed at 230 yards.
7mm-08 Remington, Hornady 162-grain ELD Match, B.C. .652, zeroed at 230 yards.
And there you have it, the winner and still champion, 7mm-08! It shoots harder (more energy,) flatter and drifts less. And it won against a bullet 16 grains heavier, which means less recoil in rifles of the same weight.
Oops. Sorry. Didn’t mean to rub it in. But, seriously, you can compare similar weight, similar shape bullets between these two short-action cartridges all day and the results are the same. The 7mm-08 Remington is the superior ballistic performer. But why?
Here’s Why 7mm-08 Defeats 308 Winchester Every Time
The 308 is throttled by a case that just can’t hold enough powder to take advantage of heavy, high B.C., .308″ bullets. Remember, B.C. is a product of a projectile’s mass (weight,) form (shape,) and diameter. The longer and more tapered the shape in any given weight and the narrower the diameter, the higher the B.C. and the more effectively that bullet will resist atmospheric drag.
In the above comparison, the 162-grain Hornady ELD-Match wins because its more ballistically efficient AND lighter weight. The 7mm-08 case is just the 308 case necked down to hold the narrower bullet. Powder capacity remains the same, so the 7mm-08 propels a lighter, narrower, higher B.C. bullet faster. It can’t help but win.
While Ron Spomer enjoys investigating the relative performance characteristics of different cartridges, rifles and bullets, he’ll happily shoot and hunt with any. The hunt is the thing. Guns and ammo are just the tools.