.308 origin?

smitty62smitty62 Member Posts: 3 ✭✭
edited September 2004 in Ask the Experts
I was under the understanding that the .308 caliber didn't come along until after or during the Korean war, yet I see a rifle advertised that was supposedly made in 1927 in .308--is this possible?


  • Ray BRay B Member Posts: 11,822
    edited November -1
    The 308 began life as the 7.62 NATO developed by the military during the late 40s and early fifties, in an effort to get 30-06 performance from a cartridge that would fit in the new machine gun and rifles being developed. It was actually a 300 Savage, modified to military specs- longer neck, flatter shoulder angle, etc. I suspect that if a rifle was made in 1927 and it is frechambered for it, that it isn't factory original- rechambered or rebarreled.
  • nononsensenononsense Member, Moderator Posts: 10,575 ******
    edited November -1
    .308 Winchester

    The .308 Winchester has won more benchrest matches than any other cartridge above the 6mm caliber. And continues to win more Hunter class benchrest matches than all other cartridges combined. The .308 is also one of our most popular big game cartridges, not only in the U.S. but in many other countries as well.

    Soon after World War II, the U.S. government issued contracts to Winchester and Remington for assistance in the development of a replacement cartridge for the .30-06. The result of those efforts was a shorter version of the .30-06 called T-65. Later the name was changed to 7.62mm NATO.

    Realizing that any cartridge adopted by Uncle Sam was sure to become popular among civilian shooters, Winchester beat Remington to the punch by dressing the 7.62mm in civies and calling it .308 Winchester. It was a good move. The .308 went on to enjoy the popularity as a big game cartridge, not only in bolt action rifles but in pumps, single shots, autoloaders, and lever actions as well. Which pretty much sums up the primary reason for the .308's success. Its short overall length enables rifle manufacturers to offer it in any type of rifle.

    Choosing the .308 instead of the .30-06 in a bolt action, slide action or autoloading rifle doesn't make sense simply because the shorter cartridge can never be made to equal the performance of the longer cartridge. But in a lever action rifle such as the Savage Model 99, the .308 is far superior to the .30-30 class of cartridges.

    For hunting deer size game at close to medium ranges, the .308 Winchester loaded to about 2800 fps with a 150 grain bullet is an excellent performer. The .308 is by no means one of our better elk cartridges, but when loaded with a good 180 grain bullet it will suffice. H380, H335, IMR-4895, RL-12, and W-748 are excellent powders for the .308 Winchester.

    Source: Hodgdon Data Manual, 26th Edition

    308 Winchester (7.62mm NATO)(1)

    History / Preface

    Winchester introduced the 308 in September 1952 as a sporting cartridge. It was a commercial adaptation of the Army Ordnance T65 rifle and machine gun cartridge. The origin of the 308 began after World War I. Following the close of this conflict, Ordnance devoted considerable effort toward development of light semi and full automatic weapons. It was obvious that a cartridge with shorter overall length than the 30-'06 would permit shorter, lighter and more efficient gun mechanisms. One such development, the 276 Pederson, showed considerable promise. But in 1932, it was rejected because a .30 caliber was deemed essential for military requirements.

    With the organization of NATO following World War II, the short cartridge requirement was revived with the idea of equipping all NATO forces with a single rifle and cartridge. Post war ammunition research lasted nine years and experiments ranged from a cartridge closely resembling the 300 Savage to the T-65 round. The main difference between the 300 Savage and the T-65 was the 3/16" longer neck of the latter. Standard service loadings of the T-65 and the 30-'06 provided about equal performance. Ordnance adopted the T-65 in 1954, although M-14 rifles chambered for it were not available until 1957. The 308 has also been adopted by more than two dozen other nations, but in different rifles.

    The 308 is currently a very popular big game cartridge. It is also used by bench rest, NRA high power and metallic silhouette shooters. Many competitive shooters state that the 308 is capable of better accuracy than the 30-'06 for match shooting. Most U.S. rifle manufacturers and many foreign firms make 308 Winchester sporting rifles. The 308 case is about ?" shorter than the 30-'06. Because of the reduced capacity, it cannot be loaded to the ballistic equal of the 30-'06. But it comes close enough that, for most requirements, the difference can be ignored.

    Bullets heavier than 200 grains are not recommended for hunting in the 308. They simply cannot be driven fast enough to make them effective at usual hunting ranges. Bullets from 150 to 180 grains are the best choice for the big game hunter. With the 130 grain hollow point the 308 does quite well as a varmint cartridge.

    SAAMI pressure maximum for the 308 Winchester is established at 52000 cup.

  • Contender ManContender Man Member Posts: 2,110 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    1927 rifle is re-barrel or re-chamber of original barrel. Of course this begs the question as to the rifles ability to handle the pressures generated by 308's .........


    If you only have time to do two things so-so, or one thing well ... do the one thing!
  • OleDukOleDuk Member Posts: 1,195 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Good background info, NN, and Contenderman, you've got it right. My opinion on that action is that if it's a good M98 Mauser, he's OK.

    "Disperse you Rebels; Damn you,throw down your arms and disperse!"
    British Major John Pitcairn, April 19, 1775. He fell at Bunker Hill two months later.
  • buddybbuddyb Member Posts: 3,821 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The 308 is a shortened 06 to make it cycle faster in a full auto.It is also my favorite hunting round.
  • TED GARTED GAR Member Posts: 389 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    What makes the 308 better..IS consistency. It is predictable in a crosswind,and at a distance. Unlike many other cartridges.
  • TED GARTED GAR Member Posts: 389 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
  • IconoclastIconoclast Member Posts: 10,912
    edited November -1
    Actually while the .308 is the civilian of the T65 Light Rifle, that cartridge had its origin in 1945 with experiments based on the .300 Savage. In fact, the very first lot was produced with .300 Savage headstamped brass. This 7.62x47 version was quickly deemed inadequate, so the next step was a 7.62x49 design which lasted about 2-3 years and was superseded by the early 7.62x51, itself much modified internally before being adopted as the Light Rifle and later the standard for NATO.

    Of course, one can make a good case for all these cartridges, including the venerable .30-06, owing their origin and design to Peter Paul Mauser's M1888 7.9x57 . . . . .

    "There is nothing lower than the human race - except the french." (Mark Twain) ". . . And liberals / demoMAGGOTS" (me)
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