Spomer on Shooting: Answers Reader Performance Question on .308 Winchester

Tommy simpson


Submitted on 2015/11/09 at 1:36 pm

Is 308 Winchester or federal 150gr bullet all I need for deer & which is is more accurate up to 250yards


Ron Spomer
Ron Spomer

Tommy Simpson wrote in asking, “Is a .308 Winchester or Federal 150-grain bullet all I need for deer? And which is more accurate up to 250 yards?”

Tommy, the .308 Winchester is a shortened version of the .30-06 Springfield. It drives the same bullets (.308-inch diameter) about 200 fps more slowly than the .30-06. Game struck by these never seems to notice the difference.

Because the .308 Winchester cartridge carries less powder than the .30-06, it performs best with slightly lighter weight bullets. The .30-06 does well with a 180-grain and drives a 150-grain much faster, for flatter trajectory, but it balances best with a 165-grain, the perfect compromise between weight, velocity, trajectory, and wind deflection.

The .308 Winchester seems to perform best with 150-grain bullets. It can drive these about 2,800 fps to 2,900 fps to carry 2,600 f-p energy at the muzzle, depending on barrel length. Most 150-grain spire points will have a ballistics coefficient of .400 to .450, which is efficient enough to keep energy levels above 1,500 f-p to 300 yards. In a 10 mph right angle wind, such bullets will be deflected about 8 inches at 300 yards. Zeroed 3 inches high at 100 yards, the bullet will strike about 4 inches high at 150 yards, cross line-of-sight at about 240 yards and fall about 5 inches below line-of-sight at 300 yards.

Thousands of hunters have found the .308 Winchester deadly on whitetails, mule deer, caribou, antelope, elk, and moose. The round has relatively light recoil, a fairly flat trajectory and plenty of reach and punch for most antlered game.

As a cartridge, the .308 Winchester is famously accurate, having been used in thousands of target and sniping rifles. Each rifle, cartridge and bullet combination performs differently, however, and only testing will determine which loads/bullets/brands work best in any given rifle.

Today’s rifles and ammunition will generally shoot better than most of the shooters who wield them. Good practice and lots of it can bring your skill levels up to the inherent performance of the .308 Winchester.

Shop Sportsman’s Guide NOW for a great selection of .308 Winchester Ammo!

Shop Sportsman’s Guide NOW for a great selection of .30-06 Springfield Ammo!


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One Response to “Spomer on Shooting: Answers Reader Performance Question on .308 Winchester”

  1. David Savell

    What happend to the Winchester 150 gr. Positive expansion ammo can’t find anything out there about them loved the performance of it would like to know what bullets used to reload thanks