The 308 Winchester rifle cartridge is a rimless bottlenecked centerfire cartridge that was introduced in 1963 by Winchester Repeating Arms Company.
There are many advantages and disadvantages to the 308 Win. The most readily apparent to the shooter is felt recoil. This significant difference can also be seen in the muzzle blast which usually has less follow-up shot recovery time for the shooter of a sizable caliber than that of its smaller counterparts from lack of muzzle brake overruns. The 308 Win load data does not have as much felt recoil as might be expected due to its significantly heavy bullet weight when compared to common rifle cartridges like 7mm-08, .243, or .30-06.
A 308 Win. chambering also offers the shooter a formidable combination of long-range ballistic performance (since it was originally designed to be a big-game competitor) and short-medium range stopping power (with the right bullet choice). It is capable of having its caliber class changed as needed. This has led to a fairly large variety of specialized loadings for hunting and defense use, both military service and commercial in nature. These specialized loads are often necessary for protecting game from dangerous predators or even grizzly bears as well as ensuring survival in extreme weather conditions without compromising on terminal performance over range or condition.
Since the cartridge’s introduction, Winchester has introduced several rifle calibers that are based on its original design including .338 Winchester Magnum, .375 Holland & Holland Magnum and .416 Remington Magnum. The .358 Winchester also carries on the tradition of the 308 Win.
Background Information and History of Cartridge
The 308 Winchester is the highest caliber magnum sporting cartridge ever offered by Winchester. It was developed by Robert Hutton, the chief engineer of the company, for his pet cartridge. This is because his “pet” cartridge had a wide gap in performance compared to other hunting cartridges of its size.
It was a proprietary design that initially saw action in late 1963 (in limited numbers) and 1964 for varmint shooting as well as black bear taking using 220 grain bullets loaded behind 168 grain projectiles at 3200 fps. In 1965, the first members of the 308 Winchester Magnum series were introduced to the world and served as a very good game cartridge for many years. Originally, it was powered by the .264 caliber (7.62mm NATO) necked down from a 220 Swift magnum.
The 308 Winchester Magnum (also known as 10 megadollar) was designed to be more efficient than previous magnum cartridges and this is due primarily to the use of heavier bullet weights. Due to this increased efficiency, lower velocities are possible and thus cartridge cases can be made longer with less material removed from them in order to maintain overall length.
In the 1960’s, Winchester had been experimenting with larger cartridges than the .264 caliber. The previous magnum caliber to be introduced was the .300 Savage, which took two years to develop and eventually caught on as a high performance hunting cartridge.
When Winchester’s Hutton began developing the Magnum line of cartridges, he was already working on a new cartridge with increased case capacity that would allow higher velocities than that of the .264 magnum. This became the .300 Winchester Magnum, which was introduced in 1962 after 18 months of development and later used in commercial rifles and buffalo rifles.