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View Full Version : One for all hunting caliber: .308 or .300 Win Mag?


Para Bellum
October 25, 2009, 10:21 AM
Hi folks,

let's start our engines. Which would be your choice any why for your one and only hunting rifle to hunt everything from fox to elk with, a .308 or a .300 WinMag?

hogdogs
October 25, 2009, 10:32 AM
Lower cost to shoot, less recoil, still plenty of power for anything on the continent...
.308
Brent

ZeroJunk
October 25, 2009, 10:32 AM
If the 300 Mag recoil doesn't bother you, it will do anything a 308 will do and is a little more forgiving if your yardage estimation is a little off.

Art Eatman
October 25, 2009, 10:39 AM
Since the .308 will take care of anything in the lower 48, it would be my choice. Less recoil, less noise, less cost.

I'd maybe think differently if I knew with fair assurance that I would of necessity have a high percentage of my opportunities out beyond 300 yards. But under normal conditions? Don't need more horsepower than that of the .308.

Old Grump
October 25, 2009, 01:44 PM
308 will take anything on this continent but if you are going after grizzly than you want a larger caliber than the 300 Win Mag. All it gives you is a little flatter trajectory at longer ranges and the ability to use a heavier bullet. The cost isn't justified by that little bit of advantage.

trooper3385
October 25, 2009, 03:24 PM
One for all hunting? It would definetly be the 300 win mag. The recoil of my 300 doesn't bother me a bit. I pretty much use the gun strickly for hunting, so the ammo has lasted me. I bought 3 boxes of ammo when I got the gun, actually 2 and they gave me 1, and I stil have a box and a half left. I'll start reloading when that runs out, so cost hasn't been an issue. Don't get me wrong, I love the 308 also, but if I had to go with one, the 300 would be the winner.

ndbbm
October 25, 2009, 07:27 PM
I think it comes down to your own opinion. I've used .308 all of my life and the furthest I have shot it was on a range at 600m. It is a fine cartridge and can take anything on this continent. I have also fired the 300 wm. It also is a fine cartridge. I am just a fan of the .308 due to the fact that it was cheaper when buying alot of ammo and the recoil is easier for prolonged shooting, which doesen't matter while hunting. Just a preference.

GeauxTide
October 25, 2009, 07:35 PM
John Barsness said it best. The 300 RUM holds about twice the powder of the 308 for 25% more velocity. The extra velocity of the 300 WM and WSM is about 100 yards. Handloader #239.

Daryl
October 25, 2009, 07:51 PM
I think that the .300 Win mag is a great cartridge, but it's too much for most animals smaler than elk. The advantage on elk would be the effective range, and I'm not willing to punish myself shooting the .300 Win mag full time for all hunting "in case" I get a longer shot at an elk. I'll just accept the limitations of the .308 as is and call it good for "an all around cartridge".

Now, for a cartridge to be used exclusively for elk sized game, I might very well choose the .300 Win mag. For hunting that size animal on a consistent basis, I think the cartridge has some advantages.

But, for all around hunting, the .308 is capable while also being cheaper and easier to shoot often.

Daryl

mp4
October 25, 2009, 08:03 PM
hard decision - but too much is just right in my opinion...maggie get's my vote.

Kreyzhorse
October 25, 2009, 08:08 PM
Since the .308 will take care of anything in the lower 48, it would be my choice. Less recoil, less noise, less cost.

I'm with Art on this one 100%.

Crosshair
October 25, 2009, 09:27 PM
The .308 works very well with reduced loads for things like varminting. The 300 win mag simply has too much case capacity for such duties. The .308 will work for Elk just fine, it just doesn't shoot as flat.

Regolith
October 25, 2009, 10:39 PM
Out of these two? .308 Win. My father's taken moose with it, so I'm confident it will be fine for everything up to elk sized animals.

Personally, I split the difference and went with the .30-06. ;)

Sam06
October 26, 2009, 06:22 AM
The 308 works for me. I used to hunt with a 300 WM. Now all I hunt with is either a Handgun, a 30-30 lever action or a 308 bolt gun. The 308 is one of the best Deer size hunting rounds around. As a reloader I enjoy loading for it. Its very forgiving. Its very accurate and there are a slew of good bullets out there for it. Recoil is not too bad even in light rifles.

If I had to have just one rifle to hunt big non-dangerous game with in the world I would pick a 308 Winchester.

sc928porsche
October 26, 2009, 07:59 AM
Dispite all the banter, the 300 shoots flatter and dilivers more power at any given range with the same bullet. As for necessity it isnt necessary but sure is nice to have. Big bruins are the exception. You want as much as you can get when it comes to something that can eat you.

riggins_83
October 26, 2009, 09:39 AM
Would depend what load I was allowed to use. I generally don't care for 300 win mag, rather use 30-06 or 7MM mag. In this case I'd vote for 308.

Crosshair
October 26, 2009, 12:33 PM
Dispite all the banter, the 300 shoots flatter and dilivers more power at any given range with the same bullet. As for necessity it isnt necessary but sure is nice to have. Big bruins are the exception. You want as much as you can get when it comes to something that can eat you.
Except the OP wanted to use it for everything from Fox to Elk. The 308 can be handloaded into a varmint gun. A 300 Win mag lacks that versatility.

L_Killkenny
October 26, 2009, 12:46 PM
None of the above.......

Another case of American Magnumitis. You don't need either for the large game you mention and either is too big for smaller game. Even more so if you are hunting in areas with even a small population base. There are lots of calibers including the ones you mentioned that will kill everything dead but the idea of shooting fox and coyotes on a regular basis with those 2 boggles my mind. There aren't any calibers that are "good" for the range in critter size you are talking. Personally, I wouldn't go any bigger than 7mm-08 and I'd seriously look at the 6.5's and rounds like the 250 Savage and the .257 Bob.

LK

Daryl
October 26, 2009, 05:07 PM
None of the above.......

Another case of American Magnumitis. You don't need either for the large game you mention and either is too big for smaller game. Even more so if you are hunting in areas with even a small population base. There are lots of calibers including the ones you mentioned that will kill everything dead but the idea of shooting fox and coyotes on a regular basis with those 2 boggles my mind. There aren't any calibers that are "good" for the range in critter size you are talking. Personally, I wouldn't go any bigger than 7mm-08 and I'd seriously look at the 6.5's and rounds like the 250 Savage and the .257 Bob.

LK

Not sure about the "magnumitis", since the .308 doesn't quite qualify, but I agree with you for the most part. I've never needed a .30 caliber anything in the lower 48 states.

But, when we get down to using the minimum cartridge for animals like elk, smaller isn't better for the average shooter. A magnum won't give the average shooter any advantage unless they can place a bullet beyond 350-400 yards, and many truly can't, contrary to popular belief.

And I don't mean that in any way as derogatory towards anyone's abilities, good or bad.

But...

The medium level .30 caliber cartridges give the average guy what he needs to make the shot count. They'll give good penetration on a variety of shot angles, and will kill animals pretty cleanly on any decent shot.

The smaller calibers will also do the job, but as they get smaller, the shots need more "precision", and the shooter needs more patience and "dicipline" to wait for the right shot. Nothing against them, but I've learned the hard way that many shooters are simply "unable" to do that under pressure in the field. I have a best friend/hunting buddy who's much that way, although he's learning as time goes by. He uses a .308 Win, and does well with it, but I doubt he'd do as well on larger critters with a lesser cartridge. He's simply unwilling and/or unable to have the right frame of mind under pressure, so if there's an animal in range he's very likely to shoot at it at the first opportunity.

He's just as capable as anyone of making a shot, but he won't "wait" for a better shot angle.

I'm the other way; I can sit there and watch an animal that's in range without any trouble at all. I'm very confidant in my shooting ability (at both running and standing animals), so when an animal is in range I just watch it 'till the right shot angle is presented.

From a voice of experience; smaller cartridges are not usually the best choice for the average or new shooter. Neither are the big magnums for the most part. I see the smaller cartriges as a good choice for the experienced shooter, but those capable of using it well won't need to ask which one is best to decide what they want or need. The magnums are similar; those capable of utilizing the additional effective range while also being capable of handling the extra recoil won't need to ask which one to choose. They'll have already shot enough long(er) range targets enough to know for themselves what they want and/or need.

So, in my mind that leaves us with the medium capacity cartridges from perhaps 7mm through .30 caliber or so as good recommendations. They'll do the job well in the hands of most shooters, and they're not a bad choice even for the experienced, since they'll do the job just as well for them.

But for general all around shooting of big game, the .308 and 30-06 are pretty hard to beat when it comes to recommending a cartridge for the purpose.

And that from someone who's never owned either, but is familiar with the results they produce.

Daryl

L_Killkenny
October 27, 2009, 02:37 PM
Daryl, I'm with ya most of the way with your thinkin. But the question was not what is the best deer/elk caliber but instead, what is the best fox thru elk caliber. I'll stand by my statement that both choices he listed are a case of magnumitis and the idea of the .30 mag for a all purpose gun is just silly. Let's look at the various game the OP is likely to encounter.

Fox: any centerfire from .223 on down.
Coyote: Any centerfire from 22-250/.220 swift on down. Maybe a .243 bt they do to much fur damage for my liking.
Antelope: .243 - .270 including all .25's, 6.5's and 7mm's.
Whitetail Deer: .250 Savage - 30/06.
Mule Deer: Same as whitetail.
Black Bear: same as deer.
Elk: .25-06 thru .30 mags.

Now look at it this way: How many elk tags is he gonna draw? Maybe 1 a year unless he lives in an elk rich environment. So the need for anything as large as the .30 mag is definitely not needed. Even a .308 is not needed.

One caliber is not gonna be anywhere near "good" on the range of critters he is wanting to hunt. Elk is gonna be the rarest hunt. A one gun hunter is gonna have to settle on over gunned on fox and coyote, just right for deer and antelope, and under gunned for elk. No way around it unless he wants to be picking small piece's every time he shoots a fox or coyote (which may very well indeed be his most common target do to lack of limits). IMO, his goal is unattainable. But if forced into a choice I'd say .257 Bob or 6.5mm swede .30 mag is so far off the list Columbus wouldn't found it.

LK

Para Bellum
October 28, 2009, 06:20 AM
Now look at it this way: How many elk tags is he gonna draw?
We have a lot of European Wild Boar (sus scrofa) to deal with....

UniversalFrost
October 28, 2009, 10:09 AM
i picked 300 win mag, just because 308 is too light for some of the bigger creatures up north (think grizzlies) and moose.

personally i own both calibers, but my choice for a do all .30cal gun is 30/06.. much cheaper to shoot and easier to find ammo for, even in a gas station in the middle of nowhere, alaska (don't ask me how I know this) than .308 or 300 win mag.

30/06 can and has taken every shootable animal on this (and many other continents) .

oh and I do have 300 win mag loads with 110gr v-max for yotes, but they are little too much for yotes.

HiBC
October 28, 2009, 10:41 AM
I voted .308.

Cartridge cases don't kill game.A 30 cal bullet delivered at a velocity the bullet was designed to perform with will do the job a 30 cal bullet will do.

Because we have better bullets,both BC and bonded,a 165 is now(according to me) adequate for elk.I'm more of a 180 to 200 gr guy,but I concede a 165 works,and works well.A 308 will deliver a 165 with enough power for elk at 300 yds,assuming a well placed heart lung shot.

Dead is dead.

Myself,I think inside 300 yds is a good idea,and it covers maybe 90+% of the shots one is likely to have.

Maybe 5% or 10 % of the time,a .300 mag will provide a useful advantage.

So,do we gear up for the 5% shot?

I prefer 7 lb rifles to 9 lb rifles.I shoot better with rifles with moderate recoil.
I shoot better if I shoot more often.Ammo prices and barrel wear are factors.

Then there is the mess the extra velocity of a magnum makes at 100 yds.You will have more edible meat with a 308.

I realize,for this poll,our choices are limited.These are both good cartridges,but,if I could only have one rifle,there are others I would think about.I would not choose the 300 win mag,but the 308 would be on the list,with the 30-06,the .280 Rem,7-08,etc.

Pathfinder45
October 28, 2009, 11:45 AM
Even a .270 fool like myself can tell you that .30-'06 Springfield is the most versatile hunting cartridge of all. To think otherwise is to ignore the facts.;)

schnarrgj
October 28, 2009, 04:54 PM
Definately the 308. Both Basically the same bullets. Therefor the question is which one will allow you to consistantly place the bullet where it counts. With the 308. it is cheaper and with less recoil is easier to shoot well. The magnums are higher recoil and MUCH more expensive to feed. What the cost means, is the ability to practice and practice often. You should be farmiliar enough with your rifle that when you shoulder it, it is on target. Eveything is second nature. Being able to shoot the 300 well, requires a lot of practice and still, not everyone can shoot it well because of the recoil. I shoot 100s of ammo a month and still do not like the recoil or cost of the magnums.

You must become proficient with your rifle and get the muscle memory imprinted so that everything is natural for you. With the 300's, if you are like most people and develop a flinch because of the recoil, that can become part of your muscle memory. What good is it is flatter at long range to allow for range estimate mistakes and saves you 4 inches of drop when your flinch costs 8 inches. Get yourself a good range finder and spend the extra money you will still save on practice. Practice, practice and practice some more. If you have the time, money and desire to work up to the magnums and the inclination--good. If you are a normal person who is on a budget and wants to become a proficient as possible, get the 308--I am ignoring other caliber choices. One of my sons who is and exsniper, chose the 308 for his rifle. Why? Because it is accurate, reliable, effective and allows for regular practice. Remember it is not the arrow that kills the deer but the Indian. Just my 2 cents.

ojibweindian
October 28, 2009, 08:32 PM
I chose the 300 because it's easier to turn down a 300 than it is to dial up a 308.

James R. Burke
October 29, 2009, 06:36 PM
Your leaving to many choices out. But from what you asked the mag. Recoil has never been a issue with me. I had a .416 rem mag, that was just fun to shoot. But if you just gave me a choice of any caliber it would no doubt be the .30-06 for many reasons. There are a few others also. The .308 is a great rifle, and I had a few of them. They will get the job done on about anything. I dont think you could go wrong with either of them.

rantingredneck
October 29, 2009, 06:44 PM
Since the .308 will take care of anything in the lower 48, it would be my choice. Less recoil, less noise, less cost.


.308 for this ^ reason. And I'll add another..........Less weight. If you like to walk and stalk you'll appreciate a lighter rifle with a shorter action.

I have exactly two bolt guns. A Remington 700 in .30-06, which I'm confident will kill anything in the lower 48 I may have to shoot at, and a Remington 700 in .243 Winchester. When I'm going to be on foot and moving that .243 is just right......

blaackhand
October 29, 2009, 10:08 PM
I gota go with the 300 WM. better at long range and on larger game.

Big Bill
October 29, 2009, 11:28 PM
Neither one! A .25-06 is the perfect all around caliber for hunting anything in the continental USA. But, of the two choices I said .308. Only because it's cheaper to shoot and more available that the .300 Win Mag. It's a lousy round for hunting fur bearing animals.

Christchild
October 29, 2009, 11:59 PM
Of the 2 Cartridges in question, the .308 Winchester gets the nod.

Was it last year, or the year before??? The .308 Win. broke the record for Moose.........???

.308!!!