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Old July 2, 2013, 12:13 AM   #1
Join Date: June 21, 2011
Location: Grand Junction, Co.
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308 Win, factory elk ammo selection

I have a friend (Army captain, currently in the sand box) who wants to hunt elk, this October, with his A-10, 308 Win, 16" barreled rifle. The question is - what is the best factory elk ammo selection for his short barreled 308 Win rifle. The estimated shooting range will be 300 yards or less.

PS: I know - I offered my 300 Win Mag but he likes his A-10 and wants to use it a least once for an elk hunt.

Thanks in advance for all answers to this post.

Dan Bromley, Grand Junction, Co.
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Old July 2, 2013, 12:30 AM   #2
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Re: 308 Win, factory elk ammo selection

A heavy for caliber round would be my suggestion. Federal makes some premium hunting ammo heavier than 165 gr I believe. I would go for a Barnes TTSX or a Nosler Partition.
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Old July 2, 2013, 01:36 PM   #3
Paul B.
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With a 16" barrel and attendant velocity loss, I think I would look at one of the premium offerings pushig a 165 gr. bullet, preferal with a Nosler Partition or Accubobond. I shoot the barnes TSX but in a larger caliber. Agin, it he goe that route I'd look at mabye a 150 gr. or 165 gr. bullet. However, barnes bullets do work best at the higher velocities. Some have said the TTSX Barnes opens faster. I cannot say as I have not used them. All my work has been with the TSX bullet.
My pet load for the .308 uses a 165 gr. Speer Hot Core over a stiff load of W760 for 2550 FPS from the 18.5" barrel of my Ruger M77 RSI. The same load does 2610 FPS from a 22" Winchester M70.Farthest I shot anything with the Ruger was a Mule Deer ar 250 yards. Deer was facing me slightly quartering to the right. Bullet hit in the chest and came to rest against a back leg bone breaking it.
From what I saw on my hunting partner's elk this last january, the 160 Accubond did a fine job. The first bullet hit a bit far back and destroyed the liver. The second finisher hit the lungs and it was all over. Both bullets recovered against the ide on the far side. Looked like what you usually see from Partitions. Laser ranged at 317 yards BTW. Gun was 7MM Rem. at 3000 FPS. Those bullets impressed me enough that I'll be testing them at up to 3100 FPS from my 26" barreled .300 Win. Mag. If the gun likes them, or the 180 gr. Partitions then I just might take it on my elk hunt this coming January.
I almost hate to leave the .35 Whelen at home though. I've taken my last two elk with that rifle. The 225 gr. TSX flat out does a number on elk.
Paul B.
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Old July 2, 2013, 01:58 PM   #4
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I'd be more concerned about which ammo will function reliably in the semi-auto. A bolt rifle will work reliably with a lot of hotter ammo that may not work reliably in this gun. I don't like much below 20", but even at 16" there should be enough speed to get the job done at 300 yards and under even on elk with the right bullet.

The TTSX is a great bullet, but it needs lots of speed to be effective. Most people recommend 2000-2200 fps at imact for adequate expansion. A 16" barrel might to that at close range, but @ 300 yards might not.

I'd be looking at 165 gr or 180 gr premium bullets. No paticular brand, they all work if you hit the right spot.
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Old July 2, 2013, 05:22 PM   #5
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Didn't a standard Garand load push a 150 grain bullet to 2700 fps? I wonder how much of that ammo has been used to take elk?

Of course, elk have gotten a lot tougher, more resilient in the last 50 years. And, I know guys who take elk regularly with sharp pointy sticks and stick-flinging devices. Wouldn't a .308 work if he got close enough?

Just asking questions, here, boss.
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Old July 3, 2013, 04:52 AM   #6
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A 180gr accubond will work wonders on elk.
Kill em all and let God sort em out! USAF
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Old July 3, 2013, 07:47 AM   #7
big al hunter
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The heaviest offering in Hornady Superformance ammo line will have the highest velocity in a factory load of the same weight. look them over at this web page. They should be close to 200 fps faster than most other ammo in this weight. It is a bonded bullet and is what I would use for elk in 308 win.
You can't fix stupid....however ignorance can be cured through education!
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Old July 3, 2013, 10:03 AM   #8
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My vote would be for either 165/180 grain Nosler Partitions or Accubonds. Barnes are great bullets and I'm a big fan of them, I just don't know what velocity you'll be getting at 300 yards with that barrel length.
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Old July 3, 2013, 09:17 PM   #9
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308 Win, Factory ammo selection

Looking on the internet I found five loadings that would work:

Federal, 180G, Nosler Partition, 2,570 ft/s
Remington, 180G, Ultra Bond, 2,620 ft/s
Hornady, 165G, Interlock, 2,700 ft/s
Winchester, 150G, XP3, 2,835 ft/s
Sellier & Bellot, 180G, Nosler Partition, 2,600 ft/s

I found the S&B online at Cabelas on orderable backorder (3-4 weeks). I ordered 80 rounds for $232.00 shipped to my door.

FYI - I input all five rounds into a ballisitics program the S&B has the most retained velocity at 250 yards - 2,202 ft/s. The S&B has the second retained energy at 250 yards - 1,891 ft-lbs. I think the N/P will expand up quite nice at 2,200 ft/s.

FYI - The rifle is a LWRC R.E.P.R.,308 Win, 20" sniper ( I was wrong on the
16" barrel length) and is one really fine mechanical piece of art - at least it was before I drooled all over it.

Thanks for all of the input. Dan Bromley
Dan Bromley
NRA Instructor
NM Game & Fish Instructor

Last edited by BDM 9MM; July 4, 2013 at 12:37 PM.
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Old July 4, 2013, 08:37 PM   #10
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Ron Pinkston, of JagerPro, uses DPMS or R-25 308s with Federal or Hornady premium ammo in their 18" barrels. Full penetration at most angles on hogs up to 400# at ranges of 50-250 yards. Until recently, they used 180 Partitions, but I understand they are using Interbonds and GLX, also. Using that short of a barrel, I'd stick with Partitions.

Edit - with a 20" barrel, I'd still stick with Partitions for the penetration.
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Old July 6, 2013, 02:28 AM   #11
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The heaviest offering in Hornady Superformance ammo line will have the highest velocity in a factory load of the same weight. look them over at this web page. They should be close to 200 fps faster than most other ammo in this weight. It is a bonded bullet and is what I would use for elk in 308 win.
It's what I would use for elk in 308 too, but I have a bolt action. Hornady warns against using Superformance in gas semiautos, especially short barreled ones like the OP's because the gas port is so near the chamber:

Due to the longer duration of peak pressure produced by Superformance™, the post peak/declining port pressure at common carbine and mid-length gas port locations is still higher than that produced by standard propellant. This has a tendency to flood the system with a larger volume of gas, at a higher velocity, that tries to open the bolt of the gun too fast. It’s a timing issue. The cartridge case is still swollen from the application of pressure during firing while the gun is simultaneously trying to extract the cartridge case before it has had an opportunity to settle back to its original size, or more simply: the gun is still in the process of firing while it’s trying to extract the cartridge case.
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Old July 6, 2013, 10:22 AM   #12
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I'd use something on the heavy end. 180 grains or above.
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Old July 8, 2013, 04:06 PM   #13
Jack O'Conner
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Remington AccuBond is a very good elk loading.

Winchester and FEDERAL offer bonded bullets, too.

Fire up the grill! Deer hunting IS NOT catch and release.
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Old July 8, 2013, 04:59 PM   #14
Doc Intrepid
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Size matters...

Whatever rounds your friend wants to hunt with, he should plan on some range work first.

A few years back I took my R-25 .308 to a local range for some pre-elk hunt sighting in. I had 4 different loads.

Two were lighter, Federal and Winchester, 155 grain and 145 grain loads, and two loads were both 185 gr lead SP bullets, one was a Winchester and I don't recall the 2nd brand.

But the point was that I started with the 2 lighter loads and got the rifle dialed in. It was already pretty well sighted in from previous range sessions with FMJ military rounds.

Then I switched to the 185 grain bullets - because those were what I intended to use for elk.

I couldn't get the rifle dialed in to save my butt. If memory serves me well, I think the smallest group was at least 5" with the heavier bullets.

My R-25 shoots like a dream with lighter bullets, in between 145-165 grain bullets. In contrast, it does not shoot heavier bullets anywhere near as well.

This may be just my rifle, I don't know - but it occurred on the same range, same day/weather, same rifle off sandbags, etc. - with two different brands of 185 grain ammunition.

My takeaway is that some rifles like some ammo more than other ammo, and your friend would be well advised to hit the range with 3 or 4 different types of hunting rounds to see which ones shoot the best in his semi-auto .308.

Treat everyone you meet with dignity and respect....but have a plan to kill them just in case.
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