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Old January 2, 2022, 04:58 PM   #1
jackstrawIII
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Where Won’t the 308 Win Work?

I know that many of you are more experienced than me, so I have a simple question for you:

What big game would you NOT feel comfortable hunting with a 308 Win?

I don’t want to influence anyone’s answer, so that’s all I’ll say. Thanks.

Ps. Let’s assume you handload and can use any bullet you wanted.
PPs. Let’s also assume a maximum distance of 250 yards, just to take that question out of the discussion.
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Old January 2, 2022, 05:19 PM   #2
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The .308 Win being able to work or not has the same limitations as any other cartridge. The loose nut behind the trigger. There is nothing in the lower 48 that's legal to hunt I'd hesitate to use a .308 Win on. Bullet selection and shot placement take care of a lot of factors.
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Old January 2, 2022, 07:40 PM   #3
Ed4032
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Elephants
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Old January 2, 2022, 07:48 PM   #4
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Elephants
Ed, are you saying that’s the only species? What about the next size down: hippos, rhinos, buffalo?
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Old January 2, 2022, 08:22 PM   #5
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308 loads shoot the same bullets as 30-06. And in 2022 I can shoot those bullets 200 fps faster than WW-1 era 30-06 loads, 100 fps faster than WW-2 era 30-06 loads.

Granted modern 30-06 loads will always eclipse 308 by 100 fps or so. But anything 30-06 would have killed in the 1960's, a 308 will kill today. And at the same ranges.

I'd not hesitate to hunt any animal in North America other than the big bears along the Alaska coast. I'd have no 2nd thoughts about inland grizzly. The big 1000+ lb bear would give me pause. But with a good 200 gr or heavier bullet it should work. But I'd feel a lot better with a bigger gun.

And for anything other than the big bears I'd not limit myself to 250 yards. If you are skilled enough to make the shot the 308 is a 400-500 yard cartridge for most game.
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Old January 3, 2022, 09:44 AM   #6
Jack O'Conner
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The largest animal I've taken with my Remington .308 was a bison, more commonly known as North American buffalo. One shot through the butt of the ear at about 100 yards did the job!

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Old January 3, 2022, 10:24 AM   #7
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Quality bullets, skilled shooter, 250 yards max. I'd be comfortable with a .308 for everything in the lower 48.
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Old January 3, 2022, 02:09 PM   #8
jackstrawIII
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The largest animal I've taken with my Remington .308 was a bison, more commonly known as North American buffalo. One shot through the butt of the ear at about 100 yards did the job!
Jack, thanks for the reply. Was this a guided hunt? If so, I'm a bit surprised that your guide approved the 308 for a bison hunt... pretty cool tho!

And congrats, bison is #1 on my dream hunt list. Would love the chance some day.
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Old January 3, 2022, 03:20 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Ed4032 View Post
Elephants
I believe that "Karamogo Bell" took several with a 7x57.
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Old January 3, 2022, 06:21 PM   #10
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I believe that "Karamogo Bell" took several with a 7x57.
With all due respect...

While it's true that WDM Bell did in fact kill MANY elephants with the 7x57, I don't think any of us would consider the 7x57 or the 308 Win (which this thread is discussing) as a responsible caliber for a modern elephant hunter to use. This isn't 1920, and none of us are profession elephant hunters/poachers.
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Old January 3, 2022, 07:59 PM   #11
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With all due respect,

Bell was famous for taking over a thousand elephants in his career and doing so with rifles as light as 6.5mm Manlicher, 7x57 Mauser, .303 British, and the .318 Wesley Richards (a near copy of the 8mm Mauser), along with some other rifles.

What is not well explained in his legend these days (but is in his own writings) is that he most often hunted elephants that were unfamiliar with guns and had no real concern about men. So he was able to get close and shoot with surgical precision (and he was a good shot and well versed in elephant anatomy).

That situation has not been the case for about a century. Also note that while Bell is famous in hunting lore, there is little to no mention of others who tried to do the same things Bell did, and never came back from safari.

As far as I'm concerned the only thing the ,308 doesn't "do well" is use all the space in a .30-06 length action.

If you can do it with a 06, you can do it with a 308 Win. Sure the shorter round delivers about 100fps less velocity with the same bullets, perhaps a bit less with certain loadings, but there's nothing that walks that can tell the difference when hit.
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Old January 3, 2022, 08:43 PM   #12
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Bell was famous for taking over a thousand elephants in his career and doing so with rifles as light as 6.5mm Manlicher, 7x57 Mauser, .303 British, and the .318 Wesley Richards (a near copy of the 8mm Mauser), along with some other rifles.

What is not well explained in his legend these days (but is in his own writings) is that he most often hunted elephants that were unfamiliar with guns and had no real concern about men. So he was able to get close and shoot with surgical precision (and he was a good shot and well versed in elephant anatomy).

That situation has not been the case for about a century. Also note that while Bell is famous in hunting lore, there is little to no mention of others who tried to do the same things Bell did, and never came back from safari.
Exactly. Just because someone did it (albeit very well and many times) 100 years ago, doesn't mean it applies to today.

Did enjoy reading about it in his book tho... very entertaining!
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Old January 3, 2022, 08:47 PM   #13
jackstrawIII
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If you can do it with a 06, you can do it with a 308 Win
44AMP, I agree there as well. That said, I'm interested to hear your thoughts on what you can do with a 30-06. Are there any of these NA species that you (personally) would not hunt with an '06:

- Moose
- Elk
- Grizzly
- Bison
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Old January 3, 2022, 09:00 PM   #14
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I was invited on a Nilgai hunt in Texas, but the outfitter's website said:

"Check your firepower. Having plenty of guns is important, and many Nilgai hunting operations have a minimum caliber requirement of a .300 magnum. Optimal calibers like .338 – .375 are perfect."

https://303ranch.com/texas-nilgai-hunting/

I hunt with a .308, so I passed on that trip.
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Old January 3, 2022, 09:09 PM   #15
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I may have my facts screwed up but I thought it was a 30-40 krag shooting a bulletproof moose covered in mud. Thought it was Roosevelt that said that. I'd shoot everything with 308 and only worry about shot placement.
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Old January 3, 2022, 10:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
- Moose
- Elk
- Grizzly
- Bison
Moose and Elk with an 06? no probelm.

Grizzly? While I would not feel defenseless with an 06, I would not choose one to go after a Grizzly bear. In fact, I choose not to go after grizzly at all.

Bison? I would not choose an 06 here either. For the sake of tradition, I would use a .45-70.

the 06 AND the .308 are both entirely capable of downing all those animals, without question. You asked what I would choose, and my choices are based on more than the ability of the 06, but on my personal preferences as well.
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Old January 4, 2022, 12:23 AM   #17
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Most of those European calibers; 6.5mm Manlicher, 7x57 Mauser, .303 British, that Bell used were loaded to much lower pressures a 100 years ago. What made a difference were the bullets - long, heavy round noses which had deep penetration. The Europeans liked 200 grain bullets and heavier.
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Old January 4, 2022, 04:55 PM   #18
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Quote:
- Moose
- Elk
- Grizzly
- Bison
OK, I'll chime in here.

Moose are not terribly hard to kill. Many people seem to think that since they're big they are hard to kill. Not so. People in Canada have been harvesting moose for over a century using 303 British and other moderately powered cartridges. A customer of mine, a guide in Alberta, used to take his 25-35 out for moose. One shot, one flop.

Elk have a reputation for being hard to kill, mostly from people who like big guns. When I first moved to ID over 35 years ago I thought I needed to use my 8mm Rem Mag or 375 H&H to put one down because of all the garbage I had read in hunting magazines. Imagine my surprise when I met people who hunted elk with their 30-30, 270, 30-06 or 8mm Mauser! Shot placement. Don't try to shoot them through the shoulder, sneak one into their ribs and they lay down.

I never hunted grizzly and have no desire to.

Bison are big and massive, but most of them are shot by people who want to dress in buckskins and love to think their old black powder (cartridge or front-stuffer) rifle is powerful just because it has a big hole in the front of the barrel (they're not). When I lived in NV I went down to the Jack's Valley Ranch with a guy to shoot a bison with his 68 caliber muzzle loader (it took 2 shots to put it down). While I was there I asked the foreman what people shot bison with. He said people used everything from 375s to 30-30s, but the one he saw shot with a 243 was the fastest kill he had ever seen (the guy put the bullet in the bull's ear). So, once again, shot placement triumphs.

Long-winded way to say that a .308 (or a 30-06 or 270 or whatever) will kill most game animals in the lower 48 of the USA and elsewhere.
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Old January 4, 2022, 05:03 PM   #19
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Scorch, I appreciate your answer and enjoyed reading it. Thanks.
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Old January 6, 2022, 12:27 AM   #20
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Anything with Claws and Teeth get a minimum of 338-06 with 210 Noslers. 308 with 165 Grand Slams is fine for anything else.
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Old January 6, 2022, 03:27 AM   #21
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I'm not a hunter and have never needed to use it, but my Ruger American .308 with "hunting" rounds (soft-tip) has been with me and my family a few times when we've taken vacations into what I'd call the back woods around the SouthEast. Just like EDC, better to have it.

I've encountered bear and cats while riding all over North GA and TN, and they re-introduced Elk on the Blue Ridge parkway. As I said, I'm not a hunter and just having it around gave me some sense of security. We sat on the deck watching a couple of bear one time at a cabin just over the border into TN. No threat to us, but the rifle was right there.
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Old January 6, 2022, 03:07 PM   #22
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AS long as "Karamojo" Bell and his 7x57 were mentioned it might be interesting to ad that helater in life once sad that the .308 Win with a 200 to 220 gr. full metal jacket would be in his estimation the best possible elephant cartridge. That got me to thinking. Just how would a .308 Win. behave with bullets that heavy. By using a Winchester M70 with 1 in 12? twist barrel, I loaded up a series of loads using 220 gr. Sierra round nose bullets and W760 power, Winchester brass and WLR primers. Average velocity was 2310 FPS average and the gun shot groups under an inch at 100 yards. I shot four groups of three rounds each. One, a fluke I assume was .375". The rest were closer to .85" on average.

I've always wanted to compare that load with factory 220 gr. 30-06 ammo over the chronograph. Based on one chronograph testing of Winchester .308 and 30-06 ammo with 180 gr. Powerpoint ammo there was for all practical purposes no difference in velocity. In fact, the .308 was IIRC about 10 FPS faster. Velocity was in the 2600 to 2630 FPS on average. Both rifles had 22" barrels.

I'm positive that the 30-06 can also be handloaded to a higher level should on prefer.
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Old January 7, 2022, 11:37 AM   #23
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I will not use a .308 on rabbits or squirrels
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Old January 7, 2022, 12:07 PM   #24
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I will not use a .308 on rabbits or squirrels
Seems like a good call.
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Old January 7, 2022, 01:13 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by DadOfThree View Post
I will not use a .308 on rabbits or squirrels
Stick to claymores?
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