The .308 Winchester is possibly one of the most successful and popular centre fire rifle cartridges ever produced. First developed in 1952 the .308 was introduced as a commercial hunting cartridge. Just a couple of years later the cartridge was adopted and modified slightly to produce the military equivalent in the 7.62 NATO.
(Left: A Sako 85 chambered in .308, perfect for the UK's larger species of deer)
This cartridge has a relatively short case and is therefore well suited to short action rifles added to this bullet weights for the home loader range from 73 grains to 200grains all meaning that this calibre can be extremely versatile.
In the UK the .308 Winchester is suitable for all our deer species from Muntjac all the way through to larger species such as Fallow, Red, Sika deer and even boar.
Producing around 2600 ft lbs of energy at the muzzle and retaining 2150 ft lbs at 100yards and 1700 ft lbs at 200yards this calibre has plenty of knock down power yet has very manageable recoil.
On the downside the .308 has a slightly more curved trajectory than say a .270 or .30.06, dropping 3.9 inches at 200 yards with a 100 yard zero and a little over 14.5 inches at 300 yards. Or 8.4 inches at 300 yards with a 200 yard zero. Agreed not very spectacular however, ask yourself this? How many shots have you taken at 300 yards lately?
(Left: The .308 Winchester an all time classic calibre)
As an experienced stalker friend of mine once said "You know exactly what it's going to do and where it's going to come down". Indeed it's a very predictable round and a popular choice for those on the 1000 yard range at Bisley so who are we to argue!
Added to this it has great terminal ballistics. Unlike some calibres the .308 has a predictable wound channel through large game and as they say 'does exactly what it says on the tin!'
There's no denying it is one of the greatest all time hunting calibres in the world which is why we use a .308 with 150 grain ammunition when hunting fallow, Roe and Muntjac and find that in our Sako 85 it is our most popular estate rifle.
For more on why we consider the .308 Winchester to be the best calibre for UK Deer Stalking follow this link: what-is-the-best-calibre-for-deer-stalking
Typical Ballistics: (150 grain bullet)
Muzzle Energy: 2600 ft/lbs
Muzzle Velocity: 2820 fps