I have a friend that rags on me for my choice of .308 Winchester as a hunting caliber.
His take is that .308 (well, technically 7.62x51mm NATO) was designed as a military caliber for 200-300 yard shooting and fighting in accordance with the Geneva Convention (tho I’m sure he actually meant the Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907). And for that purpose it’s a good round.
My take is that .308 Winchester makes for a great all-around rifle round. No one round can do it all, e.g. .308 wouldn’t be that great for small varmints (you can use a howitzer to swat flies, but it’s overkill) and it’s not necessarily going to solve really big dangerous game (CPX4). Nevertheless, for most general purpose need that I may see, I think .308 works out alright.
Here are some articles (mostly from Chuck Hawks) about .308:
- Specific talk on the .308 Winchester.
- About the .308 Family of cartridges.
- .30 cal popularity.
- Moderate cartridges.
- Top deer rifles, of which he’s of the opinion that .308 makes a fine deer round.
- Optimum .30 cal cartridge, .308 coming about as close as you can get.
- Mike Staples on military caliber rounds, the .308 and .30-06 provide the benchmark.
- A discussion of all-around rifle cartridges. While it comes down to: .30-06 Springfield, .270 Winchester, 7mm Remington Magnum, and .308 Winchester, in the end the .308 just has enough specs about it to make it versatile enough and handy enough.
Granted, sometimes when you’re doing a specific job you want a specific tool because that will do the job best. But there’s a balance to be had and sometimes having a versatile tool is a good thing.
So for now, I’m happy to stick with my .308 rifles. Just like any building of a toolbox you start with good tools that can serve your majority needs and give you room to handle other things as they come up. As you encounter specific needs you pick up those tools on an as-needed basis.
Updated: Another thing going for the .308 Winchester (7.62x51mm NATO)? Look at Jeff Cooper’s original Scout Rifle concepts. .308 baby. Yeah, I really like the Scout concept.