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The .308 (7.62x51 NATO)
Nation Year Max. press.
U.S.A. 1952 62000psi
The most popular sniper round in the world, and the standard round used in military matches. This is nominally a 1000 yard cartridge, but in truth is only practical out to 700-800 yards. This round was developed as the new service round to replace the 30-06, in the new service rifle designed to replace the Garrand. This was the new Army, and the postwar United States now had world wide responsibilities, and world wide allies; unfortunately it also had world wide enemies. In order to better combine forces, military planners decided to standardize on one cartridge for all of the NATO forces. The British, American, and German armies all used a .30 to .32 caliber round, as did most of the world, so the bore size of the new cartridge was a foregone conclusion. The 30-06 was a likely candidate, but was so large that the new lighter, smaller rifles envisioned for the army of the future would have a difficult time chambering and firing it. It was eventually decided to produce a new round by shortening the 30-06 somewhat and making some other changes so that the smaller round would approximate the power and ballistics of the STANDARD LOAD in the old 30-06. In special high power loads, or handloads, the 30-06 just walks away from it's newer, smaller relation, but the military rarely, if ever, uses such loads. Another plus of the new round was that, being a new round, no nation's military forces used it, and thus it could not be charged that the U.S.A. was coercing it's allies into standardizing on it's own cartridge. As it turned out, the new round was still too powerful, and the M-14 rifle, which was designed along with it, could not be fired in fully automatic mode, because of the great muzzle blast, and rise. All of the NATO  forces soon equipped themselves with battle rifles designed for this round. They had certain features in common such as large capacity (20 or more rounds), magazines, select fire capability, battle sights (peep sites or similar), and the use of some synthetic materials. These features would become more pronounced a few years latter in the newer generation of military long arms---the .223 assault rifles. The new "lightened" rifles designed for the 308 round in the fifties are now considered to be battle rifles instead of assault rifles, and the round is limited to sniping, and special purpose uses. It is also our standard machine gun round. The old 30-06 is now dead in the military, the 7.62 being the most powerful cartridge normally used in shoulder fired arms. Like most military, or cast off military rounds, the .308 has found great success as a sporting cartridge, and legions (literally) of guns are chambered for it. It is a popular round to reload, and can be given considerable accuracy. As was mentioned in the section on the M1-A, hits at phenomenally long ranges (a mile and a half) have been scored with this fine cartridge, though such performance should not be counted upon.

Standard Load
Bullet Powder Measure Velocity Energy Comment
150gr FMJ VV N140 46.8gr 2800fps
Bullet Powder Measure Velocity Energy Comment
180gr SP VV N150 44.5gr 2514fps 2527fp
185gr FMJBT VV N550 46.4gr 2536fps 2643fp
200gr SP VV N150 40.4gr 2259fps 2267fp
168gr BT VV N140 44gr 2600fps 2522fp Sniper Round