Difference in .308 vs 7.62 NATO?

I'm looking to buy an AR type of rifle in 30 caliber. DPMS has the Panther in the .308 and 7.62 NATO chamber. The price is the same. I will use it primarily for deer, varmints, long range plinking, and for when SHTF.

What's the main difference between the 2 rounds? Is one interchangeable with the other? I do not reload, but I like to shoot alot. Which round would be better for my purposes?

12 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    OK --- Let's address the oft-posed question "Are the .308 Winchester and 7.62x51 NATO one and the same?" The simple answer is no. There are differences in chamber specs and maximum pressures. The SAMMI/CIP maximum pressure for the .308 Win cartridge is 62,000 psi, while the 7.62x51 max is 50,000 psi. Also, the headspace is slightly different. The .308 Win "Go Gauge" is 1.630" vs. 1.635" for the 7.62x51. The .308's "No-Go" dimension is 1.634" vs. 1.6405" for a 7.62x51 "No Go" gauge. That said, it is normally fine to shoot quality 7.62x51 NATO ammo in a gun chambered for the .308 Winchester (though not all NATO ammo is identical). Clint McKee of Fulton Armory notes: "[N]obody makes 7.62mm (NATO) ammo that isn't to the .308 'headspace' dimension spec. So 7.62mm ammo fits nicely into .308 chambers, as a rule." You CAN encounter problems going the other way, however. A commercial .308 Win round can exceed the max rated pressure for the 7.62x51. So, you should avoid putting full-power .308 Win rounds into military surplus rifles that have been designed for 50,000 psi max. Reloaders should also note that military ammo often is made with a thicker web. Consequently the case capacity of 7.62x51 brass is usually less than that of commercial .308 brass. You may need to reduce recommended .308 Winchester loads by as much as 2 full grains, if you reload with military 7.62x51 brass, such as Lake City or IMI.

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    308 Vs 7.62

  • larry
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Okay, now from the books. Speer says the military brass is thicker, thus reducing capacity, so one should reduce charges 5% from listed 308 loads. Hornady not only agrees, but has a whole extra separate section with 4 pages of specific 7.62 NATO loading data.

  • 1 decade ago

    In a bolt action, they're interchangeable; in an AR, maybe not (read: not unless you really, really know what you're dealing with). CIP pressure limits for 7.62x51 are 350 MPa (about 51,000 psi), with the pressure transducer placed at the neck; SAAMI pressure limits for the 308 Winchester 62,000 CUP, with the copper crusher placed at the case head. Whether and how much those pressure curves are different depends on the characteristics of the load, primarily the burning rate of the propellant, and it's pretty well anybody's guess what the correlation might be (but it's a good bet that there is NOT a 12,000 cup pressure difference, as suggested in the way Jason worded his answer). Assuming you're going to use American factory loads for hunting, it'll be a lot simpler for you to go with 308.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Get the one chambered in 308. The one chambered in 7.62 NATO will not hold up to 308 pressures.

    A friend of mine just wrecked his "new" cetme by firing commercial 308 in it instead of the 7.62 NATO like he was supposed to. He is uninjured, the rifle is totalled. Not even good for spare parts.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    They are within a couple thousandths of an inch in size, and either will chamber in either gun. However, Nato specs are 50,000 cup maximum, and modern .308 can be loaded to SAAMI specs up to 62,000 cup, so it is not a good idea to fire modern .308 winchester in an older military surplus rifle chambered for 7.62 x 51 NATO.

    Get the .308.

  • 4 years ago

    For the best answers, search on this site https://shorturl.im/6o06T

    7.62x51mm NATO is often loaded to slightly lower pressures than commercial 308 winchester , but aside from that they are identical.

  • 1 decade ago

    762Nato was designed to function within a certain pressure range and the 308 fodder is loaded above that pressure range. Buy the 308 and you can safely use both types of fodder therein.

  • 6 years ago

    Everyone is on the right path. I love 308 and have a good solid "woody" with a good old fashioned cheapy scope. I believe most who buy a 762, any AR used or new equipment is doing so for the look and feel.

    I you really want the look ands feel, please, enlist - they'll give you one to use and even pay your fare to a foreign Country to visit.

  • 4 years ago

    7.62 Nato

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