View Full Version : 308, 7.62Nato, what NON-SURPLUS/Commercial 308 have you shot safely?
September 27, 2000, 23:41
I've only been shooting surplus through my smith-built STG-58 kit gun.
I keep hearing that 308 and 7.62 Nato are the same but different.
They are a different specification; but GENERALLY 7.62 Nato guns are built tightly enough to spec to take 308, etc. etc.
What ammo should I avoid? What should I be aware of if I want to try out commercial ammo for extra accuracy/kicks? What should I be aware of wrt. published 308 loads?
September 28, 2000, 00:02
The best commercial match ammo I've ever used is Federal Gold Medal Match. They load it using Sierra's 168gr. BTHP Matchking. I have to work hard to beat its performance with handloads. It's a bit pricey though. Last time I bought some, it was $18.00 per 20 rounds. But seeing as how I didn't have time to load and I was shooting a match (the Sniper Match in Racine County, WI) that weekend, I had to spring for the ammo. This ammo was fired out of a scoped Springfield Armory M1A standard model.
As to the topic of .308/7.62 Nato differences, boy you're going to hear all sorts of good stuff on that one!
Let me just say that factory ammunition in the US is loaded not to exceed SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Manufacturers Institute) specifications. These specifications are designed for safety purposes, that is, ammunition that does not exceed those specifications is deemed safe to fire in all firearms made to chamber that caliber. In other words, it's designed for the lowest common denominator. No one wants firearms blowing up in people's faces. Anyone familiar with the 8mm Mauser knows what I'm talking about.
September 28, 2000, 10:15
I have shot fair quantities of the W-W white box 147 gr. FMJ and Federal red box American Eagle 150 gr. FMJ.
I mostly shot it in the past, before I discovered good milsurp bought directly from wholesalers like Century Arms and Cole's, as milsurp at gunshops and gunshows in my area wasn't much less than the W-W and Fed bought at a large sporting goods discount house, in medium quantities.
It is good stuff, but other than being fresher and less likely to have been exposed to bad storage, and being a source of excellent reloadable brass, it has no advantage over something like FMN or Radway Green.
I haven't shot any commercial hunting ammo (which would be true .308, not 7.62 NATO) out of my L1A1. As much as I like the rifle, when I am deer hunting, I am carrying a bolt action if I am carrying a rifle. If I am elk hunting, I am carrying a rifle chambered for bigger than .308.
This information is probably not what you are looking for and thus useless.
"Will Rogers never met Al Gore."
September 28, 2000, 10:23
Originally posted by Wadman:
Anyone familiar with the 8mm Mauser knows what I'm talking about. [/B]
Wadman, please elaborate. I'm interested in purchasing a real, close to original as I can find model KAR 98K. The Turkish surplus seems to be a good deal but corrosive. I really don't want to go through the trouble of bore solvent every time I'd shoot it. I understand S&B makes this ammo but at a lighter grain. What would be the best commercial ammo for this type? If I need any correcting please do so. I'm not familiar with the type but I would like a piece of German history. I hope I'm not putting you on the spot here. Thanks.
[This message has been edited by ProGun1 (edited September 28, 2000).]
September 28, 2000, 10:26
It's not useless, Buffler. He wanted to know what accurate stuff anyone's used. I had answer for that. He also wanted to know what sort of factory stuff anyone's used and you answered that. He also wanted to know what to avoid, which was also something I wanted to know but never got an answer. For example, Norinco steel CORED bullets; are they bad for your rifling or not? I've still got better than half a case of this stuff so any insight would be helpful.
Progun1: Just saw your post. You must've typed it as I was finishing up mine. My reference to the 8mm Mauser has to do with the increase in bore size around the turn of the century from .318 to .323. Factory ammunition is loaded very weakly (37,000 cup) so that in the event of someone using modern .323 8mm ammo in an early .318 bored rifle, they wouldn't suffer catastrophic failure. Non-corrosive surplus 8mm? That's a tough one. Navy Arms had it for a very good price and it sold out fast!! FNM made some but I'll be damned if I can still find it. S&B makes it huh? Okay, I'll see what I can find out. Hopefully it's not loaded as anemically as domestic stuff.
If you're looking for a 98K, the one I got was a 1941 model made with milled parts vs. stamped parts. My choice of milled parts was based solely on appearance and not function.
[This message has been edited by Wadman (edited September 28, 2000).]
September 28, 2000, 10:33
I was basically worried about whether one day I will go to the range without any surplus, buy a box of commercial 308 from an American manufacturer, rack it into my FAL, and destroy my gun/self.
September 28, 2000, 11:18
Battler, that's a valid concern. But as I understand it, as long as your rifle doesn't exhibit any unusual characteristics such as excessive headspace, you're good to go with domestic stuff. The only 7.62 Nato weapons I've read about that are problems are Navy Garands and early M14's.
The official SAAMI specs for .308 is 52,000 cup. This figure is the maximum pressure deemed safe in arms chambered in .308/7.62 caliber.
And while we're on the subject of ammunition, I noticed that a recent Sportsman's Guide catalog lists a British .308 arsenal surplus ammo. It states that the cartridge is a 147gr. ball load with a muzzle velocity of 2,252 FPS. Is this the Radway Green stuff everyone's using? If so, I hope the velocity they list is for a 16" barrel.
September 28, 2000, 20:45
We ought to make a FAQ out of this.
MOST, if not all, FAL clones get headspaced using .308 SAAMI-spec gauges. So, it can be moot as far as chambers go. The nominal NATO-spec 147gr 2705 fps 7.62 operates at about 50,000 cup. The use of .308 in your FAL-clone w/ a milspec barrel is unlikely to produce a problem.
Reloading is another proposition. Case volumes differ drastically, as most milspec cases have large webs to accomodate loose headspace on military weapons. So, IF you reload, start at least 1 gr or more below maximum, and work your way up carefully. And remember to f/l resize your cases.
For all ammunition, observe for signs of deteriorating cases or headspace:
- rings on case heads (can also be inspected inside the case w/ a paper clip): these are indicative of incipient case-head separation
- primer flow
- headstamp obliteration
- excessive recoil, or blowby in the breech
- collapsing case sidewalls
- severe powder marks on the exterior of cases fired in non-fluted chambers
There are differences in 7.62x51mm and .308 Win chambers. There also exist minor differences in the ammunition. Be safe, look for problems, and act on them as soon as you discover any indications.
1*.....Train Like You Fight: Second Place is NOT an Option.
E.M. (Ted) Dannemiller II
September 28, 2000, 21:16
I've shot winchester, remington, pmc, radway green, sellier & bellot with no problems. I have shot lots of reloaded winchester, remington, and pmc with no prolems (150 grain soft points usually), just followed my reloading manual.
September 28, 2000, 22:15
I HAVE read FAQs on this all around the place. It's just cryptic - that is, they sidestep the question of whether you can REALLY use them interchangeably.
Sounds like this is okay with the FAL - and I will proceed with the caution that I use with ALL my shooting (pistol, rifle, factory ammo, surplus, or reloads, I look at the cases).
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