There definitely is some confusion surrounding the 7mm-08 cartridge but I certainly don’t have the answers.
When the cartridge first came out in 1980 there was a lot of skepticism among shooters about it being nothing more than a 308W necked down to 7mm, something that wildcatters had been doing all the way back to 1955. But, I believe it was Remington who said, “No it’s a new cartridge.” As I remember, they said that while shoulder angle and most dimensions were the same as the 308W , the case was lengthened by .020" to 2.035", I would guess in order to compensate for the greater shoulder length of a 7mm vs. a .308. (Remember, the 243W case is .030" longer than the 308W). A new cartridge? Yes, but not by much.
Additionally, the first cartridges were supposedly loaded with Hornady 139 Grain Spire Point bullets. Why? Again, I don’t know. Remington had the capability of making their own 7mm bullets and had been doing so for years.
Cartridges that you buy today have a CL of 2.027" - 2.028" but that is probably within factory tolerances for a nominal 2.035" case.
Maybe this was just talk and speculation back in 1980 and some gun writer embellished it? Or screwed it up? Or, maybe some of the first cartridges were different? If we’re only talking about a few thousandths of an inch, manufacturing tolerances could very easily cover up such a small amount.
Today, about half of the shooters will say that the 7mm-08 is the most useless cartridge ever invented while the other half will swear that it’s the ideal cartridge for the guy who can only afford one rifle.
My .02 cents worth. Otto has those cartridges in his hands so his opinion is worth a lot more than 2 cents.