I just got a box of Winchester .308 ammo featuring 200 gr. silver tip bullets. I was wondering what is the heaviest .308 bullet a company has used from the factory?
Up at the top oh the home page is a reference link and in that there are lots of different companies catalogs available as a free download. You might find something in there to answer your question.
Looked through my .308 boxes & I don’t have anything bigger than 200 gn.
According to Ammoguide.com and some internet forum chatter, the heaviest factory bullet which had load data commonly available for the .308 was a 250gr Barnes bullet. The bullet seems to have been geared more towards .300 Winmag and 30-06, but data for .308 was out there.
The heaviest factory Winchester .308 Silvertip I’ve seen was 180gr.
I’ve only encountered the 200gr Silvertip in their .30-06 loading. Do have a scan of the box or cartridge?
Outside of the Silvertip product line, several companies, including Lapua and Black Hills, have offered 220gr and heavier subsonic loadings in .308.
The .308 Winchester 200 grain Silvertip loading may be unusual but it was offered by Winchester for about 30 years (mid 50’s to mid 80’s). It is also found in Winchester of Canada boxes.
Both Western and Winchester offered the 200 grain Silvertip as a standard load. #3084 and #W3084.
MW, do you have a reference for such loadings? Lapua’s heaviest subsonic load I’m aware uses a B416 200 grain bullet, and I can’t find any mention to a BH loading heavier than that.
here is a pic of the box.
if anyone has any box pics of factory loadings with a heavier bullet could you post here? also i’m not talking about custom loads but off the shelf stuff.
I found on the internet site of a large german gun/ammunition dealer a Hornady load with a 220 grain bullet.
They don’t have a good picture of the box however
I see now that you were asking in terms of original factory boxes with heavy bullets. There is a small outfit called “Right to bear ammo” that loads a 225gr bullet in .308, as sold on Cheaperthandirt:
I also found some from Lapua (2 box types) with 200gr bullets, and Double Tap with a 200gr load:
Three additional 220gr loads
From left to right
H-J Ballistics Research 220gr subsonic Brass case, nickel primer H/S IMI 308 MATCH
Engel Ballistics 220gr Thumper Brass case, nickel primer H/S FC 308 WIN
Unknown 220gr subsonic Brass case, nickel primer with pale blue primer seal H/S IMI 308 MATCH
Boxes for items 1 and 3
I only have a b&w copy of the front label for the second box - can anyone provide more information on who made it?
BTW, IMI show details for 200, 220 and 240gr subsonic ammuntion on their website
Most loading manuals go to 220grn and most bullet manufacturers make a 220. Sierra certainly do.
I would imagine most serious experimenters have played with loading it. However played is the key word.
I would suggest the reason the ammo producers do not list anything that heavy is because demand would be below their idea of what is commercially viable. What are people going to use them on?
The heavier bullets have a lower velocity (around 2300fps for a 220 gr, with modern powders 140-150 gr bullets can be approaching 3000fps) That may not sound so bad but actually its a big difference. Velocity is everything.
Such a slow velocity is actually seriously detrimental to knockdown killing power on anything except perhaps bears or African big game and nobody in their right mind is going to go after either with a .308. If they do try, assuming they survive, they are not going back next year to give it another go so the ammo doesn’t sell
.A lighter faster bullets work much better on game like deer, with more HV shocking power.
Where the heavier bullets come into their own is with long range target shooting using extremely aerodynamic bullets like Matchkings. Even then a 220 would probably not be able to sustain supersonic velocity over about 900 yds which is a problem. The transition between supersonic and subsonic velocity results in a ‘wall’ of buffeting which destabilises the long bullets. So a compromise is reached at around 168-175grains giving both stability and distance at a slight cost to both.
Ray really has forgotten more than I have ever known on match loads but I do know uber heavy bullets in a .308 is a very complicated subject. Cutting edge in fact.
I would have thought in the early days of the .308 some manufacturer would have put out a heavy load just to see if there was a take up but as nobody has identified one, on this forum, that’s usually pretty definitive.
My advise to all you collectors who are also shooters, summer is here, get out there, load some heavy bullets. Nothing like range time to expand your understanding of ballistics.
In the late 90’s Schweizerische Munition offered their .308 Swiss P Subsonic with 200, 220 and 240 gr bullets, all loaded to give Vo 320 m/s. RUAG currently offers this same cartridge with 200 and 240 gr bullets.
I’ll do my best to dig something up. The only reason I recall is that the 220gr loads were causing baffle strikes in a popular muzzle can about 10-15yrs ago, and the 180gr-200gr SS loads were one solution.
Match ammunition with heavy bullets was mostly limited to 197 and 200 grain bullets. For the most part, they were loaded to moderate velocities for International type competition at short distances. I have photos of boxes, if wanted.
Most 308W barrels were made with a 10 or 12 twist. This, in itself, established a bullet weight limit because a sufficient velocity was needed to keep the heavy bullets stable. 2400 fps in a 24" barrel bolt gun was acheivable with 200 grain bullets but not in gas operated military rifles such as the M14 and M1A with 22’ barrels. 220 grain bullets would be borderline stable at longe range and 240 grain bullets were almost out of the question except when used in long barrels at low elevations or sea level.
i’m not sure how much of this ammo we can get in Canada. the lapua should be okay. we are having a hard time getting any ammo in at the store by were I live. specially military type cals. I only hope some of the gun show guys will have some hidden away.