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The Ultimate Reloading Manual
Wolfe Publishing Group
  • reloading manual
  • alliant reloading data
  • reloading brass
  • shotshell reloading
  • bullet reloading
The Ultimate Reloading Manual
hodgdon load data

.308 Winchester Service Rifle (using Hornady bullets)

Author: Brian Pearce / Wolfe Publishing Co.
Date: Jul 12 2013

The .308 Winchester is a sporting rifle cartridge that dates back to 1952; however, since 1954 it has served as a military cartridge known as the 7.62 NATO or 7.62x51mm. Handloading data is largely interchangeable between the two; however, military cases are usually thicker than commercial .308 Winchester cases and usually require a 3 percent to 5 percent powder reduction (depending on manufacturer) to stay at the same pressure levels with Winchester Large Rifle Primers. The accompanying data was developed in Hornady .308 Winchester MATCH cases. Most military cases also feature a crimped primer, which must be removed (after decapping) before a new primer is installed.

Much existing handload data for the .308 Winchester was developed for sporting rifles and can be problematic in service type rifles. More specifically, using the wrong data can damage gas systems, or in the case of the M1A, damage the operating rod. In other instances, cartridges may not function reliably.

When using M14/M1A pattern rifles, the use of CCI 34 primers is strongly suggested. This is a mil-spec primer with a thicker cup, designed specifically for this application, and to help prevent slam fires. Slam firing is a very dangerous situation wherein the rifle fires upon closing, before the bolt assembly is fully locked in place. In testing here, there was no significant change in velocity or pressure with the substitution of the CCI 34 primer and we again strongly recommend their use.

A moderate to heavy crimp is also strongly suggested to keep bullets in place during cycling.