.308 and 7.62x51mm Interchangeable?

Discussion in 'Caliber Zone' started by Z28Driver, Oct 4, 2011.

  1. Z28Driver

    Z28Driver Member

    Just picked up a Savage rifle in .308 Never owned or shot that caliber before. Is .308 and 7.62x51mm NATO interchangeable? I know it will fire, but are there any issues you can have like with using .223 and 5.56mm in certain AR pattern rifles? I heard that the .308 and 7.62x51mm are necked slightly differently, but it does not matter. Appreciate any input. I found some surplus 7.62x51mm NATO for a great price, but wanted to know exactly before I purchased it.

    Thanks ahead of time!
  2. wyrmzr

    wyrmzr Member

    I have seen that .308 NATO on the shelves is also stuck with a 7.62x51 label. Not sure if that's necessarily the same .308 common to our firearms or not, though. With those measurements, 7.62x54 would "fit", but I certainly wouldn't try it. For that matter, 7.62x39 would have the same diameter, but a much shorter round.

  3. dahed

    dahed Member

  4. ITMAN

    ITMAN Member

    The .308 and 7.62X51 (NATO) are not the same. Basically, the NATO round has a thicker case and is loaded with less propellent powder which makes it the top end cartridge for Mill spec rifles such as the M1A ... New / Modern .308 target hunting and target rifles are loaded with more potent charges which will stretch the limits of Mill spec weapons. There is also a variation in head space between the two rounds that can cause a variety if general performance issues and perhaps catastrophic breech failures... do your research. Be safe.
  5. I have a Savage 10FXP and I shot some surplus 7.62NATO through it, but I had several FTF so I just stashed the rest. I usually pick up a box of Federal Power-Shok 150 gr. whenever I'm at Walmart.

    Savage is a precision rifle, and IMO military surplus doesn't do it justice. It won't hurt it, as stated about .308 is higher pressure than MilSpec. The accuracy won't be great depending on the quality of the surplus. The stuff I bought was low quality, dull looking brass on "sale" at Dunham's.

    It'll work, but my guess is you would get better accuracy out of new manufactured factory ammo. Savages are very accurate when you feed 'em right. You don't have to have Match Grade 168 gr. BTHP, but don't feed it junk either. These are my opinions based on my Savage experience.
  6. Z28Driver

    Z28Driver Member

    WYRMZR, DAHED, ITMAN AND KILROY - thanks for the good advice that is typical for this forum. I will stick with the commercial .308. Also, KILROY - Lake Cumberland, KY? Beautiful country there, been to that lake many times. You are lucky to live there.

    Thanks again!
  7. ITMAN

    ITMAN Member

    No problem Z28Driver! A rule of thumb is that you can shoot NATO 7.26X51 ammo through a modern gun chambered in .308 but avoid shooting hot .308 loads through Mill Spec weapons. When I reviewed the manual that came with my new M1A Springfield I notices that it had a warning to only use ammo designated for use in 7.62x51 NATO weapons. So, I only purchase ammo that has both the .308 and (7.62x51) NATO on the label such as PMC... I also purchased some fine bulk German surplus ammo that is very clean and accurate from the ammoman.com
  8. Thansk Z28Driver, I feellucky! I do love the Commonwealth of Kentucky...
  9. barnetmill

    barnetmill Member

    Some commercial .308 bolt action rifle might not chamber military 7.62x51. Some .308 loads may give problems in gas operated guns. I have not yet had a problem shooting both rounds in my bolt guns.
  10. My T/C Icon (bolt) will eat any 7.62x51mm or .308 rounds I put through it, have never had a jam or problem with any of it.
    Though when I was picking through .308 rifles back home, I test-fired the M1A SOCOM II and a Remington 700 using a combination of both. The M1A powered through both like a champ, but the 700 was having jams almost every other round when I loaded through the NATOs.
    SAAMI considers it safe to fire the NATO round through commercial .308 weapons, but as the advice goes above, I don't recommend putting any hot .308s into a military-built weapon.
  11. Z28Driver

    Z28Driver Member

    OK guys, thanks for all the great info, I am a couple weeks late in getting back on here to reply.

    Thanks again!