Five Killer .308 Win. Loads

I don’t particularly like the .308 Win. cartridge. This is not because it does not work. In fact, it might be the best all-round rifle cartridge in existence.

I’m not all that fond of it because it just isn’t all that sexy, different or unique. Fond of it or not, I use it a lot because it works. It works exceptionally well for big game hunting all over the world. Arguably, it offers the most power on target with the least amount of recoil of any other big game cartridge suited to worldwide hunting.

Because I’ve used the .308 Win. to shoot lots of animals, I’ve had the opportunity to try lots of different loads. Here are my five favorite .308 Win. loads. I can’t imagine what you might need to do with a .308 Win. that one of these loads wouldn’t do.

Federal 168-Grain BTHP Sierra MatchKing
There are oodles of match grade .308 Win. loads to choose from and, in truth, they all shoot pretty darn well. Federal Ammohas been loading the 168-grain Sierra MatchKing bullet in .308 Win. for a long time; long enough to figure out how to do it just right. If you are serious about shooting little groups, near or far, this is the load. Don’t be surprised if your rifle prints 10-shot groups at 100 yards that measure less than 1.5 inches with this stuff.

Hornady Custom Lite 125-Grain SST
Recoil is detrimental to precision shooting. Now, the .308 Win. does not kick all that hard, but shoot 100 rounds in 1 day and you’ll begin to feel it. Additionally, if you want to let your young son or petite little wife shoot your rifle, the last thing you want to do is punish them. Hornady’s 126-grain Custom Lite load for the .308 Win. has become my go-to practice load because it is very accurate and because it generates about half the recoil of standard .308 loads. It will also kill deer just fine.

Nosler Trophy Grade 165 gr. AccuBond
If I had to choose one .308 Win. ammo for the rest of my life, it would be Nosler’s 165-grain AccuBond load. I’ve used it in the United States to take elk and mule deer, I’ve used in Canada to take moose and I’ve used it in Africa to take all sorts of critters, big and small. Its accurate, shoots flat and the AccuBond bullet is wicked nasty when it hits a big game animal. It puts them down quick like a Core-Lokt and penetrates almost as deep as a Triple Shock. It’s a one load for the world for sure!

Remington 150-Grain Core-Lokt
Core-Lokts put deer down fast. We could argue the reasons for this, but in my opinion its because they dump about 70 percent of their energy during the first 6 inches of penetration. This creates a massive shock to the deer’s system and lots of internal damage. Core-Lokt ammo is also affordable; it’s some of the least expensive centerfire ammo you can buy. If there’s a whitetail somewhere you cannot kill with a 150-grain Core-Lokt, it is a mythical creature.

Remington Hog Hammer 168-Grain Barnes Triple Shock
Sometimes you need deep penetration on big game animals because sometimes you are faced with shots that are not ideal. Or, you might be hunting feral hogs and conducting more of an extermination exercise where you shoot them on sight. Remington’s Hog Hammer ammo has been purpose built for whacking wild hogs, and its also been optimally tuned for semi-auto gas guns such as the AR. It might not put critters down as fast as the Core-Lokt, but it will put them down and if they run a little ways they’ll leave lots of blood on the ground because there will be an exit hole.

You might also like: "Too Many Or Not Enough" And "Nightmares."

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