What 308 Ammo Does The Military Use

What 308 Ammo Does The Military Use

Back when I started with a Marine STA platoon, the first rifle I got my hands on was the M40A1. With a 24″ barrel and fiberglass McMillan stock, it was more than just a tool; it was my introduction to long-range precision. Over three intense years, I honed my skills with the .308 Winchester—the round that became my constant companion through countless field exercises and deployments.

Picture this: a chilly morning, the kind where your breath fogs up the scope, but your hands are steady with the familiarity of routine. There I am, lying prone, the M40A1 resting on my ruck and seated firmly in my shoulder, staring through the glass of the Unertl fixed 10x scope. That .308 round, chambered and ready to fly with power and precision. Whether it was punching through cardboard targets, ringing steel, or preventing the enemy from harming my Marines, it never let me down.

Now, years later, I appreciate how this caliber has evolved to remain a competitive option to some of the newer gucci calibers.

M118 Ammo | The Best Military Sniper Round?

The .308 Winchester ammunition has a history of military use, particularly highlighted by its evolution into the specialized M118 and subsequent iterations for sniper rifles. Initially, M118 ammo used a 173-grain Full Metal Jacket Boat Tail (FMJBT) bullet designed for precision. This bullet, shared with the older .30-06 M72 Match ammunition, was favored for its high ballistic coefficient and stable flight characteristics.

What 308 ammo does the military use

However, throughout the Vietnam War and beyond, the quality of the M118 ammunition began to fluctuate significantly. Issues with bullet weight consistency, varying powder charges, and changes from match-grade to standard brass impacted performance negatively. The transition from the M118 to the M852 in the 1980s, which used the 168-grain Sierra MatchKing bullet, was an attempt to improve accuracy, though it faced its own limitations at longer ranges due to transonic instability.

A significant advancement came with the development of the M118LR in the 1990s. This newer version utilized the 175-grain Sierra Match King bullet, maintaining a more stable trajectory at transonic speeds and extending effective range. The introduction of the M118LR represented a substantial improvement in sniper-specific ammunition, benefiting from tighter manufacturing controls and advances in bullet design, which included a shift back to a more stable 9-degree boat tail configuration similar to earlier successful designs.

In contrast to military applications, law enforcement sniper roles have often utilized .308 ammunition for its precision, but with different considerations for bullet type and terminal performance. The popular 168-grain BTHP, while known for its accuracy, has been critiqued for poor terminal performance in soft targets, leading to recommendations for alternatives that offer better expansion and stopping power suitable for police use.

What 308 Ammo Does The Military Use

Longer barrels are generally preferred for shooting at this range, with a consensus that 175gr bullets perform better than 168gr at 1000 yards due to their superior ballistic properties.” – Sniper’s Hide Forum

These developments reflect the continuous evolution and specialization of .308 ammunition, balancing the needs for precision, range, and terminal effectiveness across different scenarios, from military engagements to police sniper situations. Each step in its development not only addressed specific tactical needs but also leveraged advancements in technology and materials to enhance performance and reliability on the battlefield and in urban scenarios.

RELATEDSubsonic 308 vs 300 Blackout

Precision and Versatility: HOP Munitions’ .308 Winchester Ammunition as an Alternative to the Military Standard

HOP Munitions offers a range of .308 Winchester ammunition that caters to both competitive shooters and those interested in long-range precision. Their 175gr Sierra MatchKing (SMK) and 168gr Hollow Point Boat Tail (HPBT) rounds are precision-engineered to meet the rigorous demands of serious marksmen.

The 175gr SMK rounds leverage the renowned Sierra MatchKing bullets, which are synonymous with exceptional accuracy and consistency. This ammunition is designed for shooters who require precision for competition shooting or demanding long-range applications. The Sierra MatchKing bullets are known for their excellent ballistic coefficients and stable flight characteristics, which are essential for hitting distant targets accurately.

On the other hand, the 168gr HPBT rounds are tailored for those who need reliable, consistent trajectories and reduced drag, ensuring top performance at long ranges. Loaded with high-quality hollow point boat tail bullets, these rounds are meant to deliver impeccable accuracy and consistent performance under various environmental conditions. The use of clean-burning powders and premium components helps maintain the integrity of the rounds, enhancing their reliability and efficacy.

When compared to standard military issues such as the M118LR, HOP Munitions’ offerings could present a viable alternative, particularly for specialized applications outside of the military. While the M118LR is optimized for sniper rifles within military units, featuring stringent specifications for consistency and range, HOP Munitions’ .308 rounds provide similar levels of precision with potentially greater versatility.

308 Win – 175gr SMK – 20 Rounds

For example, the HOP Munitions 175gr SMK is compared favorably to the M118LR used by the military, as both utilize high-performance Sierra MatchKing bullets designed for long-range accuracy. However, HOP’s rounds might offer an advantage for civilian and competitive use, where the highest degrees of precision and repeatability are prized over factors like terminal performance against armored targets.

Moreover, for law enforcement and civilian use where terminal performance and reduced risk of over-penetration are critical, the 168gr HPBT rounds might offer a better alternative. These rounds are designed to provide excellent performance in typical law enforcement engagements, which often occur at less extreme distances than military sniper scenarios.

308 Win – 168gr HPBT – 20 Rounds

In conclusion, while military-grade ammunition like the M118LR is tailored for the specific and stringent demands of military use, HOP Munitions’ .308 Winchester rounds offer high precision and adaptability that might make them preferable in competitive shooting and specialized civilian applications. Our focus on quality components, consistent performance, and specialized bullet designs make these a leading choice for long-range precision shooting.

RELATEDBest Subsonic 308 Ammo For Hunting