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Best 308 Ammo for Hunting & Target Shooting

The .308 Winchester is a do-all round. Whether you intend to hunt big game animals or enter long-range precision shooting competitions, the 308 has you covered.

With that said, the best 308 ammo varies for each application, which is where I can help.

After hunting and target shooting with the 308 many times, I understand the hype regarding this caliber.

Using the correct ammo, I've witnessed it take down deer and elk and accurately make incredibly long shots.

I know you're in a hurry, so I'll shoot you straight and won't waste your time.

The best 308 ammo for deer hunters is Winchester Deer Season XP because it has less recoil but maintains its speed and terminal ballistics.

For elk hunting, I would use Remington Core-Lokt because its higher bullet weight will allow for deep penetration into the large animal.

The best ammo for long-range shooters looking for sub-MOA rounds will be the Nosler Ballistic Tip because the light bullet weight gives less recoil when shooting max distances.

Let's dive deeper into each round and a few honorable mentions.

Best 308 Ammo for Deer Hunting



Winchester Deer Season XP 150-Grain Extreme Point

Specs

• Casing: Brass
• Bullet Type: Polymer-Tipped
• Bullet Weight: 150gr
• Muzzle Velocity: 2,820 fps
• Muzzle Energy: 2,648 ft-lbs

Pros

• Less kick than heavier bullets
• Fast
• Excellent terminal performance
• Reasonably priced

Cons

• Less than ideal for other big game animals, such as elk and moose

Why We Chose It

The Winchester Deer Season XP 150gr are ideal for whitetail deer hunting because they're fast, reasonably priced, and have less recoil than heavier bullets.

Winchester is the namesake of the 308, which means they should be trusted to make some of the best ammunition for this caliber. However, it's wise to note that Winchester Ammunition and Winchester firearms are separate companies.

The polymer-tipped bullets give hollow point bullets better performance than traditional hollow points.

150-grain bullets are plenty heavy enough to harvest a deer ethically. With the high-ballistic coefficient of 308 bullets in general, you'll be able to take longer shots without worrying about wounding the animal.

Though 308 hunting rounds are not cheap, the Winchester Deer Season 150gr XP comes at an affordable price, so you can use it for hunting hogs in the offseason without breaking the bank.

Honorable Mentions

With a heavier bullet, the Hornady American Whitetail 165-grain InterLock SP will have slightly more kick than the Winchester Deer Season 150gr and lower muzzle velocity.

However, this soft-point bullet has higher muzzle energy, which means it will carry more power to the target.

If you're leary of polymer-tipped bullets, these are the rounds for you because they offer similar ballistics in a soft-point bullet at the same price.

A slightly more expensive option is the Federal Fusion 150-grain 308 hunting bullets. They have an identical bullet velocity and somewhat more energy, but they're the same bullet weight, so you should feel an equal amount of recoil.

These rounds are soft-point bullets which are suitable deer hunting bullets.

The Remington Core-Lokt Tipped 150-grain has better ballistics than the other 308 hunting ammo. The primary downfall it has is the price. It's the most expensive 308 ammo for deer hunting.

For deer hunting, it's not a significant concern, as you shouldn't shoot a box of ammo in a season. However, when you transition to the offseason and still want to use it for hunting hogs or varmints, the price of ammo is more of a concern.

Best .308 Ammo for Elk Hunting

Remington Core-Lokt Tipped 180-grain

Specs

• Casing: Brass
• Bullet Type: Polymer-tipped
• Bullet Weight: 180gr
• Muzzle Velocity: 2,640 fps
• Muzzle Energy: 2,785 ft-lbs

Pros

• A favorite amongst hunters
• Trusted brand
• Excellent ballistics compared to other hunting rounds.

Cons

• Expensive

Why We Chose It

The 180gr Remington Core-Lokt is consistently a favorite for big game hunting, such as elk, black bear, and moose.

The bullet has enough stopping power to ethically harvest large animals without having an unbearable recoil.

Remington is a brand that many hunters and shooters trust because they consistently produce high-quality factory-loaded ammo.

The downside to this ammo is the price. The cost begins to add up quickly if you plan to do a lot of practice and hunt with these rounds.

Honorable Mentions

If the twist rate of your barrel prefers a lighter bullet, you might need to try Hornady Precision Hunter 178-grain ELD-X. The ballistics are not as good as the Remington Core-Lokt; however, they're still within a reasonable range to take down an elk.

The price is the same for both rounds, so it boils down to preference. Hornady is a well-known ammunition brand, so you can trust you'll be buying dependable ammo, no matter what conditions you're hunting.

Speaking of ammo price make sure to check out our stock of Hornady 308 ammo for more options.

Though my first preference for big game hunting is generally heavy bullets, the Federal Premium Trophy Bonded Tip 165-grain has more than enough force to make any elk hunt successful.

As expected, these rounds have less muzzle energy but a higher muzzle velocity. The Federal Premium name is a trusted brand but comes at a premium price; these rounds are the most expensive 308 ammo for elk hunting.

Best 308 Ammo for Target Shooting

165-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip

Specs

• Casing: Brass
• Bullet Type: Polymer-tipped
• Bullet Weight: 165gr
• Muzzle Velocity: 2,800 fps
• Muzzle Energy: 2,871 ft-lbs

Pros

• Fast
• High muzzle energy
• High-quality bullets
• Reloadable

Cons

• Expensive

Why We Chose It

Shooters recognize Nosler as one of the best bullet and ammunition manufacturers. Their products often set the bar that other brands strive to achieve.

The 165-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip is ideal for long-range target shooting. If you're just getting into competitive shooting, then it's time to start sending these factory-loaded rounds downrange.

As you progress, it'll be easier to switch to handloads, especially if you're using a Nosler Reloading guide.

The fast, high-energy bullets will better maintain a flat trajectory, which is what you need for long-distance shooting.

The worst feature of this ammo is the price, but if you want the best, you'll have to pay for it.

Honorable Mentions

The Sierra MatchKing Competition 168-grain HPBT is another match-grade ammunition, though it doesn't have the ballistic performance of the Nosler 165gr Ballistic Tip ammo.

The Boat Tail (BT) bullets are more aerodynamic than traditional hollow-point bullets, so you'll have increased accuracy during the competition.

These are very expensive, so they're not intended to be plinking ammo unless you've got money to burn.

If you're looking for some ammo that will allow you to enjoy a fun day of shooting at the range, Prvi Partizan 145-grain FMJBT should be your choice.

The lightweight bullets are less than ideal for long-range shooting, but they're fast and don't have as much recoil, plus it's challenging to beat the price.

You won't have to sell an arm and a leg just to buy a few boxes of ammo.

The Black Hills Gold Ammunition 150-grain SST is on the expensive end of the spectrum, but it's much cheaper than Sierra MatchKing. The Black Hills 150gr SST offers less recoil due to the lighter bullet, and the ballistics are better than the Sierra MatchKing 168gr HPBT.

However, it still isn't as ballistically sound as the Nosler 165gr Ballistic Tip.

For the price, it's dang near impossible to beat Sellier & Bellot 150gr SPCE. It's a consistent shooting round at a reasonable price. So you can spend more hours at the range without draining your 401K and get excellent groupings.

Continue reading the full guide on the best 308 ammo for hunting and target shooting here.

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