Looking into resolving the shortcomings the US Army experienced during World War II, firearm manufacturers raced to create a better version of the .30-06 Springfield, which performed relatively poorly, especially in adapting to semi-automatic rifles. In the early 1950s, these experimentations led to the development of the T65 series, thanks to the .300 Savage as the base platform. Around this time, Winchester saw the potential of this newly developed cartridge and thus began production for the civilian market, introducing the.308 Winchester in 1952. The US Army released its version under the 7.62x51mm NATO two years later.

Following the successful commercialization of the .308 Winchester, notably popular among the hunters, the firearm manufacturer also released its Model 70, Model 88, and Model 100 rifles designed to chamber the new cartridge.

Since then, the .308 Winchester rose to prominence in the short-action, big-game hunting rounds worldwide. Consequently, it has created a considerable debate among the hunters and gun owners community on which bullet is stronger between the .308 Winchester or the .30-06 Springfield, or often against the 7.62x51mm NATO—like that golden cousin of yours that your parents always compare you to. However, the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturer’s Institute (SAAMI) consider loading a .308 Winchester into a 7.62x51mm NATO-dedicated weapon unsafe since the former usually packs high pressure than the latter service rounds.

comparing 30 caliber bullets
From left to right: 9.3×62mm, .30-06 Springfield, 7.92×57mm Mauser, 6.5×55mm, and .308 Winchester cartridges. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

Aside from hunting, the .308 Winchester is also typically used for target shooting, military sniping, and police sharpshooting.