.308 Ammo Question

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by gearhead1, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. gearhead1

    gearhead1 New Member

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    I am new here and not sure whether this is the correct place for this question but here it is.
    I have a Savage 10FP .308 and I ordered some ammo for plinking that was advertised as "Federal .308 149gr.". When it arrived I found out that it is 7.62x51mm, XM80C ammo. I am wondering whether it's safe to shoot this in my bolt rifle. I am thinking that this is machine gun ammo. I am aware of the differences between 5.45 and .223 chambers and I also know that the headspace guages for .308 and 7.62x51mm are different. I have spent hours researching this question and I get conflicting answers. I called Clymer (makes headspace gauges) and was told 7.62 is "hotter" than .308 and I read in two other places that .308 is "hotter" than 7.62 by about 5,000 psi. There is a difference in chamber dimensions for sure. I also called Forster and got an answer that totally confused me.
    I don't want to blow up my rifle in my face but I would love to use this ammo if it's safe. The price was right and it looks clean and like fresh production. Does anybody know a "bottom line" answer to my question?
    Thanks
  2. Old Grump

    Old Grump New Member

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    Commercial .308 is loaded to higher pressures than NATO 7.62X51 and the NATO brass walls are thicker than the commercial rounds. You may lose a little accuracy shooting the 7.62 depending on your rifles twist rate but it will be safe to shoot and if it's only plinking ammo you will be fine. Just don't use it for hunting ammo. Fish and Wild Life departments don't much care for the use of FMJ bullets on deer or other large game animals.

    Shoot it and enjoy.

    And welcome to the site gearhead1.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011
  3. jim brady

    jim brady Well-Known Member

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    There is no such animal in American (U.S) Military ammunition as "Machine Gun" ammo. All ammunition loaded for the U.S. Government is loaded to EXACT ammunition specifications for pressure and velocity. There exists NO specification for "Machinegun Only" ammunition.

    I have heard this term applied to European ammo, but I don't know enough about that to confirm or deny it. Having been buying and shooting 9mm ammo for over 50 years, I have heard references made to ammo in that caliber being loaded for sub-machineguns that is hotter than a standard 9X19 load.

    The bottom line is this: if you buy U.S. made 7.62MM Ball ammo, it's going to be just that. Now there are several different types of 7.62MM ammo; like "High Pressure Test", Tracer, M80 Ball, Match M118, Armor Piercing, etc.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011
  4. lawdawg

    lawdawg Member

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  5. jlloyd73

    jlloyd73 New Member

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    .308 or 7.62x51mm is the same ammo. I had the same questions after I bought my Rock River LAR8.

    I believe have the same ammo that you bought also (160 rounds in a 30 cal ammo can???, got mine at the last gunshow). The only issues I have is that my gun prefers a heavier grained bullet due to the rifles twist rate.

    Another thing.....if you plan on reloading this ammo and its the same stuff I have...its Berdan primed.
  6. gearhead1

    gearhead1 New Member

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    Thanks Lawdawg, that link to the Army data sheet told me what I had guessed when I said I thought my M80 was "machine gun" ammo. At least that's how the US Army designates it. What I have has a 2006, Lake City headstamp so I knew it wasn't ancient stuff made to shoot in semi-auto M-14s in the 1950s. I also knew that it wasn't sniper ammo and I wasn't aware of any other current US Military use for 7.62x51mm 149 gr. ammo except in machine guns. I am also aware that it isn't loaded any "hotter" for machine gun use. The data sheet stated the average CUP pressure is 52,000 for the M80 and I looked in my Lee reloading manual and, sure enough, a lot of .308 loaded with bullets from 160gr and up runs at much higher pressures. That confirms what I read about 7.62x51mm, U.S. Military "machine gun" ammo being loaded to lower pressures than .308. The Army calls it machine gun ammo and who am I to argue with the Big Green Machine. There is another round described there with the same bullet weight that is designated Type M62, Machine Gun, overhead fire mission" At 66 years old I am glad I don't have to slither on my belly under that stuff in training! Those data sheets appear to be the definitive guide to military ammo
  7. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    chewt it! itll be fine....
  8. gearhead1

    gearhead1 New Member

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    Palmetto State Armory has a great price on the Lake City, M80, 7.62x51mm ammo (11.00 a box). I talked to an employee there about the feasibility of shooting it in a bolt gun and he said he has a friend who is (or was) a Marine Scout Sniper who has or had 2 zeros for his M40. He had one for his issue 168gr round and another zero for M80 rounds in case he ran out of ammo and had to use "machine gun ammo". That's thinking ahead.
  9. jim brady

    jim brady Well-Known Member

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    Gearhead - what's up with this "machinegun ammo"? The only thing that makes M80 "machinegun ammo" is if it happens to be loaded in links. Otherwise it's M80 7.62mm NATO ammo. Go to the manual that Lawdawg referenced and you will see what I'm talking about.

    The two zero's your friend was talking about is one zero for the M118 Match or Sniper ammo with the heavier 173 grain bullet versus the lighter 149 grain bullet used in the standard M80 ammo.

    I know what I'm talking about from experiance. I was an M60 doorgunner in the land of the "little people" in the late 60s and early 70s, but I also qualified with the M14 in basic and shot it later in formal military competition. I am not picking an arguement with you, just clarifying the point that it is incorrect to classify M80 ammo as "machinegun" ammunition. But go ahead and call it whatever you want. I don't care if you call them "M&Ms" or pretzels. I am no longer an NCO and you are not one of my Troops. Just that the purpose of this Forum is to inform and share correct information, and what you stated was incorrect.

    As far as the 7.62mm Ball, M80 (Overhead Fire Application), if you read the "Purpose:" section, you will see that this is M80 ammunition by selected lots for overhead fire training with machineguns that has been selected for stringent quality control and storage to ensure safety to the troops operating directly under this fire. The loads are exactly the same as any other M80 ammo. That 'M62" you referenced is Tracer ammo, and that M62 stuff was also available in OFA configuration.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011
  10. Old Grump

    Old Grump New Member

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    Calling it machinegun ammo makes it sound scarier. Kind of like thumbhole stocks and bayonet lugs make rifles more deadly because now they can shoot farther, faster and with deadlier bullets. Or calling any accurate scoped centerfire a sniper rifle. If it has sniper in the designation it has to be better. :rolleyes:
  11. Oti-1

    Oti-1 New Member

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    I just bought savage 10 bat. 1&10 twist. I found 147grn for 200/1000. I know is probably light for the twist but I'm hoping to work a load that is consistent at 1000 yds. Did I screw myself by buying those 147's ?? And what are you folks using for 1&10 bolt guns??? Affordable and accurate is the goal
  12. ozo

    ozo Well-Known Member

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    uno mas.......aw crap....
    one more thing, while plinking, etc. with FMJ
    be even more aware of your backstop, as it
    will/may deflect more than any other.
    Just be safe and have fun.
    Surely you won't be using that round at an indoor range,
    but, as you know, most/all indoor ranges disallow the use of
    FMJ period, for ricochet reasons. Just an FYI as others happen on this thread.
  13. lawdawg

    lawdawg Member

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    Some of you military guys correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that pretty much ALL 7.62 NATO ammo produced for military applications was the same (with some exception). Whether being used in a M80 machine gun, M14 rifle, or whatever, it was basically all the same ammo, loaded with the same projectile, the same powder, etc. I know I have been warned about using once-fired military brass for reloading as it is usually fired in a machine gun and therefore the life of the brass may be shortened due to the violent extraction of the still-hot brass during fire sequence. However I'm not aware of any 7.62 ammo being produced exclusively for machine gun usage. In other words the same ammo used in the M80 or other machine guns, is also fired in semi-auto mode in the M14. I understand that the military produces some ammo primarily for use in "high accuracy weapons" for match purposes, and is not designed for use in combat (no crimped primers, commercial hollow point match projectiles, etc). So if you come across some military surplus or mil-spec 7.62 NATO ammo, it was probably designed to be used in any military 7.62 weapon whether fully or semi automatic.
  14. lawdawg

    lawdawg Member

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    BY THE WAY: welcome to the forum gearhead! WE are all here to learn and teach and help each other. I have learned a LOT from these guys in the short time I've been here.
  15. jim brady

    jim brady Well-Known Member

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    That was what I was affraid of. Sometimes a little mis-information throws a monkey wrench into things. I am not the Great Guru on anything, much less military ammunition. I only post my statements on this subject from what I have learned to be true.

    Oti-1, you will be just fine shooting that ammo with your rifle, as long of course that it (your rifle) is in good condition. As you likely know, every rifle has it's own particular ammo that it likes, but I can't see any reason why your ammo should'nt give you respectable accuracy out to 500 to 600 yards. The M80 is not designed for 1000 yard work. That was why the Government went with the heavier 173 to 175 grain Match bullet. Even that heavier bullet is pushing things at that range. Sounds to me like you will want to work up a load with either the Sierra 168 grain Match bullet, or go with the 175 grain Match bullet for longer range use.

    I personally shoot both M118 and M80 (factory and reloads) in my M1A, and I have to admitt that at normal practice at 100 yards I can't tell much difference in the accuracy in either. Sometimes it seems that the standard Ball M80s perform slightly better than the Match M118s in my rifle.

    As far as the brass cases go, Gearhead and Lawdawg were right about most of what you will find once fired on the market has likely been fired from a machinegun. I have used brass like this for years with many reloadings, and it is rare to wear one out. I FL size, ream the primer pockets, trim and tumble it and it's lasted me many fireings.
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