338 Lapua vs 308: A Comprehensive Comparison

When it comes to long-range shooting and precision rifle cartridges, two popular options that often come up in discussions are the .338 Lapua and the .308 Winchester. Both cartridges have their own strengths and purposes, but they cater to different needs and preferences. In this article, we will delve into the characteristics, performance, and applications of both the .338 Lapua and the .308 Winchester to help you make an informed decision about which one is the right choice for your shooting requirements.

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!

Table of Contents

  1. Overview
  2. Ballistics and Performance
  3. Recoil and Shooting Experience
  4. Long-Range Accuracy
  5. Ammunition Availability and Cost
  6. Applications and Use Cases
  7. 338 Lapua vs 308: Pros and Cons
  8. Conclusion
  9. FAQs

1. Overview

The .338 Lapua and the .308 Winchester are both highly respected cartridges in the shooting community, but they differ significantly in terms of size, power, and range. The .338 Lapua is a large-caliber, high-powered cartridge designed specifically for long-range shooting and military sniping applications. On the other hand, the .308 Winchester, also known as the 7.62x51mm NATO, is a versatile and widely used round that offers a balance between power, accuracy, and recoil.

2. Ballistics and Performance

The .338 Lapua is known for its exceptional long-range ballistics and ability to maintain energy and velocity at extended distances. With its larger bullet diameter and higher muzzle energy, it delivers excellent terminal performance and offers a flatter trajectory than the .308 Winchester. The .308, although not as powerful as the .338 Lapua, still performs admirably at intermediate distances and is renowned for its accuracy and versatility.

3. Recoil and Shooting Experience

Due to its increased power and larger cartridge size, the .338 Lapua ammo generates significantly more recoil compared to the .308 Winchester. This can impact the shooter’s comfort and ability to maintain accuracy during follow-up shots. On the other hand, the .308 Winchester produces less recoil, making it more manageable for shooters of varying experience levels.


4. Long-Range Accuracy

When it comes to long-range accuracy, the .338 Lapua has the edge over the .308 Winchester. Its ballistic capabilities, combined with the higher sectional density and better ballistic coefficients of its bullets, result in superior accuracy and retained energy at extended distances. While the .308 Winchester is still capable of delivering accurate shots at long ranges, it falls short compared to the .338 Lapua ammo.

5. Ammunition Availability and Cost

One crucial factor to consider is ammunition availability and cost. The .308 Winchester has been around for decades and is widely available in various bullet weights and types. It is also more affordable compared to the .338 Lapua, which is a specialized cartridge and generally comes with a higher price tag. If cost and accessibility are important considerations, the .308 Winchester offers a significant advantage.

338 lapua vs 308

6. Applications and Use Cases

The .338 Lapua is primarily designed for long-range precision shooting and is favored by military snipers and long-range competitors. Its ability to engage targets at extreme distances makes it an ideal choice for applications where maximum range, accuracy, and terminal performance are essential. The .308 Winchester, while also suitable for long-range shooting, is more versatile and commonly used for hunting, target shooting, and tactical applications at moderate distances.

  1. .338 lapua vs .308: Pros and Cons

Both the .338 Lapua and the .308 ammo have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each cartridge:

.338 Lapua Pros:

  • Exceptional long-range ballistics and retained energy at extended distances.
  • Superior accuracy due to its high sectional density and better ballistic coefficients.
  • Ideal for military sniping, long-range competitions, and applications requiring maximum range and terminal performance.

.338 Lapua Cons:

  • Higher recoil, which may affect shooter comfort and follow-up shot accuracy.
  • Limited availability and higher cost compared to the .308 Winchester.
  • Overkill for moderate-range shooting applications.

.308 Winchester Pros:

  • Versatility and widespread availability in various bullet weights and types.
  • Balanced performance, offering a good compromise between power, accuracy, and recoil.
  • Suitable for hunting, target shooting, and tactical applications at moderate distances.

.308 Winchester Cons:

  • Inferior long-range ballistics compared to the .338 Lapua.
  • Limited terminal performance at extreme distances.
  • Not as powerful as the .338 Lapua for specialized long-range applications.

8. Conclusion

In conclusion, choosing between the .338 Lapua and the .308 ammo depends on your specific shooting needs and preferences. If you prioritize long-range precision shooting, require maximum energy retention, and are willing to invest in specialized ammunition, the .338 Lapua is the cartridge of choice. On the other hand, if versatility, accessibility, and affordability are important factors, the .308 Winchester provides a well-rounded option for various shooting applications.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Q: Which cartridge is better for long-range shooting, the .338 Lapua or the .308 Winchester? A: The .338 Lapua excels in long-range shooting due to its superior ballistics and retained energy.
  2. Q: Can the .308 Winchester be used for hunting? A: Absolutely! The .308 ammo is a popular choice for hunting medium to large game.
  3. Q: Is the .338 Lapua suitable for beginners? A: The .338 Lapua’s recoil can be challenging for beginners, so it’s generally recommended for experienced shooters.
  4. Q: What is the typical cost difference between .338 Lapua ammo and .308 Winchester ammunition? A: .338 Lapua ammunition is generally more expensive than .308 Winchester due to its specialized nature.
  5. Q: Are both cartridges readily available in most stores? A: While the .308 Winchester is widely available, .338 Lapua ammunition may have limited availability in some locations.