What’s the Main Difference Between 30-30 Winchester vs 308 Winchester Cartridges

30 30 Winchester and 308 Winchester cartridges

30-30 vs. 308 cartridges may not make a difference to the untrained eye, but it’s not the case for professional hunters. They are both unique and may be superior to each other depending on different aspects.

If you can’t tell the difference between the cartridges, read to the end of this post. We have compared the two cartridges to highlight the differences.

30 30 Winchester and 308 Winchester Cartridges: Overview

30-30 Winchester

30-30 Winchester ammunition
30-30 Winchester ammunition

The US Army used .30-30 ammunition at least half a century ago before using 7.62 * 51 mm NATO ammunition.

This ammo is very useful in hunting dangerous animals, such as big tigers, lions, and elephants. Therefore, its overwhelming power could exceed the needs of a deer hunting game.

308 Winchester

Many people consider the .308 Winchester a small .30-06 bullet. Initially, the US military used it during the second world war.

Nowadays, this cartridge is trendy in hunting. It is ideal for hunting small and medium animals in North America.

The 308 Winchester proved to be very effective during the Vietnam War and is also the best seller in the hunter market.

30-30 Winchester Pros & Cons


  • Less recoil
  • Heavier
  • Less expensive
  • Accurate in short-range shooting
  • Easier to find


  • Less power
  • Less aerodynamics

308 Winchester Pros & Cons 


  • Higher velocity
  • More stopping power
  • Lighter bullet
  • More aerodynamics
  • More penetration


  • Recoils more

What’s the Main Difference Between 30 30 vs. 308 


What’s the Main Difference Between 30 30 vs. 308 

During testing, we used the same bullet weight of 150 grains and the same rifle weight of 7.5 inches. The 30-30 velocity was 2,364 ft/s, while the 308 velocity was 2,800 ft/s.

Our tests have shown that the 30 30 cartridge has less recoil velocity and energy than the 308 one.

Bullet Weights

The 308 Winchester cartridge features a higher velocity than its 30-30 counterpart as it is a more lightweight and smaller cartridge. The bullet case on the 30-30 Winchester is bigger, making it more effective yet heavier.

As the 308 cartridge comes with more bullet mass options than its 30-30 counterpart, it has a benefit in bullet weight.

Loading Type

The 308 Winchester cartridge features more bullet weight options for factory loads than 30-30 cartridge, which is restricted to RN or  FP for most factory loads.

The 30-30 ammunition range from 115 to 170 grains but tends to be heavier due to its wider diameter. Meanwhile, the 308 Winchester cartridge weights range from 125 to 185 grains, making it slimmer and lighter.

Long Distance Shooting

The 308 Winchester cartridge features greater speed, ballistics, aerodynamics, and powder capacity than its 30-30 counterpart, making it ideal for long-range shooting.

The 308 cartridge is more lightweight and features faster acceleration, allowing it to travel further before hitting the ground.


The 308 Winchester is thicker, stronger at the base, and operates at a chamber pressure. Overall, a 30-30 bullet features about 2,370 fps velocity, while the 308 cartridges hit at a speed of around 2,680 fps.

Besides having a higher velocity, the 308 Winchester also features a greater muzzle velocity, about 2,620 ft-lbs, while the 30-30 is 1890 ft-lbs. As a result, the 308 cartridge comes with higher stopping power.


At short range, the 308 and 30-30 cartridges have the same performance. But the 308 cartridge does more accurately for target and distance shooting.

Thanks to its better trajectory and higher velocity, shooting a 308 bullet will still be more accurate at four hundred yards than the 30-30 Winchester that works well at about 200 yards.


The 308 Winchester is ideal for accurate shooting at longer ranges than its 30-30 counterpart as it features more endurance and incredible velocity in the air. On the flip side, the 30-30 will be a terrific option for short-range hunting.


The 308 cartridges come with more oomph and a higher velocity than the 30-30. So it features a flatter trajectory.

The 308 Winchester has more powder propellant, making its muzzle velocity more powerful when shooting.

So the 30-30 cartridge holds less powder and features fewer aerodynamic bullets than its 308 cousins.


The .308 bullet price is less when compared to the .30-08 bullet as it utilizes less brass for shooting various rounds.


The .30-06 cartridge will work well for hunting huge animals, such as crocodiles and elephants since it has the extra power to kill an elephant with one shot.

The .308 cartridge is ideal for small to medium hunting games but not dangerous animals.

Comparison Table

The 308 Winchester The 30-30 Winchester
Model 308 Winchester 30-30 Winchester
Brand Winchester Winchester
Bullet Size (inches) 0.3 .308
Shell Case Length (inches) 2.015 2.029
Bullet Diameter (inches) 0.277 .308
Velocity (per two hundred yards) (fts) 2,648 1,916
Energy (per two hundred yards) (ft/lbs) 1,897 1,304
Muzzle Velocity (fts) 2,648 2,400
Muzzle Energy (ft/lbs) 2,648 2,046
Price Lower price Higher price
Best for Hunt huge animals, such as crocodiles and elephants Small to medium hunting games,

Which is the Most Effective in the Field?

The 308 Winchester works well for hunting deer
The 308 Winchester works well for hunting deer

Aside from the close distance use and light recoil, the 308 cartridge is ideal for big hunting games. At two hundred yards, the 30-30 cartridge drops almost 8-inches, while the 308 one can fire flat.

Generally, the 308 cartridge is a better option for long-distance and large-scale hunting games.

Furthermore, the ability to throw a 150 grain or more bullet at two hundred yards downrange without fall is one of the essential elements of the 308 calibers for hunting deer, moose, pigs, antelope, and elk.

The 30-30 Winchester works well for a short-range deer rifle but will lack the power required for a larger target.

30 30 vs. 308: Which Is Best for You?

If speed, ability, and power are your priority to shoot at longer ranges, the 308 cartridge is your best bet. On the other hand, the 308 cartridges can do everything its 30-30 counterpart does.

On the flip side, if you need something favor deer hunting or target shooting, you will most likely be shooting under two hundred yards. In this case, the 30-30 ammo is the way to go.

To sum up, your choice will depend on the length of your shooting distance, what hunting activity you prefer, and where you want to fire.

Wrapping It Up

The 308 and 30-30 cartridges are top-rated among shooters and hunters.

Many hunters consider the 30-30 cartridge the sole one they want to use in a lever-action rifle. On the other hand, the 308 Winchester is supported by various firms, both sports and the military.

There is a significant difference when comparing 308 and 30-30, but it will depend on your needs when deciding which cartridge is best for you. Both the cartridges have pros and cons.

We are confident you will make the best decision through the above information. Thanks for reading! Please share this article if it was helpful to you!

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