308 vs 30-30 – Is One Better Than The Other in 2023?

30-30 vs 308
Alfred Mendoza

A shooting buddy was talking about buying his first lever-action rifle and we got into a discussion about .30-.30 vs .308 ammo. Although both cartridges are the same size, the same rifle cannot be used with both. Do you want to know why? Read on to find out.

While both the 308 and 30-30 Win are smokeless powder cartridges, they differ in most things, such as their case types and sizes. The 308 features a rimless bottlenecked case while the 30-30 has a rimmed bottleneck cartridge case type and a wider nose diameter, making both ammo NOT interchangeable.

The 308 is best suited for short-action rifles, bolt action rifles, and machine guns, while the 30-30 is chambered to the lever-action, pump, and bolt-action rifles. The 308 has a greater case capacity and internal dimensions for higher chamber pressure operations and greater bullet velocity. If we were to talk about their price, the 30-30 ammo is less expensive than the 308.

Specification Chart

30-30 Winchester

  • Brand: Winchester
  • Model: 30-30 Winchester
  • Bullet Size: .308 inches
  • Bullet Diameter: .308 inches
  • Shell Case Length: 2.029 inches
  • Energy (per 200 yards): 1,304 ft/lbs
  • Velocity (per 200 yards): 1,916 fts
  • Muzzle Energy: 2,046 ft/lbs
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,400 fts

308 Winchester

  • Brand: Winchester
  • Model: 308 Winchester
  • Bullet Size: 0.3 inches
  • Bullet Diameter: 0.277 inches
  • Shell Case Length: 2.015 inches
  • Energy (per 200 yards): 1,897 ft-lbf
  • Velocity (per 200 yards): 2,387 ft/s
  • Muzzle Energy: 2,648 ft-lbf
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,820 ft/s

Detailed Comparison


The 308 is stronger, thicker at the base, and operates at a chamber pressure. Generally, a 30-30 round has a velocity of about 2,370 fps, while 308 travels at a speed of 2,680 fps.

The .308 also has a greater muzzle velocity, which means that the .308 has higher stopping power. Ballistically speaking, the .308 takes a win.

For medium-sized game, read this 270 and 308 ammo comparison here


For target shooting, distance shooting, and hog hunting at long range, the .308 is a better choice since it has a higher velocity and more power than the 30-30. For hog hunting and short-range hunting, the 30-30 would be a good choice.


As mentioned, the .308 has higher velocity and more “oomph” than the .30-.30. Therefore, it also has a flatter trajectory.

The .308 also holds more powder, which makes its muzzle velocity more powerful when fired. The 30-30 holds less powder and is less aerodynamic than the .308.


The performance of .30-.30 vs .308 in short-range shooting is almost the same. But for distance shooting and target shooting, the .308 performs more accurately. With its higher velocity and better trajectory, .308 is still accurate out to 500 yards, while .30-.30 ammunition is limited to the 200-yard range.

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Long Distance Shooting

The 308 has higher ballistics, higher velocity, more powder, and has higher aerodynamics, so it is a better choice for long-distance shooting than the 30-30. Testing out both ammo, we noticed that the 308 has a lesser bullet drop. Since the 308 bullet has more velocity and is lighter and slimmer, it reaches farther distance before dropping on the ground.

Loading Type

reloading 308 winchester

The .308 has more bullet weight options for factory loads than the .30-.30, which is restricted to flat-point bullets (known as FP or the “cowboy bullet”) or round-nose bullets for most factory loads, limiting its long-range effectiveness.  

The .30-.30 bullets range from 115 – 170 grain but are somewhat heavier because of its wider diameter, while the .308 Win’s bullet weights range from 125 – 185 grain and are lighter and slimmer.

Bullet Weights

Since the .308 is a slimmer and lighter bullet, it has more velocity than the .30-.30. The .30-.30 has a larger bullet case, making it powerful but heavier. The 308 has an edge in bullet weight because it has more weight options than the 30-30.


We used the same 150-grain weight for comparing both. .30-.30 has less recoil energy because of its lower velocity than the .308.

30-30 Winchester Pros & Cons



308 Winchester Pros & Cons



.30-.30 Win or .308 Win? We Recommend....

After carefully testing out the .30-.30 vs .308 Win, our team recommends the .308 because it has a higher velocity, better ballistics, and better aerodynamics, making it a better choice for long-distance shooting. Although it may recoil a little more, it has a flatter trajectory and more penetration. Having more bullet weight options is also a plus for the .308.

If you’re looking for a good polymer magazine, check out this Troy BattleMag review

308 winchester

Our #1 Recommendation

.308 Winchester

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