Can You Shoot 7.62×51 Ammo in a .308 Rifle and Vice-Versa?

The vast majority of rifle owners will come across two popular calibers when browsing for their next rifle: 7.62×x51 and .308. But many find themselves wondering whether these two calibers are interchangeable and the big asking can you shoot 7.62×51 ammo in a .308 rifle and vice-versa?

Today, my article will answer that question and provide some insight into the differences between these two calibers.

Details About .308 Rifle

A .308 rifle is a type of firearm that uses the .308 caliber bullet, which is a type of small-caliber rifle round.

  • The .308 round is typically used for hunting, target shooting, and military and law enforcement purposes.
  • The .308 caliber is a versatile round, as it is powerful enough for hunting big game, yet accurate enough for long-range target shooting.
  • The .308 is also a popular choice for self-defense, as it is powerful enough to stop a threat from a reasonable distance.

What Rounds Can a .308 Shoot?

The .308 Winchester can shoot rounds such as .308 Winchester, .243 Winchester, 7mm-08 Remington, .358 Winchester, .260 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, .338 Federal, and .223 Remington.

7.62×51 Ammo: Its Characteristics and Uses

7.62×51 ammo, also known as 7.62 NATO, is a rifle cartridge developed in the 1950s as a standard for small arms among NATO countries. This round is one of the most popular and widely used rifle cartridges in the world. It is used in a wide range of applications from hunting to target shooting to military and police use.


The 7.62×51 is a rimless, bottlenecked rifle cartridge. It has an overall length of 2.75 inches, a case length of 2.015 inches, and a bullet diameter of .308 inches. The 7.62×51 is a high-powered round, with a muzzle velocity of 2,750 feet per second and a muzzle energy of 2,535 foot-pounds.


7.62×51 ammo is used in a variety of applications, from hunting to target shooting to military and police use. It is a popular choice for hunting due to its accuracy and power. In military and police use, the 7.62×51 is used in assault rifles and machine guns. It is also used for sniper rifles in certain applications.

7.62×51 VS .308 Ballistics Chart

7.62×51 and .308 are identical in terms of ballistics. The only difference between them is the way they are measured; 7.62×51 is measured in millimeters while .308 is measured in inches.

When fired, a 7.62×51 and a .308 both have a muzzle velocity of 2,750 feet per second, with an energy of 2,400 foot-pounds.

  •  The bullet will have a velocity of 2,200 feet per second and an energy of 1,500 foot-pounds after traveling 100 yards.
  • After 300 yards, the bullet will have a velocity of 1,820 feet per second and an energy of 970 pounds.

The bullet also has a ballistic coefficient of .473. This means it is more aerodynamic than other bullets, allowing it to travel further with less wind resistance. The bullet’s trajectory is relatively flat, with a maximum range of 1,400 yards and a maximum effective range of 600-700 yards. Its accuracy is excellent, with an average group size of 1.5-2 inches at 100 yards.


  • The 7.62×51 and .308 are extremely similar in terms of ballistics, with only minor differences in the way they are measured.
  • Both are capable of delivering excellent accuracy, range, and power, making them popular choices for hunting and target shooting.
Factors 7.62×51        .308
Muzzle Velocity 2,750 ft/s 2,800 ft/s
Velocity at 100 Yards 2,093 ft/s 2,153 ft/s
Max Point Blank Range 313 yards 330 yards
Maximum Range 3,350 yards 3,500 yards
The energy at 100 Yards 1,520 ft-lbs 1,690 ft-lbs

Can You Shoot 7.62 x51 in a .308 Bolt Action Rifle?

Yes, you can shoot 7.62 x51 in a .308 bolt action rifle, but it is not a good idea. Because-

  • 7.62 x51 is a military round that is slightly higher pressure than the civilian counterpart, the .308.
  • Although they are similar rounds, the higher pressure of the 7.62 x51 could cause excessive wear to the bolt and other parts of the rifle over time.
  • Moreover, the higher pressure of the 7.62 x51 could lead to increased recoil and potentially damage the rifle.

Therefore, it is not okay that you shoot 7.62 x51 in a .308 bolt action rifle.

Can You Shoot A 308 in a 7.62 x39?

No, you cannot shoot a .308 round in a 7.62×39 rifle. The main reason is that the .308 round is much larger than the 7.62×39 and will not fit in the chamber.

Is .308 The Same As 7.62×51 mm?

Yes, .308 and 7.62 x 51mm are the same. The .308 Winchester and 7.62x51mm NATO are the same round, just with different names.

The .308 Winchester was introduced in 1952 and designed to be a civilian round. On the other hand, the 7.62x51mm NATO was introduced in 1954 and designed to be a military round.

  • Both rounds have the same dimensions, with the same diameter (7.82mm) and case length (51mm).
  • The only difference is that the 7.62x51mm NATO is loaded to a higher pressure, producing a higher muzzle velocity and higher chamber pressure than the .308 Winchester.

Difference Between 7.62×51 and .308

The 7.62×51 and 308 are both cartridges used in rifles, but they are not the same. The 7.62×51 is more commonly known as the 7.62 NATO, while the 308 is more commonly known as the 308 Winchester.

The two cartridges are dimensionally similar, but they are not the same.

  • The 7.62×51 has a shorter case length and a slightly smaller case diameter than the 308.
  • The 7.62×51 also has a slightly higher chamber pressure than the 308.
  • The two cartridges also use different bullets and have different velocities.


Can You Shoot 7.62×51 in a 308 AR-10?

No, you cannot shoot 7.62×51 in a 308 AR10. The 7.62×51 is a full-powered rifle round, while the 308 AR10 is designed to fire the lower-powered .308 Winchester cartridge.

Can You Shoot 7.62×51 in a 30-06?

No, you cannot shoot 7.62×51 in a 30-06. They are two different calibers and are not interchangeable.

Can Sig 716i Tread Shoot 308?

No, a Sig 716i cannot shoot .308 ammunition. This rifle is chambered in .223 Remington/5.56 NATO and is not compatible with .308 rounds.

Final Saying

7.62x51mm and .308 Winchester ammunition should not be used interchangeably in a rifle chambered for either of the two cartridges. Yes, you can use 7.62 x 51 mm ammo in a .308 but the reverse can’t happen.

However, there can be a slight decrease in accuracy and performance due to slight differences in their dimensions when using one cartridge in a rifle chambered for the other. Therefore, it is always good to use ammunition specifically designed for the rifle.