If you are going to take on big game and dangerous game, you’d better have two things: a reliable .308 rifle and reliable 308 Win ammunition. And if you are using a .308 Winchester rifle for large and/or dangerous game it had better be really reliable ammunition. Federal Vital-Shok with 180 grain Nosler Partition bullets is that reliable ammunition, designed to put big animals down and keep them down.
Okay, so talk is cheap, right? It’s easy enough to sit here and extol the virtues of this loading of the venerable .308 Winchester but I’d be the first to admit that I’d much rather have a rifle that said “.300 Winchester Magnum” on the receiver. This is not to say that the .308 Winchester isn’t a fantastic short-action cartridge because it certainly is. It slays Whitetails with great vengeance and puts a lot of holes in paper with tremendous precision. But they are not usually equated with big game hunting.
This may be an unfair prejudice on a very versatile cartridge, and Federal Vital-Shok with the 180 grain Nosler Partition may sway hunters to reconsider the applicability of their “medium-duty” rifle (think: .308 Winchester as an F-150 versus .300 Win Mag as an F-350). Well, the tow rating on the .308 has increased dramatically.
Vital-Shok 180 grain in .308 is listed at a very respectable 2,570 f/ps at the muzzle, dropping incrementally to around 1,700 fps at 500 yards. Energy is listed as 2,640 ft/lbs at the muzzle, 1,202 ft/lbs at 500 yards. At the increments they consider average range, which are 300 yards and under you can expect to zero at the standard 100 yards with -4.7” of drop at 200 yards and -16.4” drop at 300 yards. Should you plan to shoot out to 500 yards, plan on about -54.7” drop.
Ballistically, the .308 Winchester offering of 180 grain Vital-Shok with the Nosler Partition is very similar to the .30-06 offering using the same bullet. So close that the big game you are looking to tag will not likely know the difference, but your shoulder sure might. Check this one out while you have the chance for the next time you look to bag something a little bigger than Whitetail.
Posted On: 11/22/2016 By: Vin Schager