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Why do so many people like the .308 for "short action"? I mean, it really only takes one shot to kill a deer if shot in the vita

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  • Why do so many people like the .308 for "short action"? I mean, it really only takes one shot to kill a deer if shot in the vita

    Why do so many people like the .308 for "short action"? I mean, it really only takes one shot to kill a deer if shot in the vitals. why does it matter if you have a short action? -The Kid

  • #2
    A "short action" applies to bolt actions. A short action accommodates a shorter fire arm length and shorter bolt "throw".
    A short action can't (won't) eject a long cartridge. (.300 Win Mag)
    A long action has feed problems due to the excess space between cartridge head and the bolt face.

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    • #3
      Also, short actions are typically lighter than long actions.

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      • #4
        Most hunters Ah have met couldn't hit the broadside of a barn from the inside, and they know it.

        They want a quick follow-up shot or two...

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        • #5
          I own long and short bolt action rifles chambered for appropriate cartridges. Consider a common comparison, the .308 Win (short action) versus the .30-'06 (long action), or the 7mm-08 vs. the .280 Rem.
          The long action requires more metal (more weight) and a longer bolt throw. Is that significant? It depends on individual preference and the performance of the cartridge.
          If your carrying your rifle over hilly or steep terrain, you may prefer to shave weight wherever you can. A few ounces here and there will help, so you choose a lighter barrel contour, a shorter action, different scope & mounts, even hollow out the stock at the buttstock a bit.
          While I agree that it takes one well-placed shot to kill a deer, a follow-up shot is often necessary or desirable. If you're like most of us, you begin to cycle your bolt while the rifle is still on your shoulder, but if you prefer to drop the butt of your rifle a bit to cycle it, the fact remains that the physical necessity of opening and fully withdrawing the bolt to eject the empty, then shoving the bolt forward to chamber another cartridge cannot be avoided.
          You will notice the difference with a long action. If you've ever short-stroked a bolt (especially on a controlled-feed action like a Mauser), the shorter bolt throw may make a difference.
          It makes little sense to choose a long action for a shorter cartridge. You choose the action that suits the cartridge. You choose the cartridge for the benefits it offers.
          I've taken game with standard and magnum cartridges in long actions as well as cartridges of short/medium length in shorter actions. It makes no difference to the game animal, but the choice of rifle and cartridge (as an assembly) may make a difference to me.
          If I choose a light, fast-handling woods rifle for the Northwest or Northeast, I'll probably pick a shorter action. If I'm hunting pronghorns in Wyoming or elk in northern New Mexico, I'd probably opt for a rifle that will go the distance, a longer cartridge. The choices exist and we make them with our experience and checkbook in mind. I used a bolt action .30-'06 for everything (including pest control) for 18 years. I have no criticism of longer cartridges or the actions that accommodate them, but options exist and you choose what you prefer.
          The .308 Win does everything my .30-'06 did, with the capability of fitting into a more compact rifle. If that matters to you, your choices are simplified!

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          • #6
            Ok Thanks.
            -The Kid

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            • #7
              Just to add to the excellent comments that have already been given.

              Short action cartridges are less than 2.8" in overall length. Some examples include a 308, 7mm08, 243, 22-250, 223, 300 WSM, 270 WSM.

              Long action cartridges are cartridges that have a maximum overall length of 3.340". A few examples of long action cartridges are the 30-06, 270, 280 Rem, 7mm Rem Mag, 300 Win Mag.

              Magnum length cartridges are those that have a maximum cartridge overall length of 3.6". Some examples include the 300 Weatherby, 300 H&H, 375 H&H, 416 Rigby.

              Hopefully that doesn't muddy the waters to bad, and along with the other comments made, gives you a better understanding of cartridges and possible uses in rifles.

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              • #8
                I have had 2 of the .308's and they were both dandy. Excellent North Woods guns. One was the Browning BLR in .308 and the other was a Remington 788 in .308. Easy to carry and quick handling rifles with lots of power.

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                • #9
                  I think most favor the .308 for characteristics other than "short action". It is a very effective cartridge for deer hunting out to about 300 yards. It is also one of the best cartridges for long range target shooting. It has mild recoil and is relatively easy to shoot making it popular with hunters that are young, female or slight of frame. The short action rifles are a little lighter than their long action counterparts and they have a slightly shorter bolt throw. These attributes make little difference to me. I really can't tell the difference in which rifle I carry and I've learned that with a big buck in the cross hairs, I have no problem reloading with any throw length.

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                  • #10
                    When you only shoot them once, action length is of litttle consequence. Like DakotaMan said, it is a great cartridge out to 300 yards or so. For woods hunting ranges of 100 yards or less, I prefer the .300 Savage or .358 Winchester. Not quite as fast as the .308 but plenty for expansion and not as much chance for massive meat damage.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bayouwoof View Post
                      Most hunters Ah have met couldn't hit the broadside of a barn from the inside, and they know it.

                      They want a quick follow-up shot or two...
                      In my humble opinion, most of the interest in .308 is the fact that it is a standard NATO caliber (7.62). Used in the M14, but I believe the most demand is for the famous Remington 700, first used in the early years of the Vietnam conflict as a USMC Sniper rifle (the M40). The Remington 700 ADL .308 was paired with a Redfield 3x9 AccuTrac scope, made history, and is still used today, with upgraded stocks, scopes, etc. Everyone seems to be wanting to own (build) one!

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