The .303 British and .308 Winchester cartridges are very similar in many respects.

The .308 British is a rimmed, bottleneck cartridge while .308 Winchester is a smokeless rimless cartridge. Both of them, however, is bottlenecked. The .303 British was released in 1889 for the Lee-Metford rifle, while the .308 Winchester was developed in 1952 for the Winchester Model 70. Both cartridges are popular for hunting and target shooting.

So, which one is the better options between .303 British vs .308 Winchester? Glad you asked, let’s find that out together, shall we?

.303 British Vs .308 Winchester – Key Differences

303 british vs .308 winchester

Cartridge Design

The .303 British was developed in 1888 and is used widely in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries. It is a rimmed, bottlenecked cartridge with a rim diameter of .473 inches and a case length of 2.14 inches.

It is loaded with a .312-inch diameter bullet and is available in a variety of bullet weights and types. The .308 Winchester was introduced in 1952 and is one of the most popular cartridges in the United States. It is a rimmed, smokeless powder, and bottlenecked cartridge with a rim diameter of .473 inches and a case length of 2.015 inches.

It is loaded with a .308-inch diameter bullet and is available in a variety of bullet weights and types.Both the .303 British and .308 Winchester cartridges have a variety of uses.

They are both suitable for hunting and target shooting.


When it comes to ballistics, the .303 British and .308 Winchester are very similar.

The .303 British has a muzzle velocity of 2,770 ft./sec., while the .308 Winchester has a muzzle velocity of 3,100 ft/s.

If you were to use heavier bullets, then the speed will differ a lot. For example, a 185 gr .308 can reach only 2,510 ft/s. On the other hand, a 180 gr .303 British can reach up to 2570 ft/s.

The energy of each cartridges differ a lot from the weight of the bullet. The highest you can get on .303 British is 2,636 ft⋅lbf and 2,718 ft⋅lbf on the .308!


In terms of accuracy, both of them are quite similar and can shoot long range. Thanks to their monstrous speed and energy, they are often used for hunting medium to large-game competition.

Speaking of competition, they are both accurate enough to take you to victory on a target shooting competition as well. The flat trajectory on both helps them to reach the target placed at long-range.

While the .303 British has slightly flatter trajectory, they both have similar range. In short, you cannot differentiate the two in terms of their said accuracy.


While purchasing a new weapon and cartridge, one of the first things we look at is the recoil of it. If the recoil is too much for a newbie to handle, they will steer clear of it. Thank to the design and material of each of these cartrdiges, neither of them have any crazy high recoil.

If you are using a combination of light rifle and heavy cartridge, then your recoil case will be worse than a balanced user.


They are both excellent choices when it comes to being versatile. As I have mentioned above a couple of times, they are both suitable for hunting and competitive shooting. Due to their price-tag, they are quite good option for plinking and casual target praciting as well.

They are both quite fast and powerful. That’s why game-hunting is not off the menu either. Whether, you are a hunter or a shooter, you will enjoy either of them. Don’t worry about that!

.303 British Vs .308 Winchester – Similarities

In terms of performance, they are nearly identical. Besides that, they don’t share much of a resemblance to one another.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a .303 a good hunting rifle?

Depending on the rifle you go for, the .303 British is an excellent choice for hunting!

Is .303 Savage the same as .303 British?

They are not identical or interchangeable. The .303 Savage is an american made cartridge that is quite similar to .303 British in terms of size. As the rim size of .303 savage is smaller than .303 British, they are not interchangeable with one another.

Can you hunt deer with a 303?

Yes, you can. The .303 British is powerful and fast enough to land you a deer on your hunting session with relative ease. It’s a great choice for mid-range hunting.

Can you use a 308 for a sniper rifle?

Yes, you can. Due to the greater muzzle velocity and equally powerful cartridge, the .308 is a perfect choice for snipers on budget. It can hit super-long-range shots rather easily! While it’s not recommended to hunt from a long-range with this cartridge, you for sure can partake in a competition!

Why is the 308 win so popular?

The first reason why it’s so popular is because it’s NATO based ammo. On top of that, it’s cheaper to shoot multiple times compared to other cartridges. Some of the same sized cartridges can cost an arm and a leg over time from the cost. But this one? Not a chance!

Does anyone still make 303 British?

Commercially? Yes. There are several countries that still make the .303 British and keeping this ammo alive among competitors.

Closing Thoughts

Though they are similar in many ways, they also have some important differences.Their performance and accuracy is quite similar. That’s why they are both good choices for any tasks you may want to do with it.

If you are a hunter, the .308 Winchester may offer an edge at mid-range. On the other hand, they are both incapable of landing large game animals at a long-range. So, the choice will depend on what you want to do with your cartridge. Also the fact that the rifle you have in your hand.

And that’s all for now. Hopefully, you found the information you have been looking for. Will see you on the next one, take care and have fun.

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