Skip to content

28 Nosler vs 308 Win.

Ballistics Performance Comparison of 28 Nosler vs 308 Win Cartridges

The .28 Nosler and the .308 are both big game cartridges, but they have very different effective ranges. The .28 Nosler is considered an excellent long-range hunting cartridge, while the .308 Winchester is intended to stay within smaller ranges to take down its larger prey. In exchange, the .308 Winchester gives a lighter recoil. Choosing a cartridge will essentially depend on the ranges you intend to shoot – we’ll go through several important factors to help you determine which cartridge is right for you.

28 Nosler vs 308 Win

The following ballistics tables show a side by side comparison of the 28 Nosler vs 308 Winchester based on bullet weight and performance metrics including velocity, energy, usage and recoil.

28 Nosler 162 gr vs 308 Win 165 gr Cartridge Comparison Table.

28 Nosler 308 Winchester
Bullet Velocity (Muzzle) 3,175 ft/s 2,700 ft/s
Bullet Velocity @ 100 yds 3,017 ft/s 2,496 ft/s
Bullet Velocity @ 200 yds 2,866 ft/s 2,302 ft/s
Bullet Velocity @ 300 yds 2,719 ft/s 2,116 ft/s
Bullet Velocity @ 400 yds 2,578 ft/s 1,939 ft/s
Bullet Velocity @ 500 yds 2,440 ft/s 1,772 ft/s
Bullet Energy (Muzzle) 3,626 ft⋅lb 2,671 ft⋅lb
Bullet Energy @ 100 yds 3,275 ft⋅lb 2,283 ft⋅lb
Bullet Energy @ 200 yds 2,954 ft⋅lb 1,941 ft⋅lb
Bullet Energy @ 300 yds 2,660 ft⋅lb 1,640 ft⋅lb
Bullet Energy @ 400 yds 2,390 ft⋅lb 1,377 ft⋅lb
Bullet Energy @ 500 yds 2,142 ft⋅lb 1,150 ft⋅lb
Usage @ 0 yds Toughest Game Toughest Game
Usage @ 100 yds Toughest Game Toughest Game
Usage @ 200 yds Toughest Game Large Game
Usage @ 300 yds Toughest Game Large Game
Usage @ 400 yds Toughest Game Medium Game
Usage @ 500 yds Toughest Game Medium Game
Recoil Energy 29.4 (160gr) 18.1
Recoil Velocity 14.9 12.5
Recoil Score* 4.43 3.23
*Cartridge ballistics, usage and recoil figures taken from Sportsman's Warehouse rifle ballistics and rifle recoil tables. Recoil score based on weighted average of recoil energy and recoil velocity normalized between 1 and 10.

Velocity

Right off the bat, the .28 Nosler takes a significant advantage in terms of velocity. It only makes sense: the .28 Nosler will stay supersonic past 1,700 yards, while the .308 Winchester will stay supersonic until the 800-900 yard range. So, it’s no surprise that the velocity is higher earlier as well. Out of the muzzle, the .28 Nosler is flying 475 ft/s faster than the .308 Winchester. At 300 yards, that advantage has expanded to 603 ft/s, as the .308 Winchester starts to lose its velocity faster. At 500 yards, the .28 Nosler continues to fly 668 ft/s faster than the .300 Winchester.

Energy

The .28 Nosler also packs a much greater punch to keep its stopping power up over those long ranges. Out of the muzzle, the .28 Nosler is traveling with 955 ft-lbs over the .308 Winchester – a significant difference. At 300 yards, that advantage breaks into four digits at 1,020 ft-lbs more of a punch for the .28 Nosler. At 500 yards, the .28 Nosler maintains an advantage of 992 ft-lbs. While the .308 Winchester still has enough of a punch to take large game within 300 yards, its efficacy starts to drop off after that, while the .28 Nosler is up for anything up to 500 yards and beyond.

Trajectory

The greater velocity and energy of the .28 Nosler also make it a flatter shooting cartridge than the .308 Winchester. A .28 Nosler zeroed at 300 yards will drop 23.57” by 500 yards, 70.71” by 700 yards, and 200.78” by 1,000 yards. A .308 Winchester zeroed at 200 yards will drop 8.5” by 300 yards, and 26” by 400 yards. After that, the .308 Winchester starts to leave its effective range, while the .28 Nosler is still flying with significant energy.

Recoil

When a caliber packs a heavy punch, it usually kicks right back onto your shoulder. The .28 Nosler is no exception. It has significantly more recoil energy than the .308 Winchester. Recoil impacts your comfort, your ability to fire a second shot quickly, and especially your ability to shoot the gun accurately. If you can’t manage the additional recoil of the .28 Nosler, its higher energy won’t really help you make long-range big game shots. Additionally, if you’ll be shooting elk-sized game within 300 yards, the added recoil might just not be worth it for power that you won’t really be using.

Versatility

The .28 Nosler is basically only appropriate for the biggest game in North America. It’s going to be overkill on anything else. However, you will be able to take that large game over a variety of distances. The .308 Winchester can go between medium and large game, since it does not have the full power of the .28 Nosler. You’ll need to stay inside 300 yards for large game, and inside 500 yards for medium game.

Price & Availability

The .308 Winchester is a popular cartridge, which means it is readily available in most ammunition stores from a variety of top manufacturers. The .28 Nosler is a more select cartridge, and while it isn’t difficult to find, it won’t be quite as readily available. The .28 Nosler is also typically quite a bit pricier, and you’ll likely have to pay more for a nice rifle chambered in it as well.

The .308 Winchester has a wider variety of projectiles and specialty loads than the .28 Nosler. This makes it more versatile within its effective ranges while leaving the long distance shooting to the .28 Nolser. If you aren’t dedicated to significantly longer range accuracy, the .308 Winchester can fit most of your needs with the right load in a more affordable package.

Size Comparison

The .308 Winchester has a bullet diameter of .308”, a case length of 2.015”, and an overall length of 2.8”. The .28 Nosler has a bullet diameter of .22”, a case length of 1.76”, and an overall length of 2.26”. We can see that the .28 Nosler has quite a smaller bullet and length than the .308 Winchester: it is just its increased energy that makes it such a more powerful cartridge.

Rifle Type

As hunting cartridges, both of these calibers are popular in bolt action rifles. The .28 Nosler will often be chambered in more expensive precision hunting rifles, but there is a good selection of .28 Nosler rifles despite the less available ammunition. The .308 Winchester can also be found in some semi-automatic rifles, though .308 semi-automatic rifles are often more expensive than more common semi-automatic rounds.

Which Caliber is Best?

The choice of caliber will really come down to your needs. Will you be pursuing the toughest game in North America? The extra power of the .28 Nosler is necessary if so. Will you be shooting up to elk-sized game within 300 yards? In this case, either cartridge will help you get your target, and the lighter recoil of the .308 Winchester might be a welcome relief. Will you be shooting elk-sized game at longer distances? In this case, you’ll need the .28 Nosler. If you want to go between larger game and deer, the .308 Winchester might have a bit more versatility without blasting your smaller game to pieces. Once you are clear on your hunting goals, you can determine which caliber best suits them and you.

Disclaimer: Sportsman's Warehouse assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions of the information on this page. Although we strive to provide the most accurate information as we can the information contained in this page is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.