The .308/7.62×51mm NATO is a rimless bottlenecked rifle cartridge developed in the 1950s as a standard for small arms among NATO countries. It should not be confused with the similarly named Russian 7.62×54mmR cartridge, a slightly longer, rimmed cartridge.
The .308/7.62×51mm NATO cartridge approaches the ballistic performance of the original U.S. military .30-06 Springfield M1906 service cartridge. Modern propellants allowed for a similar performance from a smaller case with less case capacity, a fact that requires less brass and yields a shorter round.
This shorter cartridge allows a slight reduction in the size and weight of firearms that chamber it and better cycling in automatic and semi-automatic rifles. The .30-06 Springfield M1906 round weighed 26.1 grams (403 gr), and the .308/7.62×51mm NATO M80 round weighs 25.4 grams (392 gr).
|147 gr (10 g) M80 FMJ||2,800 ft/s (850 m/s)||2,559 ft⋅lbf (3,470 J)|
|175 gr (11 g) M118 Long Range BTHP||2,600 ft/s (790 m/s)||2,626 ft⋅lbf (3,560 J)|
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