458 SOCOM vs 308: 5-Parameter Comparison To Find The Winner!

458 Socom vs 308

458 SOCOM vs 308 Winchester is an interesting debate that confuses a lot of people. Both showcase immense power and military-proven efficiency over the decades. But, the question lingers: which cartridge reigns supreme?

Read on as we embark on an in-depth comparison, scrutinizing bullet weight, loading type, long-distance shooting, pricing rifle availability, and more. We will help you discover the ideal match for your rifle and hunting pursuits. Let the battle commence!

Quick Overview: 458 Socom vs 308

The primary difference between the two rounds lies in their bullet size and ballistic characteristics:

  • The 458 Socom has larger and heavier bullets with immense stopping power higher muzzle velocity and suitability for close-quarters encounters.
  • The 308 Winchester’s smaller bullets enable it to excel in accuracy and long-range shooting.
Quick Overview: 458 Socom vs 308

So, it makes it a preferred option for precision shooting and engagements beyond 300 yards. Here is a quick overview of both these rounds that are shot from bolt action rifles:


The 458 was developed in the year 2001 as an upgrade for the M4/M16/AR-15 family of rifles. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Designed for short-to-medium-range engagements and excels in close-quarters combat.
  • It is known for its substantial stopping power and ability to take down large game with ease.
  • Utilizes .458-inch diameter bullets, making it significantly larger than the 308 Winchester.
  • Ideal for specialized applications, such as hunting and tactical operations.
  • The majority of 458 ammo is supplied by custom manufacturers such as Buffalo Bore, Underwood Ammo, etc.

308 Winchester

The 308 was introduced in 1952, making it much older than the 458 SOCOM. Here’s a rundown of its important details:

  • Derived from the military round, the 7.62x51mm NATO.
  • Renowned for its accuracy, flat trajectory, and consistent performance at extended ranges.
  • Primarily used for medium-to-long-range shooting and is a popular choice for precision marksmanship.
  • Employs .308-inch diameter bullets, which are smaller than those used in the 458 SOCOM.
308 Winchester

Comparison Table

The table listed below has all the essential details:



308 Winchester

Bullet Weight:

250 to 600 grains

125 to 200 grains

Bullet Size:

0.458 inches

0.308 inches

Bullet Diameter:

0.458 inches

0.308 inches

Shell Case Length:

1.575 inches

2.015 inches

Energy (per 200 yards):

1,179 ft-lbs

1983 ft-lbs

Velocity (per 200 yards):

1,330 fps

2,306 fps

Muzzle Energy:

2,565 ft-lbs

2,720 ft-lbs

Muzzle Velocity:

2,150 ft/s

2,645 ft/s

The Good and The Bad: 458 Socom

Here are the benefits and drawbacks of using the 458 Socom rounds:

  • Heavy subsonic rounds provide enhanced stealth capabilities and reduced noise.
  • Exceptional knockdown ability, making it highly effective for hunting.
  • Increased bullet energy for greater impact on targets.
  • Higher stopping power due to a larger bullet, ensures more effective takedowns.
  • Utilizes a heavier bullet overall, contributing to its formidability as a hunting ammo.
  • More expensive ammunition compared to some other popular calibers.
  • Encounters significant bullet drop at longer distances, particularly around 300 yards.

The Good and The Bad: 308 Winchester

These are the advantages and disadvantages of a 308 Winchester round:

  • Offers reduced recoil, making it more comfortable and easier to handle during shooting.
  • Excellent for longer-range shooting, known for its accuracy and consistency at extended distances.
  • It is a more affordable ammunition and availability is also quite high.
  • Exhibits a flatter trajectory, reducing the need for significant adjustments over various distances.
  • It is pretty good for varmint hunting as you get this caliber in lighter bullets.
  • Produces a loud sound when used with a short barrel, potentially affecting stealth and hearing.

The Usage Of Both Cartridges

Between the 458 Socom vs 308, both have their own distinct advantages, making them suitable for specific purposes. You can’t clearly say that one is better than the other. So, we have made it simpler for you to understand.

Let’s dive deeper into their respective strengths and applications:

The Versatility of 458 SOCOM

The 458 SOCOM proves itself as an excellent big bore round for hunting medium to large game, self-defense, and use in rifles and pistols.

  • Its high velocity and substantial bullet weight make it highly effective for taking down dangerous game.
  • This buffalo bore round has been steadily gaining popularity among tactical and competition shooters who use these in their modern sporting rifles. It is mainly due to its remarkable accuracy and impressive power.
The Versatility of 458 SOCOM

The Versatility of 308 Winchester

Military surplus ammo includes a .308 Winchester, an excellent choice for hunting large game and delivering remarkable accuracy for long-range shooting.

  • Introduced by Winchester Repeating Arms Company in 1952, the .308 Winchester has seen continuous military use and remains in service today.
  • Law enforcement and military personnel favor the .308 Winchester due to its compatibility with both semi-auto and bolt-action rifles.
  • The .308 factory ammo has found its place in popular civilian rifles such as the Remington 700, Winchester Model 70, and Ruger Scout Rifle.

So, all of this makes it an optimal choice for a wide range of shooting applications.

The Versatility of 308 Winchester

Comparing 5 Different Aspects

When comparing 458 SOCOM vs 308 Winchester, it becomes evident that these two bolt action rifle cartridges differ significantly in various aspects.

Let’s do a comprehensive examination of their respective characteristics:

1. Bullet Weight – The Heavier Bullet

Both cartridges provide shooting enthusiasts with a range of bullet grain options to choose from. The bullet diameter is also different between the two cartridges.

  • The 308 Winchester offers ammunition ranging from 125 gr to 200 gr.
  • The 458 SOCOM offers heavier options from 250 gr to 600 gr.
Bullet Weight - The Heavier Bullet

Due to the lighter nature of the 308 Winchester, it attains higher velocity when fired. It results in less time spent in the barrel and subsequently reduced recoil. The 458 Socom has high bullet weights and therefore has low velocity.

Winner: Due to its lighter bullet weight and fast high velocity, the 308 wins the first round with flying colors.

2. Loading Type

Before going deeper into the loading type, understand that in the case of the 308 Winchester, its brass is generally more affordable compared to factory-loaded 458 SOCOM ammo.

  • This difference in cost is attributed to the popularity and wide use of the 308 Winchester.
  • It leads to greater availability and competitive pricing for its components, including brass casings.
  • The widespread availability of 308 ammunition provides shooters with greater convenience and often more competitive pricing options.

The 458 SOCOM is gaining popularity but is not as readily available in all locations. It limits purchasing options and leads to higher costs for factory-loaded ammo.

Winner: With much wider availability, the 308 Winchester is also superior in this regard as well.

3. Performance

The 308 Winchester with a comparable propellant load and lighter bullets, generally takes the lead as the faster round.

  • On average, it maintains an impressive speed of 2300 fps.
  • The 458 SOCOM falls short of keeping up with the 308 Winchester in terms of speed.
  • There is a noticeable gap between their speeds, with no overlap in velocities.
  • The average velocity for the 458 SOCOM is somewhere around 1300 fps, more than 1000 fps slower than the average 308 Winchester.

It is essential to understand that speed was never the primary goal for the 458 SOCOM. This round was specifically designed to deliver powerful tactical performance in automatic weapons. The focus was on utilizing heavy bullets with strong energy from compact semi-automatic weapons, rather than achieving blazing speed.

Winner: We wouldn’t say that the 308 is the winner here as it is not that good in close quarters when compared to the 458 Socon. So, it is a tie as one excels in long-range while the other one is superb in close-quarter combat.

4. Long Distance Shooting – Deer Hunting, Target Practice, etc

The advantage of the 308 Winchester’s performance at longer ranges becomes more evident when comparing it to the 458 SOCOM.

  • The 458 SOCOM excels in delivering substantial power and effectiveness within 150 yards. But it struggles to maintain its performance beyond 200 yards.
  • On the other hand, the 308 Winchester showcases its capabilities, usually retaining accuracy and trajectory up to distances of 600 to 800 yards. It is after these ranges that you start experiencing significant bullet drops.

Winner: If you are only considering long-distance shooting rifle calibers, then the 308 Winchester is the clear winner.

5. Pricing

The 458 SOCOM is a more recent development and not as widely used in military or surplus applications. It does not benefit from the same abundance of affordable surplus ammo. This impacts its pricing, making it relatively pricier.

In contrast, one of the significant factors contributing to the cost-effectiveness of the 308 Winchester is the availability of military surplus ammo. It is now available on the civilian market, often at a lower cost compared to new factory-loaded ammunition.

  • Due to its longstanding use by the military since 1952, the 308 Winchester has a substantial surplus of brass casings that are readily available.
  • This surplus availability results in lower production costs for manufacturers and subsequently leads to more affordable pricing for consumers.
  • As a result, shooters who opt for the 308 Winchester can take advantage of these cost-saving opportunities.
458 Socom vs 308. Pricing

Winner: In terms of cost, the 308 Winchester takes the win against the 458 SOCOM due to the availability of ammo. It allows shooters to enjoy savings and a more budget-friendly shooting experience.

Which One Should You Get?

In the following section we will provide you with reasons why you should choose one over the other:

Reasons to Choose 308 Winchester

Here’s why you should opt for the 308:

  • Versatility: The 308 Winchester is highly versatile, excelling in various shooting scenarios. It includes hunting, precision marksmanship, and long-range shooting.
  • Ammunition Availability: Its popularity and widespread use ensure abundant availability as well as cost-effective military surplus options.
  • Easy on the Purse: The 308 Winchester’s affordability, especially with surplus brass can help shooters save on overall expenses.
  • Longer Range Performance: With better long-range capabilities and a flatter trajectory, the 308 is more suitable for engagements beyond 200 yards. It makes it an excellent choice for precision shooting.
Reasons to Choose 308 Winchester

Reasons to Choose 458 SOCOM

Listed below are the reasons why 458 is a good pick:

  • Powerful Stopping Power: The 458 offers impressive stopping power, making it an ideal choice for hunting large game and self-defense scenarios.
  • Close-Quarters Performance: Its heavy subsonic rounds and higher stopping power makes it effective in close-quarters combat.
  • Hunting and Defense: It’s well-suited for hunting game like hogs, deer, and even bear, as well as for personal defense.
Reasons to Choose 458 SOCOM


Is 458 SOCOM more powerful than 308?

Yes, the 458 SOCOM is generally more powerful than the 308 Winchester due to its heavier and larger bullets. It provides increased stopping power and effectiveness in close-quarters and hunting scenarios.

Will a 458 SOCOM defeat body armor?

The ability of a 458 SOCOM to defeat body armor would depend on the specific type and level of body armor being used. The 458 SOCOM, with its substantial stopping power and heavy bullet weights, may pose a greater challenge to lower-level body armor. But it is not guaranteed to defeat higher-level armor designed to stop more potent rifle calibers.

Is 308 or 7.62 more powerful?

The 308 is generally more powerful due to its larger case capacity and higher muzzle energy.

Is 458 SOCOM an AR-15 or AR10?

The 458 SOCOM is an AR-15 rifle caliber. It is specifically designed to be used with AR-15 platform rifles, bringing increased stopping power and versatility.


The comparison between the 458 SOCOM vs 308 highlights their distinct strengths and applications. The 458 shines with its powerful stopping power and close-quarters effectiveness. It caters more to specialized scenarios and military applications.

The 308 Winchester excels in versatility, affordability, and long-range performance. The decision between these two exceptional rifle calibers hinges on individual preferences, shooting needs, and intended applications.

Which cartridge do you like the most and why? Let us know about your choice in the comments.


My first deer at the age of 45 I joined the deer hunting fraternity a little late, but the desire to hunt has always been there. I love hunting, so I often have to deal with hunting equipment.