Your attention, please: 7mm-08 Remington is the ideal AR caliber. There are some other suggested chamberings that I’ve covered, but after thinking about it…I was wrong. This is it.
Why? Because 7mm-08 can be used for every single thing you use a rifle for. Every. Single. Thing.
To date, very few AR-platform rifles are offered in this chambering, which – to my mind – is strange. Of all the AR rifle calibers that are around, this one ticks so many boxes that it’s mystifying why more people haven’t cottoned to it. Even Jeff Cooper went so far as to say a Scout Rifle should be offered in it as well as .308 Winchester.7mm-08 Remington has mild recoil, generous support in the ammunition industry, is known to be very accurate even out to longer ranges and is a proven hunting cartridge in North America, Africa and elsewhere, for any game short of the great bears or other dangerous game. You get all the benefits of .308, and less kick.
What isn’t to like?
The only real downsides are that it’s more expensive to shoot than .223, and there isn’t the same surfeit of personal defense loads available for it. There definitely IS frangible and fragmenting ammunition out there in 7mm-08, so could you use it as a home defense rifle? You betcha!
For those who haven’t heard of it, 7mm-08 Remington began life as a wildcat load, which Remington eventually thought they’d legitimize. The recipe isn’t complicated, as it’s a .308 Winchester necked down to accept a 7mm (.284 caliber) projectile. Basically just like .280 Remington (necked-down .30-06) and the 7mm Remington Magnum, a necked-down .300 H&H Magnum. In the broad strokes, it’s a modernized 7x57mm Mauser, as ballistics are nearly identical.
The case length is just long enough to accommodate the full breadth of 7mm projectiles, from varmint loads up to the 175-grain pills, and (naturally) fits in any short-action platform. Obviously, that includes the AR-10 platform.
Since it’s a lighter charge than 7mm Remington Magnum, it’s easier on the shoulder as a result. According to the Chuck Hawks recoil table, a 7.5-lb rifle firing a 150-grain projectile at 2750 feet per second (about what many loadings are like in the real world) will generate 13.9 ft-lbs of recoil.
While that’s a lot compared to, say, .223, it’s still only ¾ of the recoil force generated by a 7mm Remington Magnum or .30-06.
Granted, some people are already saying, “But dude…6.5 Creedmoor.” For the most part, I agree. 6.5mm Creedmoor is astoundingly accurate and very easy on the shooter. The only edge 7mm-08 has is being able to seat heavier-weight projectiles.
Plenty of meat is in freezers right now thanks to 6.5mm Creedmoor, so how much does that matter?
I don’t know that it does so long as placement is good. However, some folks DO prefer the greater sectional density and grain weight that 7mm projectiles offer, especially for Western hunting. Across a 50-yard bean field or through 40 yards of brush, it doesn’t matter too much, but some people would rather a 160-grain or 175-grain bullet arrive after 400 yards of flight time instead of a 130-grain bullet. For such folks, 7mm-08 Remington is ideal.
This much you can debate for yourselves. It’s just that in an on-paper sense, 7mm-08 has the edge in that regard, and some people feel it’s important.
Varmints to moose, it does it all. Granted, fewer people hunt these days, so what about the shooting sports where you compete against other humans?
According to a 2014 survey NRA High Power Rifle shooters on the Wayback Machine, the 7mm-08 was the third-most popular caliber, in fact ahead of .308. Therefore, it will slam silhouettes all day long.
So, it’s a very capable long-range target shooting caliber, as well as a very capable hunting caliber. It’s widely available, and – since it uses 7mm projectiles – handloaders can go positively hog wild. The moderate recoil makes it easier on the shooter than .308, and the hunter who cares to can load light for varmints or coyotes, medium for pronghorn, whitetail or hogs, and heavy for elk, moose, caribou or black bear.
As a result, a 7mm-08 AR can be used for darn near everything you can think of short of ultra long-range shooting, and truly big critters. Those who want more lead for game-getting can get it. Those who want easier recoil for target shooting compared to .308 get that, too.
But what do you think? Way off base here? Spot on? Are you suffering from the delusion that “boneless chicken wings” are anything but rebranded chicken nuggets so childish adults can feel better about themselves? Sound off in the comments!