30 Cal RUSSIAN -VS- 308 (Differences Explained) – Ultimate Reloader

Video is a 30 caliber the same as a 308

Have you ever compared cartridges like 7.62x39mm and 308 Winchester and thought to yourself: What is up with 0.308″ -vs- 0.312″ ??? I definitely have! In this article I’ll look at the differences between these two caliber conventions (30 cal Russian versus 308) and talk about interoperability between the two for reloading.


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30 Call Differences and Similarities (Russian -vs- 308)

As outlined in the video, it’s helpful to look at two things when comparing these calibers!

Bore Dimensions, Bullet Dimensions

30 CAL Russion vs NATO diagram 2000 30 Cal RUSSIAN -VS- 308 (Differences Explained) – Ultimate Reloader

Above you see the diagram I drew for the video, and in the diagram we have some key differences, and some similarities as well!

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Here’s a breakdown of the data in the diagram above:

30 Cal dimensions Russion vs 308 30 Cal RUSSIAN -VS- 308 (Differences Explained) – Ultimate Reloader

And bullet diameter is a bit more simple:

  • 308 is typically exactly 0.308″
  • 30 Cal russian ranges from 0.311″ – 0.312″ (can vary more than that)

Reloading Interoperability Between 30 Cal Russian and 308 Cartridges

Berrys Plated Bullets 123 grain 7.62x39mm Loading Setup 2000 30 Cal RUSSIAN -VS- 308 (Differences Explained) – Ultimate Reloader

Above: Loading 7.62x39mm on the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP 5-station progressive reloading press

Different cartridges will require different components (such as which powder is used, specific to the cartridge loaded, and the weight of bullet used). But one question that gets asked a lot is: “Can I use 308 bullets for [Russian 30 cal cartridge]” (and vice-versa).

The guidelines are pretty simple: (keep in mind disclaimer near the top of this article)

  • It is generally safe to load 30 Caliber Russian cartridges using 0.308″ diameter bullets. Some degradation of velocity may occur.
  • It is generally NOT SAFE to load cartridges that use a 0.308″ bullet with bullets larger in diameter- such as 0.311″ and 0.312″ bullets.

If you do load for 0.308″ groove-diameter barrels with oversize bullet (such as 0.311″ and 0.312″) you risk unsafe high pressures, and possible damage to your rifle and/or yourself. Don’t risk it!

Berrys Plated Bullets 123 grain 7.62x39mm Load Components 2000 30 Cal RUSSIAN -VS- 308 (Differences Explained) – Ultimate Reloader

Above: Reloading components for 7.62x39mm: Berry’s 123 grain spire point bullets, Hodgdon CFE-BLK, and Capital Cartridge once-fired cases.


The good news from the guidance laid out in this article is: 0.308″ bullets are safe to use in both 0.308 cartridges and in 30 cal Russian cartridges. These 0.308″ bullets are readily available, and you’re likely to find exactly what you need for your loading application. You *may* experience degraded accuracy when loading 0.308″ bullets for 30 caliber Russian rifles, but in come cases, accuracy can be exceptional for this scenario.

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Special thanks to Fred Zeglin from 4D Reamer Rentals for his help putting together this story! If you want to support him, there are a couple ways to do so here:

Visit 4D Reamer Rentals

4d 30 Cal RUSSIAN -VS- 308 (Differences Explained) – Ultimate Reloader

If you are looking to rent chambering reamers or other gunsmithing tools, look no further than Fred Zeglin’s 4D Reamer Rentals!

From 4D Reamer Rentals:

We have over 1500 chamber reamer rentals in stock and ready to ship. We also rent headspace gauges and many other gunsmithing tools. Our tools are well maintained and inspected before and after each rental to assure you receive the highest quality gunsmithing tools. Our staff has over 35 years of professional gunsmithing experience, setting us apart from the competition.

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Thanks, Gavin

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>