Among the high-quality cartridges, the 458 SOCOM and 308 are two of my favorites. They possess great power and high efficiency with excellent performance on the field.
However, these two cartridges possess many traits and are common, so picking a better one is not an easy task. So which is better: the 458 SOCOM vs 308? This in-depth comparison has the answer you’re looking for.
I will compare and highlight their advantages to give you more insights into these two cartridges. Based on the information provided, you can figure out which one best suits your shooting purposes and preferences.
The Differences Between458 SOCOM vs 308
While the 308 Winchester has been around since the World War, the 458 SOCOM is a relatively new invention. So how does the 458 SOCOM perform against its 70-year-old counterpart? Keep reading to find out!
|Features||308 Winchester||458 SOCOM|
|Weight||125 grains to 200 grains||250 grains to 600 grains|
|Bullet Diameter||0.308 inches (7.8232 mm)||0,458 inches (11,6 mm)|
|Rim Diameter||0,4728 inches (12 mm)||0,473 inches (12 mm)|
|Total Length||2,8 inches (71.12 mm)||2,26 inches (57.404 mm)|
|Shell Case Length||2.015 inches (51 mm)||1.575 inches (40 mm)|
|Energy (200 yards)||1,983 ft-lbs||1,179 ft-lbs|
|Velocity (200 yards)||2,306 fps||1,330 fps|
|Muzzle Energy (200 yards)||2,720 ft-lbs||2,565 ft-lbs|
Size And Specs
There are some significant differences in the sizes and specs of the two cartridges. When putting them side by side, I noticed that the 309 Winchester pellets feature a smaller and thinner shell.
On the other hand, the 459 SOCOM cartridges look pretty short with bulkier shells. This difference is understandable since the 308 cartridges have a bullet diameter of 0,308 inches and a rim diameter of 0.4728 inches.
Meanwhile, the figures for the 458 SOCOM stand at 0.458 inches and 0,473 inches, respectively. Therefore, the 308 has a longer overall length than its counterpart (about 0,6 inches longer).
You may think that a 0,6-inch difference is insignificant, but I witnessed that the 308 pellet is nearly two times longer than the 458 SOCOM, especially at the cartridge head.
Regarding the design, the 308 comes with a pronounced shoulder and neck with a higher case length of 2,015 inches compared to the 1.575-inch case length on the 308.
The most noticeable difference lies in the bullet grain of these two cartridges.
Due to the longer shell on the 308, you may think that these cartridges are much heavier than the 459 SOCOM.
However, the 459 SOCOM cartridges come with an average bullet weight of 250 grains (ranging between 250 to 600 grains). This number is significantly higher than the 308 pellets, which weigh between 125 to 200 grains on average.
This means that the lighter 250-grain 458 SOCOM cartridge is two times heavier than the 308 Winchester, while the bulkiest version can reach up to 600 grains (3 times heavier than its counterpart).
The bullet grain has a critical impact on the recoil and shooting experience of one cartridge. Therefore, this significant difference in bullet weight will lead to some major effects when comparing the performance of these two cartridges.
With twice as heavy bullet weight, the 458 SOCOM will generate much more recoil energy than the 308 Winchester. I have tested numerous cartridge rounds, and the powerful recoil on the 458 is a problem worth considering.
Meanwhile, the 308 with an average bullet grain of 125 will also generate high recoil. But it’s nowhere compared to the heavy recoil level of the 458 SOCOM. Therefore, the 308 is lighter and easy to handle.
Overall, the 308 Winchester is much lighter and more comfortable to handle and fire due to its light recoil. The heavy 600-grain 458 SOCOM pellets are suitable for heavy firearms, which are definitely not for beginners.
Through the shooting tests, both the 458 SOCOM and 308 rounds feature a decent high speed compared to the fastest cartridges nowadays.
In general, the lighter cartridge rounds will travel faster than the heavy ones.
With an average bullet grain of 125, the 308 Winchester pellets are the winner regarding bullet speed. The velocity of the 308 measured at 200 yards is 2,306 fps, which is two times higher than the 458 SOCOM’s figure (1,330 fps).
This significantly faster velocity is understandable since the 458 SOCOM is two times heavier than its counterpart. As a result, the 308 Winchester is a better option for long-range shooting due to its higher precision and speed.
For hunting small and fast-moving animals like birds, the much faster velocity of the 308 is surely an advantage. You will need to kill the target in one single shot, and the traveling time of the round is critical.
Energy and power are where the 458 SOCOM cartridges shine. Though it should not be too big of a concern for competitive and leisure shooting, energy is critical for hunting.
I measured the muzzle energy generated by the 308 Winchester at 2,660 ft-lbs, while the figure for the 458 SOCOM stood at 2,248. This result truly amazed me since the 458 SOCOM features a much higher bullet grain.
Commonly, heavier cartridges can generate more energy and power, but it’s not the case for the 308 Winchester. A 110-grain 308 pellet delivers greater damage than a 200-grain 458 SOCOM.
It may be attributed to the superior design of the 308 pellets. Nevertheless, they are definitely the better option regarding performance. If you want greater damage and penetration capacity, just go for the 308 Winchester.
Though it’s quite hard to monitor the trajectory of these two cartridges, I can conclude that the 308 Winchester has a better trajectory than its counterpart. Commonly, heavier bullets will drop down more and result in a less flat trajectory.
With much heavier weight, it’s hard for the 458 SOCOM to travel in a more stable and flatter trajectory than the 308 pellets. As a result, the 308 Winchester cartridges perform better at long-range shooting distances.
They give you less traveling time and higher accuracy, which are critical for shooting competitions.
Final Verdict: Which Is Better Between 458 SOCOM Vs 308?
I would highly recommend the 308 Winchester for both professional and regular shooters whose main purposes are leisure shooting and hunting games. It just simply outperforms the 458 SOCOM in every facet.
The 308 pellets give better trajectory, accuracy, and power. That’s enough for you to make the decision. In addition, it also features less recoil power, which is suitable for inexperienced shooters.
You should consider the heavy 458 SOCOM cartridges for suppression firing. They can deliver great energy with reduced noise at close distances.
I’m sure that you can make your purchase decision by now. It does not necessarily have to be the 308 Winchester.
Any cartridge will work as long as it suits your shooting style and preference.
Thank you for your time!
Shelly Jark Drakny is a retired SF weapons sergeant (E-5 or above) with a military occupational specialty (MOS) code 18B. He served 24 years in the military, including assignments in SF, Infantry, and Special Forces.