Poll 2: 308 vs 5.56 – Winner 5.56


Lets see what you have to say about this.

One time when I sold an M1A I had, I was chatting with the buyer. He listed a few examples of why he felt 308 was the superior choice to 5.56. I countered that each example was a better argument for 5.56.

Anyways, if you had to pick one, which would you pick? Poll is on the right ->

I’m sort of surprised 5.56 won. I figured more people would say if they could only have one, they would pick 308.

When I first started working at a public range, I was surprised with how many people I talked too that hunted deer and hogs with .223. Never any complaints there. 5.56 is capable of far more than people tend to think.


  1. 5.56 seems to do the job it was designed for, despite all the bullet changes. I would prefer something in between the two, like 6.5 Grendel or something like that. Something with longer range potential than 5.56, but without the ammo weight or recoil of the 308. It’s the 45-9mm debate.

  2. 5.56 is a crappy round for deer, and is a total nonstarter for anything larger. Horses for courses, but if I have to pick one, .308 it is.

  3. It really depends on what the application is. CQB up to 300 or 400. 5.56. Longer or dealing with heavy armor or cover then .308

  4. I spent my youth schlepping an L1A1 SLR aka FN FAL. It’s a psychological thing, but I just feel more comfortable with 7.62.

  5. Shawn:

    How many elk have you killed with 5.56/.223? There’s no doubt that it can be done—you can kill an elk with .22 LR with the right shot placement—but it’s not the right tool for the job.

    Also, what are the typical ranges for deer in your AO?

    There’s not much that can be done with a 5.56 that can’t be done with .308. 5.56’s major advantages are in the area of controllability in full-auto, which is totally irrelevant to me personally, and ammo weight, which given my own personal needs is pretty much a non-thing also.

    There are things that can be done with .308 that can’t be done with 5.56, large game being high on the list for me personally.

    • Here’s something that 5.56 does better than .308: Recoil.

      If your main objective is to hit big, freezer-filling critters with a single shot from beyond point-blank range, .308 is probably better than .223.

      For most purposes beyond the one I described above, .223 is generally a better option for one reason or another.

  6. I think it’s quite apt in a weird way this poll is being done now as I just re-read the article service rounds while looking for something else. It’s a compelling discussion made there and worth a revisit here. John M’s comment on horses for courses holds weight too.
    I went with 5.56 because it can do everything I need it to do. I’d further self impose another limit and say we’re talking about an AR platform. No, it won’t (ethically) take down large game but I don’t need to do that. Not around my parts anyway. If I needed it to, sure, but that’s an extreme situation. If I lived on the African plains with things wanting to eat or trample me I’d probably have a different answer.
    Should it be a necessity I can carry more for a given weight and space. Finding more of either however I feel is a non-issue as both are fairly prolific. Also in terms of mobility your 5.56 rifles tend to be smaller and lighter…usually, but not always.
    All that said, there’s not a whole lot either can’t do fairly interchangeably.

  7. competetive target shooting.

    .223 most times, m16a4 semi and howa bolt.

    .308 because civilian g3 clone.

    and some 7.92×57 in the mauser k98

  8. Well,like and own both so really depends on what “job” tis being called for,just to add to the confusion have a .300 also.For this reason will abstain from voting but enjoy/at times learn from comments from other posters.

  9. From my perspective, the .308 is simply a more versatile round. If I don’t like the .30 cal bullet, I can neck the .308 case up/down to do what I want. Get a .308, and I have .243, .260, 7mm08, .308, .338 Federal, .358 Winchester. For hunting, the last two rounds are quite capable.

    If I get a .223,I have a .223. Maybe a 6mm or 6.5 based on a .223 cartridge, but not much more.

      • It’s a fine wildcat and easy to work with even for relative novices. Very accurate and an incremental improvement. The first full custom BR heavy class rifle I used was a 223AI. I guess for me to go on about it, I would have to have a more specific question about what the potential user wanted to use it for etc

  10. howa 1500 .223 20″ 1/9″
    for 300m prone.

    considering walther/heym barrel swap (~$250 over here) to .223ai 24″ for some occasional 600/800m experience before deciding on a dedicated rifle/caliber/class etc

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