A Tale of Two Ammos

Two of America’s most historic freedom seeds, steeped in stories passed down from generation to generation, the .308 and 5.56 both saw an incredible evolution to become the popular platforms they are today.


Remember shooting your grandpa’s .30-06 rifle? A sharp, tough kick usually accompanied by a quick laugh. The .308, a refinement of the .30-06 was birthed in the 1950’s thanks to the need for a shorter action to match the new shorter cartridge. Developed from the .300 Savage cartridge, the .308 is technically the first round ever put through the barrel of an AR-platform rifle. Since its civilian introduction in 1954, the .308 has become the most popular short-action, big-game hunting cartridge worldwide. Additionally, .308 has found a solid footing as the preferred round for sharpshooters in the military, police, and for long distance hunters the world over. Though its improved wind drift resistance and drop compared to the 5.56 has created this footing, the tradeoff is a much heavier loadout.


5.56, now the most popular ammo in the US, was originally created to meet the military’s demand for a lighter, smaller combat rifle in 1954. If you’ve ever had the benefit of using the caliber at range, you know what all the excitement is about. Large criticism of the 7.62×51 NATO cartridge–the 7.62 did not allow for sufficient automatic fire rate due to large recoil– led to the 5.56 becoming the first NATO rifle cartridge. 7 years later in 1961 military marksmanship testing saw a 21% jump in accuracy (M-16 vs M-14), resulting in the ordering of an astounding 80,000 rifles firing the round. Success would lead to greater success for the 5.56 platform as in 1965 during the Vietnam War the US Military would order an unheard of 800,000 M16’s. These specific military experiences partnered with a feverish dedication to the refinement of the platform led to the 5.56’s firm seating upon the top of the ammunition kingdom. The clear choice in squad-based situations and long distance loadouts, thanks to its weight and multitude of magazine options.

Every month Compass produces multiple Tactical, Ammo & Accessories Auctions filled with the most in-demand ammunition. With two Ammo & Accessories Events–March 12 at 6 PM ET and March 19 at 6 PM ET– featuring 5.56, .308 and more of the most popular calibers. Check our catalogs and events to stay up to date with new additions as the auctions draw near. Interested in consigning with Compass Tactical Auctions? Call us at (800) 729-6466 or visit us at www.SoldOnCompass.com.