The .308 Winchester is a rifle round and is the commercial version of the military 7.62x51mm NATO centerfire cartridge. The .308 Winchester was introduced in 1952, two years prior to the NATO adoption of the 7.62x51mm NATO T65, Winchester (a subsidiary of Olin Corporation) branded the cartridge and introduced it to the commercial hunting market as the .308 Winchester. Winchester's Model 70 and Model 88 rifles were subsequently chambered for the new cartridge. Since then, the .308 Winchester has become the most popular short-action big-game hunting cartridge worldwide. It is also commonly used for civilian target shooting, military sniping, and police sharpshooting. The relatively short case makes the .308 Winchester especially well adapted for short action rifles.
Among calibers larger than 6mm, the .308 is by far the most popular short-action big-game cartridge among hunters worldwide.