Firearms Handling in the Gun Shop

Thinking about a rifle as a birthday gift to my younger son, whose B-day is coming up in march. Have been looking at a Springfield Armory M1A1 w/synthetic stock.

My basic question is simple, and I figured some of you smart guys who frequent this blog would know the right answers right off the top of your heads: What are the differences between the .308 rifle rounds that one can buy at any gun store and NATO 7.62×51 ball? Or, variations in slug weight and configuration (ie: 150 gr, 165 gr, 180 gr; hollow-point, fmj, etc.) aside, are the .308 and the 7.62×51 cartridges one and the same?

Ancillary/related questions:

n  Can one safely shoot NATO 7.62×51 in a rifle chambered for .308? For example, in a Springfield Armory M1A1?

n  Could one safely shoot .308 ammunition in an M-14, which is chambered for NATO 7.62×51?

n  Other than the absence of a full-auto selector switch, what are the differences between a Springfield Armory M1A1 and an M-14 — are they the same rifle?

I haven’t read many contributors’ opinions on Glaser ammo or Buffalo Bore SD ammo. I’d appreciate some opinions, including the use of +P in the PPK/S I carry for self defense.

I have to ask; how many of you pay attention in the gunshop? Have you ever looked down the counter and done the two step back? One thing that I have learned over the years, is that the firearms shops have a designated area where we can, point, pull the trigger and feel the action with no threat to others!I have learned to ask, where is the safe place to point this firearm? Sometimes, up is not safe, if there is a business above. Usually there will be a safe spot to point the fire arm towards.

I know it is difficult in a store, yet we are trying to purchase something. We test drive vehicles? Just ask. I have been in many stores that have a bullet trap just in case. I hope that this helps our members. Thanks for listening to my rant!