.308 vs. .30-06


March 14, 2005, 01:51 AM
I'm building a collection of guns and for an assault weapon I have a 7.62nato/.308 semi-auto.
For an anti-personnel sniper I'm considering the 30-06spring because it's one of the more common rifle cartridges in the world.
One thing I've noticed though is that .308 and 30-06 seem VERY close in ballistics.
Which one is a better choice for a really hard hitting sniper round for personnel/lightly armored personnel?

For vehicles and heavy armored personnel of course I'm selecting the .458 Lott and .50 bmg :)
But we're talking about .308 vs. 30-06 here


If you enjoyed reading about ".308 vs. .30-06" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
March 14, 2005, 02:31 AM
I guess bigger would always be better if you're tryiing to destroy something, so the 30-06 would be "better" in this respect.
It carries usually 100-200 fps more and the energy associated with the extra velocity farther down range.
The extra velocity would also make it easier to keep the bullet sonic to farther distances, giving you an advantage in accuracy.

Having said that, many people believe the 308 is more inherently accurate due to shorter cases burning powder more consistantly.

I personally think its a crapshoot. The difference in accuracy usually isn't noticed until you're shooting high dollar benchrest setups.

I have only one centerfire rifle, it's a .308win. I had a 30-06 and picked the 308 for my current rifle just because I didn't think the extra velocity mattered for my uses (hunting and plinking out to 250 yards).

The 30-06 is a good choice because it's common. The likelihood of ever needing to find ammo outside of this country is 0 for me, but when going to any store in the US you will find a bigger variety of 30-06.
If you handload then that's not a factor because you buy your own components (and you should handload for best accuracy).
Good thing about the 308 is you already have a .308 so you wont have to stock up on a different caliber...but variety is the spice of life right?

Something you may want to consider if you really want a medium bore hard hitting cartridge is any of the various .27/6.8mm, 28/7mm, or 30 cal magnums. The new short mags may have a tiny bit more accuracy potential and will be more efficient in powder usage as the big long cartridges, something to consider if you want to handload.

In short...get what you like. The 30-06 will work fine :)

Thats all IMHO of course.

March 14, 2005, 02:51 AM
Someone on one of the other boards made a compelling presentation as to why the 308 is better than the 30-06
As soon as I find it, I'll post the link

cracked butt
March 14, 2005, 03:16 AM
The .308 will be cheaper to shoot.

The 30-06 really outshines the .308 when you want to load up bullets bigger than 180 gr for tactical sniping of armored rabid zombie grizzly bears.

March 14, 2005, 08:08 AM
The military uses .308 for sniper rifles.

If they want "bigger" they go to a .300 Win Mag, .338 Lapua Magnum or .50 BMG.

March 14, 2005, 08:24 AM
Of course the military did use 30-06 for just about everything at one time. It's a great cartridge that will never outlive its usefullness.

Art Eatman
March 14, 2005, 11:57 AM
The '06 is slightly overbore, and it works best with 24" and 26" barrels. The '06 loses some 75 ft/sec/inch as you cut back from 26", generally.

The .308 was computer-designed, and works well with barrels in the 18" to 22" range. It doesn't gain much from going longer. Gains/losses from changes in barrel length are on the order of 40 ft/sec/inch.

For targets within some 200 to 300 yards, there's no practical difference between the two cartridges for bullets of 150 or 165 grains in weight.

A .30-'06 with a 26" barrel and a 180-grain boat-tailed bullet will have a flatter trajectory and deliver more energy on-target than a .308 when you're looking out there beyond 500 yards.

"Better" is a function of needs/purpose.

:), Art

March 14, 2005, 02:27 PM
Most police and military sniper rifles are chambered in .308

The only advantage I see to 30-06 is for hunting. You can load 200gr bullets and hunt anything in North America and perhaps anything outside of Africa.

March 14, 2005, 06:17 PM
For sniper/counter-sniper work, the 308 has a big advantage in availability of rifles, specialty/match ammo, and optics (calibrated for specialty 308 match bullet loads). Don't forget most police/military snipers start with or use a 308, that's why all of the specialty ammo, optics, etc. exist in the marketplace now; lots of sniper types shoot 308 for some very good reasons.

Staying with 308 would mean one less caliber to keep and reload since you have the semi-auto in 308 already. You will want to reload for economy and to gain the full accuraccy potential from a precision rifle. Reloading 308 is a bit easier because cases need trimming less often and 308 uses 5-10% less powder for nearly equivelent loads. Loaded 308 rounds are 1/2 inch shorter than loaded 30-06 rounds; that's signifigant if you are carrying very much spare ammo (which snipers do).

The only real advantage to 30-06 is the extra case capacity and possibly more common at small stores. Basically, you can put a little more powder in the case which becomes useful if you are shooting heavy bullets and need every bit of power available. For 190-220 grain bullets, a 30-06 can shoot the same bullet faster than a 308 with both at similar operating pressure. Don't forget to get a case trimmer if you are shooting maximum loads in a 30-06; the 308 has less case taper for a reason. If you need the extra powder advantage, a 300 win magnum or opening the 30-06 chamber (with a reamer) to 30-06 Ackley Improved specs would be worth looking into. How much recoil do you really want to deal with? Heavy bullet loads at near-magnum pressure/velocity are real thumpers on both ends.

March 14, 2005, 08:03 PM
95 % of the peformance with 85% of the size. Plus all the other reasons listed above.

Tony Williams
March 15, 2005, 02:48 AM
The '06 is slightly overbore, and it works best with 24" and 26" barrels.

What does that say about any of the .300 Magnums, let alone the .30-378 :eek:

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website (http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk) and discussion
forum (http://forums.delphiforums.com/autogun/messages/)

Art Eatman
March 15, 2005, 10:55 AM
Tony, notice in the rack at a lot of gunstores that there are few rifles with barrels longer than 24", even in magnum chamberings. Velocity loss per inch in a hot maggie of some sort can easily be 100 ft/sec/inch.

Which is why my '06 has a 26" barrel. My handloads get me close to a .300 WinMag from a 24" barrel, with much less recoil.

Back to the thread: If putting together a military-style collection, and wanting an example of a sniper rifle, the Springfield would be good. If for display only, research would provide the info for scope and mounts, which could be glued on for appearance, not drilled and tapped. Creative without destroying originality. :)


March 15, 2005, 06:59 PM
There is more 308 around the world than 30.06

If you enjoyed reading about ".308 vs. .30-06" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!