.308 v. 30-06 Accuracy Issue


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OneShot!
June 16, 2007, 11:27 AM
Which cartridge is more accurate for hitting long distance targets?

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jerkface11
June 16, 2007, 11:36 AM
I'm saying 06 because it will shoot the heavy bullets faster. Other than that they're going to do the same thing.

Outlaws
June 16, 2007, 11:55 AM
There were tests if I recall that showed the .308 produced groups a few inches smaller at 600 and 1000 yards. But if you ask me, a quality rifle with quality hand loaded ammo will make it a toss up.

R.W.Dale
June 16, 2007, 12:02 PM
If the time is taken to build a high quality firearm the chambering will not matter, The whole X cartridge is more accurate than Y cartridge is nothing but a wad of warm steaming horsepucky.

Oh sure 32-40 may not be as accurate as 6.5/284 but in terms of modern high performance chamberings (anything developed in the past century) NOTHING has any real advantage over another especially in sub $10K non benchrest guns.

Now that being said I agree with Jerkface11 on the 30-06 being able to use high BC heavier bullets than a .308 can handle will be a distinct advantage when the wind starts blowin.

glockman19
June 16, 2007, 01:44 PM
I voted .308 but i fyou put them both in a fixed rest I think the difference would be so negligible you wouldn't notice the difference. probably less than .125" MOA differnce

USSR
June 16, 2007, 02:52 PM
A poll like this is meaningless. Accuracy is a function of the quality of components and smithing that goes into a particular rifle, the type of load being fired in it, to say nothing of the ability of the shooter. Accuracy has nothing to do with what the headstamp on the base of the brass says.

Don

rockstar.esq
June 16, 2007, 02:54 PM
krochus: I simply don't agree. The .32 WCF is a fine example of where a cartridges design is a limitation. For example, the .22 Hornet has a MUCH better accuracy record than the .32WCF. Anshutz and others chamber their olympic style rifles in .22 Hornet for a reason. Getting something to "seviceable" is not the same as gilt edge accuracy. Benchresters and rifle loonies pursue ANY lead that might result in getting smaller groups. Like it or not, I don't see 1/4 MOA groups from blackpowder era cartridges even on rifles with every bit of gunsmithing magic applied to them.

The .308 Winchester's debut caused the Camp Perry 1000yd center ring to be reduced BY HALF IT'S DIAMETER. To better differentiate the groups shot by the .308 shooters. The rifles used in 30-06 were pretty much the same as those used in .308 Winchester. This is why we hear about "shorter stiffer actions" being part of the accuracy equation.

That's not to say that everything short is accurate. I'm sure you could mention the .338 Lapua magnum which is capable of amazing accuracy. Guess what? Lapua intentionally designed the .338 LM to be a long range accuracy cartridge! All of which goes to show that the cartridge absolutely affects the accuracy potential.
bv

R.W.Dale
June 16, 2007, 04:54 PM
The .308 Winchester's debut caused the Camp Perry 1000yd center ring to be reduced BY HALF IT'S DIAMETER.


And that was how long ago??? Almost 60 yrs now. Trust me with todays powders bullets and modern firearms design you can have a 30-06 that's just as accurate as a 308.

TimboKhan
June 16, 2007, 05:17 PM
Trust me with todays powders bullets and modern firearms design you can have a 30-06 that's just as accurate as a 308.


I don't necessarily disagree with you on that point, but it is worth mentioning that snipers, who are obviously interested in performance at varying ranges and extreme accuracy, are very fond of the .308. I think there are probably superior long range rounds to the .308 if thats all your looking for. For example, David Tubb uses a cartridge he developed called the 6mmXC. Quouting him directly, he says:I began experimenting with shorter rounds and am pleased to have developed one that has the ballistic performance of .243 Winchester with less recoil and much better barrel life

He and others have won Camp Perry championships with this round, speaking volumes for it's long-range effectiveness. Of course, the round is more or less a wildcat, which is a turn off to a large percentage of shooters. Isn't it interesting though that he sought to mirror the performance of the .243 Winchester, a cartridge precisely no one has mentioned?

I also somewhat disagree with the argument that the round itself doesn't matter. While it is possible for a good shooter to use any reasonable round at ranges up to 1000 yards with pretty good effect, to say that the round itself is more or less inconsequential is just incorrect. Of course, it bears mentioning that we are talking about splitting hairs here. If I could shoot into 3 feet at 1000 yards, I would be pretty happy, whereas a guy like Tubbs probably isn't happy with 3 inches. What it comes down to is the degree of accuracy you wish to attain. Assuming the ability to shoot that far is in place, it makes sense that the round is less important if you just want to take the occasional long range shot. If your interested in extreme accuracy, then the round is an important part of the equation.

Outlaws
June 16, 2007, 06:05 PM
Accuracy is a function of the quality of components and smithing that goes into a particular rifle, the type of load being fired in it, to say nothing of the ability of the shooter. Accuracy has nothing to do with what the headstamp on the base of the brass says.

Care to take a crack and the prevalence of the 6mmPPC in benchrest competitions?

General Geoff
June 16, 2007, 06:45 PM
.308 was designed to replicate the ballistic properties of .30-'06. As such, they should by all means be all but identical.

USSR
June 16, 2007, 07:55 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by USSR
Accuracy is a function of the quality of components and smithing that goes into a particular rifle, the type of load being fired in it, to say nothing of the ability of the shooter. Accuracy has nothing to do with what the headstamp on the base of the brass says.

Care to take a crack and the prevalence of the 6mmPPC in benchrest competitions?

Let's see, how many of those New England break action single shots or Remington Model 710's do we find on the benchrest line using factory ammo? Every single rifle used in serious benchrest competition consists of a custom built rifle using the finest of components, smithed by the best gunsmiths to be found. All ammunition is custom loaded using great care and extremely precise instruments. Winning and losing is often measured in thousands of an inch. Benchrest is a game with a specific set a rules. There are certain cartridges that have been developed that are optimized to operate in this artificial environment. Change the rules of the game, and another cartridge may be better suited. In summary, I am sure you would find more accuracy with a GAP built rifle in a non PPC cartridge over a factory 6mmPPC anyday.

Don

azhunter12
June 16, 2007, 08:14 PM
I don't think theres too much difference but I haven't studied tons of charts like some other people have.

Outlaws
June 16, 2007, 08:52 PM
Let's see, how many of those New England break action single shots or Remington Model 710's do we find on the benchrest line using factory ammo? Every single rifle used in serious benchrest competition consists of a custom built rifle using the finest of components, smithed by the best gunsmiths to be found. All ammunition is custom loaded using great care and extremely precise instruments. Winning and losing is often measured in thousands of an inch. Benchrest is a game with a specific set a rules. There are certain cartridges that have been developed that are optimized to operate in this artificial environment. Change the rules of the game, and another cartridge may be better suited. In summary, I am sure you would find more accuracy with a GAP built rifle in a non PPC cartridge over a factory 6mmPPC anyday.


So to paraphrase....
Yes, the cartridge type does effect accuracy.

USSR
June 16, 2007, 10:44 PM
So to paraphrase....
Yes, the cartridge type does effect accuracy.

Sure, if you want to ignore the 99% of what REALLY effects accuracy and concentrate on the 1%, knock yourself out.

Don

js2013
June 16, 2007, 11:04 PM
all things equal, 308.

High Planes Drifter
June 16, 2007, 11:12 PM
With commercial ammo and a commercial rifle i.e. Remington 700 or Winchester M70 , I dont think you'll see a gnats ass worth of difference between any major/common caliber from .243Win. to 300WM probably out to 200 or 250 yards. You didnt state wether or not you were looking to get into benchrest competition, so Im assuming you're talking commercially produced hardware.

All of this being said, if in fact , you are looking for a super accurate commercially produced rifle to shoot commercially produced ammo out of, I'd take a hard look at a flat top DPMS AR 10. Or even better, a Cobb modular rifle, that way you can try each caliber.


Edited, I spelled "gnats" wrong.:o

Quintin Likely
June 16, 2007, 11:33 PM
Big scores have been shot by both on those hallowed grounds at Camp Perry.

Lots of bad guys have been kilt with both over the years.

I've read that theoretically, the .308 has a slight advantage in raw accuracy over the '06. The shorter case allows for less powder movement in the case for more uniform ignition. In addition, a .308 can be chambered in a short action (read: stiffer) whereas a .30-06 must use a medium/long action. I don't shoot an '06, but I know really, really good brass for .308 practically grows off trees.

The .30-06 holds an advantage over the .308 when shooting like 200+ grain bullets though due to the additional case capacity.

That said, it's the injun, not the arrow. A good shooter behind an '06 will show up a mediocre shooter behind a .308 any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Outlaws
June 16, 2007, 11:35 PM
Sure, if you want to ignore the 99% of what REALLY effects accuracy and concentrate on the 1%, knock yourself out.
:D
I never said that. But you did make a blanket statement about cartridge design having nothing to do ever with accuracy that just isn't true.

Grump
June 17, 2007, 01:36 AM
**ON AVERAGE** (Individual specimens may vary)

.308, in service rifles, whether rack grade or match-tuned, using USGI match ammo, shot groups about 10% smaller, whenever Uncle Sugar tested it.

The results were also the same in their heavy-barrel machine-rest test barrels, whether during the 3,000-round period from new to peak accuracy, at peak (3,000-8,000 rounds, IIRC), or as accuracy declined (usually back to "new barrel" at @10,000).

The only two rifles I owned in each caliber displayed the same general accuracy difference--scores did NOT change because I couldn't hold the X-ring... And the .30-06 couldn't *quite* hold the X-ring, but easily kept 'em all in the 10.

Grump
June 17, 2007, 01:40 AM
The .308 Winchester's debut caused the Camp Perry 1000yd center ring to be reduced BY HALF IT'S DIAMETER. To better differentiate the groups shot by the .308 shooters. The rifles used in 30-06 were pretty much the same as those used in .308 Winchester. This is why we hear about "shorter stiffer actions" being part of the accuracy equation.

I read the American Rifleman article on the change from the 5-V to the 10-X target, and the causes were shooter scores being way too commonly 50-10V, or at least 50 with a few dropped Vs. It was happening over the entire course, not just at 1,000, for years, with shooters using the M1 Garand and that M72 Match ammo. That combo could be almost guaranteed to hold 2 MOA for any 10-shot string, though a few rifles were closer to 1.5 MOA or less.

Ian Sean
June 17, 2007, 01:51 AM
The two cartridges are so ballistically similar, to argue the point is moot, and now pretty much just splitting hairs.

All things being equal...ammo, rifle, shooter and shooting conditions....they would be a draw for the most part.

As for current rifle offerings and ammo costs, I would opt for a .308 myself.

RevolvingCylinder
June 17, 2007, 03:18 AM
There isn't enough of a difference to even have this debate.

Don't Tread On Me
June 17, 2007, 04:21 AM
Hey guys, let's leave rifles out of the discussion here. The question is simple. Which one is more accurate?


That means it would absolutely have to be some sort of characteristic of the cartridge itself. This has nothing to do with benchrest, highpower or any rifles or components other than the cartridges themselves.


The main, and most significant difference between the .308 and the .30-06 is that the .308 has the shorter powder column. I've read that this is pretty much why .308 has a slight edge over the .30-06. Then again, others argue that long action cartridges exist that are even more accurate. I suppose it all depends on what it was designed for. If that is the true (I don't know for sure) then the debate changes entirely from .308 vs. .30-06 to short vs. long. That's another topic. That may be true, but the question still stands - which is more accurate - .308 or .30-06. The why can be argued separately with counter examples and exceptions to the rule.


If there is some other characteristics of the cartridges that play a major role, we should look into that.


Like someone else already said -- ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL ...which one is more accurate?


I'd like to know and look forward to this thread getting more informative. I've always been under the impression .308 is more accurate, but if it isn't - I'd prefer a .30-06 for the increased power.

U.S.SFC_RET
June 17, 2007, 08:24 AM
The 30-06 when loaded right can carry longer distances. much more versatile than the .308 caliber. I have been a 30-06 shooter since I could shoot and I am not about to change.

4fingermick
June 17, 2007, 09:10 AM
You see a lot of serious target guys shooting the 308, not many shooting the 3006. For hunting and military shooting, both great rounds, accuracy wise the 308 always gets the nod.

OneShot!
June 17, 2007, 09:17 AM
I purchased HK 91 in .308 caliber. I must say I am very impressed by the weapon. Its a beautiful semi-automatic. I am sure with some excellant gun smithing it can be turned in selective fire.

USSR
June 17, 2007, 02:49 PM
Hey guys, let's leave rifles out of the discussion here. The question is simple. Which one is more accurate?


That means it would absolutely have to be some sort of characteristic of the cartridge itself. This has nothing to do with benchrest, highpower or any rifles or components other than the cartridges themselves.

DTOM,

A cartridge is a d@mn hunk of brass holding powder that when ignited, propels a bullet at a certain velocity. A .30 caliber bullet at 2700fps doesn't care what the cartridge case headstamp says, it's only concern is it's engagement with the bore, whether it entered the bore dead straight, whether the lands and grooves are the same from the throat to the muzzle, and whether the crown will allow the bullet to release itself from the bore evenly at the muzzle. Talking about a cartridge's "characteristic" is so miniscule that it takes you into the benchrest realm, which you yourself eliminated. You are simply debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin when you eliminate the rifle and deal only with a brass case.

Don

RubenZ
June 19, 2007, 12:05 PM
Using Factory equipment I'd take my .270 instead :) Flatter shooting than both of those imo.

As for original question, my vote goes to the .308win

Donzo
June 21, 2007, 02:43 AM
Since I don't own anything in .308, I'd have to say the 30-06 is definately the most accurate in my collection.

Don't Tread On Me
June 21, 2007, 02:57 AM
A cartridge is a d@mn hunk of brass holding powder that when ignited, propels a bullet at a certain velocity. A .30 caliber bullet at 2700fps doesn't care what the cartridge case headstamp says, it's only concern is it's engagement with the bore, whether it entered the bore dead straight, whether the lands and grooves are the same from the throat to the muzzle, and whether the crown will allow the bullet to release itself from the bore evenly at the muzzle. Talking about a cartridge's "characteristic" is so miniscule that it takes you into the benchrest realm, which you yourself eliminated. You are simply debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin when you eliminate the rifle and deal only with a brass case.

Don


Don, I understand that. All I'm wondering is if the length of the cartridge makes a difference. That would be a characteristic specific to the cartridge, not any platform using it. I assume all things are equal here. I suppose the only things that could possibly make a difference are the length of the powder column, and the angle of the shoulder. There are those (not me, just playing devil's advocate here) who say that a shorter/fatter cartridge is more accurate due to the more consistent pressure curve produced by the physical space in which the powder burns. This is what I've read and heard. Is it just nonsense to try and give credence to the whole shorty/fat cartridge fad these days? Maybe. I don't know. This isn't my area of expertise.


I just thought that the question being raised was between the cartridges themselves. I think you're right. It's splitting hairs. A professionally gunsmithed and tuned .30-06 with match-grade parts and top-notch handloading should be extremely accurate to where it doesn't really matter. That's what I think.

Is there a reason benchrest people use 6mm? Is there something about the proportions of the projectile in comparison to the case size and volume and shape which makes it more inherently accurate? If so, then can these factors apply to .308 vs. .30-06?

USSR
June 21, 2007, 10:08 AM
DTOM,

In theory, there are several factors regarding the case itself that come into play. As you mentioned, the length of the powder column and the angle of the shoulder are a couple. Also, a shorter cartridge can be used in a shorter receiver which may be stiffer than a longer one. As for the "...shorter/fatter cartridge is more accurate due to the more consistent pressure curve produced by the physical space in which the powder burns". This is only true if the powder and bullet used is optimized to the shorter case. For example, in the case of IMR4895 and the approximate 150gr bullets which were used in both USGI .30-06 and .308 ammo, the powder nearly filled the .308 case, while the .30-06 case had space between the top of the powder column and the base of the bullet. However, once you move to a heavier bullet and slower burning powders more suited to the .30-06's case capacity, then you have a situation where the .308 case cannot hold enough powder to propel the heavier bullet at a suitable velocity, and the .30-06 is likely to be more accurate. As for the 6mm bullet used in BR, this is a case where everything (case, bullet, powder column, primer size, etc.) have been optimized to produce the best results within an artificial environment (ie. the rules of the game). Also, unlike commercial cartridges which are chambered in thousands of factory rifles, some of which are of questionable quality and will exhibit questionable accuracy, the benchrest cartridges will always have a sterling reputation simply because they are only chambered in the highest quality custom built rifles. I think you nailed it when you said, "A professionally gunsmithed and tuned .30-06 with match-grade parts and top-notch handloading should be extremely accurate to where it doesn't really matter". Just make sure you optimize your load to the .30-06's case capacity, and don't try to duplicate a .308 load in the larger '06 case.

Don

RubenZ
June 21, 2007, 10:30 AM
Don you forgot to add in Bbl Twist :)

USSR
June 21, 2007, 12:11 PM
Don you forgot to add in Bbl Twist

Yes, indeed. Thanks RubenZ.

Don

SlamFire1
June 21, 2007, 01:03 PM
“I just thought that the question being raised was between the cartridges themselves. I think you're right. It's splitting hairs. A professionally gunsmithed and tuned .30-06 with match-grade parts and top-notch handloading should be extremely accurate to where it doesn't really matter. That's what I think.”


The American Rifleman Magazine published 600 round groups with the NM match ammunition used in the 1960’s Nation Matches. Both cartridges, 308 and 30-06 used the 174 FMJ and IMR 4895 powder. The 308 groups had significantly less dispersion than the 30-06 groups. This is probably due to the air space in the 30-06. I have always been curious if 55 grains of IMR 4350 would have reduced the dispersion as there is very little air space left in the case when that load is used.

The 308 is basically obsolete for a target round, the accuracy is there, but shooters prefer the better ballistics of the 6 mm and 6.5 mm cartridges and the lesser recoil. Unfortunately the classic bolt gun is disappearing from the firing line. Back in the 70’s there were only a few “Top Dogs” who were shooting 30-06 in the bolt gun. Larry Moore was one of these and his short range load was a 168 SMK with 42.0 grains IMR4895. Still a great load at 200 yards. However most of the shooters were shooting 308, but it really was not an accuracy issue, it was more of a perceived accuracy issue (those lot acceptance data sheets). Then the availability of 308 brass was very good, there was the slightly reduced recoil of the 308, and the shorter bolt stroke of a 308. For those who have never shot rapid fire with a bolt, the longer the bolt throw, the more you break position. At the end of the day, a dropped point is a mile deep chasm.

I shot a 30-06 Match rifle for a couple of years, but when I shoot classic bolt rifle I am using a 308. I cannot say that with an unsupported rifle that there is any noticeable difference in target accuracy between the 30-06 and 308, so I guess that means I get to keep those cleans I shot with the 30-06.

RubenZ
June 21, 2007, 01:14 PM
I have a .244 that is a tack Driver! Too bad you cant find ammo for it anywhere. Gotta use 6mm.

Gewehr98
June 21, 2007, 03:38 PM
Like someone else already said -- ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL ...which one is more accurate?

All things being equal? Neither. Find a reputable precision rifle gunsmith to build two identical rifles, using top quality receivers, barrels, chambering reamers, brass, primers, bullets, and powder. Chamber one in .30-06, and one in .308.

At the end of the day, the better shooter pulling the trigger will prevail. The differences between the cartridges will be indistinguishable.

I noticed that after I got into OneShot's chili over his plethora of inane polls at TFL, he started to duplicate those activities here. I'm curious if he knows what the search function is all about, or he just enjoys posting the myriad AK vs. AR polls. :scrutiny:

Howard Roark
June 21, 2007, 05:31 PM
Gewehr98 is correct. Both are equally accurate. As is most any other caliber capable of the range it is shot at. The fact is that a 30-06 will shoot any bullet weight faster due to the greater powder capacity of that case as opposed to a 308. This comes into play when shooting in the wind which is always blowing at some point in a match. There might not be any wind in the morning but there will be wind later in the day. The faster bullet between the two will have a higher BC and will be affected by the wind less.

USSR
June 21, 2007, 10:10 PM
I noticed that after I got into OneShot's chili over his plethora of inane polls at TFL, he started to duplicate those activities here. I'm curious if he knows what the search function is all about, or he just enjoys posting the myriad AK vs. AR polls.

Gewehr98,

I'd say you nailed it. He's got another inane poll going.

Don

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