Why are 308, 338 lapua and 50 cal preferred sniping calibers not 30-06?


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datruth
July 7, 2007, 05:55 PM
Im just doing a lot of reading on long range shooting and sniping after my purchasing of my new bolt action 30-06 , and curious about long range shooting/sniper. I never see anything about 30-06 as a sniper round but I do see it as a preferred a serious hunting round, thus the main reason i bought it, any opinions? Man i am hooked to firearms and shooting, :D

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taliv
July 7, 2007, 06:02 PM
from chuck hawk's page, comparing the 308 and 30-06...
The regular factory load for the 150 grain spitzer bullet in the .30-06 has a muzzle velocity (MV) of 2,910 fps with muzzle energy (ME) of 2,820 ft. lbs.
The 150 grain spitzer bullet is usually loaded (in the 308 Win) to a muzzle velocity (MV) of 2,820 fps and muzzle energy (ME) of 2,648 ft. lbs.

So basically, you have a much larger cartridge, requiring a longer action (which makes it inherently less rigid), more powder, and a lot more recoil, and for all of that, you get 90 fps.

So, with the 308, you can carry more ammo and make a little more accurate gun, and shoot it more accurately because you're not flinching so much.

The external and terminal ballistics on the 338 LM and the 50bmg are in a completely different league. e.g. 12,500+ ft. lbs. for the 50.

GigaBuist
July 7, 2007, 06:23 PM
What taliv posted is some pretty good info.

If it weren't for the existence of .308 then 30-06 would probably be more popular. There's nothing inherently wrong with 30-06. Heck, Carlos Hathcock ran a Win. 70 in 30-06 during Vietnam if my memory is correct.

I may be incorrect in my following asseration, but, the .50BMG is just a scaled up 30-06, at least in physical dimensions.

Outlaws
July 7, 2007, 07:00 PM
I may be incorrect in my following asseration, but, the .50BMG is just a scaled up 30-06, at least in physical dimensions.

Yep. Browning took the 30-06 and just enlarged it for the most part.

benEzra
July 7, 2007, 08:54 PM
IIRC, Sgt. Hathcock had confirmed kills at 1200 yards plus with the .30-06; he used an accurized Winchester Model 70 (yes, a deer rifle) and a 10x Unertl scope, shooting Sierra Matchkings (180's?). .338 Lapua would have a whole lot more energy left at that range, though.

Eightball
July 7, 2007, 08:54 PM
Because the wall-climbers will only make hyper-accurate single-shot put-together rifles in calibres the Delta Force/SOCOM-hybrid special forces (that they established, of course) use. :rolleyes:

A lot of it is either because the round has a proven effectiveness, or because the numbers line up in the right ways as to do the job. And since the word "sniping" was used rather than "sharpshooting" or other adjectives that could be applied towards a hunting application, that would imply military usage--and those rounds just happened to be the ones adopted. It isn't to say that they're the most effective, but rather the ones the military chose for whatever reasons they choose specific calibers--effectiveness, cost, bribery, what-have-you.

kcmarine
July 7, 2007, 09:06 PM
Because they can.

USSR
July 7, 2007, 09:28 PM
I never see anything about 30-06 as a sniper round...

datruth,

Well, we'll have to take care of that for ya.

http://www.ussr.baka.com/Win06t1.jpg

Oh, and we don't mess around with no "dinky" 150gr bullets. Run this load thru your exterior ballistics program:

190SMK bullet
Norma brass
210M primer
61.4gr RL22
2920fps

Don

taliv
July 7, 2007, 09:54 PM
i don't shoot 150g either. i was just using it as a point of comparison for the two calibers.


btw, comrade, the alliantpowder website lists 2,755 fps as the velocity for 60 grains of RL22 in a 30-06.

That is their Max load, as well. Please don't post loads exceeding published maximums without at least including a disclaimer.

Jim Watson
July 7, 2007, 10:30 PM
.30-06 is no longer in the military supply system. .308 and .50 are. I don't know how much use we are making of .338 Lap. Probably not much, although I guess you could bring in oddball guns and ammo in a relatively small scale operation like Iraq.

datruth
July 7, 2007, 10:35 PM
USSR, is that a mcmillian stock and what type of rounds do you shoot, i just took my savage out with 150grain remmingtons for the first time, what type of target rounds do you shoot with and what do you use to hunt if if you hunt, if you dont mind me asking? and USSR thats a mean rig you have there :)

datruth
July 7, 2007, 10:38 PM
Jim watson, you active duty ?

eldon519
July 7, 2007, 11:04 PM
It's not the round or rifle that makes a sniper. It's the man behind the gun. I'm confident that if a skilled sniper chose the .30-06, he could be quite successful. Carlos Hathcock is a quintessential example. Hell, some of the most successful snipers in history made their kills with the 7.62x54R in Mosin Nagants not so different from the rifles you can buy for about $70.

I don't really personally care for the term "sniper rifle." It almost implies any fool can go out and buy a 700P and become a force to reckon with. Personally, I feel a sniper rifle becomes just that when it falls into the hands of a trained sniper. Being a sniper involves alot more than just being able to shoot a rifle well.

For clarification, no, I am not a sniper, nor military, but I do have a great deal of respect for those who are.

My $0.02. But it's probably worth less than that. :evil:

datruth
July 7, 2007, 11:30 PM
im military, us army, but far from a sniper, im a wrench-turner(63bravo), me being in the military has taught me how to shoot the m16a2 and a few others, all of my handguns and rifles, i taught myself to shoot accuratley and took advice from others who have "been there, done that" that all and the info i am taking in is educational , primarily and i would never consider myself a sniper, i know that it take serious training to become a sniper, thats why they get to were the tab, they are the tip of the sword, I just keep em rolling;), i just explaining my viewpoint , i have received great imput from this site and glad i found it:)

jestertoo
July 7, 2007, 11:36 PM
The 30-06 has history behind it for hunting. It's extremely available due to age and popularity.

The 338 and 50bmg are two of the premier long distance rounds. The secret is they maintain supersonic velocity much farther out. That appears to be a major key to staying accurate. The '06 drops subsonic in the 800yrd range with most bullets. The bmg, 338 and others are a supersonic well out to 1500+ yds.

They have already given why the 308 is the current cartridge of choice over the '06.

Vietnam they used the '06 because that's what they had. They developed the M40 in 308 as a result of Vietnam.

eldon519
July 7, 2007, 11:38 PM
I'm sorry datruth. I wasn't trying to point out any specific choice in dialect I disagreed with. I was actually trying to say that if you had a reasonable rifle and wanted to develop the skills, nearly anything could become a sniper rifle in the correct hands. I didn't mean to make it sound like you had chosen your words incorrectly.

Sorry bout that.

datruth
July 7, 2007, 11:41 PM
no harm done, comrade ,:)

USSR
July 8, 2007, 02:21 PM
USSR, is that a mcmillian stock and what type of rounds do you shoot, i just took my savage out with 150grain remmingtons for the first time, what type of target rounds do you shoot with and what do you use to hunt if if you hunt, if you dont mind me asking?

datruth,

Yes, that is a McMillan A2 stock. That rifle was custom built by Jack Krieger and is used in 1,000 yard competition with 190 grain Sierra MatchKings. The area where I hunt deer is offlimits to hunting with rifles (other than muzzleloaders), so I use a 12 gauge shotgun for deer.

taliv,

Sorry, taliv, but all the "so called" max loads in reloading manuals are vetted by lawyers, not ballisticians. Simply put, there is no one "max load". What is a max load in one rifle is not a max load in another rifle. Anyone who is involved in reloading knows that you start low and work up while looking for pressure signs, until you find a safe load that gives you performance.

Don

aspade
July 8, 2007, 03:16 PM
Velocity is a pressure sign in itself. Loading a grain and a half and 170fps over book max isn't because your rifle is an individual, it's because youre using the safety margin.

If you're comfortable on the edge that's your choice but rationalizing 68K PSI is as safe as 60K because the primers don't crater til 70 is only fooling yourself.

taliv
July 8, 2007, 03:29 PM
no one is claiming there is "one max load". I'm just saying that we should be considerate of others. This sticky in the Handloading forum pretty much covers it:

REQUIRED READ for those posting Extra Heavy Load Information
THIS IS IMPORTANT- - - - -

In the spirit of advancing knowledge and encouraging the open sharing of information amongst The High Road forum members, the near-unrestricted posting of handloading information and specific loads is allowed.

HOWEVER---
We owe it to one another to include proper cautions whenever we post ANY load in excess of published information. To fail in this duty may well endanger our forum associates - - either their firearms or their health.

In most of the other forums, if someone posts information in error, or in rash disregard of courtesy or propriety, little or no lasting harm is done. When dealing with high-powered firearms and the care and feeding thereof, though, someone could easily get hurt.

I am well aware that many loads have been acceptable in the past, and have been published in older loading manuals and magazine articles. I still happily use certain of these loads in MY own firearms, and do not feel I am at risk. Do as you wish with YOUR firearms and when you are placing only YOURSELF at risk.

If you wish to share such OLD loading data, please specifically quote the exact source, with the note that it is now considered over max. With NEW data you have worked up and which is beyond currently published maximums, PLEASE heed this admonition:

At the beginning of your message, insert in BOLD type a no-uncertain-terms cautionary note, for example:

CAUTION: The following post includes loading data beyond currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The High Road, nor the staff of THR assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.

You are not constrained to use this exact language, but please feel free to cut and past it into your message.

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Handloading & Reloading Forum Moderator
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FIFTYGUY
July 8, 2007, 04:08 PM
Outlaws said:
I may be incorrect in my following asseration, but, the .50BMG is just a scaled up 30-06, at least in physical dimensions.

Yep. Browning took the 30-06 and just enlarged it for the most part.

It wasn't J.M. Browning, it was Frankford Arsenal.

Actually, there seems to be a lot of confusion about the history, as Datig's "Cartridges For Collectors Vol II" has erroneous information (even if the illustrations are accurate).

I much rather trust the more thorough, meticulously detailed, and annotated account in Hackley, Woodin, and Scranton's "History of Modern U.S. Military Small Arms Ammunition Vol I":

1. General Pershing wanted a big cartridge, mainly for aircraft machine-guns.
2. Winchester started development, starting with necked-down 16-ga shotgun shells.
3. Winchester designed their own rimmed .50 cal cartridge
4. Ordnance wanted a rimless cartridge to function better in Browning MG's, so Winchester came up with several rimless cartridges. One was intended for a Winchester anti-tank rifle as well.
5. Early Browning .50 MG's were manufactured based on the current Winchester cartridge spec.
6. After Winchester failed to meet performance requirements, Frankford Arsenal took over the project.
7. Frankford started with the design of the German 13mm Mauser AT-rifle cartridge, and kept the 13mm's feature of a rim. Note that the 13x99 Mauser cartridge also was used in both anti-tank rifles and in aircraft heavy MG's.
8. Ordnance told Frankford what they had told Winchester - that a rimless cartridge was more suitable for Browning MG use (tell that to the guys running 7.62x54R in their BMG's these days!).
8. Frankford finally started again, by scaling-up the .30-06 cartridge. Illustrated in Frankford Arsenal Drawing B-7395, May 6, 1919, "Cal. .50 Ball Cartridge, Model of 1919". With minor changes this is the round we all know and love as the ".50 BMG".

FWIW, the Soviet 12.7x108 has been used in both heavy MG's and anti-material rifles. Their 7.62x54R has been used in MG's, battle rifles, and sniper rifles.

The 8mm Mauser was used in MG's, battle rifles, and sniper rifles. But I don't think anybody(military) is using it today, if they have a modern alternative available.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the M1C and M1D Garand or the M1903A4, M1903A5, and M1903A1/Unertl from WWII and Korea. These were US-issue sniping rifles chambered in .30-06.

The bottom line is that militaries have tended to start with their standard-issue rifles to convert them to sniper rifles, and thus they have kept the standard-issue rifle's chambering. It does make some logistical sense as well, although some forces (US included) have produced special loadings exclusively for sniper use. But having your sniper rifle shoot the same ammo as your battle rifles and machine-guns is convenient. Since the .30-06 (and 8mm Mauser!) was replaced by the 7.62 NATO 50 years ago, subsequent sniper rifles have used 7.62 NATO.

And with the militarization of law-enforcement, civilian snipers tend to use the same chamberings that their military does.

Davo
July 8, 2007, 04:30 PM
I think its just because the US military uses .308 and its what they have.
There are competitive shooters out there with the 06.
BTW as you can see the '06 is loaded up to .300 magnum levels these days by quite a few in the long distance game. With the .308 you can get those same 190 SMK's to 2700 fps with certain powders.
I wont be going there with my .308 because I dont like recoil.

USSR
July 8, 2007, 07:37 PM
If you're comfortable on the edge that's your choice but rationalizing 68K PSI is as safe as 60K because the primers don't crater til 70 is only fooling yourself.

aspade,

This load with these components was run over QuickLoad, and comes in 59-60k psi. That's the beauty of slow burning powders. Myself and another shooter on Sniper's Hide developed this load using RL22 and 190SMK's over 5 years ago. At first we got alot a comments like yours, but after people got over the fact that this was not a Garand load and was merely using the .30-06's case capacity with heavy bullets and slow burning powders, it became an accepted fact.

Don

HorseSoldier
July 8, 2007, 11:03 PM
I think its just because the US military uses .308 and its what they have.

Yeah, like someone else said, 7.62x51 is in the supply system and it works pretty well. For the Big Army or USMC there's a lot to be said for using a common caliber for sniping to reduce logistical issues and cover against logistical failures, even if it means that in a pinch guys have to accept degraded performance from their rifles by shooting delinked MG ammo, etc. (Same holds true for .50 cal as a heavy sniping round.)

Most of the fielding of non-standard sniping calibers like 338 Lapua and 300 Win Mag come from SOCOM where the logistic footprint is a lot smaller and there's more of a golf-bag approach to firearms. Even then, .308 and .50 cal (and .223 through SPRs) are still workhorse calibers.

USSR
July 9, 2007, 07:28 AM
Yeah, as far as the military is concerned, logistics trumps ballistics every day.

Don

FIFTYGUY
July 9, 2007, 04:24 PM
USSR said:
Yeah, as far as the military is concerned, logistics trumps ballistics every day.

If that were true, the 7.62 NATO would never have replaced the .30-06!

The logistical gains from 5.56mm justified the *difference* in ballistics.

There are other instances where ballistics trumps logistics, but these tend to be in SOCOM. Witness the circus surounding the 6.8mm SPC - that would be a major logistical step backwards, but for various reasons several entities have been trying to get this cartridge adopted.

In cannon calibers, an edge in performance is often so valuable that logistics goes right out the window.

Anyhow, there's usually a trade-off between logistics and ballistics. It takes a miracle to improve both simultaneously.

kmrcstintn
July 9, 2007, 04:30 PM
.308 is a slightly shortened version of .30-06 with virtually the same ballistics due to a more refined powder mix--it is also a very universally accepted and chambered round; the .50 bmg is the granddaddy of all armor piercing rounds--not alot developed since that can top it for its intended purpose; .338 lapua is more of a big & dangerous game round, but the power level is between the .308 & .50 bmg

DogBonz
July 9, 2007, 04:42 PM
For whatever reason, we tend to use NATO approved calibers, although all of the tech stuff is correct, the NATO thing is the biggest reason for military use of the 308. Police usually use whatever is filtered down from the armed forces.

Limeyfellow
July 9, 2007, 04:45 PM
7.62 nato has a few advantages that it was specifically designed for. The number one is that the short action round is far more reliable in automatic firing devices than the 30'06 and since this was the time it was adopted when the Garand was being phased out for the M14, new support weapons etc were coming to the front and were required to be in a .30 calibre by the generals it made sense to replace everything in the new cartridge.

HorseSoldier
July 9, 2007, 05:13 PM
For whatever reason, we tend to use NATO approved calibers

Kind of putting the cart before the horse in the case of rifle caliber rounds. We forced 7.62x51 on the other NATO nations, they followed our lead despite superior options in the works. A decade later, we realized we'd made a big mistake by sticking with a full-power round for service rifle use and unilaterally opted to switch to 5.56x45 . . . and about a decade after we adopted it NATO jumped on the bandwagon again by making 5.56mm its new standard. In both cases we were the ones calling the tune, the other NATO nations were the ones doing the dancing.

USSR
July 9, 2007, 06:52 PM
USSR said:
Quote:
Yeah, as far as the military is concerned, logistics trumps ballistics every day.
If that were true, the 7.62 NATO would never have replaced the .30-06!

FIFTYGUY,

A little look at the history behind the development of a replacement of the .30-06 will show you that:

1. There was going to be NATO standardization on a rifle cartridge.
2. The Europeans were not going to standardize on the .30-06, they were looking for something smaller, like a 7mm.
3. The U.S. was insistent that the cartridge be a .30 caliber with ballistics similar to the .30-06.

So, in the end, the 7.62x51 replaced the .30-06 for logistics purposes with our NATO allies.

Don

FIFTYGUY
July 9, 2007, 07:22 PM
Limeyfellow wrote:
7.62 nato has a few advantages that it was specifically designed for. The number one is that the short action round is far more reliable in automatic firing devices than the 30'06.

I'd really like to see your sources for that statement.
The main consumers of the .30-06 round were the Garand, the Browing Machine Gun, the Browning Automatic Rifle, the '03 Springfield, and the '17 Enfield. If you can find any sources that say those guns suffered from reliability, especially due to the characteristics of their .30-06 cartridge, I would be *very* surprised.
I would also be surprised to to learn that conversions/adaptations of any of the above to 7.62 NATO improved reliability.

I *do* agree that 7.62 NATO has a *logistical* edge over .30-06 WRT modern battle rifle usage. A slightly smaller, lighter round that *allows* for a slightly smaller, lighter rifle of the same performance within a certain ballistic range.

and kmrcstintn wrote:
.308 is a slightly shortened version of .30-06 with virtually the same ballistics due to a more refined powder mix

Not historically. The 7.62 NATO was derived from the .300 Savage case. I have an experimental 7.62 NATO round in my collection. It's 7.62x47mm, with a graphited aluminum case - from 1945. In 1946, they went to 7.62x49mm. Obviously, they started short and worked their way longer to accomplish their ballistic goal.

However, from a *practical* standpoint, you could certainly *consider* 7.62 NATO as shortened .30-06.

Zak Smith
July 9, 2007, 07:56 PM
Like many things, it's a result of politics, history, and chance.

But looking at sniper-round caliber choice from a blank slate, you can do better than .30-06 in a cartridge of the same max OAL and/or approx powder capacity.

-z

Glen
July 9, 2007, 10:04 PM
The 30/06 is a great round. It's just in the past, militarily speaking, so it's no sniper round today.

kcmarine
July 9, 2007, 10:27 PM
Because they can.

aspade
July 10, 2007, 12:53 AM
USSR:
This load with these components was run over QuickLoad, and comes in 59-60k psi. That's the beauty of slow burning powders.

The lab techs at Alliant writing the manual were working with the exact same slow burning powder and they measured 59k psi in the test barrel and called it a day a grain and a half and 150fps short of your load.

So did the techs with 4831 and 7828 in the Hodgdon or IMR manuals and they didn't come anywhere near 2920fps either.

There's no free lunch.

Zak Smith
July 10, 2007, 12:56 AM
Chambers, bores, and lots of powders are sufficiently different to allow that variation.

FIFTYGUY
July 10, 2007, 10:25 AM
USSR said:
A little look at the history behind the development of a replacement of the .30-06 will show you that:

1. There was going to be NATO standardization on a rifle cartridge.
2. The Europeans were not going to standardize on the .30-06, they were looking for something smaller, like a 7mm.
3. The U.S. was insistent that the cartridge be a .30 caliber with ballistics similar to the .30-06.

All true, of course!
The British had wanted a battle rifle cartridge of about 6mm for long before WWII.
At the same time in the US, the .276 Pedersen was nixed due to short-term logistical concerns.
In fact, the .276 Pedersen was based on the much earlier 6mm US Navy rifle cartridge. There was also a Cal .236 US Navy rifle cartridge in that earlier time frame (1890's), which was developed after trials of .30 caliber Mauser rifles and ammunition. The goal was to replace the .45 caliber rifles then in service. You have to wonder what the effect on history would have been if the US military settled on a 6mm rifle cartridge 115 years ago when they had the chance!
Fascinating how the wheel keeps coming around again and again...

So, in the end, the 7.62x51 replaced the .30-06 for logistics purposes with our NATO allies.

Good point!
I'd have to say that the US adopted the 7.62 NATO because of a (slight)ballistic advance that allowed a (slight) logistical advantage, but NATO was forced to adopt it strictly because of logistics.

The Japanese had a special light loading of 7.62 NATO, and guns designed accordingly, due to their average smaller body build.Anybody know if JDF snipers used the light loading of 7.62 NATO, normal 7.62 NATO, or older WWII-era chamberings?

IIRC there were also light loads of 7.62 NATO designed for the CETME rifles. And that's not counting the 7.92x40mm CETME round (although that was in accordance with the 7.92 Kurz and 7.62x39 intermediate rounds already developed).

Don't forget the Czech 7.62x45mm cartridge, which flew in the face of all logistical reasoning for a slight ballistic advantage.

Thankfully, none of these logistical headaches are still in service.

Does anybody have an account of a military sniper running out of special "sniper" ammo, and resorting to shooting "standard" ammo instead out of their sniper rifle?

berettashotgun
July 10, 2007, 11:32 AM
I'd take a 270 over a 308 any day. For most any task I could imagine. Wish the bullet selection was better. > 0.600 B.C.
A '06 is just fine for a sharpshooter rifle, but a "sniper rifle" is usually in a snipers hands. They are not available in any stores or over the internet, actually I don't believe the word even gets used.
A '06 will get any thing accomplished a 308 would, with minimal difference in how they go about it. Basically the same for the most part.
Now a 260 or 6.5-06 is the schizzell.

jkingrph
July 10, 2007, 11:42 AM
Like others said it's no longer in the "mass" supply system. Are any of the US arsenals still producing it, probably not!

It could be a little better as a sniper round, a slightly heavier bullet a little faster than the .308 thus a flatter longer trajectory.

If you are to go out of the normal supply system for what is now a specialty item, why not go for the 300 mag or 338 mag mentioned. Paperwork costs for procurement are the same.

HorseSoldier
July 10, 2007, 12:36 PM
The British had wanted a battle rifle cartridge of about 6mm for long before WWII.
At the same time in the US, the .276 Pedersen was nixed due to short-term logistical concerns.


The British had been in the process of moving to a .276 cartridge pre-WW1 (different than 276 Pedersen, and hotter and more overbore than that round).

The 276 Pedersen round was a lot closer to a true intermediate round (if I recall correctly, it's numbers were pretty close to the later 280 British and modern 6.8mm Rem SPC cartridges). Had we adopted it pre-WW2, I would think it might be possible that we'd still be shooting basically the same round today out of a shorter cased, modernized form.

Does anybody have an account of a military sniper running out of special "sniper" ammo, and resorting to shooting "standard" ammo instead out of their sniper rifle?

I've heard it has happened from time to time in the current war, partly due to logistical issues over there, partly due to real trouble getting the volume of M118LR needed produced (and past quality control checks), and possibly due to that jacka$$ JAG officer from 4th ID who unilaterally decided she would reverse stated US military legal opinion and rule open-tip match ammunition illegal under international laws of land warfare.

Out to maybe 500 meters M80 ball is pretty workable for precision shooting if it's been manufactured for rifles (linked ammo has lower QC to get more dispersion and better beaten zone). It's about twice as loose a group at M118LR, but it's still accurate enough to easily do minute of man and hit steel chest plates (or just chests . . .). At further distances it can't hold a candle to M118LR, though, and if its really delinked MG ammo it's quite a bit sloppier, but even then would probably work if you're in a situation where "one shot one kill" can flex to "3 or 4 shots, one kill."

Zak Smith
July 10, 2007, 01:32 PM
Also note that with merely a load/bullet upgrade, 308 can have 15% less wind, 20% less drop, and 13% more velocity at 1000 yards, compared to M118LR.

Gewehr98
July 10, 2007, 03:29 PM
Don't assume USSR is on the ragged edge of reducing things to shrapnel. Variances in barrel length (loadbooks are notorious for using short test barrels), chamber throats, rifling styles, brass thickness, newer powders like RL-22, and other factors mean that a given round will do X-fps in one gun, X-fps in another. My old Speer manual even had a chapter about ballisticians getting gray hair when a given load had noticeable differences in two identical revolvers.

With advances in progressive-burning slow powders, better tolerances in premium barrels, chambering reamers, reloading dies, and handloading components, I'd have no qualms at all about using something like USSR's .30-06 as a long-range tactical/precision rifle. About the only thing it gives up to my own long-range 6.5-06 is recoil and maybe a slightly more arched trajectory.

Another factor in the .7.62mm NATO taking over from the .30-06 Springfield was the weight of a given soldier's ammunition load-out, lest we forget. That also drove the switch from 7.62mm NATO to 5.56mm NATO. ;)

USSR
July 10, 2007, 09:36 PM
Variances in barrel length (loadbooks are notorious for using short test barrels), chamber throats, rifling styles, brass thickness, newer powders like RL-22, and other factors mean that a given round will do X-fps in one gun, X-fps in another.

Good point, Gewehr98. As an example, I have a .30-06 load using an 178gr Amax bullet that does 2950fps in my Krieger-built tactical rifle, while the same exact load only does 2875fps in my Winchester Match rifle. Both rifles have 26" barrels, yet the velocity varies by 75fps.

Don

Alphazulu6
July 14, 2007, 01:33 PM
The change in from the 30-06 to .308 was NOT ballistics but barrel life and ultimately cost.

The .30-06 burns barrels much faster than the .308. Its just simple physics with the larger flame the .30-06 produces. The .308 is cheaper to manufacture and easier on the actions of automatics as well. Coupled with the effect the NATO round has on the world market (7.62x51) it is a good fit with our allies as it has been in production for a long long time as adopting in a standardized caliber.

Simple economics. .308 is comparible to .30-06 for effectiveness but at a much, much cheaper cost on a large scale useage/production schedule.

Gewehr98
July 14, 2007, 04:26 PM
Uncle Sam could actually care less about barrel life in their firearms, especially between the .30-06 and .308, let alone the current .223. A visit to a military depot or even smaller unit armorer's facility would reveal they're more than capable of swapping barrels on issued rifles as they're passing through for inspection, storage, and re-issue, regardless of what rifle and when it was produced. They've got erosion gauges at hand, and plenty of spare barrels ready to go. Take a look at a given DCM/CMP Garand these days, it's been through rebuild at least once, if not more often. Even when I volunteered at Anniston Army Depot, I could see the logistic tail in place for something as ancient as the M1 Garand. Ed Clancy can better explain it, but by the time a Garand's barrel had been shot out, chances are it was already enroute to the assigned depot to have a rebuild from all the hard use.

Same story for the 7.62mm NATO M14, and 5.56mm NATO M16. They get inspected, and parts replaced, including barrels. (As well as the squad autos and other military things with barrels that go "bang")

USSR
July 14, 2007, 05:00 PM
Alphazulu6,

There were a lot of reasons for the change from .30-06 to 7.62x51, but barrel life and cost were not among them.

Don

GunTech
July 15, 2007, 01:32 AM
Many claim that the 308 is more intrinsically accurate than the 30-06 due to case geometry. It's certainly true that in match rifles, where any cartridge can be used, 308 is far more common than 30-06 - by a huge margin. The same 308 case is the foundation of several other highly regarded match rounds.

The comments about heavy bullets in the 30 caliber are really a non-issue. It's BC that carries the day at long range, not weight. Heavier bullets usually have a higher BC, but not always.

The 190 SMK is a great bullet, with a BC of around 530. But it can't be launch at the same velocity as a lighter bullet. I use the Lapua scenar 155gn, which has a BC of 508. It can be launched at several hundred FPS higher for the same chamber pressure. At 2800 fps, the Scenar has a drop of 30 MOA at 1000 yards. The 190 at around 2500 drops 38 MOA at the same distance.

One has to look at all the factors carefull - bullet weight, BC, etc. Both the 6.5 and 7mm offer superior BC in similar bullet weights.

JohnMc
July 15, 2007, 07:48 AM
The 7.62x51 (T65) was developed to replace the .30-06 with ballistics equal to the '06's original or at least end of WWII ballistics (source: some show on the History Channel, sorry, that's all I can recall) with a little less weight and better functioning in autoloader actions.
Part of it was purely politics. Our NATO allies were experimenting with rounds like the .280 British (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.280_British), but the US pressured the rest of NATO into adopting our favorite round, because our old guard couldn't stand anything less than .308", IMHO.
Part of the concept they had in mind was to replace the BAR and Garand with a single rifle, which became the M-14. While the M-14 with a 20-round mag in semi-auto is better than a Garand with 8 rounds, there are very few folks who can keep it on target in full auto, unlike the heavier BAR (same show) also see see 7.62 NATO (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7.62%C3%9751_NATO).

I personally think that if a round like the .280 British had been developed, we would've been ahead of the curve that ended in the 6.8mm Rem SPC, with .30-06 as the sniper round (and the M-60 probably).

GunTech
July 15, 2007, 11:33 AM
If you are interested in the full story of the 308, the influence of Col Studler and eventually the adoption of the M16, read "The Great Rifle Controversy" by Ezell. Be warned, it will shatter any preconceived notion of the importantce of marksmanship in modern combat.

Feanaro
July 15, 2007, 12:29 PM
Does anybody have an account of a military sniper running out of special "sniper" ammo, and resorting to shooting "standard" ammo instead out of their sniper rifle?

Herbert W. McBride's book on WWI, "A Rifleman Went to War," might have something on that. I know he and his MG crew handpicked certain kinds of ammo known to be reliable and accurate, to save for the really bad days. I think he did the same thing for sniping ammunition. But they didn't have special "sniping" rounds back then.

Davo
July 15, 2007, 01:10 PM
Yeah they used whatever lot of ball was most accurate, often AP was the most consistant. But that was in the days before match ammo for snipers.
And the insurgents in Iraq, though not considered military, are probably using whatever they can get their hands on.

USSR
July 15, 2007, 01:42 PM
The 190 SMK is a great bullet, with a BC of around 530. But it can't be launch at the same velocity as a lighter bullet. I use the Lapua scenar 155gn, which has a BC of 508. It can be launched at several hundred FPS higher for the same chamber pressure. At 2800 fps, the Scenar has a drop of 30 MOA at 1000 yards. The 190 at around 2500 drops 38 MOA at the same distance.

Yes, the 190SMK is a great bullet with a fairly high BC (.533). In a .308 using Hornady Match brass and N550 powder, I can safely push it to 2670fps out of my 26" barreled FN SPR. However, the 190SMK at 2900fps out of the '06 really brings it up a notch or two. The 155gr Scenar has become very popular with .308 shooters. Most of the guys using them are using IMR4895 and driving them at 2900-2950fps.

Don

Zak Smith
July 16, 2007, 01:36 AM
There are better bullet choices than the 190gr SMK. Its BC is too low for its mass.

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