tired old question .308 or 30-06?


March 12, 2008, 07:19 PM
I am planning on buying a new rifle. I want to determine the proper caliber for my usage and wants. I currently own a Remington 870 magnum 20 ga. shotgun with shot and slug barrels and a Yugo M59/66 SKS.

For my next rifle I want something that does it all: I want to hunt with it.
I generally hunt white tailed deer in WI in wooded areas and brush generally under 100 yards, so I want something shorter.

I wish to start elk hunting as well, so I want something with suitable knockdown power at ranges of up to 400 yards
I want to enjoy shooting it at the local range.
I want something suitable for civil defense purposes should the unlikely need ever arise.

I've been researching and I have read many conflicting opinions on which is better, more accurate, etc.

Can we have the discussion again?

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March 12, 2008, 07:48 PM
It's hard to talk about the caliber, because your needs are so conflicting it sounds like you're talking about at least two different rifles--maybe three.

The .308 and .30-'06 yield similar velocities with medium-weight bullets (e.g. 150 gr.), so neither has much of an advantage for medium-sized game like whitetail deer.

The .30-'06 does better with heavier bullets, so it would be a better choice for elk. However, I don't believe either one makes much of a 400-yard elk cartridge. I'd say with a .30-'06, you'd want to limit your shots to 200-250 yards. Others with more experience in that area may be able to give you better advice than me.

At the range, either works. The general rule is that the .308 is slightly more accurate, but some fans of the .30-'06 dispute that. Unless you're talking about a heavy-barrel precision rifle, the rifle will probably have more to do with accuracy than the caliber.

Civil defense? A deer/elk rifle isn't going to be much good in that arena, unless you're looking at a scoped AR-10 type rifle in .308 or a scoped M1A. You could use it for deer, but I'd guess the utility of a rifle like that for elk would be somewhat limited. I have no idea how well such a rifle would work with 180+ gr. bullets.

The "do-it-all" rifle is kind of a myth. Sounds like you're talking about a short bolt-action .308 with a low-power scope, a .300 with a big scope for long shots at elk, and an AR-15.

I hope your gun budget for this year is bigger than mine.

March 12, 2008, 08:06 PM
oiy.... get a 30-30 . perfect brush gun, hunt elk?....... get closer....
Civil Defense??????? again, 30-30...... next will come the.. "get a 308 marlin"....... or whatever....
the 30-06 is going to fit the bill better than most @ 400yrds... never re-invent the wheel when you don t have to.

March 12, 2008, 08:15 PM
A Savage Scout rifle (http://www.steyrscout.org/savscout.htm)in .308 with a Leupold EER scope.


I love it. I got a nice big doe with one this year on its first shot outside a shooting range.

It's affordable, accurate, fast to point and fun to shoot.

I think it's a great SHTF/civil defense rifle. The biggest downside is lack of guides for stripper clips. It has a removable box magazine, but it's not really designed to use multiple mags. I think the new version has a better mag design and extra mags are available for $32 MSRP.

.308 might be on the low-end for elk in these magnum days, but I know it's been successfully used on elk quite often.

Baba Louie
March 12, 2008, 08:42 PM
It's really an either/or situation for the most part. (doncha hate those kind of answers?)

To my mind, it's the shooter, the rifle and the glass (maybe not in that order). Buy a good rifle in whichever of the two calibers you choose, get a good scope, find a good rifle instructor to spend a day learning to shoot to the level of your rifle, avoid 400 yd shots unless you simply can't get closer and you KNOW your rifle. Go with the Yugo or 870 for civil unrest or brush hunting.

I stuck with the older 30-06 round just because I've always shot old Springfields and such, and even tho I've got an FAL and an M1A the .308 just doesn't excite me. Actually, the 30-06 doesn't excite me much either, it's just a trusted old friend. Now the 6.5x55... Naaah. Since we're talking .308 caliber we won't go there. (but it's such a nice round)

March 12, 2008, 09:10 PM
a remington 700 mountain rifle or 700 titanium in 308 will do it all and is the way i would go.

second choice would be a remington m7 in 308.

March 12, 2008, 10:52 PM
+1 for what Dakotasin said.

Remember - you're going to carry your gun a LOT more than shoot it.


P.S. If you're open to a caliber that will be better than the .308 or the 30/06, go with the 7mm/08.


March 13, 2008, 12:12 AM
30-06, it does all the 308 can and then some, then some more if you need it to and handload. It's about all you're going to get out of a common 30 cal without messing with magnums. Rifle weight and recoil are reasonable in a Rem 700. Stock up on surplus Greek 30-06 while it's available. Budget for a good scope (Nikon Buckmasters 3-9x40 from samplelist.com for $150 is a good enough option).

March 13, 2008, 11:23 AM
I like the 308 its just about the same as the 30-06 up to 180 grains, short action saves a little weight. Ammo for either one is about the same. Accuracy is the same for a hunting rifle. But either one will do what you want.

March 13, 2008, 11:35 AM
I have to ask this question:

Do you have a place where you can spend a lot of time practicing 400 yd. shots under realistic conditions (cold, wind, etc.)?

Art Eatman
March 13, 2008, 12:26 PM
Odds are that with the SKS you already have all the civil defense weapon you'll ever need.

Hunting/range rifle: If you don't handload, odds are that the .308 will do as well for you as an '06.

I'm happy as can be with my Rem 700 Ti. 6.5 pounds, ready to hunt with a Leupold 3x9 on it. Fits me well, so recoil at the benchrest is no big deal. Mine is 7mm08, but it's about 90% of a .308 in terms of recoil. Crisp trigger, 3/4 MOA.

Killing anything ethically and cleanly at 400 yards is a skill thing, far more than a cartridge thing. 300 yards is a lot easier, believe me. A .308 with the Federal Premium High Energy 165-grain load would certainly be reliable on an elk at 300 yards, given proper shot placement.

March 13, 2008, 01:50 PM
USA - Thanks! That's actually a picture from the SteyerScout.org website:


I do have the same rig, but I don't use the bipod for hunting, and I mostly practice offhand shooting at the range. I usually hunt with snow and popple-whips on the ground, so prone hunting isn't an option. I'd get all wet and never see anything.

I'd also like to point out that this is a joy to carry. It's nice and short and you can also hold it at it's balance point with the scope mounted forward.

March 13, 2008, 01:55 PM
Oh -- it also has back-up peep sights and Leupold quick-release scope mounts in case the scope breaks. Good for hunting and even better for civil defense.

If anyone from Savage is reading this: "STRIPPER CLIPS!" would make this the perfect rifle.:) Or extended box magazines would work. But stripper clips would be better.

March 13, 2008, 03:04 PM
i would go with a 30-06, since you have a 870. that's great gun for home defence, as for +400 yards the 30-06 can use from 125gr to 200gr bullets which is great for deer, elks, and everthing alse, plus you won't be hunting elephants with it. as for the Range-shooting accucary between the 308 and 30-06 is about the same with the right bullets.

Plus. 30-06 will give you a "BiG BANG".

Remington 700 30-06 with detachable mag.

March 13, 2008, 04:01 PM
I would recommend the 30-06. Not that there is anything wrong with a 308, but a 30-06 is a little more flexible as a hunting rifle.

Both will be around, long after we are not around.

dagger dog
March 13, 2008, 05:09 PM
Do you reload? If not borrow a manual or go to a couple of reloading data sites. The data gives you alot of insight into the similarities and differences of the .308 30'06. By studying the data you can make a logical choice. It will probably be just as or harder to make the decision after reading the reloading data as these cartridges are so similar! The .308 was conceived as a replacement for the '06 they were trying to get the same preformance out of a higher pressure round that would be smaller so the grunt could carry more ammo.
They are so alike up to the point of 180gr bullets. Some of the load data on the lighter .308 loads duplicate and even surpass the same bullet weight in'06, but after 180grs the edge goes to the '06. Should make some interesting reading.

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