Pros and cons of .308 and .30-06?


February 10, 2004, 04:58 PM
I heard that .308 Win is a more accurate catridge than .30-06 because of its fat case and short neck, is that true?

What is the pros and cons of .308 and .30-06?


effective range?

power potential?

ammo availability (and price)?


After an AR, I might buy an accurate bolt action rifle in one of these two calibers. I will use it kill papers and go hunting.

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February 10, 2004, 05:10 PM
In terms of hunting accuracy there is no real difference. The 30.06 can handle heavier bullets up to the 200+ grains range.

For 150 gr. bullets there is no real difference in capability.

I don't shoot at anything over 300 yds. Both rounds are very capable at this range.

308 surplus is relatively cheap.

Recoil for 150 gr bullets is about equal. The heavier bullets kick harder.

February 10, 2004, 05:28 PM
:( Price! :eek:

February 10, 2004, 05:43 PM
ya 30-06 is expensive now..

needs more surplus++

all it seems you can find of the 30-06 is danish and korean... sure the cmp has LC ball..

but thats really expenisve.

30-06 is ok if u reload.

Vern Humphrey
February 10, 2004, 06:03 PM
For the handloader, the .30-06 has more potential than the .308 -- you can drive heavier bullets faster.

While there has been a lot of hype about short cases lately, I know of no properly-controlled studies that show an advantage to short, fat cases. In fact, some of the best shooting every done was back in the black powder days, with long, skinny cases.

For hunting purposes, you can get "Hi Energy" or "Lite Magnum" loads for the .30-06 that will step on the heels of the .300 Win Magnum. With premium bullets, they will do for any game in Noirth America very nicely.

If you shoot surplus ammo (and don't handload), the .308 is cheaper to shoot. And it is chambered in short action rifles that produce a slightly shorter and slightly lighter rifle.

Brad Johnson
February 11, 2004, 03:08 PM
What's the dif? In real-world terms, not much.

For most hunting and plinking situations, either will perform virtually identical.

You can get surplus 7.62 NATO (.308) ammo a little cheaper than .30-06, but factory hunting round of similar bullet weights will usually have the same price tag.

It's all a matter of what you prefer. Although I stick with -06 because I have several guns chambered for it and ammo is still readily available, I would not hesitate to buy a rifle chambered in .308 if the opportunity presented itself.


February 11, 2004, 03:31 PM
The .308 case I shorter not really "fatter" than the '06. Powders tend to burn more uniformly in it's case.
Plus it's shorter length lessens the chance that a bullet would be seated "out of round" with the case mouth.

If you reload the above arguments are less important with the right equipment and loading technique.

And think about this, how many long range rifles do you see in '06 compared to .308?

Vern Humphrey
February 11, 2004, 05:08 PM
For a long time, THE long range cartridge was the .300 H&H Magnum -- hardly a "short, fat cartridge!"

I think the dominance of the .308 in long range shooting these days is primarily due to two things -- the high quality of ammo developed especially for long range shooting, and the M14/M1A's popularity in such shooting. That leads to an upward spiral -- the more guns shooting the .308, the better the ammo gets. The better it gets, the more people shoot guns chambered for it.

February 11, 2004, 05:21 PM
The .308 is inherently "more accurate."

Although, from my experience, & I shoot both, my '06s are more accurate than my .308s, but that's more to do with the rifles & loads than anything else.

Makes no never mind, though.

Each have their place & both kill everything shot at.

Far as that "short, fat case" thing, the PPCs seem to make some sort of claim on the recent benchrest stuff - which lends some credense there ....

February 11, 2004, 05:48 PM
I don't think .308 is "inherently more accurate" than .30-06. First off, the cartridges aren't all that different. They only differ in case length by what, half an inch? The bullets are obviously identical. Second, the .270, widely considered as a flat-shooting, "accurate" cartridge, uses a standard length .30-06 case. If a shorter powder column contributed to accuracy, wouldn't the .270, with case necked down to receive .277" bullets, be in trouble? The .30-06 can handle bigger bullets because it has slightly more "horsepower". The .308 is best for semiautomatics and short actions. Both are damn good :).

February 11, 2004, 05:53 PM
Short version...

The .308 is a more efficent way to achive the same ballistics as an 06 between 145 and 165 gr bullets.

The ONLY real difference?

Do you prefer a short action or long action?

That's it in the real world.

February 11, 2004, 08:01 PM
As much as I hate to acknowledge, the .30-06 is something of a "has-been" cartridge. It is still a fine cartridge, equal in every respect to the .308, but things are changing.

The .30-06 was for nearly a century "the" military cartridge, available on every hardware store shelf, the most accessible cartridge (with the possible exception of the venerable .30-30).

Along came the 7.62 NATO cartridge, and the .30-06 found itself in a war it could not win. When the military decided it preferred the .308, the .30-06 was doomed.

The .308 is NOT "inherently" more accurate. The .30-06 will do anything the .308 will do, although in a longer action and with more powder. And when heavier and longer bullets are called upon, the .308 is left in the dust looking at the .30-06's superiority.

Still, the .308 is much more accessible these days, witness the "surplus" shelves that offer the cartridge at prices the .30-06 can only reminisce about.

It's tough to see an old friend become relatively obsolete. But, good grief, what other cartridge (except maybe the .45-70) has enjoyed such longevity?

The king is dead. Long live the king.

February 11, 2004, 10:33 PM
The 30.06 has been around a while and IT HAS BEEN one of the best of all time. I don't think it is going away anytime soon. The .308 has its time and place for use.

Vern Humphrey
February 11, 2004, 10:37 PM
The 30.06 has been around a while and IT HAS BEEN one of the best of all time. I don't think it is going away anytime soon.

Not as long as Graff & Sons sells primers and powder!

Art Eatman
February 11, 2004, 10:57 PM
The target-accuracy advantage of the .308--SFAIK--is tied to the fact that a shorter receiver is stiffer and this is said to be what helps the .308 over the .30-'06.

The '06 is a bit overbore. It does better with a longer barrel insofar as muzzle velocity than does the .308. My own pet '06 has a 26" barrel, and comparison of the impact dents on steel shows that .308s from 20" and 22" barrels just aren't going as fast.

If you're not a handloader, I don't think I'd choose an '06 over a .308. There's just too much cheap .308 ammo available for practice.

IMO, for hunting in the lower 48, there ain't a nickel's worth of difference for 99% of all hunters. :)


February 11, 2004, 11:15 PM
Performance differences between the -06 and .308 are similar within certain limits. From what experience I've had messing with the loads for them, the -06 takes the heavier side of the spectrum with performances probably near equal in the 150 grain area and the .308 outperformed the 06 on the light end (below 130 gr.). Both make things fall when they go bang, and I haven't had or seen any problem getting ammo for either off the shelf. I think the .308 is more efficient (fps/gr of propellant), but not by much.

Black Majik
February 18, 2004, 04:15 PM
I have a quick question, although it may seem very noobish...

I am currently looking for a bolt rifle, mainly in .308 because of its range and effectiveness, but I really wanted a 30-06.

I stopped by my local gunshop and noticed that they were selling PMC .308 and 30-06 at the same price @ $8.99.

Interesting enough, at the wal-mart, they had the 30-06 CHEAPER than the .308. The 30-06 was $10.96 and the .308 was $12.00

I would figure the 30-06 to be a more expensive round than the .308 due to it being a bigger cartridge, but is price mainly based on grain weight?

If I can find the 30-06 to be around the same price as the .308 I'm definitely gonna opt for the 30-06.

How is the 30-06 in recoil relative to the .308? The .308 I can handle but I've never shot a rifle in 30-06.

On a side note: $17.99 per box of 50 for .357 sig! holy crap thats expensive.

Thanks for your help guys

February 18, 2004, 04:22 PM
Here are some relevant articles and commentary from about this very subject.


February 18, 2004, 04:48 PM
My Wal-Mart has 5 different kinds of .30-06 (165 and 180 gr. Remington Core-Lokts and 150, 165, and 180 gr. Winchester Super-X). It only has one kind of .308. If you aren't using military surplus, .30-06 seems to be the more common round, at least in Wal-Mart.

Lobotomy Boy
February 18, 2004, 06:36 PM
I bought a 30.06 because that is what everyone in my family uses for deer hunting and it is handy to be able to share ammo. But I have a bolt-action deer rifle. If I used a semi-auto deer rifle, I would have gone with a .308 because the shorter shell is less prone to jamming.

February 18, 2004, 06:42 PM
The .308 and .30/06 are pratically the same as every one noted the .30/06 is a very old round and the .308 is the modern day .30/06, because at the time the cartrage came out it took a lot of powder to get the bullet , but going because of modern day gun powders we can have less than half the powder to equal the same amount of powder you would have needed say a hundred years ago. This explains why when you pick up a .30/06 round you can shake it and its half empty the .308 simply shortened the brass cartrage to make it more efficent and full powder. THe .30/06 has a few more fps and can push a slightly bit heavyer bullet if nessary, other than that there idental the .30/06 isnt worth is especally for the price .308 is the standard unless this is a firearm for a collector or a rich man who likes to live in the past. I have a few .30/06 there great but ammo is too much.

Also have a funney story about .308 and .30/06. My friend and I were shooting at my ranch one day and he was shooting his .30/06 rifle and was getting ammo from a bag near him well the bag also had .308 from the m1a that I was shooting he loaded a .308 round into his .30/06 by mistake it fit and he never realized it until he shot. Well, BLAM he shoots and he says hey that sounded quite different and instantly he knew what was wrong as it dawned on him he had put in the wrong round. Well after i got it out with by pushing a rod threw the muzzle of the barrel on the cartrage that was now suck in his gun. After we got it out this .308 round was completely straight and had no neck on the bullet looked like a pistol round now straight all the way down.. The amazing part of it all is that we were shooting at about 200 yards when i went down range to check the target the .308 round in the .30/06 rifle only shot about 3 inches high but right on left to right.....this goes to also prove that the round is exactly the same except for the brass witch was sized down...and in a emergency cituation where life or death you may use a .308 in a .30/06 but you will only have one shot so make it count after that the brass will be caught in the reciever and wont eject with out much force from a rod on the other end.... Also, after he fired his rifle and i got the expanded brass out of the gun his rifle was back to normal with no damages to the barrel or to his grouping... :D

February 18, 2004, 06:44 PM
OH just to add about price of ammo ... check out aim surplus for .308 ammo you can get port ammo for 150 bucks for 1,000 rounds and this ammo will produce 3/4 moa for me and is very clean and consistant this is the best military surplus ammo on the market in my opinion and cant beat the price

February 18, 2004, 08:21 PM
30.06 is still AP legal. Real Ap at that not tipped.

308 never won a war. Shoot it was only issued in front line(rifle) service for what 2 years. :)

February 18, 2004, 11:08 PM
I think you should get the 308. The 30-06 is very versatile for hunting, but it's popularity among hunters is probably based more on history since the 30-06 has been around much longer.

If you plan on precision shooting, the 308 will be the better option. The shorter case gives you less case volume for better burn and higher pressure with lesser powder (when compared to the 06). This results in better precision for the 308 over the 30-06.

Handloading will be cheaper in the long run for 308 because you'll be running less powder per round. Although, match quality ammo appears to be the same in price for the two calibers.

But as long as you get a decent rifle, you'll be happy with either 30-06 or 308.

February 19, 2004, 02:18 AM
.30-06 has some accuracy potential with loads that come closer to filling the case.


Check this for 190gr SMK load that makes ~2800fps! (albit in a 26" barrel)

.308 and .30-06 are both awesome. Any shooter would have a HARD time picking up two otherwise identical Remington 700s and shooting each one, to even tell the difference.

Price is close, but cheaper .308 is more readily available. Good stuff exists equally in both calibers, (Eg. Federal Gold Medal Match.)

There just ain't much of a difference.

Other things, like M2 .30cal AP being legal...

...your firends all have .308s (or .30-06s) so you can share ammo...

These factors honestly matter more.

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