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30-06 or .308? (Considering rifle purchase)

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Guns&Religion, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. Guns&Religion

    Guns&Religion Well-Known Member

    I'm in the process of deciding which rifle to purchase. I'm looking for a multi-use hunting rifle, and I would like to use it for blacktail, whitetail, and mule deer. (I may possibly get a chance to hunt elk).

    Is .308 powerfull enough for elk? If I go with the 30-06, is it too much for the smaller blacktail deer?
  2. HOOfan_1

    HOOfan_1 Well-Known Member

    I'd say there is no way the .30-06 is too much for blacktail.
    I don't really see where getting either would be a mistake. The .30-06 will have a wider range of bullet weights from factory ammo though.
  3. Robert

    Robert Moderator

    Second vote for the 30-06.
  4. md7

    md7 Well-Known Member

    Either would probably be just fine. 30-06 has a wider selection of bullet weights which kind of makes sense for a "multi purpose" gun.

    '06 with proper placement should do fine on elk, .308 likely would also but I'm no expert on elk hunting. Never seen one in real life in all honesty.

    Good new is, I don't think there is a bad choice here.
  5. BullfrogKen

    BullfrogKen Moderator Emeritus

    I don't see very much difference between the two in performance with modern powder. The only advantage 30-06 really has is a slight advantage with the heavy .30 caliber bullets. Even then it's pretty slight.

    Personally, I like the short action of the .308, and the lesser powder charge weight. I reload, and I shoot about 1,000 rounds of .308 a year. Powder weights do become a factor with volume.

    They're just not different enough to matter. I'd want some a little stronger than both for a big elk. And I've used my .308s on 8 or 9 dozen groundhogs. Of course, I'm not eating the meat. But you won't even notice the difference between .308 and .30-06 on a deer.
  6. gotigers

    gotigers Well-Known Member

    I use a 30-06 for whitetail. I have many friends that use .308. Same model gun, Remington 7400. Both work just fine. If i ever wanted to competition shoot at distance, i would get a .308 bolt becaue there are more .308 match loads even though the 30-06 has little more range. For hunting the 30-06 has more choices in ammo.
  7. Dr T

    Dr T Well-Known Member

    I have both. I like both. I would be comfortable with either in your applications (including the elk). My applications are whitetails, mule deer, elk, javalina, coyotes, bobcats, and mountain lions.

    The 308 will have a slight performance advantage for bullets at 165 Gr. or less. For 165 gr. up, the 30-06 will do better.

    My all purpose load (deer and elk) for the 308 is a Hornady Custom factory load with a 165 gr. Interlock bullet. My all purpose load for the 30-06 (in a Ruger No. 1 STRONG Action) is a very hot (2650 fps MV chorongraphed from a 20 inch barrel) 180 Hornady flatbase Interlock handload using H380 (and I will not provide data since, as I said, it is very hot).

    The key to either is bullet placement and construction. The 308 definitely has less recoil and muzzle blast (despite the 16.5 inch barrel). It is easier to practice with. on bullet construction: I have been using the 30 caliber Hornady Interlocks for hunting for the last quarter century and have seen no need to go to a more elaborately constructed (and expensive) premium bullet.

    The next decision is short action or long action (if it is a bolt gun). For some reason, I just prefer short action bolt guns. Both of my 30-06's are single shots (A No. 1 and a T/C Encore).

    You really can't go wrong with either. They are both fine all around, do everything. cartridges.
  8. leadaddict

    leadaddict Well-Known Member

    These are the numbers from Remmington's website comparing 180gn Core-Lokt from both calibers. Very similar. I chose the .308 because I liked the gun I found.

    Caliber:--------------30-06 Springfield----308 Win.
    Energy @ 100 ft. (ft.-lbs.) 2457------------2309
    Energy @ 200 ft. (ft.-lbs.) 2059------------1930
    Energy @ 300 ft. (ft.-lbs.) 1713------------1601
    Energy @ 400 ft. (ft.-lbs.) 1415------------1320
    Energy @ 500 ft. (ft.-lbs.) 1161------------1080

    Trajectory @ 100 ft.------2.1------------2.3
    Trajectory @ 150 ft.------1.8------------2.0
    Trajectory @ 200 ft.------zero------------zero
    Trajectory @ 250 ft.------.-3.5----------.-3.8
    Trajectory @ 300 ft.------.-8.9----------.-9.5
    Trajectory @ 400 ft.------.-25.8---------.-27.7
    Trajectory @ 500 ft.------.-52.7---------.-56.4

    Edit: The website says ft., but it must mean yards. :)
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
  9. colt1911fan

    colt1911fan Well-Known Member

    another for 30-06
  10. Red_SC

    Red_SC Well-Known Member

    I prefer .308 for the short action, I can throw a bolt without moving my eye from behind the scope. The bolt hits me in the face if I try that with a long action. Ballistically they're very similar if you shoot factory ammo, you can get hunting rounds for both but precision ammo is much more widely available for the .308.
  11. OhioChief

    OhioChief Well-Known Member

    Do you want bolt or semi-auto? I have a .308 AR10. Great for wild hogs and deer. Plenty of good choices in ammo. The AR style platform also allows a lot of options. my 2 cents.
  12. Andrew Wyatt

    Andrew Wyatt Well-Known Member

    it's hard to beat .308.
  13. SN13

    SN13 Well-Known Member

    As a fan of both .270 win and .280 rem (based off the 30-06) I'd say go with the .308

    Why? Because for what you want to do there is almost no difference. You can get many guns in .308 you can't find in .30-06. (Mag fed Semi-Autos and some match grade bolt actions mainly)
  14. Sheepdog1968

    Sheepdog1968 Well-Known Member

    The two hunting rifles I have are 30-30 lever and 30-06 bolt. With those two I'm happy. The only thing I don't like about the 30-06 (and it's all in my head) is the longer action and bolt (relative to the 308). I keep expecting to bolt to poke me in the eye when extracting and chambering a new round. I know it won't but it does seem to come further back. Having said that, had the Ruger Gunsite Scout been out when I was looking for my bolt action hunting rifle, I would have likely chosen that one. Both will kill a deer just fine.
  15. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member

    Buy the rifle, not the cartridge. Look for a rifle that fits you and shoulders naturally. Either cartridge will do what you want it to.

  16. Nathanael_Greene

    Nathanael_Greene Well-Known Member

    Well said, Don.

    In my case, being left-handed means having a vastly reduced number of choices. I went with the .30-06, and haven't regretted it.
  17. SeekHer

    SeekHer Well-Known Member

    What ever the .30/06 can do so can the .308 do it just as well and in some cases better--except take bullets over 205 gr (which 98% of shooters will ever shoot or need) due to a smaller case size.

    The .308, due to case design, produces a cleaner burn which gives you better accuracy although the .30/06 can be loaded hotter (again due to a larger case) it doesn't necessarily mean accuracy--usually it doesn't...The .308 can be reloaded cheaper--cases are cheaper and less powder.

    This has been covered to death, ad nauseum, on this and every other gun thread out there.

    There are no currently issued military rifles in .30/06--nor is there any desire to ever recreate one. which means access to droves of mil-surp ammo just isn't there (excluding nostalgia service rifle events).

    On the other hand, there is presently the AR10/M21 platform and the M1/M14 in .308 semi auto and the M40 in a bolt action rifles in .308 as well as some squad level and vehicle mounted machine guns so tons of mil-surp ammo is available and will be available for some time.

    Availability favours the .308 since it is a world wide calibre whereas the .30/06 was and is primarily a US hunting calibre and while popular in the USA it isn't elsewhere in the world although you'll probably find it in the big cities at gun stores...Those Euro makers who have models in .30/06 primarily do so for the US market only.

    Guns & Religion -- All you have to do is change bullet weights between the three sizes of deer... Whitetail/Mulies 150 gr, Elk 180 gr (190 gr Berger) and Blacktail can be either 150 gr or if the coastal variety then maybe something like a 125 or 135 gr since they're such little things.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
  18. montanaoffroader

    montanaoffroader Well-Known Member

    Six of one, half dozen of another. I wound up with a .30-06, my buddy found a deal on a .308, not much difference between the two in the field. I say grab the best deal for you regardless of which one of these rounds it chambers.

    You really won't go wrong with either one.
  19. Haxby

    Haxby Well-Known Member

    In a 22" barrel bolt rifle, there is not much difference between a 308 and a 30/06. For deer hunting, with 150 or 165 gr bullets, there is basically no difference at all.
    In otherwise equal guns, the 308 kicks less. Not by a lot, but there is a difference.
    Either one is going to be accurate. If it isn't, then there's a problem with the individual rifle, not the cartridge.
    There are lots of ammunition choices for both, especially in the 150 to 180 gr range, which is all most hunters ever use. Ammo is easy easy to find. Both are easy to reload.
    A short-action 308 with a 20" barrel is handy to have around and easy to carry in the woods.
    A 24" 30/06 has a velocity advantage over the 308. This might extend the range at which a hunter feels comfortable taking a shot with a 180 gr bullet at an elk.
    I have both. I don't have a favorite.
  20. fragout

    fragout Well-Known Member

    Buy the rifle, not the cartridge. Look for a rifle that fits you and shoulders naturally. Either cartridge will do what you want it to.


    +1 for the above reply to your question.

    My hunting rifle is an M14S tanker....which = 308

    Plenty of Military surplus out there for practice, per $$ spent in comparison.

    More dedicated precision loads in 308 to boot:)


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