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30.06 or 308 for a Garand?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by mainecoon, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. mainecoon

    mainecoon Well-Known Member

    I've noticed that CMP has some Garands available in 308 as well as 30.06. I have never shot either caliber but am trying to decide which would be best. Obviously, historical accuracy would say go 30.06. But does 308 provide more choices for cartridges? Any suggestions?
  2. TexasPatriot.308

    TexasPatriot.308 Well-Known Member

    historically accuracy goes to the '06? how come so many sniper rifles are chambered in the .308 ? I own couple M1As in .308 and a few AR10s (as in ARmalite). the Garands in WWII were '06 as was the BAR, after that, the .308s seem to be the most common accurate combat rifle.
  3. Tempest 455

    Tempest 455 Well-Known Member

    I like the 06 because that's the way most came and was the one my Dad used back then.

  4. Double Vision

    Double Vision Well-Known Member

    The only solution is to have at least one of each. :)
  5. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    In an M1, there probably would not be much difference in performance between the two. The M1's gas system would be the limiter although with the pressure releasing gas plugs that are on the market, it does open up what commercial ammunition you can shoot in the M1.

    In Service Rifle matches, the Springfield '03 was replaced by the M1 which was replaced by the M14 which was replaced by the M16/AR-15. In part, this was due to what rifle was the current issue rifle at the time. So, I do not think differences in shooting accuracy would be an issue. The 30-06 and 308 Win Garand would have the same accuracy given everything else being the same.

    If you are a reloader and this is your first Garand, I would get the 30-06.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2012
  6. Zoogster

    Zoogster Well-Known Member

    TexasPatriot.308 said:
    The .308 was to allow a shorter action to be used in an auto than the 30-06 would allow while still approaching the same performance in the popular light loads of most service 30-06 loads.
    (In the heavier loads the 30-06 gets ahead by a good margin.)

    This would allow a shorter overal action, and easier feeding, for about the same perfomance. That is why it was adopted, it is a better fit for semi-auto box magazine fed guns.

    As for the OP:

    I would stick with 30-06 in a Garand. That is what they used in WW2 and were entirely reliable, the 30-06 is popular and widely available, and even today when .308/762x51 is sold out along with .223/5.56, 7.62x39, and similar cartridges widely chambered in box magazine fed guns there is plenty of 30-06 on shelves because it is not chambered in the guns people are hoarding ammo for.

    They use the same bullets, and you can match or exceed the perfomance of any .308 load in the .30-06. You can use loads you couldn't in a .308.
    The gun and action will be the same length anyways (since a .308 version is just a modified 30-06 one) and are you really going to rebarrel a garand in another cartridge to care about options compatible with a .308 action?
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2012
  7. Tim the student

    Tim the student Well-Known Member

    I think he was talking about how to be the most true to what happened in the past, as opposed to talking about which round will be more precise (precision of .30-06 vs .308).

    OP - I'd say get a .30-06. That is what our ancestors carried into battle. A .308 M1 is more of a novelty.
  8. Reloadron

    Reloadron Well-Known Member

    Since you would be buying the rifle as a shooter I would opt for the .308 Winchester (7.62 NATO). I have an M1 Garand in 30-06 as well as one in 7mm-08 (.308 necked down) as well as an M1A. While the 30-06 flavor is not all that punishing to shoot I have found the 7-08 and .308 rounds less punishing. That just being my opinion. Loading your own for either is likely 6 of one and a half dozen of the other as to military gas operated rifle service loads and buying either is also pretty much a wash as to cost. With the .308 loadings verse the 30-06 loadings you are likely giving up a few hundred FPS of muzzle velocity with heavier bullets which isn't much.

    The fact that given a choice I would opt for the 7.62 NATO flavor is here nor there as it is your decision. Maybe if I did not have a Garand in 30-06 my thinking would be different. Then I might opt for the 30-06. Your rifle and your call.

  9. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Well-Known Member

    I don't think the .308 offers any advantage whatsoever in the Garand.

    There is still a LOT of surplus ammo in both calibers available.
    Prices are comparable (equally-expensive) these days.

    The difference in cost for handloading is miniscule.
    If you use 3 grains less powder to load the .308, you would need to shoot 2,333 rounds of .308 to recoup the cost of only one pound of powder by comparison to the 30-06.

    Otherwise, they use the same bullet and primer.

    I do like the "get both" idea.
    However, having personally accumulated far more guns than I can possibly shoot on any regular basis, I am well-acquainted with the corollary:
    "You can't shoot both of them at the same time."

    Also the axiom:
    If you take both of them to the range, you have twice as much work on your hands to clean them up afterwards.

    And do not forget the all-encompassing truth:
    It takes 10x the amount of work to get rid of a good gun "the right way" than it does to acquire it in the first place.
  10. cmars

    cmars Member

    well depends on what your planning on doing with a Garand if you want a piece to collect and occasionally shoot go for 30-06 since the ammo is not cheap but you will have a very historic rifle or if you want to have a rifle that you do not care about the historic value but you want to shoot a lot go for 308 due to the price of ammo. It is your choice but these are just practical hints
  11. carbine85

    carbine85 Well-Known Member

    If you don't have an original Garand in 30-06 I would get. It's one of the greatest rifles ever built. I have 2 so my next purchase is the CMP .308 Garand. They are supposes to shoot as well as the M1A and they cost less. You can't get into a decent M1A for under $1500.00.
  12. Mencius

    Mencius Well-Known Member

    I am a definite Garand newbie. Was the original 30-06 Garand modified to shoot the 308 or was the receiver, etc. built from the ground up to shoot 308?
  13. nfafan

    nfafan Well-Known Member

    "I am a definite Garand newbie. Was the original 30-06 Garand modified to shoot the 308 or was the receiver, etc. built from the ground up to shoot 308? "

    Modified by the service armories - originally for the most part for use by their marksmanship teams until the M14 was eventually used.
    USNavy originally tried a .308 chamber sleeve and clip-follower(?) to allow for case lengths, then switched to correct .308 chambered/barreled recvrs and a few other small mods like the clip follower, maybe op-rod spring. Don't use the .308 chamber sleeve if you find one - too iffy.

    I have a "spare" CMP M1 that I was planning to have properly converted to .308; due to the cost and wider availability of .MIL grade .308 ammo, as opposed to "correct" M2-spec 30.06 FMJ for the base M1.
    If I had known the CMP was going to start selling .308 M1's - I'd have waited.

    Meanwhile, you can get a 30.06 M1 and buy one of the "adjustable gas plugs" to allow use of a wider range of commercial 30.06 that you can come accross.
  14. gondorian

    gondorian Well-Known Member

    I went for 30-06. The ammo cost is about the same, plus you can get 30-06 in so many places if you need too, even during the panic of right now. It is a good idea to get an adjustable gas plug so you can shoot commercial ammo without damaging your op-rod. I have one and it lets you shoot 180 grain loads easily. You probably could go heavier and slower but I don't reload (yet) so I don't know for sure.
  15. 45crittergitter

    45crittergitter Well-Known Member

    Now if someone would make an M1A in .30-06....
  16. HKGuns

    HKGuns Well-Known Member

    30-06 as it was originally designed.
  17. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Well-Known Member

    I have them in both and really only have two observations to make:

    The en-bloc clips look oh-so-right filled with -06 pills, .308? Not so much. Subjective but, there you go.

    If you go .308 be sure to get a mag well filler block to keep the -06s out.

    Then this: Given the wide variety of .308 floating around my place, I fear loading up the hot stuff from time to time and using up a Garand with it.

    Nothing at all wrong with a .308 Garand - just have a care s to what you feed it.
  18. Onmilo

    Onmilo Well-Known Member

    Actually Mr. Garand originally designed the rifle for the .276 Pedersen cartridge.

    Want to shoot commercial ammunition in a Garand?
    No problem, you can:
    A. Buy an adjustable gas lock screw or you can:
    B. Drill the Poppet valve out of the gas lock screw and use the rifle as a straight pull manually operated bolt action.

    I own and shoot M1s in both .30/06 and 7.62X51 and do so with surplus and commercial ammunition.
    Never bent an operating rod or cracked a receiver.
  19. SunnySlopes

    SunnySlopes Well-Known Member

    If I were going to buy a Garand, I'd definitely stick with 30-06. In times of panic buying (which are getting more frequent as time goes on), ammo is more plentiful.

    I went ammo shopping yesterday at Academy and Walmart. The 30-06 ammo was virtually untouched.
  20. bobinoregon

    bobinoregon Well-Known Member

    I've had a Springfield rebuild in 308 for years. I'm not really concerned if it's exactly correct ammunition wise, it's a Garand and it's mine and there never was any plan of ever selling it. Cost wise the difference in ammunition is nothing cause I make my own. Never shot a 30-06 version but I am happy with the 308.

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