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.308 or .30-06?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by LkWinnipesaukee, Nov 30, 2006.

  1. LkWinnipesaukee

    LkWinnipesaukee Well-Known Member

    How do these two cartridges compare in tems of ballistics, felt recoil, and cost?

    Which one would you guys recommend in a long distance (at absolute most 1000 yards) shooting?

  2. Robert

    Robert Moderator

    I can't site load data, but from having shot both I feel that the 30.06 kicks a bit more, but the .308 is a more modern load. I believe it shoots a bit flatter, but again I don't have the data in front of me. I have shot and really enjoy both rounds. Other than reaching out to 1000 yards what would be your use?
  3. kennyboy

    kennyboy Well-Known Member

    I concur with what Gus said. The two rounds are essentially the same. Basically, the .30-06 is more powerful than the .308. However, the .308 is slightly shorter than the .30-06 and a little bit more accurate. Either round will work for 1000yd shots, but I feel that the .308 would be a little better since it is more accurate, generally speaking.
  4. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    .308 was meant to equal the .30-06 as originally issued. It is a little behind top end modern commercial ammunition and handloads to the same pressure will give higher velocity from the larger '06 case.

    BUT most accuracy development over the past good number of years has been on the .308. I would want (do have) a .30-06 hunting rifle should I need to bump a bear but would prefer (do have) a .308 target rifle to hold hard at 1000 yards. (I shoot F-T/R.)

    Just keep that .308 Remington on your Christmas list and save up for a VERY good scope. And pray that Hillary will let you buy a firearm in 2011. It ain't likely.
  5. LkWinnipesaukee

    LkWinnipesaukee Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys. I dont do any hunting, just target shooting. I'll stick with the 308.

    The AR is on my christmas list. I hope to have the Remington by late spring early summer.:evil:

    Hilary? HA!

  6. benelli12

    benelli12 Well-Known Member

    .308 is more accurate, and almost as powerful, If you use Hornadys 308 ammunition, you will pass the power of a standard load 30-06. Both have similar recoil. The military uses the 308 over the 30-06. The 308 performs better at 1000 yards
  7. Froggy

    Froggy Well-Known Member

    Ammo cost is about the same, so not really a decision point.

    If using the same weight bullet in each cartridge, the "long action" case of the .30-06 gives it a higher velocity -- it shoots flatter and will carry more energy at long range than the .308. The difference is small, but it is there. That long cartridge makes heavier bullets an option for the .30-06, giving a better ballistic coeffiecient.

    Because of the longer case (more powder), the .30-06 has more recoil than the .308, again assuming bullets of the same weight.

    The .30-06 is still the most popular cartridge among hunters, but I prefer the .308 and, as Jim Watson pointed out, the .308 is now leading the way in competition shooting.

    Table showing recoil of various rifle / cartidge combos

    Simplified ballistics comparison

    Link to Remington's site for comparitive ballistic data
  8. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    .308 does NOT shoot flatter. It shoots a bit less flat, since its velocity is a tad lower than .30-06, for standard loads.

    .30-06 will take bigger bullets and a wider variety of loadings. There's more room in the case, so you can do more with powder charges and bullet selections.

    .308 allows for a short-action rifle. It's more modern only in the sense that it's a shortened .30-06, adopted when powder technology improved, so the military figured they could shorten the brass and save space and weight when transporting and storing ammo. Otherwise, it's damn near the same cartridge.

    The bullets used in each are identical, up to 180 grains, where the .308 pretty much tops out and the .30-06 keeps on going up to 220.

    The recoil of the .308 is slightly lower for one reason only: a standard 150 grain factory load leaves a 24" barrel at 2700 FPS, vs. 2910 for the .30-06. Same bullet, slightly lower velocity, slightly lower recoil, more bullet drop at range, and slightly lower on-game performance for the .308.

    Both can be loaded hotter, but again the .30-06 has more room to play with hot loads -- don't try it at home without a good reloading manual, though!

    Bottom line: for a short-action light rifle, or a semiauto, I'd go .308 -- actually I'd consider 7mm-08, which offers flatter shooting and a bit lower recoil. For the best variety of hunting ammo, in a full-size bolt gun, .30-06.

    For target shooting, .308 is readily available in everything from plinking to match grade, which says a lot for it. For a number of reasons, it's probably a great choice. You don't need 220 grain bullets to punch paper.

    However, barring some genuine need for more power, .223 has a lot going for it: light recoil, cheap ammo, decent trajectory. You don't need 150 grain bullets to punch paper, either.:)
  9. TooTaxed

    TooTaxed Well-Known Member

    For all practical shooting purposes, consider them the same. The .30-06 was developed when powders were rather bulky...as time went on more efficient powders were employed, which left that long .30-06 case only partly filled. The .308 is simply a shortened .30-06...most of the empty space removed. Benefits of the .308...cartridges are less bulky and somewhat lighter, and can be used in shorter weapons actions.

    I enjoy both. I have a sporterized .30-06 Springfield hunting rifle and a .308 Savage 10 tactical long range target rifle, and reload for both.:D
  10. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member

    With factory Federal GMM ammo, not a dimes worth of difference. If you handload, the .30-06 will exceed .308 velocities by 200+ fps. Instead of taking 38MOA to get to 1k, you will be only dialing in about 29MOA. Of course, there will be more recoil, but that is the price you pay for increased performance. The cost is simply a few cents more due to a larger powder charge.

    Definately NOT TRUE! I have been shooting 1,000 yard F Class Competition for 4 years, and the .30-06 has it all over the .308 at 1,000 yards. Run the ballistics for a 190SMK at 2900fps and compare it to whatever load you want to use with the .308 and you will see.

  11. kentucky_smith

    kentucky_smith Well-Known Member

    .308 or .30-06?

    There's no wrong answer to that question.
  12. 12GA00buck

    12GA00buck Well-Known Member

    Antidotal evidence from NRA, US military

    This article dose not explain accuracy in terms of external or internal ballistics; so take it with a grain of salt. It does briefly touch on bullet/Case relationship. The antidotal evidence, however, makes a very strong argument for the .308. http://www.snipercountry.com/Articles/AccuracyFacts.asp I prefer the 30-06 as a hunting cartridge, but the .308 may have the upper hand for 1000yd shots.
  13. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    If you have a desire to shoot heavier than 180 grain bullets, go for the .30-06. The larger case will handle the heavies a lot better. I like the .308 because of the compact, light little short action rifles. I shoot a M7 Remington and love the thing. It's an awesome hunting rifle.

    There seems to be a lot of mall ninja input here thinking since .308 is used by military snipers, it therefore must be the superior 1000 yard round. Also see it recommended for such shooting. :rolleyes: Yeah, it'll shoot that far and it's an accurate round, but there is a reason military competition marksmen use the .300 Win Mag. The 06 with heavy match bullets with higher ballistic coefficients definitely have an edge on the .308. The .308 can't handle the heavy bullets, not enough case, and the lighter bullets lack sufficient ballistic coefficient for efficient flat trajectories and lower ballistic coefficients also mean more wind drift.
  14. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member

    Zactly. Assuming you have a good rifle made by one of the better smiths, it doesn't matter what the headstamp on the brass says, it all comes down to your load and the exterior ballistics of said load. The .308, while being a good round, is a marginal 1,000 yard cartridge. The problem is, there is not enough case capacity to drive the heavy, high BC bullets at a very high velocity. This results in the wind pushing your bullets around on a 1,000 yard range. Anyone who has shot at 1,000 yards will tell you, the wind is the biggest determinate of whether you shoot a good score or a mediocre score at long range.


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