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.308 vs. .30-06 sniper round question

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by TMM, Oct 16, 2005.

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  1. TMM

    TMM Well-Known Member


    i was wondering, with the .308 being merely a shortened version of the .30-06, why is the .308 more popular for sniper type rifles? both rounds were used by the US, so that's can't really change anything...

  2. Medusa

    Medusa Well-Known Member

    Well, the .308 is same as 7.62x51 - NATO standart round, 30-06 is not very common outside US. even USA has to play at the big playground of world and it helps to use compatible toys. IMHO
  3. TMM

    TMM Well-Known Member

    ah - but don't they get ammo shipments from the US anyway?

  4. The Drew

    The Drew Well-Known Member

    I don't think that there is any reason NOT to go .308 in a military situation, Especially when the ballistics are so similar. Everything else is a negative for the 06 (longer action, heavier per round, not a nato standard, almost unheard of in other nations that we may be fighting in...)

    Neither is "ideal" for the role of sniper, but can be adequate.
  5. Darth Ruger

    Darth Ruger Well-Known Member

    It's not a shortened version of the .30-06. The .308 was based on the .300 Savage case. They wanted to create a .30 caliber cartridge with ballistics nearly equal to the .30-06, but in a more compact cartridge that weighed less (which would also allow the use of a short-action rifle). And they succeeded. The ballistics are close enough to the .30-06 as to make the size and weight advantage of the .308 more desirable for military sniping than the .30-06 with it's slightly better ballistics.
  6. atblis

    atblis Well-Known Member

    A 308 will generally out shoot a 30-06

  7. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    A .308 is theoretically inherently more accurate than a .30-06. Supposedly this is due to the "burn front" or somesuch. :confused:

  8. CB900F

    CB900F Well-Known Member

    Darth Ruger;

    The .300 Savage was developed by Savage in 1920, or 21, depending upon source material. "The .300 Savage was intended as a cartridge that would work through medium-length actions and deliver ballistics similar to the .30-06." Barnes. The 06 of .30-06 refers to it's introduction date of 1906, therefore it precedes the .300 Savage by over a decade.

    Note that the .300 Savage has a .473" case head diameter and 20 degree shoulder. The .300 Savage is a derivative of the .30-06 itself. The 06 being .473 and 17.30 degrees. Regardless of any intermediary cartridges, such as the .300 Savage, the .308 is a child of the .30-06.

    Of course the argument can also be made the the .30-06 is itself a development of the 8mm Mauser, as it shares the .473" case head with it. However, most sources regard the .30-06 family as being a separate development mostly due to the overwhelming preponderance of fractional rather than metric bores.

    Sources: Barnes "Cartridges Of The World", Speer #13, Nosler #5, Hornady #6.
  9. jobu07

    jobu07 Well-Known Member

    Ask Germany if they have ever heard of it! :D I just had to say it.
  10. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    atblis, do you mean benchrest accuracy for the .308 vs. the '06? If so, yes, that's correct. For a hunting round to some 300 yards or so, the difference is largely imaginary.

    Overall performance? No. For a given chamber pressure, the '06 will run some 200 to 300 ft/sec faster.

    The USGI loadings for the '06 were some 47,000 psi. The civilian loadings, generally, ranged from 49,000 psi to 51,000 psi. The .308 was initially loaded to around 53,000 to 55,000 psi.

    FWIW, Art
  11. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member

    From the viewpoint of the U.S. military, it's strictly a matter of logistics. The .308 will be the military's sniper round as long as the 7.62x51 round is being used in various other weapons. As for police and civilians usage, they tend to follow the military's lead. Although there are currently no factory tactical rifles being made in .30-06, there is absolutely no reason not to have one built for you, as I did. Should you go this route, the first thing you have to realize is, the .30-06 in a modern tactical rifle firing proper handloads, competes with the .300WM, not the .308 Winchester. Using the 190gr Sierra MatchKing bullet and modern powders (RL22), you will be able to reach 2900fps or slightly more, which puts you in the realm of factory .300WM ammo. I have been shooting at 1,000 yards for three years now (see rifle below), and a .30-06 set up like this has it all over a .308 at that distance in terms of both ballistics and wind drift. Drawbacks? No factory rifles and no factory ammo suitable to this purpose.

  12. warth0g

    warth0g Well-Known Member

    "Well, the .308 is same as 7.62x51 - NATO standart round, 30-06 is not very common outside US. even USA has to play at the big playground of world and it helps to use compatible toys. IMHO
    Yesterday 05:56 PM"

    30.06 is the most common hunting round in my country.
    And was one of the miltary rounds until we adopted hte G3 design in 1968.
    Lots of Mausers in 30.06 on the norwegian surplus marked.
    We converted german mauser to the 30.06, they did leave a heap of them here in 1945.

  13. cracked butt

    cracked butt Well-Known Member

    To add to what USSR said, if you built two bolt action rifles one chambered in .308 and the other in 30-06, I doubt that there are too many shooters who could find a diference in accuracy between the two when both cartridges are loaded to their potential.

    The idea that the .308 is more accurate than the 30-06 came when M1 garands were beginning to be converted to .308 for High Power Rifle match rifles. The gas sytem of the M1 is somewhat limited and cannot use the 30-06 cartridge any where near its potential, but it can with the .308. Consequently, people who had M1s chambered in 30-06 could not compete with those with rifles chambered in .308.
  14. twoblink

    twoblink Well-Known Member

    The 308 is a smaller, shorter casing, and so it has less tendency to "flexing" it's a little bit more rigid than the 30-06, and so it should give a more consistent shot.

    Also, afaik, the 308 was one of the first rounds to have computer assisted shoulder slope angle optimization.

    Given a 308 vs. 30-06, a 308 casing will flex less, and be more consistent in powder burning, thus a more consistent round.

    That said.. If you are shooting from stance, within 300 yards, and you think you "see" a difference in a 308 vs 30-06, then what you are smoking is not banana peels my friend, and it ain't oregano either!!

    is there a difference? Yes. Is there a difference a shooter will notice? Probably not.

    The quality and consistency of the loading will play a bigger part than the difference in the cartridge type.
  15. Darth Ruger

    Darth Ruger Well-Known Member

    I know the .30-06 is older than the .300 Savage. And about three decades after the introduction of the Savage, the 7.62 NATO (T65) was introduced. I don't understand your point about their age.

    Wrong. The .300 Savage has a shoulder of 30 degrees. The .308 is 20 degrees.

    I think what you're saying is the .300 Savage was based on the .30-06, which would make the 7.62x51 more of a 'grandchild', rather than the 'child' of the .30-06, is that right? I haven't been able to find specific references about the development of the .300 Savage, but I think it was based on the earlier .250 Savage, which was developed in 1912 by Charles Newton for Arthur Savage and also had a head diameter of .473".

    Many people think the .308 is nothing more than a shortened .30-06 case. Simply saying the .308 is a child of the .30-06 and disregarding everything in between is like saying I'm a child of my great grandfather, regardless of the people in between. You could also say the metallic cartridge is a child of the flintlock, but that's inaccurate if you leave out the steps inbetween. You have to consider the invention of the percussion cap, which in turn led to the development of the primer used in the base of the metallic cartridge. You have to include everything to give an accurate description of it's development.





    - America's Great Gunmakers, Wayne Van Zwoll, 1992
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2005
  16. CB900F

    CB900F Well-Known Member


    You are quite correct. The proper given angle for the shoulder of the .300 Savage is indeed 30 degrees. My book flopped a few pages & I didn't notice, my bad.

    The point of the dates of introduction were to establish that the 06 preceeded the .300 Savage & therefore the Savage is considered a development of the .30-06. As would be the .250 Savage as well.

    The context is not all firearms, ie flintlocks to vulcans, the context is the .308's development. So, in that context, the .300 Savage & the .308 do share the same case head diameter, and not much else. Not even the same rim thickness. In fact, other than primer size, I can't find a common sizing point between the cartridges other than the one's mentioned.

    Therefore, if the .308 was developed from the .300 Savage, a whole lot development went on. Enough to make me strongly doubt that the developers did much more than look at the .300 Savage, and discard it for an independent project. Which brings us right back to the .308 being a child of the .30-06.

  17. browningguy

    browningguy Well-Known Member

    The 30-06 remains the most popular hunting cartiridge in the world. Not just the US. I have a 308 and four '06's, both fine rounds. However as mentioned the 308 is the current NATO medium round so that's what sniper rifles are built in. It has a little less recoil than the '06, all other things being equal, but that's the extent of it's advantages.
  18. Sam

    Sam Well-Known Member

    Right now it is logistics driven anyone want to make book on why the M24 is built on a a long action?????

    308/7.62 won't be there forever folks and bigger and better has been in the works from day 1.

  19. Darth Ruger

    Darth Ruger Well-Known Member

    How ever these two cartridges may or may not be related, the simple fact that one is older than the other doesn't automatically mean the older one was the basis for the later one. If that's the case, then the .270 was based on the .22 rimfire.

    The flintlock thing was just an example to illustrate my point.

    You're right, there isn't much that's the same. That's because, as you said, a whole lot of development went on. I never said the cases were identical. Remember, the .308 is a later variation of the T65 (later named the 7.62 NATO, or 7.62x51). The .300 Savage was altered in various ways because it was for NATO use. It had to be reliable in a bunch of different types of weapons, so it was designed to have more of a loose fit to ensure feeding and reliability. To compensate for the looser fit, the case walls were made thicker to better withstand the stretching that happens upon firing. This cartridge, the T65 (the final version was actually called the T65E3), was later named the 7.62 NATO (commonly referred to as the 7.62x51) when it was adopted by the military. Then Winchester made a variation of that, with tighter tolerances than the 7.62 NATO that would be more conducive to better accuracy, since reliability of feeding in semi-auto and full-auto weapons wasn't necessary for a civilian rifle cartridge (incidentally, Winchester introduced it's new .308 a couple of years before the 7.62 NATO was officially adopted by the military, so it may appear that the .308 came first, but the 7.62 NATO was designed first and was the basis for the .308 Winchester). That's why the 7.62x51 NATO and the .308 Winchester are not the same, contrary to what many people believe. Firing a .308 cartridge in a weapon chambered for 7.62 NATO can be dangerous, and vice versa (before I get beat over the head for saying that, note that I didn't say it is dangerous, but it can be, depending on the circumstances). Check out these articles for detailed explanations of how the 7.62x51 and the .308 differ, including the measurements, and why mixing them up can be dangerous:




    So no, you won't find identical case measurements with the .300 Savage. The .300 Savage was the platform, then they altered it as necessary to fit their needs, and that result was later altered again. Comparing the case measurements shown in a loading manual for the .300 Savage and the .308 Winchester and then saying that they're not related simply because the measurements aren't all the same is as uninformed as saying one cartridge must be the parent of another simply because it's older.

    That's pretty good. I admire the way you're able to interpret history according to your own opinion in order to suit what you prefer to believe.

    Well, that's enough of this topic for me. There are too many other threads to read to keep beating this one to death. I wonder if there are any new 'pit bull' threads in the general section... :D
  20. R.H. Lee

    R.H. Lee Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the links, Darth. Interesting reading, but I zoned out. Is the bottom line that if I reload 7.62x51 too many times and continue to fire it in my .308 that eventually I'll have a case failure/rupture/kaboom?
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