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308 win vs 30-06 for hunting

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by ldlfh7, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. ldlfh7

    ldlfh7 Well-Known Member

    I am looking primarily for a deer rifle but I will use it for elk occasionally. I also will use it for hog hunting. I am curious if anyone has any experience elk hunting with a 308 using a 180gr bullet? Is this enough power to make a humane kill at 300-400 yards or should I get the 06?
  2. Kachok

    Kachok Well-Known Member

    I own both, they are both an overkill on any deer that ever walked IMHO. From a handloaders prospective I enjoy reloading the 30-06 more, it is just more versatile with powders and bullet weights and the standard pet loads have all worked really well too making load development a breeze, while I love my 308 it has been a little bit more of a challenge though it's good loads are easily as good as any in the 06 they took a couple more trips to the range to dial them in.
    Looking at the ballistics the 06 is universally 80-150fps faster across the board this is handy when you need to reach out and touch something at 400 yards but if that little extra speed is worth the noticeable increase in recoil/muzzle blast is the subject of much debate. No doubt about it the 308 case is more efficient and you can feel the difference when you shoot.
    If you hunt in any thick undergrowth a 22" barreled short action is noticeably more handy then a 24" barreled long action. The 06 is common on both barrel lengths but it does crave a 24" the 308 does not and is 1/2" shorter even in the same barrel length.
    Since you add elk to the equation and 400 range 180gr pills are a good call, the 06 handles them a little better then 308 so that would have to be my pick. Sorry for being so long winded.
  3. Bio-Chem

    Bio-Chem Well-Known Member

    Yes, it's enough power to make a kill at that range. Assuming the shooter can make the shot. The 30-06 will give you a 100-150 or so fps advantage at the muzzle. That's up to you on how valuable the added velocity is. For me personally i prefer the 06 for Elk, but either will do the job. I doubt the elk will know the difference between the two.
  4. moonzapa

    moonzapa Well-Known Member

    Go with the 30-06!

    I have both caliber of rifles, .308 Winchester and 30-06 Springfield. The 30-06 has a host of bullets for you to choose from and has better ballistics with bullets heavier than 150 grains.

    If you are a one rifle hunter, my recommendation would be the 30-06, hands down. I have a load that I use for my 30-06 that prints .625" groups using IMR-4350, Federal 210M, and Hornady 168 A-Maxes.

    My 30-06 is chambered in a Winchester Model 70 Extreme Weather topped with a 3.5X - 10X Zeiss scope. (I love my Weatherby .280 Mark V Ultra Light, too, for deer hunting.)

    You will certainly not be undergunned for whitetail deer or mule deer hunting using the 30-06. You will have enough rifle to hunt Elk, too. What more could you ask for?

    Good hunting!
  5. RPRNY

    RPRNY Well-Known Member

    Both are great. I would suggest 30-06 only because of the advantage with heavy for caliber bullets. Under 180 grs out to the 300 - 400 yards you reference: 6 of one and half a dozen of the other. They are like father and son and the acorn didn't fall far from the tree!
  6. Kachok

    Kachok Well-Known Member

    It should be noted though that at full power the 06 can be simply too destructive on deer at close range, I have pictures of what mine does to whitetail that I am having fits trying to upload. Have a good 7"x10" chunk of shoulder/back/neck blow off that deer. I like venison alot so I don't deer hunt with the 06, I could if I would make a reduced load for it, but I have other rifles that fill that bill better anyway such as the 6.5x55 and 7mm-08.
  7. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Dangit, Kachok, when ya gonna quit shootin' 'em in th' eatin' part? Huh? :D How many times I gotta told ya that God put the white spot on a deer's neck for an aimin' point?

    Seems to me that with the usual rifle off the rack and with factory ammo, it's six of one, half-dozen of the other.

    I'm an '06 guy after sixty-plus years of messing with them, but I wouldn't be down-hearted if a .308 was handy. :)
  8. fdashes

    fdashes Well-Known Member


    Blew a 7"x10" chuck of deer right off the body? You grabbed a LAWS rocket launcher instead of you rifle.
  9. ball3006

    ball3006 Well-Known Member

    If you are just now looking for a deer rifle, thinking of hitting anything at 3-400 yards is a fantisy. It takes alot of practice to shoot at that range. Both calibers are ok for that range though if the shooter has that ability. I have been hunting for 50 years and I would not take a shot at that range. I have taken deer with both calibers and there is no difference between them when shooting a deer. Both calibers are just fine at any range no matter what other posters say. chris3
  10. Kachok

    Kachok Well-Known Member

    That WAS a neck shot, it just went out high at the base of the neck/shoulder, damage was so bad we had to hang it by it's hind legs to skin it seeing as the skin was the only thing holding the head on. I keep telling my brother to leave the 06 at the house but he loves that gun.
  11. returningfire

    returningfire Well-Known Member


    I have both as well, and when I reach into the safe I get the 30-06. Yep it may be overkill for, but you sure are not going to wound a deer and track it all night, if you can hit the broad side of a barn, with the 06 compared to smaller calibers, 243, 223, 25-06 22-250 etc etc.
    I hate tracking a wounded animal, the deer I shoot with my 06 drop in their tracks. Elk are different, you can hit them and they will just stand there, but.....

    Elk with 06, no problem, deer, bear, hog all no problem. Plus about any store with a gas pump in the boonies will probably have a box of 06 you can purchase, maybe not with the 308.

    I like my 308 BLR, but I love my 06 BLR.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  12. Kachok

    Kachok Well-Known Member

    No I think a LAW rocket launcher does less damage then a 165gr SGK at close range, I have seen a 50BMG with 750gr A-Max do less damage. Started using that load this year and have had the two largest exit wounds I have seen in my 20+ years of hunting, and all of them have been fist sized or better. My brother is under orders to neck shot only with that rifle the damage is unreal.
  13. moonzapa

    moonzapa Well-Known Member

    I want to clarify that if a hunter is going to include Elk hunting on his list of quarry, then the 30-06 is clearly in the lead with heavier bullets. Just read the Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading, 8th or 9th editions.

    If you don't care and want to throw caution to the wind, and you want to take unnecessary chances, then by all means go to the .308. It will most likely kill a deer as well as a 30-06, and Elk, too. The deer will never notice the difference. For us informed hunters and shooters we will opt for the edge, this being the 30-06. Just my humble opinion.
  14. adelbridge

    adelbridge Well-Known Member

    I own both and I know from experience good quality .308 expand better than cheap .30-06
    Inside of 250 yards there is very little difference. I have hunted for many years and I shoot probably 5+ big game animals per year. My longest shot ever has been 233 yards. I am competent at the bench way past 300 yards but it would take a special set of circumstances for me to justify a shot longer than 300 yards. If I ever planned on hunting at 400 yards I would not use either .308 or .30-06, they both have less than optimal B/C and retained energy.
  15. Kachok

    Kachok Well-Known Member

    I am no elk hunter so I can only relay what my elk hunting friends have told me, the 308 with 180s is something of a 200-250yd elk cartridge, the 06 stretches that to 300-350yd if you want 400yd cartridge all my elk hunting friends recommend 7mm Rem Mags or 300 Win Mags.
  16. moonzapa

    moonzapa Well-Known Member

    Just a few commentss to say that 400 yard shots are not UNCOMMON in the Dakotas and Wyoming areas. It's hard to sneak up on a buck in the open prairie. "In these areas, the 7mm Magnum really shines". So if you can't shoot beyond 300 yards, then stay home and let the serious hunters do their thing. One last comment...thank goodness for range finders. They debunk claimed distances and allow one to shoot much better than the old days when you trusted your instincts alone. This aint the 60's we are living in and modern technology has improved long range shooting immensely. Just my humble opinion.
  17. jmr40

    jmr40 Well-Known Member

    Not enough to matter. A 308 shoots heavy bullets just fine and nothing over 165 grain is needed for elk anyway. They both shoot the same bullets with the 30-06 having a 100-150 fps speed advantage with equal bullet weights. At under 300 yards either is about equal.

    The additional speed gives the 30-06 a bit of an advantage at longer range because it maintains energy a little longer.

    A rough guideline says that 1500 ft. lbs of energy at impact is what you need for elk. I handload for both. A 180 gr Accubond from my 30-06 still has 1553 ft lbs at 500 yards. The same bullet from my 308 doesn't drop below the 1500 mark until around 450 yards.

    Between the two chamberings I let the rifle decide. If I were buying a full size and weight rifle I see no reason not to get a 30-06. But you can buy a much lighter more compact rifle in 308. My 5 lb. Kimber is in 308, the full size rifle's are in 30-06.
  18. ldlfh7

    ldlfh7 Well-Known Member

    This is not my first exposure to shooting and I am not afraid of taking the long shots (after practice of course). I have shot several deer at long range. I just wanted some opinions on the versatility of the 2 different rifles.

    I have seen that hornady makes a 220 gr sp for 308. What in the world would you need this for? Would this even perform out of a 308?
  19. Kachok

    Kachok Well-Known Member

    Finally got it working, this is why I say the full powered 30-06 is excessive for whitetail.
    If this were a unique case of striking heavy bone on exit that would be one thing, but every time this leaves a crater in it's wake on our smallish southern whitetail.
    Caution Graphic.
    Lengthwise that is the size of my size 9 1/2 boot, that should give you some scale. On the upside we have not needed to track anything this year but the freezers are still a little empty. LOL

    Attached Files:

  20. savanahsdad

    savanahsdad Well-Known Member

    308 win
    your your just splitting hairs with those to picks, up side to the /06 is only about 100fps where with the 308win the up side is lighter ammo in your pockeks , lighter gun on your shoulder when walking around, shorter gun for the brush, less felt recoil , less muzzle blast, and short actions tend to be stiffer (less flex)= more accurate , so lets see ..... that 6 too 1 for the 308win

    the 400 yard shot hummmm......... leave both at home , unless it is sighted in for that , but then you just might shoot over a 150yard shot, my limit is 400 yards with my 7mmWSM or my 270win's , and 300 yards max with my 308win , 300 to 350 yards with my 7mm-08, 100 too 150 , with my 35rem's, 32rem and 75 to 100 with my 44 mag rifles's

    if your set on a 30cal and set on a 400 yard shot you should look at a magnum cal , 300WSM , 300win Mag. 300H&H,

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