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Deer hunting: 30-06 or 308?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by spankaveli, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. spankaveli

    spankaveli Well-Known Member

    Which is better? More/less recoil? Better accuracy? etc?

    Also, is it true that a 308 rifle will fire 7.62x39 or is that misinformation?

  2. 69Chevy

    69Chevy Well-Known Member

    7.62x39 is the soviet AK round, it won't fire that. I think you mean 7.62x51, and physically they are interchangable, but the there is a difference between the .308 and 7.62x51, so I would check with the manufacturer to make sure you can fire either/or.
  3. Sleeping Dog

    Sleeping Dog Well-Known Member

    measuring the cases, the 308 is 51mm long and shoots a .308 bullet. The AK round is 39 mm long and shoots a .311 bullet. So, shoot a AK round in the 308 gun? The bullet will have to fly free for a few mm's before encountering rifling, then have to squeeze a little to get through the barrel.

    So, yeah, it might shoot. Once. :)

    As to .308 vs .30-'06, they are ballistically so close that it really makes no difference.

    editing: I almost forgot: when you shoot the 7.62x39 with the .308 gun, the magic words are "Hold my beer, and watch this!"
  4. dakotasin

    dakotasin Well-Known Member

    308 vs 30-06 on deer is a toss-up. whichever you like better is the one to run w/ - either will work fine, and both will punch both sides of a deer.
  5. 'Card

    'Card Well-Known Member

    Like SD said, ballistically the .30-06 and .308 are so close that it doesn't make much difference. In terms of recoil, I've never noticed any difference between the two worth mentioning, but recoil is subjective so your mileage may vary.

    I prefer the .30-06 personally, because there is a wider variety of factory-made ammunition available in that caliber, mostly due to its popularity.
  6. rbernie

    rbernie Well-Known Member

    The 30-06 has a greater powder capacity than the 308. That allows it to handle heavier bullets (180gr, say) better. If you'd be primarily using lighter weight bullets (125gr-165gr), there isn't much difference between the two.

    At that point, it comes down to which is better supported within your local ammo marketplace and which is chambered in a rifle that you like.
  7. RNB65

    RNB65 Well-Known Member

    The deer won't care. He's equally dead either way.
  8. redranger1

    redranger1 Well-Known Member

    Between these to calibers it will boil down to 2 things. Do you or do you plan to reload in the future? And do you want a short or long action rifle? Thats really bout it, have fun shooting.
  9. ID_shooting

    ID_shooting Well-Known Member

    Like others said, there is no difference between the two for most people. Does a long action or short action gun fit you better?

    The other factor in your target. The 30-06 can handle a heavier bullet than 308 can, but this only come into play above 165 gr and would only matter for things like bears, elk, or moose. Since you said deer, this should not be a consideration uless you think you may engage larger animals in the future.

    For the reloader, ammo selection is a toss since both use the same bullet, powder and the brass is easy to come by for iether.

    I tend to nod to 30-06 when posed with this question. my reasons are the ammo availability (every store in the woods here carries 30-06 ammo), more options for heavier game, and well, it is still 2006, the 100th year of 30-06.
  10. spankaveli

    spankaveli Well-Known Member

    Not sure on the difference between long vs. short action. I'm a bolt gun newbie, sorry guys.

    I don't plan on reloading.
  11. NateG

    NateG Well-Known Member

    As it was said, the two are *almost* the same once the bullet leaves the barrel. If you reload, the extra case capacity of the .30-06 is nice to have, especially with heavy bullets.

    If you're really recoil sensitive, go with the .308. The .308 manages to get about the same performance with less powder: From Hodgdon's website, the max load of Varget with a 150gr bullet in the .308 is 47gr, in the '06 it's 51gr. With a 7.5 pound rifle the recoil energy is 20.4 ft-lbs in the .308, 21.5ft-lbs in the '06. The velocity is 2937 in the .308 and 2975 in the '06. Basically the same speed, but the '06 has about 10%*** more recoil, on account of having to use more powder to get the same speed. (Note: I used the 7000fps approximation for the powder exit speed.)

    I'm about as big a fan of the '06 as they come, so that's what I'd pick. However, they're close enough (and out here ammo for both is stocked in about the same quantity and variety for each) that you should probably choose based on the gun, rather than the cartridge. If you like rifle A better than B, then don't pick B because it's an '06 instead of a .308 or vice versa.

    You won't go wrong either way.

    Edit: *** Should be 5%. Oops. As everyone else has said, there are minor differences in recoil, cartridge length, max bullet weight, etc. None of them will mean a lick to Bambi.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2006
  12. ID_shooting

    ID_shooting Well-Known Member

    The diference is just as it sounds, a rifle in 30-06 will be slightly longer than a rifle in 308.

    Note: some 308 guns are in long-action rifles but no 30-06 guns are in short action.

    If you are over say 5'8" you may find a 308 to be too short to shoot comfortably at the same token, if you are short like I am, a 30-06 may be too long with out modifying the stock like I have to.

    My best suggestion would be to head over to you local gun dealer and ask to shoulder a 308 and a 30-06 in the major brands, Ruger, Remington, Winchester (if he has any) Savage, to feel the difference. Go with what feels best. If the gun fits you, recoil will be nothing, if it doesn't fit, recoil can be punishing with iether of the two.
  13. DogBonz

    DogBonz Well-Known Member

    I'd go with the '06

    Of course, I own an '06. I like the '06 better because you can shoot heavier bullets and it is a lower pressure round. Also, if you use the "light magnum" ammo, it puts the old '06 about equal with the 300 H&H.
  14. kir_kenix

    kir_kenix Well-Known Member

    they are balistically about the same. the .308 is a short action, and the 30-'06 is a long action. you can shoot heavier bullets out of the '06 w/ more powder. if you use the same weight bullets, they are about the same. same recoil..etc. either one is going to put a deer down.
  15. .38 Special

    .38 Special Well-Known Member

    In my experience the difference between long and short action tends to be no more than a quarter of an inch. Which makes it, IMO, no more important than the distinction between .308 and 30-06.

    I like the 30-06 because I'm traditionalist. I like that Hemingway carried one and I like that Teddy Roosevelt carried one. And that's the most valid sort of argument you'll find on the topic. If one floats your boat -- for any reason at all -- more than the other, buy it. Otherwise get whatever's on sale.
  16. ID_shooting

    ID_shooting Well-Known Member

    "In my experience the difference between long and short action tends to be no more than a quarter of an inch."

    True, somtimes a 1/4 inch can make a difference. Of course, since we do not know the stature of the buying in question, a youth gun might be called for, in that case there is quite a bit of difference.
  17. Stiletto Null

    Stiletto Null Well-Known Member

    Max loaded cartridge length (tip to base) on .30-06 is about 3.25". Max on .308 is about 2.75".

    Sounds about right, considering that .30-06 is 7.62x63mm in metric and .308 is 7.62x51mm.

    So when cycling, there's an extra half-inch or so of stroke length on a long-action rifle.


    If you're not handloading, there isn't much difference between the two in commercial loads. At a given bullet weight, I guess you could expect a .30-06 hunting load to be ~100ft/s faster at muzzle than its .308 counterpart.

    Woo frickin' woo.

    Find a rifle you like. For deer hunting, either will do just fine.


    Which is better? Depends on how you define better. .30-06 gives you a bit more case capacity, but if you're not handloading, this doesn't matter very much. Both will be very available.

    More/less recoil? For a given bullet weight, a .30-06 will probably send the bullet out a little bit faster, meaning a little bit more recoil (P = mv). Enough to notice? Doubt it.

    More accurate? Flamewar waiting to happen. Theoretically, .308 is a more "inherently accurate" design, on account of having a shorter powder column (more consistent ignition). In practice...nobody uses either for precision competition that I know of, and there are plenty of long range wildcats in existence based on both cases. Whatever.
  18. iamkris

    iamkris Well-Known Member

    As said above, little practical difference for the average deer hunter between the two rounds. You should be able to find either anywhere you might hunt. Recoil and accuracy are essentially the same. Same number of guns chambered in each cartridge.

    Only advantage in my opinion to the 30-06 is that if you plan on hunting larger game ever, the '06 allows heavier bullets than the 308...up to 200 gr (or even 220).

    Another note...swear to yourself to never believe anything from the person who told you that 7.62x39mm will shoot from a 308. Where do people get this stuff?
  19. Stiletto Null

    Stiletto Null Well-Known Member

    Future Weapons? I mean, the guy's a SEAL/weapons expert, he knows what he's talking about.
  20. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Well-Known Member

    Which one do you own currently or have access to the easiest? Use that one.

    Until you get above 165 grain slugs there is almost no difference ballistically or terminally. And you shouldn't need heavier that 165 for deer.

    Bigger stuff where heavier slugs are a better choice? Then the old '06 starts running away from the 308 due to it's larger case capacity.

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