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30-06 still King?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by 357smallbore, Apr 20, 2019.

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  1. 357smallbore

    357smallbore Member

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    I cut my teeth hunting with my Winchester 30-30 back in 1981. I then progressed to the ole 06 in 1983 after reading Bob Milek articles. I have or had the 7 mag, 270, 7mm-08 and 243. All are excellent caliber weapons. I only hunt the lower 48. In my humble opinion the 06 is still king when it comes to versatility, load ability, components and just an all around cartridge for anything that can be hunted in the USA. I do believe it would be a bit light on Kodiak and Polar bear though.

    I do mingle my 06 usage with my 243. I think the 243 is perfect for all game up to Mule deer size. That’s where my 06 takes over. Elk, Moose, Buffalo and Griz are saved for the 200 gr Nosler Partitions I load and shoot. I am a max 350 yard shooter. The gambit of game I've taken in the past 38 years with the 06 can fill a chest freezer 20 times over. Never have had to use more then 2 shots to anchor any critter I have taken.

    With all the caliber rifles out there today, is the 06 still the standard bearer in the hunting field?
     

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  2. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    Yes (IMHO).:)
     
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  3. marksman13

    marksman13 Member

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    An argument could be made that the 30-06 is as versatile as it gets, but the 7mm Rem Mag, 308, 35 Whelen, 300 Win Mag, 300 WSM and even the 270 Win are all hanging right there with it as are several less popular cartridges like the 280 Remington.
     
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  4. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    The .30-06 hasn’t been king since even before you started shooting it.

    Capable of killing anything in the lower 48? Sure. But it hasn’t reigned supreme in popularity for these varied tasks in generations. Certainly not in efficacy.
     
  5. marksman13

    marksman13 Member

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    I disagree about popularity. That’s a regional thing. In my part of the world it’s all 30-06, 270 and 308 and EVERYBODY owns a 30-06 down here.
     
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  6. Alaskan Ironworker

    Alaskan Ironworker Member

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    Ill repeat the old platitude, “if I could only have one hunting rifle, it’d be 30-06.” Near magnum power with widely available and good factory ammo cheaper than a dollar a shot.
     
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  7. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    THAT is a regional thing. Nationwide rifle and ammunition sales statistics are what they are. The 30-06 has been a top 10 type cartridge for a long time, but hasn’t held the top spot for many years. Popular isn’t the same as most popular. There can only be one king, and 30-06 hasn’t led American rifle or ammunition sales in decades.
     
  8. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    Jack of all trades, but master of few. I only have 4!
    Killed my first deer with one 44yrs ago. Killed over 100 with ‘06 and various weight bullets. Second only to the .257Roberts.

    Like the OP, I find it a bit much for smaller deer, but lacking nothing for medium to large game at typical hunting distances.
    However if I was moving to Alaska, I’d take my .375Ruger instead.
    There are better varmint and target cartridges, but, the grand old soldier (‘06) is still the gold standard in high power rifles.
     
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  9. 357smallbore

    357smallbore Member

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    Varminterror:
    I disagree with you. The last I saw. Reloading Die sales in 30-06 are still #1 over all other calibers. There are more loads and components in 30-06 then any other caliber. More types of factory ammo is avaliable then any other caliber. The gun writers of yesteryear and today still say the 30-06 is the standard measure in a hunting round. What round is talked and compared more to than the 30-06.
     
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  10. Mowgli Terry

    Mowgli Terry Member

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    I don't know how rock solid any use information is unless use of reloaded cartridges is factored in. Not sure that's possible. The 257 Roberts is possibly an example of where use is wider than ammo sales would suggest. Also, on dies sales, what about those of us who buy second hand? My 06 dies were RCBS made in 1973. My 8mm Mauser RCBS dies are from 1968.

    Addendum: How about the senior citizen who owns a 721 Remington in '06. He has a box of 180gr. Remington cartridges with seventeen of twenty cartridges gone. The box was a dark green. Good percent of rounds took game. Our hunter is speculating on getting another box of rounds-his bucket list rounds. How does he figure in to the dead '06?
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
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  11. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    You’re using observational biases here - when you see more ammo on the shelf, it does not equate to sales volumes. The lists are out there. Plain and simple, your observation is just wrong. The .30-06 has not lead in ammunition sales nor rifle sales for decades. There can only be ONE king, and the .30-06 ain’t it.

    Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the round, and my wife and I both use blued and walnut sporting rifles in .30-06 as our “go-to” rifles - her’s a 700 BDL which was her father’s and mine a M77 MkII which was my first hunting rifle of my own. But it doesn’t change the fact the 308win has outsold it for ammunition and firearms sales for thirty plus years, even the 270win has outsold it, and the 6.5 creed has been the number one selling rifle chambering for most years of the last decade. Great round, but it ain’t the king.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
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  12. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    It is still my favorite and probably always will be.
     
  13. Mowgli Terry

    Mowgli Terry Member

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    With an 06' and Bob you got it made. Screw what sells.
     
  14. Merle1

    Merle1 Member

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    It's number one in my book 3 semi autos, two bolt guns and one pump..... :thumbup:
     
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  15. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

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    What's best is only revalent to preference and use. Shoot what fits your comfort ability, game and terrain. A good basic mix is 243, 270 and 06. 300 or 375 for northern critters. Any other is just keeping up with the joneses. But then opinions are as defined and as Barnum said, suckers born every day.
     
  16. 22250Rem

    22250Rem Member

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    Not sure if it's still the king, but its done so much, for so many, and for so long that its got to be one of the all time classics. Only "ought-six" I currently own is an M-1 Garand ( which reminds me that the 30-06 was our military round from 1906 to about 1957 (?) IIRC ). I've always wanted to get a nice bolt gun in 30-06 based on the cartridges reputation and all the "ought-six" stories I heard from the old timers when I was growing up.
     
  17. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    Is the 30-06 king?

    In this house, yes.
     
  18. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    Is the .30-06 the best at any one task compared to most of today's newer calibers? Probably not. Is it still a versatile cartridge capable of doing everything it was capable of doing 50+ years ago? Of course.

    Honestly, do to its extensive popularity and lengthy history, for the foreseeable future I still think it will be one of those calibers that others are measured against, especially in the hunting arena. Similarly, we see the .308 Win being used as that comparison benchmark with a lot of long range competitors. In both cases, these are rifle cartridges that have been immensely popular, and do a good job at the task. But, are there better calibers out there for a lot of specific roles? Yes, in many cases, but maybe not always.
     
  19. Casefull

    Casefull Member

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    I have one that I never shoot. It's even a pre-64 model 70. It just seems the other calibers that I have to do the same thing as well if not better than the 06 does. Seems old and clunky much like the 270 to me. Too long for what it does. I realize it's heresy to say that. I like the efficiency of the 308 and the new short magnums.
     
  20. Frostbite

    Frostbite Member

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    Yes, it is still king. It is just the court that got bigger!

    Last year sales are a biased and unreliable measure of success.

    Many families already have quite a few .30-06 in the stable and don't feel like stopping to buy rifles just yet, so they buy some in chamberings they don't already own seven rifles chambered in to shoot.

    Some have stockpiled enough .30-06 ammunition already to last through a couple of civil wars. They don't buy as much now as when they began stockpiling.

    Many shoot other cartridges as well as .30-06 and are not ashamed to like more than just one. It is undoubtedly easier on the shoulder to practice with some other cartridges and keep the powerful Springfield for hunting.

    Cost efficiency is driving some buyers for their target rifles, which often see more action than their hunting rifles during a year. I know I shoot a lot more .223 than .30-06 in twelve months. In no way does it mean I think the .223 is any better at anything as a rifle round than the .30-06! If things were like that, no cartridge would be as great as the .22 LR, would it?
     
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  21. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    As the standard, I say yes. As the most popular, I don't think so. People are trending toward using the lightest recoiling firearm to get the job done. I think this came about because of the marketing of it has to be the fastest, flattest shooting thing to work.
    I don't have an 06 and doubt if I will. My bases are covered by many rifles, not one.
     
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  22. mshootnit

    mshootnit Member

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    I don't know about recent popularity etc but I ran a deer check station for the state 15 yr ago and at that time at our station 30-06 was by far the most common rifle. It was close to 2-1 30-06 to anything else.
    It is probably still the best North American centerfire cartridge in terms of versatility, efficiency all things considered. The newer solids allow better performance with a little lighter bullet and less recoil.
    Think 12 ga, 22lr, 30-06.
     
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  23. Garandimal

    Garandimal Member

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    The '06 wears the crown...

    ...because it possesses the 200 gr. NP as its royal scepter.

    All hail the king.




    GR
     
  24. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I think it is fair to say that 30-06 is the cartridge all others are judged against. I used one almost exclusively from the mid 1970's until about 10 years ago. It is an awesome round, but is bigger than 90% of American hunters need. It took me a long while to reach that realization. I still have a couple, but they will never be my go-to rifles anymore.
     
  25. KnightHawk

    KnightHawk Member

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    The 30-06 is still king. There are some cartridges that will do a niche job better. But, the 30-06 does a broader spectrum of hunting, shooting, for the average Joe then any other cartridge out there.
    Look I have center fire bolts, pumps, and levers from 223 to 50 Alaskan, so I'm not a one gun guy. But, unless I'm doing something special, like Brown Bear hunting, I would probably grab a 338 or bigger out of the box, but, the 30-06 with 240 grain Woodleigh's would do the job just fine. Most of the time I'll grab one of my 30-06's, because it will do the job. It might not be the shiny object dangled by some sales department or Gun writer at the moment, but.............
    The 06 was my first rifle, and it will be my last.
     
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