30-06 still King?

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The .30-06 was in the bottom half of service cartridges when it was introduced, and nothing has changed. It's mediocrity incarnate.

Just for amusement I have a spreadsheet that tracks what's correctly designed and faulty about all the major western bottleneck big game cartridges in common use. There's 59 entries in the spreadsheet. The .30-06 comes in tied for #41 in terms of design quality. It's not the worst ever designed but it's working on it.
I don't think it's a bad design. It's certainly a jack of all trades and master of none, but taken as a whole it's an admirable round.
Not very many critters will take a 180gr .30 Cal bullet launched at 27-2800fps, at any reasonable range, and walk away from it.
Not many things were likely to hunt NEED it either. BUT should you need more and you've still got 200-220grn options.
If you want to be able to shoot rabbits to grizzly with a single gun (also not common anymore, but much more prevalent in the past) you'd be hard pressed to find another cartridge that can do those things as well. Especially considering the construction of your average small bore bullet from the time of inception till perhaps the partion hit the market.

This is of course my opinion.
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7mm Remington Magnum!
That's a reasonable start certainly. Compared to most other top rounds it has a very primitive case that hurts velocity, accuracy, and brass life. But even with that handicap it's one of the top rounds, blessed with an acceptable choice of twist, an appropriate bore diameter for general NA use, and a case capacity that produced recoil reasonable for the typical shooter. The 7mm RM was certainly our best general purpose round when it came out. The 7mm WSM, 7mm SAUM, and .280 AI now have similar advantages with better cases, but somewhat less support.
My walnut stocked and blued steel 30-06 simply works for me and is my go-to big game rifle. If the 30-06 isn't your cup of tea then that's fine too. But ARs in all their various guises are here to stay and to haughtily slam AR users as inexperienced kids is foolish. Longevity isn't synonymous with wisdom.
What is really fun is to be on the line with one of these new wonder believers and have some old dog, with an old rifle out shoot the kid.....does not happen often as shooting usually does go down hill as we age, but when it does happen the wonderful excuses that come out is just amazing.....and the attitude before the shoot is just amazing, as is the general lack of what they are talking about.

Watched this play out repeatedly over 25 years of shooting HP competition. Many youngsters today expect instant gratification. They come to one match and expect to be competitive, no matter that those in the top tier have many years of experience under their belts, and when the "old guys" outshoot them, they react in one of two ways; they either buy the latest, most expensive equipment, believing that they can buy results, or they pick up their toys, go home, and give golf a go. Actually it happens a lot more often than one would think, because there is no shortcut to marksmanship; trigger time rules and often makes up for physical decline (to a point), IMO.

It is a toaster, stapler, claw hammer to me.....my fun guns are not tools but are there for fun.....I have one AR and that is enough.....I have one 10-22 that is more than enough.....I hate popular, trendy.....things in general.

This is just one facet that keeps threads such as this going; we all have our personal expectations when it comes to choices in our firearms. Only accurate rifles interest me; IOW, my firearms are tools first and appearance takes a back seat, not to say that I don't appreciate the graceful lines of a classic wood & steel rifle, but accuracy rules! For instance, Slamfire's Mod. 70 in the maple stock is gorgeous....even if it is a 270.;):rofl:

AR's, ugly as they are, wormed their way into my gun cabinet when they started winning rifle matches. Leave it up to the military AMU's to wring the last bit of accuracy out of a service rifle.:thumbup: I never switched to an AR as a match rifle because the 223's were much more susceptible to wind drift than my old reliable 30-06 (poorly designed or not :D) and wind doping is not my strongest asset. As previously stated, the mouse guns have several features making them perfect for predator calling. One feature I forgot to mention is the angle of the pistol grip makes for a much more natural angle of the wrist/trigger finger. The AR trigger pull is straight back, where conventional rifle designs result in pulling trigger at an angle which, for me, increases the "perceived" trigger weight.

As for the 30-06 being the "King", each and every rifle in my safe has one or more features making it the "King of the day" for whatever task planned for the day, but the 30-06 would actually handle anything I chose to throw at it with the possible exception of the eland, as it was absolutely imperative that it not make it into the heavy brush, making retrieval all but impossible.
35636138036_20e804c737_n.jpg 35675598245_5133a6bc12_n.jpg

It is pretty funny to read defense on this vs that. Really amazing what people tell themselves to justify what they BELIEVE (i did not use the word think here for a reason).

Yes!!! Its funny to me when someone claims the 7 mm Rem Mag is the greatest thing ever. With the same weight bullets its only a slight improvement over the venerable 30-06. By virtue of higher BC bullets it does start to look better at long range. Can't dispute that. Could it be that the old guys that use cartridges like the -06 are just better hunters than the new crop of shooters who never seem to be able to get closer than 6-700 yards? I don't know. We're picking nits now, just like all the other recent threads.

I still hunt with the M70 30-06 that I got in 1964. If I thought that I needed more gun, I sure wouldn't waste my money on a 7 mm Rem Mag.
Yes!!! Its funny to me when someone claims the 7 mm Rem Mag is the greatest thing ever. With the same weight bullets its only a slight improvement over the venerable 30-06. By virtue of higher BC bullets it does start to look better at long range. Can't dispute that. Could it be that the old guys that use cartridges like the -06 are just better hunters than the new crop of shooters who never seem to be able to get closer than 6-700 yards? I don't know. We're picking nits now, just like all the other recent threads.

I still hunt with the M70 30-06 that I got in 1964. If I thought that I needed more gun, I sure wouldn't waste my money on a 7 mm Rem Mag.
I agree if, you need more gun than a 30-06 or 7mm, you need a lot more gun:D
That's why I went .375! If I can't do it with any of those three, I'm going home...

Still tho, what can the 06 do, that the 7mm can't do farther? Louder? Sore'er?expensiver?
Extra range, increased recoil, increased cost, or any of the other things that actually differentiate the cartridges notwithstanding?
My rather obtuse point was that new may not be better, but neither is old. It's the details that make something appeal to each of us.

7mm rem mag happens to be my favorite cartridge ever, and I've gone thru a pretty good list. But that's just MY favorite.
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you must hunt in the communist east then.

I’ve moved around a bit, and traveled a lot for work, taking opportunities to hunt in literally dozens of states, always by simply developing relationships with locals and finding opportunities to hunt SOMETHING while there. Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, New York, North and South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, California, Montana, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri... whenever I take my own .30-06 out there, I get comments, “yeah, my grandpa/dad has a .30-06, I shot it as a kid, but I bought XXX instead because YYY...”.

I hear guys saying “everybody owns a .30-06,” but I have yet to find where all of these folks live which supposedly dominate the market.
Whether not not the 30-06 was lacking in the design department is actually irrelevant to this topic. Every round lacks somewhere. There is no perfect cartridge.

The 30-06 has been used on every continent to harvest every level of small, medium, large and dangerous game. From prairie dogs to pachyderms. It’s also “probably” still the most prolific cartridge in the woods for those who pursue big game in North America. It’s used by the old and the young. Both men and women. Are there cartridges that do SPECIFIC things better? Of course. But being king isn’t ruling one. It’s ruling all. And I just don’t see a more versatile or popular cartridge for general hunting purposes.

My opinion on the 30-06 being king in no way diminishes my other cartridge’s abilities. And I have a pretty fair amount of other cartridges in my safe. It simply means that I acknowledge it’s abilities, popularity, and longevity of use. And until another cartridge has been employed for as long, or has harvested the amount of medium/large game, I humbly concede to it wearing the crown.
After 8 pages of following this thread, one fact is obviously clear to me and all of you should be made aware:

Anyone who hunts or shoots anything other than a 30-06, .270, or 30-30 simply must be compensating for some sort of lack or deficit "down there".
Where did you get the idea that greasing cases was a good idea?

Paul Mauser. His first semi auto used greased 8 X 57 ammunition. Actually, I got the idea after reading Chinn's Machine Gun Book, Vol 1 and Vol 4. Vol 1 has pages of machine guns with oilers. Any of the pre WW2 retarded blow back mechanisms used oil, wax, or grease as a case lubricant,


but there were a number of mechanisms that used oilers even though the were not delayed blowbacks, and it was because manufacturing technology was unable to hold the headspace tolerances on replacement machine gun barrels. So, the designers put oilers on top of the things


which allowed the case to slide to the bolt face without sidewall separation. When I am fireforming cases, I don't want sidewall stretch, and so when I lubricate my cases, on first firing, I lubricate them.

Additionally I have found that I have eliminated jacket fouling in one chrome lined barrel by firing greased bullets. The rifle is a J.C Higgins M50, and it jacket fouled so bad, within a box of 20 rounds, you could not see rifling. I had a gunsmith lap the thing, which improved things, but still it would jacket foul in spots. Last CMP session, I fired at least 50 rounds, greased bullets, dipped down to the shoulder, similar to this:


and no jacket fouling!. When I pushed a bristle brush down the tube I did not feel any tight spots. That tells me, if you push enough grease down the tube.

this is over kill:


then you are reducing friction between the bullet and bore. And that may increase barrel life.

I've always read that any grease on cases causes them to slip in the chamber and apply too much pressure to the bolt..

It is amazing of the absolute lack of gravitas within the in print community. The origin of this is an pre WW1 Army coverup. At the time everyone was greasing their bullets, because cupro nickel bullets jacket fouled something awful.


No one knew, and the Army never admitted, that the Army Arsenals were producing 03's with burnt receivers. When ever an Army 03 blew up, with Army ammunition, well it had to be the grease, right? You cannot believe anything a Corporate or Government entity says about a failure as they will never, ever, admit to fault. Even now, based on today's newspaper, many residents of Flint Michigan won't drink the tap water, no matter how many times the City or State Government assures them, that the water is safe. And based on the years of lies and denials from the authorities, who can fault the residents in being a bit skeptical about anything the utility company tells them about the water.

Anyway, the inprint community are sticking with a century old Army coverup, that grease or oil dangerously and unpredictably raises pressures. These guys are incapable of asking themselves, simple questions such as: just how much would you weaken a locking mechanism, based on the assumption that the case is carrying load? I have never seen anyone present a good bolt thrust reduction number to use in weakening the mechanism, and how to keep it a constant. I would not assume the case carries any load, and I would not weaken any locking mechanism based on any assumption that the case carries load. Nor have I found a designer who would.

And, the inprint community does not know their firearm history. If they did, and they knew about the hundreds of fielded weapons that used greased, oiled, and waxed ammunition, maybe they would understand that there is an inconsistency in their belief system. But they don't, and of course, they won't.

But being king isn’t ruling one. It’s ruling all.

Which the .30-06 doesn’t do.

It can kill anything, but it’s too light for anything bigger than elk, too heavy even for whitetails. A disastrous over-recoil and over-power cartridge for small game, and irresponsibly underpowered for large, dangerous game, to the point it is no longer legal for such.

It’s a case of “capable of all, but a master of none.”

I’ll likely hunt with a .30-06 every year until I die, but I can say the same for 223rem, 243win, 300win mag, 44mag, 454 Casull, and 45-70. Most of these can kill anything in North America, but none, including the 30-06, are really “masters of all,” in anything but a deluded sense of misguided nostalgia.
Sounds like a ballistic monarchy doesn’t fit our society. Perhaps we should elect a cartridge president for a four year term.
It can kill anything, but it’s too light for anything bigger than elk
Lol! Oh c’mon man! Give me a break. Based on what? You have 113 years of empirical evidence to support that? If it’s too light then how did so many hunters in previous generations kill so many animals larger than elk with it? And how do hunters year after year CONTINUE to do it? All those poor misguided hunters must be superb marksman and very lucky..... Or did they all just hunt with BAR’s and empty the magazine in the animal in hopes they could put enough rounds in it to cripple the animal so they could finally dispatch it with a round to the brain or hope it would run away and jump off a cliff thereby ending its suffering? Last time I checked, animals haven’t gotten tougher.

“Capable of all.....but grossly underpowered for anything larger than an elk” just doesn’t make much sense to me. I could post 100 pictures of animals larger than elk taken with a 30-06 and I feel you would still refute it effectiveness somehow. But no one has posted a more versatile and longer serving cartridge yet.....

It’s not misguided nostalgia on my part. I just think you crunch numbers and I look at history. But unless there is a way to disprove historical numbers, the numbers from history can’t be subtracted. Only ceased adding to, or added to.
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I believe the reason the 30-06 is so popular is that it can handle such a wide range of bullet weights (110 to 220 gr.). Correct me if I'm wrong but I think that is the widest range of bullet weights that any chambering can properly handle. Plus it has a wide range of GC cast bullets it can handle. Of course to some it has disadvantages. Such as it requires a long action , it can not safely produce magnum velocity's, it is not a long range target round. It really comes down to what are your needs for a hunting rilfe. Then why so popular? The people of this country have long been hunters not long range target shooters.
it’s too light for anything bigger than elk, too heavy even for whitetails.

I've never shot a whitetail but have killed a ton of mulies with a 30-06, and the large Alaskan bull moose I dropped with one shot didn't think it was too light.

This whole thread is getting ridiculous. A 30-06 is a nice bridge cartridge that's not excessive against deer while still able to comfortably handle elk and moose without the recoil, blast and cost associated with magnums. It's not necessarily optimized for a specific class of game but it's extremely versatile.
But no one has posted a more versatile and longer serving cartridge yet.

If this is your yardstick by which to claim the .30-06 is “king,” then very simply, 6.5x55 Swede and 7x57 Mauser have killed every species the 30-06 has, for longer than the .30-06, AND using 15-20% less powder to do the job.

Technically and specifically speaking, the 22 Long Rifle has killed as broad of spectrum of game as the .30-06, sold far more rifles and ammunition, been around 20 years longer than the 30-06, and does so with far less ammunition cost.

So how valid do you really think the claim the .30-06 is king to be, when by EVERY yardstick presented here, other cartridges are proven superior?
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