.30-06 vs .308

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by jim in Anchorage, May 12, 2017.

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  1. Gtscotty

    Gtscotty Member

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    In the few 22" .308's I've loaded for, my warm accuracy loads ran a bit over 2,700 fps for 165gr bullets. I run 178gr bullets a hair over 2,600 fps in a warm load out of my 20" .308.

    In the two 22" .30-06's I've loaded for, warm accuracy loads were a bit over 2,900 fps for the same 165gr bullets, and right at 2,800 fps for 180gr bullets. All loads at or under book max with temp resistant powders (a personal requirement for hunting rifles).

    From my experience there's is 170 fps to 200 fps difference between the .308 and .30-06 with best loads, or about the same difference as between the .30-06 and the .300 WSM

    Does this difference matter? On deer, which is what the vast majority of hunters hunt, I'd say no, deer aren't hard to kill. On larger game like elk and moose? Most folks, myself included probably don't have enough actual experience shooting big game with both to give an informed opinion. I know one guy who has killed a bunch of elk over the years with a .308 Winchester 88, he now shoots a .300 WM, mostly just to try something different. He 's knocked over three big bulls with it in the last two hunting seasons and thinks that with good hits they go down a bit faster and require fewer follow up shots. His son, who also successfully hunted for years with a .308 bought a new .30-06 to hunt with a few years ago and likes it. This stuff is really not worth arguing over.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
  2. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    I have rarely heard "laws of physics" quoted in a discussion about ballistics where the person making the reference did not misapply them. In this case, you seem to be forgetting that the `06 uses more powder to do the same thing. Powder charge weight is part of any recoil calculator and seat of the pants feel tells most people that the .308 recoils less.

    Fake ballistics???

    Even if the advantage is the 100-150fps you keep clinging to, it can't be any more significant than the length of the action or difference in recoil. So bottom line is that the most you can hope for is a wash. Personally, I'll take the velocity hit (if there is one) to get a shorter, lighter rifle.


    Agreed.
     
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  3. RPRNY

    RPRNY Member

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    And yet you continue to argue over it, issuing bald-faced lies. You aren't in this to argue a point, just to argue. You cannot claim in one breath that the two cartridges are the same and in then in next breath that the heavier rifle will recoil more. Fake ballistics. Fake physics. Sad.
     
  4. JeeperCreeper

    JeeperCreeper Member

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    Haven't seen it mentioned here, but as a .30-06 shooter, .308 offers something cool:

    RIFLE SELECTION!!! If you want a specialty rifle from a semi-auto battle rifle to a heavy barrel sniper to a guide/scout rifle, someone makes them in .308.

    I like -06 better, but you're normally stuck with hunting style bolt guns.
     
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  5. RPRNY

    RPRNY Member

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    Summary thus far:

    Most responders who have shot both, like both, but may have a preference for one or the other.

    Among those, there seems to be a recognition that in the bullet weights that are most likely to be used by both, performance is rather undistinguishable. There also seems to be a recognition that the 30-06, with its longer neck and greater powder capacity will deliver enhanced performance with heavy for caliber bullets vs the 308, but that the generally lighter and shorter actions for rifles in 308 offer a more important consideration for many. There may also be a preference for semi-auto and other more specialized rifles more commonly chambered in 308.

    Then we have the outliars.

    Among the outrageous claims thus far among the outliars:

    • At no bullet weight that can be fired from the 30-06 cartridge can there possibly be as much as 100 fps difference above the 308 Win or any difference in performance. This despite acknowledging the difference in neck length and powder capacity, and ignoring common twist rate differences in rifles;

    • Despite the insistence that the two cartridges are indistinguishable ballistically, the same bullet weight in a much longer and heavier rifle will deliver more recoil;

    • Despite the remarkable weight savings afforded by the 308 short action, we are to believe that an additional 10 grs or so of powder weight will negate several lbs of rifle weight;

    • Physics are to be disregarded in favor of "seat of the pants" feel, ie if the science is inconvenient to the narrative, it is irrelevant.
     
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  6. bearman49709

    bearman49709 Member

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    I've owned at least four of each,I can tell you no animal will know which one you shot it with.

    One year I shot three deer, all were shot with the same gun, same load in the same place each about 75 yards away. The first two never took a step, the last one ran 150 yards. If I shot the first two with a .30-06 and the last with a .308 I might think the .30-06 killed them better than the .308.

    Animals may look the same and may weigh the same but react totally different.
     
  7. strambo

    strambo Member

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    Wow, this is as amusing as 9mm vs. 45. They are close enough it really doesn't matter for most of the performance envelope. I'd first decide what I need the rifle to do, then decide what rifle I want (like another poster said), then pick a chambering in the rifle I want that meets the requirements. If both .308 and 30-06 are available and meet the requirement, flip a coin (or do you already have ammo/dies/whatever for one vs. the other?)
     
  8. Bart B.

    Bart B. Member

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    With the same bullet in each cartridge you tested, were barrel length, bore & groove diameters and peak pressures at SAAMI specs? Or at least both barrels identical in all respects except for their chambers?

    If not, the velocity comparison is skewed in favor of the faster system and a 308 will sometimes shoot the same bullet the fastest.

    A given load can easily have a 100 fps spread across several barrels the same length.
     
  9. Haxby

    Haxby Member

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    What we need is a 7.62x57 Improved.
     
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  10. Gtscotty

    Gtscotty Member

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    Lol, ok Bart, I can see you are trying to cast doubt on the truthfulness of my reported velocities, but I'm not sure what you're driving at with the bit about the velocities being skewed towards the faster system.

    All barrels were factory spec, do you really think I measure the bore and groove on all my factory rifles, Or is this just a red herring question per your usual mode of discussion on this board?

    The loads were 45.5 gr of Varget under 165gr SGKs in two different Winchester .308's, the max load before accuracy fell off. The loads for my current .30-06 are 59gr of H4350 under a 165gr SGK, and 56.5 gr H4350 under a 180gr SGK. With RL16, 180gr NABs maxed out at 2,840 fps, but I dialed it down a bit for my hunting load.

    I am well aware of the concept of tolerances, variance and the differences that can make in rifle velocities, that's why I gave my results in generalizations averaged out over three current production .308's and three current production .30-06s. Those are the general velocity differences I've seen.

    What velocities have you recorded for 22" .308's and .30-06 shown? Keep in mind I'm talking full to max power hunting loads in both with powders most appropriate for generating best velocity with good accuracy in both (e.g. not IMR4064 under 180's in Garand loads in the '06). Same bullets of course.

    I have loaded .308s to the point where I was losing primer pockets after a few loads and I have never seen a full power .308 shoot a 165gr or 180gr bullet faster than a full power .30-06 in similar rifles. Please cite the rifles, loads and bullets where you saw this happen.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
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  11. browningguy

    browningguy Member

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    I have both, the .308 does everything well, the 06 is a little bit more of a good thing. It's really that simple.
     
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  12. reddog81

    reddog81 Member

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    I prefer the classics. My favorite shooter is a 1903 Springfield. However most of the rounds I put down range are light cast bullet loads. A .308 would probably make more sense with the light loads but there seems to be way more light cast load data for the .30-06.
     
  13. Tentwing

    Tentwing Member

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    I'm with Browninguy. I own both, and I enjoy both. Truthfully for what hunting there is here in North Georgia/ East Tennessee my good ole 30-30 lever action will cover most bases quite well. That being said I have no intentions of letting go of either my 308 or my 30-06. Maybe my grandsons can debate the merits of the two when I get old and start dividing up my rifles between them.;) In the meantime I truly believe that proper shot placement will always minimize the differences between the two cartridges.

    I do admit as long as they remain civil I do enjoy these 308 vs 30-06 debates. I always learn from them.

    Tentwing
     
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  14. saturno_v

    saturno_v Member

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    Why a 308 over a 30-06?? Simple.


    The 308 is the better choice in a light, short barreled handy rifle and there are many more choices if you want a semi-auto, Easier to find cheap surplus ammo as well. 308 and 30-06 do not belong to a different power class and up to Bambi and even bigger game they are basically as effective...so "equal" in that sense. The 30-06 pull a bit ahead in heavier bullet weight and long barreled rifles. if you want to put your rifle up to dangerous game duty the 30-06 has definitely the edge (bullet weight choices and a bit faster). I happen to own both and I like them equally.
    As I said before, saying that 308 and 30-06 are "basically equal" is almost like saying that 30-06 and 300 Win Mag are "basically equal" which is not true....sure in 90% of cases they are as effective but that is a different story. There are situations where a 30-06 is the better choice (or the 300 Win Mag is the better choice over the 30-06)
     
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  15. DM~

    DM~ Member

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    I've shot both quite a bit, hunted a lot of big game in Alaska using them.

    For deer, it wouldn't matter much to me what one I was carrying, but for bigger big game, I use 200NP's and there's NO doubt in my mind, the 30-06 shines over the 308 with the heavier bullets and it's a worth while shine too!.

    I don't even own a 308 any longer, no need to, as I have more than one 30-06! IF, I want a 308, I'll just load my "06" down to a 308...

    DM
     
  16. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    I dont like the .308, no real reason besides it dosent offer ME anything that the .30-06 cant do as well or slightly better.

    My primary reason for disliking the .308 is the way it looks, not enough case....Now the 7-08 is a sexy looking round.....
     
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  17. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Member

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    There appears to be a love hate relationship with the 30-06. The 30-06 is widely considered as the first calibre up the scale that will find your flinch. So I think that the .308 and other chamberings become more viable for these shooters.

    Here the 30-06 has a nick name which in the Afrikaans language rhymes with 30-06 but cannot be translated directly, but basically is say's 30 oh wound, as in wound an animal. This is due to the very occasional hunter developing a flinch with the calibre and resulting in incorrectly placed shots. So the 30-06 has a very undeserved reputation locally but it remains popular.

    It remains a great chambering but this side of the pond there is a growing tendency for people to recommend the .308 over the 30-06 as for general meat harvesting (hunting the average animal) most people will find the .308 most inappropriate, it is cheaper to shoot, easier on the range.

    If I was to have ONE African hunting rifle for anything from Springbok to Eland I could find little fault with the 30-06 with a 180gr. Accubond / Partition. This is why I bought a 30-06 rather than a .308. It simply packs more power.
     
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  18. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    I was all about military cartridges and owned a semi in .308 when I was looking for a new bolt action hunting rifle.

    There's the first discriminator, .30-06 is traditionally a manual action firearm, was designed and fielded then as such. .308 was the slightly shortened version for self loading actions when they became a requirement for military use 50 years later.

    That 50 year difference in open market sales also means that different loads were developed and tuned in which gave .30-06 - at that time, the early '80s - more loads on the gun store shelf, in more stores in out of the way places. I could see it demonstrated locally in the larger department stores on their shelves. More loads more brands vs a limited selection and .308 tended to be all about 150-168 gr hunting or target. .30-06 was all over the map, not to forget the Accelerators with saboted .223 bullets. With selections approaching 90 on the light end and 300 gr heavy, what was not to like?

    In the rack, .30-06's were dominant then. Times have changed, but .308 vs .30-06 isn't really a major incremental difference today. You could build a lightweight in either manual vs self loading and it would be a horserace to the finish line weight scale. Loading one or the other simply becomes a challenge in your ability to discover the guns limit - and then you could upgrade the chamber with a reamer or rebarrel. While the .30-06 certainly has a long and storied history of distance shooting the .308 has more, due to its detailed developement over decades by the military.

    Really, much ado about nothing. Not even a 9mm vs .45 as you can make .308 from .30-06 brass - can't do that with the pistol comparison.

    I picked the .30-06 because it was a good hunting round and I would shoot it from a manual bolt gun. I picked the .308 in that gun because there was no alternative, and I wanted to blast cheap surplus with it. It went to what each gun was meant to do, not whether one would pass thru a moose given another 50 yards distance. I think we agree, as did that poster, when things get that dicey we should move up to a bigger cartridge. Losing game and having animals suffer isn't our goal.

    While many today don't see the conditions that existed 30 years ago when shopping for one cartridge or the other there is one constant that still affects the market - .30-06 semi auto guns for field use are few and far between. It's still part of the choices you have to weigh.
     
  19. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Moderator In Memoriam

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    With factory loads in commonly available rifles, and bullets of 150 or 165 grains, there's no real difference.

    Maybe things have changed, but the '06 was commonly loaded to 50,000 psi; the .308 to 55,000 psi. Handloads can uprate the '06 for some advantage in muzzle velocity. Bullets of 180 to 230 grains favor the '06 because they aren't set as deeply into the case as they would be in the .308.
     
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  20. Laphroaig

    Laphroaig Member

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    I often wonder if part of the development process of the .308 wasn't someone looking at a 30-06 M2 ball loaded with 4895 and saying "this case is only 2/3 full, we could make the case 1/2" shorter and still get all of the powder in"?
     
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  21. JackSprat

    JackSprat Member

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    I know that when push comes to shove the 30-06 can have a little advantage over the 308,but it's not often a needed advantage..I remember as a fairly young kid my Dad bringing home a 308 mentioning it was about like a 30-06..I said something about how small the shells were,and he had me put one up to my ear,and shake it,and then do the same with a 30-06 shell..I don't know why the 30-06 has so much unused case capacity..I think it may have been to keep pressure down to a safer pressure for the time it was developed.
     
  22. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Member

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    Not my hand loads ;)
     
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  23. Gtscotty

    Gtscotty Member

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    Yep, the top end RL16 loads I've been playing with lately pretty much fill up the case.
     
  24. biggameballs

    biggameballs Member

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    I prefer rifles with shorter barrels and 308 is more effecient in a barrel 20 inches or less.
     
  25. jim in Anchorage

    jim in Anchorage Member

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    Yeah I can't get enough 4831 in the case to show pressure signs.
     
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