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308 or 30-06 - which is best?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Big Bill, Dec 28, 2008.

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  1. Big Bill

    Big Bill Member

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    Do you like .308 or .30-06 best and why? Personally, I'm a 30-06 man. I don't really know why, except that it just feels right to me. That's probably why I also shoot a .25-06. I have had a .243 a .22-250 and a .223. however, for coyotes, nothing beat my .22-250 topped with a straight 10X Leupold.
     
  2. SniperStraz

    SniperStraz Member

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    For what application?
     
  3. gvnwst

    gvnwst Member

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    Dude, there is not enough difference for us to make the decision. One is longer but puts the bulets about 100fps faster, the other is almost as good and is shorter.
     
  4. Rancho Relaxo

    Rancho Relaxo Member

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    There isn't much real world practical difference.
     
  5. Big Bill

    Big Bill Member

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    Hunting.
     
  6. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...308 or .30-06..." Same thing, different action length, ballistically. It's not the cartridge that matters though. It's the rifle. A Rem 700, for example, in either is the same rifle. An M1 Rifle or 1903A3 and an M1A or FAL is not the same thing.
    "...How did this happen?..." Relax. Servers are a bit daft by times. Clicking on the 'submit' button sometimes confuses the server and it slows to the point where you think your post didn't go. Clicking the button again creates a second post. Excrement happens.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  7. Big Bill

    Big Bill Member

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    Accuracy Facts

    .308 Winchester versus .30-06 Springfield

    By Bart Bobbitt
    ------------------------

    Seems to me that any time there's more metal contacting the bullet, the greater [the] chance that more variables come into play. Besides, folks who shoot highpower rifles the most accurate[ly] have very little case neck tension on the bullet anyway.

    It's really easier to have uniform case neck tension by having it light in the first place; neck length doesn't come into play when this is how it's done. And ammo that's been handloaded [which is] then let set for several weeks or months will have a greater release force needed with long necks because of dissimilar materials bonding between bullet jacket and case neck/fouling. There's more area to bond when longer necks are used.

    All that aside, lets go back to when the .30-06 and .308 were the only cartridges allowed in NRA match rifle matches. Both cartridges were used in barrels of equal quality as well as the same action and stocks by several top shooters in the USA. Both cartridges were used in matches at ranges from 100 through 1000 yards. Many thousands of rounds were fired in both types. Bullets from 168 through 200 grains were used with several powder, case and primer combinations.

    In comparing accuracy between the .308 and .30-06, folks who used each quickly agreed on one thing: .308s were two to three times more accurate than the .30-06. In the early 1960s, it was also observed that competitors with lower classifications using .308s were getting higher scores than higher classified folks using .30-06s; at all ranges. By the middle to late 1960s, all the top highpower shooters and virtually all the rest had switched to the .308. The Highpower Committee had received so many complaints of ties not being able to be broke between shooters using the .308 and shooting all their shots in the tie-breaking V-ring, something had to be done to resolve this issue. In 1966, the NRA cut in half the target scoring ring dimensions.

    At the peak of the .30-06's use as a competition cartridge, the most accurate rifles using it would shoot groups at 200 yards of about 2 inches, at 300 of about 3 inches. The 600-yard groups were 6 to 7 inches and at 1000 yards about 16 inches. As the high-scoring ring in targets was 3 inches at 200 and 300 yards, 12 inches at 600 and 20 inches at 1000, the top scores fired would have 90+ percent of the shots inside this V-ring.

    Along came the 7.62mm NATO and its commercial version; the .308 Winchester. In the best rifles, 200 yard groups were about 3/4ths inch, at 300 about 1-1/2 inch. At 600 yards, groups were about 2-1/2 inch and at 1000 about 7 to 8 inches. It was not very long before the .30-06 round no longer won matches nor set any records; all it's records were broken by the .308 by a considerable margin. Some accuracy tests at 600 yards with the .308 produced test groups in the 1 to 2 inch range. These were 20 to 40 shot groups. No .30-06 has ever come close to shooting that well.

    At 1000 yards, where both the .30-06 and .308 were allowed in Palma matches, the .308 was the clear-cut most accurate of the two. If top shooters felt the .30-06 was a more accurate round, they would have used it - they didn't. In fact by the early 1970s, the scoring ring dimensions on the 800 - 1000 yard target were also cut in about half due to the accuracy of both the .308 Win. over the .30-06 and the .30-.338 over the .300 H&H when used in long range matches.

    Most top highpower shooters feel the main reason the .308 is much more accurate than the .30-06 is its shorter, fatter case promotes more uniform and gentle push on the bullet due to a higher loading density (less air space) and a more easily uniformly ignitable powder charge.

    Military arsenals who produced match and service ammo in both 7.62mm and 30 caliber have fired thousands of test rounds/groups with both. They also found out that with both ammo types, the smallest groups were with the 7.62 by about 50 to 60 percent. M1 rifles in 7.62 shot about twice as small of groups as .30 M1s at all ranges. When the M14 was first used, there were some .30-06 M1 rifles that would shoot more accurately. It took the service teams several years to perfect the methods of making M14s shoot well, but when they did, they shot as good as M1s in 7.62.

    There will always be folks who claim the .30-06 is a more accurate cartridge. All I have to say to them is to properly test .308 vs. .30-06 and find out. Theory is nice to think about; facts determine the truth.

    http://www.snipercountry.com/Articles/AccuracyFacts.asp
     
  8. High Planes Drifter

    High Planes Drifter Member

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    For hunting, and hunting alone, I find the .30-06 to be a bit more usefull. That's a personal observation.
     
  9. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Member

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    Here in Alaska the 30-06 is much more popular with real hunters than the 308.
    The only reason seems to be the ability of the 30-06 to handle heavier (180 to 250 gr) bullets better than the 308. Plus the extra 100 to 150 fps come in handy from time to time. In a hunters mind, if nowhere else.

    The 308 is more popular with the target rifle guys.

    I currently have a couple 308s (well really 7.62mm Nato) guns that shoot nice groups.

    I also have 3 rifles in 30-06 and have had lots more. Via the use of handloads and a little homestead gunsmithing I can obtain half inch groups with those as well.
     
  10. elktrout

    elktrout Member

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    I interviewed 100 animals each shot with the 30-06 and 308. I did not get any replies. Dead is dead and either would likely work fine for the majority of hunting situations. Obviously, like Float Plane said, if we need to use really heavy bullets, the 06 is better suited.

    Big Bill,

    Nice job of stimulating some debate on the two cartridges. Your reply provides a lot of interesting match shooting history which I did not know. I only have one of these two guns but thoroughly admire the qualities of the other.
     
  11. Ridgerunner665

    Ridgerunner665 Member

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    :)...I like that.

    I prefer the 308 because it does better with shorter barrels...that is its one TRUE advantage over the 30-06.

    I don't care for barrels over 20 inches long...the 30-06 does not fare so well in those.
     
  12. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    For hunting?

    .30-06 in an all-purpose full-size rifle.

    .308 in a short, light rifle.

    As Ridgerunner665 says, the .30-06 doesn't make sense in a carbine. .308 shines there.

    Conversely, I'd say that, in a 24" barrel, full-size gun, the .308 offers nothing the .30-06 can't do equally well or better.

    It's all about matching the round, the gun, and the application.

    Hunting isn't target shooting, and vice versa.:)

    Terminal performance doesn't matter to paper, and 0.25 MOA is worth diddly when shooting offhand at an elk.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  13. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Member

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    In a hunting situation, the 30'06, because it can be loaded to higher velocities than the 308 with the same bullet and is able to handle heavier bullets much better than the 308 due to the longer neck of the case.
    You have to compromise both with the 308 case and short magazines, with the short actions that's available.
    In that respect, the 308 runs in second place.

    NCsmitty
     
  14. RSVP2RIP

    RSVP2RIP Member

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    I'd pick the 30-06 because it can handle heiver bullets and you can always improve the cartrige and get just a little more out of it, but again, the difference is hardly worth writing home about. Not many people are gong to use 220 gr bullets and 180 gr premium bullets can do anything the 220 gr. can. So it's just a personal preferance.
     
  15. jkingrph

    jkingrph Member

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    Unless you have a need to push the really heavy bullets, pick the rifle you find and like and go with it regardless of the caliber. Either will be fine for most purposes.
     
  16. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    I've been reloading for the '06 since 1950. I've mostly hunted whitetail and mule deer. I've never had a need for bullets heavier than 150-grains for that use, out to some 450 yards. Same for my father and uncle, for that matter, who killed a heckuva lot more deer than I have.

    IMO, if you don't reload and don't need more than a 150-grain bullet, there's not a nickel's worth of difference in performance. Six of one, half-dozen of the other.
     
  17. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    I hate this story to no end because it's completely misleading in that it fails to take into account the most important change in technology that occoured in this changeover. PEOPLE BUILT NEW RIFLES incorporating all the advances in rifle making skill that were also made in that timeframe, not to mention that they were NEW. OF ^#&*( course they shot better

    Then there's the fact that 308 got the benifet of advances in propellant technology where 30-06 was still getting it's case stuffed with the same IMR powders used before wwII

    All in all a completely useless pontification that just serves to confuse and or bedazzle the unknowing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  18. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    As someone who has shot both cartridges in competition, I find Mr Bobbitt data, opinions, and conclusions to be a total fantasy. I would take a lot of effort to debunk the errors in his history, and I don’t feel like doing it.

    The idea that the 308 is two to three times more accurate than a 30-06 is ridiculous.

    For a hunting rifle, shooting unsupported, both cartridges will shoot inside the capabilities of 99.99% of the hunters out there. Maybe 99.999%.

    I prefer the 30-06's ability to shoot heavy bullets. I prefer the 30-06 as a hunting cartridge, but that does not mean I have not gone out with one of my 308's.
     
  19. Redneck with a 40

    Redneck with a 40 Member

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    At 200 yards, the difference is about 100 ft lbs and 100 fps, big deal. The .308 is inherently more accurate, much more efficient in short barrels, and I don't anticipate any hunting shots beyond 200 yards. Out to 200 yards, the 308 is fine for Elk.
     
  20. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    care to cite proof of that?
     
  21. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Bart's article was written many years ago, prior to the development of some of the great slow burning powders we have today. Once you move up to the 190gr and heavier bullets that are better suited to the .30-06's case capacity, it's a WHOLE 'NOTHER BALL GAME.

    Don
     
  22. Big Bill

    Big Bill Member

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    Thanks for all the great replies. I do have a .30-06 Ruger M77 and a Remington Model788 in 308. And, I do like them both, but use the .30-06 for hunting. However, I do elk hunt with my Savage .300 wsm.

    Even though I'm a 60 year old guy, there is always something I learn from great discussions like this with great folks like ya'll.

    Here are a couple of pictures of my 30-06 and my .300 WSM ...
     

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  23. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    The difference in factory loading will be minimal, especially since the .308 was designed to duplicate .30-06 performance in a more efficient case size. The biggest difference will be action length.

    If you reload, you can eek more performance out of the .30-06, but even then we're not talking that huge of a difference.

    Mike
     
  24. steveno

    steveno Member

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    if you are a good shot it doesn't matter which you choose. if you are bad shot it doesn't matter either
     
  25. Redneck with a 40

    Redneck with a 40 Member

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