The .30-06…the king of cartridges is it fading to the sidelines?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Plainsman, Mar 6, 2022.

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  1. Mike J

    Mike J Member

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    Back in 1989 I wanted a deer rifle & I had the cash to go get one. I didn't really know a whole lot about different rifle calibers or what rifles were considered best. I went with .30-06 because that was what almost all the older men I had worked with used. I bought a push feed Winchester model 70 because of brand recognition. For a long time when I was growing up the only rifle in our home was a Winchester pump .22. I have never regretted the decision.

    Lately it seems .30-06 ammunition has been hard to find. I was in Academy recently & saw a lot of .308 available. Doubtless it is more available because of its popularity with the black rifle crowd. I haven't done so yet but I'm thinking I'd like to pick up a .308 just because ammunition is more available.
     
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  2. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    I do challenge someone to name a cartridge with more applicability for all lower 48 big game hunting. Sure, it might not be the BEST for a given application, but it sure is acceptable for everything from antelope on the plains to bear at close quarters.
     
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  3. mcb

    mcb Member

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    45/70
    444 Marlin
    35 Whelen
    338 Lapua
    338 Norma
    300 Norma
    300 Win Mag
    300 WSM
    300 PRC
    300 RUM
    7mm RUM
    7mm Rem Mag
    7mm WSM
    270 Weatherby Mag
    270 Win

    All of these are more than capable of anything in North America. I left many others out that could be used as well.
     
  4. codytrucker

    codytrucker Member

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    30-06 is one of those things that isn't the best at any one thing , but is great at everything . there are a lot of choices that work as well or better for any individual species or type of hunting . There are absolutely better target shooting rounds .

    But for a cartridge to hunt the world with , it still makes the most sense . If your ammo doesn't show up in Alaska , or Argentina, Zimbabwe or Zaire .Asia or Australia , your best chance of finding something to use will still be in 30-06 .

    But most people aren't going to be in these kind of predicaments. and most hunting is specifically aimed at deer hunting , at least in the USA .
    I mean they are still making 45-70 , so i think 30-06 will be around as long as there are rifles and hunting , but its days at the top of the heap are over .
     
  5. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    I would agree that the 7mm Rem Mag has a similar portfolio, but some the others on your list start to have problem on the ends of the spectrum (.45-70 for plains antelope?) or are excessively powerful (.338 Lapua for whitetail?).
     
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  6. Eagle103

    Eagle103 Member

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    These type of threads come up here fairly frequently. This is a gun forum so I think most of us are well aware that "better" cartridges have come and gone in the last 116 years. It was born at time when most people still traveled with horses, few had running water or electricity, and modern medicine was in it's infancy. In spite of all the changes in the world the old relic still gets the job done. I think that's remarkable and it's just one of the reasons I cling, as Hillary would say, to the 30-06. It's never failed me so why not?
     
  7. codytrucker

    codytrucker Member

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    I live in a part of the world where outfitted ,guided horseback hunts into camps miles in from the trailheads are popular . if its 6:00 in the morning , and you suddenly discover you need ammo , Walmart in Cody is the only thing open , and they don't handle a lot of what's on your list . And they aren't gonna wait for hours for you to be able to look around the local stores in hope of finding 338 norma , or any other special ammo .

    Odds are someone will have an extra '-06 or two to loan you , between hunters and guides , or the cook or wrangler for that matter.
     
  8. mcb

    mcb Member

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    30-06 has problems on the ends of its spectrum too they are just different than all the cartridge listed above. There are lots of cartridge that can do it all and its just learning to deal with the ends of that cartridge spectrum of capabilities is where the real hunter stands out in the crowd.

    But more importantly how many of us are stuck hunting everything with one rifle? I have hunted deer with half a dozen difference cartridges in the past 7-8 years. The idea of one cartridge to do it all does not apply to most US hunters any more, unless they choose to do so.
     
  9. BreechFace

    BreechFace Member

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    But if one is stuck with one rifle for hunting or more than likely only desires for one rifle, the 30-06 is a VERY good choice.

    I'm a big 280AI fan but I myself have to admit that the 30-06 with it's 200-220gr bullets do provide flexibility on tough game where one desires to hunt with a heavy for caliber bullet. Or the 110-150gr and less bullets for recoil sensitive shooters or light game.

    I looked over your list you provided and apart from the 7RM and maybe the 35 Whelen, I found the 30-06 better suited for an all around hunter.

    Buy maybe my bias' are showing, no doubt.
     
  10. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    I hunt with odd calibers...by choice.

    Trust me, when I'm travelling out of state (sometimes in state), there's ammo in just about every bag I've packed. Sometimes with a rifle having QD mounts I bring a spare scope that's sighted in, often I bring a spare rifle and ammo for it. There's no chance I'm spending $4-7K on a hunt and chancing having to borrow a rifle.
     
  11. mcb

    mcb Member

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    I have only done that kind of hunting a few times in my life. I showed up with more than enough ammo and packed in multiple places so if part of my gear was lost or destroyed I still has sufficient ammo for the hunt. PPPPPP (proper planning prevents piss poor performance)

    Nothing wrong with 30-06 for sure, but I am so far past the idea of one caliber to hunt them all that its hard to think about constraining myself like that. I have hunted whitetail deer alone with a dozen different calibers over the years spanning barely-marginal to overkill in the process. From my impromptu list than is no big game animal in North America I would feel uncomfortable hunting with any cartridge from that list. That said most of them seem overkill to me and I would probably move to a lighter cartridge (lighter than 30-06 too) in most case if I was not trying to create a mythical one cartridge to do it all.
     
  12. Risky buisness

    Risky buisness Member

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    Being of the age where I was invented before the wonder rifle cartridge phase i find no real application of the current newest bestis cartridges that cannot be filled very well by the calibers i frequent. 30-06, 308, 30-30 .270, 243, and .222.
    In acknowledgement of cheap cases a 5.56 could also be included.
    So, will or have my match scores been affected, from my M1A in 308 vs a 5.56 could be. Or my M1 being not quite as accurate as some other choice?
    Could be. So what. If a varmint walks away, ok
    not usually but its certainly not the cartridges fault.
    And realistically after 50 years of hunting I dont recall losing any. Well, archery, but that's a different story. Marketing drives newer, better faster, some advances are indeed worthwhile, powder and projectile technology have increased the viability of the older cartridges and set up new ones to be successful. But to relegate a certain ________ fill in the blank to obscurity is not beneficial.
    I dont think we can always look to engineering to take the human factor out of rifle shooting. The cartridge is mearly a tool, its way more about the craftsman
     
  13. BreechFace

    BreechFace Member

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    I'm in the same boat as you. I enjoy guns so different hunts provide a purpose for a new rifle and/or chambering. I know that some people roll their eyes at me taking out my new to me rifle/chambering as they take 'ol trusty out of the safe and go and fill the freezer with their hunting rifle, and that's ok.

    My comments on this thread are just in response to 30-06 fading out. It has far too much going for it as a "do-all" rifle that will keep it around for another 100 years barring some obscure change in technology at which point all these new wizbang, manbun cartridges will also fall into obsolescence.
     
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  14. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    If you are so badly prepared for your remote guided horseback hunt that you need to drive to walmart to buy ammo the morning of, then you should probably go back home.
     
  15. mcb

    mcb Member

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    I agree the 30-06 is a very capable do-all cartridge but it's hard to look at the numbers and not see that 30-06 is fading in popularity. I don't think it will "fad-out" there is too much in the caliber for it to ever fad out but its market share in the current market of rifle and ammunition makers is smaller and shrinking not growing.
     
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  16. Remington1911

    Remington1911 Member

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    Personally I think there are many factors. In days before internet experts, we learned from others. Cartridges came and went long before the internet, however I think the internet fuels the flames a bit.

    I think that for the most part you have people entering the "shooting sports" unlike any time in history. These people look and say well this cartridge has been out from the turn of the century, something better has to have come along.
    You have people that are tactical tony and if it is military that is all they need for anything.

    My father in law had three guns, a 22lr, a 12g shotgun and a 30-40 krag. That would do anything he needed. Today a person would be told he needs a dozen different rifles or to a lesser extent shot guns for the same use.
     
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  17. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I’ve hunted and competed in over 2 dozen states and on 3 continents over the last ~20yrs, and I’ve never had issue getting my ammunition where it needs to go.

    On the most expensive of hunts with the most difficult logistics for transportation, every guide and fly-in service I have used has had firearms and ammunition accessible in a pinch, so the WORST case scenario I could have ever experienced has been using someone else’s proven rifle instead of my own… big whoop…
     
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  18. codytrucker

    codytrucker Member

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    Although Walmart in Cody actually sits out on the west end of town , on the way towards most of the trailheads , I just meant it as an example of what can happen anywhere in the world , really . Most people in general , and all of us on these type of forums do there planning very well , and put a lot of thought into things ... BUT as they say s!&* happens . Don't blame me I'm just the messenger. A 30-06 was the only rifle i had for about 12 years at one point , now I have about 30 that are legal for deer . And that old Remington is now a 6.5-06 Ackley . All I'm saying is a 30-06 still makes a lot of sense as a hunting rifle . I don't currently have one, but if I ever get the opportunity to be a travelling hunter it will certainly be on my short list of caliber choices to buy .
     
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  19. WVRJ

    WVRJ Member

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    I think it's a far better round nowadays than it used to be since we have a lot of good 30 caliber bullets to work with.The last two rifles I've built for myself are both based on the 30-06.One is a 280AI and the other is a 338-06.It's often said that rounds that fit in a short action are more accurate because of less action flex and the shorter powder column,and I suppose I can go along with that,but there's also something to be said for the fact that a longer round will lay in the chamber better than a short one.A well built 30-06 can be a very accurate rifle,and if one hand loads for it,a very versatile rifle.The offspring of the '06 are also great cartridges in their own right.If you look at all the new cartridges that are out there,the 6.5 Creedmoor is the only one that has a good enough market share that it'll be most certain to be around for a long time.Look at the Winchester WSSM family.They're getting pretty sparse as far as guns or ammo goes.Some of the latest and greatest are quickly fading away to make room for more latest and greatest.The 30-06 still has quite a following,and I'll probably put a real good one together some time over the next couple of years.I like to build one really nice rifle for myself every year,and the one I'm working on now is a 338-06 on a 700 action.With one of my much modified fiberglass stocks and a custom contoured Shilen Select Match barrel cut off at 19.5 inches,it's going to be a very powerful but light and compact hunting rifle.Yes,the '06 is fading away slowly,but its reign as the king won't easily be matched in terms of longevity.
     
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  20. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    Darn, VT just busted my bubble thinking the '06 was the greatest round ever. :D Well, not really although I liked it as a hunting round I never thought it was the be all, end all of cartridges. I will have to say that nothing I shot with it ever got away. I agree that most of today's shooters are more interested in other aspects of the shooting sports than hunting but I think the '06 will be around for many more years. I no longer hunt. It's called getting too old to endure what it takes to hunt in my neck of the bushes. Now I just punch paper and ring steel and don't want to endure the recoil of the '06, another feature of getting older. I have grown to really like 223 because of it's mild reaction on the back end of the gun.
     
  21. 1948CJ2A

    1948CJ2A Member

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    This was my favorite part of this thread. 6.5 manbun LOL!
     
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  22. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Member

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    The .30-'06 round was designed 118 years ago to be able to break up a cavalry charge at over 1,000 yards - to kill horses almost as far away as you can see one.
    Of course it may be a tad over-powered for the typical white tail deer... .
     
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  23. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    People say this over and over, and it really has never been true. .30-06 is an elk rifle, decent but not great among its peers. Grossly overpowered for deer species, hogs, and antelope, and underpowered among peers for great bear, moose, or Buffalo.

    “Capable of” everything, sure. “Great at everything,” not a chance. And certainly not moreso than a dozen other cartridges on the market.
     
  24. codytrucker

    codytrucker Member

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    whoops.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2022
  25. codytrucker

    codytrucker Member

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    I've personally used a 30-06 on animals from ground squirrels to moose . Hundreds of head of game .I got to go to Africa a couple years ago , and while i used a borrowed 308 , my hunting partner used a borrowed 30-06. saw it drop a sable in its tracks . It always worked great for me . Never made a shot with it that I couldn't of made with something else , and I've shot a lot of things with other cartridges that I could of just as well used a 30-06 . The question was asked if it will fade away completely , I don't think so , do you ?
     
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