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Why are 308, 338 lapua and 50 cal preferred sniping calibers not 30-06?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by datruth, Jul 7, 2007.

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  1. datruth

    datruth Member

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    Im just doing a lot of reading on long range shooting and sniping after my purchasing of my new bolt action 30-06 , and curious about long range shooting/sniper. I never see anything about 30-06 as a sniper round but I do see it as a preferred a serious hunting round, thus the main reason i bought it, any opinions? Man i am hooked to firearms and shooting, :D
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2007
  2. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    from chuck hawk's page, comparing the 308 and 30-06...
    So basically, you have a much larger cartridge, requiring a longer action (which makes it inherently less rigid), more powder, and a lot more recoil, and for all of that, you get 90 fps.

    So, with the 308, you can carry more ammo and make a little more accurate gun, and shoot it more accurately because you're not flinching so much.

    The external and terminal ballistics on the 338 LM and the 50bmg are in a completely different league. e.g. 12,500+ ft. lbs. for the 50.
     
  3. GigaBuist

    GigaBuist Member

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    What taliv posted is some pretty good info.

    If it weren't for the existence of .308 then 30-06 would probably be more popular. There's nothing inherently wrong with 30-06. Heck, Carlos Hathcock ran a Win. 70 in 30-06 during Vietnam if my memory is correct.

    I may be incorrect in my following asseration, but, the .50BMG is just a scaled up 30-06, at least in physical dimensions.
     
  4. Outlaws

    Outlaws Member

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    Yep. Browning took the 30-06 and just enlarged it for the most part.
     
  5. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    IIRC, Sgt. Hathcock had confirmed kills at 1200 yards plus with the .30-06; he used an accurized Winchester Model 70 (yes, a deer rifle) and a 10x Unertl scope, shooting Sierra Matchkings (180's?). .338 Lapua would have a whole lot more energy left at that range, though.
     
  6. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    Because the wall-climbers will only make hyper-accurate single-shot put-together rifles in calibres the Delta Force/SOCOM-hybrid special forces (that they established, of course) use. :rolleyes:

    A lot of it is either because the round has a proven effectiveness, or because the numbers line up in the right ways as to do the job. And since the word "sniping" was used rather than "sharpshooting" or other adjectives that could be applied towards a hunting application, that would imply military usage--and those rounds just happened to be the ones adopted. It isn't to say that they're the most effective, but rather the ones the military chose for whatever reasons they choose specific calibers--effectiveness, cost, bribery, what-have-you.
     
  7. kcmarine

    kcmarine Member

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    Because they can.
     
  8. USSR

    USSR Member

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    datruth,

    Well, we'll have to take care of that for ya.

    [​IMG]

    Oh, and we don't mess around with no "dinky" 150gr bullets. Run this load thru your exterior ballistics program:

    190SMK bullet
    Norma brass
    210M primer
    61.4gr RL22
    2920fps

    Don
     
  9. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    i don't shoot 150g either. i was just using it as a point of comparison for the two calibers.


    btw, comrade, the alliantpowder website lists 2,755 fps as the velocity for 60 grains of RL22 in a 30-06.

    That is their Max load, as well. Please don't post loads exceeding published maximums without at least including a disclaimer.
     
  10. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    .30-06 is no longer in the military supply system. .308 and .50 are. I don't know how much use we are making of .338 Lap. Probably not much, although I guess you could bring in oddball guns and ammo in a relatively small scale operation like Iraq.
     
  11. datruth

    datruth Member

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    USSR, is that a mcmillian stock

    USSR, is that a mcmillian stock and what type of rounds do you shoot, i just took my savage out with 150grain remmingtons for the first time, what type of target rounds do you shoot with and what do you use to hunt if if you hunt, if you dont mind me asking? and USSR thats a mean rig you have there :)
     
  12. datruth

    datruth Member

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    Jim watson, you active duty ?

    Jim watson, you active duty ?
     
  13. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    It's not the round or rifle that makes a sniper. It's the man behind the gun. I'm confident that if a skilled sniper chose the .30-06, he could be quite successful. Carlos Hathcock is a quintessential example. Hell, some of the most successful snipers in history made their kills with the 7.62x54R in Mosin Nagants not so different from the rifles you can buy for about $70.

    I don't really personally care for the term "sniper rifle." It almost implies any fool can go out and buy a 700P and become a force to reckon with. Personally, I feel a sniper rifle becomes just that when it falls into the hands of a trained sniper. Being a sniper involves alot more than just being able to shoot a rifle well.

    For clarification, no, I am not a sniper, nor military, but I do have a great deal of respect for those who are.

    My $0.02. But it's probably worth less than that. :evil:
     
  14. datruth

    datruth Member

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    I agree with you eldon

    im military, us army, but far from a sniper, im a wrench-turner(63bravo), me being in the military has taught me how to shoot the m16a2 and a few others, all of my handguns and rifles, i taught myself to shoot accuratley and took advice from others who have "been there, done that" that all and the info i am taking in is educational , primarily and i would never consider myself a sniper, i know that it take serious training to become a sniper, thats why they get to were the tab, they are the tip of the sword, I just keep em rolling;), i just explaining my viewpoint , i have received great imput from this site and glad i found it:)
     
  15. jestertoo

    jestertoo Member

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    The 30-06 has history behind it for hunting. It's extremely available due to age and popularity.

    The 338 and 50bmg are two of the premier long distance rounds. The secret is they maintain supersonic velocity much farther out. That appears to be a major key to staying accurate. The '06 drops subsonic in the 800yrd range with most bullets. The bmg, 338 and others are a supersonic well out to 1500+ yds.

    They have already given why the 308 is the current cartridge of choice over the '06.

    Vietnam they used the '06 because that's what they had. They developed the M40 in 308 as a result of Vietnam.
     
  16. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    I'm sorry datruth. I wasn't trying to point out any specific choice in dialect I disagreed with. I was actually trying to say that if you had a reasonable rifle and wanted to develop the skills, nearly anything could become a sniper rifle in the correct hands. I didn't mean to make it sound like you had chosen your words incorrectly.

    Sorry bout that.
     
  17. datruth

    datruth Member

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    no harm done compadre

    no harm done, comrade ,:)
     
  18. USSR

    USSR Member

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    datruth,

    Yes, that is a McMillan A2 stock. That rifle was custom built by Jack Krieger and is used in 1,000 yard competition with 190 grain Sierra MatchKings. The area where I hunt deer is offlimits to hunting with rifles (other than muzzleloaders), so I use a 12 gauge shotgun for deer.

    taliv,

    Sorry, taliv, but all the "so called" max loads in reloading manuals are vetted by lawyers, not ballisticians. Simply put, there is no one "max load". What is a max load in one rifle is not a max load in another rifle. Anyone who is involved in reloading knows that you start low and work up while looking for pressure signs, until you find a safe load that gives you performance.

    Don
     
  19. aspade

    aspade Member

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    Velocity is a pressure sign in itself. Loading a grain and a half and 170fps over book max isn't because your rifle is an individual, it's because youre using the safety margin.

    If you're comfortable on the edge that's your choice but rationalizing 68K PSI is as safe as 60K because the primers don't crater til 70 is only fooling yourself.
     
  20. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    no one is claiming there is "one max load". I'm just saying that we should be considerate of others. This sticky in the Handloading forum pretty much covers it:

     
  21. FIFTYGUY

    FIFTYGUY Member

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    Outlaws said:
    It wasn't J.M. Browning, it was Frankford Arsenal.

    Actually, there seems to be a lot of confusion about the history, as Datig's "Cartridges For Collectors Vol II" has erroneous information (even if the illustrations are accurate).

    I much rather trust the more thorough, meticulously detailed, and annotated account in Hackley, Woodin, and Scranton's "History of Modern U.S. Military Small Arms Ammunition Vol I":

    1. General Pershing wanted a big cartridge, mainly for aircraft machine-guns.
    2. Winchester started development, starting with necked-down 16-ga shotgun shells.
    3. Winchester designed their own rimmed .50 cal cartridge
    4. Ordnance wanted a rimless cartridge to function better in Browning MG's, so Winchester came up with several rimless cartridges. One was intended for a Winchester anti-tank rifle as well.
    5. Early Browning .50 MG's were manufactured based on the current Winchester cartridge spec.
    6. After Winchester failed to meet performance requirements, Frankford Arsenal took over the project.
    7. Frankford started with the design of the German 13mm Mauser AT-rifle cartridge, and kept the 13mm's feature of a rim. Note that the 13x99 Mauser cartridge also was used in both anti-tank rifles and in aircraft heavy MG's.
    8. Ordnance told Frankford what they had told Winchester - that a rimless cartridge was more suitable for Browning MG use (tell that to the guys running 7.62x54R in their BMG's these days!).
    8. Frankford finally started again, by scaling-up the .30-06 cartridge. Illustrated in Frankford Arsenal Drawing B-7395, May 6, 1919, "Cal. .50 Ball Cartridge, Model of 1919". With minor changes this is the round we all know and love as the ".50 BMG".

    FWIW, the Soviet 12.7x108 has been used in both heavy MG's and anti-material rifles. Their 7.62x54R has been used in MG's, battle rifles, and sniper rifles.

    The 8mm Mauser was used in MG's, battle rifles, and sniper rifles. But I don't think anybody(military) is using it today, if they have a modern alternative available.

    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the M1C and M1D Garand or the M1903A4, M1903A5, and M1903A1/Unertl from WWII and Korea. These were US-issue sniping rifles chambered in .30-06.

    The bottom line is that militaries have tended to start with their standard-issue rifles to convert them to sniper rifles, and thus they have kept the standard-issue rifle's chambering. It does make some logistical sense as well, although some forces (US included) have produced special loadings exclusively for sniper use. But having your sniper rifle shoot the same ammo as your battle rifles and machine-guns is convenient. Since the .30-06 (and 8mm Mauser!) was replaced by the 7.62 NATO 50 years ago, subsequent sniper rifles have used 7.62 NATO.

    And with the militarization of law-enforcement, civilian snipers tend to use the same chamberings that their military does.
     
  22. Davo

    Davo Member

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    I think its just because the US military uses .308 and its what they have.
    There are competitive shooters out there with the 06.
    BTW as you can see the '06 is loaded up to .300 magnum levels these days by quite a few in the long distance game. With the .308 you can get those same 190 SMK's to 2700 fps with certain powders.
    I wont be going there with my .308 because I dont like recoil.
     
  23. USSR

    USSR Member

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    aspade,

    This load with these components was run over QuickLoad, and comes in 59-60k psi. That's the beauty of slow burning powders. Myself and another shooter on Sniper's Hide developed this load using RL22 and 190SMK's over 5 years ago. At first we got alot a comments like yours, but after people got over the fact that this was not a Garand load and was merely using the .30-06's case capacity with heavy bullets and slow burning powders, it became an accepted fact.

    Don
     
  24. HorseSoldier

    HorseSoldier Member

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    Yeah, like someone else said, 7.62x51 is in the supply system and it works pretty well. For the Big Army or USMC there's a lot to be said for using a common caliber for sniping to reduce logistical issues and cover against logistical failures, even if it means that in a pinch guys have to accept degraded performance from their rifles by shooting delinked MG ammo, etc. (Same holds true for .50 cal as a heavy sniping round.)

    Most of the fielding of non-standard sniping calibers like 338 Lapua and 300 Win Mag come from SOCOM where the logistic footprint is a lot smaller and there's more of a golf-bag approach to firearms. Even then, .308 and .50 cal (and .223 through SPRs) are still workhorse calibers.
     
  25. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Yeah, as far as the military is concerned, logistics trumps ballistics every day.

    Don
     
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