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Old December 27, 2007, 07:01 PM   #1
Wayfarin'Stranger
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Ballistics: 30-06 vs 308

First, I should say I DO NOT want to know which is better or someones favorite cartridge, but rather which one out-performs the other MOST of the time... in the area of flattest trajectory past 400 yards.

I have read a few contradicting articles on this subject.

Lets say that both cartridges are loaded to achieve the same velocity at the muzzel regardless of powder charge/type, but using the same type/brand/weight bullet such as a boat tail.

Does anyone know where I can find verified tables with this information?

Thanks,
--Eric
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Old December 27, 2007, 07:11 PM   #2
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http://www.federalcartridge.com/ball...firearm=1&s1=1

Choose the cartidges you want to compare...click compare button.

Also the 308 and 30-06 use the exact same bullets. If you loaded them both to have equal velocity at the muzzle as stated they would fly exactly the same path. That said, you would have to either load up the 308 or load down the 30-06 to achieve that matching velocities. The point of the 308 is it has the same bullet as the '06 with less recoil (and the corresponding less range).

As I understand it that is.....

Bill
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Old December 27, 2007, 07:17 PM   #3
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I'll tell ya where the difference matters the most to me......price and availability. Based on that and that alone my choice is 308's.
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Old December 27, 2007, 07:26 PM   #4
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Bill,

Thanks for the link...just what I was looking for.

I've been looking at drop charts and articles for about 4 hours and it slipped my mind about same bullet diameters. OOPS....but on that point...

Wouldn't you be able to load a .30-06 round hotter, achieve more velocity, flatter trajectory, than compared to a .308 if using the same type/weight bullet?

I'll be consulting Speer again in the mean time......
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Old December 27, 2007, 07:33 PM   #5
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Check out this website

It should probably answer you questions. If you can't make it through the first half of history skip to the second half---and read the blue NOTE: on the bottom the guy who wrote it is quite credible.



http://www.snipercountry.com/Articles/AccuracyFacts.asp
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Old December 27, 2007, 07:40 PM   #6
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Thanks to both of you.

My problem was that I originally thought that the -06 had a flatter long range trajectory (not by much), less wind drift, higher velocities... but today I've read several articles saying otherwise, and some articles saying the .308 is more accurate.

Anyone have an answer why that is?

--Eric
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Old December 27, 2007, 08:32 PM   #7
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One Easy Possible Reason Might Be . . .

Is that they are so neck and neck that variations in temperature, altitude, humidity, firing platform and loading may account for these variations. It's called a caliber war and it occurs in everything form service rounds to high powered rifle rounds. The key is to use what works best for you as the shooter with the platform you choose. Another reason might be as simple as the kind of people who are writing individual articles, target shooters, hunters, snipers, different people from different walks of life using these rounds to perform different very specialized tasks. This is one of those things where their doesn't seem to be a definitive answer, definitive conclusion or definitive means of testing it better than it already has been---which probably means their both pretty darn good rounds.
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Old December 27, 2007, 08:54 PM   #8
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It's easier to get a 308 to shoot then 30-06. Target cartridges tend to be short and fat now, for better powder burn, on a consistent basis.

The length of the cartridge, related to caliber, find ratio, and, you end up with cartridges that are pretty much ideal for accuracy.
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Old December 27, 2007, 08:55 PM   #9
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The main difference between the two cartridges do not lie outside the barrel, but within the chamber.

.308 can be idealized with faster powders and smaller densities, for a (relatively) small range of bullets. 30-06 can be idealized with slower powders with heavier load densities over a much larger range of bullets. To the one gun handloader, this makes a world of difference. To the commercial ammo shooter, this makes no difference. Once it leaves the barrel, the deer can't tell what rifle it came from.

This is similar to the 12/16/20 gauge dispute. Standard commercial load for each of those three gauges is one ounce of shot at ~1250 fps. The only way to tell the difference between them, once the shot leaves the barrel is to measure the length of the shot string.

Pops
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Old December 27, 2007, 09:17 PM   #10
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So the way I'm understanding this is that a shorter cartridge allows for a more complete powder burn thus resulting in a better bullet trajectory past 300-400y ?

OR


Both cartridges can be made to duplicate eachothers' ballistics within certain ranges of the spectrum?

Oh, and thanks for the honest replies...it's appreciated. I'm not interested in starting a cartridge war, but I just aquired a .308 and was wondering if there was a point in keeping it since I already have an -06. If the long range ballistics are too close to matter then I'm not interested in keeping it.

--Eric
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Old December 27, 2007, 09:37 PM   #11
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You defiantly want to keep it even if it doesn't stay a .308. A lot of good hunting and target cartridges can be built on that action with only a barrel swap as long as you stay with a .308 or similar based case. You could leave it a .308 and build something out of the .30-06 as well.

Some cartridges for you to consider if you don't want to keep it a .308 are:
.22-250 Rem
.243 Win
.250 Sav
.260 Rem
.270-08 (Wildcat only)
7mm-08 Rem
.338 Fed
.358 Win

Just some food for thought.
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Old December 27, 2007, 11:52 PM   #12
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More food for thought:
In the 1950's, when the 308 was introduced, it duplicated 30-06 ballistics almost exactly until you got into the heavier bullet weights. Since then, there have been numerous advances in powder technology, allowing the 30-06 to pick up a few hundres more feet per second.

This in no way makes the 308 a second class cartridge, however, it is still a fine round. Ever since it was introduced, the 308 has been used in target rifles and other extremely fine shooting firearms, as has the 30-06. As far as you and I are concerned, there is virtually no difference between the two carridges as far as accuracy and ballistics.
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Old December 28, 2007, 12:01 AM   #13
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A subtle technical nuance; there is a certain thinking that because a .308 has a more uniform burn that the bullet exits its cartridge with less wear and tear on the actual bullet resulting in a more balanced and uniform bullet as it exits the barrel--a more uniform bullet is inherently more accurate.

--Well that's the theory. But I know of no attempt or method of stopping a .308 after its been shot with enough gentleness to see if this hypothesis pans out. And I think when its all said and done nuances are all that your going to get in terms of an answer to this question. I personally, if given the option, would go with the one with less recoil and longer barrel life, but I kind of have a logical mind set that way.

Another nuance is that even though the 30-60 and .308 can be loaded very similarly in terms of inherent accuracy the .308 seems to be less "picky" about powders than the 30-60, being there are slight variations in loads (I mean no process is absolutely perfect from a factory or otherwise) this fact could also add to the .308's "Accuracy" over the 30-60 in a real world environment. Also one should not easily discredit the benefit of a lesser recoil and reduced muzzle blast, that too can add to accuracy.

All this said I tend to favor the .308. But in all reality in terms of over all accuracy I doubt you will ever see a real difference of any kind. In the end it could be as simple as which rifle you like better and that feels better in your hands when you shoot it . . . some people actually prefer more recoil over less.) After all you could always take them out and see, have some fun. And if not, well personally I am also the kind of guy that once I find something that works well I will stick with it--I have a very monogamous relationship with my firearms.

Well that's about all the advice I can give, anything more would exceed my scope of understanding regarding these two rounds----but, regardless of what you choose I am certain that you will be equally as pleased with either one. And if your intent for these rifles are for hunting purposes the one that got away will most certainly not be do to difference in accuracy between these two cartridges. Hope I helped. Happy Holidays.
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Old December 28, 2007, 12:33 AM   #14
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The 308 is a damn fine round.Probably work very well for 99.99% of your needs.The 30-06 will do anything the 308 can do and then some.
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Old December 28, 2007, 02:08 AM   #15
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I like the idea of the shorter fatter cartridges, but the theory of more accuracy due to powder burn etc just seems like a stretch to me. I can use a fast burn or a slower burn powder when I reload and so can the manufacturer and in doing so get all the burn as early or late as needed.

As far as accuracy goes...perhaps the 308 has the possibility of being better (not proven by anyone I've seen)...but this week my tikka 30-06 put 10 rounds inside 5/8" at 100 yards. If the tikka 308 tops that....I doubt it will be by enough to measure. There are so many things that go into putting a small group together that I seriously doubt that the case diameter would produce a difference in group size that could be measured consistantly. Back in the day when you couldn't tailor your powder to the case as much as these days...I would believe it. But today, I just can't wrap my head around it...and those smarter than me have yet to prove it to me.
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Old December 28, 2007, 02:38 AM   #16
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So basically it depends.
The .30-06 tends to have a bit of an advantage out of longer barrels. The .308 tends to be better out of shorter barrels.
Of course that's not a hard and fast rule either.

May I ask why you need the flattest trajectory past 400yds?
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Old December 28, 2007, 03:11 AM   #17
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i hate to ask this. But could you say a 308 is to a 30-06 what a 45gap is to a 45acp?
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Old December 28, 2007, 04:02 AM   #18
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Once again, history is the answer to the question

You need only look at the history of the rounds to understand that they were the same, and grew to be different, but only slightly.

The .308 Winchester (7.62mm NATO/7.62x51mm) was designed to reproduce the performance of the military .30-06 load. A 150gr bullet at 2750fps. This is the old original M2 ball ammo that worked in WWII, and runs the M1 Garand rifle. It did everything the military wanted. The .308 (GI loading) duplicates this load, using a 1/2" shorter case, which has some advantages for the military.

Aitoloading rifles like the Garand and the M14 (and nearly all others) are designed to operate in a relatively narrow range of pressure/velocity, and do not work well (or sometimes at all) outside this range.

Handloaders realized fairly early on that the .30-06, in a bolt action could be loaded to performance levels significantly above that used by the military. Over the years, commercial ammo makers came to the same conclusion.

Because the majority of civilian shooters of the .30-06 do not use the Garand, and are concerned with getting the greatest performance from their rounds, the .30-06 civilian loadings have been stepped up over the years, to the point where, today, commercial 150gr hunting ammo is actually too "hot" to use in the Garand, and continued use can actually damage the rifle. Commercial .30-06 hunting ammo pushes 2,900-3,000fps with a 150gr, and so does some commercial .308 Winchester. Where the .30-06 shows an advantage over the .308 is with bullets of 180gr and heavier, as the larger case allows for greater powder capacity, and so an advantage of 100fps or so can be maintained.

Modern hunting loads are 2-300fps (or even more) faster than the GI load, which was the load which built the reputation of the .30-06 in the first place. When it comes to trajectory (with the same bullets), basically the .30-06 has about a 100fps edge over the .308, which can translate into a about a 1/2" less drop at long range. In practical terms there is no significant difference.

As to the "advantages" of the shorter case being more accurate, perhaps, over thousands of rifles you may find some sort of statistical percentage to justify that assumption, but in practical terms, any particular .30-06 may be more or less accurate than any particular .308, and vice versa.

Because of the shorter action, a .308 bolt gun may be "stiffer" and more prone to being more accurate than a long action .30-06, but each rifle (and ammo combination) is an individual, and should be considered as such. A good .30-06 will outshoot a bad .308, and a good .308 will outshoot a bad .30-06. And generally either will shoot better than the man pulling the trigger can take advanage of.

many years ago, a friend and I spent an afternoon shooting targets at ranges to 400 yards and beyond. His rifle, a Ruger .30-06 22" barrel. Mine was a Remington .308 with an 18.5" barrel. Both wore 3x9 scopes. There was nothing he could hit that I couldn't, and vice versa. The we traded rifles and did it again. Guess what? results were the same.

There is no animal on Earth that can tell the difference when hit, and if you can correctly judge the drop and windage for the '06, you can do it for the .308. The only place there is any real difference between these rounds is in some of the rifles that chamber them. And that difference amounts to only about a 1/2 inch.

Hope this answers your question.
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Old December 28, 2007, 05:56 AM   #19
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All things being equal, the 30-06 will outperorm the 308 in velocity.
The 30-06 has more case capacity than the 308.

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Old December 28, 2007, 06:53 AM   #20
Wayfarin'Stranger
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Quote:
May I ask why you need the flattest trajectory past 400yds?
I think having the least bullet drop cancels out a couple of variables when shooting longer distances. That's the only reason I was wondering. Of course there are other cartridges that do much better, but I was comparing what I have on hand.
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Old December 28, 2007, 07:49 AM   #21
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My understanding is keeping the bullet supersonic becomes an issue at along ranges, and, the 30-06 has an edge in that department. Also, shooting heavy bullets as well.
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Old December 28, 2007, 10:55 AM   #22
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Hey, look: The '06 is slightly overbore. Not as much as something like the .300 WinMag, but it's still overbore. Long-case cartridges perform best with longer barrels. The '06 shines with a 26" barrel, but loses some 75 ft/sec/inch as you cut back.

Factory loadings for the '06, generally were around 49,000 to 50,000 psi, except for the 110-grain loads (No, I don'w know why the varmint load were hotter. It's just what the factory said.)

The .308, I've read, was the first computer-aided cartridge. A combination of case dimensions and powder burn rates for use with a 150-grain bullet was wanted that would work from barrels of around 19 or 20 inches, and provide near-'06 performance. This was achieved by loading to some 55,000 psi.

If you load an '06 to 55,000 psi and use a 24" to 26" barrel, it will provide some 200 to 300 ft/sec more muzzle velocity than a .308 for the 150-grain and 165-grain bullets.

Life becomes difficult with a .308 if bullets of 180 or 200 grains or used, as these longer bullets must be seated deeper into the case to allow proper overall length of the assembled cartridge. Here, the '06 has even more advantage.

By and large, for deer and elk hunters the practical difference is very little.

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Old December 28, 2007, 03:04 PM   #23
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Thanks Art. I was under the impression (now I need to find out why I was) that a 22"-24" barrel was prime for a .30-06. I also hadn't seen anything showing a range of speed loss as barrel length decreases. Interesting.

Quote:
My understanding is keeping the bullet supersonic becomes an issue at along ranges
Yes, the farther it travels, the more it slows down... I don't think it really becomes an issue (as far as flight path is concerned) until it slows down to the transonic range where 'shock waves' begin to attach to the bullet causing wobble. Just like how supersonic airplanes don't cruise in their respecitve transonic airspeeds (mucho turbulence).


Thanks again,
--Eric
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Old December 28, 2007, 03:23 PM   #24
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Barrel lengths, and old standards

Back in the days when these cartridges were designed, they were designed around the best available powders, and worked best in certain barrel lengths. The 1903 Springfield has, I believe a 24" barrel. The M1 Garand has a 24" barrel. The M14 has a 22" barrel.

Sporting rifles in standard calibers often had 24" barrels in the old days, but 22" became the general standard, as they delivered nearly full performance, and were a little easier to carry afield. When magnum rifles made their appearance, 24" and often 26" barrels were used, to take full advantage of what the magnum could offer.

But again, over time, makers offer what the market wants most, so you don't see many 26" barrels out there today. Nearly all rifle rounds gain velocity from longer barrels, even those "optimised" for short barrels get more speed from longer tubes, just not as much per inch. One actually has to get out a ways beyond 30 inches before you begin to see an end to the increased velocity, BUT what you do get is a much smaller gain per inch once you go beyond about 26", and most folks don't want to pay the price of a longer, more awkward, heavier rifle for an extra handful of fps.

The focus in recent decades had been on lighter, shorter, handier rifles, and making the cartridges more efficient in the shorter barrels, so we don't loose as much performance.
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Old December 28, 2007, 04:15 PM   #25
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Yes the 1903 was 24" 610mm The Mauser it was modeled after had a much longer 740mm 29" barrel.
I don't know the reasoning behind the 24" but it worked out well because the Germans had problems with the longer barrel in the confines of the WWI trenches. Especially when combined with the long bayonets of the time.
The Springfield was better suited to the future war.
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