View Full Version : Why the .30-06 --- ?

April 29, 2005, 06:49 PM
It's a versatile cartridge; a timeless classic; and the cartridge most often recommended for a hunting rifle.
But it's not my 'favorite'.

When I bought a rifle in .30-06, I chose a Remington 7400 Carbine Synthetic.
It's been totally reliable and more accurate than it's supposed to be.
What's not to like?

I got the gun to be a multi-purpose firearm for Y2K.
It's got the capability to shoot a few fast shots and put some heavy bullets downrange for protection or food.
The ammo is available all over the place, even among 'Citizens'.

I just haven't fallen in love with the .30-06. I don't think I'd buy another one.

What are your reasons for buying or NOT buying a rifle in .30-06?

Dave R
April 29, 2005, 06:53 PM
I made my .30-06 "class" rifle a .308 because:

-I could shoot cheap surplus ammo. (I have since begun reloading and that counts for less now.)

-.308 has a good reputation for accuracy.

-I didn't need 220 grain bullets.

-I wanted a short action.

April 29, 2005, 07:10 PM
I agree with Dave R. Funny, but I have been using a short action bolt rifle for so long (Rem 700 VS) that when I pick up my 700 in 270, it feels like I am going to pull the bolt clear out of the receiver when I try for a fast reload.

I'm sure I could manage to get used to it again, but choose not to.

One other thing-if you reload, you're gonna save about 10 grains of powder in a 308 vs 30-06 in every shell you press, and in 150 grain bullets, run so closely to an 06, that bambi is never going to have his feelings hurt by your using a lesser caliber. Pretty much the same story with 165 grains, but at the 180 grain line and above, I think thats where the 06 really starts to shine.

If I were to get an 06-other than a Garand, I would be interested in an Ackley Improved chamber.

Mike Irwin
April 29, 2005, 07:20 PM
I've two .30-06, both of which my Father bought surplus after WW II. He had one sporterized, cut the other one back from military config. He doesn't hunt anymore, so they're really mine, but his.

That said, I'm in love with the .300 Savage. I have three of them. :)

April 29, 2005, 07:39 PM
My reasons are the same as Dave R's...

Plus, as I have said in other threads and I'll say it again...the .308 will take ANY game that the .30-06 will take...period. All you need is the appropriate 180 grain bullet and the proper shot placement. :cool:

Peter M. Eick
April 29, 2005, 07:49 PM
Because the 25-06 is flatter, faster and easier shoot for me.

Also I am shooting only little critters and targets.

Smokey Joe
April 29, 2005, 08:38 PM
Busgunner, you've given the classic arguments FOR an '06, except the one if you reload, there are more recipies for more different loads for '06 than anything else.

Dave R. gave the classic arguments for a .308 and against an '06, except he forgot to mention that the cheap surplus ammo is cheap surplus ammo. Why do you suppose it's surplus? Why do you suppose it's cheap? Also it's FMJ, forbidden and unethical to use for hunting.

The answer to your question is that there is no best answer. In this class of weapon we have many perfectly good cartridges, short, long, magnum, and short magnum. You will go nuts trying each and every one of them.

My suggestion is to seek out a RIFLE with the characteristics you need: A few fast shots, protection, heavy bullets for protection or food. You also need accuracy unless all you want to do is scare the threat or the food. You also need a weapon that fits YOU, not me, not anybody else. So go rifle shopping. Shop the gun shows. Handle a lot of guns at the store, more than the counterman will like. Shoot every gun of your friends' that you can get your hands on. Look for a rifle that "feels right" to you. You will find a gun eventually that calls out to you, "Take Me Home!" Buy that one. The cartridge is secondary. Anything from a .270 up to about a .300 WSM or a .35 Whelan will do the things you want. Much larger and heavy recoil becomes a factor. Much smaller and heavy bullets don't cut it.

You'll be stockpiling ammo so availability becomes less of a factor. And if you reload the cost of ammo goes down dramatically, and you can have custom stuff "tuned" to your weapon, and/or not available at all commercially. You should practice with your weapon, the more the better, so reloading's initial expense will be amortized.

So, in short, Do your homework, buy the gun, the cartridge will take care of itself. Heck, you might even end up with another '06, but if you really like the gun itself, you won't care about the cartridge.

April 29, 2005, 09:19 PM
I couldn't come up with any...so I bought the '06 Browning A-Bolt! Sweet...

April 29, 2005, 10:07 PM
Smokey Joe:

Maybe I wasn't clear about my choice --- I HAVE THAT FIREARM --- I just wouldn't feel the need for another in the same caliber.
I know I made the argument FOR the .30-06, and decided on that cartridge for the reasons stated.
Hope that clears it up a bit. :D
I put it together the way I wanted to use it for the dreaded 'Y2K'...

Here's a pic of me and "Fugly":



April 29, 2005, 10:23 PM
I didn't know they made mags bigger than 4 rounds for the 7400. Where did you get them???

Big Yac
April 29, 2005, 10:26 PM
the 30-06 and .308 are pretty evenly matched until you start to get into the 180gr bullets. From there on up the 30-06 tends to have the upper hand. The 30-06 is just such a versatile round. You can load from light 110gr screamers up to 220gr round nose bullets for moose or bear.

April 29, 2005, 10:28 PM
Those aftermarket mags are around at shows, in magazine ads, etc.
What I found is that they make excellent TARGETS for rounds shot from the Factory Remington magazines!
The 4-round mags from Remington have never choked, and the follower is the bolt-hold-open device, with a little lever you push forward that lowers the follower, allowing the bolt to close.
The bottom pic shows the factory mag and no bipod, which made that rifle pretty slick to use. Short, light and powerful.
The 220-gr. ammo shot as well as the 180-gr., only higher at 100-yds.

Chip 2
April 29, 2005, 10:41 PM
It's down right un-American to not have at least one 30-06. I've only got 13 of them. :D

April 30, 2005, 02:29 AM
Do you really have to manualy put a round in the chamber with the 7400? You can't just pull back and release it???

BTW, there is a Winchester model 100 in .308 going for about $400 at a local store. It is in good shape and comes with 2 mags. Is it a good deal??? What kind of action is it made on?

April 30, 2005, 11:33 AM
With the 7400, you load the mag and insert it into the rifle, then pull back the bolt and let go to load the chamber.
If you wish, you may then drop the mag and top it off with another round to give you 4+1.

I don't know about the Winchester.
Maybe someone else here has good information on that one?

Dave R
April 30, 2005, 06:43 PM
Why do you suppose it's surplus? Why do you suppose it's cheap? Also it's FMJ, forbidden and unethical to use for hunting.

Not because its "bad" ammo. Although some surplus is definitely bad. Indian and CAVIM spring to mind...

But South African, Portuguese, and Aussie are good ammo. My CETME will shoot any of them at 2MOA. The Rem700 slightly better.

You are right that FMJ is forbidden for hunting. But if all I did was hunt, I'd only need a few rounds a year.

One of the wonderful things about reloading is that I can plink with cheap surplus ammo (which costs even less than my reloads) and then dial in my hunting load to the same POI.

None of that is intended as a criticism of .30-06. Its a more veratile round because of the heavier available bullets. I just didn't want people to think surplus ammo is bad.

April 30, 2005, 07:53 PM
because mule deer really arent that tough and a .270 or .243 is all that could ever be required.

Paul B.
May 1, 2005, 06:37 PM
The late Col. Townsend Whelen once said that, "The 30-06 is never a mistake." I tend to agree. I do get tired of the myth that the .308 will not handle the heavier bullets well. That's totally unmitigate horse pucky. :eek: Case in point.
Shortly after the turn of the 20th century, many hunters of larger game like elk felt that the 30-06 was not as good a round as the 30-40 Krag-Jorgenson. :eek: Due to early bullet construction, they were most likely right. Now the Krag shoots a 220 gr. bullet at about 2000 FPS tops. (Let's discount the falling block single shots, OK?) The 30-06 at that time shot the same bullet at about 2300 FPS, later dropped to 2200 FPS due to the highly erosive nature of the then available powders.
According to my two year old Stoeger's Shooter's Bible, most ammo factoies show a velocity of 2410 FPS with 220 gr. bullets in the 30-06. Pick the right powder and it's no problem to reach 2300 FPS in a .308 with the same bullet, although I must admit that load is hotter than hell. However, a velocity of 2250 will do just fine. :cool: In a rifle with a 1 in 12" twist, that 2300 FPS load is easily doable. If the rifle has a 1 in 10" twist, then I feel that 2200-2250 FPS is about all that one should try for.
Still, a handloader using the right powder can pick up at least 100 FPS more than from a factory load and if that rifle has the 1 in 12" twist, maybe 150 FPS more.
For those that feel a 1 in 12" twist will not stabilize an 220, my Winchester M70 in .308 will put three rounds into .375" with me shooting at a fairly fast rate. :cool: My custom 30-06 will put three Sierra pro-hunter 220s into .75" which is more accuracy than is needed for really big game. That same rifle will keep three Hornady 220 gr. RNs in one inch, again much more than what is really necessary for elk and moose sized critters.
The big problem today is people are velocity happy. With the loads mention, one has to hunt the old fashioned way, and I guess that just ain't popular anymore.
Paul B.

May 3, 2005, 09:13 PM
If I wanted to buy a bolt action 30.06 and wanted the strongest receiver that I could find, what brand of rifle would I look for?

May 3, 2005, 09:20 PM
A Weatherby MKV action comes to mind as a very strong action-certainly more than you would need.

May 3, 2005, 09:58 PM
Why? Because that is all that '03's, 1917's and WWII M1's are made for :p

Smokey Joe
May 4, 2005, 10:15 AM
Tpaw--During or right after WWII, when lots of 'em were available, Whelan and some others tested military actions to destruction. (Firing remotely!) As I recall, they found that:

The Mauser 98, with 6" of mud in the bbl, split the bbl rather than ejecting the bolt backwards. Likewise the Springfield. Likewise the Arisaka.

So the plugged some bbls all the way and fired the weapons. The Mauser blew its bolt back (killing the theoretical shooter.) So did the Springfield, but a little less violently, not that it would have mattered to the shooter. The Arisaka, however, blew its bbl right off--It did NOT blow its bolt back!

So, though not a .30-'06, my vote for the strongest action ever made goes to the Arisaka. Springfield is the strongest '06. Frankly, Mausers are no slouch.

I don't know of such testing ever done with commercial actions.

May 4, 2005, 10:30 AM
Say what? I thought the problem with 200s and 220s and .308 was simply a problem of seating and crimping the long bullet in the case neck, and that even if you can, with the proper OAL, it takes up so much space in the case, that you're then severely handicapped in performance....is that not true? I've always understood that 180s or 190s is about the heaviest one can go in .308. Apparently, from what you say, many of us have been severely misled.....probably compounded by the fact that most (all?) reload manuals don't show any data for anything over 180 for .308 win. So thanks very much for the info. And aren't most .308s sold with a 1 in 10 twist? If so, then your experience says it's quite doable. 2250 fps with 220s is plenty good performance.

And Smokey Joe/Tpaw, as you probably already know, there is an Arisaka rifle, which I believe is in the NRA museum in Fairfax (course, this result would probably apply to any arisaka), which the owner had re-chambered from what he *thought* was 7.7mm Jap, to .30-'06, which was a popular practice at the time. But he complained to his gunsmith or someone that it made a hellacious noise and had an exhorbitant recoil to it for some reason, as well as I believe poor accuracy. So they slugged the bore, and it was a type 38 6.5 arisaka, not a 7.7 one! He had been shooting .30 cal bullets down the .264 barrel. The bullets deformed, shot right through, and the rifle was fine. :eek: So get yourelf a 7.7mm type 99 Arisaka re-chambered to .30-06 and you'll have a heck of a strong rifle! In fact, I *think* the type 99 may even be considered stronger than the type 38.

May 4, 2005, 04:23 PM
Freedom - yep, I always use that story when someone puts down the Arisaka.

May 4, 2005, 06:30 PM
With the 7400, you load the mag and insert it into the rifle, then pull back the bolt and let go to load the chamber.
If you wish, you may then drop the mag and top it off with another round to give you 4+1.

Or, you can load a single round through the ejection port, close the bolt, and then insert a loaded magazine. This is the only method described in the manual, but it works either way. Manual? What's a Manual?

May 4, 2005, 06:32 PM
Springfield is the strongest '06.
How about the 1917 Enfield?

May 5, 2005, 12:07 AM

Or, you can load a single round through the ejection port, close the bolt, and then insert a loaded magazine. This is the only method described in the manual, but it works either way. Manual? What's a Manual?

I have read the manual and they made it look like that the only way to load it was that screwy round in chamber, load mag thing. I didn't know how that would work though. Is the 7400 a good SHTF rifle?? How durable/ easy to clean is the action and gas system? How would it rate against a Saiga .308? Sorry for all the questions, just testing the water.

May 5, 2005, 03:15 PM
My snide remark about the manual was because it is a little bit deceptive. I read it after I had already used the "insert magazine, cycle bolt" method. In Remington's defense, I think that they were trying to explain the simplest way to load the rifle to its full capacity. So ... if you want the simplest way to load 5, do it their way, if you want the simplest way to load 4, then insert the magazine and cycle the action. Everything works, so have it your way.

I dunno about "SHTF". The 7400 .30-06 with a 3-9x Bushnell scope is my choice for a "truck gun" (actually, van gun). It's a good gun, not fancy, not a precision rifle, just a good all-around shoot what needs shootin' rifle. I know nothing about the Saiga.

I have never completely disassembled the rifle, not even the trigger group. I clean it about like the instructions say, except that I don't bathe the trigger group in oil. I use solvent and then a light coat of oil. I use a lot of Q-tips and those big Q-tip-like thingies.

May 5, 2005, 03:49 PM
Rethinking this, I do think that there is only one excellent battle rifle that I'd trust in '06. The US Cal. 30 M1. Nothing against the 7400, I just question using a commercial rifle in a survival situtation. The ability to rip apart every part and clean/replace is just something needed in that situtation, and lots of commercial rifles don't cut it. Plus, I have noticed that most are a good bit more delicate than their military counterparts.

Art Eatman
May 5, 2005, 09:31 PM
When Remington first brought out the 721 (the push-feed forerunner to the 700), they did a destruction test. For comparison, they used a Springfield, a Model 70, an Enfield and the 721.

They started with a caseful of some powder like 4064, behind a 220-grain bullet. That locked up the Springfield, but not the others.

Next, the same cartridge, but with another 220-grain bullet pushed up past the leade. That ended the Model 70's career.

The Enfield survived the third 220-grain bullet, as did the 721. IIRC, the comment about the Enfield after using FOUR 220-grain bullets was, "It's locked up forever." The 721 still could have the bolt opened, albeit with a bit of hammer tapping. (Again, IIRC; I last read this article many decades back.)

Back around 1970 I bought a Weatherby Mark V with the #2 Profile barrel in .30-'06; 26" barrel. I figured it might help a bit if I goofed on a reload for whatever dumb reason I might get an attack of the stoopids.

At any rate, it's been "Ol Pet" for a long time, and has always been very good at tight groups. It'll even do one MOA at 500 yards, which ain't shabby.

I've owned and loaded for probably 20-some different cartridges. I just keep coming back to the old '06 as my "do anything and everything" critter.

I guess it's just a character defect I can live with...

:D, Art

May 5, 2005, 11:29 PM

Rethinking this, I do think that there is only one excellent battle rifle that I'd trust in '06. The US Cal. 30 M1.

Good thing I have one of those. :D Scope and mount should be here tomorrow. It's a no gunsmith mount, don't worry. I have tried to use peep sights in the past, but I am just too nearsighted (Yes I wear glasses) to use them. :( My SKS is good because the rear sight is far enough foreward.

May 9, 2005, 03:47 PM
busgunner007: where did you find the pistol grip stock for that 7400? ever since i saw the picture i have been looking but to no success

May 9, 2005, 11:45 PM
It's for the 870, made by Choate.
I just trimmed it a bit to make a press-fit into the slightly smaller opening of the 7400.
Works perfectly!