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Old September 22, 2012, 10:47 AM   #1
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30-06 vs. .308 vs. 270 win.

im looking for my first high power rifle. i would rather a h&r break open single shot but would a $300 bolt action be much more accurate? im left handed and not big on bolt actions or having to special order a left handed bolt rifle.

i only go on a couple deer hunts a year, hunting is not the main reason. i just want to shoot a few hundred yards accurately at the range.

the advantages i know for each:

30-06 sounds the coolest.

.308 has cheap wolf ammo at half price or less.

.270 win is more accurate than the other two? shoots flatter? by how much?

i don't care to spend much more than $300. i already have a nice wal mart scope.
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Old September 22, 2012, 10:59 AM   #2
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.308 is a shorter round, designed to allow a faster and shorter action for military semi and fully automatic weapons.

As a side benefit, it allows shorter receivers and actions on other types of rifles, too. So, a .308 bolt rifle can have a shorter receiver, slightly less weight, and slightly faster action (less throw required).

The .30-06 can accept heavier bullets (I have seen up to 220 grain) without exceeding OAL or pressure, and might be better for larger game.

The .270 offers a slightly flatter trajectory, and might be better if long distance shots are the norm.
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Old September 22, 2012, 11:05 AM   #3
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Out to 300 yards you will not be able to tell a difference between the 3 you mentioned. The 308 win is only slightly slower than the 30-06, same bullet selection. The 270 is a 30-06 necked down to 27 caliber. It is a little faster than the other 2 and has a better ballistic coefficient with the same weight bullets. All together it will be a personal opinion not a performance based decision. Yes a bolt action is more likely to be more accurate, but every rifle is different. You can't say that any action type is more or less accurate because they can all be accurized, but a bolt action is the easiest to make more accurate. You likely will need lots of practice at 2-300 yards before the difference between a bolt and break action will show on the target. Get the one that you can find ammo for. The wolf ammo is likely less accurate than the expensive stuff but it would give you more practice for less $. Again you probably will need lots of practice to see the difference between ammo makers. Good luck and have fun.
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Old September 22, 2012, 11:11 AM   #4
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.308 and .30-06 use mostly the same bullets, but overall length and case pressure mean the .30-06 can accept heavy weight bullets the .308 can't.

If a shooter plans to use 150-180gr bullets, then the same bullets work in both.
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Old September 22, 2012, 11:31 AM   #5
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The .270 will have less recoil since typical bullets used are 130-150 gr whereas .308 and .30-06 typically have 150-180 gr.

You won't see much difference in trajectories inside 300 yds. But, it will be much easier to find commercial Match ammo in .308 than the others. You can find Match .30-06 but less variety, and never heard of commercial Match ammo fir .270.

All three will do anything you need with the correct bullet up to black bear and elk within 300 yds. All three should be readily available on ammo shelves but check your local stores to be sure and compare variety of each.

I personally like the .30-06 because of my M1 Garand and hand me down hunting rifle. But rationally I would go with .308 because it is the most popular nowadays and will have the greatest availability of ammo variety: Match, reduced loads, FMJ bulk, varmint, Wolf, etc. if a manufacturer sells a special bullet or ammo the first caliber it appears in is .308.

If you want to minimize recoil and don't plan to use anything but regular hunting ammo then the .270 would get the nod.

Consider the .308 as the default choice and ask yourself if either of the other two offer something worth giving up the widest choice of ammo on the .308. I am assuming you do not reload.
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Old September 22, 2012, 11:41 AM   #6
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skimming through the following link real quick i see that .308 ap ammo is not legal while 30-06 ap ammo is. if this is true then im going 30-06.
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Old September 22, 2012, 02:54 PM   #7
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In that listing you linked it says if you are not licensed with an FFL (federal firearm license) you can own, buy and sell ap ammo. You can not make or import it. Legal speak is tricky read it again and look for the FFL restrictions.
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Old September 22, 2012, 06:17 PM   #8
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Offhand, it sounds like the .308 would be the wisest choice for the stated usage.

Odds are, the left-handed Savage would be the best deal for the money.
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Old September 23, 2012, 01:18 PM   #9
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I like the 270 a lot (family has an old Sako). However, getting it to shoot accurately for target shooting is a challenge. Fine hunting gun.

As for recoil, with your choices its pretty much a moot as you can get a recoil pad that eliminates that as a concern (either on the gun ala Limb Save or built strap on pad).

I have shot the 270 and the 30-06 side by side and really cannot tell the difference. Weight may be a factor as the 1903s we shoot are heavier. It certainly will be in any gun you shoot.

Once you go past 300 yards you still have to hold and its a matter of 2 inches high or 3, or 3 inches high or 4. Until you get way out there is a moot I think and then its really gets interesting.

I am fond of the 30-6 as its versatile. You can run rounds down to the 130 270 common size. Newer powders allow more performance with same pressure (and Hornady is loading some full up rounds that do a bit better as they re factory controlled.
You can hunt Grizzly with it in the 220 gr size (far more of those taken with a 30-06 than anything else). Prime choice for moose and elk.

I wold go 30-06 but not sure why the AP is an issue.
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Old September 23, 2012, 06:36 PM   #10
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skimming through the following link real quick i see that .308 ap ammo is not legal while 30-06 ap ammo is. if this is true then im going 30-06.
Why would you want to use armor piercing ammo?
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Old September 23, 2012, 09:15 PM   #11
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Lefty rifles are not so much of"a special order" as they once were. Many larger gun shops will have some on the shelf in the more popular calibers.
The comment that"the 270 is more accurate" can easily be disputed since there are all sorts of 308 trarget rifles and damned few 270 target rifles.
I'm just not a 270 fan. If I'm going to shoot a long action and get get kicked that much, I'll just shoot the Daddy(30/06) instead of the skinny offspring.
I have more rifles in 30/06 than any other caliber but if I'm going to a smaller bore, I skip the 270 and go to the 25/06.
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Old September 23, 2012, 09:25 PM   #12
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There really isn't a nickels worth of difference in these 3 rounds (or any other 3 similar standard calibers) when you get down to it...

Lets face it, most of us don't shoot past 300 yards...and within that range there is no usable difference between them.

Even at 400 yards...the 30-06 and 270 will both be around 16" low if you're using a bullet with a decent BC...the 270 may be a couple inches flatter shooting (literally...2 inches), but its just not enough to matter...

The only "REAL" difference is RECOIL...and whether or not that matters depends on the person doing the shooting.

Last edited by Ridgerunner665; September 23, 2012 at 09:30 PM.
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Old September 24, 2012, 12:50 AM   #13
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What possible reason would you have for needing Armour Piercing ammo?
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Old September 24, 2012, 04:10 AM   #14
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All 3 cartridges have been proven in the field wherever game is hunted. My personal favorite is .308; I've taken game up to and including moose with it.

Fire up the grill! Deer hunting IS NOT catch and release.
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Old September 24, 2012, 11:20 PM   #15
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For a first centerfire rifle, especially if it is expected to be the only centerfire rifle in the collection, 308 is really hard to beat. It is such a versatile cartridge, with a large ammo variety.

Why the interest in armor piercing ammo? Are you thinking you need it to hunt dangerous game? Not so. Both FMJ and round-nose solids will penetrate 36 inches plus of muscle and bone. FMJ spitzers usually turn base forward after a dozen or so inches of penetration, and from that point they act as a wad-cutter. Round nose solids are the best, they penetrate straighter and deeper than any other.
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Old September 25, 2012, 01:13 AM   #16
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As a fellow southpaw I second Art's vote for a Savage which is less expensive than most bolt actions, readily available in left hand, and has a reputation for accuracy. The Stevens version should be close to your price range. Not their best trigger, but adequate and can be replaced later. Any of the three cartridges you chose will do just fine.

Solids are illegal in many states as they do not expand. I would not recommend they in any of the calibers discussed here.

Last edited by math teacher; September 25, 2012 at 01:18 AM.
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Old September 25, 2012, 02:58 AM   #17
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Every body here has made legit points all around. I spend several months hunting whitetail and I carry either a .243, .270 or a .308. All of them are slightly different and the .270 gets the most use. I carry it the most because most of the guys I hunt with use the same exact re-loads that I loaded them up with. But all honesty, pick one and the correct ammo and you can kill any big game in North America (minus dangerous game).
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Old September 25, 2012, 06:22 AM   #18
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Under 300 yards you won't be able to tell the difference between the three no matter if you are deer hunting or at the range.

Personally I prefer the .308 and the shorter action it lends itself too.

Someone mentioned a lefty Savage above and as a Savage owner, I can attest to their out of box accuracy and reliability.
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Old September 25, 2012, 06:49 AM   #19
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I vote 308 also. As put to me a long time ago-The 308 is good at everything,but great at nothing. It is just a all around cartridge. As others have posted also- Inside 300 yards difference is minimal at best. Also if you ever get into comp shooting,you will be in line with FTR class. All other calibers are great,but the 308 is just,,, well it's a 308 no more needs to be said
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Old September 25, 2012, 08:27 AM   #20
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I'm a lefty also. For what you are wanting from a rifle, I think a lefty bolt action in .308 fits the bill just fine. I have both right and left hand bolt guns. Both work just fine for me.
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Old September 25, 2012, 09:09 AM   #21
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I know far too little about rifle cartridges to offer any useful advice as to which one is best for your needs. That said, there's an article in the latest American Rifleman about the Thompson Center Dimension. Apparently, there's one model that will allow both .270 and .30-06, and a different model that will allow .308, .243 and .22-250, of a total of 4 different models. (Don't ask me to explain the engineering. Swapping calibers within a model allegedly involves only a barrel swap, but beyond that, it's beyond the precipice of my knowledge.) As I recall from the article it will soon be available in left-handed versions, too.
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Old September 26, 2012, 11:15 PM   #22
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Left-handed bolt action, or a single shot? Nah...

My wife shoots right-handed bolt actions rifles left-handed just fine, and can crank in a follow-up shot just about as fast as a righty. As long as it has a symmetrical stock, I don't see the need for a left-handed bolt action rifle. Just makes it harder to buy and sell, and limits your choice.

My first centerfire varmint rifle was a Thompson Contender with a custom rifle stock and 20-inch bull barrel in .223 from Bullberry Barrel Works. Very accurate gun, but I found it to be a pain in the butt cocking it and pulling that hammer back. Wish I'd had bought a bolt-action instead.
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Old September 27, 2012, 09:25 AM   #23
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Regarding the 30 caliber rounds, both the .308 and .30-06 can shoot bullets up to 250 grains (heaviest made as far as I know); it's been done before. Both those really heavy bullets have been used in competition at 1000 yards from both cartridges with stellar performance accuracy wise. And a 250-gr. hunting bullet would do well on very big game from either case.

Accuracy wise, the .308's king of the hill. For hunting game up to big deer, the .270's a good king of that hill. For larger game up to moose and elk, the .30-06 is the best of the three.

That aside, the older, weaker .30-30 WCF and .30-40 Krag's been used on everything from Kodiak bear down to mice; kill's 'em all dead with the first, well placed, shot.

Note that game's killed with bullets, not cartridges; nor rifles, either, for that matter. Pick the bullet caliber, weight and type you want to use, then pick the case you want to shoot it out of. How fast that bullet leaves determines the maximum range you should use it on game. There's no way one can tell what cartridge nor rifle fired a given bullet entering the vitals of a game animal at 1947 fps doing all the right stuff to put it down instantly from just an autopsy of the animal.

I suppose a 50 caliber BMG round could be held in ones hand and stabbed into the brain of a deer, but that's a rather risky way to kill a deer with a cartridge. It would be feasable to stand back a couple of feet and hold your rifle by its barrel then swing it such to smack the deer up side its head with the buttstock; a good way to kill one with a rifle.

Last edited by Bart B.; September 27, 2012 at 12:06 PM.
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Old September 27, 2012, 12:32 PM   #24
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I am disappointed Cajun 47 has not responded.

I think my point is valid in that you can load a 30-06 to handle anything a 308 or 270 will do and up past that to even big Africa game.

How versatile you want or need to be should be the ultimate driver. If never going to do a moose or bear hunt, then 270 or 308 is great (though I wold go with 270 if Elk was on the table)

As noted Savage makes lefties and has a very good rep accuracy wise. Not as pretty but then 300 doesn't buy you pretty and pretty does not get you success (give me a good barrel any day of the week over pretty).

AP has no purpose in modern hunt though it might interest the posters to know that AP was the round used 70% of the time for combat issue in WWII in M1 and 1903 models (it was determined they wanted that capability of penetration and humane kills was not their first requirement!). Its documented so not in disputer.

AP also was quite accurate in the M1 and 1903s as it was the better round design wise over the 150 M1 Ball (it also went a long way in machine gun use for area saturation as distance).

So, under 300 yards its a toss up for the game choice for 308 or 270, and if you want to be widely capable its 30-06

A good shot can take down anything up to including grizzly (Leis and Clark shot more than one with black powder guns shooting round ball), but as the game gets bigger (Moose and big bears) then the better choice is 30-06 as it gives you more latitude for success.
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Old September 27, 2012, 03:43 PM   #25
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There's a great deal of "all of the above" in your options. Most of the difference depends on WHERE you're going to hunt, moreso than WHAT you're going to hunt.

I live in the densely wooded eastern mountains where the .308 is superior to the others because it's more efficient with a 22in barrel, it's lighter because of reduced length allowed by shorter action/barrel, and controlled-expansion bullets are more reliable due to lower velocities (than the other two options) at our typical ranges. That said, I tend to only use my .308 for Moose up here. My 30-30 is obnoxiously superior for hunting these ridge-runners.

However, if you live in more open plains...I'd pick the .270 for the flatter trajectories and reduction in recoil over the 30-06.

If you lived in a mixed environment, or want a rifle that is not as niche as the other two... go with the 30-06.
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