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Old November 13, 2012, 07:16 AM   #1
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.308 vs .30-06

I'm curious...

Is there anything the 30-06 will do (realistically) that the .308 Win won't do? I always assumed the .308 could do anything the 30-06 could do but just had higher pressures and maybe a little more kick since you might need to use slightly faster powder.
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Old November 13, 2012, 07:38 AM   #2
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Not much. With factory loads you are looking at about 100 fps more speed with equal bullet weights from the 30-06. In the real world, inside of 200-300 yards nothing you shoot at will ever know the difference. At longer ranges the 30-06 will be effective on game about 50 yards farther away and have very slighlty flatter trajectory.

I handload for both and can see a bit more gains with the 30-06. Generally speaking with handloads I can improve on 30-06 ballistics by about 100 fps over factory, but can only beat 308 factory loads by about 50 fps. So by handloading you can see a slighlty bigger gap in performance.

The 308's 2 biggest advanages are slightly reduced recoil, and the potetial for a smaller, lighter rifle. If I were considering 2 identical size and weight rifles I cannot see any reason to no just get the 30-06. But there are several companies offering scaled down, trimmer lighter offerings in 308. You cannot get a 30-06 rifle that trim and light. My Kimber in 308 is still under 6 lbs including a scope and mounts. A 30-06 including optics under 7 lbs would be hard to put together. Closer to 8 lbs is more typical.
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Old November 13, 2012, 08:49 AM   #3
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The 0-6 is bigger and is better suited for larger game. e.g. moose, elk. Some even say it is fine for grizzly bears.
It is very versitile to load. I load mine 'down' for smaller game and closer ranges. Mild recoil that way and less ruined meat.
The .308 is a fine caliber that will do almost as much as the proven 30-06.
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Old November 13, 2012, 09:07 AM   #4
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The 30-06 does everything what the 308 does, its just does it bit better...including tenderizing your shoulder.
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Old November 13, 2012, 09:31 AM   #5
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.308win all day long!
the only reason i see for using a 30.06 is the option to shoot bullets of more than 200gr
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Old November 13, 2012, 09:45 AM   #6
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The 30 06 was shortened to the 308 by the military to make a more compact and lighter rifle and cartridge. Like the 223 it became a sporting round due to it's avialability. As said by previous posts, the 06 can do anything the 308 can do and more. The 06 isn't going away anytime soon so I'd opt for it, but I wouldn't be dissatified with the 308 if I happened up on one.
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Old November 13, 2012, 10:10 AM   #7
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One you get above 180 grain bullets the .30-06 leaves the .308 in the dust.
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Old November 13, 2012, 10:21 AM   #8
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For practical purposes, there is no , ZERO, difference.

If you'll not, in the Berger Reloading manual there is a 200 fps difference between the 308 & '06 using Berger's 230 grn bullet.

If you look a little further, you'll see Berger used a 26" barrel on the '06 and a 24 inch barrel on the 308.

The difference is with that bullet, the '06 remains super sonic to 1000 where the 308 remains super sonic to 800.

That probably can be extended a tad if you used a 26 inch barrel on the 308.

For hunting, both have the energy needed to do what needs to be done to 500 yards, 300 being a reasonable hunting range.

We can play with a calculator all day showing one is better then the other, but again, what is practical.

Years ago, the army did some test on accuracy of the 30 cal bullet, working on loads for the International 300 Meter Matches. They found that the 30 cal seemed most accurate at 2200 fps.

I have target rifles in both calibers plus a 300 WM. In my years of shooting 1000 yard matches, the best score I've fired was with the 308 out of my M1A. But that was in perfect conditions.

So in reality, is one really better then the other??? Flip a coin.
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Old November 13, 2012, 10:36 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by jmortimer View Post
One you get above 180 grain bullets the .30-06 leaves the .308 in the dust.
True enough but considering that any animal in North America can be and has been cleanly killed with 150gr or smaller .308 caliber bullets, that fact really has no relevance to most American shooters. 150-180gr bullets are far more common in both cartridges than bullets heavier than 200.
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Old November 13, 2012, 10:48 AM   #10
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Here is a viewpoint. I think Mr. jmortimer is on the right track. As you go up the scale of vintage thirty-calibers, ability to handle heavier bullets increases. The .30-30 is a 150-grain rifle, as is the .300 Savage pretty much. The .308 is perhaps happiest at 165 grains. The .30-06 handles 180 and 200-grainers better. The .300 H&H will be best for 200- and 220-grainers. I could have said .300 Win Mag here, but it suits me to be very old fashioned. There is some overlap, of course, and the appearance of improved powder technology, as with Hornady's Superformance ammo and Hodgdon's Superformance powder, has increased the overlap.
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Old November 13, 2012, 10:57 AM   #11
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"Thirty Ought Six" sounds way cooler than "Three Oh Eight".

I think it's the "ought" that does. It's older and provides an emotional connection with John Browning which is always an advantage.
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Old November 13, 2012, 11:09 AM   #12
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For elk and moose, the .30-06 has an advantage with heavier bullets. For deer and smaller, there is no real difference.
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Old November 13, 2012, 11:15 AM   #13
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^ You guys are right, as usual.

Here is Hornady Superformance 165 grain .308 24" Barrel
MUZZLE 100 200 300 400 500
2840/2955 2635/2544 2439/2180 2252/1858 2079/1574 1902/1325
MUZZLE 100 200 300 400 500
-1.50 1.80 0.00 -7.60 -22.10 -44.70

And the Hornady Superformance 165 grain .30-06 in a 24" barrel
MUZZLE 100 200 300 400 500
2960/3209 2750/2769 2599/2380 2357/2034 2173/1729 1997/1461
MUZZLE 100 200 300 400 500
-1.50 1.60 0.00 -6.90 -20.10 -40.70

And Buffalo Bore with 180 grains

2710 fps - Kimber 84 Montana, 22 inch barrel

2822 fps - Winchester All Terrain, (circa 1995) 22 inch barrel
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Old November 13, 2012, 11:23 AM   #14
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It can shoot 200+grain bullets faster than a .308 but with 125 to 180 gr bullets its a wash, target won't know the difference.
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Old November 13, 2012, 02:20 PM   #15
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I can't tell any difference in recoil between the two in the sporters that I own. My particular '06 (700LH) shoots 150 Hornadys in 3/4" cloverleaves. The 308 (788) likes 165 Corelokts. I can load my '06 past 2800 with 180s, so my preference would be the '06 until I pick up my Scout Squad.....
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Old November 13, 2012, 02:39 PM   #16
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Thirty Ought Six sounds way cooler than Three Oh Eight
I think you're on to something! We should start calling it the "three ought eight" !

As to the topic... as was stated very eloquently by kraigwy (and oldgrump), unless you are wanting to shoot bullets over 200gr, just flip a coin.

If reloading, it might be slightly cheaper to load the "three ought eight"... smaller case, yada yada... but the difference would probably be miniscule. Performance is a wash.
I always felt that if I got to the point where I thought it was time to bury my firearms, it was actually time to pick them up..
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Old November 14, 2012, 09:46 AM   #17
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I can get 190's and 200 gr SMK to higher velocities in the 30-06 than the 308 Win.

That might make a difference in a hunting rifle.

As a target rifle I was talking to friend who is a Wimbleton Cup winner. He went through a 30-06 phase and told me that while he could and did clean the 600 yard target (ten ring 2 MOA) his X count was always 9 or 10X, could not get it higher. He has shot some awesome high X count cleans with a 308.

He had not shot 30-06 at 1000 yards and expressed the opinion that the extra 100 to 150 fps you get with a 30-06 might give a better score, but since we have not done the comparision, we don't know.

If it takes a Nationally ranked individual to see differences between the cartridges, I would not worry about which cartridge I am using, as I won't see any differences.
If I'm not shooting, I'm reloading.
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Old November 14, 2012, 09:54 AM   #18
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Buying a single bolt-action gun? Flip a coin.

If you plan on buying a semi-auto battle rifle, a bolt gun, a Saiga, etc and want a common caliber? Go with the .308.
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Old November 14, 2012, 10:44 AM   #19
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I've had the '06, but not a .308, from what I've heard, .308 has slightly less recoil. As robertsig said, if you're planning on buying a semiauto battle rifle (FAL, M1A, HK 91 etc) get the .308, unless you want to shoot an M1 garand that can shoot commercial rounds. If not, go either way, the 30-06 has slightly more punch, but it will be unnoticeable by the recipient, even in the military kills have been recorded with the .308 out to 1000 yards, so I'm sure there isn't too much difference either way.
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Old November 14, 2012, 11:04 AM   #20
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30.06 may sound cooler than .308, but can you make a 30.06 look like this?

Here's my Armalite AR 10. Ain't she pretty?
Attached is a Millett 6-20 X 50 TRS scope with an iluminated retical.
For a sub $300 scope I am very impressed by it. Waterproof, nitrogen filled and a lifetime warantee. Very clear optics. Zoom knob is a bit stiff however.

Wanted to go to the range and try some iron sights after I put on a new handguard.

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Old November 14, 2012, 11:10 AM   #21
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You say potato, I say small block chevy.

On a serious note, I have always heard that the .308 is a more inherently accurate round than the 30.06. Something to do with case design, shape, or something of that nature.

Slamfire seems to have somewhat confirmed that with his post about his friend that is a nationally ranked shooter.

Moby, that is an awesome rifle you have there. I had an Armalite AR-10(T) that I had to sell a few years back. I still kick myself for doing it, but it was for the right reason. (Son was born, I was unemployed)

I plan on having another one sometime. Maybe not the target version, but an AR-10 nonetheless.
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Old November 14, 2012, 12:32 PM   #22
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With the usual factory 150-grain "deer cartridge" in a common barrel length around 22", there's not a nickel's worth of difference.

In my 26" barrelled '06 with max handloads, I'd get about 300 ft/sec higher muzzle velocities than a .308. Probably even better with 180s, although I never chronographed them. (Judging by comparative trajectories at my 500-yard range.)
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Old November 14, 2012, 01:00 PM   #23
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Well, if I can get a shorter bolt throw and a stiffer action with the 308, then I would lean toward it.
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Old November 14, 2012, 01:30 PM   #24
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I own so many 308s and so many 30-06s that I have lost count.
I have never been able to get good groups with either.

I think it must be me.
I can get good groups with 300WM.

Bart Bobbit was competing at Camp Perry decades ago with a 308 and making posts about how the 308 is slightly more accurate than the 30-06.
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Old November 14, 2012, 04:04 PM   #25
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There's about a 100 fps difference in muzzle velocity for SAAMI barrel specs for both the .308 and .30-06 with 180-gr. bullets at their normal max pressures. Some folks with tight .308 Win. barrels shoot a 180-gr. bullet from factory ammo faster than a loose .30-06 barrel with factory ammo with 180's; a very normal situation.

The .308 Winchester was made a commercial cartidge during the development of what became the 7.62 NATO round by Winchester (I used to think it was Remington). And it was based on the .300 Savage case as shown in:

'Twas the use of the .308 Win. and 7.62 NATO in NRA and military rifle matches starting in 1963 that 3 years later, few .30-06 rifles were seen in competition when either one was allowed. In 1966, the NRA and military bullseye targets' scoring rings were reduced by about half for those used up through 600 yards; too darned many unbreakable ties were shot. 5 years after that, the scoring rings on the 800 through 1000 yard targets were reduced the same amount. Bullets up to 250 grains have been used with great success in matches from both cases.

Afield after game, there's not much difference. Both can shoot bullets heavier than 200 grains with great accuracy in the field, but the .308 Win. needs a longer throat to do so. Before the .30-06 became commercialized, the .30-40 Krag was a favorite on the bigger game animals and many moose and bear went down from a well placed shot from one.

Last edited by Bart B.; November 14, 2012 at 04:54 PM.
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