.308 vs .30-06 – Which Is The Best? 5 Things You Need To Know

Both the.308 and.30/06 cartridges are interesting to compare and contrast. Like the first one, this one has a lot to do with feelings. Modern hunters trust the.30/06 for the same reason their ancestors did: it always kills.

This cartridge has saved the lives of a lot of service members. Heretics are people who don’t agree with how much people love the 30/06.

The.308 Winchester, on the other hand, is used by a lot of soldiers and has a great reputation as a precise weapon since it was first used in the Korean War.

This is why it’s important to look at the 308 vs. 30/06 debate with an open mind and no preconceived notions.

The .3006 Springfield

When it came out in 1906, the cartridge was called “.30 caliber” because the first bullet it fired was.308 inches in diameter. With the help of the Springfield rifle and the ammunition that went with it, American troops won World War I in the end.

Before World War II, the M1 Garand was made to take the place of the Springfield bolt-action rifle. The.30/06 cartridge and that rifle were very important to the U.S. victory.

30 06 vs 308

Using the traditional.30/06 ballistics, a 150-grain bullet can travel at a speed of 2700 feet per second. In the first 10 years of the 20th century, this cartridge worked very well.

How far can you shoot a.30-06? With these ballistics, you could shoot a bullet more than two miles away.

Now,.30-06 ammunition from the factory has much better ballistics. Many people think that the Precision Hunter load from Hornady is one of the best types of.30/06 ammo on the market today because it shoots straight.

When fired with a 178-grain bullet, its muzzle speed is about 2750 feet per second. If the sight is set for 200 yards, a bullet shot from 500 yards away will miss its target by only 44.3 inches. Even from that far away, 1533 foot-pounds of energy are still being made.

Due to its similar ballistics to the.30-06 Springfield, the.30/06 was commonly used for hunting after World War II. At the time, most new bolt-action sports rifles were chambered for the.30-06 Springfield.

The .308 Winchester

The.308 Winchester was made by the US military because they needed a shorter cartridge with the same ballistics as the.30/06. 7.62x51mm NATO, also known as.308, was able to match the performance of the.30/06 with shorter, lighter weapons that one person or a small group could carry.

The M1 and the.30/06 were taken out of service, and the.308 and the M14 took their place as the standard rifles of the U.S. military.

Since then, it has been used in a wide range of machine guns, semiautomatic rifles, and bolt-action sniper weapons. Hunters liked the.308 Winchester because it worked well on big game.

30 06 vs 308

The main difference between the.30/06 and the.308 is that the cartridge casing of the.30/06 is smaller than that of the.308. The length of an a.308 case is 2.015 inches, while the length of an a.30/06 case is 2.494 inches.

For the.30/06 and the.308 Winchester, the Hornady Precision Hunter is the best factory load you can get. It is possible to shoot a 178-grain bullet at a speed of about 2600 feet per second.

At 500 yards, the muzzle of a bullet with a 200-yard zero will be 50.2 inches below the line of sight, but it will still have the same 1346 foot-pounds of energy it did at 200 yards.

The case of the.30/06 round is about 24% longer than that of the.308 round, but it is only about 6% faster. This proves the rule that says the speed doubles when the size of the case doubles.

.308 vs .3006: External Ballistics

External ballistics is the best way we have right now to compare how effective the.308 and.30/06 are. When using bullets of the same weight, like those in the Hornady Precision Hunter load, a.30/06 is about 14% more powerful and shoots about 14% flatter than a.308 Winchester.

Even though more energy is transferred to the target and the projectile moves in a straighter line, these benefits are more than cancelled out by the larger recoil. For a rifle of the same weight, the recoil from a.30/06 is 14% more than that of a.308.

For many shooters, 20 foot-pounds of recoil, which is about average for the.308 Winchester, is the sweet spot for long-term fire. Whether or not this is a problem depends on the person.

30 06 vs 308

People say that heavy bullets like 220 grains work better in the.30/06 than in the.308. In the past, when bullets weren’t made well, slower 220-grain bullets would stay together and go deeper. It gave the 30/06 a clear advantage.

But a 168-grain.308 Winchester or.30/06 bullet is now better than a 220-grain.30/06 bullet. Because of bonded and single-metal bullets, these differences are no longer important.

At 300 yards, tests have shown that the Barnes TSX 168-grain bullet shot from a.308 Winchester is up to 15% more accurate, faster, and stronger than the average.30/06 220-grain bullet.

.308 vs .3006: Terminal Ballistics

When comparing the.30/06 and the.308, one of the most important things to look at is how fast the bullets stop moving. Keep in mind that both cartridges have bullets that are the same size, weight, and shape.

The.30/06 has a slightly faster muzzle speed, but other than that, the two have the same performance when shooting at the same size target. But you’d be wrong to think that an animal or forensic pathologist can tell the difference between a.30/06 and a.308 bullet wounds when using the same bullet.

When firing the same bullets, the.30/06 will have a flatter trajectory and faster muzzle speed than the.308. But from a terminal performance point of view, it’s hard to tell the difference within 250 yards because the improvement is so small.

30 06 vs 308

But the.30/06 might be better if you want to shoot from far away. One example is the speed at which a bullet starts to spread out. For new monometal bullets like the Barnes TSX to expand and change shape as much as possible, they need to hit at about 2,000 feet per second.

If you are using a 168-grain TSX, you are more likely to have a bullet break at 400 yards with a.30/06 than with a.308. But by the time a.308 Winchester bullet has traveled 350 yards, it has slowed down enough to always miss the target.

And The Winner Is

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that we want to compare how accurate the.308 and the.30/06 are. With the.30/06, you can shoot about 50 yards farther.

You’ll have to deal with about 14% more recoil for an extra 50 yards of range, which, depending on the bullet, is only really useful out to about 350 yards. Rifles with a.30/06 chamber are between 5 and 8 ounces heavier than others with the same caliber and action length.

When deciding between the.308 and the.30/06, another thing to think about is the ammunition. Shooters have more options than ever before when it comes to factory.308 rounds. At a big online store, you can buy 172.308 Winchester cartridges but only 116.30/06 Springfield cartridges.

Even though a lot of.308 Winchester loads are made for target practice or “plinking,” the wide range of ammo for this cartridge is very interesting. It’s also important to note that the.308 Winchester cartridge works with the AR10, which is a popular choice for hunting big game.

Even though the.30/06 is slightly better for hunting in terms of ballistics, the increased recoil and weight of the gun more than make up for this. Both cartridges can kill non-threatening game animals all over the world, so you don’t have to choose between them.

Since there isn’t much difference between the.308 and the.30/06 in terms of hard data, it may be better to go with your gut.

Since there isn’t much difference in how accurate they are, you can use either one for hunting. Choose the one that gets you excited, comes in the rifle caliber you like, and doesn’t make you think twice.

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