It is about time we squashed the beef. The .308 win and the 30-06 both claim cult-like followings. Proponents for each swear on the supremacy of their favorite cartridge. This sycophancy creates a problem for the many truth-seekers out there. Just who is telling the truth? Let me walk you through a non-biased 308 vs. 30-06 review.
First of all, the two cartridges share a lot of history. The 308 Winchester was birthed by the 30-06 back in 1952. This showdown, 30 06 vs. 308, will be hard to call! The two have more similarities than differences. Let us begin by understanding the two cartridges historically.
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History of The .30-06 Vs .308 Models
The 30-06 is a 30 caliber cartridge that the US army adapted in 1906. The caliber (30) is united with the year of adoption (06) to give us the name (30-06). It is the most enduring cartridge on the market.
Before 1906 the .30-03 rimless cartridge was the American pride. It weighed 14 gm. and attained muzzle velocities of up to 700m/s (2300 ft/s).
At the time, however, other European powers developed lighter and higher velocity bullets. The cartridges were as follows:
- Germany’s 7.92 × 57mm Mauser
2. France’s 8mm Balle D Spitzer
3. Russia’s 7.62 × 54mmR Light Bullet
4. Britain’s .303 Mark VII
The desire to bring her infantry to level with her neighbors motivated the morphing of the .303 into the .30-06 in 1906. It aided the American course in World War II. The cartridge had significantly improved on the range discrepancies of the .30-03 noted in World War I. The .30-06 went on to serve as the Army’s machine gun and rifle cartridge for close to 50 years.
It served in that position until 1952 when the .308 Winchester replaced it. Is this proof that the 308 is better than the 30-06?
The fact that the .30-06 parented it is not evidence of it being better than the same. As a matter of fact, the .308 has also parented other cartridges not half as popular as it. Some of these cartridges are:
- i. .243 Winchester
- ii. .358 Winchester
- iii. .307 Winchester
- iv. .356 Winchester
The last two are designed for use by the Model 94 Eject Rifle.
- v. .260 Remington
- vi. 7mm-08 Remington
So, a side by side comparison is the only sure way to call a clear winner. Let us do that.
30-06 Vs 308: Quick Comparison Table
Cartridge case length
Maximum muzzle velocity
Case capacity in grains
In this 308 vs 30-06 verdict section I would like to give some Pro Tips - So, If you are an experienced reloader or shooter then you probably need to know what is the best progressive reloading press - And for that good reason, you must also need to know about the best scopes for 308 or .22 long range scope. I am assuming you also love to hunt or love to camp - If so then a best rubber hunting boots, a top quality rangefinder binocular and a best camping knife would be a great friend of your journey.
30-06 Vs 308: A Side By Side Comparison
First of all, let us get one thing clear. These two cartridges are very similar. Especially the military versions. Commercially, however, the two are modified to suit their purposes. Do not think you are shooting whitetail deer with the same bullets used in war!
The modifications will help us determine a clear winner. Without the modifications, the two cartridges are practically different sized twins.
Let us begin with bullet size comparison.
30-06 Vs 308 For Hunting
Let us compare the two cartridges as hunting equipment. In my experience, hunters are the biggest contributors to all 308 ammo Vs 30-06 affairs. For hunting purposes, we shall compare the two on five important fronts.
- i. Range
- ii. Accuracy
- iii. Weight
- iv. Ease Of Use
- v. Power
On the hunt, the two are at par. The 308, as we saw, has an advantage on 1000 plus yardages. For a hunter, this benefit is not significant. Or, what was the last time you shot deer at 1000 yards? Learn which are the best deer feeder and how to shoot deer humanely by using deer hunting crossbow and crossbow scope from the link.
On accuracy, the two are pretty much at par within hunting range. Many people will try to convince you otherwise but, try out the two for yourself. You will find them both to be sufficiently accurate for hunting.
On weight, the 308 is slightly lighter than the 30-06. The weight is, however, negligible. You would have to carry well over a thousand shells to feel the difference. Considering the average number of bullets carried for a hunt; however, the weight difference should not worry you.
On power, none of the two has a clear hunting edge. Both provide more than enough power to bring down big game like elk. In short, both are equally useful when it comes to hunting big game. The ease of use is where a clear distinction marks itself.
308 is used in short action rifles. 30-06 is used in long action rifles. Their recommended guns offer different experiences. Short action rifles are easier to load and quicker to offload. They are also lighter. Everything a hunter wants in a gun. If you take your 30 06 deer hunting, the deer is very likely to hear you load your gun
On the 308 Vs 30-06 hunting, I recommend the 308. The benefits are, however, not enough to merit a change. If you have a 30-06 rifle, keep it. The rifle caliber comparison is not well pronounced to validate a gun change.