Guns Like firearms themselves, there's a wide variety of opinions on what's the best gun.

The 30-06

Old 02-16-2015, 12:20 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Default The 30-06

Heres a cartridge that has persevered. Why??

I've heard it said the 06 is perfect for nothing but good for everything. Heard it said the worst cartridge base off the 30-06 cartridge. Heard it said 270 & 280 = 30-06 improved....ect..ect

But yet remains well within the top 5 selling cartridges.

Not knocking it at all, I owned a Rem78 in 30-06 killed about a dozen deer with it but not much of a gauge to judge a cartridge by only killing something that can be killed with much less of a cartridge.

Now at the end of WWII there were a lot of surplus military rifles around in that chambering but that was 70 years ago and the 06 is still going strong....Why??

So why do you think the 06 has been so popular over the years??
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Old 02-16-2015, 12:51 PM
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It is ingrained into the psyche of U.S. hunters and has become one of the most popular big game cartridges in the world today. Ammunition is available across the world everywhere that big game is hunted. That alone makes it a top choice for traveling hunters. When I get on an airplane for a hunt there is usually a 30-06 and a 375 in my Tuffpak.

I believe that there are more factory ammunition choices for this cartridge than any other. Other cartridges may well be better for a given purpose but the old 30-06 still works well enough for nearly everything short of some dangerous game. Most folks probably have difficulty with recoil with more powerful cartridges. If I had only one rifle it would be a 30-06.
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Old 02-16-2015, 01:15 PM
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Because it works, and every outlet that sells ammunition has it in stock at all times.
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Old 02-16-2015, 02:08 PM
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No doubt part of the staying power of the .30-06 has been its "encumbency." Because there were lots of rifles made in .30-06 because of the military connection, a lot of people owned these rifles. Because there were a lot of these rifles, a lot of manufacturers loaded commercial cartridges for the .30-06. Because there were a lot of commercial loadings for the .30-06, every rifle manufacturer made rifles in .30-06 -- and probably every different rifle model of a manufacturer offered a chambering in .30-06. That is what I mean by "encumbency." Why do we drive on the right side of the road? Because we don't want to change to driving on the left side and because so many cars already on the roads are geared towards driving on the right side of the road.

Another part of the success is that it represents something like the maximum power that the average shooter can tolerate without developing a flinch. I'm just repeating what I have heard other say. But this is plausible. As such, it can be used to shoot a lot of animals -- from Elk and Moose down to Pronghorn Antelope and even coyotes. Do you need a .30-06 to kill pronghorn or coyotes? No, but it will get 'er done. Can you shoot these same animals with a .338 Winchester Magnum? Yes, but some people -- so I have read -- are intimidated by the recoil and report of the .338 Winchester Magnum. Also, I imagine the cost of .338 Winchester Magnum cartridges is relatively high versus the cost of a box of .30-06 cartridges. There may not be much difference between a box of Remington Core-Lokt 180 grain .30-06 shells and a box of 85 grain .243 shells.

There are a number of intersecting factors that have made and will keep the .30-06 as the most popular big game cartridge for a long time. I have shot three elk with a .30-06 Springfield rifle that my dad sporterized from a military action and barrel. It is an accurate shooting and beautiful rifle. My elk partners at elk camp all shoot .30-06. Our leader has been hunting elk for some 25 years and has taken many an elk with his .30-06. It is a very good cartridge.

Some people might feel the .30-06 lacks the stuff to reach way, way, way out there to kill an elk. That may be true. But not everyone is skilled enough to shoot accurately way, way, way out there. And you don't want to wound an elk and track it into a nasty jumbled blow down of dead trees to get it out because you merely wounded it. Where I hunt elk -- and previously where I hunted deer -- the shots are not at great distances. My shots at elk have been under 200 yards I would guess. Two of them have been at less than 100 yards. A .30-06 is entirely capably of killing elk at 250 yards.

I'm not denigrating other cartridges. You asked about the .30-06. I wouldn't mind having a .338 Winchester Magnum, but I don't feel I need it. And maybe it would kick too hard for me?

Last edited by Alsatian; 02-16-2015 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 02-16-2015, 02:27 PM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Colorado
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Originally Posted by redgreen
Because it works, and every outlet that sells ammunition has it in stock at all times.
Over 60 years of hunting, I've had most of the cals for North American hunting. Funny, I kept returning to the'll do any thing I desire to do.
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Old 02-16-2015, 02:40 PM
Giant Nontypical
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Don't know, never owned one, never felt the need...
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Old 02-16-2015, 03:15 PM
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I think the 30-06 is the cartridge that meets all of our subjective wants and our objective needs, without many of the negative attributes that other cartridges might bring. Our hunting community is dead set that it takes 1,000ft.lbs. at impact to kill deer, so we ALL tend to favor 'over-kill cartridges' like the 30-06, putting us into some interesting considerations for performance at both ends of the rifle.

I'm not saying that I agree with or believe there to be any merit to ANY of these, but I believe that these could be very common responses when considering any of these other popular cartridges over a 30-06, based on the mindset of our sporting culture:
  • 243win - well by golly, that's just under-sized, the 30-06 hits harder
  • 30-30win - man, that ol' levergun doesn't shoot flat enough
  • 300win mag - doesn't kill the deer any more dead, just kicks a lot harder, and who needs extra recoil? Also burns more powder!
  • 7mm mag - same problems as the 300 mag, too much recoil, but worse, 'cuz it's metric!!!
  • 308win - it's like a ".30-06 Light"... Light beer is for women and liberals
  • 270win/25-06 - doesn't have the bullet weight to kill the big stuff, it's like a 30-06 but for coyotes or speed goats

A guy could go on and on... Basically, I read the ESTABLISHED shooting culture that 1) anything smaller isn't as good because it's smaller, 2) anything larger isn't as good because it recoils harder.

I even find myself being a bit hypocritical in this sense. I've instructed a lot of new shooters, and mentored a lot of new gun buyers - if you ask me what cartridge to get as a first deer rifle, I recommend something like a 7mm-08, a 25-06, 243, etc. But when I go to my safe each season, if I can't make up my mind on what "better rifle" to take afield, my default always goes back to my ol' aught six.

Side note - I say all of that and I can't help but think of the "new shooting culture" that is evolving around us. New gun owners that are more influenced by youtube fads than tradition, and that weight rumors and speculation from mall ninjas more heavily than tried and true experiences in the field. I find myself confused to live in a sporting world where the 300 blackout has this much traction, but the 308 Marlin was flash in the pan. These shooters are the kind that would NOT buy a .30-06, simply because it's not present in Modern Warfare video games, or wouldn't buy it BECAUSE IT'S A PROVEN HISTORICAL CARTRIDGE.

I don't necessarily agree, however, that the .30-06 is "great at everything, but not great at anything." I find that the 30-06 is quite likely the ideal cartridge for elk sized game. Not too much punishment on the shoulder, but plenty of bullet weight to do all the killing you want at any range that you're able to connect. I would say that my opinion is that the .30-06 really is a GREAT elk rifle. Even though most of us carry one for deer, for which the ol' Springfield is drastically over-powered. It'll kill anything you hit well with it, but in terms of ideal balance of killing potential and recoil, it's too much for coyotes through deer, and too little for bear through bison.
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Old 02-16-2015, 03:23 PM
Typical Buck
Join Date: Aug 2007
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Have 8 or them can get 180gr remington core @ Wal-Mart for $20. I have 338 win the rem core locks are close to $60 @ some stores.
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Old 02-16-2015, 04:22 PM
Typical Buck
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Pa.
Posts: 502

A lot of good responses.We have owned one since the 70,s and they are way overkill for deer and a poor choice if that is your choice of game to pursue.But if large game is what your after you can,t beat it.
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Old 02-16-2015, 05:47 PM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Sep 2005
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I was shooting at the range one day quite a few years back when a older friend handed me a clip of Korean surplus and told me to shoot it and see what I thought. Nope I told him don't own an 06, he looked at me and said forcefully "your an American and don't own a 30-06) so now I own 3, don't use 'em much but I got them, I do prefer my 338 fed and 358 win at this time but heck tomorrow I might need to go on a quick hunt, and you know you can get 06 ammo anywhere
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