The .30-06 Sucks?

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 1 month ago

American Hunter:

Comparing Hornady’s Precision Hunter ammunition, the .30-06 will deliver about 9 percent better performance than the 308. The trade off—there’s always a trade off—is this performance increase comes with a 16 percent increase in recoil. In other words, with what is arguably the best big game hunting ammo you can buy, the .30-06 gives you about half what you pay—suffer—for.

Some might point out the .30-06 will handle heavier bullets. True, but given our modern projectiles, 200 or 220 grain .30 caliber bullets offer no advantage. Back in Whelen’s and your grandpa’s day, this was not the case. At .30-06 velocities the weakly constructed 180-grain or lighter bullets of that time, shed lots of weight during penetration. 200 or 220-grain bullets didn’t because they impacted at slower velocities, thus penetrating deeper.

With bullets like the Partition, Triple Shock, AccuBond and ELD-X, those weighing less than 200 grains offer a better ballistic balance. This is why 200 grain or heavier .30-06 ammunition is almost as rare as flying frogs. Modern projectiles have even improved the performance of smaller cartridges. They can now hang with the ’06 and not whack you near as hard.

Consider the 6.5 Creedmoor. Comparing similar bullet weights, the Creedmoor will shoot flatter and just as hard as the ought-six. But, the .30-06 will kick 34 percent harder. Though some will argue you gotta get used to recoil if you’re going to hunt big game, it’s an established fact, the harder a rifle kicks, the more difficult it is to shoot with consistent precision.

Well, some of this is true, and the 6.5 Creedmoor is a very interesting cartridge, especially because it is a necked-down .308 and therefore a short action cartridge and capable of semiautomatic operation.  But I don’t think that’s what he’s talking about here.

He’s focused on recoil and the ability to shoot it well.  But according to this logic, there is no reason for the .300 Win Mag to exist in North America.  And he’s being savaged in the comments.

What do readers think?


Comments

  1. On August 27, 2017 at 9:37 pm, John said:

    I agree on the 06 vs the .308 but the necked down .308 (Creedmoor) vs the necked down
    06 (O’Conner’s beloved .270) are ballistic, near identical twins.

  2. On August 28, 2017 at 12:31 am, Chris said:

    >Well, some of this is true, and the 6.5 Creedmoor is a very interesting cartridge, >especially because it is a necked-down .308 and therefore a short action >cartridge and capable of semiautomatic operation.

    True the .30-’06 is a long action round, but it too is capable of semiautomatic operation. Perhaps you’ve heard of the M1 Garand?

  3. On August 28, 2017 at 1:26 am, OKIllbite said:

    My 6.5…lays some hate,waaaaaay out there.
    Out.

  4. On August 28, 2017 at 7:34 am, Herschel Smith said:

    @Chris,

    Ha! Boy that was poorly written late at night. Capable of fully automatic operation too (viz, BAR).

    I intended to say capable of semi-automatic operation with modern chassis style rifles such as the AR (Stoner design).

  5. On August 28, 2017 at 9:33 am, Ned said:

    I believe the .260 Rem is a necked down .308. The 6.5 Creedmoor is a necked down 30 TC.

    And if the guy can’t stand the (((terrible recoil))) of a 30-06, perhaps he should just admit it. I have a friend who had shoulder surgery and can’t even shoot a 308 AR anymore. Has to sell his beloved Winchester 70 300 Win. Mag.

    But he doesn’t wank about publicly regarding recoil percentages and stuff like that.

    Everyone pretty much knows that when one packs more powder behind a given pill there’s increased recoil and diminishing returns on velocity.

    Weatherby didn’t care solely about cartridge efficiency and recoil percentages – and seems to still have sold some rifles.

    It truly seems like some men just become bigger and bigger pussies the more that time passes. Shoot what you like – or what you have and what works for you.

  6. On August 28, 2017 at 9:51 am, Herschel Smith said:

    @Ned,

    You’re right. Thanks for the correction.

  7. On August 28, 2017 at 7:47 pm, Ned said:

    Incidentally, if memory serves, the 30 TC was/is a super efficient 30 caliber round. Like the 300 Savage, 308, etc. Don’t hear much about he 30 TC these days except that it’s the parent case for the 6.5 Creedmoor round.

    I love 6.5 cartridges, and really like the .264 Win Mag, which I have owned and shot extensively. Which, of course, was overbore, and thus not as efficient as the Creedmoor.
    Until I re-barreled the rifle to a 358 Norma Mag. But oops – recoil! Jeeze – that 45-70 guide gun has some recoil too with 400 gr pills at 2000+ fps.

    My 7mm Ultra Mag isn’t as efficient as a 7mm Mauser either. I don’t think I’ll write an article about that, either, though.

    Thanks, Herschel, for finding these gems for us. Otherwise – how would we all know how much the 30-06 sucks?

  8. On August 28, 2017 at 8:28 pm, TheAlaskan said:

    I’ve got to say that once you’ve acquired the Creed on the right platform, it’s pretty tough to want to go back to the 308 or ..06. I wanted a better bullet for my AR than what the 5.56 had to offer on account of where I live and the realities of shooting game in Alaska with a 223 caliber bullet. Don’t get me wrong, my Colt Competition AR15 is a tack driver but ethically speaking, shooting alaskan moose with it wouldn’t be ethical. I’ve never done it. I hunt moose with my scoped 375 H&H….untill I built my AR10 chambered in the 6.5 Creedmoor. Bull stainless 24 inch barrel. Side cock bolt. Fulton Armory. This rifle will be alaskan wolf’s worst nightmare….I hope. I wanted fast follow up shots that bolts can’t offer. Winter wolf hunting is tough in every way imaginable. The 223 just doesn’t have the range. The creed flies almost identical to the 300 win mag. It’s got the range and it’s got the loads. Ammo is available all over the State in 120…123…130…140…143 gr factory loads of various manufacturers. It has taken off big Alaska. Get one. You won’t be disappointed.

  9. On August 29, 2017 at 9:28 am, Pat Hines said:

    I read the essay on the .30-06 yesterday and knew right away the author was in for some heat. I suspect that was one of the main purposes of the essay, to generate hits.

    My most recent acquisition is a Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor. I like the idea of a removal magazine fed bolt gun, I already have the same rifle in .308/7.62. It’s an amazing rifle, easily able to keep up with AR’s in semi-serious shoots at the range. My next task is to acquire some glass for the 6.5C, then log some range time.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published August 27th, 2017 by Herschel Smith.

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