The versatile 30-06.

ShadeTree

Handloader
Mar 6, 2017
2,612
853
Did a little more work with a 30-06 over the weekend and was struck once again with how handy this cartridge is to have around.

Truth be told, as a whitetail and larger deer/black bear round, in 30 caliber I think the 308 makes more sense, even though I don't own one.

But in this current environment if I was advising a new gun owner on a first time rifle purchase, I would advise a 30-06. Once fired brass is still readily available at reasonable prices, and almost anybody getting into reloading will know somebody with a 30-06 die.

Yes a full power 06 is more than needed for whitetail, and yes it hits back more than necessary on the bench. But you can make it anything you want.

Not only does it handle every bullet weight from 110-220 quite well, but because it sits right in the middle of burn rate with preferred medium burn rate powders, it is possibly more versatile at the reloading bench than it is in the field. It is quite well behaved with a slew of powders. Somebody somewhere will have one of the powders on the list for a 30-06. Pick one and it will work.

There's a whole lot of fussy magnums sitting in gun cabinets these days because they can't get powder, or don't want to pay $200 per lb to shoot them.

I tested out that severely reduced load again using 33 gr's of IMR 4227 pistol powder with 130 gr sp's. Still amazed how well that load shoots. Put 3 right together at 100, then I had a 4'th one loaded that I intentionally stood on it's nose first before shooting, so that the back half of the case was dead air space. It is position sensitive as that shot went directly above at 1.5" high. But still nothing to get mad about for a load an 8 yr old kid could easily handle to use at 100 yds and under.

Then I had 3 loaded up with a 1/2 grain above starting load at 43.5 gr with IMR 3031 and a 150 Hornady. Not a typical powder. Used 3 primers I had popped out of some ancient reloads so I wasn't using my own primers. Not even sure they are all the same brand primer. That load put 2 tight together, and one at 1.75" high. Will test it again with current primers.

That load chrono'd at 2650 average. Kicks like a 300 savage and at that speed is slightly faster than the average 300 Savage with 150 gr bullets, and 300 Savage with 150 gr bullets has been killing all sorts of game for 100 yrs now.

I can't think of a better cartridge to own and get components for right now than an 06. And you can make it anything you want.
 

PJGunner

Handloader
Dec 11, 2010
1,750
212
Col. Townsend Whelen once said, "The 30-06 is never a mistake."Over the years history has proven hat he was not wrong.
Paul B.
 

truck driver

Ammo Smith
Mar 11, 2013
6,883
166
I have hunted with one most of my adult life and used one to kill my first deer.
I can't think of any cartridge I would want to own for an all around hunting cartridge that can do it all if you do your part and put the bullet where it belongs.
 

DrMike

Ballistician
Nov 8, 2006
35,019
1,411
Pedestrian, commonplace and banal. Yeah, that's the '06. Versatile, adaptable and convenient. That, also, is the '06. When it is all said and done, the old war horse does work. Have to admire Guy's experiment of using the '06 during the past couple of years. The round did appear to work for him quite well. And it obviously works for many who post on here.
 

JD338

Range Officer
Staff member
Nov 4, 2004
21,725
994
The 30-06 will cover everything from mice to moose. It is really tough to beat.

JD338
 

ShadeTree

Handloader
Mar 6, 2017
2,612
853
Don't get me wrong fella's, I'm not saying the 06 is better than the rest. If somebody has all they need for what they're shooting, good on them.

But with the 06's wide performance ability based on what you want it to do, and the availability of rifles, brass, and the wide range of powders that work in it, makes it a very wise choice in my view for a new rifle owner that wants to do some shooting/reloading in these times.
 

Elkman

Handloader
Apr 4, 2010
4,551
1
I am also an 06 lover, over my lifetime i have 7 or 8 and still own two.. Killed many deer and elk with them over the years. BUT, pretty much whatever you can do with the 06 you can do "BETTER" , with a 300WM or similar. Recoil aside they are a significant improvement over the 06. Using the same bullets, and powders, you can gain a fair increase over the 06 performance. Did I change over? yes in 1987, and have never looked back. Once again the recoil can be a detriment to some, but if you get past that, the increased performance is substantial.
 

noslerpartition

Handloader
May 26, 2018
887
150
Question is - what is 'better'?
If you don't shoot far, you burn less powder and have a lower recoil with the 30-06. The magnums do the same, just a hundred yards further out.
But that's a discussion with no right or wrong.
With the same argument you could choose the 308 over the 30-06, and the .....

Gesendet von meinem Pixel 3a XL mit Tapatalk
 

Guy Miner

Master Loader
Apr 6, 2006
16,540
1,038
Well, you guys know how much I like the 30-06 cartridge. :grin:

When I was young, Dad told me that all the rifle I'd ever need was the 30-06, and yup, he was right. I've used lots of other hunting rifle/cartridges, but can't think of a shot I've made with any of the others that I couldn't have done with the good ol' 30-06 rifle.

We used to load the 130 grain hollow point Speers for rockchuck shooting. (y) Yee haw!

165's for most anything. I was so impressed when I started seeing 2900+ fps with book loads, AND excellent accuracy...

180's, 200's, 220's if you want them...

With a decent stock, the rifle doesn't kick too much. Accuracy is available. Can shoot bullets suitable for varmints to moose & big bear.

A lot could be said for the 308 Win as well, and of course the 300 Win Mag, but I do like my 30-06, yes indeed. Pretty sure I'll stay with it for my general purpose hunting cartridge.

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Regards, Guy
 

ShadeTree

Handloader
Mar 6, 2017
2,612
853
noslerpartition":3o212dyl said:
Question is - what is 'better'?
If you don't shoot far, you burn less powder and have a lower recoil with the 30-06. The magnums do the same, just a hundred yards further out.
But that's a discussion with no right or wrong.
With the same argument you could choose the 308 over the 30-06, and the .....

Gesendet von meinem Pixel 3a XL mit Tapatalk

That's where I'm at when looking at things like that. I wont argue a 300WM is better performance.....if someone likes an 06, the 300WM is firing the same bullet faster. The question is at what cost.

No matter how you run the figures on the same weight bullet, it will pretty much come out to that you are increasing powder charge by roughly 27% on top charges comparatively, increasing recoil by 35% roughly, to gain 10% velocity.

Different strokes for different folks, but for me if I felt the 06 was lacking I'd bypass everything 30 caliber and jump up to something that was giving more mass, frontal area, and hit, for the increase in charge weight/recoil, like a 338WM. Or even a 338/06 would give better performance on heavy animals than a straight 06 for that matter.

If shots were gonna be kept to medium range and under I'd do one better and go to the much easier recoiling than magnums, but hard hitting 35 Whelen. But you know what they say about opinions, and I'm no exception. Ha!
 

ShadeTree

Handloader
Mar 6, 2017
2,612
853
Completely off track, but this discussion made me run some numbers on my 35 Remington load that I worked up for my 760.

A 7% increase in charge weight over factory loadings results in an 8% increase in recoil, and a 10% increase in velocity. Now that is efficiency.
 

truck driver

Ammo Smith
Mar 11, 2013
6,883
166
ShadeTree":25m519c9 said:
noslerpartition":25m519c9 said:
Question is - what is 'better'?
If you don't shoot far, you burn less powder and have a lower recoil with the 30-06. The magnums do the same, just a hundred yards further out.
But that's a discussion with no right or wrong.
With the same argument you could choose the 308 over the 30-06, and the .....

Gesendet von meinem Pixel 3a XL mit Tapatalk

That's where I'm at when looking at things like that. I wont argue a 300WM is better performance.....if someone likes an 06, the 300WM is firing the same bullet faster. The question is at what cost.

No matter how you run the figures on the same weight bullet, it will pretty much come out to that you are increasing powder charge by roughly 27% on top charges comparatively, increasing recoil by 35% roughly, to gain 10% velocity.

Different strokes for different folks, but for me if I felt the 06 was lacking I'd bypass everything 30 caliber and jump up to something that was giving more mass, frontal area, and hit, for the increase in charge weight/recoil, like a 338WM. Or even a 338/06 would give better performance on heavy animals than a straight 06 for that matter.

If shots were gonna be kept to medium range and under I'd do one better and go to the much easier recoiling than magnums, but hard hitting 35 Whelen. But you know what they say about opinions, and I'm no exception. Ha!
I have to laugh at all of this because several years ago before I went on Elk hunt I started looking at larger more powerful rifles which lead me on a great adventure through different cartridges and what I could do with them over my 30-06.
First up was a 35 Whelen which I wasn't happy with in the RM700 Classic, then I found a M70 30-06 controlled round push feed that had been well used and sent it off to J.E.S. and had it rebored and chambered for the 35 Whelen Ackely improved man what a canon that is. Then came a M70 RM 7mag , a Ruger M77 338Win which I carried for Elk and then later a M70 300Wm. The Ruger got sold when I found a M70 Classic in 338Win'
Out of all these new rifles and cartridges I have only killed game with one of them though I have carried them all to hunt with at one time or another and the one that brought home meat was the 35 Ackely since I was lucky enough to have found game to shoot that day.
Should I feel the need for more then the 30-06 the 35 Ackely or the 338Win will get the call. The 7mag and the 300Win will do everything I would want them today and basically were a good deal a a very good price that allowed me to experiment with different magnum cartridges.
For long range shooting the longest kill shot on deer was done with a 257 Roberts which was a little over 300yds across a mountain top from one ridge to the other, just trying to say if the rifle and shooter are capable I don't think it matters what you shoot with since our for fathers all did it with less then what we use today.( .56 cal cap lock or flint lock Hawken muzzle loader the first real magnum rifle :roll: :lol: :grin: )
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,304
564
I used a 30-06 this year, for the first time since I was about 13 or so. Worked pretty well.. Hard to argue how versatile the old bird is. It's kinda like a 6.5 CM with a little more hit factor :mrgreen:

 

AFG270

Handloader
Aug 26, 2013
805
129
Guy Miner":12emer3u said:
When I was young, Dad told me that all the rifle I'd ever need was the 30-06,


Regards, Guy
My Dad and Uncle told me the same thing when I was a young teen back in the early 70's. They helped me get my first 30-06 model 70 back then. Both of them hunted everything from elk to ground squirrels with their 30-06's. I took my first mule deer with my rifle and hunted just about everything for over 40 years with it. I recently rebarreled it to a 25-06 as I already had a 280 Rem and 300 wsm.
 

FOTIS

Range Officer
Staff member
Oct 30, 2004
23,148
314
The only thing bad I can say about the 30-06 is that it works with "boring" regularity. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,304
564
FOTIS":jak35l60 said:
The only thing bad I can say about the 30-06 is that it works with "boring" regularity. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

I’m having a blast with the 212’s. Definitely made me pay attention.
 

truck driver

Ammo Smith
Mar 11, 2013
6,883
166
SJB358":2jeoz6yq said:
FOTIS":2jeoz6yq said:
The only thing bad I can say about the 30-06 is that it works with "boring" regularity. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

I’m having a blast with the 212’s. Definitely made me pay attention.
Ha Ha Ha LOL I can remember when you said you wouldn't own a 30-06 and now it's making a believer out of you. :shock: :roll: :lol: :grin:
 

JD338

Range Officer
Staff member
Nov 4, 2004
21,725
994
The 30-06 is pretty plain vanilla but it works very well.
I cut my teeth on the ol war horse, first rifle, first reloading, first deer, first bear and first antelope. I put 6000 rounds through it and shot out the barrel.
All this talk makes me want another one.
Great round for sure.

JD338
 

filmjunkie4ever

Handloader
May 4, 2011
1,452
66
You all know how I feel. I’ve owned and used many different cartridges over the years. I still own lots of other calibers but the .30-06 is far and away my favorite.


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