In case you haven’t heard, the 112-year-old 30-06 sucks. This is according to, oh, I don’t know, about 99% of shooters/hunters with less than 30 years of living under their belts. So, in pursuit of ballistic advancement — and relegating antiquated cartridges to the dust bin of history where they belong — let’s investigate this doddering old joke of a cartridge and determine just why the 30-06 is such a has-been centerfire cartridge.
- The 30-06 is much, much too old for the 21st century
- It doesn’t shoot as hard as the 300 magnums
- It doesn’t shoot as soft as the 308 Winchester
The 30-06 Sucks Because, Well, It’s OLD And Slow!
Let’s face it, no one drives a Model T anymore, and that thing didn’t hit the streets until two years AFTER the 30-06 had been sending bullets limping down range. The 30-06 is literally a throwback to the horse and buggy days. The Model T could rip down the dusty trails of early America at a top speed of perhaps 45 mph. The 30-06 was similarly lethargic, pushing its original 150-grain bullet a mere 2,700 fps. That’s a plodding 1,841 mph. Ho hum. Yes, it’s true that today’s powders can nudge 150-grain bullets to 3,000 fps, but the 300 RUM can smoke them to 3,550 fps!
There Are Modern Options Better Than the 30-06
Honestly, why would anyone mess around with the antique 30-06 Springfield when they could enjoy an exciting, hot little number like the 300 Blackout? Shoots the same .308-inch diameter bullets as the -06, but a a much slower, light-recoil-producing velocity. The 150-grain slug referenced above exits a 300 Blackout at a comfortable 2,050 fps, and your shoulder hardly knows it left! If you feel the need more speed, run with the incredible 308 Winchester at 2,800 fps. Whooeee!
The 30-06 Sucks Even More Because It’s Not a 6.5mm Nor a 30-06 Creedmoor
Get with the times! If your cartridge is not a 6.5mm or doesn’t have Creedmoor in its name, it’s last century’s news. Seriously, nomenclature matters. Many new shooters justifiably gravitate toward popular names and numbers; the buzz, if you will. The staid, conventional 30-06 hasn’t buzzed since Ernest Hemingway felled a running rhino with one in 1933.
The Stupid 30-06 Shoots Bullets From 100-Grains to 220-Grains
Versatility might be useful in a professional baseball player, but rifle cartridges are expected to excel at one job and one job only. If you’re going to shoot coyotes at 300 yards, you don’t want to do it with the same cartridge that will fell a moose or brown bear at 10 yards. Seriously, 30-06 shooters have been known to do crazy things like load 110-grain bullets to fly at 3,400 fps, then download them to just 1,500 fps. This makes what’s supposed to be a big game rifle into some kind of a do-it-all varmint/rabbit/squirrel meat pot harvester and low-recoil practice rifle. Dumb. You should buy a specific rifle for a specific job.
The 30-06 Is Not A Magnum
Everybody knows the 300 Win. Mag., was released to the public because bullets from all the 30-06s were bouncing off whitetails and mule deer left and right. Elk? Don’t even go there. Heck, the non-magnum 30-06 was and is so anemic that the industry has found it necessary to surpass it with no fewer than eight additional Magnums from the 1925 300 H&H all the way up to the uber-magnum 30-378 Wby. Mag. released in 1996. Real men and women shoot 300 magnums, not Grandpa’s 30-06.
The 30-06 Is Not A 308 Winchester
Everyone who knows anything about ballistics knows the 30-06 sucks because its junior, the 308 Winchester (aka 30-06 Short,) throws the same bullets 200 to 300 fps slower, drops more at all ranges, and deflects more in the wind. As if that’s not enough to impress you, remember that the 308 Winchester is the best sniper round ever created. Heck, everybody knows that.
The 30-06 Kicks 6 F-P More Than 308!
Ouch! The 30-06 hurts! It will press against your shoulder with about 27 f-p of energy when shooting a 178-grain bullet. The friendlier 308 Winchester will only nudge you with about 21 f-p. And if you really want comfort, try the 22 Long Rifle rimfire. Nice!
The 30-06 Sucks Because It’s Not a Short-Action
The 30-06 is a LONG ACTION cartridge! Each cartridge is up to 3.340-inches long. That means it has to be run through the same long, slow, massively heavy actions as the 270 Winchester, 7mm Rem. Mag., and 300 Win. Mag. In stark contrast is the 308 Winchester of 1952, a fully modern, SHORT-ACTION cartridge! Instead of wasting all that time and motion bolting in a fresh 30-06 cartridge, you can shave 0.00017 seconds off your cycle time by ramming home another 308 round. This ensurers you’ll more quickly miss the buck running that you’d already missed standing. Speed matters. Maybe not in your bullet, but certainly in your bolt manipulation. The average 308 short action rifle is 4 ounces lighter than the average 30-06, too, so there.
Ron Spomer regrets that he’s been forced over the years to actually hunt with a 30-06 Springfield. He managed a lucky hit now and then, but he doesn’t recommend others suffer thusly.