Since my youth I’ve watched and even participated in the debate over .308 Winchester versus .30-06 Springfield. The military debated it. The target shooters debated it. The hunters most certainly debated it.A modern take on the old discussion can be found here. When in doubt, do what I did. Own each. It largely renders the discussion moot.

28 COMMENTS

  1. “When in doubt, do what I did. Own each.”

    I am ashamed to have to admit it but, I don’t own either.

    This is not to say that I avoid owning .30 (or near .30) caliber rifles. In fact, I own seven (7).

    (1) I have three semi-automatic firearms chambered for the 7.62X39 cartridge.
    (2) I have one bolt action rifle (a SMLE) chambered for the .303 British cartridge.
    (3) I have two bolt action rifles (variants of the Mosin-Nagant) chambered for the 7.62X54R cartridge.
    (4) and I have a Ruger M-77 chamber for the .300 RCM cartridge.

    Despite owning all the soviet caliber firearms, and no 30-06 or .308, I am not Russian. I just like to take the “Road less Traveled” when it comes to firearms! 🙂 Besides, you can buy the steel-case Russian ammo cheap (at least, until recently) and I can’t resist bargain guns or ammo.

    The SMLE and Mosin-Nagant rifles approach the .308 in power. The .300 RCM will outclass even the 30-06 with factory ammo. It is a powerful rifle. I shot a bison with it in October 2017. The bullet entered the side of the neck at the base of the skull. It broke the top of the spine, blew out the back of the skull, destroyed the brain-stem and caused so much pressure that the front of the skull was cracked and the right eye bulged out from the socket. Needless to say, the bison went down in its tracks. It was DRT.

    The 300 RCM is often thought of as a “short” .300 Winchester Magnum. It might be closer to the truth, however, to think of it as a .308 on steroids because it uses a short case and is designed to perform from short barrels. For example, my M-77 only has a 20 inch barrel. It sounds like a howitzer when you set it off!

    • I knew it! TN_MAN is really a Russian agent, just like his hero the diabolical Donaldmir Trumpolov. By admitting he owns many Soviet rifles, he has confessed to being a slimy Commie. I do own a Poly Tech semi-auto AK-47 sidefolder and many rounds of 7.62X39 ammo, but I’m not a ChiCom. However having more than two firearms in Russian calibers makes one highly suspect. Watch out for this guy 😉

      • Actually, only one rifle is Soviet. One of the Mosin-Nagants.
        Two (2) of them: An SKS and a Mosin-Nagant carbine are of ChiCom manufacture.
        The SMLE is, of course, British.
        However, Three of the firearms are American made. This includes a Ruger Mini-Thirty, a C39v2 (an American made AK) and the Ruger M-77.

        Perhaps I am an evil Globalist, pushing for the New World Order, instead of a Russian Agent? 🙂

      • Ah soo! Then your heroes would be George W. Bush and George Soros. Both good comrades. I wonder now if Joe Biden is a Commie or a Globie? In any case, he’s still corrupt and stupid, easily meeting the requirements for either group.

      • Oops! I meant George H.W. Bush. However, Bush 43 may be a sleazy Globalist also, just like his father, Bush 41.

      • That YouTube video was very funny. Now I know where a lot of Bloomberg’s and Soros’ money was spent on. Obviously that extravagant parade was expertly staged by a Broadway director and the props were great. I do believe that was the largest gathering of transvestites portraying Amazons and there was even a little kid in costume marching with them. The hair on the Trump float’s head was even better styled than our President’s actual fair locks. Thanks.

  2. I have a .308 (26 inch Remington Varmiter HB with Magpull furniture Swarovski scope) cause I can find plenty of brass to reload on the ranges I frequent. If I need more power than the .308 I go to something A LOT BIGGER. .300 WM at least.

  3. I was looking for a .308 but ended up with a 30-06 because that was the only left hand bolt action rifle they had in the store – and the only LH bolt action in any of the gun stores in the town…

  4. The ’06 has a lot going for it, especially hand loaded. Everything from nearly silent subsonics without sound supression, to 22 mag power level lead round balls, to tooth rattling t-rex loads. I imagine similar effects are available in .308, but I’ve not had reason to bother. Yet.

  5. I have both. 1955 Springfield Armory M1 Garand and a home-built AR10 in .308/7.62X51 with a Polymer80 lower.

  6. Yeah, they are both great. My first gun (at age 37) was an Ishapore 2A1. That’s an SMLE, made in India in 1967, and chambered for 7.62 NATO instead of .303 British. Learning from Jeff Cooper’s books, I would work the bolt without lifting or even moving the gun from my shoulder. I wouldn’t even turn my head, and the rear of the bolt would not smack me in the eye, which means my glasses. I was pleasantly surprised I could do the same thimg with the longer case .30-’06 in my two Ruger M-77 Hawkeyes.

    • I know that rifle.. and I found one in a pawn shop for real cheap. Excellent condition. Not certin but I seem to remember counting out five pictures of General Grant for it. I had thought about getting one of the BSA .303 Brit, but i’ve never been impressed with that anaemic round. The move to the NATO for the India service rifle was a good one.
      Ive always been partial to the .30/06 partly because of the time and relatives with whom I grew up. Most had been in the war, and of course the Garand was THE TOOL for those guys. I remember seeing decommissioned 1903 Springfields in gun shops for as cheap as $25, shoulda bouthg one but never did. Garands were the expensive” ones at almost a HUNDRED BUCKS. Oh had I been smart enogh to buy a few dozen at THAT price/ Cousins and uncles all had 1903’s with Monte Carlo stocks, and cepa scopes. They all got their deer, elk, bear, every year with those. Of couree.. my first real rifle was a NEW BSA sporter, in.. yup, .30/06 wiht a sweet pretty Monte Carlo stock. Bought it new from a gun store in downtown Port Orchard, where y cousin went. Even brought it in to Canada when I moved there. .. legally!! Brought ti bac when I came back, then stupid me sold it to a friend for $450 It was pristine. I wasn’t using it…. silly me. He got in a bind and offed it to a mutual friend for a buck and half… and when THAT friend died I had not known he had it. If I did I’d have bought it back from his widow,SHe probably would haev given it me.

      One of Dad’s brohters had served in the Pacific Theater, and was a sniper. He saw action as our forces warched their way across the Pacifc toward Japan. Somehow he was never hit. He had brought his sniper rifle back with him when he mustered out. He hand loaded, ALWAYS got his game, whatever it was, Out shooting one time when we were visiting, he brought that rifle and a Reemington 870 in twelve… Dad tried some clays with it, then I did.. did half decent. Next my little sister decided SHE wanted to try it. Dad pitched, she missed the first three, and Uncle could not stand it any more. He picked up his 1903 and AFTER sister had missed, withthe clay scoting AWAY from him, he’d shatter that clay in the air. I had no idea how difficult that is, it was just what Uncles did. I was 15 at the time Now, with a bit of experience under ny belt, I have somewhat of a notion how skilled that man was.

  7. I haven’t bought anything in .308, yet but I’m sure now that Mass says to own both my spouse will see the wisdom in my future M14 clone purchase.

  8. I believe the .308 Winchester functions better in a semi-auto rifle while the .30-06 works better in manually operated guns. The .30-06 is a bit more powerful depending on how it’s loaded and the length of the rifle’s barrel. The .308 was designed for the M-14 as an improvement over the M1 Garand so it works better in a semi-auto action.

    I have both calibers, a .30-06 in a reconditioned Springfield 1903-A3 with new barrel and C type stock, and several .308 caliber rifles in both semi-auto and bolt action. Many factory bolt actions in .308 are available with heavy barrels while few are made in .30-06, the only one I know of being the Remington 700 Sendero. By the way, the Remington 700 with a heavy barrel in .308 with it’s factory H-S Precision or Bell & Carlson stock would group 1/2″ or less at 100 yards with good ammunition. I have owned 5 of these rifles, two with 20″ barrels, two with 26″ barrels and an older model with 24″ barrel and wood stock which I glass bedded the action and free floated the barrel. This older gun would group 1/4″ at 100 yards on a regular basis. I still have a 20″ and 26″ model and laugh at the people who paid several thousand bucks for a custom rifle which may not group 1/2 MOA at 100 yards. I did have two Steyr SSG rifles, a standard and a match model and both would easily shoot under 1/2″ at 100 yards, but only with 180 and 190 grain bullets . I tried some 168 grain Sierra Match King bullets but could only get 1 1/4″ groups at 100 yards. The best buy in an accurate .308 rifle is the Remington 700 with heavy barrel and H-S or B&C stock. I don’t trust the Hogue stock which comes on some 20″ barreled models as it doesn’t have the aluminum bedding block that the H-S and B&C has.

  9. My choice of a one-only high-powered rifle to be carried is the .30-06. The cartridge is most likely to be found on store shelves about anywhere. Plus the option of 220-grain, or even 240-grain bullets. I had a couple of glass-bedded Sako bolt actions that shot consistent 1/2 inch groups at 100 yards with 180-grain Hornady maximal loads using a Leopold scope. Now I am back to an original Remington 760 (pump action) with 22-in. barrel, 14 locking lugs, steel ejection port cover (deep cold less likely to crack it), and detachable magazines. Very handy for trail carry and decidedly quick to cycle, 2 critical features in bear country. Possibly still transportable through Canada when encased unloaded with a cable lock through an opened action. It has been as dependable in its way as a controlled-round-feed bolt action. So far, so good, anyway. I only use either factory or fully resized cases, though. For greatest reliability, I clean the rifle throughout with Gun Scrubber and lubricate it with pure graphite. You Tube is very useful for guidance.

  10. I have both calibers covered with an M1 Garand for 30’06 and an Armscorp M14 for .308. The .308 is cheaper to reload for range matches.

    PS Whit, LOL

  11. Other than a couple of A-10s, two HK-91s and a custom 300 WM, my 30 cals are all ‘06! I really wish I had built the 300 WM in 30-06 as I would use it a lot more. I’m too old to chase elk in the mountains and it’s way too much for whitetails. My go to rifle is a Steyre synthetic stocked rotary clip 30-06 with an old 3-9 Zeiss. It loves the Hornady 165 gr and will easily drill 1/2. Groups at 100 yards.

    Nothing wrong with the 308, but give me he ‘06 any day!

  12. Of the many rifles I have, if I could only have one, it would be my SIG 716. It’s chambered for the .308 Winchester which is very accurate and widely available. With it’s 16″ barrel the SIG 716 isn’t that powerful but good enough to take out medium game animals or human enemies at 700 yards with good hits. The rifle holds 20 cartridges and can be reloaded quickly with readily available magazines, and with it’s piston operation, much more reliable than a direct gas system like the AR-10’s and AR-15’s. A scope can easily be mounted low on the SIG 716 unlike the Galil AR and M-14/M1A which is awkward to use. Mine has a NightForce SHV 3X-10X scope with illuminated reticle and using high quality ammo can shoot groups under one MOA at 100 yards all day long. Good backup iron sights are included.

    My ideal one only rifle would be a Steyr AUG in .308 Winchester with a 20″ heavy barrel. It would be accurate, reliable, and more compact and powerful than the SIG 716.

  13. I see that grizzlies reportedly killed two men in Alaska so far this year, in separate incidents, one in the last two weeks. Pepper spray inadequacies were documented in one of the deaths. A folding stock with a pistol grip on a pump-action or semiautomatic rifle or shotgun is a very good way to make the weapon quicker and handier to deploy. The closer an attacking bear is, the more challenging a good first shot, and therefore fast repeat shots are all the more important, if you can get them. A compact bullpup Steyr AUG in .308 Win with great bullets could be fairly ideal, or maybe an AUG converted to .358 Winchester, if feasible. A Ruger Scout rifle converted from .308 to .358 could be a more convenient plan. Hand cannons for pure self-defense could be handier, but maybe less useful for protecting human companions or dogs.

    • @ Straegic Steve – ” A compact bullpup Steyr AUG in .308 Win with great bullets could be fairly ideal, or maybe an AUG converted to .358 Winchester, if feasible.”

      Is the Steyr AUG available in 7.62 NATO (.308 WIN) caliber?

      All of the AUG’s that I have ever seen (or read about) were chambered in the 5.56 NATO caliber. I do understand that a variant was made in 9mm but I have never seen one.

      Styer makes a number of other models in .308 but I did not think that they did so with the AUG. Clearly, a rifle in 5.56 NATO would be a poor choice for bear defense.

      • AUGs may not be available in 7.62×51. I have previously looked for it on the Web and didn’t find a reference. Hope springs eternal, though. Tom606 above reminded me of the idea. Maybe Tom knows some more. Possibly Steyr will build one, if they haven’t already. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an AUG come out in 6.8 RPC, at least, if that cartridge catches increasingly on. Winterhawk above mentions a Steyr rotary clip rifle in .30-06 that I have not heard of before. That would probably be a real gem for reliability.. So many good firearms have come out of Austria over the years.

      • Well, one rifle that would work for bear defense is the Springfield Armory Tanker. See this link:

        https://www.springfield-armory.com/m1a-series-rifles/m1a-socom-16-rifles/m1a-tanker-308-rifle

        It is not a bullpup but, with an overall length of only 37.25 inches, it is still plenty short and handy. With good ammo, ten rounds of 7.62 NATO (.308 WIN) ought to kill any bear that has ever walked the Earth (assuming one is cool enough to center-punch the bear with those rounds).

        The only drawback is the weight (8 lbs. 9 oz.). With open sights, that is fairly heavy for a carbine. With 10 rounds of .308 in the magazine, the weight would be around 9 lbs.

        Still, the weight would moderate the recoil as you pumped the rounds into the bear. So, that would not be all bad.

      • Guys, the Steyr AUG is unfortunately not available in .308 Winchester. I wish it was and only mentioned it as my ideal rifle. I have a couple of AUGs both in .223/5.56X45 and as TN_MAN mentioned, there was a 9X19mm conversion listed but I’ve never seen one. The AUG could be made in .300 Blackout and possibly .224 Valkyrie and 6.8 SPC, or any cartridge based on the .223 Remington and 6.8 SPC (.30 Remington) case. I do have a stainless Ruger Scout with 18″ barrel in .308 with an old Burris 2.75X scope with would make a very nice manually operated ‘Only One’ rifle as there are 5 and 10 round detachable magazines for it.

  14. My dad must have bought one of the very first Savage 99F rifles that came out in .308 way back when. I have no idea why he chose that rifle or caliber, maybe because the military had adopted the 7.62 NATO round. But that rifle has accounted for an untold number of dee, a few antelope, and one rooster pheasant that thought he was safe at 100 or so yards. Dad leaned over the hood of the truck and tried to headshoot him. At the report of the rifle the late rooster started flopping around on the ground. As I was the retriever back then (aged maybe 6 or 7) dad said, “Go get him,” so I ran out and picked him up. He was untouched. Apparently the shockwave of the bulllet passing a whisker width over his head killed him. That is one of those family stories that has been told hundreds of times over the years.

    Since then I took my first deer with that rifle and so have my three sons. In practical terms there is no appreciable difference between the .308 and the .30-’06, and no game animal hit with a bullet from either will know the difference, but that won’t stop the debate.

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