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#5971465 - 10/11/15 07:53 AM best 30 caliber??
bholland Offline


Registered: 06/21/09
Posts: 68
Loc: Hill Country
I am looking to acquire a 30 caliber rifle for long distance shooting and elk hunting, since some states require that caliber. I have narrowed it down to the venerable 30-06 and the 308. I have shot neither one very much so I am looking for suggestions. Which one would you go with and why?

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#5971475 - 10/11/15 08:04 AM Re: best 30 caliber?? [Re: bholland]
Anton Chigurh Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 06/22/14
Posts: 360
Loc: Stephenville
You're going to get a lot of differing opinions here. 30-06 vs 308 is a debate that's been running for decades I think.

IMO, for LR hunting (how far do you mean really) the biggest thing is going to be how you correlate Point of aim with POI. this would have to be addressed with your optics and lots of practice, or alternatively with a fast, flat shooting caliber set to MPBR. Go read the current Weatherby thread running for more info on what I mean. 308 is certainly not a flat shooting caliber.

That's all I know, other here will have a lot more to add I'm sure

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#5971511 - 10/11/15 08:33 AM Re: best 30 caliber?? [Re: bholland]
bholland Offline


Registered: 06/21/09
Posts: 68
Loc: Hill Country
When I say long distance I mean 300-400 yards. The longest shot I have ever taken successfully is currently 245 yards and that was on a coyote with my 22-250.
90% of what I shoot is with my bow at close range, i just want the ability to rifle hunt elk and in some states that requires a 30 caliber so....

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#5971517 - 10/11/15 08:40 AM Re: best 30 caliber?? [Re: bholland]
Gravytrain Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 01/06/11
Posts: 21878
Loc: Rowlett, Tx
Just forget the 30 and get a 7mm-08, but if you must do a 30, get the .308

Done period, don't listen to any other opinions, just mine peep

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#5971519 - 10/11/15 08:41 AM Re: best 30 caliber?? [Re: bholland]
TCB Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 09/01/04
Posts: 1681
Loc: Denton, TX
30/06 will handle everything you're asking for and its popular enough that ammo can be found almost everywhere.
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#5971521 - 10/11/15 08:42 AM Re: best 30 caliber?? [Re: bholland]
Cleric Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 03/11/12
Posts: 2847
I think either would be fine. 308 is nice since it's everywhere. 30-06 has more power. Both are time tested rounds.


With that I may look at the 7mm-08 for my back up gun.

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#5971527 - 10/11/15 08:56 AM Re: best 30 caliber?? [Re: bholland]
nsmike Online   content
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 05/02/12
Posts: 4399
Loc: MN
Stop with the recommendations of anything less than .30 caliber. The OP's concern is that some states require .30 caliber for elk, it's to be bought as an elk rifle, anything less than .30 is illegal.
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#5971539 - 10/11/15 09:09 AM Re: best 30 caliber?? [Re: bholland]
10ring Offline
Tracker

Registered: 11/19/12
Posts: 840
Loc: Pilot Point, TX
Go with a 300 win mag and cover every base... It can shoot lighter loads well and it will obviously deliver very heavy loads with a lot more energy. I shoot many calibers but if I had to narrow it down to only one it would be my 300 win.

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#5971542 - 10/11/15 09:10 AM Re: best 30 caliber?? [Re: bholland]
FiremanJG Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 21142
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
Load the .308 Win with a 180 gr bullet and it can push it 2680 fps MV.
Load the .30-06 with a 180 gr bullet and it can push it 2800 fps MV
Load the .300 Win Mag with a 180 gr bullet and it can push it 3000 fps MV

So you kept the bullet's weight and BC the same, and as you step up in cartridge size you increas bullet velocity. Increasing velocity decreases bullet drop and wind drift, it also increases energy delivery on soft tissue. However it increases recoil. Looking at pure performance the 300 Win Mag is the clear winner. If you want to reduce recoil as much as possible then go with the .308 Win. If you want the midground between the low end and the upper end, then go with a .30-06

It's just that simple.
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#5971546 - 10/11/15 09:11 AM Re: best 30 caliber?? [Re: bholland]
kmon1 Online   content
junior

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 21726
Loc: Texas
For a primary elk rifle 0f the 2 I would go with 30-06.
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#5971549 - 10/11/15 09:12 AM Re: best 30 caliber?? [Re: bholland]
Gone to Texas Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 07/05/13
Posts: 2639
Loc: Hurst
Personally, I don't see any upside to a 30-06 when compared to a .308. If I was willing to take the recoil of a 30-06 I would just get a .300 Win Mag and be done with it.
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#5971570 - 10/11/15 09:26 AM Re: best 30 caliber?? [Re: bholland]
FiremanJG Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 21142
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
I used a good ole 180 gr. Sierra Game King spire point boattail with a BC of .501

.308 Win 2700 fps MV

300 yards 1901 ft/lbs
400 yards 1630 ft/lbs

.30-06 2800 fps MV

300 yards 2057 ft/lbs
400 yards 1769 ft/lbs

.300 Win Mag 3000 fps MV

300 yards 2386 ft/lbs
400 yards 2062 ft/lbs

But if I were going to run a .300 Win Mag I would put a 210 gr Berger in it, push it around 2950 fps MV. Then you get...

300 yards 2944 ft/lbs
400 yards 2629 ft/lbs
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#5971582 - 10/11/15 09:37 AM Re: best 30 caliber?? [Re: bholland]
QuitShootinYoungBucks Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 11/01/12
Posts: 7677
Loc: Lubbock, TX
I don't see the 06 as being enough better to warrant the recoil increase. Of your two, I'd go .308
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#5971644 - 10/11/15 10:33 AM Re: best 30 caliber?? [Re: bholland]
Brother in-law Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 26177
Of the two you want the 3006 has a slight edge BUT to me that edge is not nearly enough to take on the extra recoil and the necessary 4" of barrel length to make it work to its best.
I would take a 20-22" 308.

All opinions

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#5971667 - 10/11/15 10:55 AM Re: best 30 caliber?? [Re: bholland]
Big Fitz Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 12/06/09
Posts: 2191
Loc: McKinney, TX
30-06 of the two listed. Elk are big tough animals so go with the one that offers higher MV and energy. Also check with Elk guides and I'm sure they will give you the same advice between the two choices you mentioned.
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