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Discussion Starter #1
I know that the .308 is a very popular sniping round for both military and law enforcement, and i can understand why, BUT it seems to me that the 30-06 springfield seems to be overlooked for a military sniper round and I just dont understand why. Does the 30-06 offer better ballistics than the .308? or vise versa?

Chris P.
 

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Heh, you have just opened a can of worms with no real answer as to "why". But I'll offer some comments:

The .30-06 was the military round of choice for the USA for the first 2/3's of the 1900's. (M1903, M1, BAR, M1903A4, M1C/D, etc). Then something odd happened, the US military spent millions of dollars developing a new military round, which eventually became the .308 (7.62x51). Now, the 308 shoots the same bullet (.30 cal) as the -06 at less velocity, though it does fit in a short action. Now, the NATO adoption of the .308 has essentially doomed the -06 from any further military use.

In reality, the -06 is great, better even then the .308 and I'm a big fan of it. It shoots the same bullet a bit faster, though its not quite as effecient with powder burn as the 308. The .30-06 was the round of choice for sniping in the US military up until the adoption of the M40 and XM21 in about 1969.

hope that helps

MEL
 

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I think Mel said it. The 30'06 has better ballistics, but only slightly, and the 308 is more efficient. It achieves basically the same performance with 150-165gr. projectiles, and uses less powder to do so, which means less cost, recoil, and noise. But yeah, the 30'06 definitely beats the .308 ballistically.
 

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Mel & Hectorvictorious said it correctly. The only real determining factor between the two is balistics and the kick. If you are reaching out for 1,000 yards or beyond, the 30-06 is a better tool. Inside of 700 the .308 does it pretty much the same and kicks less getting it done.
 

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I have a book on reloading the .308 and it has a little story before the actual loading part and i discusses the history and adoption of the .308. Here are a few clips of what it says:

"The .308 is an extremely easy cartridge to reload. Like the .222 Remington and 6mm PPC, the .308 is an extremely accurate cartridge. In fact, it is proabably the most inherently accurate .30 caliber commercial cartridge ever produced. As a competitive cartridge, the .308 has been used in benchrest, highpower, long-range, silhouette, and 300 meter international matches."

"Though frequently compared to it, the .308 cannot match the performance of the 30'06. The differences between the two, however, is insignificant unless bullets if 180 grains or heavier are discussed. There, the 30'06's greater capacity and ability to use slower powders give it an undeniable edge."

So...from what i understand, unless you are shooting 800+ yards (which most civilians don't do anyways) the .308 can do what the 30'06 does just as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you too all of you who responded to my question! I know totaly understand the differences and simularities of the .308 and 30-06

Thanks again Chris
 
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Don't forget that at the time of the adoption of the .308 round, it was considered a superior cartridge due to the fact that the newly developed powders utilized therein were more efficient. It was also adopted to be used predominantly as an infantry battle rifle round in th M14, AR-10, etc. and was better suited for that purpose as the short action design lended itself better to automatic fire and inherent controllability. As to it being a sniper round, when did this actually occur? Recall that we were still using the Springfield '03 and Winchester 70s to snipe with in Vietnam. I cannot imagine that the converted M14s used as snipers were seen to have better ammunition, as it is clearly seen that the old '06 soundly trounced its little brother.
 

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If you've talked with or read any of the books involving snipers in Viet Nam, you'll see that the transition to the .308, at least in the USMC, was met with fairly strong resistance. Most of the guys that I interacted with felt that they had to give back 150-200 yards of effective range by switching to the .308.
 
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They certainly would have lost a bit of performance, but some of that resistance was probably due to a form of nostalgia. Remember too that no one wanted to give up their wood stocks in favor of those new plastic ones back in the '60's-early '70s. And look- predominantly all sniper rifles are now issued with extremely strong composite stocks. And I do not know anyone who regrets the transition.
 

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.30-06 has simply been around longer, and on any ballistics charts looks superior, pushing a heavier bullet at faster velocities, retaining more energy at extended ranges, drifting less in the wind, shooting on a flatter trajectory etc looks impressive
the .308 is more accurate, kicks less, fits into a short action etc
both are damn good though
im no expert but id prefer the 308
 

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The .308, 30-06, and 300 winchester are all fine cartridges. The key would be what ranges are you intending to use them and what's the target at that range. You can certainly shoot paper with a .308 at 1,000 yards. Shooting anything other than paper with the .308 at 600 yards plus will likely only injure them. Conversely, the 30-06 retains more energy and killing power well beyond where it is safe to venture with the .308. Then again, the 300 Winchester takes you well beyond the 30-06 in both range and retained energy. Like I said it comes down to what you are doing, why you are doing it, and how far away its happening.
 

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Jeffvn said:
You can certainly shoot paper with a .308 at 1,000 yards. Shooting anything other than paper with the .308 at 600 yards plus will likely only injure them.
My sister dropped a very nice bull caribou at almost 500yds. w/a .223, one shot.
The .308 has more stopping power hands down. The USMC, as far as I know, lists the effective range of their M40a3 as 1000yds., the army M24 as 800yds.
 

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And I thought no body was reading my posts. I wasn't talking about shooting people. I was talking about hardy critters like deer, elk, bear. Sorry if I created confusion.

The USMC considers the M40A3 effective against people out to 1,000 yards. The M40A1 was not as effective at that range. The M118 or whatever ammo we were using then just didn't get it done as well as today's ammunition can.
 

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i think Marines say M40A1 and M40A3 have max effective range of 1000y (915m) and Army says M24 has max effective range of 875y (800m)
probably marines just claim its higher than the army claims but i would guess that 1000y is within the effective range of either of the 3 rifles, and i think all 3 are just about as accurate as the others
might even want to add 100y onto the marines max effective range,make it around 1000m
 

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The cartridge (.308) is what is puking at 1000 yards more then the rifle. But, in good weather, we routinely practiced beyond 1000 meters (nearly 1100 yards) with good success. But bring on the wind and variable weather conditions, things get much more tricky at those ranges with .308

MEL
 

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how far would the .30-06 be effective out to with modern rilfe/match ammo (not older sniper rifle w/ old ammo) if there are any modern sniper rifles chambered for it
 

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You are adding right at 100 fps at the muzzle over the .308, so the yardage gain depends upon the bullet being used. If you are using the 175 Sierra MK, that additional 100 fps at the muzzle buys you an additional 50 fps at 1,000 yards and reduces the holdover by 28 inches (assuming a 300 yard zero) based upon my trusty external balistics calculator.
 
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