Is the .30-’06 Springfield Dead?

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Is the .30-’06 still viable? Shown here is a combination of premium .30-’06 ammunition with an all-weather Winchester Model 70 Classic Stainless rifle.

To purchase .30-’06 ammunition on GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=30-06%20ammunition

To purchase a .30-’06 rifle on GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=30-06%20rifle

In this day and age of short magnums, super-short magnums, long cartridges, fat cartridges and everything in between, it seems logical that some of our tried-and-true favorites may have become obsolete. I mean, we’ve had a century to improve upon some of these old designs, so certainly newer must equal better, right? There seems to be a specialized cartridge for just about every conceivable role. Brush-busting heavy projectiles for relatively close-in game? Flat-shooting and accurate rounds for long range? The list of cartridges and specific roles could go on and on. So, is there still a place for the “old” .30-’06?

The .30-'06 is great performer on target. Shown is a bullet lineup, recovered from ballistic gelatin.

Shown is a .30-’06 bullet lineup, recovered from ballistic gelatin.

Well, I like to put it this way: There are some wonderful new developments, but there are absolutely no flies on the classics, especially with the modern developments in projectiles and powders. I can’t think of a better example of a classic cartridge—that is wonderfully versatile—than the .30-’06 Springfield.

There is an issue with the .30-’06 Springfield: It’s boring. Wonderfully, predictably, perfectly boring. It is, quite possibly, the best blend of muzzle velocity, manageable recoil, useful bullet choices and flat trajectory around. It’s true that I’ve long been a champion of both the .308 Winchester (for the closer range whitetails and black bears in my native New York) as well as the .300 Winchester Magnum (for long range work and/or situations that may require a bit more horsepower), but I can honestly say that any hunting shot I’ve ever made with either of those cartridges could’ve been handled by my .30-’06. Frankly stated, within sane hunting ranges, a .30-’06 Springfield will handle 95% of your hunting scenarios, save the true big game like hippo, Cape buffalo and elephant, and though there may be better choices for the Alaskan brown bears, the ’06 has taken many of them cleanly.

Why would a military cartridge—bred over a century ago—serve so well in the hunting fields, and why would it stay at the forefront of ammunition and rifle sales 110 years after its inception? In fact, despite its age, the .30-’06 Springfield still represents one of the most popular selling cartridges. According to Federal Premium’s recent sales records, it ranks at No. 3 in ammunition sales, behind only the .223 Remington/5.56mm NATO and .308 Winchester/7.62x51mm NATO rounds.

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The heavier 180- and 200-grain premium slugs are a great choice for elk, bears, moose and larger African plains game.

Many component bullet companies use the .30-’06 case as the benchmark for bullet performance testing, and as stated in the “Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading, 8th Edition”, “The .30-’06 has the largest variety of suitable powders of the cartridges listed in the Hornady handbook, which illustrates the efficiency of the cartridge.”

Often times, when a new big game rifle is introduced, we gun writers will receive a model chambered in .30-’06 for testing and evaluation, so universal is the performance of the cartridge. It has been offered in virtually every type of rifle action, and I would be willing to wager that this won’t change anytime soon. So, let’s look at the history and design of the cartridge, and perhaps that will give some insight to the usefulness of the ‘ought-six.’

Born of War

The Spanish-American War, especially those battles fought on the island of Cuba, showed the superiority of the 7x57mm Mauser cartridge that the Spanish used over the .30-40 Krag that was the U.S. Army’s choice at the time. Military research began here in the United States, and while the case head of the new cartridge in development showed many attributes of the Mauser design, the Army lengthened the Mauser case to 65mm, or 2.54 inches, and retained the 220-grain round nose bullet of the Krag design, but at 2,300 feet per second (fps) instead of the Krag’s 2,000 fps muzzle velocity. This was designated Cartridge, Ball, Caliber .30, Model of 1903, shortened to .30-’03. It was this cartridge that Theodore Roosevelt took to Africa, in a Winchester Model 1895 lever-action, for his 1909-1910 safari made famous in his classic African Game Trails. While the .30-’03 was a definite advantage over the Krag cartridge, the U.S. Army soon saw the European military powers make the switch from heavy-for-caliber, round nosed bullets to lighter, spitzer bullets, increasing the effective range of the soldier’s rifles. In 1906, the Army made the switch that would hook us hunters for the next century plus; the case was shortened to 63mm (2.494”), and built the load around a 150-grain spitzer bullet, at a muzzle velocity of 2,700 fps.

The .30-06 was born for war and served in the trenches of World War I and beyond. Image courtesy the Imperial War Museum.

The .30-’06 was born of war and served in the trenches of World War I and beyond. Image courtesy the Imperial War Museum.

The military success of this cartridge—in a pair of world wars as well as the Korean dustup—is very easy to recognize, but as a hunting round this cartridge (and its flexibility) would set the benchmark for many challengers to come. It can be housed in virtually any style of rifle, from single shot to bolt-action, lever-actions and pumps, as well as a variety of autoloaders. It can make a rifle capable of handling varmints and predators (though not the optimal choice, it will still work), and it will handle the lighter-weight dangerous game like bears, mountain lions and leopards (for which it may be absolutely perfect), but it’s on the game that sits in between those two categories where the .30-’06 most certainly shines.

The ‘aught-six’ makes a fantastic whitetail rifle—it is a staple here in the Northeast, where bears are also on the menu—as well as a great choice for elk and moose-size game. With the sleek, light-for-caliber bullets, it can cleanly take distant antelope on the prairie, yet when loaded with a heavyweight round nose, it will generate enough horsepower to handle animals the size of an eland in the bushveld of South Africa and Zimbabwe or a moose in the swamps of Quebec. It has enough case capacity to make it a flat-shooting cartridge, within sane hunting ranges, so for a shooter who may be uncomfortable the recoil of a .300 Winchester Magnum or 7mm Remington Magnum, it makes a perfectly viable choice of all-around rifle. It is the father of so many wonderful sons, like the .270 Winchester, .280 Remington, .35 Whelen and .25-’06 Remington, yet as the head of the household, the bullet choices for the .30-’06 surpass any other caliber.

A Wide Range of Useful Projectiles

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The wide and diverse selection of .308 caliber projectiles will help to wring the most versatility out of the .30-’06 case.

Being .30 caliber is a great thing, as the bullets range between 100 and 250-grains at the extremes, with some fantastic choices in between. The lighter bullets, between 100 and 130 grains, have traditionally been used for the varmints, predators and smaller species. The lower Sectional Density figures ensure that these bullets will upset quickly, to deliver all kinds of hydraulic shock, and as these species are usually smaller to begin with, penetration isn’t an issue. The lighter bullet weights translate into a higher muzzle velocity, and a flatter trajectory.

The bullets in the 140- to 165-grain range are what most deer hunters rely on to make the .30-’06 shine, as they have enough weight to reach the vitals and shoot flat enough to reach out and touch that buck across a hay lot. The 150-grain loadings usually run somewhere around the 2,900 fps mark, while the 165-grain stuff flies about 100 fps slower, but has a bit more weight to ensure penetration. Those 165-grain slugs, when properly constructed, can be used on game up to the size of moose and elk—but we’ll talk more about construction in just a bit.

The 165- to 190-grain bullets are just about perfect for the aforementioned large cervids, as well as handling black bear and African plains game very well. The 180-grain bullets, both the standard cup-and-core designs as well as the premium bullets of all sorts, have made a fantastic choice for the .30-’06 Springfield; it is this weight of bullet that many elk, moose and bear guides, as well as most African Professional Hunters, would recommend as just about the perfect combination for general hunting purposes. Running at a muzzle velocity of right around 2,700 fps, the 180-grain loads will yield just under 3,000 ft.-lbs. of energy at the muzzle, and offer a trajectory that is flat enough for a general hunting rifle.

A 200-grain Swift A-Frame bullet.

A 200-grain Swift A-Frame bullet.

Bullets weighing 200 grains and more are usually reserved for the biggest game one would hunt with the Springfield, as these longer slugs will deliver the deep penetration needed to break the larger shoulder bones and reach the vitals of the larger species. The classic .30-’06 loading of a 220-grain, round nosed bullet, at a muzzle velocity of 2,300 to 2,400 fps, made a fantastic reputation among the hunters of the early decades of the 20th century, with good cause: the recoil is mild enough to allow the shooter to accurately place his or her shots, and that muzzle velocity has shown—among many cartridges using a long, heavy-for-caliber bullet—to be just about perfect for the cup-and-core bullets of my grandfather’s day. In short, there was little chance of premature bullet breakup, due to low impact velocities and high Sectional Density figures.

The Construction Zone

When the .30-’06 Springfield was developed, the choices of projectile were limited at best. The military full metal jacket was obviously available, and while that style of bullet can be extremely useful to the target crowd, it doesn’t really help the hunter, as it offers no expansion, and makes a poor choice for a quick kill. The expanding bullets were of two types: A soft point, with a small amount of exposed lead core at the nose to allow for expansion to destroy tissue; or as a hollowpoint, for quicker expansion. Both styles however, had the same construction method: A lead core surrounded by a copper jacket. This would be the case until the late 1940s, when Mr. Nosler had a frustrating experience with a bull moose and failing soft-points, and developed the now-famous Nosler Partition. That encounter led to an entire industry of “premium” bullets; one which would shake the foundations of what we had come to expect from the hunting cartridges championed by the classic writers.

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The premium hunting ammunition, from such companies as Norma and Federal, will make an already great cartridge even more potent.

These bullets – performing much more reliably than their predecessors – make a cartridge like the .30-’06 more effective than it had been before. While they don’t change the muzzle velocities or energy figures, the structural integrity of these premium offerings allow a lighter-weight projectile to give the terminal performance of what was expected of much heavier cup-and-core bullets. If the .30-’06 was a solid performer with standard bullets, it became even better when mated with the premiums.

The aforementioned Nosler Partition is a perfect mate for the .30-’06 case; a 180-grain Partition at 2,700 fps or so will handle the lion’s share of animals that the average hunter will have the opportunity to pursue. With a pair of lead cores separated by a wall of copper jacket metal, the Partition will give good expansion up front, while leaving the rear core intact for the deep penetration we all appreciate. Similarly, the fabulous Swift A-Frame shares the same concept, but with a thicker jacket and the front core bonded to the jacket. I find the Swift A-Frame to be among the finest bullets on the market today. Federal Premium loads the Partition for the ’06, and Remington’s Safari line includes the 180-grain A-Frame.

Federal Premium's 180-grain Nosler Partition load makes a fantastic all-around choice.

Federal Premium’s 180-grain Nosler Partition load makes a fantastic all-around choice.

There are also plenty of good spitzer boat tails, with strong bonded cores and polymer tips, which can transform the aught-six into a rather flat shooter, with the strength to deliver the terminal ballistics any hunter would like. The Swift Scirocco II, the Hornady InterBond, and the Nosler AccuBond represent this type of bullet, and even at 150 or 165 grains, will give the deer or sheep hunter confidence in just about any shot angle, as they will usually retain 85 to 90% of their weight, yet their high Ballistic Coefficient helps to fight the effects of a crosswind and maintain the velocity produced.

The monometal bullets work perfectly in the ’06; having no lead core to separate, they will definitely hold together well. You’re all more than likely familiar with the Barnes TSX and TTSX bullets, and they work just fine in the century-old case. The Federal Trophy Copper Tipped is another excellent and accurate choice, and has proved to be a great choice for those who choose factory ammunition. I like the 150-grain Cutting Edge Raptor, a hollowpoint bullet designed to have the walls of the ogive break into small blades for severe impact trauma, yet to have the base of the bullet remain at caliber dimension for nice penetration.

There are few “hybrid” designs, which are best described as having a smaller lead core at the front of the bullet, and a very heavy copper base. The Federal Trophy Bonded Bear Claw—a Jack Carter design—is a great example of this idea, as is the North Fork semi-spitzer. These bullets keep their weight forward, for good, straight-line penetration, yet expand enough to cause all sorts of trauma. I like these bullets for thicker-skinned animals, and I usually like them at 180 or 200 grains. Norma’s Oryx bullet is a hybrid design, being a traditional soft-point, but with the rear portion of the jacket bonded to core, to slow expansion. I’ve had nothing but good results with this bullet in the hunting fields.

The 150-grain Cutting Edge Raptor, fully capable of taking game up to and including elk.

The 150-grain Cutting Edge Raptor is fully capable of taking game up to and including elk.

The bullets lying at the extremes are interesting as well. Cutting Edge Bullets offers that same Raptor as a 100-grain bullet; this can be loaded as a hollowpoint, or turned around to be fired as a solid. Rather interesting concept, considering it can be pushed over 3,300 fps from an ’06! The 250-grain Barnes Original is a true heavyweight—I’m thinking black bears over bait—and will certainly be used as a short-range bullet.

There are also some traditional-style bullets that are a bit different. My good pal Kevin Hicks uses his 03-A3 sporter, loaded with 165-grain Sierra GameKing hollowpoints; this bullet features a thick jacket for integrity, but the open nose gives great expansion. Mr. Hicks has used this combination for quite a few whitetails, with good effect.

Roll Your Own

Handloading the .30-’06 is a rather simple procedure. It is a case that will run on nothing short of a multitude of powders; it also has enough case capacity to handle the longer, monometal bullets that are difficult to fit in the .308 Winchester. Over the decades, I’ve used powders from IMR3031—a faster burning rifle powder—to H4831SC and Reloder 22—both on the slower side of the chart—and many in between. My best results have come with IMR4350 and Reloder 19 for the 180-grain slugs, and I’ve used IMR4064, Reloder 15 and VARGET with some of the lighter bullets, giving very accurate groups.

Choose a good large rifle primer—I prefer the Federal GM210M match primer—and keep your brass trimmed to proper length, and it won’t be very long before you find a load that your rifle likes. Be sure, if you choose to use a premium bullet, to find proper data for that specific bullet, as the bearing surfaces and pressure curves can change quickly.

30-06 Loads

For reloading dies, I prefer the Redding Match set; it provides not only the tight tolerances for consistent dimensions when resizing cases, but includes a neck sizing die for the bolt-action rifles, and I’ve seen neck-sized cases cut a group size nearly in half. The micrometer-adjustable seating die gives uniform cartridge lengths; something that is very important with the monometal bullets that can show a sensitivity to seating depth. The .30-’06 has a nice, long neck—0.385”—so you’ll get good neck tension to keep your bullet in place, and I don’t feel that crimping your bullets is a necessity. Be sure to full-length resize your cases if you’re loading for anything but the bolt-action rifles, as the autoloaders and pumps lack the camming power to close the bolt.

The Wrap Up

In the author's opinion, the .30-'06 is, indeed, enough gun.

In the author’s opinion, the .30-’06 is, indeed, enough gun.

The .30-’06 Springfield is a cartridge that will be right at home in just about any hunt camp, whether in the shadowed hemlock forests of the Adirondacks, the mopane thickets of Zimbabwe or the shale slides of the Alaskan peaks. If truly big game is on the menu, you can easily pair it with a .375 H&H, .404 Jeffrey or one of the .416s, for a very versatile combination. There are other choices in the ’06 power range, like the 7mm Remington Magnum and .300 Winchester Magnum that offer a bit more velocity. But, if you have an accurate rifle in .30-’06 that fits you well, I’d be willing to bet you’ll be reaching for that rifle more often than not. So, I think it is safe to say the reports of the .30-’06’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Don’t you agree?

To purchase .30-’06 ammunition on GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=30-06%20ammunition

To purchase a .30-’06 rifle on GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=30-06%20rifle

Heavy and slow, the 220-grain Speer Hot Cor will handle larger game very well.

Heavy and slow, the 220-grain Speer Hot Cor will handle larger game very well.

Norma .30-'06 ammo, featuring the 165-grain Oryx bullet.

Norma .30-’06 ammo, featuring the 165-grain Oryx bullet.

{ 94 comments… add one }
  • Mark Tercsak December 31, 2016, 9:25 am

    The 30-06 is King , yes there maybe better, but I’am old enough now too have seen these better rounds fall by the way side.
    Lets not forget the 30-06 dispatched a lotta of our enemies!

  • Brent B December 21, 2016, 3:20 am

    Hope not! Gotta have ammo for my M1 Garand!

  • David Marriott September 13, 2016, 4:47 am

    Yes, the 30-06 can be loaded up to near .300 magnum specs. and down loaded to .308 Winchester specs. and is a great cartridge for all types of shooters! It’s accuracy, versatility and performance keeps improving with technology and time! My first High powered rifle, was a 30-06 pre64 Winchester, as a young man (@10 Years Old). I learned how to handle the recoil and as I got older and bigger, I didn’t notice it at all! Unfortunately, my son has comandeered the rifle and I don’t hardly shoot it anymore. …darned kids!

  • Thaddeus Taylor Jr. September 1, 2016, 5:09 pm

    I had a 1903-A3 in 3006 that I bought from DCM. I just gave it to my son. I am 92 .

    Thad Taylor

  • Mark From Bristol August 18, 2016, 10:14 pm

    It’s a funny thing. I’m thinking that I must have the only .30-06’s in the world, six of them. I have several different side and long arms, but my favorite are my .30-06’s. So where would I get the idea that I must have the only .30-06’s in the world? Every time that some anti-Constitution, anti-2nd Amendment kook like our president starts talking about gun control and confiscation and everyone runs and buys up the ammo, they all pass over the .30-06 ammo, which is always at good prices. 150, 165, 180 gr, I buy it all up. I’ve got about a truck load. When things start to cool down after the anti-gun zealots get kicked around and back off and other ammo starts to fill the shelves, I buy that too. .30-06 ammo? One day folks are going to ask where it all went, and although I’ll keep most of it for myself, I’ll offer to sell them some.

    True story. A few years ago when I bought my 6.5″ Smith .500 magnum, the place that I bought that one from told me up front that they didn’t have any ammo for it before I bought it. I asked them if they would like to buy some. I wasn’t joking. When things cool and calm down, buy ammo. But when things get nutso and the shelves get cleaned out except the .30-06, leave it…it’s mine. I won’t be happy until I have two trunk loads of it.

  • David Reddick August 17, 2016, 8:47 am

    I have had a 30.06 since 1966 when I purchased my first new deer rifle. My dad suggested I buy an upper end gun that would hold value as well as be extremely accurate for many years. I purchased a new Winchester Model 70 that had been in stock at a local hardware store for several years according to the owner of the store. I now have a Model 70 pre-64 that is one of the best shooters around. I also own a Browning BAR 30.06, Ruger M77 30.06 and a Browning Medallion 30.06…I have had “gun guys”
    tell me that the 30.06 is “out” and will be sending this article to many of them. GREAT ARTICLE!

  • Art Nickel August 16, 2016, 11:46 pm

    Let me make this perfectly clear, the 7.62x63mm is the best dangerous animal gun made in America for America, still. There is still good brass out there from the military and it still is capable of shooting farther than all but the best sniper’s can shoot. It can bring down a Brown Bear at 500 yards with one shot.
    Sure, there are newer and bigger rounds out there, and some will even leave a little meat on a small coastal deer. Why do I change from dangerous game to sub-100 pound deer? Because you can load anything from 115- to 230-grain bullets in the .30-06.
    Oh, and the 7.62x63mm thing? That is what it is called in Europe. Yup, same diameter as the .308, but with a whole lot more room for powder. Yes, I do like the .30-06. Is it dead? Hell no! If my arthritis let me I’d be hunting Mule Deer and Elk and Moose with it every year. Oh, it will also take sheep at 750 yards and pigs out to 600, but that kind of shooting takes a whole lot of practice. It may be over 100 years old, but it is still perhaps the best round America ever invented.

  • Norm Fishler August 16, 2016, 5:24 pm

    I have several and I would not consider letting any of them go. Well balanced, deadly and accurate with bullets from 110 to 220 grain, with today’s modern range of powders available to the reloader it is everything the old .300 H&H wanted to be. I don’t shoot it much anymore as the siren call of other calibers have recently captivated my attention, but for a one caliber, you-all/be-all/ do-all/end-all, one would be hard pressed to find anything better for North America.

  • Thor Odinson August 16, 2016, 4:31 pm

    Massaro–I grew up with Pappy’s “ought-six” stored behind the open door of our mountain cabin where we were told “don’t touch” and we didn’t unless Pappy asked we would like to walk up the draw past the outhouse and touch off a few!! Well, we were given .22’s at age 12 to replace those Red Ryder BB guns so we practically ran up the draw. WHAM! WHAM!–that ought six made our day. Pretty good impression on our shoulders too. Took it hunting one time. It was a sporterized Remington with a “star” barrel–what ever that is. My army DI took us out to learn to shoot the M1 Garand and as those steel silhouettes were flattened with one round each he came over to me and started yelling. The wind must be helping me out!! So I did it again! He felt like he had nothing to teach–and he was right. Later in life came a 45-70. What could I do to stretch that baby out? Anything with brass I could neck down to .35 cal and get a little longer range in the Colorado rockies on aging knees? I used a .348 for years but had to make a house payment so it became expendable. I handload just about everything but wouldn’t mind something I could pickup in some mountain town in an emergency. Thought maybe that .338 Federal would give me just one rifle for defense AND that elk or moose and kiss the 45-70 goodbye–but ammo seems hard to find.

  • Sam Meyer August 16, 2016, 10:18 am

    Demise of the ’06? What demise???? Anyone who thinks this classic round is “dead” is either an idiot or simply ignorant. As for those who just have to have the latest whiz bang cartridge, Jack O’Connor said it all when he advised that bullet placement is the greatest determining factor in putting game down for keeps. If more hunters took the time to learn how to shoot and then PRACTICE, they would have much less “need” for short mags, ultra mags, and the rest of the silly “cartridges du jour ” foisted on the public by gun writers, gun rags and other shills for the guns and ammo industry.

    • John August 16, 2016, 4:16 pm

      Amen.

  • Julio Galletti August 16, 2016, 4:57 am

    Mr. Massaro: Excellent article about the patriarch of center-fire calibers. Fools will come and go, but the aught six will bury them all. When you mentioned the incredible range of bullet weights available for the 06 you failed to include the sabot round. In fact you fell way high, so to speak. The sabot round for 30-06 deployed a 55 grain round (.223) held in a shoe (sabot). If memory serves me, it was introduced by Remington in the early to mid 70’s, as a counter to all the rage created by Roy Weatherby and his argument of speed over weight. The .55 grain round launched from the barrel of a 30-06 with a full powder charge moved at velocities that would scare a .17 Rem. or some warp drive beast of the same nature. Now, if you would be so kind as to reply or actually opine, speed or weight? Which tickles your fancy.

    Cheers

  • Jimmy Carter August 15, 2016, 11:32 pm

    It’s what my father shot, and what I shoot, and my kids shoot it, and their kids will probably shoot it too!

  • Daren August 15, 2016, 11:23 pm

    Forever God, Country, Family, Freedom and the 30-06. Enough Said.

  • Larry D August 15, 2016, 10:50 pm

    There’s a new Wiz Bang round put out every six or seven months that the gun makers and gun mags tout as the best ever, but a lot of them loose their luster in short order. All while the 30-06 keeps marching on and killing game. The 30-06 served the military well in three or four major wars and several small conflicts, and then converted into ONE of the best hunting rounds ever invented. Didn’t this same forum run an article in June asking if the 308 Win was on it’s last legs?? Just another gun article to take up space and doesn’t mean anything in the real world. Thanks, but I’ll keep my 30-06 and pass it on to a grandson to hunt with long after I’m gone.

  • Powder Burns August 15, 2016, 10:18 pm

    Bogus article written by somebody that obviously has more guns than sense. Full of romanticized half truth’s and misinformation. In practical real world application’s, There is nothing the 06 can do that the .308 can’t do more accurately, with less recoil, and cheaper to boot. Especially for Hand Loaders. If more punch is desired, the 300 Win Mag, will out shoot the 06 all day long. Just ask an Army Sniper. There’s a reason the Military abandoned the Springfield all those years ago and has not returned to it. The 06 has been dead for a long time. It just doesn’t know it yet.

  • Brett Phillips August 15, 2016, 10:11 pm

    Click bait. I’m sure proportionate to rifle rounds sold in the US the number is still quite high because it’s just a versatile cartridge. Also easy to find. They sell 30-06 at the touristy hardware store close to me where I’m 99% positive most of the customers are not gun owners much less hunters. Will probably be around for a bit.

  • Marcus August 15, 2016, 9:55 pm

    I’ll put my .30-06 against your whiz bang belted magnums any day of the week. I’ve owned 3 in my lifetime and could outshoot the man next to me with his .300 Win Mag. He had all the latest gear including a brand new rifle, custom handloads, and a top of the line Leupold scope. I was shooting a mil-surp M1 Garand with open sights.Guess who hit the 500 meter target 5 times in a row? HINT: it wasn’t him. I’m now on my 2nd 1903A3 made by Remington in 1943 and it’s a keeper!

  • Todd R Hansen August 15, 2016, 5:40 pm

    My dad gave me my first hunting rifle 30 years ago, a model 700 in 30-06. It was and still is my favorite rifle and has never let me down. When it came time to buy my sons their first rifles (at age 10 and 13) the 30-06 was the caliber I knew, through experience, was a great choice for anything they wanted to hunt in the lower 48. My youngest son has a very thin build, so the availability of a Winchester mod. 70 featherweight and reduced recoil rounds from Remington, made all 80 pounds of him capable and comfortable shooting his first 3 whitetails. Each deer was a quick and efficient kill, all of them taken out to 175 yds. He is big enough now to shoot regular loads, but I would highly recommend this “path” for any young or gun-shy shooter.
    I have used many different calibers for variety sake, but if I could only have one rifle for the rest of my days, I would easily choose one chambered in 30-06. The ammo is available, inexpensive and more than capable to get the job done!

  • Paul Skvorc August 15, 2016, 5:24 pm

    If only it were!

    Actually, I kinda like the cartridge, and think it may be ONE of the best hunting cartridges created suitable to North America and Europe. It’s actually .30-06 OWNERS that I wish were “dead”. I am truly sick and tired of their INCESSANT DEMAND that the .30-06 is “The greatest cartridge ever invented”.

    Paul

    • STEVEN LIVINGSTONE August 15, 2016, 7:20 pm

      I HAVE NO ILL WILL FOR YOU PAUL I AM SORRY THAT YOU WISH I WAS DEAD I HAVE NO WISH FOR ANYONES DEATH

  • sigman2 August 15, 2016, 5:00 pm

    A man should own at least two rifles… a .22LR and a .30/06. With those two he will have everything covered. PERIOD!

    • 57Stratman August 15, 2016, 7:49 pm

      Except muzzleloader season… and bird hunting…

  • REM1875 August 15, 2016, 4:20 pm

    If there is still room for the 45-70 govt and the 30-40 Krag I am guessing that a few hundred thousand die hards will keep the 30-06 going.

    • jim August 15, 2016, 5:23 pm

      Rem,

      I guess your comment was a positive one, but hard to tell, for sure. Even mentioning the 45-70 and 30-40 in the same sentence as the ’06 is like mentioning Yugo and Cadillac together. As for “a few hundred thousand”…I would imagine ’06 ownership is closer to 3 million, or thereabouts. Most people who own more than two rifles likely have an ’06, and for many who one rifle, that is it.

      If we had not become a “black rifle” society, fueling the purchase of .223 and .308 ammo, the ’06 would still be the top selling ammo. Since I don’t hunt Africa or Alaska, my ’06 or .270 will take any game I ever hunt. For anything else, yes, I do have the AR in .223.

      • Art Tucker August 16, 2016, 11:33 pm

        I own two 06 rifles. One of which is a Garand and the other a Rem 742. I purchased the Garand several years ago for nostalgia reasons. It was the first rifle that I was issued in the military. The 30.06 will be around for a long time.

      • REM1875 August 29, 2016, 4:45 pm

        Sorry jim if it was a bit ambiguous. I don’t foresee the demise of the 30-06 anytime soon as the rifles will with care (baring politics) outlive anyone of us alive today and no doubt out live our grandkids too. I think in the end it might outlive the venerable .308. Again baring politics, none of us will live to see this as even a valid question.

  • James Mathis August 15, 2016, 3:49 pm

    The Chicoms and North Koreans called the Springfield something like the silent death because a man could be killed by it from so far away they never even heard the shot. I won’t forget the coyote my little brother killed at 300 yards with my Springfield using 165 gr boat tail pointed soft points. Standing broad side and hit center of mass the critter ejected matter ten feet from mouth and other end upon impact.

  • Opus August 15, 2016, 3:38 pm

    Another big plus for the ’06: Find the tiniest, oldest general store on the most desolate dirt road in the most remote backwoods part of the country. If they carry any ammo at all, you can bet there will be a box of .30-06 on the shelf.

    Yup — leave you’re fancy modern gun at home or bring plenty of ammo if you’re going remote. Otherwise you’ll get a strange look from the store clerk, who’ll probably ask “What’s a La-Pooh-ah?”

  • Matthew Van Camp August 15, 2016, 3:34 pm

    While deer hunting one year and on our way through the last town in fifty miles from our destination, I realized I had left my ammunition home, some one-hundred miles behind! Hastily we searched for an open sportsman’s shop on an early Sunday morning. This was the Only store open that day and I asked the man at the counter,
    “Do you have any ammo?” He replied “Very little, Just two boxes. 30-30 and I believe…” as he dug around underneath “Here it is, 30-06.” I was saved! “Hot Damn!” I exclaimed. Yup, the two most common hunting rounds for big game, especially deer, his boss kept in stock, just in case…
    So, there you have it friends, 30-30 and 30-06 are the two gun calibers you want, and need… If there’s ever a “Zombie Apocalypse” or Armageddon, you’ll probly be able to discover ammo!

    • James Mathis August 15, 2016, 4:04 pm

      For zombie apocalypse I think .22 LR is the ideal round. They are good out to 250 yards or more if you sight for it. My Model 75 Winchester with Weaver post reticle 3 power scope was a killer out that far, zeroed for 150 yards, I’d use hold-over for longer shots. I’d sneak out onto the Fort Sill reservation with it and shoot swimming snakes in the head at a hundred yards, almost never missing. Jack Rabbits out by Oatman, AZ died at 250 yards quite often, the penalty for resting in the shade of a mesquite bush. Northwest of Fort Bliss was another great spot for that sport, jackrabbits, that is. Stupid arse zombies would be no problem, and the ammo is cheap. Plus, if you are on the move, a couple hundred rounds won’t slow you down like it will with centerfires, And, in my experience .22 LR is far more accurate than .22 WMR which is another good zombie round. Now, if you are dealing with the alert zombies you will find in inner cities, I prefer the subsonic .22LR standard velocity so as to better keep one’s position undetected.

      • jim August 15, 2016, 5:27 pm

        James, I like the .22LR, but if you are suggesting that you can consistently hit anything smaller than a pumpkin at 250 yards, AND have the energy to fully penetrate the pumpkin’s shell, I would pay money to see that. I am quite certain you can do one or the other, but doing both at that distance (replicating a disabling hit on a human) would be quite impressive.

      • Dwayne August 15, 2016, 8:19 pm

        Haha, 22lr on a shelf? In stock?

      • REM1875 August 29, 2016, 4:52 pm

        Well I would like a little more knock down power in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Something like a 12 gauge slug but with range so I don’t need to be close to the dreaded zombie virus, something oh maybe like a double barrel .700 T Rex Nitro for starters.

  • James Mathis August 15, 2016, 3:00 pm

    Quit a comprehensive article on the good, old, .30-06. Very enjoyable. My first Ott Six was an 03-A3 (fuzzy on that) that dad bought in ’62 out of an NRA magazine. We kinda sporterized it, retaining all the original metal, but replaced the stock with a nice Monte Carlo, Walnut stock. I had the joyous job of using bands of emory cloth to rub the anti-glare rings off the barrel so we could reblue it. It turned out to be a rather sweet shooter, and it looked pretty good too, even with the original receiver and sights. We almost invariably, in the early days, used 180 gr round nosed soft points, mostly for deer and for the occasional elk from the Olympic Peninsula (largest in the world) and later in life in the 4 corners area. Almost invariably we used the 180 round nose, My little brother and I had become reloaders and he worked up a load with 4350 and 165gr pointed soft point boat tails. This was a tack driving load. We lost the gun when lil’ bro got crazy drunk and shot a garbage can with his 12 guage in town and got all the guns he had confiscated by the cops. Broke my heart, but there is no accounting for booze head little brothers. Having the dies and cases for the Ott-Six, coupled with a good price on a pump Remmington Ott-6, I got my second one. My friend’s dad, a reloader died and he had most of a box of 125 gr, full jacketed hollowpoints at 2970 fps that he gave to me. I put a few of them to paper targets and they printed very well, and I loved the extremely low recoil so I used them on deer until they were all gone. Never had to shoot twice. I am not all that convinced that a heavy bullet is necessary for deer and elk. My first deer was a Sitka deer when I was 13 years old. My cousin and I had taken the log pusher across Chomolely Sound and climbed above the tree line on Barren Mountain. I shot my 2 point at 150 plus yards with a pre-64 Model 70 Winchester in .22 Hornet. Dead, but bounding, I jacked another round and put a second shot through the deer’s heart (brag, brag), but that was unnecessary. The hollowpoint went through, but the soft point went clean through. And in Colorado a big cow got into my sights and I killed her at 100 yards with a .243 Winchester I had out for deer (but had both kinds of tags). The round blew her neck to shreds a foot in front of her shoulder. She went down like she was pole axed. I made a heart shot o a huge cow with the Ott six 180 gr round nose. She reared up like Hi Ho Silver, came back down on her forelegs, shivvered, and ran off. She went almost a half mile (light down grade) and because there was no exit wound or heart to pump blood, she was tough to track. I think a .22 Hornet or a .243, or even the ott-6 with my favorite 125 grainer would have killed her just as fast. It seems to be all about vital nerves or hemorrhaging in bringing down an animal. With ball ammo, however the weight of the bullet makes for shock power, so I can see why the military went for 180 gr projectiles. So, I have 2 Ott-6s, the Remmington Pump and a bolt action Savage. I also have a finely customized .300 Win Mag (Springfield Action) I got cheap. Extremely light weight, I bet it was made for the high mountains, sheep and goats, probably, but it kicks like a mule. Set triggers, Wien variable scope, very thin barrel, multi kinds of wood, hand checkered, it is a thing of beauty. It was zeroed for a thousand yards, I figure (14 inches high at 100 yards), and still is. If I ever plan to make 500 plus yard shots, though, I’ll dust it off and live with the shoulder bruises. heh heh heh. If I could only have one Hi-powered rifle, though, I’d go for the Ott-6. Sorry if I’m so wordy. I love to talk write about the guns I know. Good hunting, folks.

  • t August 15, 2016, 2:27 pm

    Many years ago…meaning back in the last century, I remember a gun magazine, Guns and Ammo maybe, or one of them, back in the 60’s had a picture of several 1911’s stuck in sand and the article was entitled something about the 1911 being dead and buried, I think it was written by Col. Askins but I might be wrong, anyway it was all about how the 1911 was dead and should be buried, of course it was a 60’s version of click bait and shortly another gun rag had a rebuttal from another big name writer, more click bait, but it worked then as now.
    The 1911 will never die nor will the “ought six” I’ve owned more of the then I can remember and the one I will always regret allowing to get away because of gun trade fever was a Rem mod 30S, it was marked 30 express and came with a Williams receiver sight and a ivory bead front sight, it was very pre war and I’ve never seen another, got it in Maine at a small shop for $150.00 in 1971, I will kick my ass forever over letting it go.
    I had a HB Savage that was re-chambered to AI but Ackley’s recommended loads blew primers so I had it re-chambered to 300 mag and it shot quiet well but never being a 300 WM fan I sold it.
    I don’t own an 06 at the moment, not for any reason just don’t have one but I’ve loaded more rounds of it then I can recall, I used to shoot cast 180’s with a gas check, I took the head off of a Grouse at about 30 yards with that load, no recoil and quiet.
    So no, the ole gal will never die and that’s a good thing.
    Long live the King!

  • John Martynski August 15, 2016, 1:44 pm

    You are right. The 30-06 will never die, just like the 30-30. I have 3 30-06 rifles, love them all, I should have bought a forth, but I opted for the Remington 750 in .270, still a great cartridge though. I would never give up my 06’s…

  • John Gerdel August 15, 2016, 1:06 pm

    Not mentioned, but interesting is the addition of a sabot on ,224 bullets which gives you speeds in excess of 4,000 fps

    • Alan August 15, 2016, 8:25 pm

      And abysmal accuracy. If there is such a term, since it’s a bit of an oxy-moron.
      Remington stopped making them.

  • John August 15, 2016, 1:01 pm

    Several years ago, a writer for a hunting magazine invited 12 of the top hunting guides in the U.S. to meet. He told the guides to bring their favorite hunting rifle to the meeting. 11 of the 12 showed up with a rifle chambered in .30-06. With loads like the Hornaday GMX, it will perform as well as a .300 Win Mag, without the need for a belted cartridge, and with significantly less recoil.

  • SGT-N August 15, 2016, 12:58 pm

    Even though I had to downgrade from a Remington 7400 in .30-06 to an AR-15 in 6.5 Grendel due to multiple neck surgeries, the good ole Aught Six is going strong in Michigan. From Yupper cedar swamps to the corn fields of The Mid Mitten and all the forests in between, more deer go down on Opening Day to this round than any other. Long live the the champion of the Marne, Belleau Wood, D-Day, The Battle of the Bulge, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, The Pusan Breakout, The Inchon Landing, and Chosin Reservoir!

  • Alan August 15, 2016, 12:57 pm

    Yep, dead as a doornail, kaput, finito.

  • BUURGA August 15, 2016, 12:55 pm

    It worked. It works. It will work in the future. Nuff said.

  • TVPC58 August 15, 2016, 12:52 pm

    Obviously, the only reason the .223 and 308 Win are higher in sales than the ’06 is that the latter doesn’t come in a high capacity platform. The main problem with the ’06 is that it is so versatile. What makes it boring is that you don’t really need any other big-game cartridge after you have the old ’06. Of course, you can get a bolt-action, single-shot, lever action, pump, semi-auto in ’06 to satisfy your gun cravings.

    I like you having Robert Ruark’s book as a backdrop. Anyone interested in classic hunting literature must check him out. IMO, he’s on par with Hemingway. If you are ever in Southport, NC, see his boyhood home and environs where he was inspired to write The Old Man and the Boy. His original works are housed in the library of UNC-Chapel Hill, NC, where he was an alumni.

  • Hal Campbell August 15, 2016, 12:44 pm

    I fully agree with your history and write-up on the 30-06 as I have had a Winchester Model 70, pre1964, 30-06 and have taken everything in the continental U.S., Alaska and Canada with it and never felt “under gunned”! Carried the M1 Garand 30 caliber in Korea and there is my problem with your write-up!

    The Korean War was a real war with more killed that in the Viet Nam War and to call it a “dust-up” is insulting to all the families who lost brave young men in that war. Be careful how you handle our “killing fields” in the future please.

    • R Lee August 15, 2016, 1:22 pm

      Not a vet, was a history teacher. You are correct about Korean War and America’s role in it. The Korean War Memorial in Washington is, to me, the most moving of the memorials.

    • Bob Dillard August 15, 2016, 6:24 pm

      A “dust up?” Not to those who were there, sonny. Personal experience tends to give one insight and perspective, something you obviously lack in this regard. Pay a little more attention to which words you carelessly throw around and be mindful that, in the conflicts our country has been in, many of our friends and families never returned.

  • Mickey Rat August 15, 2016, 12:18 pm

    Please note that the top 3 cartridges mentioned (223, 308 & 30-06) are the last 3 military calibers used. 45-70 is also still going strong. Military use almost guarantees popularity. In the end, what works will endure.

  • Dennis August 15, 2016, 12:03 pm

    I agree and then some. The best all-around rifle cartridge I’ve ever owned. It will do 95% of all tasks with 90%+ capability compared to the other short, fat, improved, super, magnum, signature cartridges. If I had only one caliber for a long rifle, it would have to be 30.06 for all those aforementioned reasons. Just my opinion. Nothing more.

  • R Kirby August 15, 2016, 12:00 pm

    My father gave me a 7 MM Remington BDL for my 1968 high school graduation . I’m happy to stick with it. I see it as an all around cartridge loaded light or heavy.

    • Tom August 15, 2016, 12:17 pm

      I agree

    • John August 16, 2016, 4:20 pm

      Wider choice of bullets in the .06 than the 7 mag, so more versatile.

  • cisco kid August 15, 2016, 11:58 am

    Despite gun writers pushing the “latest and greatest” super duper magnum cartridges with less than 1,000 rounds of barrel life along with the great muzzle blast and recoil we have an aging population that wants no part of it and to make it worse the younger generation who likes to get belted in the shoulder and teeth is no longer interested in shooting and hunting as a hobby. Go to any gun show and see the age group that is in attendance. All this means that heavy recoiling cartridges are not wanted by the older generation and through experience they know the 30-06 with its manageable recoil and good accuracy is capable of killing anything on the planet and history has proven it has many times over.

  • Nick August 15, 2016, 11:53 am

    I inherited my father’s ’06 after he was killed when I was 10. I bagged my first deer with it and this past year my latest 2. It is a treasured heirloom to me and whenever I even hear or read those numbers it immediately brings the memories of him flooding back and puts a smile on my face. I spent 24 years in the Army and while the 5.56 and .308 rounds were our mainstay, I have always appreciated and lauded my ’06 as my dad’s and my choice for a hunt. The fact that it’s still the best all around cartridge is even sweeter because he left a legacy for me to follow and a treasure to pass on. Thanks for the smile.

    • DWFowler May 4, 2017, 8:58 pm

      That\’s what its all about my friend and thank you for your service. They say the first thing a men like us will carry from a burning house is the last thing our grandfathers gave us.

  • Larry August 15, 2016, 11:40 am

    My family has had .30-06, in our collection for years. I grow up on Arizona, where Mule and Whitetail deer where a staple for all hunters, and tracking your bounty is the norm, not sitting in a stand, waiting your target to show up at the feeder 75 yards out!
    It was very common for us to take a shot 2-300 yards, across ridge lines to take our kill, and I can’t remember the last time I missed, but I do remember when my grandfather got to old to be climbing around the Arizona desert terrain, and he handed down his Remington .30-06 to me! We were all at the dinner table, the weekend before Thanksgiving, and he made a bid to do about it. Calling for everyone’s attention, he made a grand speech and them reached around the door way and gave me his rifle! We both had tears in our eyes.
    Keeping, maintaining, and passing down traditional firearms are deeply rooted in our American haritage, something that I pray will never go away.

  • D. Clark August 15, 2016, 11:00 am

    I love my Savage 06 heavy barrel re-chambered to Ackley 30-06 improved. I shoot 190 match kings at my club in Pa. on 1000 yd range. Clay pigeons on berm at 1000 are a piece of cake. The barrel is original that does well. Its lots of fun against light smaller bore rifles. I also shoot a Savage action 338-06 it is a lot of fun also on 1000 yd range.

    • James Mathis August 15, 2016, 3:20 pm

      Come, now, Mr Clark. Clay pigeons are what, 3 inches or so in diameter? For it to be a piece of cake to hit at 1000 yrds you’d have to have great light, perfect atmospherics and a fantastic rest (that converts to 3/8 inch groups at 100 yards with no fliers to be “a piece of cake”.) That being said, with the run of the mill M16 and standard ball ammo, I once grouped 10 shots in 3 inch circle at 300 meters (0pen sights, of course). That’s about a ten inch group, and at the Fort Lewis range I watched Rangers with M14s off hand shooting bulls at 500 yards. Amazing.

      • Matt August 16, 2016, 9:30 pm

        For us Americans… What’s a meter? LOL

  • Jon Lucas August 15, 2016, 10:57 am

    Is the 30-06 dead?…That’s a good one!! I am sure that it will outlive General Motors or Ford. It is the benchmark by which all other cartridges are measured. The 5.56 and the 50 BMG are scaled almost perfectly to it’s design. Barrel life is excellent, and the cartridge handles all N.A. big game and most African big game with the proper loadings. I would rather have the one extra cartridge in the magazine than one of the new short fat “magnums” that offer little or no performance advantage and that cut 20% capacity. I do believe it is a bit much for mule deer and lighter game, but great on elk or other large game. Naw…it’s not dead, and as long as smokeless powder is burned, never will be.

  • john August 15, 2016, 10:32 am

    As a teenager I took many ground squirrels from 100 yds out to 300+ yds with 110 grain sierra handloads from my Remington 700. At 65 years old it is still my favorite.

  • wetworks August 15, 2016, 10:29 am

    My first rifle was a 30-30 lever gun, a trapper model Winchester 94. I quickly began grabbing my father’s 30.06 instead (kicked less, lol, that trapper is a mule). I got my own a few years later (Remington 7400), when he got tired of not being able to use his .06 😉 and I’ve never looked back. Other calibers are fun to play with and have their places, but when I have to put meat on the table, when there’s work to be done and I don’t want to worry about range (30-30) or brush (.243), I know which gun I’m taking in the woods. That is literally how I plan which gun to take; do I need the meat, the .06…extra tag to fill or trying to run deer to my son or dad, I might go with something else (probably lighter).

    What always bothers me about articles on the gun is that there is no love for the Remington Core-Lokt, not even a mention here? I’ve taken deer with 30-30 and .243, but in nearly 40 years of shooting them in 150gr .06, anywhere from 25-400yds, I’ve rarely had a whitetail (40 or so) do much more than one-hop, if it doesn’t drop in it’s tracks. I read about all these shiny new loads, but I can’t bring myself to break away from proven performance. Is there a theory on why? Is it just that it’s not cool? What am I missing, really?

    Oh, the 30-30 sits at my bedside or rides in the truck or is on my shoulder when strolling in black bear, coyote or mountain lion country…

    • Philo August 15, 2016, 7:55 pm

      My Dad killed many a mule deer and blacktail using Remington Core-Lokt in 30-06. We never had to go very far to find the deer.

  • Tommy Barrios August 15, 2016, 10:22 am

    The .30 (7.62) caliber cartridges are some of the most versatile rounds ever made with the 30′ 06 as probably the most versatile of the lot!
    I once read an article in Guns and Ammo wherein the author carried a Remington 700 and three different 30′ 06 cartridges; a heavy load for big game, a medium load for medium game and a 96 grain load in case he jumped some rabbits in a fence or hedge row!
    Yes that is right, rabbits, with a 30′ 06 😉
    Obviously he was a hand-loader and had these three different loads tuned to the specific task intended 😉
    But it bears out the awesome versatility of this great cartridge which I hope will never die out!

  • Wes Smith August 15, 2016, 10:15 am

    .30-06 220 round nose and my sported Eddystone M1917 will always be my go-to. I’ll always have and hunt that way.

  • David Bennett August 15, 2016, 10:12 am

    My Dad had a Garand and in 1960 purchased an ’06 Rem. Model 700. He was a shooter and never hinted 4 legged critters.. He only hinted Rugged Grouse and Ringnecks with his Browning A-5. My older brother and I filled the freezer with whitetail venison through high school with those ’06’s. I did find the Garand a bit heavy for lugging into the woods in the Catskills but never had a problem knocking down whitetails. Most shots were under 100 yards though so a 30-30 would have worked very well too. Most of the Catskills in upstate NY don’t offer many long shot. Still the ’06 was my favorite rifle cartridge in my youth. These days I use a lever action .357 on whitetails. After 4 spinal fusions in my neck anything but extremely mold recoil is too much for these old bones.

  • Wayne August 15, 2016, 10:08 am

    I’m sure you know that with newer improved powders, the ought 6 can and will do everything a 300 mag will do. I would not feel under gunned against any 4 legged critter in the world, carrying my tricked out 03a3 with proper ammo.

  • Luke August 15, 2016, 10:07 am

    Yes!@! Absolutely!! The ’06 is definitely on it’s last legs. Please contact me and we’ll arrange a pickup point anyplace in the lower 48 and I’ll take whatever obsolete 30-06 hardware you might have. It will be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. Even GA isn’t immune to CLICK BAIT. And, I fell for it too. 🙂

    • Larry August 15, 2016, 11:42 am

      Good one!!
      I’m with you on that!!

  • Ken August 15, 2016, 9:58 am

    You left out one factory load for the ’06 – the sabot 22cal that they had for awhile. I’ve not seen any for years so maybe they’re over that flash in the pan now.
    The ’06 isn’t dead , never will be … nuff said !

  • Eddie Flinn August 15, 2016, 9:07 am

    All of my long guns save my M1-A1 are 30.06. Everything from my Ted Williams model 70 Winchester the Remington 1917 to my M1 Garand. It was the cartridge I grew up with when my dad gave me a Remington 742 Woodsman. None finer and none more versatile.

  • Pat J August 15, 2016, 8:06 am

    Worn 30.06 rifles rebore and rechamber well into 338.06, a great tough hide piercer. And 25.06 is an exceptional antelope load
    All my game and bench shooting are done with the ’06 shell. The finest rifle ever built was chambered for it, the M1 Garand.
    I’ve never shot a store-bought round in 30.06, at least 10,000 have come off my bench and through my barrels in 50 years.

  • ronald gaudier August 15, 2016, 7:37 am

    Not to mention, when compared to many of the sharp-shouldered modern cartridges like the .300WSM the -06 has greater case life
    and is much easier on the barrel throat. I have found it a good platform to launch heavy low-drag bullets out to extreme ranges. It for sure has a significantly longer effective range than the .308.

  • Wilk Dedwylder August 15, 2016, 7:35 am

    Nice article. Of course you could have written pretty well the same article about 7×57 Mauser, which IS almost dead.

    • John August 15, 2016, 1:06 pm

      Not really. Plenty of Ruger 77s out in the used market. I have two in RS configuration. Nice flat shooter. Ammo still readily available as well.

  • Art Roberts August 15, 2016, 7:30 am

    My dad was stationed at Guantanamo Naval Base 1953-4 when he purchased the Remington Model 70 30-06 and the Winchester Model 94 30-30 thru the Navy Exchange at the naval base Navy Exchange store.
    He was a very excellent marksman, a Gunners Mate First Class Petty Officer and an avid hunter.
    Over the years, he bagged many whitetail, muledeer, antelope, all and a variety of smaller animals such as fox, coyote and other varmits.
    He always expressed his preference for the ’06’s superior trajectory, accuracy and variety of cartridges and especially it’s “anywhere availability.”
    Dad passed on, leaving me his treasured, venerable ’06, that I too choose as my all-time favorite hunting rifle.
    I enjoyed my Browning BAR 7mm mag for several years, but the bolt-action Model 70 30-06 is just plain hard to beat for reliability, hard-hitting, easy shooting recoil.
    I not only enjoy it’s exceptional qualities, but having the very rifle that was endeared by my dad gives me even more fondness and pride of ownership that I plan on passing on to my son and grandson.
    I am 71 now and hope to have a few more hunts before passing on this fabulous piece.

  • djw663 August 15, 2016, 6:53 am

    The best of both worlds. The 5.56NATO and .223 have some great bullets that will do very nicely short to medium range depending on the game and my WWII model 1903 Springfield with the fine choices of bullets will easily take care of the rest, it is beautiful and the recoil is easily comfortable to shoot all day if needed. I’m happy to see it is still number 3 in sales that would mean to me that it will still be around for a very long time. Noreen Firearms at onlylongtime.com makes a beautiful .30-06 in an AR platform and if you need the .300magnum they have that too. They’re expensive but quality through and through. They even make up to .50cal. Anyways great article and may the ’06 always be a part of everyone’s family.

  • mike in Ct August 15, 2016, 6:20 am

    Nice reminder of my youthful days..I started Hi Power rifle shooting w a very worn 03 Springfield rifle…Now I shoot VBRS Varmint Benchrest Silhouette steel targets to 1000 yds…I’m still learning this game…If the opportunity ever comes up ..If I find a deal on a bull barrel 30-06 that fits an old LA Savage..I’m going to have that chamber re-cut to 30-06 AI & I think I’ll try to show the 300W mag guys a few good hits on steel at distance..I know the big dogs are running the 210gr & newer 230 gr bullets..I’d still want to use the standard 168 grain boat tail…It is one of those itches I have to scratch…Love live the old ’06…Mike in Ct

  • Joe August 15, 2016, 5:59 am

    The poor mans magnum better known as the .30-06 will take any and all North and South American game inclusive.
    What more needs being said…
    My PA-10 in .308 wishes it were a .30-06 but It will have to do….

  • Brett Mothershead August 15, 2016, 5:51 am

    The best thing about the used rifle market is the number of affordable rifles in 30-06 that the previous owner thought was too boring to hunt with. Old, odd-ball rifles on the cheap are fun to buy and fine tune with reloaded ammunition! More often I grab rifles with short actions to hunt, which means carry and carry, and then carry some more, but I owe it to the old rifles to take them too.

  • Jeffrey L. Frischkorn August 15, 2016, 5:09 am

    Love my 06s; three, in fact. All on military platforms, too. One is a convert built up from an 8mm Mauser action. Another is a low serial-numbered 03 (yes, you read correctly, a low serial number made within the first two years of the model’s introduction). The last is a still-in-its-military packaging 03-A3 that took on and beaten Garands in a sanctioned rifle match. All have taken game; of late each one killing feral Florida hogs. The longest shot was at 100 yards, the pig falling to the open sighted 03-A3. Interestingly enough the ammunition of choice has been Remington’s “Managed Recoil,” firing a pretty standard 125 grain bullet with more than enough oomph to get the job done within reasonable ethically approved shooting ranges. The Managed Recoil was selected because of the 03 model, a gun I was given from a gentleman I knew who dying of brain cancer. He had no family to pass the rifle down and had used it successfully for many years on Pennsylvania dee. As did the rifle’s previous owner. Thing is, that pill from Remington does so wonderfully from each rifle in both accuracy and dealing with hogs that I can’t bring myself to making the switch on the Mauser convert back to 150 grain to 165 grain bullets. Long live the .30-06 and long live the 03 in all of its versions, too.

  • Buck August 15, 2016, 5:03 am

    I am happy with mine . A Remington o3-a3 with a sportrized stock. Buck

  • Chick August 15, 2016, 4:01 am

    Any of the 7mm or 30 caliber cartridges traveling in the 2800 fps range will do the job everytime!

  • david hamilton August 15, 2016, 3:49 am

    if i could have but 1 hunting rifle, and i lived in the lower 48, it would be the ’06. however, since i am in alaska, and handload, i have to choose the 375h&h. honestly, though, i have one of each anyway. it’s good to be king : )

  • Mark N. August 15, 2016, 3:28 am

    As the article notes, there is no game in North America that cannot be taken with a .30-06. I have never understood why some hunters insist that nothing less than .300 Win Mag will do the job for larger game or bears; personally, I can do without the punishment. Hell, an old boss of mine has been hunting elk for forty years with a .270, and has never had an issue. The .30-06 will never be obsolete.

  • Al Smith August 15, 2016, 3:22 am

    The .30-06 isn’t going to be obsolete as long as I’m alive and reloading ammo. The .30-06 is all anyone needs for any animal that walks the North America continent. Anything else is just BS and over priced.

    • Captain O August 15, 2016, 7:39 am

      Al is right. This 110 year old US Army Veteran has seen all the “whiz-bang” hot shot cartridges rise and fall. I love the grand old round. PO Ackley loved the ’06, and with good reason… It works! I can’t sing it’s praises loudly enough. It is simply marvelous. If I were confined to one rifle cartridge, I would want the one that transcends time and the “shifting sands” of public opinion. The .30-’06. It will be around long after many other cartridges have been swept into the dustbin of history.

      Long live the .30-’06!

  • Mike_Hunt August 15, 2016, 3:21 am

    This guy who wrote this drivel probably hasn’t ever even spent a day out in the woods in his life.

  • Will Drider August 14, 2016, 11:46 am

    I enjoyed the article. The 30.06 will always do its part if the user does theirs. The fat or long competition will not displace it. The .308 and .556/223 only lead due to the popularity of MSRs platforms. Civilian utilitarian applications have never shown much demand for a 30.06 MSR but it is available.

    The article could be tweaked to .45APC or .38Spl, functional utility that will be around for another century.

  • DJ44-40 August 13, 2016, 8:39 am

    A rather pointless article. Anyone with eyes can tell you the ’06 is NOT obsolete and is NOT going anywhere, anytime soon. Plus, why would I buy some weird magnum when ammo cost $1.50+/round and there is not much selection? I just saw Federal Power-Shok 180gr. 30-06 for $9.99 at PalmettoStateArmory.com yesterday. If you need a fancy magnum to get the job done, fine; you can have ’em all.

  • Tom horn August 12, 2016, 11:19 pm

    Anyone who thinks .30-06 is passe, can send the useless stuff to me.

  • JPMc August 12, 2016, 5:45 pm

    My grandfather had a Army surplus Winchester 1895 carbine originally chambered for the .30-40 krag, which I now have. He re-chambered for the .30-03. 60 years ago I re-chambered it for the.30-06 and used it for 40 years. It was a great gun despite its headspace problems and perfect on horseback. I plan to pass it on to m grandchildren ( I am 83).

    • david hamilton August 15, 2016, 3:45 am

      you sir, and your family, have my deepest respect. heritage, tradition and proven performance. never goes out of style.

  • Liberal George August 12, 2016, 1:16 pm

    AI wouldn’t trade my sporterized 1943 Smith-Corona-made’03-A3 for anything. It’s gorgeous, reliable and not too heavy to schlep around all day; very accurate, too.

    i

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