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View Full Version : Best All-Around .30 Caliber?


clay32
04-08-2010, 6:39 PM
Question for many of the more experienced hunters here, which caliber would you choose as an all-around (North American Hunting) caliber bolt-action rifle?

Keep in mind I am a virtual noob to hunting, and am looking to get into hunting hog (mostly in CA-thinking about lead-free ammo choices) and eventually hunting deer, bear, and elk out of state.

I have researched quite a bit, and found two rifles. One is a stainless Tikka .308 and the other a blued Tikka .30-06. What are the pluses and minuses of each?

I am open to other suggestions, but have it pretty much narrowed down to these two calibers. I just want something I can keep forever and use in the widest variety of hunting situations. Thanks.

theseacow
04-08-2010, 7:07 PM
Question for many of the more experienced hunters here, which caliber would you choose as an all-around (North American Hunting) caliber bolt-action rifle?

Keep in mind I am a virtual noob to hunting, and am looking to get into hunting hog (mostly in CA-thinking about lead-free ammo choices) and eventually hunting deer, bear, and elk out of state.

I have researched quite a bit, and found two rifles. One is a stainless Tikka .308 and the other a blued Tikka .30-06. What are the pluses and minuses of each?

I am open to other suggestions, but have it pretty much narrowed down to these two calibers. I just want something I can keep forever and use in the widest variety of hunting situations. Thanks.

ive used them all and ive found that i prefer the 300 win. you can load heavier bullets that will shoot with a much flatter trajectory for the really big game at longer ranges. for example, with my standard pig setup in .300 win, for any shot 300 yards or less I can just point and shoot and the bullet will be in the zone. If I was using a .308, I would have to start thinking about bullet drop at pretty much anything past 175 or so when you are pushing those bigger hunting rounds. Im sure you can make alot of things work, and this is just my experience.

lewdogg21
04-08-2010, 7:35 PM
Either one will work fine. TSC prefers the .300 mag which I used to have one. The .30-06 has probably killed more big game than anything else and deer/elk/bear haven't grown Armour in response to it.

Either rifle will serve you well.

mwunsch
04-08-2010, 7:40 PM
i was thinking the same as you, " i want a .30 cal"

i didnt want a .308, or ought six, so i got a .300 win mag

this choice is because i own a 7 mag, and .243 (amongst other calibers)

i wanted some further reach, and big bang power, cuz i will semi retire my 7 mag.

that being said, id go with the ought six b4 the .308.

theseacow
04-08-2010, 7:44 PM
Either one will work fine. TSC prefers the .300 mag which I used to have one. The .30-06 has probably killed more big game than anything else and deer/elk/bear haven't grown Armour in response to it.

Either rifle will serve you well.

yes, but we are debating the details and finer points of the different calibers that are already known to work ;). my only point was i picked the .300 win because i don't have to think so much about bullet drop and it packs more punch at longer ranges. Of course, I own all three however...

bigboarstopper
04-08-2010, 7:52 PM
30-06. There are many different grains of bullet available. And copper bullets (if you need them) are easly found at most any sporting goods store. Its readly available and cheaper than the larger more trendy callibers.

Peter W Bush
04-08-2010, 7:55 PM
DEFINITELY look into 300 WSM. Ballistically similar to 300 Win Mag but more accurate.

clay32
04-08-2010, 8:05 PM
30-06. There are many different grains of bullet available. And copper bullets (if you need them) are easly found at most any sporting goods store. Its readly available and cheaper than the larger more trendy callibers.

That's kinda what I'm after with the Condor Zone laws, I guess the '06 makes the most sense in the versatility arena. Trying to hunt hogs at Tejon Ranch in May, is there any way a .243 will get the job done?

graniteob
04-08-2010, 8:16 PM
The 85 gr. barnes triple shock in .243 is a good bullet for hogs.

echo1
04-08-2010, 8:57 PM
Are you a shooter already? The legendary Jack Conners killed everything on 6 continents with a .308win. Got any buddies with rifles? Offer to buy some shells for their guns and try them out, see what you like. Also price compare the various led free ammo (some calibers are very exspensive), to factor in what you'll spend in the long run. Welcome to hunting.

bombadillo
04-08-2010, 9:02 PM
30-06. There are many different grains of bullet available. And copper bullets (if you need them) are easly found at most any sporting goods store. Its readly available and cheaper than the larger more trendy callibers.

This. You can do ANYTHING with a .30-06 and they're available from surplus ammo all the way to 1000 yard tack driving ammo. You can reload it to the limits and it held the 1k record for a LONG time. Its a very capable round on anything in north america and wouldn't hesitate to get a rifle in this.

Argonaut
04-08-2010, 11:14 PM
Are you a shooter already? The legendary Jack Connors killed everything on 6 continents with a .308win. Got any buddies with rifles? Offer to buy some shells for their guns and try them out, see what you like. Also price compare the various led free ammo (some calibers are very expensive), to factor in what you'll spend in the long run. Welcome to hunting.

The legendary Jack O'Connor was famous for his use of the 270 in a Model 70 Winchester. I prefer the 308 as an every day hunting rifle. It has modest recoil, ammo is more available even than the 30-06 and will become more so with time, it functions in wonderful short actions and is very close to the 06 ballistically. I have large magnums for specific types of game but for general use the 308 is what I have chosen to use. I prefer the 30 cal bullet on most medium game, it is just a great compromise. For long range shooting of game Elk size or large I have a couple of 378 Weatherbys. The difference in a 308 Win and a 300 mag is about 400 FPS, a lot of recoil from the additional energy and twice the cost in ammo . We consistently take humane kill shots on game at 400 yards with 150 grain bullets. You are not going to shoot much more than that with a 300 mag and if you are recoil or noise conscience you won't shoot the magnums as well. The 06 is a fine cartridge as well off course, a little more velocity (not much) requires a longer action rifle and is becoming less common than the 308.

mwunsch
04-09-2010, 8:01 AM
That's kinda what I'm after with the Condor Zone laws, I guess the '06 makes the most sense in the versatility arena. Trying to hunt hogs at Tejon Ranch in May, is there any way a .243 will get the job done?

i smoked a pig at tejon 3 mays ago with my .243, it dropped like a bad habit, without as much as a squeal or step,


oh, did i mention it was a head shot that went in behind the left eye and out the back left ear????? i guess the caliber didnt matter much

professionalcoyotehunter
04-09-2010, 8:09 AM
For a noob into big calibers you should go with a .30-06 and than once you can handle it go up to a .300 winmag so you don't discover the flinch some people get.

Slash2
04-09-2010, 8:25 AM
I've heard the .308 described as the MVP of rifle cartridges. Accurate, wide selection of ammo and completely up to the task for the game you mentioned.
Very importantly the recoil will not punish you for practicing and getting to know your gun, which in my opinion is far more critical than which caliber you choose.
The same rule applies in bringing down game as in real estate, location location location. If you are good with your gun and can reliably put the shot where you want it, caliber becomes secondary.

professionalcoyotehunter
04-09-2010, 8:30 AM
.308 is a light load for game but is a long range rifle. I would go with more knocking down power.

Slash2
04-09-2010, 9:00 AM
http://www.satellitemodels.com/pics/polar-bear.jpg

Note the Savage 99 rifle, probably 300 Savage cartridge, somewhere between a 30-30 and .308. You don't have to have a magnum cartridge and a bruised shoulder to kill a large animal.

professionalcoyotehunter
04-09-2010, 9:07 AM
That is most likely a .45-70.

Slash2
04-09-2010, 9:10 AM
That is most likely a .45-70.

Savage didn't make a 99 in 45-70, only lighter calibers until later on, and then never anything above .308 and 358.

professionalcoyotehunter
04-09-2010, 9:15 AM
There were ways to convert and customize them into .45-70's.

Argonaut
04-09-2010, 9:35 AM
There were ways to convert and customize them into .45-70's.

There was never even a conversion of a M99 to 45-70..........So, what about the 100 fps difference makes the 308 a medium game rifle compared to a 30-06? That is a nutty assertion. We have killed many Elk with 308's without any problem . My Dad and grandfather always used a 30 Remington (same as a 30-30) for Elk hunting. 308 (as the 30-06) is more than adequate for any game on this continent, the only advantage of most other calibers is in extreme long range. or in dealing with close range dangerous game. Did I ever tell you about the Californian Hunter that Killed and dressed the Mule (thinking it was a cow elk) in Northern Idaho.........It even had shoes!!!!!!! He would have probably shot a Collie if he was coyote hunting

Argonaut
04-09-2010, 9:46 AM
I've heard the .308 described as the MVP of rifle cartridges. Accurate, wide selection of ammo and completely up to the task for the game you mentioned.
Very importantly the recoil will not punish you for practicing and getting to know your gun, which in my opinion is far more critical than which caliber you choose.
The same rule applies in bringing down game as in real estate, location location location. If you are good with your gun and can reliably put the shot where you want it, caliber becomes secondary.

Perfectly said

professionalcoyotehunter
04-09-2010, 10:04 AM
I am not saying that it wont work. I have used it plenty of times. I am just saying for the same price go with something with a little more knock down power and plenty of choices for ammo for hunting.

Bearclaw
04-09-2010, 12:08 PM
REM 700 30-.06!...but the Tikka in .06 will do.

lewdogg21
04-09-2010, 6:24 PM
I may be getting a Model 99 in .308 soon. :)

Argonaut
04-09-2010, 7:51 PM
I may be getting a Model 99 in .308 soon. :)

That is a WONDERFUL rifle......probably the most under rated rifle and for sure the most under rated lever gun there is. Far advanced over any Winchester.

picasso
04-09-2010, 7:56 PM
For a noob into big calibers you should go with a .30-06 and than once you can handle it go up to a .300 winmag so you don't discover the flinch some people get.

This is exactly what I did. Now I'm so used to the thirty-ought-six that I'm ready with the .30 win mag. I feel that a 12 ga slug has more recoil than the 30 06.

echo1
04-09-2010, 9:51 PM
I've got a '52 99F in .308. It's wonerfully balanced, with the rotery 5 shot mag. Which for pigs is good for a quick follow up shot, or a second pig. Very quick, accurate, well made by craftsmen. My bad on Jack Conners and the .270.

Slash2
04-10-2010, 4:47 AM
That is a WONDERFUL rifle......probably the most under rated rifle and for sure the most under rated lever gun there is. Far advanced over any Winchester.

+1 on the 99, and in .308 you've got an ideal general purpose hunting rifle. The rotary magazine lets you use standard pointed bullets in a lever action. Great for quick follow up shots, practically as fast as a semi-auto with a little practice.

ar15robert
04-10-2010, 4:03 PM
I plan on going hunting someday but bought a sig shr970 in 300win mag.Was going to get a .308 but it wasnt in stock went back couple days later and went with the 300mag.

I reload so it really leaves me alot of options too.Just got to get out to hunt thought and will likely get to this year.

Hunt
04-10-2010, 4:16 PM
I think it comes down to other questions than just caliber and they are unique to you. Are you recoil sensitive? Are you in shape to carry a heavier rifle, how much time are you willing to practice? Will you be reloading? How big is the budget for a scope? Doesn't do any good to have a 300 win mag with a cheap low power scope that will only allow an accurate shot out to 250 yards. Likewise doesn't do any good to put a 1k scope on a .308 that will get you accurately out to 700 yards if you don't have the time to practice.
There is a lot to consider. The perfect middle of the road weapon would be 30-06 in a hunter profile with a very good 4x15 scope.

D Day Dog
04-10-2010, 4:20 PM
30-06. There are many different grains of bullet available. And copper bullets (if you need them) are easly found at most any sporting goods store. Its readly available and cheaper than the larger more trendy callibers.

+ 1. Iand my family have been using the 30.06 for decades. The 30.06 is a great caliber for most animals you may want to hunt. True, it's over powered for some deer, but I live and hunt in Alaska and it's a great over-all caliber for Moose, Bear, Caribou, etc. I've even hunted Elk with it in WA State.

D Day

hnoppenberger
04-10-2010, 6:03 PM
.308? 30-06? take your pick

clay32
04-10-2010, 9:33 PM
OK, I did the deal. Started DROS on a Tikka T3 .308 (got a great deal on a brand new one) Stainless, which was the mitigating factor, I'm a sucker for durability. As a beginning hunter, I don't think I'll be undergunned by any stretch and I can always work up to an '06 in the future if I need to.

echo1
04-10-2010, 10:47 PM
Nice, you won't regret it.

Shoot-it
04-11-2010, 8:36 AM
If you reload then a 300 mag would be my best bet.You can down load it you want to.

If you don't reload a 30-06 is a good all around caliber.

Slash2
04-11-2010, 8:48 AM
You'll be happy with your .308, and if you're like most guys with guns, you'll eventually work your up, down, sideways, forward and backwards. One gun/caliber is never enough! Enjoy, be safe, practice, get good and have fun.

PatriotnMore
04-11-2010, 8:58 AM
This is true, but history will probably show that the 308, and more likely 30-06 are the best all around 7.62 calibers for hunting, by choice.

That statement is almost impossible to prove with out sales numbers by manufacturers, but you would be hard pressed not to find 308, or 30-06 on any shelf, in a hunting/shooting store across America.
I am not sure that can be said for all ammo.


yes, but we are debating the details and finer points of the different calibers that are already known to work ;). my only point was i picked the .300 win because i don't have to think so much about bullet drop and it packs more punch at longer ranges. Of course, I own all three however...

CSDGuy
04-11-2010, 9:08 AM
Both .308 and .30-06 are good choices. If you reload, you can get some really good performance out of it! If I had to choose just one caliber, the -06 would be my choice, especially in a bolt rifle. A .300 magnum type is also pretty versatile, but I have little experience with it.

theseacow
04-11-2010, 10:45 AM
This is true, but history will probably show that the 308, and more likely 30-06 are the best all around 7.62 calibers for hunting, by choice.

That statement is almost impossible to prove with out sales numbers by manufacturers, but you would be hard pressed not to find 308, or 30-06 on any shelf, in a hunting/shooting store across America.
I am not sure that can be said for all ammo.

I'm not disagreeing with you at all, but you would also be hard pressed to not find .300 win across America.

Motz
04-11-2010, 11:16 AM
Man I hope this shows up OK. So I went to Remington's website and ran a comparison an a 180 grain Remington Core-lokt. Let the numbers speak for themselves. The 06 and 308 are close but when it comes down to bullet drop, down range knock down power, etc etc these two do not compare as well to the 300 win mag. Plus the 300 has a lot of wiggle room left when it comes down to reloading. So when it comes down to an all around big game gun and being able to walk into just about any gun/ammo retailer and pick up a box of ammo because you left that fancy box of worked up hand loads in the safe the 300 win mag has it. (personal preference aside of course)

Model Premier Core-Lokt Premier Core-Lokt Premier Core-Lokt
Order No. 29004 29116 29032
Avg Wt Case 13 12 15
Ballistics Coefficient0.402 0.402 0.402
Caliber 30-06 Springfield 308 Win. 300 Win Mag
En 100 2457 2309 2971
En 200 2059 1930 2508
En 300 1713 1601 2103
En 400 1415 1320 1751
En 500 1161 1080 1448
En Muzzle 2913 2743 3501
Index PRC3006C PRC308WC PRC300WC
L RT100 2.1 2.3 2.7
L RT150 1.8 2.0 3.1
L RT200 zero zero 2.2
L RT250 -3.5 -3.8 zero
L RT300 -8.9 -9.5 -3.8
L RT400 -25.8 -27.7 -16.4
L RT500 -52.7 -56.4 -37.0
Model Premier Core-Lokt Premier Core-Lokt Premier Core-Lokt
Primer Number 9 1/2 9 1/2 9 1/2M
S RT100 0.0 0.0 0.1
S RT150 -1.3 -1.4 zero
S RT200 -4.2 -4.5 -1.9
S RT250 -8.7 -9.4 -5.2
S RT300 -15.1 -16.3 -10.0
S RT50 0.0 0.0 0.1
Vel 100 2480 2404 2774
Vel 200 2270 2198 2505
Vel 300 2070 2002 2294
Vel 400 1882 1818 2093
Vel 500 1704 1644 1903
Vel Muzzle 2700 2620 2960
Wt 180 180 180

ScottB
04-11-2010, 11:25 AM
Take a look at the Hornady Superformance loads and see how they compare. These are the 2nd generation light magnum loads. I have used the .30-06 light mag loads for years and they get you to near .300 mag performance with little increase in pressures or felt recoil over standard loads. They just released a .308 superformance line.

Good stuff.

kakinuma-kun
04-11-2010, 5:37 PM
Good for you that you went ahead and chose the Tikka in .308; you now have a great all-around rifle that you can use for years.

As an aside, I have a Winchester Model 70 in .30-'06 and it is not only a great primary rifle for all-around hunting, but it is also my main back-up rifle when going on speciality hunts because of the ease of purchasing a wide variety of ammo in almost any area in which I might be hunting.

You may one day come to buy a more specialized rifle, but your .308 will always stand ready because of its versatility.

Good luck.