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A treatise on the .30-06: from a non-devotee

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by Spitpatch, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Self-plagiarism disclaimer: This is an excerpt from a reply to a new member on the site looking for info on loading for the .30-06. With little modesty, I thought it deserved more widespread exposure. (It's also been a base-fuel for gun forums, re-ignited here):

    The great thing here is that (I'm making some assumptions, so forgive if wrong) you are just starting out with reloading. There is NO BETTER cartridge on the face of the earth with which to learn reloading, and there may well be no better cartridge on the face of the earth, period. No shooter or reloader of any great experience would spend much effort arguing with someone who stated those beliefs. You are hearing this from someone who is NOT a devotee or big fan of the .30-06. My interests run to the more exotic, and I own only three guns in the caliber. But my respect and knowledge of that caliber's capabilities are hardly met by others which may be more favorite to me.

    Jack O'Connor probably gave the cartridge its true due when he stated that he would not be afraid to walk across the entire continent of Africa with a .30-06 balanced across his shoulder. He was right. The cartridge has long been used successfully and with little extension or allowance on everything from pocket gophers to pachyderms. It shines best in America, and for the working man that has one gun and knows how to use it: He can take to the rockchuck rimrock with a fine 100g load and hold his own against the best fat-barreleld .22-250 guys (BETTER in a 20mph wind), and then engage a packstring into the deep wilderness and take the biggest 6x6 Wapiti that ever walked, shooting clean through both shoulders at respectable range with the 180g offerings. It would be safe to say that any elk hunter believing in the requirement of a belted magnum has not had much experience hunting elk with a .30-06.

    Easy to handload is a vast understatement with the cartridge. It accepts any and all misattentions to carefulness in the loading process and selection of components, and somehow delivers accurate ammunition with ANY effort.

    The 150g load is often the recommended pill for deer-sized game, but often a lighter (125-130g) bullet might give more explosive instant kills. The 180g offerings are considered the best for elk generally, but new bullets of stout construction (Nosler, Barnes), can offer the same penetration with a lighter, flatter-shooting weight. 165g bullets are the darling of the cartridge, offering long range flat trajectory, and mass that does very well against solid bone: A rare event of a compromise that is not such. A 220g roundnose directed at a Grizzly's shoulder will instantly become a .60 caliber slug, traveling faster than any .45-70. No Grizzly guide in Alaska would question a hunter that showed up with his "only gun", a .30-06 loaded stoutly. Truth be told, that guide would trust that hunter and rifle more readily than any "walking Cabelas's catalog" dude that arrived with a belted-magnum big bore he'd bought just for the trip.

    For the North American Hunter, NO cartridge can be argued as better all-around. Those that engage in such debates are merely participating in recreational verbal sparring matches.
     
  2. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I have more than one rifle in my safe, but for the last 10+ years, only one really goes hunting. My 30-06!

    Love it!
     
  3. Ron Eagle Elk

    Ron Eagle Elk Outside Ft Lewis East Gate Active Member

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    My Dad hunted North and South Dakota deer with his trusty 30-06, which I believe was a sporterized '03 Springfield. Unfortunately, an Uncle laid claim to that fine rifle while I was on my 3d tour in Viet Nam, so I hunt with a Remington 700 in 30-06. I love the versatility of that round.
     
  4. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Eagle Elk, here's a more favorable Uncle story regarding the .30-06. It details my LACK of personal experience with the cartridge, but I believe such became offset. My Uncle Lester bought an unaltered 1903 Springfield from (of all places) Fred Meyer, in about 1958. He hunted with that as his sole rifle (never owned a .22, shot squirrels,jackrabbits, quail and grouseheads) for all his life, much of which was spent in the woods as my surrogate father when my parents divorced. I saw that gun used as a walking stick, and a tent pole. I also saw it kill anything Lester pointed it at. Lester became seriously ill in 2002 with Leukemia. I took him for his last hunt for antelope that year, but he could not see the iron sights on his "Ol' Springfield", so I equipped him with a scoped Kimber .308. He walked 3 miles and made the shot.

    In 2004, he called me to visit at his house. He handed me the '03, and said, "Go kill something with it before I die."

    I took it to Montana that year, and here is the result: Montana State Record for 2004: the best Antelope I've taken in 44 years of hunting them. Probably the best I'll ever kill, and the only animal then I'd ever shot with a .30-06. You cannot imagine the emotion and amount of tears. Perhaps my lack of experience with the cartridge is heavily offset by such.

    SpringfieldBuck.jpg 3
     
  5. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I got 4 of them

    My Ruger M77R (tang safety red recoil pad) has been hunting with me since the mid 1980's

    I have a sporterized 1917 Enfield which is a horse of a rifle but very accurate for being almost 100

    I have a M1903 Springfield that has been sporterized but has not been altered in anyway that would prevent it from returning to Military trim (which is a project I am in the middle of)

    I have a Mauser 98 Large Ring Commercial action with an unknown 1.186" Dia X 25.5" barrel that I received as a sweetener on a trade. This will be built into a heavy weight long range bench rifle. I have designed a Micarta and Aluminum space frame style stock for it. Can't wait to see how this one shoots.

    My Dads hunting rifle was a 30-06 Savage model 110DL in a custom Fajen walnut stock.

    My Sons hunting rifle is a 30-06 Savage model 111 That shoots nickle sized groups at 100 yards off the bench with my handloads.

    There is a very good reason the 30-06 has been around 106 years.
     
  6. One-Eyed Ross

    One-Eyed Ross Winlock, WA Well-Known Member

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    If it ain't broke, why fix it? Love my -06 s
     
    EMP9596 and (deleted member) like this.
  7. JackThompson

    JackThompson Valley of the Demons Well-Known Member

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    That's a touching story Spitpatch.

    I've never owned another model of hunting rifle, but I've fired friends 30-30's, 7mm mausers and some others, and I have to admit I've never once felt any pangs of jealousy versus my trusty '06...

    I took it to the mountains three times to get a deer and cam back empty handed.

    This year I will go out again to try my luck.
     
  8. Ron Eagle Elk

    Ron Eagle Elk Outside Ft Lewis East Gate Active Member

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    SpitPatch,

    Your right, much better Uncle Story. Sounds like Lester and my Dad would have gotten along just fine.