.30-06 or .243

Discussion in 'General Rifle Discussion' started by Jables, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. Jables

    Jables New Member

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    Ok, it's been along time since of posted anything non-political (just can't leave some things left unsaid.) I'm looking at getting a .30-06 or a .243 for Christmas and was wanting some opinions on which would you think would be better. I will be using it for Iowa's January High-Powered deer season. Boxes of ammo at this time are the same price. I will someday probably get into reloading. I hope I have given enough information to help you render a decision. Also, if you pick one, please explain why. This is big purchase for me. I'm a married man with 3 kids so I really don't have a lot of discretionary funds.

    Thanks JB
     
  2. tuckinauster

    tuckinauster New Member

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    It kinda depends on the hunting your going to be doing. Both are excellent deer cartridges. The .243 is a pleasure to shoot, with minimum recoil and nice ballistics. The '06 is a classic round that has tons of different load choices and information available. The '06 would also be suitable for hunting bigger critters as well. So if you ever get the itch to go elk hunting you wouldn't need a larger caliber rifle. In my opinion, the .243 is too light of a load for anything bigger than whitetails or muleys. Either way I'm sure you'll bee happy with either cartridge.
     

  3. jeepcreep927

    jeepcreep927 New Member

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    Depending on how seriously you're looking at handloading in the future, the .243 would be my choice. Handloading opens up a lot of bullet weights/ designs that are not available as factory loads. It can be loaded with varmint bullets for off season and back up for deer size game. Bullet weights range from 80 grains to 115 grains so there is a decent selection. You could realistically load the '06 up or down to meet those needs as well with a much broader weight selection (110 grain-220 grain), but you'll burn a lot more powder. Good luck.
     
  4. ScottG

    ScottG New Member

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    You do know that the 30-06 is God's Own Rifle cartridge don't you??? It's been putting down evil for over a century. Might as well continue for another hundred years....
     
  5. Jables

    Jables New Member

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    Maybe that's why I'm leaning towards .30-06, could it be the Almighty leading me in that direction? :confused:
     
  6. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

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    Personally, I'd go with the .30-06. You mentioned this being a big purchase for you as my 06 was for me so I understand completely. As mentioned you can use it for anything from groundhogs to black bear! The .243 is great for deer but it just isn't enough for an elk, moose or bear should you ever want to hunt those. The .30-06 is one the best, if not the best all around rifle cartridge. If you want to be able to hunt anything in North America with one rifle, the .30-06 is your best bet.

    I don't know which models you're looking at but take a good look at the Mossberg ATR. I LOVE mine! I put a Nikon on top and at 100yds I can shoot a 5 shot group all touching using factory ammo. Its inexpensive and functions bueatuifully. I bought mine to drag thru the woods so I didn't want (or could I afford) a $900 rifle. just my $.02.....
     
  7. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    For what it's worth, Carlos Hathcock used a .30-06 to record almost all of his 93 confirmed kills in active combat.

    -06 is a hell of a round. Hard to beat it, but it's punishing if you don't have a heavy weapon. Get some light barreled sporter model and you might be regretting it.

    That said, the .243 is a hell of a good round too. I agree it lacks some of the punch of -06, but damn is it a sweet shooting round.

    Hard to choose - I would say .30-06 first and then a .243 later. :D

    JD
     
  8. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

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    Way to bring Hathcock into it!! Not a Marine are you Dillinger??
     
  9. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    I can't tell if you are f*cking with me or not, so I am going with not and giving you the benefit of the doubt. :p

    Nope. Not a Marine, but I spent some time with them while I was overseas. Those boys sure can shoot. And drink....:D

    Hathcock, love him or hate him, was every bit as much a poster Marine as Chesty Puller was. They both put it all on the line for their fellow Marines, and anyone who knows one, knows how important that is...

    JD
     
  10. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

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    I'm not messing with you. I'm a Marine and hearing someone bring up Hathcock and now Chesty sparks some pride. and yes, Marines can shoot!
     
  11. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    You boys will always have a cold beer in your hands if I am in the bar. Much love for the Devil Dogs in our house. :D

    FACT: Marines are so hard core, they don't even have a posting for medic in their MOS. They borrow a Navy corpsman, and if the Navy Corpsman is any good, they treat him like one of their own and always makes sure he gets back alive.

    FACT: The only branch of the service that has ever served as Embassy Protection, regardless of country, to foreign US politicians and overseas workers.

    FACT: The Marine Corps hymn is the oldest recognized song of all US Armed Forces.

    FACT: Teufelhunden! Look it up. When an opposing, numerically superior, force gave them a name like this, the Marines went and accepted it as a badge of honor.

    RESPECT!

    I spent some time living alongside the Korean ROC Marines, who were trained and taught everything they know from the US Marine Corps, and those guys are no joke either. Serving as a Korean ROC is one of the highest honors of compensory military service in S. Korea.

    Just a few fun facts you might not have known...

    JD
     
  12. BigO01

    BigO01 New Member

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    Jables while they're both excellent rounds being a married man with limited funds and kids growing up I would go with a third option , a .308 Winchester .

    Savage Stevens makes a nice rifle for around $300 in a bolt action with a synthetic stock .

    The 308 will do virtually everything the 30-06 will do but , when it comes time to reload it will do it with less powder .

    You can also still on occasion find 308 surplus ammo cheaper than normal hunting stuff at least by a small amount for practice . I use to get 140 round military battle packs for $35 of 308 before the War started .

    Another plus is as the kids get old enough to shoot it it can be downloaded more easily for them than a 06 with the 308's smaller case .

    Unless really big game like brown bear is in your future a 308 is perfect even for elk out to 300 yards or so with a 180 grain bullet .

    The 308 has been used as a 1,000 yard sniper round so I'm sure it will take care of the longest shot on a deer you will get .
     
  13. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Big - While I respect your belief, I have to firmly disagree. I build .308 Sniper Guns all the time in the shop where I work. Check my rig in the Projects section and you will see an example. This caliber is a recognized "safe" round for police SRT/HRT/SWAT types because it is a recognized and commonly used round. Having said that, it is FAR from being 1,000 yard sniper round. I know the Marines train to take it out to 1,000 but what they don't tell you is the trajectory is practically a moon shot to get the round there, and then it lacks the terminal velocity that something like an -06 would hit with.

    Facts being what they are, police and standard SWAT teams are rarely "green lit" past 100 yards. In fact, the most recent FBI "police sniper involved" average distance report ( 2004 ) indicated that inside the continental US, the AVERAGE distance of a police "sniper" or marksman taking a shot across all law enforcement departments was 71 yards. The only recognized snipers that are commonly "green lit" at further distances are the FBI HRT and Secret Service Snipers, who are some of the best shooters in the law enforcement community.

    HRT and S.S. currently field a 7mm Mag, as their shots usually involve long, flat distances, with a possibility of having to punch through a window, aircraft glass or other semi solid.

    I agree that the .308 would be useful in hunting at close ranges, but you can't plan on taking long range game shots with it.

    Respectfully, I would advise someone like Jables AGAINST purchasing a .308 as his next choice for a bolt action weapon.

    JD
     
  14. ScottG

    ScottG New Member

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    Recoil pad....
     
  15. BigO01

    BigO01 New Member

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    JD you don't seem to quite understand how the two rounds compare balistically .

    The two rounds are for all practical applications identical .

    One needs only to look at the ballistic tables made available from the major ammo makers for the ammo to see this .

    The 30 06 for a 180gr partition bullet breaks down like so
    Velocity at the muzzle 2,700 , at 100 yards 2,512 , 200 yards 2,332 , 300 2,116 400 1,995 , 500 1,837 .

    Energy at muzzle 2,913 , at 100 yards 2,523 , 200 2,174 , 300 1,865 , 400 1,591 , 500 1,348


    The 308 for the same bullet and weight

    Muzzle velocity 2,570 , 100 yards 2,388 , 200 yards 2,213 , 300 2,045 , 400 1,885 , 500 1,734

    Energy Muzzle 2,640 , 100 2,278 , 200 1,957 , 300 1,672 , 400 1,420 , 500 1,202

    When looking at bullet drop figures you will find that the 308 compares just as favorably even at the extreme range for hunting applications of 500 yards the 308 only drops 6 inches more than the 30 06 with a 100 yard zero .

    The 308 was after all designed to give the military 30-06 performance in a more machine gun friendly short action weapon .

    While it isn't the ballistic twin of the 30-06 I doubt any deer , bear , or human ever noticed the fact that they were hit with a round going 100-200 fps slower than the 06 .


    Simply put if you can't get it done with a 308 you'll probably find the 06 a bit wanting also .

    Also like I stated , having raised 4 kids I know how tight a household budget can get and saving on those reloading components can come in handy , when you can get the same performance with a round that uses 44 grains of powder vs 54 that translates into more rounds of practice for the same expenditure of funds .

    The above data was found at

    http://www.federalpremium.com/ballistics/Ammo_Search.aspx
     
  16. Jables

    Jables New Member

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    So far I'm enjoying this information. Anymore would be helpful.
     
  17. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Damn, I had a nice post going and then had an internet problem. let's try this again....

    Oh, I understand the ballistics perfectly, but you have to compare apples and apples...

    The site you reference is Federal Premium. First off, they don't make run of the mill ammo there. In fact, just putting together ammo in your basement or your shed, you are not going to get their round to round consistantency without some trial and error, so factor that into your math equations for cost. Your brass preparation time will be longer and your procedures will be fine tuning over the first couploe of hundred rounds to get the same round to round effects they achieve.

    That said, they make great stuff, so I can see why you chose them. However, if you check their charts, you will see out to 300 yards, they reference a 100 yard zero. Beyond that, they change and give you the stats on a 200 yard zero. This is a neat trick that someone came up with to show performance in a more clever light. It's a pretty good trick too, because suddenly, the closer you get to their "max effective range" on their ammo, the better a lot of ammo looks side by side. Seriously, I have fallen for this trap myself on a couple of occassions, and if you aren't looking for it, it's easy to miss. No harm done...

    Side by side - I had to look pretty damn hard to find a free ballistics software program that would allow me to stretch the ranges out and keep the zero the same. I finally found a decent one at this site.

    Okay, for the .308, 168 grain Sierra MatchKing BTHP, fired from a 24 inch barrel is the bullet I used for the comparison. I think we can agree that this is a pretty good set up, a great bullet and a bullet weight that is quite well respected. In addition, it's a round I know quite well as this is the exact round my .308 is chambered for.

    168 gr. With a 100 yard zero - the bullet drops 26.02 inches at 300, but it drops a total of 125.38 inches by the time it reaches 600 yards. That's over 10 feet! However, energy of the round drops from 2639 pounds at the muzzle to 1623 at 300 yards down to 965 at 600 yards.

    Okay, by comparison, the .30-06 with a 168 grain, Sierra MatchKing BTHP, fired from a 24 inch barrel.

    168gr. With a 100 yard zero - the bullet drop is 23.75 at 300 yards, but it drops a total of 110.53 inches at 600. However, energy goes from 2750 at the muzzle, to 1884 at 300yards, to 1226 at 600 yards.

    So, we have a difference of almost 15 inches of drop in a side by side at only 600 yards, which translates to ( 56 ) 1/4 MOA clicks on your scope from 100 to 600 on the .30-06 versus ( 127 ) 1/4 MOA clicks from 100 to 600 on the .308. If we stretch it out to 1,000 - the numbers grow exponentially....

    We have a difference in energy transfered at 300 yards being over 260 foot pounds and at 600 still being about 261.

    Of course, all that means is you zero your rifle further out, or use a mil-dot with hold overs/unders or a BDC for the differences in range, get yourself a quality scope with a 20MOA rail under it, etc.

    I am not saying the .308 isn't a good hunting round, but what I am saying is that in the field, where it will matter, the .308 and the .30-06 aren't close, there is a performance gap. More energy, with a flatter trajectory, will equal a greater chance of a one shot kill & a better chance of humanely putting meat on the table.

    This performance was proven again and again when the snipers of Vietnam had to turn in their .30-06 hunting rifles for the purpose built .308. They couldn't reach out as far, and they couldn't achieve the same hit to kill ratio.

    Sure. And a muzzle break. And maybe a mercury vial in the stock if you want to take some of the sting out of it. But then, you aren't going on a budget and you are approaching more of a custom build. The .30-06 has a nasty kick to it in a lightweight, trail hiking style of hunting rifle. :D

    JD
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2008
  18. Jables

    Jables New Member

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    I'm cool with the kick. Iowa used to only have a shotgun season. I've always hunted deer, and will continue during buck season, with a 12 gauge Rem 870 Express Mag using 3 inch Mag Slugs. I think I'll be fine with the kick. :D

    JD, you'd have laughed the first time that ol' man had me shoot a 12 gauge. I was bruised for a week. When I turned 14 I weighed 115 lbs. Weighed that up until I was 25, I now weigh 155. At 115 I had no trouble handling a that 12 gauge. It's still my baby.
     
  19. BigO01

    BigO01 New Member

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    Well I'll be , you're right I missed the fact they switched zeros on me there .

    And BTW I agree the old 06 is a fantastic round as I own two rifles in the caliber .

    The thing is though most sporters come with 22 inch barrels not 24 which leans in favor of the 308 with faster burning powders and of course all ammo makers are notorious for skewing their numbers a tad to be more generous than the velocities the rounds actually achieve .

    And you're 100% correct in the fact that a synthetic stocked 06 even with a good recoil pad will get your attention when you touch it off LOL . Not the weapon you spend a day shooting at a bench .

    Here's the thing JD , Jables is talking using it for Iowa whitetails so my bringing up the whole sniper subject should be shelved .

    Now I know the distances in Iowa can get a bit far so I guess we should ask him if he is skilled enough to make 400+ yard shots or will even be hunting in open enough land for one . So Jables what are your skills and planned hunting terrain here ?

    Honestly the fact that a 308 can be more easily downloaded to 30-30 levels when the kids grow up and the pure economy of the round once reloading is started has been a big factor in my suggestions as I know how tight money can get with the little boogers .

    Depending on his answers he has many fine options here , one would be if he intends mostly long range shots would be the 270 Winchester as it is a better long range round than the 06 or so I've heard without getting into the recoil relm of the magnums .

    Another if he is on an extraordinary tight budget and just wants a good hunting rifle would be a mil surplus in 7.62X54R caliber , a Mosin Nagant 91/30 . The weapons can be had for around $100 and there are soft point rounds available for hunting as well as cheap full metal jacketed mill surplus AIM surplus has 250 round packs for $40 of FMJ for cheap practice ammo . http://www.aimsurplus.com/acatalog/copy_of_7_62x54R.html

    And Silver Bear soft points can be had for $7 a box of 20 here , http://ammunitiontogo.com/catalog1/...silver-bear-203gr-sp-ammo&manufacturers_id=19


    I just honestly think that for the hunting applications he has described so far he would be better served with the 308 with a shorter bolt throw faster follow up shots , and my local Walmarts have Federal 308 hunting ammo for $13 a box which is cheaper than the 06's run , if Jabels Walmarts have the same prices he is good to go at least to say 400-500 yards on a whitetail deer .

    He also has more firearm action choices in 308 in the more economical price range , for instance while he can get the same Savage bolt in 30-06 can he get one in a semiauto for that price range ? He can with a Saiga in 308 and it comes with a hunting legal 8 round magazine . And if he wants to play with it and blow away 25 rounds as fast as he can pull the trigger he can buy aftermarket hi capacity magazines . If he wants a levergun he can go with a used classic Savage 99 or a new Browning BLR both for around the $500-600 mark .
     
  20. G21.45

    G21.45 New Member

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    :confused: I don't get it? This poor guy's going to be so confused trying to figure all this out that he'll probably be too afraid to take the shot!

    Instead of approaching ballistics from a conventional zero point-of-view, 'Why' not simply find out what the preferred bullet's ballistic coefficient is and, then, zero the hunting rifle for, 'Maximum Point Blank Range'? It would, all, be so much easier!

    As for Jables' original question: In my opinion he would be much better served by a 30-06 than a 243. (And I love the 6mm!) If he does get into reloading later on, the 30-06 will be infinitely more versatile and the same cartridge case could be loaded for everything from prairie dogs to buffaloes.