Monday, March 8, 2010

"Thoughts on the .308 and 30-06" by JayPee

I trained in the army with the M-1 in otsix (.30-'06) and the M-14 in 7.62mm NATO (.308 Winchester). As a result I have been a died in the wool otsix man all my life because of the ridiculously sharp recoil of the .308, and the greater versatility of the otsix when it comes to bullet weights and powders.. The otsix can be handloaded with the entire range of powders from the very fastest to the very slowest, and very good loads can be had with all –i.e. the otsix will give you first rate accuracy with powders of just about any burning rate and with bullets of any weight heavier than the 110 grain, which is a real dog because of its poor sectional density. The .308 prefers powders in the medium to fast burning rates and isn't regarded as the best hunting round when it comes to bullets of 180 grains or more.

The 7.62/.308 is only "competitive" with the otsix, it does not equal it and can never do so because of the otsix's greater powder capacity. Given roughly a 150 grain bullet, the otsix will clock 2,850fps with 47,000 to 50,000 psi chamber pressure, while the .308 to achieve the same velocity generates much higher chamber pressures. If you load the .308 to otsix pressures, then its performance sags well below the otsix.

Now, having said all that, if you can get the velocities you want in the bullet weights you want with the .308, and it will take the game you want, then it will do as well as the otsix. But if you need high performance on large, dangerous game in 180 grain or heavier bullets, then you'd better stick with the otsix because the .308 can't deliver with the heavier bullets.

Availability of military ammunition in a catastrophic situation would probably be better with the .308 than that of the otsix since the otsix was declared obsolete and "formally" replaced in government service by the .308 in 1957. But since the otsix remains the most popular sporting rifle cartridge on earth, ammunition for it would be far from scarce.

The .308 is one of the world's most accurate .30 caliber cartridges, if you can stand the recoil, and putting it into a short action gun only exacerbates the felt recoil to me. I like bolt action sporter-weight guns, so I avoid it for that reason. It is a good cartridge, but it is not the equal of the otsix across the broad spectrum of hunting applications.

(Boy am I gonna ketch hell from the .308 guys over this one!!)


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