I realize the potential of the .308 vs. the 30-06. For most practical shooting the .308 is all you need.
I tend to agree that for MOST practical shooting the .308 is all you need. In Big Bear country I would much prefer a .30-06 with 220g bullets, something the .308 Win is not particularly well suited to handle. For my own purposes, hunting elk and smaller in Colorado, I use both the .308 Win and .30-06 loaded with identical bullets. I push the .30-06 about 150fps faster for my hunting loads but run them about the same (.308 velocities) with the target loads. Although I shoot both out to 500 yards, at that range I would prefer my 7mm RM or .300 Win Mag if shooting elk.
Keep in mind though that just about any handloader can run a 30-06 100-150fps faster than the .308. With recoil less than a .300magnum to some that might be what they are looking for.
Well, you are right on the first part. But since you are talking about handloads, the second part is wrong – loaded to the same velocity there is little difference in recoil. For example, using Nosler #6 as the source, a 165g AB can be pushed to 3002fps with a max .30-06 load and 3026fps with a mild .300 Win load. Assuming an 8.3 pound rifle in both cases, the difference in recoil is due to the .300 Win’s larger powder charge – 67.0g vs 63.0g.
The difference in recoil is 1.3 foot-pounds, 25.4f-p vs 24.0f-p. Not a big enough difference to worry about. In this case the difference to worry about is the .300 Win Mag can push the bullet to 3290fps with a max load.
Don't forget as well, for the most part the venerable .308 is trumped ballistically by the 260Rem, 7mm-08, or even better a 24" barrel 7mm-08AI.
I have to call “BS” on this claim. The .308 Win, by virtue of the larger base diameter of the bullet (more area) can, at the same pressure, drive bullets of the same weight faster than the smaller calibers. In many cases this works out that the .308 Win can drive heavier bullets to the same velocity as the smaller calibers drive lighter bullets.
Using Nosler 6 as the reference again:
.308 Win = 180g AB (BC .507, SD .271) @ 2718fps
.308 Win = 165g AB (BC .475, SD .248) @ 2910fps
.308 Win = 150g AB (BC .435, SD .226) @ 3001fps
.308 Win = 125g BT (BC .366, SD .188) @ 3284fps
7mm-08 = 160g AB (BC .531, SD .283) @ 2780fps
7mm-08 = 140g AB (BC .485, SD .248) @ 2953fps
.260 Rem = 140g HPBT (BC .529, SD .287) @ 2830fps
.260 Rem = 130g AB (BC .488, SD .266) @ 2911fps
.260 Rem = 120g BT (BC .458, SD .246) @ 3049fps
.260 Rem = 100g BT (BC .350, SD .205) @ 365fps
Now if we take these loads and zero for MPBR (Maximum Point Blank Range) using a 6” diameter target (Max 3” bullet deviation above or below LOS):
.308 Win = 180g AB, 274yds = MPBR; 500yds = -42.0”, 1930fps, 1489fpe
.308 Win = 165g AB, 291yds = MPBR; 500yds = -35.5”, 2039fps, 1523fpe
.308 Win = 150g AB, 297yds = MPBR; 500yds = -33.7”, 2040fps, 1386fpe
.308 Win = 125g BT, 315yds = MPBR; 500yds = -28.2”, 2097fps, 1221fpe
7mm-08 = 160g AB, 281yds = MPBR; 500yds = -38.7”, 2014fps, 1441fpe
7mm-08 = 140g AB, 296yds = MPBR; 500yds = -33.5”, 2090fps, 1358fpe
.260 Rem = 140g HPBT, 286yds = MPBR; 500yds = -36.8”, 2053fps, 1311fpe
.260 Rem = 130g AB, 292yds = MPBR; 500yds = -35.0”, 2061fps, 1226fpe
.260 Rem = 120g BT, 302yds = MPBR; 500yds = -31.3”, 2122fps, 1200fpe
.260 Rem = 100g BT, 321yds = MPBR; 500yds = -26.9”, 2111fps, 989fpe
What these numbers show is that, with handloads, the .308 Win can deliver more thump at 500 yards with bullet weights of similar weight or SD and that at ranges out to 500 yards there is no significant advantage in trajectory with the 7mm-08 or .260 Rem. In fact, if you are looking at delivered energy and retained velocity, the .308 Win wins the trajectory game in every case.
I will let you go through the numbers for factory loads.
Why not run the 7mm-08AI with the heavy 7mm bullets and have the same recoil as a .308 with an effective target range of 200-300yds more than the .308? Don't forget the .243 as well if you have a custom stick and run the heavies. All rounds are based on the same case as well just to keep the comparrison's legitimate.
Your claim that the 7mm-08AI provides 200-300 yds more than the .308 is ludicrous. The .280 Rem has more case capacity than the 7mm-08AI and can shoots the same bullets at higher velocities.
.280 Rem = 160g AB (BC .531, SD .283) @ 2929fps
.280 Rem = 140g AB (BC .485, SD .248) @ 3152fps
.280 Rem = 160g AB, 295yds = MPBR; 500yds = -33.1”, 2139fps, 1625fpe
.280 Rem = 140g AB, 313yds = MPBR; 500yds = -27.5”, 2252fps, 1577fpe
So how does the faster-than-the-7mm-08AI-could-ever-hope-to-be .280 Rem compare to the .308 Win?
With 160g bullets the .280 Rem adds a whopping 4 yards to MPBR when compared to the .308 Win and 165g bullets. At 500 yards it is 2.4” flatter, 100fps faster and has 102fpe more energy. The trajectory advantage disappears quickly, at 510 yards, and the energy and velocity advantage only adds about 48 yards.
With 140g bullets the .280 Rem adds a whopping 16 yards to MPBR when compared to the .308 Win and 150g bullets. At 500 yards it is 6.2” flatter, 212fps faster and has 191fpe more energy. The trajectory advantage disappears quickly, at 530 yards. The velocity advantage adds 135 yards and the retained energy adds about 90 yards.
Keeping in mind that the 7mm-08AI can’t hope to keep up with the .280 Rem when loaded to similar pressures, there is no way the 7mm-08AI has “an effective target range of 200-300yds more than the .308”.
the 30-06 is here due to people's comfort with the round's capability and nostalgia, not because it out performs. It is just a comfortable medium with which to hunt everything on our continent with, just like our fathers and grandfathers did.
The .30-06 is here for a lot of reasons, not just nostalgia. It will do everything the .308 Win can do at lower pressures and if can do more than the .308 Win when loaded to the same pressures. As bullet weight increases above 168g the .30-06 really starts to distance itself from the .308 Win.
I happened to buy my .30-06 in 2006 and did so for a couple reasons, one of which was nostalgic. That reason, however, did not drive the decision nearly as much as other factors.
Using Nosler 6 as the reference again:
.30-06 = 180g AB (BC .507, SD .271) @ 2872fps
.30-06 = 165g AB (BC .475, SD .248) @ 3002fps
.30-06 = 150g AB (BC .435, SD .226) @ 3056fps
.30-06 = 125g BT (BC .366, SD .188) @ 3418fps
.30-06 = 180g AB, 289yds = MPBR; 500yds = -35.8”, 2058fps, 1692fpe
.30-06 = 165g AB, 299yds = MPBR; 500yds = -32.3”, 2114fps, 1637fpe
.30-06 = 150g AB, 302yds = MPBR; 500yds = -31.9”, 2084fps, 1446fpe
.30-06 = 125g BT, 328yds = MPBR; 500yds = -24.7”, 2198fps, 1341fpe
When comparing these to the .308 Win, remember that these use the lower .30-06 pressures. If handloading to similar pressures as the .308 win, the numbers get even better.
Killing power is not necessarily as noteworthy as a shooter who can put the bullet where he wants it, and knows a little about bullet construction and how they perform on game at the velocities for the ranges they'll be hunting at. There are many hunters out there who have killed large game with 6.5's, .257's, and .243's. I will conceed though that an inexperienced hunter who is a mediocre shot would do well to use the largest caliber that they are comfortable with.
I just like my 30-06 because it reminds me of my younger years when I didn't have the responsibilities that I do now.
There is no disagreement here about the importance of bullet placement or matching the bullet to the application. I hunt deer with my .257 Roberts but would not hesitate to use it on elk given a good opportunity.