I found this great article in Field & Stream and it reminded why the 30-06 is my favorite rifle round. I started as a .308 Winchester fan shooting that bullet from great rifles like the M1A and AR10 platforms. It is fair to say I am a fan of the 30 caliber family including the 7.62×39. However, I always come back to my old faithful “aught 6”.
As any hunter or gun enthusiast knows you find favorite firearms for a variety of reasons. Some like the aesthetic look of a gun or the way it conforms to their style of grip or body type. Look and feel of a gun are important to me but I pick my favorites based on how it feels to pull the trigger, what happens when I pull the trigger and how confident I am with the results of that trigger pull. So when people ask me which gun I like the best I inevitably find myself thinking of 2 specific rifles. The first is the M1 Garand and the second it the Browning A-Bolt Stalker with the BOSS system. Both of these rifles are easy to shoot and accurate as anything else I have shot. The common characteristic of these 2 rifles is they are both chambered in the 30-06 caliber.
I love the 30-06 round for a few reasons:
- In the right rifle, it shoots very well and the recoil doesn’t make it unpleasant. This adds to the accuracy of the rifle because the shooter isn’t anticipating recoil issues.
- It is that is is a very well designed and built cartridge, the brass is sturdy and support multiple reloads
- It is easy to reload and there are very tried and true loads that make it incredibly accurate and reliable (I’ll share some loads I use for some rifles)
- It has good ballistics (but not great), especially out to about 300y
- It has great “stopping power”, the article referenced above talks about not have too much difference from a .338 round for hunting purposes
- It is a super common round so it is relatively cheap to buy, easy to find and in a situation where scarcity might be an issue this is important
- It is somewhat historic and sentimental. This round was used as the primary round by the U.S. forces fighting in Europe and the Pacific in WWII, Korea and even used into the Viet Nam conflict. I think everyone should own a M1 Garand.
If you thinking about a new rifle for hunting or even sports shooting I would highly recommend going with an American classic in the 30-06. The rifles mentioned above are great platforms for this round and I don’t think you would be disappointed. You can keep you 7mm magnums and .338 Lapuas along with the shoulder pain they bring. Unless we are taking down something larger than a grizzly I’ll stick with my “30 aught”.