308 vs 30-30 and 30-06

Discussion in 'Modern Firearms' started by greenhorn, Apr 23, 2005.

  1. greenhorn

    greenhorn 6 pointer

    Nov 8, 2003
    Durham, Nc
    I'm in the market for a rifle. I have considered the 30-30. I'm partial to the 30-06, though.
    How's a 308?
    Would a 308 be a good choice for hunting big game?
    How about ammo choices, and prices?
    Your opinions would be greatly appreciated!
    later, mike
  2. Multidigits

    Multidigits BBBC Members

    Dec 10, 2001
    Vine Grove, Ky, USA.
    308 and the 06 are comparable. Both have superior ballistics compared to the 30-30
  3. Turkeyhunter5

    Turkeyhunter5 8 pointer

    Oct 10, 2004
    redneck land
    what are you hunting. long range short range. if i was you id go with the 30-30 for short and 308 for longer range. it aint the best long range gun but i think its better then the 30-30
  4. trust me

    trust me Troubled Loner

    Nov 27, 2004
    Jerkwater, KY
    For the close up brushy hunting you find in 80% of Kentucky, the 30-30 is a good cartridge in the perfect gun. No deer will ever know the difference between the 30-30 and a 308 at 75 yards.

    If you are stretching out across clear land and can shoot 150 or 200 yards, go with a scoped 308 or 30-06, not a nickel's worth of difference.
  5. KentuckyTracker

    KentuckyTracker 6 pointer

    Apr 17, 2005
    Daviess County,Kentucky
    Just my opinion, but I personally would go with the 30-30. I have shot all of my deer within 75 yards with a 45-70. Also, I don't personally believe in 'sharpshooting' deer. It's just my opinion, but it's not really hunting if you have to shoot him over 200 yds. I Don't want to get an argument started, but am just puttin my beliefs out there. Before you can become a good hunter, you need to become a good tracker. :) No sense in shooting him from a hilltop 2 counties away.

    The 30-30 has been around for a long time, and is still the true deer hunters cartridge. Excellent for shooting through brush, this cartridge is perfect for Kentucky deer hunting. If you are wanting to step up to elk, get a 45-70. Excellent knockdown power, and stable ballistics. The 45-70 is the old "Official" cartridge of the US Army, and a favorite of buffalo hunters.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2005
  6. Hoosier5

    Hoosier5 Banned

    Sep 6, 2004
    Northern Taylor Co.
    Rifles, chambered for the .44 Magnum, are also good choice for short range (under 100 yards) woods/brush hunting. I own a Ruger Model 77/.44 bolt action and it has served me very well when hunting deer in wooded or brush areas.
  7. quackrstackr

    quackrstackr Welcome to Fantasy Island Staff Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    The Island
    Go with the .308 or .30-06. Wide range of different loads/bullets that you can buy straight off the shelf for any kind of hunting you may want to do.

    The 30-30 is ok for short range deer but you'll be out of luck over 150 yards or so. Like someone else mention, they may not know the difference at 75 yards but they will over 100. ;)

    There really is no such thing as the much touted "brush gun" (that statement I'm sure will open another can of worms). It doesn't matter what caliber it is. The term "brush gun" simply means short range like you would encounter in a dense brush situation, not that you can put a lazer shot through a sapling thicket or other overgrown mess. I've seen that studied over and over again. There wasn't enough difference from the slower, big stuff to the faster, small stuff to even mention.

    If you're leaning toward the .30-30 end of things you may want to check out the .35 Rem. as well. Shoots a little larger/heavier bullet. I own a Marlin 336C chambered for it and it is a deer flattener out to a little over 100 yards. Also makes a good short range bear and hog gun.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2005
  8. GSP

    GSP 14 Pointer Staff Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    I would agree with Quakr, .308 or 06. I have a 30-30, a 30-06 (with I always use for deer) and I have bought lil GSP a 7mm-06 (308 necked to 7mm). All have taken deer cleanly.
    The 30-30 will easily kill a deer at 100 or less but over that and you notice a quick drop in everything.
    If I were to chose only one from your list I would lean toward the .308, less recoil than the 06, but it still packs a MAJOR punch.

    BTW, I found an old article that I am trying to re-find on "Brush Guns". The term was first used to describe the length of the rifles, not the bullet speed/configuration/shape. The 30-30, .35 etc, were all the short lever type deer rifles, compared to the long .303s, 30-06s etc. The term came from the lever actions being a better "brush Gun" BECAUSE the rifle was easy to handle in the thick stuff. The term stuck and then it grew from there that these rounds must be better (which they are not).
  9. aceoky

    aceoky 12 pointer

    Jul 14, 2003
    The Tin Foil Mansion
    Good Question!

    The "thutty thutty" has probably killed more deer(especially east of the Mississip) than any other round! But there are better choices, since most 30/30's have tubular magazines they can't handle spitzer(pointed) bullets, which adds to their already "lesser" stance IMHO.

    The difference in a .308 and an '06 with 150 grain bullets is (give or take, and depending on a particular rifle etc.) is about 150 fps and no game animal will ever know or notice any difference to 300+ yards!

    Where the big difference comes into play is with the 180 grain + bullets; there the '06 wins by a larger margin(the .308 can't hold enough powder to drive 'em nearly as well) :D

    BTW we have both; and there is nothing "wrong" with the .308; (but I'd still not trade my '06 for one) :)

    The 30/30 is a great rifle, but IMHO is too limited with much better choices in a new rifle to be had today(and with the new bullets and "lite mag" rounds; there is much to be gained by going to the other two rounds mentioned; also the 7mm-08(.308 necked down to 7mm) is an outstanding round, with mild recoil and it's a very flat shooting round; which can handle anything from groundhogs to elk and everything in between! You can think of it as a short action 7X57 +P(since it's loaded to higher pressures than the original) :) There is nothing in North America that hasn't fallen to the .308 or the '06; either will serve you well IMHO!
  10. daking

    daking 12 pointer

    Dec 29, 2004
    Ah, where to begin....

    The 30-30 started life as a black powder cartridge, 30 grains of black powder and a 30 caliber bullet. As has been correctly stated here, the 30-30 is a good short-range weapon. If you're going to keep it under 100 yards, it's serious medicine. My experience is that if you go with the 30-30, use the 150 grain bullet. It seems to perform better than the 170. This might be due to the fact that it has a slightly thinner jacket and is pushed at a higher speed, meaning that it opens more reliably than its heavier cousin on thin-skinned game.

    Next is the 30-06. It is considered by many to be the gold standard of rifle cartridges. It's more powerful and throws a wider variety of bullet weights. It's recoil can be a bit grim in the heavier bullet weights. If you've got to reach out and touch something, an 06 is a good choice.

    The 308 is a derivative of the 06. It uses the same diameter bullet but a shorter case. In the realm of theory (and this is a pretty deep realm), the 308 might be the more accurate cartridge of the two because its powder charge fills the case and at least in theory ignites more uniformly than the 06. I believe this to be true, but have never seen two rifles (or shooters for that matter) that were capable of providing an accurate test platform for this theory. It does not handle the longer, heavier bullets as well as the 06 and cannot manage the same top mv as the 06. It's virture (aside from its theoretical accuracy advantage over the06) is its short length. It can use a short action bolt rifle and would seem to be more efficient in a lever action (Browning BLR, Savage 99), an auto or a pump.

    The 45/70 is another critter indeed. Everything you have read here about its stellar knock-down power is true. It can be loaded to a level that approaches the 458 win. mag. That's a whole lot of rifle for this area. The one caveat to its extreme power is it must be handloaded. Store-bought 45-70 ammo is loaded to a pressure that can be withstood by the old (weak) trapdoor springfield. If you want to use the 45-70 as a blue-barreled blaster, be prepared to handload if you want the real punch.

    There you have it. If I were going to buy my one and only rifle, I'd opt for the 06 or the 308. Both can take you from coyotes to elk nicely. If you're woods hunting deer, the 30-30 will serve you quite well. If you are a tinkerer who doesn't value his shoulder joint, the 45/70 is fun. I've had all four. The biggest mistake you can make is not buying one and shooting it enough to make sure it always shoots where you point it.

    Terry Sullivan
  11. gwhilikerz

    gwhilikerz Banned

    Oct 16, 2004
    The last few years I have been hunting with 30-30, 243, and 20ga sluggun. I am a big fan of the 30-06 and always have one around somewhere. There isn't much difference between 06 and 308 when it comes to deer hunting. Like was mentioned earlier the 06 does handle heavier bullets better. At 100 yds the deer will never know the difference between any of the calibers you mentioned.

    But I may have to go back to hunting with the 30-06. Never know when a mad bull elk will decide to attack:D
  12. Auk1124

    Auk1124 10 pointer

    If you reload the 30-0bG6 is a dream. Hard to find a bad load for it and there are enough bullets and powders out there to keep you playing for a lifetime. My all time favorite cartridge to reload (so far).
  13. BearsBud

    BearsBud 6 pointer

    Jan 28, 2005
    I have hunted for years with the Marlin 30-30. It is, as stated, a great short range rifle. Anything out to a hundred yards I would take without a thought. Anything more and I have to start contemplating options. Recently I have been looking to hunt some larger fields and decided to purchase another rifle for those hunts. After a little research I opted for the Remington 7mm Mag. Shoots on a wire to 300 yds with plenty of knock down power when it gets there. I bought the model 710 which has an MSRP of $426.00. I would not trade my Marlin when it comes to close quarters but I think the 7mm is comparable to the 308 and 06 for those longer shots and has a range of ammo options.;)
  14. KentuckyTracker

    KentuckyTracker 6 pointer

    Apr 17, 2005
    Daviess County,Kentucky
    daking ,

    I will agree with all that you have said about the 45-70 except for one thing. This is a common misconception, but magnum cartridges can commercially be had for the 45-70 without having to reload them. Garret and Buffalo Bore both make an exceptional commercial load that is easily in the Magnum standard. It is only meant to be fired in the Browning and Marlin 1895 after 1976(?). I may be missing a rifle here, but you get the point.

    Although, I will point this out. It is much cheaper to reload the 45-70 as opposed to buying commercial ammo. I reload the Garret Hammerheads for around .50 cents a round, whereas to buy them fully loaded is around $2 a piece. Same for the Buffalo Bore cartridges. My thought was, why buy all of these cartridges? Why not invest the extra money from 3 or 4 boxes of shells and buy a used reloader and die set? I have saved hundreds of dollars and quite possibly thousands.

    As for the .458 Win Mag being the next step up. I have both the 45-70 and the .458 Win Mag, and I prefer the 45-70 for recoil reasons. Both are excellent rifles, but the .458 commercial ammo I like runs around $50 a box.:)
  15. Rob

    Rob Cyber-Hunter

    Dec 9, 2001
    Murray, KY, USA.
    I agree with just about everything that's been said. I think the two questions you might ask yourself are:

    1. Where am I going to hunt?


    2. What else might I hunt other than deer?

    The answers to the above questions should lead you to your choice. For ex., if you plan to hunt exclusively in thickets & woodlots, with all shots under 100 yds, I wouldn't consider anything but a 30-30, since most of the rifles chambered for the 30-30 (Primarily the Win 94 & Marlin 336) are perfect for those hunting conditions.

    If you also plan to hunt elk or bear, I wouldn't consider a 30-30, since the round lacks the energy you will need for that size game.

    And, if you wanted to hunt varmits & predators, as well as deer, I wouldn't consider any of the three.

    Good luck!

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