I had a guy yesterday try to sell me a 8mm-06 wildcat m98 as a 30-06. It was intentional on his part. What tipped me off was it was clearly the original barrel. I tried a 308 bullet in the bore and it was a bit too big. The barrel had been poorly marked "30-06."
I have no knowledge of FN m98s, but many 98s that came in during the 50s had their 8mm barrel rechambered with a 30-06 reamer into the 8mm-06 wildcat. in fact my hornady #3 lists loads for this -- nice round, but not a 30-06. Lots of Bubba "smiths" rechambered the 7.7 as well.
Let's be careful out there.
I don't doubt for a minute what you just described but, FN did make 30/06 model '98's. I just ran across one in a local shop and will go back next weekend to see if it was meant to be mine. Model 1950 was one run, they made a few contract models for the Congo and a few others immediately post WWII in 30/06. They had corrugated buttplates, 30 stamped on the rear receiver bridge, and a few other identifiers. They did however resemble 98K's for the most part.
8mm-06....reminds me of a range story.
I have an M1 Garand. It came with a WWll dated barrel, that had been pretty much shot out. A muzzle check with a loaded round would swallow the bullet up to the cartridge neck.
I was at the range one day shooting it and had gotten into a conversation with a crusty old geezer and mentioned the worn out barrel. He said "It's probably been bored out to 8mm-06." I didn't say anything but sure thought "WTF??!!" Now who, in their right mind would bore out and re-rifle an M1 barrel from .30-06 (common ammo) to 8mm-06 (wildcat invented to put surplus Mausers to use)? But the barrel passes the muzzle test with my .303 Brit ammo. Not that I've loaded any .303 bullets in the -06 cases. I had the rifle rebarreled using a Dane VAR barrel.
Some of the things you hear at the range/funstore.
It was done because reloadable 8mm mauser brass was scarce back in the day... Nothing really wrong with the 8mm-06 and with the better selection of .323 hunting bullets around today it is just as good if not better than straight 30:06 .
Right. It was done to put 8mm rifles into use.
But why on earth would somebody convert a perfectly good .30-06 (especially a Garand) to 8mm-06. That's what the old guy was trying to tell me had probably happened.
Just speculating, but it might have been easier for someone in the 1950s to bore out a shot-out 308 to 323 than rebarrel. I recall there were a number of shops setup for boring (and re-rifling) barrels many years ago. Now days, the cost of a new barrel is relatively cheap, and no one does this anymore.