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GENESMITH
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Posted: 10/14/2012 6:58:19 PM
I was searching for some information on "30 cal", and came across this interesting article. Thought I'd post it here, as I learned something new, and thought maybe others might also.


The Optimum .30 Caliber Rifle Cartridge

By Chuck Hawks

As I pointed out in my article "The Ever Popular .30 and .303 Rifle Cartridges," this is the most popular group of rifle cartridges in the world, for both military and sporting purposes. Military use is beyond the scope of this article, but the success of the .30 calibers as hunting cartridges is undeniable.

From the little .30 Carbine through the .30-30, .300 Savage, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, and the various .300 Magnums, the .30 calibers have always been best sellers. Whether the game in question is fox, deer, antelope, elk, moose, or grizzly bear there is a .30 caliber cartridge suited to the job. No other family of cartridges can claim this versatility, although the smaller 7mm (.28) and larger 8mm (.32) families come close.

But which, I got to wondering, is the optimum .30? At what point is the balance between killing power, trajectory, and recoil of a .30 caliber rifle cartridge optimized? Clearly, the .243 Winchester is a better varmint cartridge than any .30, and a .338 Magnum is better brown bear medicine than any .30. So, as versatile as the .30's calibers are, there is a point somewhere in-between these two levels at which the caliber is optimum. Stray too far in either direction in terms of game size and at some point another caliber becomes a better choice.

The .30-30 Winchester is the most popular medium range CXP2 class game cartridge ever devised. Its recoil is sufficiently moderate that most hunters, even those who don't shoot much in the off season, can shoot it well. But, although it can do the job, something more powerful is generally recommended for tackling large CXP3 class game. And for all its virtues, the .30-30 is not a long range cartridge. With most loads its MPBR is around 225 yards.

The .300 Savage is an excellent cartridge, more powerful and flatter shooting than the .30-30. But the .308 Winchester has put the .300 Savage on the skids, as it is a little more of a good thing.

In fact, the .308 is probably pretty close to our optimum cartridge. Quite capable of humanely taking the most common species of CXP3 game yet not so powerful as to be overkill on the smaller CXP2 species. And the .308 shoots flat enough to be useful for hunting plains and mountain game. It is also adaptable to short action rifles, which are all the rage these days. Yes, the .308 would be a definite contender for the "Optimum .30 caliber" title. But, due to its short case, it is limited in one respect; it does not handle the heaviest bullets well.

Just slightly more powerful than the .308 is the venerable .30-06, the most popular big game cartridge in the world. This old timer requires a standard length action, but can deliver, in spades, on all CXP2 and CXP3 class game, and shoots slightly flatter than the .308 to boot. It has a longer case and a longer neck, which allows it great versatility in bullet selection. Using very long 220-250 grain bullets the .30-06 has even accounted for CXP4 class game, including African elephant.

I guess that pretty much settles it. No .30 caliber cartridge is really appropriate for CXP4 class game, but the fact that the .30-06 has accomplished this feat many times certainly indicates that more power in a .30 is pointless. There is no game animal on this planet that the .30-06 has not and can not humanely take.

By that reckoning the .300 Magnums are not optimum .30's. They kick harder than the .30-06 without meaningfully exceeding its killing power. Some of the new short magnums, due to their bullet limitations, don't even equal the killing power of the .30-06 on large game. And they all kick more.

The .300 Mags shoot flatter than the .30-06, but for plains and mountain hunting there are many calibers that shoot just as flat as the .300's and kick less, while remaining completely adequate in killing power. These include standard cartridges on the order of the .25-06 and .270 Winchester as well as the .257, .264, .270 and 7mm Magnums.

For large CXP3 class game the .300 Magnums fail to deliver the killing power of the medium bore magnums. (Compare the .300 Win. Mag. to the .338 Win. Mag. some time and see what I mean.) Nope, the .300 Magnums are neither fish nor fowl, and they are past the point of diminishing returns for the caliber. They are impressive cartridges, but they are not the optimum .30's.

When the U.S. military replaced the .30-40 Krag with a new and more powerful cartridge they made a pretty good choice. And inadvertently created the optimum .30 caliber hunting cartridge.



Copyright 2004, 2006 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.



http://www.chuckhawks.com/optimum_30_rifle_cartridge.htm
Originally Posted By swingset:
I feel like printing this thread out on some quality paper, so I can go wipe my ass with it.
Combat_Jack
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Posted: 10/14/2012 7:07:11 PM
If there is a niche for a new factory round I'd like to see the 30-06 with a 30* shoulder so it can be factory loaded to its potential. 200s at 2750. .
Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again.-Bertold Brecht
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Posted: 10/15/2012 9:01:02 AM
There is a lot of common sense in that article.
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Posted: 10/15/2012 10:23:44 AM
I like reading that site, just because they cover a wide variety of firearms topics. But I think you can find an article touting just about every caliber on that site.

I chose a .300 WSM so I could handload it from hot .308 Win power levels up to hot .300 Magnum levels and do it all in a short (medium actually) action. I don't care about being able to load it with 200-220 grain bullets, I bought a .375 Ruger for that size of critter.
brasidas
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Posted: 10/15/2012 2:57:10 PM
That article is heavy with stoooopid.
GENESMITH
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Posted: 10/15/2012 3:33:13 PM
Originally Posted By brasidas:
That article is heavy with stoooopid.


Really? How so?
Originally Posted By swingset:
I feel like printing this thread out on some quality paper, so I can go wipe my ass with it.
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Posted: 10/15/2012 6:18:45 PM
To each their own. The 30-06 is easy on the shoulder, easy on the wallet, and hell on game. The 30-06 will kill anything I ever need to kill short of Cape Buffalo that is...but I have a 375 H&H for that.


Originally Posted By brasidas:
That article is heavy with stoooopid.


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Posted: 10/15/2012 11:38:21 PM
If I could only have one rifle cartridge (out of all those that I love just for the sake of their history and liking the fact I own a plethora of cartridge flavors)

I'm pretty sure after a great deliberation and agonizing descision I would come down to the venerable .30-06
OlCrow
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Posted: 10/16/2012 8:29:48 AM
.30-06 Springfield.


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JimTh
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Posted: 10/16/2012 8:52:29 AM
I wouldn't. I'd choose .300 Win Mag. You can load those same heavy bullets in the Win Mag and push them faster or load light to .30-06 levels.

Originally Posted By RABID:
If I could only have one rifle cartridge (out of all those that I love just for the sake of their history and liking the fact I own a plethora of cartridge flavors)

I'm pretty sure after a great deliberation and agonizing descision I would come down to the venerable .30-06


Springer09
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Posted: 10/16/2012 9:22:21 AM
I disagree with the 300 win mag views, especially when it comes to bullet weight.

I believe the 150gr out of a 30-06 is about optimal for whitetails. Its what i personally use and has be successful mulitiple times for me.

However a 180gr bullet out of the 300 win mag is a killer combo for those slightly longer shots out west on mullies and elk.

I also don't feel that the recoil out of the 300 win mag is that much more than 30-06 especially if you have 180gr bullets in your 30-06.
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Posted: 10/16/2012 9:25:03 AM
more recoil, more muzzle blast, longer brass coupled with 3.34" COL that might put some limits on some of the heavy weight bullets....you can keep the .300win mag. 30-06 is way more adaptable. if you want magnum step up to the .300 weatherby and its 3.65" COL and leave the .300win in its wannabe status.

advntrjnky

Originally Posted By JimTh:
I wouldn't. I'd choose .300 Win Mag. You can load those same heavy bullets in the Win Mag and push them faster or load light to .30-06 levels.

Originally Posted By RABID:
If I could only have one rifle cartridge (out of all those that I love just for the sake of their history and liking the fact I own a plethora of cartridge flavors)

I'm pretty sure after a great deliberation and agonizing descision I would come down to the venerable .30-06




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Posted: 10/16/2012 9:55:24 AM
[Last Edit: 10/16/2012 9:57:07 AM by garyd]
That article seems pretty good to me. However, of the cartridges listed I would go with the .308 Winchester, of Course I have not hunted anything bigger than NC whitetail deer. The last 8 of those have been with a .300 blackout.


I agree with him on the magnum cartridges. Unless you are hunting a long distance, 300 yds or more, I just do not like the way my shoulder feels after shooting my buddies .300 win mag. I like its accuracy just not its recoil.
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Posted: 10/16/2012 10:00:38 AM
Chamberings on either side of the 06 will leave it for dead, it is the perfect all around cartridge it does nothing well.
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Posted: 10/16/2012 1:59:17 PM
Originally Posted By Springer09:
I disagree with the 300 win mag views, especially when it comes to bullet weight.

I believe the 150gr out of a 30-06 is about optimal for whitetails. Its what i personally use and has be successful mulitiple times for me.

However a 180gr bullet out of the 300 win mag is a killer combo for those slightly longer shots out west on mullies and elk.

I also don't feel that the recoil out of the 300 win mag is that much more than 30-06 especially if you have 180gr bullets in your 30-06.


If you're pushing on your recoil tolerance small differences matter. I can't feel the difference between 20 and 30 ft-lbs of recoil but it really matters to some. A magnum either gets you a bigger bullet or a longer range. Inside 300 yards I don't expect to see a difference in killing power between .308 and .300 Weatherby.
Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again.-Bertold Brecht
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Posted: 10/16/2012 9:42:42 PM
Originally Posted By JimTh:
I wouldn't. I'd choose .300 Win Mag. You can load those same heavy bullets in the Win Mag and push them faster or load light to .30-06 levels.

Originally Posted By RABID:
If I could only have one rifle cartridge (out of all those that I love just for the sake of their history and liking the fact I own a plethora of cartridge flavors)

I'm pretty sure after a great deliberation and agonizing descision I would come down to the venerable .30-06




Valid points, but '06 is going to be more common for components and buying loaded ammo at the mom and pop corner shop in the middle of nowhere as well.
I can find more brass laying arouns than .300 mag, and I can also make .270, .280 etc into '06 when I reload


brasidas
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Posted: 10/17/2012 10:21:26 AM
[Last Edit: 10/17/2012 10:48:13 AM by brasidas]
Originally Posted By GENESMITH:
Originally Posted By brasidas:
That article is heavy with stoooopid.


Really? How so?

The author can't even get the first sentence right.
As I pointed out in my article "The Ever Popular .30 and .303 Rifle Cartridges," this is the most popular group of rifle cartridges in the world, for both military and sporting purposes.

Maybe 20-30 years ago, but as far as military cartridges go the .30 has been entirely eclipsed by 22s (5.56, 5.45, etc.). No major military power, and no country with any money, is still using a .30 cartridge in a general issue rifle.

In recent years, 22 calibers have also eclipsed 30 as a sporting cartridge. The commercial ammo makers sell more 223 than 30-06, 308 or 30/30 combined.

I'm not going to go through the rest of the article point by point, but I have in the past found a good deal of misinformation and bias in articles on Hawk's site. Everything there has to be taken with a grain of salt.

Not like our site.

I hunt with 30-06 and like the cartridge (I had 13 30-06s at one point!), but I don't see how anyone could call it optimum anything. It is a compromise cartridge, too powerful for deer and a little small for elk, while being unnecessarily fast for close country and a bit slow for open spaces.

ETA: Sorry SteelonSteel, I was editing as you quoted my post.
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Posted: 10/17/2012 10:39:00 AM
[Last Edit: 10/17/2012 10:41:40 AM by SteelonSteel]
Originally Posted By brasidas:
Originally Posted By GENESMITH:
Originally Posted By brasidas:
That article is heavy with stoooopid.


Really? How so?

The author can't even get the first sentence right.
As I pointed out in my article "The Ever Popular .30 and .303 Rifle Cartridges," this is the most popular group of rifle cartridges in the world, for both military and sporting purposes.

Maybe 20-30 years ago, but as far as military cartridges go the .30 has been entirely eclipsed by 22s (5.56, 5.45, etc.). No major military power, and no country with any money, is still using a .30 cartridge in a general issue rifle.

In recent years, 22 calibers have also eclipsed 30 as a sporting cartridge. The commercial ammo makers sell more 223 than 30-06, 308 or 30/30 combined.

I'm not going to go through the rest of the article point by point, but I have in the past found a good deal of misinformation and bias in articles on Hawk's site. Everything there has to be taken with a grain of salt.


Agreed on Chuckie, very generalized semi-information blather. All opinion and little real facts. His biggest point is his own self promotion.

As far as your comments regarding .22 calibers eclipsing the .30 cals, his unstated point I understood to be all about killing deer in the fudd respect, as such his comments are generally true, like most of his rehashed fluff. I know he said for military and sporting purposes but he probably just got that with his normal cut and paste writing style. Yeah, I think he's a hack which is probably why I never see him picked up by magazines who employ better gun writing hacks than him.
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mike_nds
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Posted: 10/17/2012 1:15:49 PM
As far as I'm concerned, every possible use for a firearm was covered very efficiently by cartridges designed before 1940.


All this other crap is just re-packaging the same capabilities in a different shaped brass case so they can sell new guns.



"Oooooh it has a shorter action and 150 fps more velocity, it must be better at killing deer at 50 yards from my tree stand."
Yes, our parts are tight, we did that on purpose.

Don't sweat it. It's a service rifle, not a Fabergé egg. "Hognose'
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Posted: 10/17/2012 1:36:02 PM
Originally Posted By mike_nds:
As far as I'm concerned, every possible use for a firearm was covered very efficiently by cartridges designed before 1940.


All this other crap is just re-packaging the same capabilities in a different shaped brass case so they can sell new guns.



"Oooooh it has a shorter action and 150 fps more velocity, it must be better at killing deer at 50 yards from my tree stand."


There is some truth to that, although it is overly simplistic.

Changes in manufacturing techniques make things possible that could not have been done 100 years ago. And changes in weapons do the same.
Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again.-Bertold Brecht
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Posted: 10/17/2012 1:53:50 PM
[Last Edit: 10/17/2012 1:54:57 PM by mike_nds]

Yes, the bullet designs and materials are better, and the machines that make the ammo are better, but firearms manufacturing is not necessarily better IMHO.

I'm sick of all the MIM and plastic sh#t being passed off as firearms to American gun buyers.



I can take a 114 year old Mauser 98 action, barrel it in 6.5 Swede (118 year old cartridge design), and make it shoot as good or better than most factory guns today.

Just because something is "old" does not mean that it is obsolete.
Yes, our parts are tight, we did that on purpose.

Don't sweat it. It's a service rifle, not a Fabergé egg. "Hognose'
Combat_Jack
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Posted: 10/17/2012 1:59:47 PM
Building that rifle today would be thousands of dollars. Labor used to be cheap. Now tools are.

As for the Swede, it's a great cartridge. 7.92, .303, .300 H&H, etc have all fallen by the wayside, and quite justifiably.
Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again.-Bertold Brecht
mike_nds
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Posted: 10/17/2012 2:09:31 PM
Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
Building that rifle today would be thousands of dollars. Labor used to be cheap. Now tools are.

As for the Swede, it's a great cartridge. 7.92, .303, .300 H&H, etc have all fallen by the wayside, and quite justifiably.



I have built several sub-moa rifles well under $600, and one for under $150. But my labor is free.


The only manufacturer that consistently impresses me with quality, price, and accuracy is CZ.

Yes, our parts are tight, we did that on purpose.

Don't sweat it. It's a service rifle, not a Fabergé egg. "Hognose'
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Posted: 10/17/2012 2:10:37 PM
[Last Edit: 10/17/2012 2:13:26 PM by Combat_Jack]
I like CZ. I have two, in 9.3 and 416 Rigby. However they are not the equal in workmanship or feeding to a proper Mauser. Or weren't, until Wayne Jacobsen worked on them for me.
Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again.-Bertold Brecht
mike_nds
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Posted: 10/17/2012 2:28:27 PM
OK, there's a prime example of an "old" cartridge that just plain works.

9.3x62 its not fast, not sexy, just a 285gr bullet at 2400 fps.

Designed in 1905 by Otto Bock, still considered to be one of the best African calibers (except for the big 4).

And making inroads in the US gun market.




Yes, our parts are tight, we did that on purpose.

Don't sweat it. It's a service rifle, not a Fabergé egg. "Hognose'
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Posted: 10/17/2012 2:32:05 PM
I've killed 11 head of big game with it and intend to have one until I die.

My Rigby however is far too large for what it does. Recoil is equivalent to .458WM or .450 Nitro. Modern .416s are an improvement because temperature stable powders replaced cordite and the large case isn't needed.
Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again.-Bertold Brecht
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