The large-game cartridge that was hottest again within the repressed 1950s, and is the most well-liked in the present day, and doubtless will nonetheless be the most well-liked 20 years from now, is an historic quantity developed three years after the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk.
What we all know in the present day because the .30-06 was first referred to as “U.S. Cartridge, Mannequin of 1903,” and was loaded with a slow-moving 220-grain bullet; the entire package deal was designed for the Springfield Mannequin 1903 bolt-action rifle.
This was all very nicely and good for 2 years—till, in 1905, the Imperial German Military got here up with an 8mm (.323) spherical, which fired a lighter, sooner bullet that badly outranged the ’03. To not be outdone, the U.S. Military modified the ’03 to take a 150-grain bullet and renamed it “U.S. Cartridge, Mannequin of 1906.” As a result of that was a mouthful, individuals have known as it the .30-06.
What the Military achieved within the ’06 was a cartridge that struck an excellent stability between energy and recoil. It has killed each type of large recreation in North America, however its kick might be managed by nearly everybody. The ’06 may deal with a wider vary of bullet weights than every other cartridge. On the gentle finish, you possibly can go as little as 110 grains, whereas on the higher, 220-grain slugs can be found. This can take you from mice to moose. As a result of there are such a lot of bullet weights out there, ’06 customers usually snort and fart in confusion over which to make use of. Right here’s a quick information.
125- AND 130-GRAIN: These lightweights are appropriate for varmints, however the ’06 kicks an excessive amount of for high-volume taking pictures, and anyway it will be like swatting flies with a sledgehammer.
150-GRAIN: For my cash, that is one of the best of all of the deer-shooting weights—it travels quick, expands violently, and places them down of their tracks as a rule.
165-GRAIN: Numerous educated shooters assume this can be one of the best all-around weight, combining comparatively excessive velocity with sufficient heft to take most critters.
180-GRAIN: It’s the consensus favourite for finest all-around weight. There’s little or no on the market good, robust 180-grain bullet can’t deal with.
200-GRAIN: For giant beasts solely. A 200-grain, .30-caliber bullet shouldn’t be the quickest factor round, however it bucks wind nicely, retains loads of affect downrange, and offers unbelievable penetration. It’s my alternative for elk, moose, bear, or the larger African plains recreation.
→ A Couple of Cautions
I’d not need a .30/06 that weighed lower than 7½ kilos with scope. A lighter gun might be constructed however will knock your block off.
Lastly, there are lots of ’06s which have been on the market for a protracted, very long time, and a few of them are less than dealing with the excessive pressures of contemporary hundreds. When you have an outdated gun and have any doubts about it, take it to a gunsmith for a checkup.