by William Boggs

Here are ten reasons why the .30-06 remains the best:

10. Ernest Hemingway prefer-red his .30-06 to his .470, even on buffalo and rhino.

9. It was America’s military service round for more than 50 years.

8. The .30-06 in the M-1 ruled the roost at Camp Perry for decades.

7. It was once loaded with .224” bullets in plastic sabots to duplicate .22-250 varmint loads.

6. The .30-06 is the daddy for most of our sporting cartridges. Its commercial offspring are the .25-06, the 6.5-06 A-Square, the .270 Winchester, the .280 Remington, the .338-06, and the .35 Whelen, not to mention a plethora of Ackley Improved and wildcat rounds. The .308 is but a shortened .30-06, and it has spawned similar offspring from the .243 to the 358 Winchester.

5. Chambered in a standard weight rifle with a recoil pad, .30-06 recoil can be handled by nearly all shooters.

4. Nearly every hunting need can be filled with a commercially available round, from varminting to dangerous game. It can be found in bolt actions, pumps, lever actions, semi-autos, and single shots.

3. It can be handloaded to duplicate the performance of the .308 Winchester, the .300 Savage, and the .30-30 Winchester – perhaps even the .30 Carbine.

2. Ammunition is available at any place that sells hunting supplies. Just try buying a box of .308 Norma Magnum or 7x64MM ammo at a remote general store.

1. The .30-06 is the most versatile chambering available. Loaded with appropriate bullets, it eradicates woodchucks, drops deer and black bear in their tracks, makes sure kills on elk, and can be used on the big bears with careful shot placement.

I know that some will disagree. Surely, the .25-06 shoots faster and flatter and can reach out a long way with less drop. Sure, the .270 was made famous by O’Connor and shoots a lighter bullet faster. The .280 Remington provides .270 trajectory, but also permits loading heavier 7MM bullets for bigger critters. Some loaded .338 bullets to create a round for heavier game. And the .35 Whelen became the poor man’s answer to the .375 H&H.  Still, each one is more of a niche cartridge.

The 100-grain half jacket bullet can be loaded with an appropriate powder for small game. Cast lead bullets may be loaded with mild powder charges for inexpensive and fun plinking and target shooting. The major bullet makers produce 110-grain varmint bullets that simply disintegrate varmints. Speer’s 125-grain TNT creates the same red mist, and you won’t use this one if you are trying to save a hide. There are numerous 150-grain bullets, from sleek boat-tailed spitzers to the stubby round-nose. These are good deer bullets. The 180-grain bullets, especially the Nosler Partition, turn the .30-06 into a deep penetrating elk, moose and bear rifle. Then, the 200- and 220-grain bullets top out the heavy end, though many modern  “experts”  claim the ’06 is a bit anemic for the big ones.  They overlook the Eskimos who have killed bears with the humble .222 Remington, a feat I have no desire in attempting since my running ground speed is limited.

Sure, the .300 Winchester Magnum pushes a bullet faster. Noted rifleman, Craig Boddington claims that the bigger case does not present more killing power – it just projects that killing power farther out. I remember reading that Joyce Hornady, founder of the famous bullet firm received a complaint from a hunter who said that a recovered Hornady bullet had separated in the game and thus was a failure. Hornady replied, “Just when in the death of the animal did the bullet fail to do its job?”

In my section of Pennsylvania, most hunters have more than one centerfire big game rifle. Still, when it comes down to it, if asked to reduce the collection to just one rifle, most hunters would select the .30-06 for its versatility and availability. In fact, while it may not be all you want, it surely is all you will ever need for Pennsylvania hunting.

As always, support the NRA and other groups protecting our Constitutional rights. We have seen mob attacks on the First Amendment freedoms of speech, religion and assembly. Some have outrageously called for “suspension of freedom of speech” for all who disagree with them. Certainly, these so-called “progressives” call for the end of our right to own and bear arms. We need to be rational and well-informed so we do not end up like those folks – poorly informed and enslaved to an anti-American ideology. •



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