.308 Win or .30.06? Which caliber has the nose in front in your country?


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Jul 31, 2012
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Hello community,
I notice the following that for 10 years,it was absolute the .30.06 in my country,but now the .308 Win.is currently ranked first among all the others.
Since the boar invasion the ranking in Germany is (today,by new sold guns)
.30.06 /8x57

Hard to tell in the US.. but my guess is that while .308 outsells the .30-06 overall, the .30-06 likely has a slightly higher popularity among hunters..

In 2014 Federal reported that .223 was the #1 cartridge sold in the US.. This is due to the popularity of the AR15 platform here though.. Hunting is not where most of that ammo is being burned..

.308 was the second most sold cartridge.. considering how many AR10 type platforms are out there, as well as other commonly used non-hunting platforms like bolt action precision rifles, etc. that are popular among non-hunters. My guess is a lot of that ammo was burned by non hunters as well...

.30-06 was the 3rd most sold cartridge in the US... I feel certain most of those rounds were used by hunters.. You dont find a whole lot of competition rifles, precision rifles, etc.. chambered in .30-06 in the US..
I agree with mdwest. The 30-06 is most popular with hunters and is more versatile but the 308 will do 90% of what the 30-06 does with less powder, recoil and better accuracy. Unless you want to shoot heavy bullets the 308 is a great choice
The advantage that the 308 has is the reason it was designed. It is shorter than the 30-06 so can be used in action designed for shorter cartridges. With the recent trend for ultra-light everything, the 308 length cartridges are selling more than the longer ones.
Down here in Texas its kinda a 50/50. All my friends who hunt use a .308 but I know for a fact that there are a lot of fans of the 30-06 down here. Personally I think that a 30-06 is too much for the wild game here. However, there are a lot of people who believe that there are some boars down here that are bullet-proof and that .308 just isnt enough.
I’ve got several options in the safe to chose from, but the “go to” rifles for both me and my wife for most everything we hunt in NA are 308’s.

Easy and cheap to load for.. and effective on everything up to elk out to a few hundred yards.. in a nice, compact, lightweight, low recoiling package...

What’s not to like?
Ray B has hit the nail on the head.
Basically for those who want a compact rifle which does most of what a 30-06 can do just as well as the bigger cartridge then the 308 is an obvious choice. For that reason it is generally more popular than the 06 with youngsters, women and for use as a bush carbine.
In real terms and with standard loads there is only about 50fps difference between the two at 300m with normal bullet weights, and no animal can tell that difference.
The only real advantage of the 06 is when when using bullet weights in excess of 200gr, which makes it more versatile, but the price is a bigger overall platform which doesn't suit everyone.
The 08 is also more popular with the long range crowd as it tends to be a little easier to get that level of accuracy with the o8 than it is with the 06. The cartridge also consumes less "powder", making it a bit cheaper to run.
Availability and cost of ammo also counts for a lot when it comes to popularity. eg, Over here many people bought 08's in preference to 06's during the 70's and 80's because they had access to "government reloads" (i.e. military ammo ) which they got for free.
As an aside, my impression is that the 06 is currently losing ground over here to bigger calibres like the 9.3 x 62 , 338WM, etc. for heavier applications whereas the majority of people buying new 30 cal rifles are opting for .308 or 300WSM, all of which makes some sense.
In Canada we are very heavily influenced by USA culture and marketing. As a result the 30-06 is ahead in general popularity among hunters, by a small margin. But that margin is shrinking, and I personally have always favoured the .308. It is just right for most applications that I use it for. To me, "more" is not always "better", and the .308 is a "Goldilocks" cartridge. Just right. In an odd twist of fate, I currently own three 30-06 rifles, but only two in .308. But that's because the rifles I found at the price I wanted to pay happened to be chambered that way.
I feel at least in my state in Australia there's a demographic split in popularity that I've noticed.

The rough 'bogan' types, that love to kill everything that move while sinking rum cans tend to use 308 around here.

More serious dedicated hunters tend to have a 30-06.

Both fall behind 300 WM in popularity though. We're in the land over gross overkill to excuse terrible shooting!
As for me, my .308 Browning X-Bolt has always been a one shot and down on all the plains game in Africa (minus my eland and waterbuck that I used my .375 for). This includes my Hartebeest at 320 yards- went 15 feet. I know many of my friends that love their 06 as well. So the way I feel, use what you are most comfortable with because that’s what matters most. Spend plenty of time at the range practicing as well as in different real world hunting positions (off the sticks, kneeling or sitting).
Morning Foxi, I personally use a 308 for all plains game in South Africa, I have shot the 06 but find the 308 a smoother shot due to less recoil which n turn makes me shot more accurately. My advice to you is to shot both calibers and find the one that you are comfortable with and practice as much as possible, hope this helps :)
In the UK I am the only person in my group of shooting friends that has a 30-06.

A couple have .308 rifles, we all have and use .243 calibre because that is the easiest to be granted by the police and also the minimum requirement to shoot any species of deer in England.
One other guy uses a 25-06.

So I am the only person I know who uses a 30-06, I am the only person I know who has a .300WinMag and the only person I know who has a .375.
Everyone else goes smaller.
Especially for folks with only 1 rifle in their "armory," it's probably a toss-up between -06, 308, and 270 Win. My first rifle (bought it when I was 13, earned the money for it by growing and selling tomatoes at 25 cents/lb) was a 30-06, and it was the only rifle I owned for probably 20 years.
My first hunting rifle was a 30-06. A Tikka. It shot very well but kicked hard. Was forced to sell it as I was short of cash. Later bought a .308. Still have it. It also shoots very well and kicks a little less. Its also a little handier in the bush as bbl length is a bit shorter (21"). To me performance in the field seemed the same. Obviously can't replicate shots exactly so its not perfectly scientific but I really don't thing anything on the receiving end would know the difference. In my experience either is perfectly up to any plains game with the exception of big eland bulls and giraffe - although even those have been taken with .308's. Bullet selection obviously makes a difference- probably more so than the calibre.
Hunters that reload LOVE the 30-06 (probably the perfect round for a reloader). If you buy factory ammo, it really doesn't matter.

In the western United States, I probably see 5 times more 30-06 rifles in the field than I do 308s. Most of the guys I see with the 308s tend to be the ones I see hog hunting with a "tactical rifle" or a semi-auto.

The crazy thing is; In California, I am seeing most 308 guys switching over to 6.5 Creedmoor.
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30-06 was the 'go to' calibre here for many years and is definitely more versatile than the .308 in the hunting field when hand-loaded. There are quite a few guys here who use them with heavy projectiles for bush work (up to 220gr conventional). Trajectory isn't great but penetration is outstanding.
.308s are more popular with the majority of new 30 cal purchasers and with the "extreme accuracy" set. The former mainly because of reduced recoil and the latter mainly because of greater inherent accuracy and the ready availability of precision .308's.
Interestingly we are also seeing a swing to 6.5mm cal cartridges (esp Creedmoor but also 260 Rem), but mostly only for open plains/long range and precision non hunting applications ( read "gongs").
I've shot 14 animals in SA with an '06, but everything in the states has been with a .270 Winchester. That noted, I'm taking my .375 H&H elk hunting next month for late rifle here in AZ "just because" with my .270 as a backup. Two other guys in our party and one will have a .308 while the other will carrying an '06! All that noted I think that .308 is gaining a decided edge around my area.

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