So I am thinking about buying a bolt action rifle….

…and me being the weather vane type, I was thinking to go into higher caliber that the original poodle shooter rounds. So now I am wondering: .308 or .30 06?

I am not recoil sensitive so there is no issue there. My questions relate to two things: availability/variety/quality of the caliber and which one has the wider spectrum of usage. I might start doing some hunting this year (finally) and I want a gun in a caliber that could be used with an ample variety of game. You can pretty much forgo caribou as they are hard to find in the Everglades but if a gator gets too close being too stupid, I wanna make sure he can be persuaded fast to roll over and play dead for real A.S.A.P.

20 Replies to “So I am thinking about buying a bolt action rifle….”

  1. Sounds as if you’re a candidate for Col. Cooper’s beloved Scout Rifle. Although Col. Cooper was also fond of the .30-’06, he even had a little rhyme he published about it:

    There’s few things that can’t be fixed
    With seven hundred dollars and a .30-’06.




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  2. Personally, I would go with the 308. It can be loaded to near 30-06 performance in a shorter, lighter action. My own personal preference is also a Ruger M77. And being a little on the old side, I like blue and walnut. Savage make some quality rifles too and are great if your on a budget. The nice thing about the Savage is the quick change barrel. You could get a extra in another caliber and have two.




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  3. Personally, of the two, I would go with the ’06. Although if I were looking for one gun for all critters, I would go with one of the magnum 30’s or 7’s. My personal all critter gun is an astonishingly accurate (3/8″ at 100 yd.) Nikko Golden Eagle in .270 Wby that I bought from an old family friend and hunting buddy. The high velocity, flat trajectory and high energy are well suited to the wide open areas of Texas where I hunt. That being said, IMHO the ’06 is hard to beat because of the tremendous variety of loads available for it.




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  4. I currently run an ’06, an old Remington 760 that I love. Would probably be an awesome gator-stomper, actually. Was my go-to walkabout rifle when I spent lots of time in moose and bear country. Not a boltie, but a great rifle.

    As to calibers, for the vast majority of loadings, the difference is entirely academic, and very much about splitting hairs. The ’06 can toss a bit heavier pill, (180 gr vs 220 in the ’06), but the .308 has far better accuracy past 500 yards, if you’re into that kind of thing.

    Also, do yourself a favor and buy a Savage. You won’t regret it, and your wallet will thank you.




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  5. No matter what get a single-stage press to handload your own.

    That being said, I’d say the choice is close enough that it’ll be best to go with whatever rifle fits you and your budget the best.

    Indeed .308 Win can be handloaded to damn-near commercial .30-06…..but .30-06 can quickly become a poor-man’s .300 Win Mag with that long neck and huge case volume.

    I’m personally a fan of .308 in auto-chuckers, and .30-06 to bolt guns….but that’s me, and for your reasons stated either will work fine.




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  6. For what it’s worth, I was thinking the same thing about a year ago, and went with the .30-06. I was able to find a good, used Remmy 700 with a Leupold scope in .30.06. The down side is that it only holds 4+1 vs. the Scout Rifle concept that will hold 10. (Which, not surprisingly, weighs twice what 5 rounds weigh!) Plus, .30-06 is a good old standard cartridge. Probably the easiest to find in America.

    Savage does make a rifle that is very similar to that Ruger Scout rifle, the 10FCM (http://savagearms.com/firearms/model/10FCMSCOUT) and a lot of others that will keep you entertained for a long time. I keep hearing that Savage makes the best rifle “out of the box” today.




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      1. Take off the wood stock and replace with a black tactical stock. $100 for the rifle and $69 for the stock. Saves tons of weight. Super accurate. Super cheap ammo. Super reliable. 100 year service life, if not more. A lot of bang for the buck.




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  7. I have a pre-1974 Winchester Model 70 in .308, as well as a Springfield M1A Scout and National Match in .308/7.62mm. The .308 was designed to replace the .30-06 for the military in the 1950’s, debuting in the M14/M21. .308/7.62mm is the standard military sniper round out to about 800 meters, but it has significantly longer kills. It replaced the .30-06 in winning national competitions starting in the 1960’s and will take down anything that natively roams North America. If you want to minimize the number of types of ammo in your inventory, .308 is a great way to go because you can get a variety of rifles and types in that round.




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  8. I like the .308 me own self, got a heavy barrel Remy 700 and love it.
    Ruger has a couple of rifles you may want to look at, their new AMERICAN bolter in .308 and their GUNSITE SCOUT bolter in the same caliber.




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  9. For about $200 out the door with 440 rounds of ammo a Mosin has a lot going for it for the low budget shooter. It has near 30-06 ballistics and comes with a bayonet so you can stop that charging boar when it gets within 4 feet.

    I thought you were in Florida, what do you need a heater for?




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  10. I’d look at the ammo cases and see which one is more available, then go with that choice.

    I’d like to have a M14 (.308) and a Remington 700 BDL (I like wood stocks and blued metal) in 30-06, so my answer to “which one” would be “yes”.




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  11. My preference would be the .308, but sense tells me .270. But that’s just me- I shoot 30-06. “-\




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  12. if’n yer going for a new gun i’d look real hard at a Savage with their most excellent “Accutrigger” in whatever caliber floats yer boat. Savage has long made the best production barrels and the Accutrigger is the best production trigger out there. it’s somewhere in the 500 buck range but when you squeeze the go switch the first time you understand why.

    if old stuff is your thing a Moisin-Nagant or Lee-Enfield in the appropriate dingy old caliber can still be had for cheap and they’re so very fun to shoot. popular accessories for the M-N are a bayonet as long as your arm and a 2×4 to knock the bolt open with.




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    1. Couldn’t agree more. You can get a sportarized 1917 Lee Enfield action in 30-06 with a scope for $400 or less. My buddy shot a deer with his at about 175 yards this past November, dead on his point of aim with out of box ammo. A factor to also consider is that a cheap surplus rifle can be rebarreled easily. I’m personally a big fan of Mausers, love my K98 and have to put a vote in for glorious 8mm but I digress… If it was a cheap/incomplete/broken rifle you won’t feel bad about drilling and taping a 70 year old receiver or changing its caliber/barrel and putting a new stock on it. Tons of cheap parts exist for surplus rifles for both stock replacement and aftermarket upgrade, i.e. tons of options that don’t require proprietary parts or extensive gun-smithing.




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