Cartridge Showdown: The 30-’06 — Awesome or Awful?

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Let’s fight… or at least debate which cartridge is superior for big game hunting: .30-06 Springfield, .308 Winchester, or the newer 6.5 Creedmoor.  A deer or elk shot through the heart is dead with each of these cartridges, yet hunters want to maximize their chances for success and small differences in cartridge and bullet performance can make a huge difference.

Close Call

On a recent do-it-yourself elk hunt, a bull popped up in front of me just 100 yards away, but I couldn’t count four points, the legal minimum.  After standing perfectly broadside for long seconds, it dropped into a sea of oak brush and I frantically searched for a shot.  Nearly a minute later it emerged much father away with a 5×5 rack clearly visible.  Instantly, I aimed and fired, without estimating range.  Later, I realized that the bull was more than 300 yards away and I should have aimed higher on the shoulder.  Luckily, the extra zip of Hornady’s Superformance ammo saved the day and I bagged a trophy bull.

Three Popular Choices

This post from the Gunsamerica website does a great job of comparing some of America’s most popular cartridge choices.  if you are in the market for a new rifle, you may want review these statistics carefully to see how this information matches your hunting style.  If the 6.5 Creedmoor is new to you, give it serious consideration.  I used one for the first time last year and the first deer taken absolutely collapsed where it stood with a normal shoulder hit.  I filled another tag a 256 yards and the buck made a circle and went down. It’s an absolutely awesome deer cartridge and most major rifle manufacturers are chambering it.

Here’s the Comparison 

Dust rose in thin clouds from the arena where I worked, the horses I was training weaving an age-old dance around me. My 80-something boss shuffled up to the rails and motioned me over through the haze. After shaking my hand he said, “When I die, I want you to come get my guns”. My 18-year old heart made a bound bigger than a colt under his first saddle, and swallowing subdued excitement I replied, “Yes Sir.” Who was I to argue with an order like that?

Cartridge Showdown: The 30-’06 — Awesome or Awful?

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