Though you don't hear, see, or read much about the old standard 30-06, it has to be the most wildcatted parent case of all time. Even in modern times it seems there is a ton of wildcat's based off the parent 06 case.
The reason everyone changed it is because it represents a very poor design. And 'someone competes with it',, is more like someone 'shows up' with anything, eventually.
If you review equipment lists out there, you won't see many cartridges from 1906. And you won't see any consistently doing well.
Modern cartridges reload better, and are more ballistically efficient.
The reloading part is vital to maintain a working tune. Efficiency means lower recoil, and pressures high enough to burn the powder(inside the bore), lower muzzle pressures, and producing more consistent pressure curves. Overall better, longer accuracy.
Sure grandpa killed deer with them for a long time. While around here people have been killing as many deer -with buckshot.
But this is a LRH site. We don't talk much about 30-06s, 45-70s, or buckshot.
The 30-06 is a great cartridge full stop .
The fact is that modern times mean that people want the new stuff as hunting and shooting changes . Sellers only want to push the latest stuff because if it's new it must be better and sometimes it is .
If you are pushing the envelop to max ranges then you are going to need the big powder gulping magnums to get there and have any killing power left .
The 30-06 is fantastic at what it is designed to do but it can't out perform something like a 338 LM or RUM . 50 years ago if you said I am going to shoot Elk at 1200 yards they would have you committed .
Now it happens and is accepted .
Plenty of people world wide still use the 30-06 regularly but it's way cooler to talk about what your did with your 338 LM or Edge than the old 06 .
The 30-06 is a great cartridge. Used it for many years of hunting. I agree with a prior post that it's not exactly between the 308 and 300 WM. For LR hunting out to 1000 or more yards the 300WM loaded with the heavier high BC bullets will offer higher velocity and energy that, all other thing being equal, including recoil using a brake, will provide an undeniable advantage in hit and kill probabilty for the hunter. IMHO.
"Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready"-T. Roosevelt
I've got hundreds of 30-06 rounds necked and loaded to 270 and 35 whelen. I haven't had an '06 for a couple of years, and haven't fielded one for nearly ten years. That doesn't mean I don't like the round. I've just gone where a lot of people who want more speed out of a 30 cal. have gone and went with a 300win mag.
I'm not going to disect any of the naysayers posts, but the '06 is one of the easiest rounds to reload for as it eats dang near any powder (heck I've even shot alliant 2400 in one-- I've also burned rl22 in one), it is terribly efficient-- with only 75% of the 300win's powder consumption and over 90% of the velocity delivered, and it's fast enough in a 22" bbl. to make a lightweight rig that still won't beat the tar out of you. It's got the long neck that everyone who is worried about throat erosion always clammors for. It's also running at high enough pressure (60,000 psi) to get a complete powder burn without quite as much erosion/heat as the overbore mags produce; it DOES run at higher pressures than some of our newer rounds like the 204 ruger and at nearly the same pressure as the 7 rem(61,000 psi).
In short, I may well have to take a second look at this cal.; I may just put one together for my son to hunt with in a few years. He's nearly old enough and I don't have a lot of standard chamberings around the house. I've already got dies and help a buddy load for his '06 rifle occasionally.
German Salazar's article on the .30-06 vs .308 is a good one. But it only compares one rifle in each caliber and one shooter doing the tests.
When the .308's scores in competition trumped virtually all the .30-06 scores in the mid 1960's, its 30 to 40 percent better accuracy was attributed to one little difference that few people nowadays know about. With equal quality rifles, barrels, cases, primers, powder and bullets, the best .30-06 match rifles back then shot about 5 to 6 inches at 600 yards properly tested. The .308's shot about 3 to 4 inches at its beginning. The reason was primarily attributed to the 2.5 degree leade angle on .30-06 chambers being too steep. .308's had a 1.5 degree leade angle and bullets were less deformed as they entered the rifling. A .30-06 with a 1.5 degree leade angle shot more accurate.
At all ranges and both cartridge chambers having a 1.5 degree leade angle, the difference is small nowadays, but enough to show that .308's shoot better scores at 1000 yards than the .30-06. I think Sierra tried using the .30-06 to test their 30 caliber bullets 180 grains and lighter but it never quite equalled the accuracy the .308 produced. The track record of each at the Nationals and other NRA high power matches prove this. The .308's case is more condusive to lower muzzle velocity and pressure curve spreads; a critical element of good accuracy. Most folks won't tell the difference. Back when both rounds were legal in Palma matches in the USA, the .30-06 shot some really good scores but was never king of the mountain. One factor's the .308 moves the rifle less in barrel-time recoil than the .30-06 and that makes it easier to shoot accurately.
Afield in hunting rifles and with bullets 180 grains and lighter, it'll be hard to tell the difference. With heavier bullets, of course the larger case capacity of the '06 makes it a better choice. But few animals can tell the difference between two bullets smacking into them with only 150 fps difference in impact speed.
I like Sully's reference to the "Elk Buster7" cartridge; that's a great comment!!!!
Why it isn't talked about? Because it has just flat gotten out paced by advancements in cartridge design, and by the cool factor. Make no mistake though the old 06 is every bit as capable as it was when I was following my pops around the mountains. If a guy ever wants to know just what the 06 is capable of, make a pot of coffee, and do some research you'll be reading for a while. No other cartridge has ever set as many records as the old 06 has to it's credit, sure some of em have fallen, but the 06 set em first. Now that I made it sound like I drink from the 06 coolaid pitcher, I don't, I don't have one, never owned one either. But I do have a lot of respect for that round, which is time proven to be one helluva round.
Keep in mind the animals we shoot for food and display are not bullet proof. Contrary to popular belief, they bleed and die just like they did a hundred years ago. Being competent with a given rifle is far more important than impressive ballistics and poor shootability. High velocity misses never put a steak in the freezer.