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30-30 Win. vs 30-06

Ballistics Performance Comparison of 30-30 Win. vs 30-06 Springfield Cartridges

The .30-06 Springfield (often called the Thirty Aught Six) is a classic hunting cartridge – but how does it stack up to cartridges like the .30-30 Winchester? While the .30-06 packs the power necessary to bring down game, the .30-30 Winchester can be a much more accessible round for a newer shooter while still going farther than traditional rimfire rounds. The .30-30 Winchester is also a lever action rifle cartridge for fans of classic shooting.

30-30 Win vs 30-06 Springfield

The following ballistics tables show a side by side comparison of the 30-30 Winchester vs 30-06 Springfield based on bullet weight and various performance metrics including velocity, energy, usage and recoil.

30-30 Win. 160 gr vs 30-06 Springfield 165 gr Cartridge Comparison Table.

(Note: Bullet grain selected based on most popular hunting usage.)
30-30 Winchester 30-06 Springfield
Bullet Velocity (Muzzle) 2,400 ft/s 2,940 ft/s
Bullet Velocity @ 100 yds 2,151 ft/s 2,731 ft/s
Bullet Velocity @ 200 yds 1,917 ft/s 2,532 ft/s
Bullet Velocity @ 300 yds 1,700 ft/s 2,341 ft/s
Bullet Energy (Muzzle) 2,046 ft⋅lb 3,167 ft⋅lb
Bullet Energy @ 100 yds 1,643 ft⋅lb 2,732 ft⋅lb
Bullet Energy @ 200 yds 1,305 ft⋅lb 2,348 ft⋅lb
Bullet Energy @ 300 yds 1,027 ft⋅lb 2,007 ft⋅lb
Usage @ 0 yds Toughest Game Toughest Game
Usage @ 100 yds Large Game Toughest Game
Usage @ 200 yds Medium Game Toughest Game
Usage @ 300 yds Medium Game Toughest Game
Recoil Energy 12.7 20.1
Recoil Velocity 10.5 12.7
Recoil Score* 2.62 3.43
*Cartridge ballistics, usage and recoil figures taken from Sportsman's Warehouse rifle ballistics and rifle recoil tables. Recoil score based on weighted average of recoil energy and recoil velocity normalized between 1 and 10.


Velocity is an important component of shooting well, and the .30-06 Springfield certainly has the advantage here. Right out of the muzzle, the Springfield is flying 540 ft/s faster than the Winchester. This distance only increases as we get to longer distances: at 300 yards (about the farthest you’d want to shoot the .30-30), the .30-06 is flying 641 ft/s faster than the .30-30. That’s a significant difference even within typical hunting ranges.


As with velocity, the .30-06 Springfield has the advantage when it comes to energy – and this time the difference is even more severe. At the muzzle, the .30-06 Springfield is traveling with an additional 1,121 ft-lbs of energy, an extremely significant difference. By the time we get to 300 yards, the .30-06 Springfield packs nearly twice the punch of the .30-30 Winchester, with an additional 980 ft-lbs of energy.


Based on our velocity and energy statistics, it should come as no surprise that the .30-06 Springfield has a flatter trajectory than the .30-30 Winchester. Let’s compare two 150-grain bullets zeroed to 100 yards. At 200 yards, the .30-06 will drop 3.5”. By comparison, the .30-30 will drop 7.7”. The difference increases as we get to 300 yards, where we see 13” of drop from the .30-06, and 28” of drop from the .30-30 Winchester – a significant amount to correct for.


The .30-06 Springfield has a golden reputation as a big game hunting cartridge, but it is certainly not known as a mild recoiling cartridge. The punch you pack with the .30-06 will hit you back, and your shoulder won’t thank you for it. The .30-30 Winchester has a much lighter recoil, and in fact was designed to have less recoil than comparable cartridges. Because recoil can impact accuracy as well as comfort, this makes the .30-30 a much more accessible choice for beginning or small-framed shooters.


Both of these calibers are excellent for deer hunting within small distances. The .30-06 is capable not only of making shots over longer distances, but also of taking down larger targets. If you’re planning on sticking within smaller distances and targeting only whitetail deer and smaller, the .30-30 might be all you need – but it certainly doesn’t offer the range of possibilities we see with the .30-06.

Price & Availability

The .30-30 Winchester and .30-06 Springfield are very close in price, and can generally be found for under $1/round, depending on the manufacturer and store. The .30-06 is a bit pricier (typically in the 5-15 cents per round range), but you likely wouldn’t feel this difference if you’re using these calibers for hunting. Besides, with the difference in performance between these, if you need the extra power of the .30-06, it’s probably worth your extra dimes.

Size Comparison

The .30-30 Winchester uses bullets with rounded tips because of its use in lever action rifles, where bullets may touch each other and must be designed so they don’t accidentally ignite each other. This does have an effect on performance, as other bullets are created with ballistic tips that will penetrate more easily.

Both calibers have a diameter of .308”, but the Springfield is 2.5” compared to the Winchester’s 2” case length. Both can be used with bullets from 110-200 grains, but the Springfield can typically be found up to 220 grains.

Rifle Type

The .30-06 Springfield is designed to be chambered in standard/long actions, and is most commonly found in bolt-action rifles. The .30-30 Winchester is made for a lever-action rifle, which is a classic rifle type that involves pulling a lever to activate loading the next round. As an immensely popular cartridge, the .30-06 Springfield is chambered in a wide variety of rifles from the top manufacturers in the business. There are also several models of semi-automatic rifles chambered in .30-06.

Which Caliber is Best?

The numbers in this article certainly favor the .30-06 for velocity, energy, and trajectory, which are the key components of an accurate shot needed for hunting and other applications. If you want to take any game (all the way up to elk and moose) at longer distances, you’ll need the power of the .30-06 to back you up. However, the .30-30 should not be overlooked: it has been an excellent deer hunting cartridge for over a hundred years, and can provide a very manageable recoil to new shooters and anyone whose accuracy is impacted by recoil. If you’ll be hunting deer or other medium game inside of 200 yards, you may not need the extra power the .30-06 provides. Plus, the softer-hitting .30-30 will preserve more of the meat when you do bring down your target.

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