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.300 win. mag vs .30-06 Springfield

Comparison of .300 win. mag vs .30-06 Springfield Catridge Ballistics

The .300 Winchester Magnum and the .30-06 Springfield are too extremely popular, highly effective hunting cartridges. But which one is best? Each of these calibers has different advantages, and this guide will take you through the major considerations in deciding which caliber is best for your unique needs.

300 Win Mag vs 30-06 Springfield

The following ballistics tables show a side by side comparison of the .300 Winchester Magnum vs .30-06 Springfield based on bullet weight and various performance metrics including velocity, energy, usage and recoil.

.300 win. mag 150 gr vs .30-06 Springfield 150 gr Cartridge Comparison Table.

300 Winchester Magnum 30-06 Springfield
Bullet Velocity (Muzzle) 3,275 ft/s 3,080 ft/s
Bullet Velocity @ 100 yds 2,988ft/s 2,848 ft/s
Bullet Velocity @ 200 yds 2,719 ft/s 2,628 ft/s
Bullet Velocity @ 300 yds 2,466 ft/s 2,418 ft/s
Bullet Velocity @ 400 yds 2,227 ft/s 2,218 ft/s
Bullet Velocity @ 500 yds 2,001 ft/s 2,028 ft/s
Bullet Energy (Muzzle) 3,572 ft⋅lb 3,159 ft⋅lb
Bullet Energy @ 100 yds 2,973 ft⋅lb 2,701 ft⋅lb
Bullet Energy @ 200 yds 2,463 ft⋅lb 2,300 ft⋅lb
Bullet Energy @ 300 yds 2,026 ft⋅lb 1,948 ft⋅lb
Bullet Energy @ 400 yds 1,651 ft⋅lb 1,639 ft⋅lb
Bullet Energy @ 500 yds 1,333 ft⋅lb 1,370 ft⋅lb
Usage @ 0 yds Toughest Game Toughest Game
Usage @ 100 yds Toughest Game Toughest Game
Usage @ 200 yds Toughest Game Toughest Game
Usage @ 300 yds Toughest Game Large Game
Usage @ 400 yds Large Game Large Game
Usage @ 500 yds Medium Game Medium Game
Recoil Energy 23.5 17.6
Recoil Velocity 13.3 11.9
Recoil Score* 3.79 3.16
*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

Velocity is one of the most important metrics for deciding between calibers. While the .300 Win Mag starts out faster, the .30-06 Springfield catches up by the time we get to longer distances.

As seen in the above table, the .300 Win Mag has a muzzle velocity of 3,275 ft/s, which is 195 ft/s faster than the .30-06’s 3,080 ft/s. But what happens when we get out to 500 yards? Here, we see that the .300 Win Mag is traveling at just 2,001 ft/s, which is 27 ft/s slower than the .30-06’s 2,028 ft/s.

Energy

It’s not just a matter of which caliber goes faster – we also want to analyze how much energy the bullet hits its target with at long distances. This determines the stopping power, and ensures a clean, ethical kill (along with a well-placed shot, of course).

The .300 Win Mag is a larger cartridge, which means it holds more powder. This accounts for its greater muzzle velocity, but also gives it greater energy. There’s no denying the .300 Win Mag has a greater stopping power than the .30-06, especially at long distances.

Recoil

The .30-06 is a good middle of the road cartridge in terms of recoil for big game hunting. Calibers have been developed to imitate the .30-06’s energy with less recoil, but the .30-06 is still not a particularly unmanageable cartridge. The .300 Win Mag, on the other hand, kicks back significantly. Many shooters may want to use a muzzle brake to lighten this. Consider whether the increased recoil will affect your ability to shoot accurately, especially if you are hunting.

Trajectory

With the greater energy of the .300 Win Mag also comes a flatter trajectory. This means that it is easier to shoot accurately over long distances. At 500 yards, the .300 Win Mag will see a drop of 36.7”, while you can expect the .30-06 to drop 43.4”. This difference is less pronounced at close ranges: at 100 yards, the .300 Win Mag will drop about 1.3”, while the .30-06 will drop about 1.7”.

Versatility

Both the .30-06 and the .300 Win Mag have taken just about every game animal – certainly in North America, and likely in the world. The .300 Win Mag has the advantage on tougher game thanks to its extra power. However, it will be overkill for small or even medium game at most distances. If you’re looking for a cartridge that can help you take out coyote, deer, and black bear, either of these certainly can do it – but the .300 Win Mag might take a good chunk out of the coyote.

Size Comparison

The .300 Win Mag has a longer case length than the .30-06, at 2.62” compared to 2.494”. However, they both have the same overall length at 3.34”. The .300 Win Mag also has a larger rim diameter, at .532” compared to .473”. Th larger diameter means that it has a larger capacity for powder: 90 grains compared to 68 grains. The .30-06 typically uses bullets from 110-220 grains, while the .300 Win Mag uses heavier bullets of 150-200 grains.

Price

Because the .30-06 Springfield is such a popular cartridge, it is widely available at low prices from basically any store that sells ammunition. Ultimately, your ability to place a shot well is going to determine whether you take game. So if a price or availability difference in ammunition is going to keep you from practicing and making more accurate shots, it might be a good idea to choose the cheaper ammunition and spend more time at target practice.

Rifle Type

Both the .300 Win Mag and the .30-06 are longer calibers, meaning they must be shot from long action rifles. They are most commonly available in bolt action rifles, and you should be able to find a wide variety of rifles thanks to the popularity of these calibers.

The .30-06 can be expected to shoot 3,000-4,000 rounds, while the .300 Win Mag is generally good for 2,500-3,000 rounds. If you are a hunter and just use your rifle a few times a year, it will take you many years to find this difference.

Which Caliber is Best?

These are both incredibly popular hunting cartridges, and it’s tough to go wrong here. The .300 Win Mag does offer more stopping power, flatter trajectory, and greater velocity than the .30-06 Springfield – and that might be important to you, especially if you’re hunting at longer distances. However, the .30-06 is a classic cartridge that is available cheaply from basically anywhere, and provides less recoil, which could improve your accuracy. Either way – you’ll be getting a great cartridge with a proven track record.

Disclaimer: Sportsman's Warehouse assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions of the information on this page. Although we strive to provide the most accurate information as we can the information contained in this page is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.