…well, in the opinion of this bloke at NRAHunting, anyway:
No matter what happens tomorrow, next year or even a decade from now, the .30-06 Springfield will be regarded as one of the best centerfire rifle cartridges of all time. Adopted by the U.S. military in 1906, it was originally loaded with a 150-grain bullet, with a muzzle velocity of 2700 fps. With a 100-yard zero it would drop less than 16 inches at 300 yards and deliver 1,435 ft.-lbs. of energy on target.
These were impressive ballistics for 113 years ago, and in reality, they still are. Jeff Cooper thought it adequate for general-purpose rifle work, and it proved more than capable for Stewart Edward White and Theodore Roosevelt in Africa. Since then, it has admirably served soldiers and hunters all over the world.
Even so, the .30-06 is dying. In fact, it has been dying for almost 100 years.
And Richard Mann then fingers the cartridges which are responsible.
I confess myself to be agnostic on the .30-06 cartridge, having grown up instead with its Euro-equivalent, the 8x57mm Mauser. And I’ve seen the 8×57 likewise eclipsed, but not by newer cartridges which outperform the Kaiser’s cartridge ballistically. Instead, as for the .30-06, it was replaced by shooters who preferred other, lighter-recoiling cartridges like the 6.5x55mm Swede as well as the “newcomers” like the .308 Win and so on.
And for the record, it may be a while before I shoot the 6.5 Creedmoor: not because I dislike new cartridges (although I often do), but because the 6.5 Swede still does it all for me and I see little reason to change.
Which, come to think about it, may well be why many of my Readers (who are often as curmudgeonly and conservative as I) will cling bitterly to their trusted .30-06 Springfield rifles. And I see nothing at all wrong with that.