.30-06, 7.62x51mm NATO, and 7.62x39mm

From left to right: .30-06, 7.62x51mm NATO, and 7.62x39mm

The .30-06 Springfield (pronounced 'thirty aught six') is a cartridge introduced to the United States Army in 1906 and remained in service until the early 1970s. The ".30" refers to the diameter of the bullet, and the "06" refers to the year of adoption, 1906. The .30-06 remained the US Army's primary rifle cartridge for nearly 50 years before it was replaced by the 7.62x51mm NATO. It served in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.


The .30-06 remains a very popular sporting round, with ammunition produced by all major manufacturers. Being widely used, it should be quite easy to find the round in gun stores and homes. Large volumes of surplus spent cartridges are available, meaning you can handload your own bullets.


Current factory .30-06 ammunition ammunition varies in bullet weight from 7.1 grams to 14.3 grams (110 to 220 grains) in soild bullets, and as low as 3.6 (55 grains) with the use of a sub-caliber bullet in a sabot. Loads are available with reduced velocity and pressure as well as increased velocity and pressure for stronger firearms. Ballistically, the .30-06 is one of the most versatile cartridges ever designed. With 'hot' handloads and a rifle capable of handling them, the .30-06 is capable of performance rivaling many magnum cartridges. The newer .308 Winchester cartridge offers similar performance to standard military .30-06 loadings in a smaller cartridge. However, the greater cartridge capacity of the .30-06 allows much more powerful loadings if the shooter desires.


The .30-06 is widely used in a number of firearms. This includes rifles like the M1 Garand, M1903 Springfield, Browning Automatic Rifle and more. The .30-06 can easily pierce through a zombie's head. In addition, with appropriate loads the round is suitable for any small or large heavy game found in North America.

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