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300 win mag vs 30-06: Comparison of Size, Ballistics, & Accuracy

.300 Win Mag Cartridge

Looking for some of the differences between 300 win mag vs 30-06? Look no further! This article will lay out the similarities and differences between the two cartridges. Lastly, we will make some recommendations about when to use 300 win mag vs 30-06.


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300 Win Mag vs 30-06 – History

Before getting into the comparison, we will talk very briefly about the history of the two rounds.

300 Win vs. Mag 30-06 side by side comparison

300 Win Mag History

.300 Win Mag is a magnum rifle cartridge that was introduced by Winchester in 1953. The parent cartridge of .300 Win Mag is .375 H&H Magnum. The round is popular for both big game hunting and long range shooting.

30-06 History

.30-06 is an extremely old round. It was originally introduced in 1906, and was originally used in the United States Army. It was pretty widely used in the military, and it is the parent cartridge of the extremely popular .308 Winchester.

Similar to .300 Win Mag, it is a very popular round for hunting. It is not as popular for long range shooting, but it does get some use in this realm.

300 Win Mag vs 30-06 – Size

300 Win Mag Measurement.300 Win Mag bullets are 7.8mm (.308 inches) in diameter, and the case measures 2.62 inches.

.30-06 bullets are also 7.8mm in diameter, but the case measures 2.49 inches long.

However, despite the differences in case length, the cartridges are the exact same overall length. What this means is that the longer case of the .300 Win Mag can handle more powder, which allows for a higher muzzle velocity.

300 Win Mag vs 30-06 – Ballistics

The bullets of .300 Win Mag cartridges are commonly between 180 and 200 grains. These projectiles are fired around 3100 feet per second, dependent on the exact round fired.

Bullets of .30-06 cartridges generally weigh between 150 and 180 grains. They are fired around 2800 feet per second.

Drop Comparison of .300 Win Mag vs 30-06The effective range of both weapons depends greatly on the exact cartridges used. However, generally speaking, .300 Win Mag is capable of firing at a greater distance, especially when handloading lighter bullets.

How Far is a 300 Win Mag Capable of Shooting?

The effective range of a 300 Win Mag rifle is generally accepted to be up to 1,500 yards. However, with the right ammunition, equipment and shooter skill, it is possible to exceed this range.

How Far is a 30-06 Capable of Shooting?

A 3006 rifle is typically capable of accurately shooting up to 600 yards. However, depending on the rifle and the shooter‘s ability, it is possible to shoot much farther.

As you can see, the .300 Win Mag bullets are generally heavier and are fired much faster. This is a result of the increased amount of powder, which comes from years and years of weapons improvements.

Pairing the heavier bullets fired faster and the greater effective range, .300 Win Mag has a pretty significant edge over the 30-06 in terms of ballistics.

Which is More Deadly a 300 Win Mag or 30-06?

The 300 Win Mag is more powerful and thus more deadly than the 3006. The 300 Win Mag is capable of generating more energy and is more effective at longer ranges than the 3006.

The projectiles are the exact same diameter, so they should therefore impact the same surface area of tissue in the target. However, the primary difference comes in the muzzle velocity and weights of the projectiles.

.300 Win Mag projectiles are generally heavier and are fired much faster. In terms of terminal performance, there is not a better combination. A heavier projectile fired at a faster muzzle velocity is extremely deadly.

300 Win Mag vs 30-06 – Muzzle Energy

However, to further this point, we will check out the muzzle energy of the two rounds. When comparing the two, .300 Win Mag comes in around 3900 foot pounds, while .30-06 comes in around 2900 foot pounds.

This furthers our argument that .300 Win Mag is a much deadlier round.

However, one of the biggest factors that will affect the deadliness of the cartridge is the exact bullet selected. Keep in mind that jacketed hollow point or soft point ammunition will expand on impact, and will damage more tissue.

Which is More Accurate a 300 Win Mag or a 30-06? 

The 300 Win Mag is generally considered to be more accurate than the 3006, due to its higher velocity, flatter trajectory, and heavier bullet. The 300 Win Mag also has a longer effective range, making it a better choice for longrange shooting.

The two rounds are extremely similar in size and dimensions, which means they are very similar in terms of accuracy. We give a slight advantage to .300 Win Mag, but much of the accuracy will be varied on exactly which ammunition and weapon you are using.

300 Win Mag and 30-06 – Favorites

Both cartridges have plenty of different ammunitions available. There are hunting and target shooting cartridges readily available for either of these cartridges.

ProductPriceWhere To Buy
image of Federal 124gr HST
Federal-Power-Shok Ammo 300 Win Mag 180gr
$$Check Price
image of Federal - Power-shok Ammo 30-06 Springfield 150gr
Federal - Power-shok Ammo 30-06 Springfield 150gr
$Check Price
image of Federal - Gold Medal Match Ammo 300 Win Mag 190gr
Federal - Gold Medal Match Ammo 300 Win Mag 190gr
$$Check Price
image of Gold Medal Match Ammo 30-06 Springfield 168gr
Federal - Gold Medal Match Ammo 30-06 Springfield 168gr

$$Check Price

In terms of ammunition, we give .30-06 a slight edge. The ammunition is generally a little cheaper, and there is slightly more of it available.

However, the .300 Win Mag ammunition is not unreasonably priced.

For comparison’s sake, we will look at Federal Power-Shok ammo, which is an excellent choice for hunting. The .300 Win Mag variant weighs 180 grains and costs $2.15 per round. In .30-06, it weighs 150 grains and costs $1.60 per round.

Federal Power-Shok 300 Win Mag 180 Grain vs 30-06 150 Grain




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When looking at Federal’s Gold Medal Match ammo, it is more of the same. The .300 Win Mag weighs 190 grains and costs $2.70 per round. The .30-06 weighs 168 grains and costs $1.95 per round.

Federal Gold Medal Match 300 Win Mag 190 Grain vs 30-06 168 Grain


Federal - Gold Medal Match Ammo 300 Win Mag 190gr and 300-06 168gr


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As you can see, .300 Win Mag projectiles are heavier, but the .30-06 option is generally less expensive.

300 win mag vs 30-06 – Reloading

Gun Reloading KitFor those that handload, both of these rounds are extremely commonly reloaded by shooters. There are plenty of choices available for projectiles, and brass is easy to come by for both rounds.

If you are planning on handloading your ammunition, .300 Win Mag may be a slightly better option for you, as there are a wide range of projectiles available for use.

This wide range of projectiles makes .300 Win Mag extremely versatile. When using the heaviest projectiles, it is a great round for hunting large game such as bears, while the lighter projectiles will greatly increase the range and allow for long distance hunting.

300 win mag and 30-06 – Recommendations

While it is extremely hard to pick against the classic .30-06, we give the edge to .300 Win Mag.

.30-06 is an excellent cartridge, but it’s hard to argue with the facts.

For hunting, the projectiles of .300 Win Mag cartridges are more versatile, but are also generally heavier and fired considerably faster. This greatly increases the muzzle energy, making them very deadly rounds.

For long range target shooting, .300 Win Mag has a greater effective range, and is arguably slightly more accurate.

If you are on a tight budget, .30-06 is a better choice. The weapons and ammunition in .30-06 are less expensive.

However, rest assured that .30-06 is one of the absolute best rounds available. It has taken countless game, and will continue to do so for years. At the end of the day, both of these rounds are excellent choices.

Recommended Reading

.308 Winchester VS. .30-06 Springfield

.30-06 Rifle Scopes

300 Blackout VS 308 Winchester

300 Win Mag VS 308 Win Mag

8 Responses

  1. NOt entirely accurate. The .30 cal bullet is 7.62, not 7.8. The .30-06 was used for quite a while as a long range target caliber, shooting at 1000 yards.
    It is true the .300 Win Mag will shoot further, but at the cost of a lot more recoil.

  2. No – the bullet is actually 7.8mm (7.8232 mm specifically). Sometimes the cartridges may be referred to as a 7.62mm because they’re naming it based on taking a measurement off of the rifle lands rather than the grooves, but the bullet itself if 7.8mm.

  3. Looks like this article was written by someone bias a little towards the 300, what you get between the 2 is basically what the 300 will do at 300 yds, the 06 will do at 200. But the 06 will do it with noticeably less recoil. Both have proven themselves on most all game world wide, so if you can handle the recoil and want a bit more reach, use the 300. If you are an average hunter the 06 might be better. Less recoil contributes to a person being able to place your bullets better. Both cartridges will work just fine on most any game within reasonable ranges that the vast majority of hunters should stay within.

  4. I appreciate this article. I thought it was a fair assessment. I also appreciate the comments regarding the difference in recoil. I’m looking to bump up from a .270 but I have had shoulder surgery and was concerned about more recoil. The 300 win mag sounds great but I’m usually at 300 yds of my target. I think 30-06 may be the best, for me. Thanks again everyone.

  5. I have a box of 300 z bullets mixed with 30 06. Can either bullet shot through a 30 06 without any damage to the gun?

  6. I also would like to know if you can fire a 300 win mag round through a 30.06 rifle with out damaging the rifle and potentially injuring the shooter? And, vice versa a 180 grain 30.06 round through a 300 win mag rifle?

  7. I went with 30-06. Way less recoil, (important when sighting in), and has the largest selection of bullet sizes (grains). More vetsatile. If I were hunting for moose or bear I would definitely feel better with 300 mag.

    Both are excellent calibers and no need to go to .338 or .375 hunting anything in all 50 states.

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