View Full Version : What has more kick? 308 or 30-06?

June 14, 2009, 22:50
What kicks more? 308 or 30-06?

I dont know because I have never had a 308.
I know I have a Remington 700, 30-06 that feels like it kicks like a mule.

Its a fine rifle but isnt much fun at the range for more than a few rounds from what i remember.

My brother has a FAL in 308 and it didnt seem to kick like the 30-06.

Is it just me or the powder or what?

June 14, 2009, 22:59
I prefer the 30/06 over the 308. In theory it has more kick, but the 308 bolt actions seem to have a very abrupt recoil that rattle my teeth and is more unpleasant.

In a semi auto the gas system reduces the recoil quite a bit, and the Fal has great erconomics, but I would still prefer to shoot an M1 Garand slung up than a Fal with a shooting sling.

mdlmkr 7.62
June 14, 2009, 23:06
Depends on the rifle and what load you are shooting. No easy answer to this one


June 15, 2009, 07:21
If you were to make your decision based on recoil energy only, and use the same bullet weight in each test it's prolly safe to say the 06 has more KICK because of it's larger powder capacity..

As far as FELT recoil of one VS the other that is pretty much an individual thing as there are so many variables... Action type, stock shape and length, are just a couple..

For example IMO an 03A3 has more recoil then a 1917 when using the same ammo.. Others may say the complete opposite..

June 15, 2009, 09:18
Like the guys say, there's a lot of factors to consider.

1, Rifle weight; 8lb? Rem 06 vs 10lb Fal
2, Bullet weight, 150gr 308 loads vs 180gr (?) 30-06
3, Gas operated Semi-auto vs Bolt gun with no moving parts.
4, In a 308 Semi-auto, the powder charge is less with quicker burning powders for a faster peak pressure curve in a shorter barrel. Fixed action rifles, Bolt guns and Single Shots generally use heavier powder charges of slow burning powder for max velocity in hunting type loads.
5, Stock shape and configuration also has a great effect on "felt" recoil.

A lot has to do with your own body weight and build. Some of it depends on what the shooter is accustomed to. Personally, I hate the sharp recoil of a 300 Mag, but will shoot heavy loads in a 45-70 with a steel buttplate and think it's great fun. :D

June 15, 2009, 11:59
I have a Remington 40X in 308 and a Remington 40X in 30.06. The 308 is a repeater with iron sights, the 30.06 is a single shot with a Leupold 24X scope but they are otherwise identical. When shooting 135 to 168 grain bullets at less than max level recoild is very much the same, when shooting the heavier bullets (180 grain and above) the 30.06 has more felt recoil, and I'd suspect that's simply because you can stuff more powder for more fps into the larger 30.06 case.

I have some FALs, Garands and M1As also, felt recoil on the gas guns is much less than the same caliber in bolt, lever or single shot rifles.

I would say that with heaveir loads the 308 has enough recoil to be noticeable but not unpleasant, with heavier loads the 30.06 has enough to be unpleasant.

June 15, 2009, 12:10
When I got my deer rifle, Win M70 XTR Featherweight, I thought I had made a fine choice of weapons. Took it to the range to sight in and the at the first shot, thought I had broken my collar bone. Hand went numb, couldn't raise my arm, etc. Used my standard CMP GI ball ammo. Shot the same load the week before while wearing a T shirt at an NRA High Power Match using an 03 with no problems. My deer rifle now sports a Pachmyer Magnum reciol pad and I have to take it out every season to preshoot it to get rid of the flinch that first shot induced even twenty years later. I got to shoot the same rifle in .243 and it seemed to have more felt recoil than any of my military rifles.

I realize that the diferences between those rifles are apples and oranges, but after many years of shooting, to me it boils down to how the rifle fits the shooter and how the stock is designed.

June 15, 2009, 19:47
Something that people often forget is Length Of Pull. This is very important when it comes to recoil. Often this can "tame" the kick of a rifle or at least reduce it from un-bearable to stout.

Recoil pads help too.

Weight and design of the rifle helps.


Ron Walker
June 15, 2009, 20:18
.308 and 30-06 kicks?? D'ems my light rifles!!(literally, they are the smallest calibers in my collection except a 223 AK) Actually in a similiar design rifle with similiar weight, say, a Garand and an M1A, they feel about the same to me, but then, I like shooting the 416s and 450s, so my perspective may be skewed. Ron

June 15, 2009, 20:22
Originally posted by Ron Walker
so my perspective may be skewed. Ron

I think more than your perspective might be skewed! :biggrin: :beer:


June 16, 2009, 04:11
As stated, there are so many variables that this question is very difficult t answer. For instance, to me, the M1 Garand has much less felt recoil than the M14 or M1A. The M14's recoil seems much sharper than the M1's recoil does.

Some .308 bolt guns that I own or have owned seem to recoil much worse than others do. Stock fit and design is a very important factor here, as is rifle weight. A sporterized 03-A3 Springfield that I once owned is a good example. Whoever built it thinned the stock way down, and the recoil was rather brutal. A similar rifle in a thicker stock is much more pleasant to shoot.

FWIW, the most abusive rifle that I ever owned was an M44 Mosin; shooting that gun was worse than anything else I've ever fired! I'd shoot a box of .300 Mag before I'd shoot five rounds from that gun! That's why I sold it.

Ron Walker
June 16, 2009, 12:16
I think more than your perspective might be skewed!

Truer words were never spoken! The big bores ain't for everybody, but they're like FALs, once you're hooked, it's an addiction. Now, if I could just figure how to build a .416 FAL.....:D ;) Ron

July 12, 2009, 22:00
recoil? Ill show you recoil!!

July 14, 2009, 21:14
The '06 has the ability for much heavier bullets and powder capacity, in strong guns like the remington 700 you can load it much hotter than a .308 in the same strong action.

Blue Monster
July 15, 2009, 12:03
Over thought, over analized... :cool:

The simple answer is 30-06.

July 15, 2009, 13:00
What has more kick? 308 or 30-06?

Whichever rifle has the shortest length of pull and most drop at the heel.

Any rifle that doesn't fit you well is going to pound the hell out of you. I don't know care of its a 7x57 or a 338 Win Mag; the rifle's got to fit your frame correctly or all bets are off.

To be quite truthful, I've never really thought either cartridge kicked all that much. But maybe that's because my rifles fit me well enough and I shoot them even that I'm used to them. Recoil is also kind of a subjective thing so who knows?

July 15, 2009, 13:35
In the same rifle (with the rifle weight the same) and shooting the same bullet at the same velocity, they'll kick the same...


July 15, 2009, 21:36
I have Garands in 7.62X51 and 3006. I do not notice any recoil difference when shooting mil surp 147/150gr FMJ ammo. Shooting either 3006 or 308 in a pencil barreled light weight bolt action having a short pull could be an unpleasant experience for a novice shooter. Obviously, bullet weight and powder load may cause your mileage to vary.

Shooting the Kommie M38 using 182gr HB 7.62x54r ammo, is not a pleasant experience.

July 16, 2009, 17:48
Originally posted by ftierson
In the same rifle (with the rifle weight the same) and shooting the same bullet at the same velocity, they'll kick the same...


Actually (relying on a very shakey and spotted memory) I remember a writeup in one of the gun rags 30 or so years ago on this very subject. With identical platforms (rifles), shooting the same bullet weight at the same velocity, the 308 Winchester had a harsher kick than the 30-06 Springfield.

They went into great detail with numbers and charts and "twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was "...(Sorry, flashback)..

Anyhay the gist was that due to the design of the 308 case and the shoulder angle, it generated more recoil.

Sorry I can't remember more detail, but these days I'm lucky to remember my name..

July 16, 2009, 18:03
OK, I've given this some further thought.

The whole reason for the 308 Winchester AKA 7.62 NATO, was that with advancements in powder, you could get the same performance out of a smaller case.

In other words, you could use less of a DIFFERENT powder charge to equal velocities of the older powder. A faster powder.

SAAMI specs for the 30-06 pressure is 60,000 psi.

SAAMI specs for the 308W pressure is 62,000 psi.

All things equal, the 308W will have a higher thrust pressure on the bolt face, which should equate to more recoil in otherwise identical rifles.

Someone smarter than me could work up the math involved and prove it, I can visualize it but lack the math skills.

My head hurts now, hope you all are happy.

CRS will kick in shortly, and I won't remember this anyhow.

Tah-tah, Troopies....

July 16, 2009, 21:32
All I know is the 8mm FALs rear sight frequently moves forward a notch under recoil. Yes...I have made sure it isn't hitting me or my glasses.

I'll have to stake it down once I get the hammer spring sorted out.

It also throws brass about 15 yards on the open gas setting...I guess I drilled too big of a hole!

Para Driver
July 19, 2009, 10:12
Originally posted by mdlmkr 7.62
Depends on the rifle and what load you are shooting. No easy answer to this one

big factors are stock design and weight.. if you really like the rifle, a gunsmith can add a couple pounds of weight by using lead shot and epoxy.. he can put a pound in the forend and a pound in the butt stock without changing the balance.. that will tame it down a lot.

another consideration, is that MAX loads are rarely the best loads.. a lot can be accomplished by reducing the velocity to 90-95% of Max, improves accuracy and reduces recoil

another option is MAG-NA-PORT.. I've used this on big rifles (458 magnum) with great success. It reduces muzzle jump considerably, but the rifle still moves rearward about the same.

July 22, 2009, 21:45
Since I own both a NM MK2-1 (7.62mm version Garand) and a NM M1 Garand in .30-06, I can tell you that after shooting both with their respective military match loads (M118 and M852 on the Mk2-1 and M72 on the M1), I would shoot the Mk2-1 in rapids anyday of the week before the M1. The recoil is more recoverable and more pleasant to shoot.

fire for effect
August 09, 2009, 07:05
What ever happened to the equal but opposite Law of Motion?
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Third law
Whenever a particle A exerts a force on another particle B, B simultaneously exerts a force on A with the same magnitude in the opposite direction. The strong form of the law further postulates that these two forces act along the same line. This law is often simplified into the sentence, "To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."

If the same bullet weight is being fired at the same velocity(Action) in rifles of the same weight, then the same recoil will be felt (Reaction). Shoulder angle of the case makes no difference, since this would also have the effect of increasing the velocity of the bullet.

Since the velocities are held constant, and the weights are constant, the recoil will be constant.

August 30, 2009, 19:46
The problem is you forgot to factor the weight of the powder.

In one of my reloading books is a formula for figuring out recoil. All else being equal, firing the same weight bullet at the same velocities, the load with the heavier powder charge will recoil, according to the formula. The interesting part is the velocity of the ejecta (burnt smokeless powder) is, if I recall, a constant of 4700 fps

September 03, 2009, 10:32
Take from this example what you will.
My friend and I went to the range one day to have some fun. He is a 65 year old 150 pound no longer active Marine, his main hobby is varmit hunting at very long range. I was sighting in my Wetherby Mk5 in 375 H&H mag, and he was testing a Thompson Center Encore in 223 Rem that he was considering purchasng for "close in" shots at ground hogs. Having only fired smaller varmit calibers for the last several years, he was wanting to try "just one shot from that elephant gun for fun". He enjoyed the first shot (from the benchrest!) so much, he shot that whole mag full and another whole mag full. After a total of 8 shots of 300 grain Remington full power loads in the 375 H&H from the benchrest, he says "man, that's fun, but I don't wanna burn all your ammo" and was ready to test the 223. On the first shot (from the same bags on the same bench) the hammer came back in recoil and cut his lip so bad the he started using some of his "colorful Marine euphemisms", cleaned the blood off the Encore, and said "I d@mn sure ain't buying that hunk of sh!t now!! You got any more 375 ammo, so my trip out here won't be wasted?".
So, 8 shots from 375 H&H mag = fun, 1 shot from 223 Rem = pain & injury.
I guess when "they" say it all depends, it really does.

October 04, 2009, 19:37
What about this idea== Every action has an equil and oppisit reaction!

Shoving a 168 Gr bullet out the end of the barrel at 2800fps should create X amount of force rearwards regardless of the cartrage that propels it -- ALL other factors equil..

Personally If a 308 or aught six kicks too much You need to Toughen up a bit. Recoil is a perception- I know little asian girls who shoot my 44 mag and Will run me out of ammo if I let them -And thats the only gun they have ever fired-- I told them Its JUMPS Alot --Hold tight - They do and they blast away every chance they get. All they know is what a 44 mag kicks like and thats what a normal gun kicks like to them.

October 04, 2009, 21:23
How about this? A 168 grain bullet shot shot at 2800 fps kicks the same regardless of the cartridge- except when one uses more powder to achieve the same velocity. That one kicks harder because of the greater mass of the ejecta. All other factors being equal. All right???

The 30-06 due to it's greater internal capacity uses more powder than the 308 to achieve the same velocity all else being equal

October 05, 2009, 22:23
While I give credit where it is due to the physics of the powder type/burn rate utilized and volume that 30-06 and .308 cases hold, both the delivery system AND the "fitment" are factors that need to be accounted for. There are many variables to this equation.

Some of the most pleasant rifles for me to fire are my Garands in 30-06. My 03-A3 in 30-06 has more "kick" and I feel it more. My FR-8 "kicks" more than my FALs. Strict logic in that vacuum dictates that a gas-operated semi is less "harsh" than bolt actions. Barrel length has an effect as well, I am sure.

Then again, my Hakim in 8MM kicked like a mule and slapped my face silly after half a mag whereas I can deal with my K98s and M48s in the same caliber all day long.

Variables do include perceptible "kick"; and this is made up of both stock fitment and delivery systems (semi vs bolt), not to mention caliber.

One mans slap is another's caress....

Para Driver
October 06, 2009, 08:47
I love the caress of a 375 H&H in the morning...

October 13, 2009, 20:19
Most shooters would never notice the difference in very similer rifles. That said, most 308's are smaller and lighter, which will kick more.

"For every action, there is an equal and opposite action"