The .30.06 Springfield pronounced thirty 'ought' six is perhaps the most iconic calibre ever to have emerged from the United States.
Introduced as a military round in 1906, hence the 'ought six', this .30 calibre cartridge was used by the US military for nearly 50 years before being replaced by the 7.62 NATO and more recently the 5.56 NATO.
(Right: The .30.06 great for the UK's largest species of deer)
Today it is still a popular cartridge and is used frequently by hunters in search of medium to large game. At the muzzle the .30.06 fires a 180 grain bullet at about 2700 feet per second and produces 2900 ft lbs of energy.
This is some 200 -300 more ft lbs of energy than the more commonly used .308 in the UK and for many this is enough of a margin to mean that it is more suitable for those hunting in Africa and the US where much of the game is a larger than our native UK deer. Added to this ammunition is widely available both here and abroad and is produced by all the major ammunition manufacturers.
Bullet weights can be found from 110 grains to 220grains which like the .308 gives it great versatility. However there is a price to pay for this little extra energy and that is that the recoil is noticeably more and makes shooting this round a little uncomfortable for many deer stalkers.
Further disadvantages are that many consider the .308 to be a more accurate calibre and this is certainly true of long range target shooters who consistently favour the .308 due perhaps to the consistent results produced by the more uniform and gentle push produced by the shorter cartridge.
For those who want a calibre that is appropriate for hunting both within the UK and abroad the .30.06 is a tried and tested choice however for UK deer stalking alone the .30.06 remains a slightly unusual choice and to my mind is eclipsed by the advantages of the .308.
Typical Ballistics: (180 grain bullet)
Muzzle Energy: 2900 ft/lbs
Muzzle Velocity: 2700 fps