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Wildcat Cartridges Based on 30-06 (30 Aught Six) Springfield Rifle; 25.06, .35 Whelen & More

At the turn of the century the United States was looking to change rifles. The current was the US Krag-Jorgenson in .30 US, or the 30-40 Krag. A medium powered rimmed round fired in the US modified Krag. The Krag-Jorgenson had a very smooth action but was hampered strength wise by a single bolt lug.

30-06 Springfield Rifle

Mauser had proven the value of smooth reliable feed by their introduction of the rimless 7x57mm and 8x57mm Mauser cartridges, with spitzer (German for ‘pointed’) bullets. The Krag round fired a round-nose projectile with a poor ballistic performance. The Springfield Armory introduced the Springfield 1903 and 1903 30-03 cartridge. Further development led to the introduction of the 30-06 in 1906 with a spitzer bullet and some slight throat changes, giving us the .30 caliber of 1906 cartridge. An all American military cartridge that served the US until the mid-1950’s with the introduction of the 7.62x51mm or the .308 Winchester sporting round.

Wildcat Cartridges List

Today we have four factory loaded formerly wildcat derivatives of this famous round. The 25-06, 270 Winchester, 30-06 and .35 Whelen. There is a host of wildcats based on the 30-06 as well ranging from 6mm up to .375 caliber. One of the most popular was the 8mm-06 used in post WWII imported German Mauser 8mm. With guns cheaply available but no ammo the 8mm-06 allowed these war imports to serve up whitetails and mule deer, as well as elk. The 338-06 is a well-rounded rifle with near magnum performance. The .35 Whelen and .25-06 started out as wildcats and become ‘legitimized’ by the ammo factories loading the rounds for commercial sale and establishing cartridge standards.

Thirty Aught 6 Cartridge

The aught-6 is one of the most versatile cartridges in history. Capable of taking all North American game, including the big grizzlies the case for a single gun and cartridge for various hunting duties makes the 30-06 very popular. Though cheap military ammo has dried up, the 30-06 still soldiers on in the woods of America. It even has an international following with sportsman popping up for thin-skin game in Africa. The rifleman’s load that served the longest was a 147-150 grain full metal jacket ball round that fought through many conflicts. The Garand, BAR and Browning designed 1917 machineguns all digested the 30-06. Germany had the 7.9x57mm Mauser, the Russians the 7.62x54R, the Brits the .303 British and the Japanese the 6.5 and 7.7mm rounds. All the rounds offered very similar performance. A note on European cartridge nomenclature: caliber x cartridge case length. The 30-06 in Europe is 7.62 x 63 mm being 7.62 mm bore with a 63mm long case. The .308 Winchester is the 7.62 caliber 51mm case (by the way the 300 Savage was considered in the development of the 7.62×51 cartridge). One of the attractions of the 06 case is that is can be reformed into any of the other 06 derivatives. In fact 45ACP with a reamed and shortened 30-06 case have been used. Giving the hand loader a vast area of loading for the cartridge and many, many reloadings for the multi-caliber user. Even .308 Winchester can be formed from the 06 cases as well as 243 Winchester. If you shoot multiple calibers and if many are wildcats the 30-06 case is the reloaders dream come true. By the way, even the venerable 8mm Mauser can be constructed from the 06 cases. As many rules prohibited the use of military cartridges, the venerable 303 British was the basis for many wildcats. The most popular was a 25-303 in Australia. Since ammo supplies for the Japanese Ariska in 6.5 or 7.7mm dried up these rounds where never popular wildcat choice as there are few 7.62x54R (R=rimmed) as most ammo imported is steel cased with Berdan primers. The 30-06 is Americas ole warhorse and sporting choice supreme.

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