The .30-06 US cartridge (or .306) was introduced in 1906 as an evolution of the US Army’s short-lived use of the .30-03 cartridge, which was originally adopted in 1903 with a round-nosed bullet.
The naming scheme for cartridges can be a confusing business. Previously to the use of smokeless powder, the first two digits in a caliber nomination would describe the caliber, for instance .30 Cal. The last two digits would give the amount of powder in grains. With the development of smokeless powder, it became de rigueur to describe the caliber first and then the year the cartridge was introduced would take up the last two digits.. hence .30-06 stands for .30 Caliber, 1906.
The .30-03 was an American caliber and should not be confused with the British .303 round. The .30 caliber M1906 cartridge is today universally known as .30-06, (spoken as 30 ought 6). It has a slightly different case from the .30-03 and, more importantly, has a pointed bullet, giving much better aerodynamic performance.
It served with US armed forces throughout both world wars and the Korean war. It was gradually replaced in service by the 7.62×51 NATO round starting in 1957. It is still extremely popular worldwide as a hunting and target round, with new weapons (mostly bolt-action and semi-automatic rifles) and ammunition in this caliber being manufactured in many countries and in many styles.
|Designation||Bullet weight, g||Muzzle velocity, m/s||Muzzle energy, J||Comments|
|ball M1||11.15||805||3610||with pointed boattailed FMJ bullet|
|ball M2||9.7||835||3390||with pointed FMJ bullet|
|AP M2||10.8||830||3730||with armor-piercing bullet|