300 Winchester Magnum vs .30-06 Springfield: Comparison

Why Compare The 300 Winchester Magnum vs 30-06 Springfield?

The .300 Win Mag and the.30-06 Springfield are two of the current large game hunter’s preferred cartridges, and they are compared in this article. Both of these cartridges provide the hunter with exceptional field performance in terms of stopping force as well as ballistic performance.

The 30-06 Springfield and 300 Winchester Magnum are frequently brought up in a conversation about long-distance large game hunting in hunting forums online.

Many contend that the 300 Win Mag is the obvious choice due to its high muzzle velocity, flatter trajectory, and longer effective range. Some argue that the 30-06 is more than adequate for any large animal and that the 300 Win Mag’s additional recoil and weight are unnecessary.

Both of these cartridges are frequently used by hunters and are effective against many of the same large species. Both of these cartridges can be applied to long-distance shooting situations. The ballistic and other performance specifications that a hunter should take into account before entering the field will be discussed in this article.

We shall briefly examine the sources of these cartridges, their technical specifications, and a number of categories, including bullet ballistics, recoil, and accessibility. Since both are well-known for taking down large game, we won’t be doing this to decide which of the two is better. We’ll offer these comparisons in the hopes that they’ll help you decide which cartridge is best for you in particular hunting situations.

A Brief History on the 30 Winchester Magnum and .30-06 Springfield

.300 Winchester Magnum

Like the.30-06, the.300 Win Mag can fire a 30-cal bullet. This particular hunting cartridge is very recent compared to other well-known hunting cartridges because Winchester started producing it in 1963.

The idea of a magnum round was not novel when the.300 Win Mag was introduced to the public, but the timing of the round’s release, the widespread use of the bolt action rifles that were chambered for it, and the round’s effectiveness in the field all led to the .300 WM becoming one of the most widely used magnum rounds to date.

The.300 Win Mag has a significant velocity advantage since it can be loaded with a lot of powder. The cartridge can accommodate different bullet weights as well. Although there are various lighter and heavier rounds available, the majority of weights fall between 150 and 200 grains.

Long-range shooters, such as big game hunters and competitive shooters, enjoy using this round. Although there are two arguments against using this cartridge for long-range target shooting, few, if any, would contend that it is ineffective.

Although snipers in special forces and military circles have also used and continue to use the.300 Win Mag, it is most frequently mentioned and used in the hunting community. When considering the efficacy of a hunting cartridge, it is important to match the type of ammunition with the hunting environment.

.30-06 Springfield

In response to developments in cartridge design in other countries, the.30-06 (thirty-ought-six) was created in 1906 and offered a round with the maximum amount of power and “controllability.” The bullet’s diameter (.308) and the year it was manufactured give it its name (1906). Until it was supplanted in the late 1970s, the.30-06 Springfield was used in action during a number of conflicts.

The.30-06 cartridge continued to be used in the hunting community even after it was no longer used by the military. Big game hunters had and continue to have the ability to cleanly take down larger wildlife up to and beyond 500 yards thanks to velocity, power, and flat trajectory.

The.30-06 is no longer as common in long-range shooting competitions as it once was, but the statistics show that it is still competitive, especially in the hands of skilled shooters. Perhaps more so when hand-loaded, but for the purposes of this post, let’s only talk about factory loads.

The.30-06 can be found in almost every retail establishment that sells ammo. The.30-06 may be employed in a wide range of hunting settings thanks to its enormous number of bullet weights and types. When manually loaded, the.30-06 may also be a very hot load, substantially enhancing performance.

The Difference Between .30-06 vs .300 Win Mag

When the need arises, you may rely on the 30-06 Springfield and the.300 Win Mag, two very competent long-range shooting cartridges. It’s unlikely that we will be able to pick a clear winner between the two hunting cartridges because they both accurately discharge the 30 millimeter bullets.

The 300 Winchester Magnum was created as a long-range magnum cartridge that could fire larger bullets with razor-sharp accuracy at a great effective range, similar to the 6.5 Creedmoor.

The 30-06 Springfield was intended for use in the military, but it has achieved incredible success in the field of big game hunting. The 30-06 has killed every major game animal on the North American continent thanks to its amazing terminal ballistics, and it has been the go-to chambering for hunting rifles for at least three generations.

When selecting the caliber of your next target shooting or hunting rifle, you should be informed of the benefits and drawbacks of each hunting cartridge.

Cartridge Specs Difference Between 300 Win vs 30-06

Numerous casing specifications, such as the neck diameter and case length, are extremely comparable. The bullet diameter, which is 0.308, is the same for both the 300 Win Mag and the 30-06.” This makes reloading for both calibers easier because they can often fire the same 30 caliber bullets.

Both bullets end up being the same overall length in the Magnum rifle cartridge because of how they are seated in the casing. The difference in bullet length between the .300 Win Mag and the 30-06 is the first obvious distinction. When comparing them side by side, it is clear that the 300 Win Mag is a full 0.12″ longer than the 30-06. The 30-06 and the .300 Win Mag, however, will have the same overall case length once loaded.

The 300 Win Mag’s general layout also supports a larger case capacity. With over 35% more case capacity than the 30-06, the .300 Win Mag is better suited for long-range shooting thanks to its higher velocity and ability to fire larger powder charges.

These two cartridges have some significant differences despite sharing certain characteristics. Compared to the .30-06, the .300 Win Mag is substantially more substantial, can store a lot more powder, and can withstand a lot more pressure.

You can infer from that alone that the .300 win mag will be a little bit more powerful than the .30-06, and we shall examine how this differential affects the cartridges’ ballistic characteristics. The .300 Win Mag can withstand over 3,000 psi more pressure than the 30-06 when it comes to handling pressure.

However, the additional powder charge and case capacity come at a cost in terms of barrel life and recoil.

In order to compare two rounds, we’ve selected five distinct rounds for both the .30-06 Springfield and the .300 Win Mag that give a general idea of the characteristics of each cartridge and how they can change or stay the same from round to round. There are numerous rounds available for each cartridge, so it is by no means exhaustive, but we have covered the essentials by making thoughtful choices. Our list of rounds is provided below.

  • .300 Win Mag Federal Vital-Shok Trophy Bonded 180gr
  • .300 Win Mag Federal MatchKing BTHP Gold Medal 190gr
  • .300 Win Mag Barnes Precision Match OTM 220gr
  • .300 Win Mag Nosler Trophy Grade AccuBond Long Range 190gr
  • .300 Win Mag Hornady Superformance SST 180gr
  • .30-06 Federal Vital-Shok Nosler Partition 165gr
  • .30-06 Hornady GMX Superformance 150gr
  • .30-06 Federal American Eagle Jacketed Hollow Point 150gr
  • .30-06 Nosler Custom Hand Loaded AccuBond 200gr
  • .30-06 Federal Gold Medal Sierra Matchking 168gr

For those of you who might be dubious about comparing two bullets with so few rounds, we’ve actually gathered many more rounds for each. We will present the averages for each cartridge that were determined using the larger sample of rounds at the conclusion of each section we examine.

This gives us evidence to support the discussion of the smaller sample size, and it gives us more assurance that the similarities and differences between these two bullets are accurately represented by what we are seeing. Although this sample is still far from an exhaustive list of the factory loads that are now available for these two common cartridges, we believe it to be sizable enough to represent the entire field of rounds.

The chosen rounds are all factory-loaded and widely accessible. These cartridges are undoubtedly available, but they are almost certainly manually loaded. You may come across forums or blogs where someone is displaying considerably greater velocities or other performance specifications for these cartridges.

When it comes to packing the casings with powder, factory loads err on the side of caution. We also wish to point you that all of the data shown here was created by computers. The majority of the information is accessible from the manufacturer, and in cases where it wasn’t, we turned to reliable ballistic calculators.

We maintained as many variables constant between rounds of the same cartridge where ballistic calculators were employed. We shall make care to clearly state our variables wherever calculations are conducted.

Comparing cartridges is unaffected by this type of data, however, you should be aware that these figures can alter when fired from your own weapon. Each hunting rifle tends to have a little different profile, which results in a somewhat different ballistic output. Computer-generated data has its benefits when comparing the two rounds because these little variances are eliminated.

Now that all of that has been said, let’s begin our comparisons.

Does the 300 Win Mag have more Recoil Than the 30-06?

There is no doubt that accuracy is greatly influenced by recoil, and neither the .300 Win Mag nor the 30-06 are weak recoilers. Recoil also affects follow-up shots since a lower recoiling weapon allows you to refocus your sights more quickly.

Recoil characteristics of the .300 Win Mag and .30-06 should be compared in order to understand when you would choose one over the other. For those who are younger or less experienced shooters, it is definitely a major deciding factor.

Even if you have a lot of experience, it is still something to consider. Recoil can affect your ability to make follow-up shots as well as your ability to make shots, especially when you may not have much time to prepare the shot.

The force created when the primer ignites the powder and propels the bullet downrange is what we are examining in this part rather than the power of impact when you fire the rifle. Even though this energy causes a recoil that may be felt, it can also be measured. It is challenging to put a value on felt recoil because it takes into consideration so many other elements.

Although the recoil energy of the.300 Win mag is a couple ft.lb higher, you will still feel both of them when firing. Given that both of them have recoil energy of over 25 ft. lb, there is a chance that a minor flinch during the pull could change the trajectory of your shot.

While the figures are quite close, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the .30-06 rounds are actually fired with a 7lb rifle while the .300 WM bullets are simulated with a 9lb rifle.

These figures were determined using the supplied muzzle velocity, an average powder charge from various reliable load data sources, and a 7-pound rifle as the basis. For the.300 Win Mag rounds, a rifle weighing 9 pounds is used to mimic real-world uses.

Similar to the last graph, there is a continuing tendency for the. 300 Win Mag rounds to produce higher recoil than the. 30 -06 rounds. However, as we can see, there is some overlap between the two.

The recoil energy of 30-06 bullets is quite similar to or perhaps higher than that of.300 Win Mag rounds. The.300 Win Mag rounds will be marginally higher on average. Both will have a considerable kick, but we don’t think the little variation in recoil will be distinguishing between the two rounds. Whatever you choose, you’ll need to adjust to it.

We should reiterate that we use various rifle weights in order to more accurately emulate real-world applications. Therefore, even though there is some overlap in the recoil, we must remember that a larger rifle is being used to fire 300 Win Mag bullets.

300 Win Mag vs. 30-06 – Barrel Life

The 30-06 Springfield excels in this category as well because the.300 Win Mag is notoriously hard on barrels. This is because the 300 Win Mag’s enormous case capacity permits a greater powder charge.

Sure, you can fire those 30 caliber rounds at a very high velocity—certainly faster than the 30-06—screaming out of the barrel. However, large magnum powder charges may hasten the wear on your barrel, particularly in the throat where the rifling starts.

According to conventional belief, a 30-06 barrel lasts 3,000 to 4,000 rounds whereas a.300 Win Mag barrel keeps its best accuracy for 2,500 to 3,000 rounds. The majority of hunters are unlikely to ever exhaust a 300 Winchester Magnum barrel.

The number of shots fired during a practice session is not unusual for long-range shooting competitions. For competition shooters as opposed to hunters, barrel life is quite crucial since these shooters demand the highest level of precision from their handloads and barrels.

Are Both the 300 Win Mage and 30-06 Accurate?

Because there are some characteristics that cannot be calculated, accuracy is a challenging category to objectively examine. Accuracy depends on the rifle system being used, the barrel life, the consistency of the ammo, the shooter’s expertise, and the surrounding environment.

Considering all other factors equal, the.300 Win Mag and the 30-06 are equally accurate within their effective ranges, and sub-MOA accuracy is possible when using match-grade ammunition, appropriate optics, and sound marksmanship techniques.

The flatter trajectory of the.300 Win Mag provides it a modest accuracy advantage over the 30-06 since the shooter will need to make fewer modifications to take bullet drop into account. Additionally, in 2010 the Army decided to use 300 Win Mag as the ammunition for their new Enhanced Sniper Rifle (though the 6.5 Creedmoor is turning some heads at USSOCOM).

Accuracy is affected by effective range as well since accuracy is lost when a projectile enters the subsonic region. The 30-06 begins to get subsonic somewhere around the 1,000-yard mark whereas the.300 Win Mag is rated out to a maximum effective range of 1,300 yards.

All else being equal, I doubt many shooters could tell the difference in accuracy at distances under 800 yards. Over 800 yards, it will become more obvious as the 30-06 begins to rapidly lose fps while the 300 Win Mag continues to perform admirably.

Overall, the 300 Win Mag will be the superior choice for shots that are 800 yards or more. However, accuracy should be comparable between these two hunting cartridges for shots made at moral hunting distances and under 800 yards.

Ballistics Difference Between 300 Win Mag vs 30 06

The ballistics of each cartridge is a crucial consideration whenever two rounds are being compared. Knowing how the round performs enables you to decide whether it will work in the current hunting or shooting scenario. We shall examine the velocity, trajectory, and ballistic coefficients of the in this section. We will compare the performance of the.30-06 and the 300 Win Mag to make some generalizations about when to utilize each cartridge.

Given that both of these rounds are .30 caliber, it would be reasonable to presume that many of their ballistic characteristics are identical. Keeping in mind that the two bullets do differ somewhat from one another, it is critical that we examine as many different ballistic categories as we can.

Though we are simply considering each of these areas separately, we believe it is crucial to point out that this only gives you a partial picture. All of these categories, including those not related to ballistics, are interconnected and have an impact on one another. When we get to the application section, we’ll try to tie everything together.

Velocity: How Far Can a 300 Win Mag Shoot?

The bullet’s velocity has a significant impact on how it will behave in other ballistic categories. Even while it’s not the sole factor, bullet velocity has a significant impact on how well it penetrates, expands, and can withstand specific environmental conditions while in flight.

When combined with the proper barrel twist, higher velocity for long-range shots correlates with greater accuracy. Consequently, when considering the. How do the 300 Win mag and.30-06 compare in this group?

We just went and looked up the manufacturer’s information on each round to find the solution.

And as we have mentioned, these statistics are probably not what your weapon is producing. We can compare trends in velocity by preserving the same variables, but this article is not meant to provide you with a precise description of what you will experience when any of these rounds are used in the field.

We see a small difference in muzzle velocity with the.300 Win Mag for our particular ammunition. There is overlap between the rounds of the various cartridges, and this pattern persists for the whole 500-yard range, however, the.300 WM does have an average higher velocity than the.30-06 on average.

The.30-06 rounds have a tendency to bleed velocity at a somewhat higher rate than the.300 WM rounds, thus even with some overlap between the two cartridges, the average difference between the two expands slightly as the rounds go downrange.

As we already stated, the.300 win mag is a precise long-range hunting cartridge because of this increase in velocity. The majority of.30-06 rounds offer you fantastic velocity from the muzzle to 500 yards or more, and the same is true for them.

Although the cartridges appear to differ, both feature rounds with muzzle velocity of around 2,500 feet per second and just around 3,000 feet per second. Both shots are hot and maintain supersonic speeds at distances of 500 yards and several hundred yards beyond. If you have hunting in mind, there should be no problem with terminal ballistics at these velocities.

Average Velocity

We observe many of the same trends between these two bullets’ velocities in the extended data set. For the.300 Win Mag, the increase in velocity is still present. The.300 WM rounds are the hottest, however there are.30-06 rounds that perform on par with or better than the.300 WM average.

Looking at the averages from the muzzle and from 500 yards, where the difference rises from 154 to 227 fps, we can also observe that the.30-06 does lose velocity a little more quickly than the.300 Win Mag.

We wanted to look at the typical distance these cartridges can remain in supersonic flight as we are looking at two that can be used for long-range shooting. Due to the fact that projectiles in supersonic flight tend to be more stable, this parameter is crucial for firing at long distances.

Below this point, bullets are more vulnerable to environmental variables that could alter their flightpath. This would undoubtedly make calculations for shot placement much more challenging. So, knowing how long the bullet will stay supersonic is crucial when selecting a factory load or handloading your own cartridge.

Average Supersonic Limit

On average, the .300 Win Mag can maintain supersonic speeds for about 200 yards longer than the .30-06 round using these rounds. These numbers are averages, thus it goes without saying that there will be significant variation between rounds from the same cartridge when examining individual rounds.

However, there are some.30-06 rounds that can continue to travel at supersonic speeds out to 1100 and 1200 yards while many.300 Win Mag rounds may travel at speeds of over 1400 to even 1500 yards. However, this variation is significant enough to notice for future consideration.

300 Win Mag vs. 30-06 – Ballistic Coefficient

If you spend any time looking up and investigating the ballistic coefficient, various rounds will come up. The BC is highly intricate, and there are various versions with various interpretations. We shall discuss it in words that the gun makers use to describe the flight characteristics of their ammo for the sake of clarity and simplification.

In its most basic form, the BC is just a result of an equation involving various cartridge/bullet variables. The bullet’s ability to withstand wind drift and drag throughout its flight path is indicated by this number. Most of the rounds covered in this article have high BCs in the 0.4+ region for hunting cartridges.

We can anticipate that a round will be more accurate if it has a high BC since it will hold to its flight path better than a round with a low BC.

For people who practise shooting in longer ranges, the ballistic coefficient will likely have a little more significance. Not that a hunter shouldn’t take the BC into account, but we are unsure whether the variations in BC between these two rounds will actually make a discernible difference for a shot at 300 yards. Maybe, and we know some hunters who would hunt in gale-force gusts.

Most of us, who primarily concentrate on hunting and typically keep our ranges under 400 yards, will likely give other performance specifications more thought.

All things considered, and as we already mentioned, there are possibilities accessible to you in both a .300 Win Mag and a .30-06 Springfield cartridge if you prefer a round with a high BC. Although .30-06 rounds can have BCs of over 0.5, you will typically observe a somewhat higher BC for .300 Win Mag rounds.

Here, we do observe a situation in which a.30-06 round does indeed have a .5 BC. On the other side, we have two.300 WIN Mag rounds that exceed.6 and four .300 WIN Mag rounds that exceed.5. For the most part, both cartridges have high BC values, as we would anticipate from rounds that can fire at a distance.

It’s also crucial to keep in mind that, despite the fact that BCs appear to have a minor advantage in the.300 Win Mag, bullet style is a significant factor, and given the small number of samples we have, there may be some selection bias at play. Because our sample contains many of the same bullet styles, we are nevertheless confident in these findings.

Higher bullet weights also benefit the BC because one of the main causes is that heavier bullets require a bit more force to deviate from their intended course. The 300 Win Mag is somewhat in the lead. The BC of the 200gr.30-06 round that we examined is more comparable to that of.300 Win Mag rounds.

All things considered, and as we already mentioned, there are possibilities accessible to you in both a.300 Win Mag and a.30-06 Springfield cartridge if you prefer a round with a high BC.

Average Ballistic Coefficient

The .300 Winchester Magnum continues to have a higher average BC than the .30-06 Springfield, but, as with the last group of rounds, there is a wide variation in the BC of each cartridge’s rounds (not shown).

The average clearly demonstrates that the .300 Win Mag cartridge offers more possibilities for higher BC rounds, and that the best rounds in this category are .300 Win Mag rounds. As we previously indicated, there are still .30-06 rounds available with ballistic coefficients of at least 0.5.

Sectional Density Difference Between 300 Win Mag vs 30-06

What determines how successfully a bullet enters a target is called sectional density (SD). This is crucial when going after a large game since you need a bullet that can pierce tough hide, bone, and muscle.

By comparing the weight and diameter of the bullet, sectional density may be computed; the greater the value, the more successful the bullet will be at penetrating a target. The bullet will pierce the target more deeply the greater the SD. The 30-06 and the .300 Winchester Magnum fire the same, hence there isn’t much difference between them in terms of ballistic coefficient.

Projectiles having a 308″ diameter provide a modest advantage over lighter 300 Winchester Magnum loadings.The increased velocity that the 300 Winchester Mag can reach because to its larger case capacity is a minor bonus. The .300 Winchester Mag will be able to pierce a little bit deeper due to its increased velocity over the 30-06 Springfield.

However, both the 30-06 Springfield and the 300 Winchester Magnum will offer you powerful penetration that will pound through the strongest bone and sinew on any huge game that dares to land up in front of your crosshairs.

Compared to the 30-06, the .300 Winchester Mag has a sectional density that is roughly 0.284 times higher on average.

300 Win Mag vs. 30-06 – Trajectory

Another crucial aspect of ballistics to take into account is the trajectory of the projectile. Knowing your rounds’ flight paths improves the accuracy of correcting for field shots. Of course, having good vision also helps.

We’ll examine the ten rounds’ short (sighted at 100 yards) and long (sighted at 200 yards) ranges in this section. The manufacturer, bullet design, bullet weight, and ballistic coefficient of two rounds that are fairly comparable to one another are presented first.

You can better understand the flatness of the trajectory by contrasting two rounds that are extremely similar than you do by contrasting rounds that differ significantly.

Our results show that the difference between the two Federal Nosler Partition 180gr rounds is minimal, and even insignificant, up to 400 yards. The difference is merely a few inches at 400 yards. The difference becomes more noticeable after that point, with the .300 Winchester Mag displaying a less dramatic decline.

More on this will be covered in our applications, but generally speaking, these two rounds have a flat trajectory that greatly increases the viability of longer range shots.

300 Win Mag Effective Range vs 30 06

Another category where the .300 Winchester Magnum dominates is this one.

The 300 Winchester Magnum can continue to fire bullets at supersonic speeds out to 1,300 yards, and some match-grade loads can go as far as 1,400 or even 1,500 yards. Around the 1,000-yard mark, the 30-06 Springfield will start to go subsonic, and accuracy will suffer significantly. When it comes to effective range, the .300 Win Mag has the market cornered.

Hunting Difference Between 300 Win Mag vs 30-06

The flatter trajectory and longer effective range of the .300 Winchester Mag are its main selling points, which I frequently read in internet hunting forums. And both of those are true.

I’ve noticed hunters rationalizing their purchases on the same sites by saying that they “could need to shoot out to 1,000 yards at some point.” Years of practice and specialized instruction are needed to develop the calculations and abilities needed to make a shot this far.

When taking a shot this far, there are an absurdly large number of variables to take into account, including bullet drop, relative humidity, temperature, the Coriolis Effect, bullet travel time, the curvature of the Earth, and even the type of powder you used in your hand loads.

The likelihood that you will hit a game animal is much higher at those ranges, therefore if you’re an ethical hunter you shouldn’t even be thinking about taking a shot (if you hit them at all). An ethical hunter will attempt to get as close to the animal as possible before taking a shot or abandoning it altogether.

Therefore, the justification given by an internet community for buying a 300 Winchester Mag because of its 1,000-yard range is irrelevant for hunting.

According to my observations, the maximum shot distance for ethical hunting is 300 yards, with ethical hunting shot distances being 500 yards or fewer. The placement of your shot is always the most crucial factor in harvesting an animal in an ethical manner, and the closer you are, the better your shot placement will be.

Both hunting ammo will have more than enough muzzle energy to kill a bull elk (1,000+ ft-lbs) at these ranges, therefore Whitetail and Mule Deer will also be no match for them.
Therefore, it stands to reason that the cartridge that has less recoil (better shot placement), enables quicker follow-up rounds, and is generally less expensive is a better choice.

This is the justification for my decision to choose the 30-06 Springfield as the best hunting rifle in North America for medium- to large-sized game animals.

Both cartridges are not suggested for varmint hunting since they contain much too many bullets. I’d advise utilizing a 22-250 or perhaps the less expensive, softer-shooting 223 Rem for anything like this. With high-quality hunting ammo like a Nosler Partition, the 30-06 will serve you well for everything from a mule deer to black bear.

Reloading Speed Difference between 300 Win Mag vs 30-06

Since the 30-06 and .300 Winchester Mag both fire similarly. It is nothing short of a reloader’s fantasy because you can stock up on one bullet type for both calibers, the 308″ diameter bullet.

Furthermore, handloading is the greatest technique to increase the accuracy of your groups and get the most muzzle velocity possible out of either cartridge if you wish to shoot at a distance (and have the necessary equipment).

Both the 30-06 and the .300 Winchester Mag are very common handloading cartridges, so reloading for them is simple and you shouldn’t worry about running out of parts or reloading dies.

Final Verdict: Which Should You Choose?

We believe it is reasonable to draw the conclusion that both the.300 Win Mag and the.30-06 may be used effectively in large games when comparing the statistics for both calibers. Both are readily available and offer a variety of alternatives to accommodate the particular hunting style you have in mind.

Both firearms come with factory ammo that has exceptional velocity, trajectory, and stopping power to take a variety of games.

While there are variations between the two cartridges, as we discussed, the most crucial factor in choosing an efficient hunting or shooting cartridge is not the chambering of your gun, but rather the right bullet weight and design for the circumstance, particularly when deciding between .30-06 Springfield with 300 Winchester Magnum.

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