I already demonstrated elsewhere that the .30-06 set a suspect trend of low case taper in US military rifle cartridges.
Continuing my War On .30-06, I am also going to provide evidence that the .30-03 Springfield (the .30-06's close ancestor) was a massively overpowered cartridge for the period, and started a trend where cartridges became more powerful than necessary, higher pressure than they had been previously, and higher recoil than is desirable.
Thanks to the magic of Google, I've found powder charge figures for all of the above cartridges, which, coupled with rifle weight figures, gives me the ability to calculate recoil energies for each cartridge/rifle combination. They are listed below the muzzle energy data. Do note that the recoil figures are using rifle-length velocities and weapon weights (to give an idea of how manageable each rifle was), whereas the muzzle energy data is all using approximately 24" barrels (to show how powerful each cartridge was, all things being equal), which was considered carbine length at the time.
Without further ado, I present the .30-03 Springfield, and every major round nosed rifle cartridge in service at that time:
.303 British Mark II
13.9 g (215 grs) bullet on 2.01 g (31.0 grs) cordite at 600 m/s (1,970 ft/s)
2,510 J muzzle energy
15.7 J recoil energy
13.7 g (211 grs) bullet on 2.20 g (34.0 grs) pyroxiline at 615 m/s (2,020 ft/s)
2,610 J muzzle energy
16.7 J recoil energy
.30-40 Army M1894
14.3 g (220 grs) bullet on 2.59 g (40.0 grs) W. A. at 600 m/s (1,960 ft/s)
2,550 J muzzle energy
18.2 J recoil energy
7.9x57mm Patrone 88
14.7 g (227 grs) bullet on 2.55 g (39.3 grs) S-Pulver at 600 m/s (1,970 ft/s)
2,650 J muzzle energy
20.5 J recoil energy
8x50mmR Lebel Balle M
15.0 g (231 grs) bullet on 2.75 g (42.4 grs) Poudre BF at 580 m/s (1,900 ft/s)
2,520 J muzzle energy
19.4 J recoil energy
8x50mmR Mannlicher M.93
15.8 g (244 grs) bullet on 2.75 g (42.4 grs) M.92 at 600 m/s (1,970 ft/s)
2,840 J muzzle energy
25.1 J recoil energy
7x57mm Mauser Modelo 1893
11.2 g (173 grs) bullet on 2.40 g (37.0 grs) nitrocellulose at 670 m/s (2,200 ft/s)
2,520 J muzzle energy
16.0 J recoil energy
6x60mm Lee Navy M1895
8.75 g (135 grs) bullet on 2.14 g (33.0 grs) Rifleite at 730 m/s (2,380 ft/s)
2,310 J muzzle energy
12.2 J recoil energy
.30-03 Springfield M1903
14.3 g (220 grs) bullet on 2.92 g (45.0 grs) W. A. at 700 m/s (2,300 ft/s)
3,510 J muzzle energy
25.5 J recoil energy
That's right, the .30-03 has almost a third again as much muzzle energy and more than 20% more recoil energy than the third-most powerful round-nosed smokeless powder cartridge of the era.
This means that an army training on, say, .303 caliber rifles will have an easier time teaching marksmanship, will have lower re-acquisition times after each shot, and will experience less fatigue during shooting.
Given that during the interwar period and Second World War many nations switched from a softer-shooting rifle cartridge and a longer-ranged machine gun cartridge to issuing the machine gun cartridge for all purposes or switching from a less powerful cartridge to a more powerful one, and that the ubiquitous postwar 7.62x51 NATO was just as powerful as the .30-03 Springfield, I think it can be said that the .30-03 Springfield set off a trend of unnecessary recoil, muzzle energy, and high pressure.
The 8x50R Mannlicher is something of an outlier. It produces similar recoil to the .30-03 cartridge, but far less muzzle energy. Interestingly, it is also the only outlier found in my analysis of case taper in military cartridges. The Austro-Hungarian Empire was fraught with decay and corruption at this point in history, and so it is possible that the development of the 8x50R cartridge was beset by similar demons as could be found in the development of the .30-03 cartridge. It is also possible that Austro-Hungary and the United States were the only two countries that designed their rifle cartridges correctly, but this seems unlikely to me. It is worth noting that the 8x50R Mannlicher does not have greatly higher velocity or sectional density than cartridges such as .30-40 Army, .303 British, or 7.62x54R, but due to its larger caliber (.330") required a heavier bullet and more powder to propel it to speed. The .30-03, in contrast, is faster than its stablemates, by about 350 f/s.