Re: 30-06 for long range
I'm no expert, but maybe just a few steps further down the same road.
In the past three years I have gotten into LR shooting and hunting. Prior to that I had killed countless white tails at 200 yds and less. 90% less than 150 yds. When I started thinking about Long Range I had to do it on a budget. So, I got my Grand Dads Ruger M77 30-06 and I put a Bushnell Trophy 3x9-40 with a mil dot reticle.
Then I got set up to hand load. On the hand loading, I found a friend that was also hand loading a 30-06 for long range hunting and i just followed his lead.
From my observations of his loads and shooting and my own, I think that Berger VLDs are great. They have excellent Ballistic Coefficiants and they are a hollow point that is designed to penetrate before shrapnelling in the vital zone. My buddy shoots the 210 grain berger VLD and I shoot the 185 gr VLD. These are heavier than what most would choose for a 30-06. But they get longer with more weight and therefore fly more stable, helping accuracy. Also, the heavier the bullet the less that it is affected by wind drift, which is the greates unknown in a hunting situation. For hunting, the heavier bullet retain more energy at longer ranges as well.
My buddy has 14x leupold scope his Winchester model 70 has slightly longer barrell than my ruger. With his longer barrell he can get a faster muzzle velocity than I could get both shooting the same load (210 berger). I ultimately went with the 185 Berger over the 210 berger, for two reasons.
With my 9 power scope, I don't feel good about shooting at game much over 500 yds, My buddy can see things very well at 800 yds with his 14 X scope. Also, since My shorter barrel produces a slower muzzle velocity and because I was not planning to shoot over 500yds, I decided that the 185 would allow me to increase my muzzle velocity and give me the most knock down (Ft lbs) at 400 - 500 yds.
Some might think that these heavy bullets drop too much, however, the second most important tool for long range hunting after the rifle is your range finder. With a good range finder with angle compensation, you will know what yardage your target is at. Then you just adjust the elevation on your scope for that shot, adjust or hold for wind and squeeze the trigger.
I hope this helps.