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30-06 loads for elk

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Old 04-09-2010, 11:17 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 34
30-06 loads for elk

Hi guys, I am a new shooter and a new hunter and would like to make some good choices. I have been diligently searching the forum for info on this topic, and my results are mixed. As always we have the OíConnor folk that think a .270 is just fine and others who wonít hunt elk with anything less than a .338.

So I donít mean to open that can of worms. But it looks like my go to gun for the next year or two will be my 30-06. I have a 20 year old Savage model, which still shoots about 2 moa. Okay maybe 2.5. So I wonít be shooting at anything longer than 300 yards.

I would like to hear from some people not just loads they recommend but maybe the logic behind the choice, if you can teach me to fish that should be better than giving me a fish. Can you shoot a 150 grain? Do you have to go 180? Is it an issue of balancing weight and expansion? What other factors are there?

Thanks in advance, I would rather be a credit to the hunting community than a liability, I think a more knowledgeable bullet selection would help out in that regard.
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:32 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: colorado
Posts: 892
Re: 30-06 loads for elk

If you're truly limiting yourself to 300 yds then you'd be fine with a good sturdy 150gr bullet. I'd highly recommend the Barnes TTSX if you're going that route. I would be more comfortable with a 165gr bullet but you could do it with a 150. I killed my farthest elk to date 542yd with an 06 shooting 180Fail safe bullets(they no longer make). So I don't mind the 180's. Are you reloading or factory ammo?
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:32 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: West Central Idaho
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Re: 30-06 loads for elk

Have used an 06 for a lot of years and if you keep it within 300 yards it will do just fine on elk if you hit them good. Took a 295 class bull this year with my 06 at 300 yards with 165gr Core Loc. Hit him high shoulder twice. He didnít go 10 yards. Over the years have used the Hornady 150gr and 165gr Spire Point almost exclusively when reloading and have never lost an animal. Not a long range bullet by any means but they are deadly out to 400 yards or so. Have never cared much for the 180gr in the 06.

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Old 04-10-2010, 12:50 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Holland, MI
Posts: 1,578
Re: 30-06 loads for elk

You might want to try a couple of different factory loads in your 30-06 and see how it shoots (it doesn't sound like you handload). I tried a few different ones in my Rem 7400 a few years back and found out that it was a MOA or under with cheap 150gr PSP Rem Core-Lokts and Federal Fusion. A couple of other loads it wouldn't shoot worth a darn. It was well worth my time and effort, and if you find anyone else shooting 30-06 you can always split a few boxes for testing purposes. Almost every rifle or handgun I own does the same thing - like some loads, hates others.

Having said that, I think anything 150-180 grain will probably work fine but I'd test as noted above to see what your rifle likes.
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Old 04-10-2010, 01:58 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 34
Re: 30-06 loads for elk

We are not yet hand loading, but hope to start over the next couple of months, which is sort of what spurred this thread.

We have shot like 3 different kinds of $25 a box ammo, and so far haven't really seen performance differences.

I guess one big question I have is the whole 150 vs 180 grain thing. I think you get better velocity with the lighter bullet, but I don't really have a grasp yet of the pros and cons of lighter faster bullets vs. heavier slower bullets for any particular cartridge.

It seems like the manufacturers push you toward heavier bullets for heavier game, but it seems like those don't always have the highest kinetic energy, which I find confusing in that it seems like high KE would always be better, even if you can get it out of lighter bullets.
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Old 04-10-2010, 06:02 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Illinios
Posts: 537
Re: 30-06 loads for elk

I'll give you the load i've taken 5 elk with. The furthest being 350 yds. H4831sc 57.2 grns. Hornady 180 grn BTSP Fed 215 Winchester Model 70
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Old 04-10-2010, 08:48 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Great Falls, MT
Posts: 4,604
Re: 30-06 loads for elk

Try HSM's loaded with Berger .168gr, .185gr, or .210 gr hunting VLDs ...


Good luck!


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