30-06 loads for elk

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by Outerspace, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. Outerspace

    Outerspace Active Member

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    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 O’Connor folk that think a .270 is just fine and others who won’t hunt elk with anything less than a .338.

    So I don’t 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 won’t 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.
     
  2. Boman

    Boman Well-Known Member

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    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?
     

  3. kcebcj

    kcebcj Well-Known Member

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    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 didn’t 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.
     
  4. Dr. Vette

    Dr. Vette Well-Known Member

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    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. :D 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.
     
  5. Outerspace

    Outerspace Active Member

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    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.
     
  6. Gary Kaney

    Gary Kaney Well-Known Member

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    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
     
  7. FEENIX

    FEENIX Well-Known Member

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  8. 3006savage

    3006savage Well-Known Member

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    I like heavier bullets especially in the 06. I like the 180-200 grain accubond and the 180 grain interbond for elk from the 06. I use 54 grains RL17 with the 200 grain accubond at it clocks 2720 fps and the 180 use 56 grains RL17 and clock 2820 with 1/2" to 5/8" groups the norm on calm days.

    I am currently working up a load with the 168 grain etip because it has a .503 BC and near 100% weight retention. If I can get 3000 fps and good groups like I can with the 168 grain BTs I will probably give them a try on my next hunt instead of the accubond.

    If you use heavier bullets at the lower velocities of the 06 you really do not need premium bullets. A hornady 190 grain BTSP or 180 grain Speer BTSP would work just fine.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2010
  9. DanMan

    DanMan Well-Known Member

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    For many years my "go to" gun was an oldRemy 700 classic in 30 -06 that I got second hand from a hardware store. It was one of them that just had a natural fit, ya know any time you threw it up - it was just there. I topped it off with a Tasco 3x9 world class. miracles do happen because I carried that rig countless miles with many drops, jars, falls you name it and it never ever lost zero. Go Figure.
    Anyway I took countless deer, and several elk from 10 to 300 yds with 150 and 165 grain factory loads. I reckon it would still be my favorite but it was destroyed in a house fire. Keep looking for a load that will shoot accurate - then use it, you've got plenty of gun to do the job.
     
  10. Lapua Hunter

    Lapua Hunter Well-Known Member

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    I like 165 gr Barnes TSX with 4831
     
  11. DanMan

    DanMan Well-Known Member

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    P.S. If you have not done so already, you might check your gun over to make
    sure nothing is loose, ie reciever screws, rings, et.
    after 20 years could have lost some torque.
     
  12. Dr. Vette

    Dr. Vette Well-Known Member

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    Agree. And, has it been bedded or not?

    Also, which model Savage? Has the trigger ever been touched and if so any idea what the pull is?

    If all 3 loads shoot the same then also look closely at the rifle.

    I "assume" it has been cleaned and de-coppered at some point in its life.
     
  13. Eaglet

    Eaglet Well-Known Member

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    Re: 30-06 loads for elk (I lowered the Vel. for the 200 and 210 grainers)

    Ladies and Gentlemen,, the 30-06 is way better than 300 yards.

    I looked into Hodgdon reloading charts for the 30-06 on bullets of 150 gr,
    160, 180, 200 and 210 gr. to get the best velocities.
    I used BC's for Nosler Accubond bullets which are better long rangers than
    Barn x. And for the 210 I used the BC for Berger VLD. The velocity for the Berger
    is pretty hot in my opinion. Here are the results... At 5000 ft of altitude.
    Hodgdon charts had no info for the 210 so I had to use a software to calculate it.

    [​IMG]

    The 200 and the 210 were so close for Energy that I just went with the
    200 gr.

    This clearly tells me with the 200 I'm good all the way to 700 yards on elk.

    Years ago an old poster ran some testings and found out that to break both shoulders
    on el Elk you only needed 870 ftlbs of energy, (or something close to it)
    1500 ft lbs is almost double that and no one should be complaining about not
    having enough energy.

    Obviously the worst advice for long range shooing on Elk would be the 150 gr. Sure
    it will kill it at 300 yards but not with the authority the 200 grains will; besides what if
    you can't get closer and the trophy is at 600 or 700? I would be ready with the accubond
    200 grainer. Forget the 150, that's not even good for plinking! OK! we can use it for plinking!

    I definitely believe that the Nosler 200 gr. with its BC will make any 30-06 Elk hunter
    a happy hunter.

    The real kicker is in wind bucking abilities. Oh yes! The error you make in judging the wind
    is increased by the lack of BC on the 150 gr. bullet. On the other hand the 200 will help
    you much better.

    When using Berger bullets all the numbers go up looking even better.

    Good shooting!
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2010
  14. Outerspace

    Outerspace Active Member

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    Fantastic data, thanks.

    I am interested in staying under 300 yards because of accuracy concerns mostly.

    My rifle has been re-scoped with new rings in the last few months. Tightening up at the receiver is a new idea, will check into it. We are debating a new barrel, but I honestly don't know if I'm experienced enough or good enough to be taking shots longer than that even if I was handed a $5,000 rig.

    Please keep the input coming.