30.06 plenty gun for elk?

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by ranthon, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. ranthon

    ranthon New Member

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    Hi guys,
    I know this may have already been beat to death but having killed an elk just a few days ago, I wanted to bring this up. This is my first time posting and while I am not brand new to long range shooting, I am new to long range hunting.

    So, I killed a young cow with a 30.06. The cartridge load was: Nslr comp 168 gr pushed by 59.0gr of Rl 19. The range was about 40 yards. It was a good hit with the bullet punching through the left side of the ribs and stopping at the back of the hide on the right side. (So didn't go through and through).

    So, I guess what I am afraid of is that at longer range the bullet might not penetrate if it didn't go through the other side of the hide. Also, this bullet was basically a FMJ, so what would've happened if it was a controlled expansion hunting bullet? So how far would a 30.06 may be effective on elk(cow/ bull)? I am thinking about coming up with a new load with Berger VLDs and IMR 4350 but I am wondering if I need a new elk gun! Has anyone shot an elk with a 30.06 past 500 yards? If so, what was your experience?
     
  2. cohunter14

    cohunter14 Well-Known Member

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    You would be much better off using a true hunting bullet than the bullet you currently have chosen. With a 30-06 I would probably recommend the Accubond or Accubond Long Range. Truthfully the ABLR would be a great fit for the 30-06 because of the slower muzzle velocity. Bergers could work, but seeing as you want to use a heavy-for-caliber bullet with them, it might not be the best choice, expecially if you might encounter those 40 yard shots. Choose a heavier bullet in the 180-200 grain range and go from there.

    As far as the effective range, you can definitely shoot the 30-06 effectively on elk out past 500 yards. There are a lot of guidelines you can follow to determine exactly how far based on energy remaining or velocity, but that is up to you. I am sure some of the big 30-06 users will jump in shortly (I have one, but don't use it a bunch), but figured I would throw in my two cents.
     

  3. Dirty Steve

    Dirty Steve Well-Known Member

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    I have not shot one past 500 yards, but have dumped an average 5x5 bull at 426 yards using a 180 grain Federal Premium Nosler Partition from an '06. My personal opinion is that an '06 is adequate, with premium bullets and proper shot placement to probably 600 yards. Energy at 500 should be in the 1400 pound range, maybe down to 1300 at 600. Your mileage may vary. I do not believe it would have adequate energy beyond 600 for elk, but could be proven wrong.

    Dirty Steve
     
  4. ranthon

    ranthon New Member

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    Cohunter, I am in Arizona where most of the shots are not in the double digits. I just got lucky and someone shot at those elk and they stampeded towards me. But I see what you are saying. Accubond Long Range? Hmm... Will have to look into them for sure! Didn't they just come out? How easy is it to find them?
     
  5. HARPERC

    HARPERC Well-Known Member

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    Everybody will have their opinion, I think you need more bullet not more gun. Although the 300 magnums are great I still prefer more bullet.

    Expanding bullets penetrate less than non expanding bullets. I like the Accubonds a great deal but the advice to use a bullet weight less because they stay together is wrong. That large frontal area will penetrate less.

    The .308 200 Accubond works very well in the 30-06. 2600 fps is doable. Nosler recommends an 1800 fps minimum terminal velocity. This bullet has a claimed BC of .588, even if this is a little optimistic you've got a 600 yard system.

    The Long Range Accubonds claim 1300 fps expansion thresh hold so they will likely produce a larger frontal area sooner and grain for grain penetrate less. The 190 has a stated BC of .661 the 210 .730

    Nobody has a lot of experience with these yet, and Noslers claims may be optimistic. We have until next season to figure it out a little better.

    I'm always up for more gun, but my advice with the 300 magnums is the same as for the 30-06 good 30 caliber bullets star at 200 and go up.

    There are other guys liking Bergers etc. I just have no first hand experience. Credible folks here have posted a lot of good threads, with pictures etc,. Look them up and scroll through pretty impressive,
     
  6. Tikkamike

    Tikkamike Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Carl. Bullet weight is your friend. and pretty much never works against you. I cant tell you how many people think the magical 3000fps mark is where they need to be but in reality its just a number. when it comes to putting hair on the ground diameter and weight (high sectional density is key) are king.

    That being said I shoot a LOT of barnes bullets and the whole Barnes philosophy flys in the face of everything I just said. they say (in the 30 cal for instance) that you can go lighter and get your velocity up and still have your penetration because of the nearly 100% weight retention... I still prefer the heavier Barnes but I have come to be fond of the 180 gr 308's and the 225gr 338's I have seen a lot of elk killed with both at some impressive ranges considering the relatively low BC and they always expand well and penetrate the entire animal. (shoulder to shoulder typically) if you are going with cup and core bullets I say 200+ is a great choice. barnes you can get away with a little less.
     
  7. cohunter14

    cohunter14 Well-Known Member

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    I completely agree with this. The only reason I mentioned 180-200 grain bullets for the '06 is that in the limited research I have done, it seems like once you get above the 200 grain bullet in a 30-06, it is somewhat of diminishing returns. The area where the heavier bullet surpasses the lighter bullet is out past where you could kill an elk. At least that has been what I have found. This is one of the only calibers that I reload for where I have noticed this. Once you get to the 300 mags, heavier is definitely better.
     
  8. cohunter14

    cohunter14 Well-Known Member

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    To explain what I mean, here is an example of the 180gr Accubond at 2,800fps versus the 200gr Accubond at 2,650fps, which seem to be around the high end for both. At 8,000 feet, 40 degrees, and a 5 mph crosswind, here are the numbers at 775 yards (minimum expansion at 1,800fps is why I chose this):

    180: 1,817fps, 1,319ft/lbs energy, 17.7" of wind drift, 133.7" of drop

    200: 1,816fps, 1,465ft/lbs energy, 16.1" of wind drift, 145" of drop

    Based on this, you can see they are very close. If one bullet shoots better than the other, the differences are very minor. In this case, if both shot the same, you obviously take the 200gr for the extra energy and slightly less wind drift.

    Just an example, but that is why the '06 doesn't really need much over the 180-200 grain range.
     
  9. Dosh

    Dosh Well-Known Member

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    Ranthon, where in Az. are you? There are shops in the Phx. area you may find the Accubond LR bullets. If you are in the Phx. area PM me and I have some 200 gr Accubonds. H4350 is a little hard to find here, you will have to check several places often to find it. Good luck
     
  10. kcebcj

    kcebcj Well-Known Member

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    Have been using the 30-06 for 40+ years and have taken enough mule deer and elk to fill a warehouse. Most of those were taken with the 150gr Hornady Spire Point at 3000fps 300 yards and in. Now that I'm older and don't pound it like I used to I've upgraded the Pre 64 Win so I can shoot to its full capability.

    Have used both the 200gr Accubond and the 190gr Berger. Have taken about 7 deer and elk between 400 and 500 yards. One of the bulls had to be hit again and that was with the Accubond but it performed well. A bull two seasons ago at 489 yards is the longest so far on elk and it took one step and went down. That load is 190gr Berger Hunting VLD 53gr RL17 at 2707fps and is the most accurate I have found with that rifle to date. I shoot that load out to 800 yards on a regular bases. The limits with this load are 660 yards where it reaches the 1500 ft lb of energy for elk and 720 yards where the velocity drops to 1800 fps need for proper expansion.

    If you want to go farther you would need to step up from the 06. Last season I ranged a very good bull at 874 yards and there was no way I could close the distance so am in the process of building a 300 WM and will use the 215gr Berger's. That will get me to a 1000 yards or better if needed. Next year that bull might be in trouble.

    So yeah the 30-06 is a very capable deer and elk rifle but has its limit as does everything. Good luck to you.
     
  11. HARPERC

    HARPERC Well-Known Member

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    For me of the of numbers posted terminal velocity is important, energy is difficult to establish a cause and effect link between it and lethality, wind drift is a wash, and I'm going to dial drop, or have a reticle with calibrated aiming points.

    What isn't in the numbers is length of wound channel, and effect on bone when it's in the equation. Both of these go to the 200 grain bullet. I would agree the 30-06 is better described as a medium range cartridge, but within its limits my experience favors the 200 grain bullets.

    Mike has a bunch more current experience with the Barnes bullets do. He's persuaded me I need to give them another look. I was going to buy a box of .338 from this site and he beat me to them (LOL). I would still likely go 200 grains in .308 caliber. Too many years ago a friend put an early X bullet from a .300 Winchester length wise in a whitetail spine, it smashed a lot of bone before it stopped.

    I'm probably just an old dog, but I have seen the 180's perform great and still not break a shoulder on elk, moose, and hogs.

    I'm not saying the 180's are inadequate, just the 200's in any bullet style are a little more so in my opinion
     
  12. HARPERC

    HARPERC Well-Known Member

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    Well said!
     
  13. Elkriver

    Elkriver Well-Known Member

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    I was wounder ing same thing but with .308 shot my spike elk at 55-60 yds can't member igzactly but 165 gr sst cronoed at 2895 went in one side and looked like a tic on other shot twice first gave it massive hart attack sec hit right long went 10 fr droped
    But I was on same page what if it was a few 100 yds would it work ... No blood came out if shoot wasn't spot on would I be able to find it ?? Was think of a 338 for long shots on next trip but dunno
     
  14. HARPERC

    HARPERC Well-Known Member

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    I can't tell if you're saying the SST didn't expand, which would be considered unusual to me for the situation you describe, or it expanded rapidly and penetration was not great.
    What did the vitals look like?

    On the shot you describe it could just be elk nature, sometimes they don't give up easy. Your's was dead in 10 feet, that doesn't sound like a failure, even with a second shot that may or not have been necessary. I would shoot again as long as they are standing also.

    Bullet failure can occur with any of them. Yes I prefer exit holes, it generally makes following up easier. Are there choices that move the percentages more in your favor I believe so.

    The .338's are great elk cartridges, but there are more than a few good ones between a .308 and the .338's.

    Bullets are more generally misapplied than fail.

    The more specifics in terms of goals and expectations you list the better your choices get.