18" 30-06 Velocity

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Tyler Kee, Sep 18, 2018.

  1. Tyler Kee

    Tyler Kee Active Member

    Sep 17, 2018
    Hi everyone,


    I put together a bunch of parts over the years for a "big boy" hunting rifle built off a $50 Pawnshop Savage. While the 28" Proof 7mm Rem Mag barrel was a lot of fun, it was wholly impractical for 99% of the hunting I do.

    Earlier this year, I celebrated a new job, new baby, and new house by sending the rifle to my gunsmith to be rebarreled in 30-06 using a Rock Creek blank. Rocks have always shot well for me, usually are pretty speedy and require very little care.

    Since I exclusively hunt with silencers (this one wears a TBAC Ultra 7) and I like a handy(ish) mag fed bolt gun, I elected to have the barrel finished at 18" to match my other handy hunting rifle - a Ruger M77 MK II in 243 Win finished at 18 inches. I've found this length with a can to be reasonably handy in and out of trucks/UTVs and walking around the woods.

    Why 30-06? Why not? Easy to source components. Easy to reload. Easy to find factory ammo anywhere and everywhere. Capable of killing darn near everything in North America. I reload for every rifle I own, but my chances of finding wildcats in a backcountry Wally World are pretty much zero. This is a tool and as such, it needs to work all the time, everywhere.

    -"Don't go that short. It'll be worthless"

    My gunsmith, friends, and strangers tried to talk me out of it. Told me I was crazy. Look at all that velocity I'd be giving up. I took book values which were based on 22" or 24" barrels, cut 25 fps/inch, and plugged those numbers into my ballistic calculator. I figured if I could get 2500 fps or better out of 180 class projectiles, I could sleep well. That'd give me a quarter mile of effective range (1800+fps at impact) pretty much anywhere. 2769 fps was Nosler's book max for a 24" barrel shooting 180's using H4350. 2769 - (24-18)*25 = 2619. I felt confident.

    -Component Selection-

    I elected to go with the 180 gr. Nosler BT. The BT's have always been strong killers for me, they can be found almost anywhere, and load data is plentiful. The 180's buck the wind better than the 150 class and I'm a terrible wind reader.

    For powders, I wanted to try H4350 and RL16. Both have proven to be very temp stable. RL 16 is more temp stable and usually produces higher velocity, but seat of the pants, H4350 has always shot better.

    My local reloading shop had Winchester brass on the shelf so that's what I'm using. I might go with something stouter if I don't see good life out of these, but for roughing in loads, it serves me well. CCI primers are all that I can get my hands on so I'm using the standard LR primers.

    -Throating and OAL-

    Even though I'm using generously large magazines with this rifle, I didn't want to throat it super long so I stayed with a "standard" throat. Loading the 180 Nosler BT to the book OAL value of 3.330, I measured jump at a shade under 0.040" - I loaded them .020" off the lands and called it good.

    -Testing Procedure-

    I like to do my first round of testing to narrow in on what I loosely define as the "boundaries" of what's possible. I load up maybe 15 or 20 rounds at incrementally different charges, strap on the magnetospeed, and blast into a berm or backstop until I start seeing flattened primers. This does 3 things. First, it helps me establish an upper limit on where I'll see pressure signs. Second, it allows me to get a realistic look at the kinds of velocity I'll be able to see from a powder/projectile combo. Last, I can look for bands of "flat velocity" where incremental powder charges don't seem to affect velocity much.

    Phase 2 is to load up 14 rounds at potential sweet spot loads. This lets me pull 5 rounds for velocity so I can look at average velocity, SD, and ES. That leaves me enough rounds for 3 groups of 3 for accuracy.

    I've completed Phase 1 and hope to have Phase 2 completed in the next few weeks.

    *****Please keep in mind that the data here is for my rifle and my rifle alone. Do not replicate in your rifle. You could be seriously injured or even killed*****

    Below is graphical and table data from my Phase 1 experiment. None of my loads showed pressure signs at the primer. You can see from my highlighted areas that somewhere between 2600-2650 fps seems to be a nice little sweet spot.
    Picture1.png Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 12.00.04 PM.png

    I've now loaded up 56.0 gr of RL 16 and 56.7 gr of H4350. I anticipate that velocity will likely be 2620 and 2605 respectively. Keep in mind that Noslers book lists 2769 fps as max velocity using H4350 with the 180's.

    I'll update this post once Phase 2 is complete.
  2. Trnelson

    Trnelson Well-Known Member

    Feb 15, 2012
    Velocity isn’t the only thing to consider when selecting a load. Take a little time to primarily consider accuracy and also SD. There isn’t much that will walk away from a 180 Nosler BT. Even considering a 2,500fps MV, which you are clearly besting. Nobody would think anything negative of that velocity from a 308.

    I totally understand desiring a handy suppressed rifle. I grumble about my 24” 308 with a titanium varmiter on it being too long pretty often. I enjoy it more on my 22” 30/06 or my 16” 300blk.

    You aren’t giving away the farm, have fun with it and enjoy yourself in the field with that rifle.

    HARPERC Well-Known Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    I'd bet you can get 2500 fps with a 200 grain bullet. Should be easily dome with 180's.

    I had one of the 18" .30-06, 760's. Nice little rifle, didn't like the rattle from the fore end. Never chrono graphed in those days.

    Your reasoning is solid, except for the part of thinking others stuck on mainstream will understand,:rolleyes:
    Guy M and Hand Skills like this.
  4. Tyler Kee

    Tyler Kee Active Member

    Sep 17, 2018
    Trnelson - The older I get, the less I like cursing my equipment in the field. Better to go with what I like and results in fewer four letter words in the great outdoors.

    HARPERC - I may pick up some 200 gr Accubonds at some point. Trying to do one load at a time. I find I get more done that way.

    A friend pointed out that I'd forgotten the obligatory photo. :) 18" .243 wearing a Sig 556 can above and 18" LA Savage in 30-06 wearing a TBAC Ultra 7 below
  5. RT2506

    RT2506 Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2008
    I know you are running a can so how will it handle all that powder that will be burning inside it? I had a friend that had a Rem 742 carbine in 30-06 and he made the statement that when hunting in the very early morning or late evening if you take a shot at game you better have on your sun glasses because the fire ball will blind you for a while afterward. I have a Russian M-38 and M-44 carbine in 7.62x54R which burns about the same amount of powder as the 06 and when I was shooting these in the carbine section of the military matches I used to shoot in people on the positions on both sides of me would stop shooting and move away until I finished because the concussion from the muzzle blast was so bad. LOL My M-44 is a tack driver though. We shot the carbine matches at only 50 yards and the M-44 would shoot ragged hole 10 shots in the center of the X-ring with my handloads. These are stock military rifles. Only change allowed in any rifle was front sight pin or blade height so you could correct the average 300 yards battle sight POI which was about 6 inches to a foot high at 100 yards. I don't know the game or the yardage you intend to shoot but I have been using the Nosler 125 Ballistic Tip on white tail deer for a number of years in a number of 30 cal. weapons. As long as you keep the impact velocity under 3000 fps it is a super drop them in their tracks deer killing bullet to a little over 300 yards which is as far away as I have shot a deer with it.
  6. Tyler Kee

    Tyler Kee Active Member

    Sep 17, 2018
    Thunder Beast indicates that the Ultra7 is rated for 18" 300 Win Mag. 18" 30-06 is well within design specs.

    6" .300 Blackout (subsonic)
    8" .300 Blackout (full power)
    10" 6.8 SPC, 7.62x39
    11.5" 223 Rem, 5.56, 6.5 Grendel
    14.5" .308 Win
    16" .260 REM, 6.5 Creedmoor
    18" 7mm RM, .300 WIN MAG
    20" 7mm RUM, .300 RUM, 6.5 SAUM
    22" .300 Norma Magnum, 28 Nosler, 7 STW
    23" 26 Nosler

    I loaded up some 125s but to get good neck tension, I had to jump them a lot. Looking at ballistic tables, I didn't see anything the 125 did that the 180's wouldn't do equally or better. Great bullet, I use it in my 300 BLK SBR.
    Tex_Hunter and HARPERC like this.
  7. Buttermilk

    Buttermilk Well-Known Member

    Dec 19, 2005
    Nice! I shoot a lot of short barrels. Mostly handguns of some form like the T/C Encore, and Remington XP-100.

    Short barrels do very well with regards to velocity and accuracy. Even using slow burning powders.

    I have a 30-338WM in a 16.5" bbl (T/C Encore handgun setup) that nets 2846 FPS with Berger 175 VLDH bullets and does so with 1/2 MOA accuracy.

    I've had 30-06AI, 30-06 JDJ, 30-280AI, 307 Win Improved, and 308W barrels, most being 15" lengths. Even the 308W would push 180's at 2422 FPS from a 15" tube. The 30-280AI and 30-06 JDJ would do 2700-2750 fps with 165/168's.

    So, what I'm trying to say in a round about way is, I like the idea of the 18" bbl 30-06. :)
  8. Tyler Kee

    Tyler Kee Active Member

    Sep 17, 2018
    Finally ended up with a workable load - 56 grains of RL-16 got me 2630 fps with acceptable SDs. I'll probably shoot up this batch of brass and then evaluate whether I want to stick with Winchester brass or go to something nicer. Or maybe I see how this bucket of Greek Surplus from my Garand shooting does. :)

    Took the rifle out for opening weekend and confirmed my 100 yard zero with 4 shots. The bigger hole is 3 - made my scope adjustment and shot one more. I wouldn't call this "half MOA all day" but I am happy with it. IMG_9957.JPG I took it back to 475 yards and managed to ring a vital zone sized target with authority all the time, every time using a bipod and rear bag. At our density altitude, it was 3.0 mils to get there and about .6 mils of wind hold in a steady 7-9 borderline full value crosswind. Roughly 500 yards is where the bullet drops past minimum expansion velocity, so I wanted to shoot it at the outer limits of terminal performance.

    On the afternoon of opening day, I finally got to take the rifle out and spotted a real shooter of a cull buck.
    157 yards said the range finder and bang/flop went the deer. No earpro required, even inside the blind. I'd like for the shot to have been a bit more centered, but I won't argue with the lethality of the 180 gr Nosler Ballistic Tip. Meat in the freezer and genes out of the pool.

    So there you go - 18" 30-06 running 180s is still capable of better than 2600 fps at the muzzle, and great terminal performance within 500 yards. All while being hearing safe and easy to get in and out of a truck or UTV.
  9. Ginga

    Ginga Member

    Dec 17, 2017
    Nice rifle. Very common in New Zealand to see short barrelled suppressed hunting rifles. I myself have a 222 Remington at 18 inches, a 7 08 at 18 inches, a 260 at 20 inches and a 7 saum at 20 inches. Allsuppressed. I tried the saum at 26 inches with a brake but just doesn’t suit my style of hunting. The noise is just anti social! Have a brother using a 20 inch suppressed 300 wsm and any deer inside 600 is in big trouble.
    imyourhuckleberry likes this.
  10. Damon Finley

    Damon Finley Member

    Apr 12, 2018
    I’m putting together a 20” 6mm creed with a criterion barrel. I’m also throwing around the idea of a fast twist 22-250 to shoot some 75gr eld’s. The long barrels with a suppressor do not balance at all. I like the idea of the short rifles and like to hear some other guys doing the same and hearing their results.
    imyourhuckleberry likes this.
  11. Wedgy

    Wedgy Well-Known Member

    Feb 9, 2013
    Try some Reloader 26... you could probably get another 100FPS.
  12. Guy M

    Guy M Well-Known Member

    Jun 4, 2007
    I'm a big fan of the 30-06, it just works real well for a wide variety of game, at ranges near and far.

    My son has a 21" 30-06, and mine is 24", neither one is suppressed. We usually use 165 grain bullets which have worked well on elk, black bear, mule deer, whitetail and pronghorn...

    Time to time I've loaded 180's or even 200's for it. The 200 gr Nosler Partition amazed me with excellent accuracy and felt surprisingly soft shooting at 2600 fps via H4350. That bullet penetrates very well too.

    I like your project!

  13. Tyler Kee

    Tyler Kee Active Member

    Sep 17, 2018
    That shortish 6 creed will be a lot of fun. My other mainstay hunting rifle is an 18" .243 WIN and it seems to kill the deer pretty much the same as the 24" ones. The deer don't seem to notice.

    I love a fast twist .224 rifle and I've definitely kicked around 22-250 as an option. I'll be interested to hear how it turns out for you.
    imyourhuckleberry likes this.
  14. imyourhuckleberry

    imyourhuckleberry Well-Known Member

    Jun 10, 2009
    I like what you have done. I have been hunting with a 30-06 for more than 50 years. If you still want better accuracy my experience has shown me that bullets in the 165 grain to 175 grain lengths show greater accuracy at 200 yards and beyond and will allow you to expand the distance for bullet expansion. Thanks for sharing.