30-06 options

randycw

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I have a Ruger MkII that is 12 years old that shoots very well with a developed load (53gr Varget powder, 168 gr Berger Classic Hunter giving MV of around 2890 at 50F at 7,000 elevation). With this load I have taken antelope at 700+ yards, deer at 650+, and elk as far as 520 yards -- all died where they stood.

I have been considering going to a different caliber to get a little further out on elk -- say to 800 yards, eventually. However, I am also wondering about going with a Berger VLD 210 gr bullet pushed with 4350 powder. The recoil ought to be about the same I think, but the retained down field energy should be much improved. This option appears to me over a new caliber for a few reasons -- the rifle I hunt with was given to me by my grandfather, who passed away shortly after giving it to me; and I am not into heavy recoiling rifles -- don't wish to develop bad habits (flinch).

I like being able to shoot my 30-06 now around 20-30 rounds before my shoulder starts to notice, I don't want to have something I can't enjoy actually shooting; I don't want something that is only shot 1-5 rounds before I have to quit for the day.

So what opinions are out there on this 30-06 load I am thinking about?
 

randycw

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One more piece of help, please -- What is my barrel's twist rate?
The 210 gr Berger needs approximately a 1:10 twist (the Berger calculator suggests 1:11 might work for my hunting conditions).

The current 30-06s being sold by Ruger are spec'd at 1:12. A friendly gunsmith tells me the older Rugers where definitely 1:10 for that caliber. The patch and cleaning rod "gauge" tells me I have a 1:10.75 (measured several time with variance from 1:10.5 to 1:11.25).
 

HARPERC

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A 210, from a .30-06 will make an 800 yard elk shot.

Some of the other factors that will come into play. OAL, you'll probably have to choose single loading, or losing powder capacity by staying magazine length.

Terminal velocity of the Bergers from your current 168 to the 210 is roughly 1600 fps. Granted more energy with the heavier bullet, but bullet performance will be pretty comparable. Give the 210 more penetration, but generally speaking most long range shots aren't tough angles. Recoil goes to the 168 load.

Given the history you provided I'd stay with what you're doing.
 

FEENIX

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A 210, from a .30-06 will make an 800 yard elk shot.

Some of the other factors that will come into play. OAL, you'll probably have to choose single loading, or losing powder capacity by staying magazine length.

Terminal velocity of the Bergers from your current 168 to the 210 is roughly 1600 fps. Granted more energy with the heavier bullet, but bullet performance will be pretty comparable. Give the 210 more penetration, but generally speaking most long range shots aren't tough angles. Recoil goes to the 168 load.

Given the history you provided I'd stay with what you're doing.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ THIS ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Sometimes the best course of action is no action. :D;):cool:
 

Bravo 4

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Your possible stability issues aside:
I have been loading the 210 Bergers in two separate 30-06 just for this intent, both with a 10” twist. The 215 ogive is too long to load and fit in the factory mags as a repeater without impeeding too much on the powder column (at least in these two rifles- Remington 700 and Ruger American), and then still produce good accuracy. The 210 works nicely and produces acceptable numbers at extended range, especially in higher altitudes that I have been hunting elk. Plus as stated, more bullet should mean more penetration (at least in the same bullet design).
If I wanted/needed more performance I would just get a .300 mag, which may be in the works anyways.
 

randycw

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ THIS ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Sometimes the best course of action is no action. :D;):cool:
Oh man, that can certainly be the truth. Are you saying that perhaps the 168gr Berger launched from an 06 is sufficient (enough retained energy) to ethically consider shooting elk at 800 yards? I have limited myself to 600 and under as I've had an impression that one should have at least 1200 ft lbs of energy, but can't quite recreate where I got that impression.
 

randycw

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Your possible stability issues aside:
I have been loading the 210 Bergers in two separate 30-06 just for this intent, both with a 10” twist.
Would you mind sharing the specifics on your load that you use?
 

HARPERC

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Elk don't give a rats rear end about energy.
Wound channel, to include width, and length, destroying vital tissue, kills elk.
Given 2 bullets with virtually the same construction terminal velocity will control expansion, or the width of the channel. Sectional density weight will determine length.
I'm usually all about 200 grains plus in my .30 calibers, the exception here is at 800 yards, the high percentage shot is broadside, and the 168 will get enough to do the job, and it's already working for you. Starting from scratch I'd likely go the other way.
I mostly use 200' grains in my .30-06's, and prefer terminal velocities 1800 fps and up. Which is about 600 yards. Past that is the province of the magnums, and higher terminal velocities, to maintain bullet performance.
So my answer is as either way you're pushing to the limits, sticking with what's working in this case makes more sense to me.
 

Shane Lindsey

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My 12 twist 22" barrelled 30-06 yielded me 2564 with 51gr RE-17 and the 210 grainer.

I settled on the 180gr Elite Hunter for it as it seemed a better fit. 2727fps w/ H4831 full case but stable and consistent.

Like stated by others, you have a good load and I think all of them will start to fade around the 600 yard mark or so (at least in my rifle), so shoot what works and go kill stuff.
 

FEENIX

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Oh man, that can certainly be the truth. Are you saying that perhaps the 168gr Berger launched from an 06 is sufficient (enough retained energy) to ethically consider shooting elk at 800 yards? I have limited myself to 600 and under as I've had an impression that one should have at least 1200 ft lbs of energy, but can't quite recreate where I got that impression.
I have to admit that I have set a guide for 1500 FT/LBS for elk and 1000 FT/LBS at point of impact, but that is an unwritten rule and I have harvested them way lower than it. In 2013, I shot a MT bull elk at 931 yards with 190 Berger VLD off my .300 WM dead smack on the chest but the elk managed to run over 200 yards. My buddy1 shot his bull elk with 180 Berger VLD off his 7MM RM at ~300 and it dropped like a log. My buddy2 shot his at ~100 with 2 180 Barnes TTSX off his .300 WM on the lung area (pass through) and another shot at the front shoulder area. IMHO, the bullets did its job but the elk expired differently.
 
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