Browning .30-06 Semi Reloading Advice

1Moose

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Nov 25, 2013
Messages
155
My parents gave my son a Browning .30-06 semi auto rifle some time ago. I think it could be a good step up for my son in the future who is nearly 11 from the 260 Remington he currently shoots when he can handle it and when we begin elk hunting. My hope is that it’ll be a bit less recoil than my .30-06 (which is a bolt action; my other centerfire rifle is a braked 300 WM) and I’d start to prep him for the recoil by removing the muzzle break on the 260.
Any advice for reloading for this rifle? I saw a thread from 2014 which reinforced to stick to SAAMI length cartridges for smooth operation. My dad didn’t put recoil pads on any of his rifles, so adding one is top of mind for me.

I’d like to stick to a tough bullet for good penetration. We’d keep the shots under 400 when the time comes (estimate based on his shooting progression so far; from the bench or prone with a bipod he shoots 3-5 shots under 1.5 inches at 200 yards with the 260).

Any tips? I’ve never used one of theses—thank you for the advice!View attachment 155498
 

Hoss50

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Apr 7, 2019
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Arizona
You can find reloading specs for loading 3006 for M1 Garand rifles. I would start there. Pick a bullet you like and see if it shoots. If it shows promise tweak it. If not try a different bullet.
 

RevJim

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Dec 25, 2014
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I used to have/load for a BAR in .270 Winchester. No limits on a BAR, unlike the M1 Garand. The Garand action can handle the pressure but the operating rod can't. Start out with a regular Full Length Resizing Die first. Work up to 56-58 gr of IMR 4350/168 TTSX, regular primer. Use a LEE Factory Crimp Die. Seat them 3.34" or whichever will work through the magazine. Gold.
 

1Moose

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Nov 25, 2013
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155
I used to have/load for a BAR in .270 Winchester. No limits on a BAR, unlike the M1 Garand. The Garand action can handle the pressure but the operating rod can't. Start out with a regular Full Length Resizing Die first. Work up to 56-58 gr of IMR 4350/168 TTSX, regular primer. Use a LEE Factory Crimp Die. Seat them 3.34" or whichever will work through the magazine. Gold.
Thank you much for the info. I happen to have a stack of 168 TTSX on hand :)
 

keithcandler

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Jan 30, 2005
Messages
650
Keep him interested in shooting by putting the muzzle break back on the 260. Children hate recoil as a general rule, and it ruins a lot of them in falling in love with shooting sports.

By the time he is 16, he maybe able to handle the weight of the BAR.

My BAR loves a load of 52g of IMR 4064 with a 150g Hornady.
 

1Moose

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Nov 25, 2013
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155
Than
Keep him interested in shooting by putting the muzzle break back on the 260. Children hate recoil as a general rule, and it ruins a lot of them in falling in love with shooting sports.

By the time he is 16, he maybe able to handle the weight of the BAR.

My BAR loves a load of 52g of IMR 4064 with a 150g Hornady.

Thanks. I still have the brake on the 260 and was planning to leave it there for another year and evaluate from there. I definitely don’t want to make him recoil shy as he currently does a great job relaxing when he shoots.He does really dislike the noise of shooting, and that’s with ear plugs and ear muffs. I winder if he might actually like getting rid of the brake at some point (and that perhaps to him the perceived recoil might not actually change all that much since he has always been noise sensitive). I’ll go slow with it all as you suggest. Thanks again.
 

RevJim

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Sandy, UT
If you don't already have dies, then yes, RCBS still makes Small Base Dies, so hustle you up one of those. Some rifles have big enough chambers that the FL Die will work. I had a SB Die for my BAR .270 because I started out with those dies, I didn't have anything for it at the time. So, SB will work for sure, no guessing/trial loads.:) You can substitute H4350 ( will be about 55.5 gr Max with the 168TTSX) and be temp stable. In truth though, I never had a problem with IMR 4350, though I did lose fps with the similar burn rate WW760 in cold temp ( 32 deg).
A friend and I went hog hunting up in the U.P. of Michigan. He has a BAR also in 30-06 and I bought him some Barnes factory 168TTSX laods, and zeroed it for him. He killed a nice hog like nobodies business! :)Good luck to you pard!
 

John Polk

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4801 Lang Ave NE, Suite 110, Albuquerque, NM
You have been given very good advice so far by the above contributors. I regularly carry a BAR in .338 Winchester magnum an excellent medium rifle. I would consider a Limbsaver gel recoil pad as a way to mitigate the recoil. This is one I use on my heavier rifles including the .338 Win. BAR and .300 Weatherby.
In addition to using the 168 TTSX Barnes take a look at Nosler Accubonds which are superb. You might consider a clamp on muzzle brake when he first starts using this rifle and which can be easily removed if it proves unnecessary as he grows up. Good luck, this sounds like a wonderful long term project.
 

1Moose

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Nov 25, 2013
Messages
155
If you don't already have dies, then yes, RCBS still makes Small Base Dies, so hustle you up one of those. Some rifles have big enough chambers that the FL Die will work. I had a SB Die for my BAR .270 because I started out with those dies, I didn't have anything for it at the time. So, SB will work for sure, no guessing/trial loads.:) You can substitute H4350 ( will be about 55.5 gr Max with the 168TTSX) and be temp stable. In truth though, I never had a problem with IMR 4350, though I did lose fps with the similar burn rate WW760 in cold temp ( 32 deg).
A friend and I went hog hunting up in the U.P. of Michigan. He has a BAR also in 30-06 and I bought him some Barnes factory 168TTSX laods, and zeroed it for him. He killed a nice hog like nobodies business! :)Good luck to you pard!
Thanks Revjim

I have H4350 so seeking temp stability is appealing. I use it in some of my 260 Rem loads and would prefer it to IMR4350 if the rifle likes it. Appreciate all the tips!
 

1Moose

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Nov 25, 2013
Messages
155
You have been given very good advice so far by the above contributors. I regularly carry a BAR in .338 Winchester magnum an excellent medium rifle. I would consider a Limbsaver gel recoil pad as a way to mitigate the recoil. This is one I use on my heavier rifles including the .338 Win. BAR and .300 Weatherby.
In addition to using the 168 TTSX Barnes take a look at Nosler Accubonds which are superb. You might consider a clamp on muzzle brake when he first starts using this rifle and which can be easily removed if it proves unnecessary as he grows up. Good luck, this sounds like a wonderful long term project.
Thank you John. I appreciate the thought re the clamp on brake, and I will also look at the accubonds, which I have on hand.
 

adrexco

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Feb 1, 2015
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63
I have hunted with a Browning 30-06 BAR Safari (steel receiver) for quite a few years. They are strong guns, fast pointing, and very accurate. Nothing more fun than squeezing off a couple at a running target! They have mild recoil for an '06, I'd say similar to a bolt action hard butt plate 243. My go to load is a Hornady 165gr SST with 59gr RL-19 with a OAL of 3.230". A close second is a Nosler 168gr Ballistic tip with 58.8gr of IMR 4350 and OAL of 3.330". You can also load the Nosler with 50.1gr of Varget.

The weakness of the BAR is the gas piston. They are susceptible to to corrosion and seizing. It's very difficult to repair a seized gas piston if it happens. The piston needs to be at a minimum lubricated (cleaning is recommended) after use. The problem is that getting to the piston requires disassembly which is quite involved.
 

1Moose

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Nov 25, 2013
Messages
155
I have hunted with a Browning 30-06 BAR Safari (steel receiver) for quite a few years. They are strong guns, fast pointing, and very accurate. Nothing more fun than squeezing off a couple at a running target! They have mild recoil for an '06, I'd say similar to a bolt action hard butt plate 243. My go to load is a Hornady 165gr SST with 59gr RL-19 with a OAL of 3.230". A close second is a Nosler 168gr Ballistic tip with 58.8gr of IMR 4350 and OAL of 3.330". You can also load the Nosler with 50.1gr of Varget.

The weakness of the BAR is the gas piston. They are susceptible to to corrosion and seizing. It's very difficult to repair a seized gas piston if it happens. The piston needs to be at a minimum lubricated (cleaning is recommended) after use. The problem is that getting to the piston requires disassembly which is quite involved.
Thanks for the tip. Sounds like I’ll need to look up a video on breaking it down. Appreciate it!
 

ODAVID

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Nov 12, 2008
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IDAHO
Wow you are given great advice (many years of gray hair experience).
I have owned several BAR and several thoughts come to mind
1) weight is not light for a 11-18 year old. time will tell if he likes carrying the rifle.
2) Don't need Small based dies just harder to find and not needed. Buy regular dies and load with those,it will work.
3) the free bore distance to the rifling lands is quite a jump so it is very hard to get sub-pinpoint accuracy. I know I tried several things. Granted he is not a target shooter yet but just be forwarned.
4)You could as a suggestion have the barrel ported. This will reduce the recoil but you will have increased noise. Sound deading ear muffs work great and are cheap.
5) let him load some loads to try when he hits the bull-eye after building his own bullet, he will be hooked with memories and achievements. Isn't that what its all about!!!!!!!!!!
BEST OF LUCK PASS ON THE TORCH
ODAVID
 

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