Low recoil 30-06 tree stand load.


Well-Known Member
Dec 18, 2012
Charleston, WV
I know this is a long range hunting page but I also know we don’t all hunt long range all the time. So I thought I'd share this for anyone looking for a good tree stand load. I hunt from lock on tree stands a lot and I don't like shooting a cannon that knocks you off balance incase I have to stand up to get a shot on the deer. So I set up a super light 6.75 pound 30-06 with 125 grain Nosler Ballistic Tips. And I love it. ******This is a LOW RECOIL load NOT a Reduced Power load.****** It has very little recoil (for a 30-06) which is totally manageable even in odd shooting positions from the stand, but is a full power load for maximum carnage on game. To me it feels like the recoil of a 100 grain 243 load. Now you of course need to work up your loads safely for your rifle but this one likes them screaming hot at 3409 fps. (Per book specs. No chrono for me) I didn't play with seating depth much so it potentially could shoot better, but I just found the powder load it likes to shoot and it holds around 3/4" which is all I need out of it since most of my shots are under 100 yards with this rifle. Actually most are probably under 50 yards with the last one I killed with it being only 25 yards. I always shoot for double lung shots and you want to avoid bone like the plague. I imagine a bone shot at that speed with such a light bullet is just going to blow out a chunk of meat and cause a wounded deer. I do not get an exit with this load normally, but when you open them up you can pour the lungs out into a bucket. Every deer has ran about 40 yards and piled up. So if you're looking for a low recoil tree stand load I highly recommend it.

Also I figure this is a real barrel burner load but I only hunt with this rifle so if I burn the barrel out only hunting I’ll consider it paid for with the pile of deer.


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Seems like lots of reduced recoil loads published for .308 but not as much for 30-06. Which powder are you using? Did you try multiple powders?
No I didn’t. The book showed one of the top powders for the 125 grain being Varget and I have a lot of Varget on hand because I use it in about 7 other calibers so I just used it. And it gave me satisfactory groups so I didn’t experiment farther.
Good idea! I’m going to do same thing for my kidos .
I used a light load for my boy last fall for moose just because of recoil. Not quite as light I used 150grain but same idea.
He’ll be happy with this load. I think the recoil is about like a 243. So not too bad at all. And on a double lung it just wrecks their insides.
That’s great info. Thanks. I’m not shooting a reduced powder load though. I’m actually shooting the max load because that’s where the rifle likes but still recoil is very low. I’d guess like a 243. So very manageable from a squirrelly tree stand.
Hodgdon 60% load formula printed in American Rifleman January 2021:

Bullet: Nosler 150-gr. Ballistic Tip
Powder: H4895
Charge Weight: 38.0 grains
Primer: Remington 9 1/2 Large Rifle
Case: Federal
Case Trim-To-Length: 2.484"
Cartridge Overall Length: 3.320"
Velocity @ 10' = 2,263 fps (nine shot average)
Muzzle Energy (ft-lbs.) = 1,706
Accuracy = 0.91" (average of five, three-shot groups @ 100 yards)
Barrel Length: 22"
Twist: 1:10"
Rifle: Ruger M77 Hawkeye Hunter

Seems like the 60% load formula is a great option to reduce recoil while maintaining wallop at a reasonable distances. Also, this load would allow for more shot angles (opportunities) with less meat damage vs. a 3,400 fps hot-rod using a ballistic tip. I think I'd be okay with those close shots at 3,400 fps if the bullet was mono-metal. One of these days I'll be working a load for my .30-06 using a 124g Hammer Hunter looking for that 3,400 fps mark. Just some thoughts, good luck.
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I agree with the post above. If you’re worried about high speed impacts on bone, try the 124 HH. It won’t blow up and will probably run 100-150 FPS faster as most hammers do compared to similar weight cup and core bullets.