Mule Deer ammo choice

Mike Matteson

Well-Known Member
Jun 26, 2017
Good shooting, and it show me that Dad spent a lot of time working with his son to be able to make that shot. My hat is off to both.

Jay Byrd

Mar 26, 2021
Good many years ago I loaded some 3006 for a friend to go elk hunting. He had a dog of a Stevens bolt action rifle (pond shop find) and a $99 Simmons Aetec scope. I used new Winchester brass, 180 gr. Nosler Partitions. CCI primers. I increased the powder until I started having cratering primers then backed off a little. I divided what I had loaded into practice and the best 10 of 50 were designated the hunting rounds and told him don't practice on a hot day. He practiced on a power line with cardboard set up at 100 yd. intervals up to 600 yds. On the hunt, with a guide telling him the range, he shot a elk at 580 yds. one shot. He had to hold over 3 feet. It barrel rolled down the mountain. The bullet stopped under the skin on the far side. They field dressed and packed the meat out on mules, dry iced for the trip home. 3006 will do it, you need to practice on a cool day, perhaps early in the day, as the hunt temperature will be cool also.

ID Mtn Man

Active Member
Jul 18, 2016
Thanks for the suggestions.

Had the 30-06 hiding in the back of the safe and I had not killed anything with it yet so I thought I would give a chance.
What I would recommend is choosing the rifle you shoot best over sentimental value. Personally, I abhor the 30.06 because of the parabolic trajectory and heavy recoil. That being said, it has killed a LOT of mule deer and will work if it is all you have. Shots opportunities on mule deer are VERY often >300 yards. There are MANY instances where getting closer is not possible. Practice shooting on uneven ground, shooting at angles, etc. I have seen a LOT of mule give the slip because the hunter could not find a suitable position for a long shot. Become a proficient rifleman. There are several respectable mule deer bucks on my wall that I attribute to both hunting hard, AND being a better than average marksman. You will find more success if you have both.

Looks like I need to find a longer range.
If you can't find a place to shoot past 250 yards, I recommend you hit the road, and drive the hours you need. Establish your maximum effective range. That is the farthest you can shoot 10/10 times from a cold bore. STICK TO IT!

Last protip: bring tools for your rifle. Bring some sticky targets to sight in your rifle and plenty of ammo. You never know what kind of vibrations your rifle case could be subject to on an airline. You might just have the **** set screws in your turret rattle loose. I was fortunate enough to discover this possibility while traveling to shoot rather than hunt.

Best of luck

Old rooster

Well-Known Member
Jan 9, 2019
When I first started hunting in Colorado for elk and mule deer the largest caliber rifle I had was a 30 caliber 30-06.
180 gr Partitions took many deer and elk..
When the ammo shortage of 20 some odd years ago I could not find Partitions anywhere but found the Nosler Accubond and that's my go to bullet now,180 gr.They have a sleek profile and a BC of 507 and I have taken my largest mule deer at 610 yards and it's impossible to die any quicker!
If you don't re-load there are loaded ammunition that uses the Nosler Accubond.
I am experimenting with Hammer bullets now so my Accubond bullets may not see as much use as before.


Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Mar 24, 2020
East Helena, Mt
Something to look at although it's an older video. Check out the 12:30 mark and how the guy from Federal really wants to discount the NBTs performance.