220 grain 30'06: what's the point?


November 20, 2007, 07:50 PM
Does anyone here hunt or do anything with a 220 grain 30'06?

Is there any animal that'll drop when hit by a 220, but which would get up and run when hit with a 180?

Also, since most 30'06 barrels probably come with a twist rate optomized for 150-180 grain bullets, won't a 220 be unstable?

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November 20, 2007, 07:52 PM
I don't know, I've heard for 220's being used for moose and bear, but with high quality, premium 180 grainers....I doubt that the moose or bear would know the difference.

First Shirt
November 20, 2007, 07:55 PM
I've found the accuracy is pretty good with the 220s, at least in my rifles, but I've never found a 220 that I liked in terms of bullet design, and at max load, the recoil in a 7# rifle is just enough too much to be annoying.

I'm perfectly happy with the 165 gr Hornady BTSP in handloads, and, more importantly, both my '06's like them best, too.

November 20, 2007, 07:58 PM
The 220 gr bullet is probably a holdover from the original .30-03 load, which in turn goes back to the Krag load. It may carry on just through force of tradition.

November 20, 2007, 08:18 PM
All depends on shot placement. Standing broadside and properly placed a 180 will do just fine on any North American critter. If you've got to get through bone it's another story. I would prefer to expend the energy on 180's and velocity, you never know when that long shot's gonna come along. If I know the animal I'm hunting needs a heavy bullet I think I step it up a notch to one of the 338s. As for twist check out the link.


Looks like 220's are the max for a 1 in 10 twist. Might have to ratchet up the velocity to get them to work.

November 20, 2007, 08:26 PM
I actually load the 220gr Nosler Partition in my .308 (Win.) Weatherby Vanguard.

I haven't hunted with it yet, but it's been quite accurate at the range, and it's been a fun round to play around with. I always keep a few in my pack if I have to guard meat while the guys go get the horses.

It's not an ideal load for a .308 win, but it's not horrible either. I can get it up to 2300 fps with Winchester 748.


El Tejon
November 20, 2007, 08:28 PM
The '06 with 220s is a great general purpose rifle for Africa. It has served my father and uncles admirably.:)

I've heard its good medicine for moose and bear, but any moose or bear where I live would be hanging in a garage with a kiddie pool under it within 10 minutes of crossing the state line.:)

November 20, 2007, 08:35 PM
Back in the day bullet making technology was not where it is now and the 220 could give you just that bit more penetration. So yes, i's really just a holdover. Although in the magnum .30's it can be usefull.

Personally I think in a 30-06 that the 200 should be the heaviest load. For me 220's are just down too much on velocity to be worthwhile, if I need 220's then I might as well go to a .338 Win with 225's or 250's.

November 20, 2007, 08:39 PM
Hi Tommer...

That 220gr bullet is a holdover from the military use of the 30/40 Krag circa 1890s. After the Spanish-American War the military went to a new design - the 1903 Springfield - but kept the 220 bulllet chugging along at about 2200fps. But in 1906 - and in response to the German development of their 8x57 (154gr @2800fps), the U.S. revamped to the '06 Springfield using an 150gr. bullet at 2700fps.

In the hunting fields - remember these were the times when people still argued about the effectiveness of the big bullets of BP days over the "little" bullets of "smokeless" days. The 220gr. bullet was touted as necessary mostly for moose and the large American bears plus lions, tigers and larger African antelopes. Part of that line of thinking was the "need" for a bullet that could "break 'em down" at the aniticpated moderate ranges.

By the mid-1930s bullet design had taken quantum leaps forward and several of the top gun scribes of the day questioned the need for the 220gr bullet in the '06 because they had shot numerous large and/or dangerous animals with the 180gr. in '06 with perfectly satisfactory results. And most of them would go on to say the real "end of discussion" cartridge for lions, tigers etc. was the .375 H&H Magnum - for obvious reasons.

Moose shooting has, theoretically, not often been a really long range affair so I suppose manufacturers were/are not too concerned about less-than-optimum twist for the 220 grainers.

As you point out, the 220gr. load for the '06 really doesn't seem to cover any real need, especially with the onset of the later magnums. But who knows what goes on in the minds of the Marketing Dept. ?

HTH :cool:

November 20, 2007, 08:53 PM
I also like using a 220 round nose when deer hunting in brush where long range shooting is not an option. I may be wrong, but I believe a heavy round nosed bullet will penetrate small brush with less tendency to deflect, than a lighter spitzer shaped bullet. I would not use them for beyond 80 yds. I am no expert on this subject, but I have seen the results in the deer killing fields of northern Minnesota.

Cheyenne Pilot.

November 20, 2007, 08:58 PM
220? That's really light. I like using 240s for serious stuff. :D


November 20, 2007, 10:07 PM
in a 30-06 i feel anything over 200 grains is an antiquated holdover, and have no use for anything over 180... that said: i know a guy who loves 220 hornadys for elk, and i just so happen to have a box of 250 grain barnes on the shelf that i'll probably run through the 30-06 (near useless bullet for an obsolete cartridge - sounds like a match made in heaven).

November 20, 2007, 10:26 PM
Did dakotasin seriously just call the 30-06 obsolete?

Old? Definitely.
Outclassed by newer magnums? Without a doubt.
Obsolete? Never (or at least not in the foreseeable future).

November 20, 2007, 10:37 PM
How is a 30.06 an obsolete cartridge? Sure you got your magnum this and magnum that but in North America if you can't kill whatever type of animal you choose with a 30.06 then perhaps hunting is not your cup of tea. It's hard to improve on the near perfect. There is a reason the 30.06 is the most widely used cartridge EVER in North America. Obsolete? Not hardly.

November 20, 2007, 10:56 PM
I would care to wager that the people who reply with the words " holdover", and "obsolete" are reading too much and not taking the time to actually test fire a 30.06 at their local range. I'm sure they would have a different opinion once they felt the recoil and saw the performance on target. If the .308 was developed first and then the .308 Magnum ( 30.06 ) Maybe then they wouldn't call it obsolete?
just a thought.


November 20, 2007, 11:06 PM
220's have a higher SD and give you better penetration than a 180, at least in theory. Until the .338 got so popular around here the heavy loaded '06 was a very common brown bear round. I don't use it myself but I have worked up a similar 215 grain 54R.

As a general matter I think in our quest for more speed we often forget the importance of weight. Or more specifically, of sectional density. The long heavy bullets of old give you a lot of killing power with far less recoil than a magnum. I would argue that the *real* point of the magnums is not so much killing power as greater range. And if you don't need the range you don't need the magnum.

November 20, 2007, 11:24 PM
Cosmoline, how dare you make sense! That won't sell any super-duper ultra-short 10,000 FPS magnum calibers, you know.

November 21, 2007, 12:15 AM
The .30-06 is a versatile round.

Slower and heavier is a formula that works quite well in other cartridges for large game. Note that the .45-70 limps along at a snail's pace by modern standards, but a 500+ grain bullet will drop damn near anything that walks.

Why not do the equivalent in .30-06? Twice as fast, half as heavy as the .45-70.

You don't HAVE to buy a different gun for every bullet weight, if you don't want to, or if you don't have money to burn.

November 21, 2007, 12:18 AM
yes, unstable, that is the best, for hitting hard, i would not fear a 220 grainer against a moose or such. This was the origional , and useful, purpose of the ar and the 55 grain bullet, barely stable, to hit hard and rip things apart, until the stupid air force, cried about it being completely inaccurate, in sub freezing temps. so they upped the bbl twist, and waa laaah!!! ruined the purpose of the origional 55 grainer.
But i digress; a barely stable 220 grainer , charging out of a 30.06, will drop big things like a lightning shot.

November 21, 2007, 12:38 AM
Shot my first deer, and a couple of hogs with a 220 30-06. Kicked like a mule but sure did put'em down. Never had any problems with accuracy myself. Now over the years I changed where I hunted, from thick brush to longer hill to hill type hunting, and dropped down to the 180's and then the 150's. Really don't need the bigger bullet for deer or hog, but out to about 160 or 180 yards the 220's were pretty good.

November 21, 2007, 01:06 AM
settle down, fellas... i'm only half serious. funny nobody had hurt feelings over calling the 250 grain barnes bullets useless...

yeah, i hunt - a lot. and i shoot - a lot. and i even have a 30-06. doesn't mean i necessarily like it, but i do have one, have shot several, and i do know what the cartridge is capable of.

lencac- hunting is my thing... an average year will net me about 3 whitetail bucks, 2 whitetail does and 1 mule buck and 1 mule doe, and 1 buck antelope and 1 doe antelope - just for big game. nevermind things like fox, coyote, badger, prairie dogs, etc. i spend a lot of time hunting, and even more shooting. if you want to argue near-perfect, you cannot discount the 338 win mag... tolerable recoil, flat trajectory, and more versatile than the 30-06. doesn't tear up a deer, flings prairie dogs 4 feet up, and will flatten an antelope.

cheyenne- i don't need to test fire one at my local range. i used to have 2 (remington 721 and 200th anniversary ruger 77), but now have one (the ruger) and i handload - and i thoroughly wring out my loads before using them for hunting - as far as 1000 yards if the rifle is capable of that sort of accuracy (i don't currently have a 30-06 that is capable of that, so mine stops at 600 yards).

anyway, loosen the shorts a little. some sarcasm isn't the end of the world.

however, i digress... the topic at hand was the 30-06 and 220's. and i reiterate that i don't think much of the combination, but know some folks love it.

November 21, 2007, 01:21 AM
In the bad old days, bullets were, well, old and bad.

A softpoint that was soft enough to reliably expand could also be pretty well counted on to come apart on a close shot, or hitting heavy bone. A softpoint that would stay together through a shoulder at 50 yards probably wouldn't open at all hitting flesh at 300.

Adding more weight was the only way to get penetration with a bullet that was still soft enough to reliably open. The slower impact is less stressful on the bullet for higher weight retention. And the heavier bullet has a larger core to carry on penetration after nose - and often the jacket too - shear away.

With modern bonded and monometal construction, a 180 grain - or a 150 grain for that matter - bullet will through and through anything you'd care to shoot with it. The only tangible thing 220 grains gives you is more recoil.

November 21, 2007, 02:30 AM
I can have my panties in a bunch if I want. Dakotasin everything you said is true EXCEPT that the 30.06 is obsolete. That is definately not true. Now a 30-40 Krag, yes. A 30.03, yes. A 30.06, no. Anyway big bullets definately do a number. Even if they aren't going licky split out the barrel. Couple of years ago I hit a mule deer in Colorado at a little over a 100 yrds. with what was at the time my new lever-action Marlin chambered in the 450 cartridge, 405 gr. going about 2100 fps. It looked like it was hit by a speeding freight train. Took it completely off its feet. It was awesome. Hell, this thing looks like a toy but acts like a howitzer.

November 21, 2007, 04:00 AM
Why drive a Chevy when you can have a Mercedes for the same price?
I'll take a 300 any over an 06 anyday. The flat trajectory of a magnum is reason enough to own one. I've never owned an 06 and never will. Why handicap yourself?

November 21, 2007, 05:49 AM
My brother used a 220gr Bronze Point to take a 230lb whitetail buck. Shot was 200+yds. That buck was leveled by one hit.

November 21, 2007, 06:06 AM
If you can't kill it with an 06 then it's probably already dead.

November 21, 2007, 12:01 PM
Why drive a Chevy when you can have a Mercedes for the same price?
I'll take a 300 any over an 06 anyday. The flat trajectory of a magnum is reason enough to own one. I've never owned an 06 and never will. Why handicap yourself?

Why deal with the extra cost and recoil of a magnum when you don't need to? 10% more muzzle velocity and 1.5" less drop @ 300 yards (http://www.remington.com/products/ammunition/ballistics/comparative_ballistics_results.aspx?data=PRA3006C*PRA300WC) doesn't strike me as particularly significant.

November 21, 2007, 12:12 PM
Many have cited the weight of the 220 grain bullet as aiding penetration on larger animals, but the blunt, almost hemispherical tip is at least as important to making that thing drill deep and straight. The old African elephant ctgs used very blunt nosed bullets, heavy for their diameter. Why, because they penetrated.

Float Pilot
November 21, 2007, 12:33 PM
Here in Alaska the 30-06 is still extremely popular amongst us long time residents. Being tied with the 338 WIn Mag for about 35 to 40% each.

Most, if not all, of the folks out in the Alaskan bush villages have an Ought-Six. The 220 grain load is still fairly popular as are some of the heavy 240s and 250 for reloaders.

The Winchester model 1895 (Win 95) lever action in 30-40 Krag was also Extremely popular in the bush up until the 1980s when the guns wore out and the ammo supply started to run dry.

The packed uban areas with our newer immigrants tend to be the stomping gounds of the larger magnum calibers.

The blunt nose and solid construction of the 220 grain loads tend to make them good for skull shots of the larger bears.
Shot placement is still critical since I have seen a 30-06 glance off a Brown Bear's skull while he was charging. The 220 was also always good for smashing through a shoulder blade, particularly in heavy brush.

Before the partitions and all the newer bonded bullets, the old 220 blunt round nose is what folks looked for when they needed to stretch the performance of their Ought-Six.

Things have changed here, as we are now drowning in new folks, (many of them anti-hunting and anti gun) who moved here to save Alaska from us life long folks.
The amount of game animals has taken a severe drop and hunting now requires longer range shots. Plus the chances of being charged by a Brown Bear while out moose hunting is much reduced, as are their numbers....

November 21, 2007, 03:08 PM
if 30-06 is not enuff gun,yer stalking skills need work.

November 21, 2007, 05:19 PM
Much of the things that we think we know from charts and graphs are nothing but a general trend.
Hunter joe shoots several deer with his newest gun in some caliber with a certain bullet and happens to get hits that are slightly marginal and the deer run a ways. Next year he changes bullet brand and his next couple of hits are solid and the deer folds up like he was hit by lightining . Try to tell hunter joe that either bullet will get the job done!
Yes on paper the 220 30/06 should penetrate more with heavy animals but for best results use any rifle/caliber combo (within reason) that you feel you have the most confidence in getting good hits with .
I have a friend who is a serious target shooter who has lots of guns and great ability to use them. He uses a marlin lever gun in .357 with 200 gr cast bullet loads to harvest freezer deer with. It is an old Micro-grove barrel that doesn't shoot cast bullets as well as many other guns should. "the deer fall over just fine "

November 21, 2007, 05:37 PM
I would echo the Float Pilot's thoughts! Don't believe you are under
gunned, and I feel it does give an edge on penetration on big stuff
rather than high vel. lighter bullets. Does give an equal amount of
back thrust, and over penetration on smaller game doesn't make a
differance, if vitals are hit, as the game goes down. Believe that
1 in 10 standard when used in 03s, but downsized weight improved
velocity and still maintained accuracy. The Garand built the gas
operation to the lighter weights to prevent to the hammering of the
220. Like someone said, sometimes the 1 in 10 proves to be more
accurate. Sometimes not!

November 21, 2007, 08:00 PM
Hi Float Pilot...

I'd be willing to bet many of your Magnum-toting "recent immigrants" would actually do better work with the Krag. :cool:

Float Pilot
November 21, 2007, 09:33 PM
Yeap there ain't nothing like a city boy who saved up for 20 years only to show up with a 460 Weatherby magnum during moose season...
After shooting 6 or 7 rounds for sighting they are kinda flinchy....

I have killed every critter up here except Buffalo with a 7 x 57mm Mauser.
I don't hunt bears any more and they seem to know it. I go my way and they go their way...

November 21, 2007, 10:02 PM
Why deal with the extra cost and recoil of a magnum when you don't need to? 10% more muzzle velocity and 1.5" less drop @ 300 yards doesn't strike me as particularly significant.

Nothing will make you forget about the .300 Win Mag faster than a look at ballistics charts. Can we say, "marketing"?

Now a .300 Weatherby really is a much faster round, but shooting one will make the mundane old .30-06 seem much more attractive. Not all that fun. Shot one with a muzzle brake; that wasn't bad at all. But I don't want to have to reach for the earplugs when I could already be shooting a gun without the brake. OTOH the first time I shot one, when I was a teen, we were shooting at coke bottles about 650 yards away, and hitting them, hard. Or at least, the old guys who knew how to shoot were hitting them.:) Accurate, hard-hitting, but heavy guns that feel like a punch from Muhammad Ali in his prime.

November 21, 2007, 10:21 PM
"Why drive a Chevy when you can have a Mercedes for the same price?"

Because the Mercedes would have to have a full-time mechanic included in the purchase price to keep it running? There's lots of info available on this subject.

"‘‘We have seen a fairly rapid decline in reliability for Mercedes over the past five years,’’ says David Champion of Consumer Reports. ‘‘To put it in perspective, a 1998 Lexus LS400 would likely have less problems last year than a brand new2006 ML500.’’"

November 21, 2007, 10:44 PM
bison, polar bear.

November 22, 2007, 12:15 AM
Just got back from the range. You guys are right. Who in their right mind would want one of those old, slow and obsolete ought-6s? Especially some ole' military piece of junk ....... like say a Springfield M1903. Just say no to those old and slow 30.06s. They are not really that danerous :neener:

Commander Guineapig
November 22, 2007, 02:08 AM
that's such a nice looking rifle...


November 22, 2007, 02:17 AM
Thanks. Been about a 2 year project to get it to the point you see there. Doesn't shoot too bad either.

Commander Guineapig
November 22, 2007, 03:35 AM
well the groups match the rest of the rifle...
very pretty!
well...bedtime...after I check gunbroker. :D I think I need to look at Milsurp Bolt actions in general.

November 22, 2007, 06:40 AM
Why drive a Chevy when you can have a Mercedes for the same price? I'll take a 300 any over an 06 anyday. The flat trajectory of a magnum is reason enough to own one. I've never owned an 06 and never will. Why handicap yourself?

Cost and common sense. Easier to shoot and easier to reload. Unless you want to shoot across to the other ridge line then go for it. The cost for those who don't reload is a factor. 30-06 gets underrated by those who want to chase the big boys, ie 300 win mag, 338 win mag, even the smaller 7mm Remington mag. Don't worry about killing those calibers off because there will always be some "public" opinion about how the 30-06 and the 270 just wasn't powerful enough.
Let me take to to a range and let you pull targets for a couple of hours and you will know for a fact that the 30-06 has much more than plenty of power to kill any armored or bulet proofed vest wearing deer. you will be convinced.

November 22, 2007, 06:24 PM
I'd be willing to bet many of your Magnum-toting "recent immigrants" would actually do better work with the Krag.

One of the sweetest shooting rifle/cartridge combinations around!

November 22, 2007, 06:49 PM
If I were moose or bear hunting with a .30-06 and couldn't use something more powerful like a .338, I'd be real happy with a Barnes bullet in the 160-180 grain range. I don't see the need for a bullet over 180 grains, either, especially with all the good premium bullets around like the Barnes and Nosler Partitions.

Heck, I'll go one farther. What can the .30-06 do that the .308 can't? You say handle bullets over 180 grains? So what? LOL! A handloader can get a little more out of the .30-06 with its larger case, but not so much that your average elk is gonna notice. And, I think Hornady makes the light magnums in both calibers which gives 'em both a little boost.

I've got a 7 mag, but my little short action .308 is so easy to tote and I'm getting too old to carry a couple more pounds up and down the mountains all day. Weight counts to some of us. The light weight and handy size of the .308 is more important to me than the superior exterior ballistics of that big seven, let alone a .30-06, frankly.

November 22, 2007, 10:13 PM
To the OP: the weight of the bullet isn't neccesarily what dictates the twist rate; rather it's the length of the bullet. However, the OAL and the weight often go hand in hand.

That being said, most .30-'06 rifles nowadays, in my experience, are being manufactured with twist rates from 1-12" to 1-14", for better long-range performance with lighter bullets. If I were going to use anything over 200gr (esp. 220 and 240) I would swap out barrels for a 1-10" like they used to make 'em.

pete f
November 22, 2007, 11:46 PM
I will only say this, In most cases, the need to run up to a 220 in this day of premium 180's is rare. but give me something that bites back and I want a FMJ 220 from Hornady or a Nosler 220 Partition. I have seen a 220 run length wise thru a lion, I have seen one hit a musk ox at the front end and leave the animal at the tail. That is what you want when you need to kill something dangerous (no a musk ox is not dangerous, but its big and strong)

November 23, 2007, 12:02 AM
Why go with a sissy 300 win mag when you can use a 475 A&M Mag. Shooting a 500 gr slug it produced almost 10,000 ft# of muzzle energy. Now that is a freekin magnum if there is one.

Or better yet is the 585 Nyati. So whats a little recoil got to do with anything?
Bullet Powder MV ME
750 Barnes RL-15 / Max 2525 10,620

When is big too big. Some of these rifles out there like the two I mention above will abuse anyone that shoots them. Shooting the 475A&M is said to be like going 5 rounds with a World heavy Weight boxing champ. So I am sure that the 585 is like going one on one bare nuckle with a Heavy weight boxer. No thanks.

November 23, 2007, 12:24 AM
.30-06 is obsolete. At least, M2 Ball is. It's surpassed by the 7.62x51mm in almost every way. Now, the modern loadings of it are quite capable and versatile and it is one of the best cartridges for everything from coyotes to elephants.
cpttango30, you're thinking too small. Go with a 14.5x114mm and really blow their head off.

November 23, 2007, 12:27 AM
I once fired a very expensive Holland & Holland double rifle chambered in 570 Nitro Express. I saw stars and it was NOT fun :barf:

November 23, 2007, 06:46 AM
...most .30-'06 rifles nowadays, in my experience, are being manufactured with twist rates from 1-12" to 1-14", for better long-range performance with lighter bullets.

Nope. 1-10" remains the standard twist rate for the .30-06, with maybe one foreign made rifle offering it in a 1-12" twist.


The Deer Hunter
November 23, 2007, 10:41 AM
what's the point?

Its the end of the cartridge that points toward the muzzle when the cartridge is chambered :neener:

November 23, 2007, 10:55 AM
I've never owned an 06 and never will. Why handicap yourself?

Why do people shoot black powder, or bows? For the sheer pleasure of it. To feel a connection to a bygone time. To learn a new skill.

I own 2. An '03 Springfield and an M-1 Garand. I mostly shoot them in military style matches, but I would not feel undergunned with either one of them unless I was facing the second coming of the dinosaurs.

Every rifle, and every cartridge, is a compromise based on size, power, ballistics, and the level of technology available at the time. Some guns and some cartridges have stood the test of time. There may be new, faster, smaller, bigger, more awe inspiring, and way cooler things than old military rifles chambered in 30.06, but there are plenty of reasons to own, appreciate, and shoot them.

November 23, 2007, 11:07 AM
By "most" I meant "a select few"...

It was a dumb mistake. I actually had a barrel with a 1-12" twist put on my .30-'06 to better handle 150 gr. Hornady balistic tips. My gunsmith told me a lot of companies are heading in this direction as OEM.

After you challenged my point, I took it upon myself to look around. I was wrong. So much for taking the word of your 'smith as gospel.:o

November 23, 2007, 11:11 AM
Hi PeteF...

I'll readily go farther and say in the North American and South American hunting fields the need for any .30 cal. of any description is 110% Imaginary, 24/7.


November 23, 2007, 03:35 PM
:what: What a fool I've been! :o No more though, no way, I'm gonna make things right. :cool:

Dump my obsolete .30-06? That's what I gotta do!

And in with the new! Yup, a wonder gun. :D I'm going out and getting me one of those Acne Master 5000's in .300 WYA magnum! (That'd be Wamp Your Ass.) :cool:
I know, I know, these are drastic actions but it sounds necessary in this day and age. :rolleyes: :D
Where I live, the game hasn't gotten any bigger, tougher, meaner, further away nor more bullet-proof with the passage of time. The '06 has seen a lot of time go by but I have a feeling we will be celebrating it's 125th anniversary while some of the .30cal short, super short, ultra, and the such will be off the charts.

On a side note: I don't lump the .300 Win mag in with the above pack. It's been around a while now and I think It'll be around a lot longer. :)

November 23, 2007, 05:49 PM
No problem, hank. Surprisingly, many times gunsmiths rank right behind gun shop sales people in their lack of knowledge.:what: But, you are right, if you only intend to shoot 150gr bullets, then the 1-12" twist is the way to go.


November 23, 2007, 06:04 PM
Simple really, a bigger hole. A heavy for caliber bonded bullet will give the on-game-performance of a larger caliber bullet.

Soft bonded bullets like the Woodleigh Weldcore, Interbond, Northfork, the old Scirocco etc. can expand to triple diameter or even more. This big mushroom limits penetration though so you need the high sectional density bullets to drive that big mushroom through large heavy critters. These are slow short range loads, exactly what you want in your gun if charged by a griz.

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