.30-06 Whitetail Load


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Smith357
September 21, 2009, 09:42 PM
I'm looking for a load for small whitetail, I know the best thing would be a .243 but I'm cash poor for a while and the 06 will have to do. All of my reloads up till now have been geared toward accuracy not killing game cleanly and humanely. I'm looking for a powder and bullet combination that will take a medium to small white tail without vaporizing it. :) and not having to worry about an over penetrating bullet hitting something a mile away.

My current accuracy load in my M70 is the 168 grain A-Max and 47.9 grains of IMR 4895 but I'm not so sure the A-Max is a good hunting bullet.

Should I use a heavy or light bullet, is max velocity the best or should i turn it down a notch or two?

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JASmith
September 22, 2009, 01:04 AM
If you like the 168gr bullet for target shooting, any 165 grain hunting bullet should do. If you like Hornady, the 165 gr Interbond loaded to about the same level as your targets loads would be very difficult to beat! You could also go with the 165 gr Sierra GameKing. Premium bullets would work too, but not needed for deer.

Enjoy!

Idano
September 22, 2009, 01:11 AM
I have had very good success with 125 gr Sierra SP driven with 50 grains of IMR-3031 using CCI-250. This load gives me 2900 fps and a MOA of .73 out of my M70.

Bad typo that was 50 grains not 90!

snuffy
September 22, 2009, 03:46 AM
I have had very good success with 125 gr Sierra SP driven with 90 grains of IMR-3031 using CCI-250. This load gives me 2900 fps and a MOA of .73 out of my M70.

Yikes!:eek: 90 GRAINS? I know for a fact it is impossible to get 90 grains of any powder in an 06! It's very helpful to proof read your post if you're giving load data!:what:

Nematocyst
September 22, 2009, 03:54 AM
It's very helpful to proof read your post if you're giving load data!<Snickers>

Yup.

I doubt 90 grains of powder, but suspect 125 gr bullets could do the trick.

Those of us shooting .30-30 have started this thread (http://www.marlinowners.com/forums/index.php/topic,41593.0.html).

Might be helpful, even if indirectly.

GooseGestapo
September 22, 2009, 04:43 AM
You could go to www.grafs.com and try some of their Privi-Partisan 165gr BTSP's. They're about 16.90 a hundred. Grafs shipping is a flat $4.50 but they do have a minimum order of about $35. I've shot the Privi-Partisan .224" 55gr Spt. They're about like the Remington, Winchester, or Hornady bulk bullets. 1.0-1.5moa.
But, I don't think the deer will know the difference between a P-P or a Nosler Part. 165gr .308 bullet...... And just use the same powder charge and zero setting.

As far as I'm concerned- Sierra, Speer, Hornady, Nosler's ARE premium bullets..... And yes, you can't do better than a .30/06 for deer. I think you'd be dissapointed with a .243 on deer. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't..... I know, I've lost some deer hit well with a .243.

bchris2146
September 22, 2009, 09:16 PM
I shoot the 165 gr Hornady SST. Excellent bullet for deer, you just need to find the sweet spot load for your gun. I killed a 200 pound whitetail last year with a factory load of Remington Core lokt 165gr. Minimal damage to meat, deer didn't take a step! Good luck.

WV_Vizsla
September 22, 2009, 11:20 PM
Placement is always more important than weigh or speed. That said... Hornady 165g seemed to always flip em' harder than Rem 150g, Rem 180g or Hor 150g. Killed more than 20 WV & MD deer with Hor 165 over 4350 or 4064.
Back to using the 150g due to the LNL AP bullet rebate. No need to run max speeds, just remember that 308Win work just fine also.

youngda9
September 23, 2009, 01:18 PM
Any "small deer" that you hit with anying out of a 30-06 will be deadly.

Check out powder manufacturing sites for loading information. Be sure to buy a loading book as well.

45crittergitter
October 11, 2009, 02:21 PM
I wouldn't use any "premium" bullet in the .30-06 if cost is an issue at all. Just not needed for deer. I wouldn't use any standard bullet under 150 grains or over 180 grains. Standard cup-and-core hunting bullets in that weight range at standard .30-06 velocities will do everything you need, and do it better than any load in the .243 Win.

SlamFire1
October 11, 2009, 03:21 PM
Why go heavy, why not go lighter?

I followed the advice of Ralph Walker of Walker Arms in Selma and loaded my 30-06 with 125-130 grain bullets. Worked great.

The 270 Winchester made it reputation with 130 grain bullets going 3000 fps. You can push a 125-130 grain bullet in the 30-06 faster and do it accurately.

And a box of 130's cost less than a box of 165's.


30-06 Finnbear SAKO 1:10 twist 24" Barrel

130gr Hornady Spire Pt 53.7 gr IMR4064 (Lee Scoop 4.0) thrown Fed cases Fed210M

Ave Vel = 3185
Std Dev = 33
ES = 68
Low = 3156
High = 3224
N = 5

Marlin 45 carbine
October 11, 2009, 03:27 PM
as slamfire I use a 130gr, the Speer soft point. over varget but I don't have my notes handy for powder charge. accurate too groups good in my M77 '06 all weather.

R.W.Dale
October 11, 2009, 03:36 PM
My load this year is a 125grn Nosler Ballistic tip fueled by a start load of Reloader7 39.0grs

This load is a delight on the shoulder at 2700fps and groups on targets are OUTSTANDING 2.2" at 300 meters. From my ruger77 all weather

And if the load profield in my top sig link worked that well at almost 300yds with this bullet I can only imagine how good it'll work with another 300fps

Should I use a heavy or light bullet, is max velocity the best or should i turn it down a notch or two?
__________________
Inside normal hunting ranges on whitetail IMO there's no reason to shoot full throttle loads. You just create more recoil, burn more powder and destroy more meat. The trajectory doesn't even change that much

rcmodel
October 11, 2009, 03:52 PM
A heavier bullet will kill the deer just as dead without making bloodshot hamburger out of it.

In the 30-06, a 165 grain hunting bullet is as good as it gets for game killing performance without lighter varmint bullet distruction of the eating parts.

rc

The Bushmaster
October 11, 2009, 05:05 PM
RC is correct (as usual)...My pet load is a 165 grain Sierra HPBT over 58 to 59 grains of H4831SC in Winchester or Remington cases and CCI-200 or WLR primers...

Any of the 150 to 165 grain bullets will do the job quite nicely if you do yours...

interlock
October 11, 2009, 05:42 PM
if you used a speer hotcor 165 gr bullet from a .30-06 it will kill all deer dead and not case excessive meat damage. it will penetrate very well. I have used thier 150 gr hot cor at about 2800 fps from my .30-06 on roe and muntjac, both smaller than your deer. it kills very well

Arkansas Paul
October 11, 2009, 05:52 PM
I'm not sure why you think a .243 would be better. Unless you're shooting varmints, there's nothing a .243 can do that a .30-06 can't do better. I agree with the larger bullet for less meat loss. I like 165 grain SSTs in front of 54 grains of H414. My rifle likes it. You'll have to find out what's best for yours. You asked about velocity and also mentioned not vaporizing the animal. The two factors that cause meat destruction are high velocity and fast expanding bullets.

Remo-99
October 11, 2009, 06:50 PM
My current accuracy load in my M70 is the 168 grain A-Max and 47.9 grains of IMR 4895 but I'm not so sure the A-Max is a good hunting bullet.

In weights of ~165gr, any of the hunting style bullets(A-Max intended as a target style) from brands like Hornady, Sierra, Speer, Nosler, etc. will work well on whitetail.
No need for any those 'fancy' hunting bullets, like Nosler Partition etc.(they're more intended for larger animals).

Should I use a heavy or light bullet, is max velocity the best or should i turn it down a notch or two?

By using a similar weight(165gr-170gr) hunting bullet, to your target load, you've already done most of the load development (just have to workup the load your happiest with) rather than a whole new load search for bullets of say 125gr-130gr. Which in full power loads of the 30-06 exit the barrel at ~3000fps + <150yrds = lots of expansion and destruction with less penetration.

Marlin 45 carbine
October 11, 2009, 07:12 PM
whatever you load, load some extras to sight in with. you have to make a killing hit first and foremost to get your game.
good luck and hopefully good eating.

ArchAngelCD
October 11, 2009, 10:40 PM
I shoot a 168gr Sierra MatchKing bullet at paper and a 165gr Sierra GameKing at Deer. I don't need to change powders, charge weights or scope setting to use either. IMO that's a good combination...

snuffy
October 11, 2009, 11:53 PM
Why go heavy, why not go lighter?

I followed the advice of Ralph Walker of Walker Arms in Selma and loaded my 30-06 with 125-130 grain bullets. Worked great.

The 270 Winchester made it reputation with 130 grain bullets going 3000 fps. You can push a 125-130 grain bullet in the 30-06 faster and do it accurately.

And a box of 130's cost less than a box of 165's.

The 130 grain .270 is a hunting bullet. A 130 30 cal is a varmint bullet. May be the same weight, but not comparing apples to apples.

A bunch of years back I happened into 10 boxes of factory 30-06 shells made by winchester. They were 125 grain IIRC power points. They were half price, just a bit over what new brass would have been, (gunshop owner had gotten them by mistake). So I bought them to shoot for the halavit. My M-77 liked them but I got tired of plinking.

An out-of-work nephew called 2 days before deer hunting wondering if I had a rifle he could borrow. I was hunting with my .280 so I said the 06 was available, but I had no hunting shells loaded. I gave him a couple boxes of that 125 stuff, he went hunting. A big doe came through, he plastered it square in the ribs with one. It went down, got right back up, ran in front of his brother. He hit it in the neck, put it down for the count.

The 125 had hit a rib, blew up, only caused superficial damage to the lung. It may have died a long lingering death.

Now, the 125 BT IS a hunting bullet. At 2700 it should be a fine load. I used them in 7.62X39 for my mini thutty. My son got his first deer at 12 YO. with it, the 125 BT did a fine job at 2500 from the mini.

interlock
October 12, 2009, 10:07 AM
it is nice to see some good sound advice here. Lighter bullet + higher velocity = meat damage and less humane kills. (of course the heavier bullet still has to be the right sort.)

Arkansas Paul
October 12, 2009, 10:58 AM
I don't agree that high velocity and meat damage equals less humane kills. I've killed three deer with Winchester ballistic silvertips. On each occasion, very little of the shoulders were salvageable. A lot of meat destruction. But all three dropped right where they stood. That's as humane as it gets.

snuffy
October 12, 2009, 12:20 PM
I've killed three deer with Winchester ballistic silvertips. On each occasion, very little of the shoulders were salvageable. A lot of meat destruction. But all three dropped right where they stood. That's as humane as it gets.

Paul, that's because the ballistic tips, ballistic silver tips are essentially the same bullet. That said, I refer to them as ballistic bombs. I have extensive experience with 7mm and 30 cal. BT's I loaded for 5 different rifles for my family, over a 10 year period, using 7mm 139 and 154, and 30 cal 150 and 165 BT's.

After post mortem examination and descriptions of others, I came to the conclusion that the BT is just too fragile for use on even the thin skinned Wisconsin whitetails. They fragment or simply blow up, sometimes failing to penetrate fully. I switched to the then new Hornady SST, which was only marginally better. Then came the Hornady interbond, which is much better, but I had one blow up on a small sapling, costing me a deer.

Arkansas Paul
October 12, 2009, 01:08 PM
What I was trying to say is that massive tissue destruction equals faster kills. If you shoot a thin skinned animal through the lungs with a premium controlled expansion bullet, he will go farther than an animal shot through the lungs with a rapid expanding bullet. At least that's been the case in my limited experience. Common sense says that the more tissue a bullet destroys, the more hemmoraging (that's probably not spelled right) will occur, thus bringing on death faster. That's all I was saying. When talking about a humane kill, it would seem, that faster the death, the more humane.

Rokman
October 12, 2009, 01:10 PM
If your rifle like 168gr. bullets like mine does, try a 168gr. Nosler Btip. Try a 165gr. Sierra Gameking. Try the Hornady SST. They will definately work on deer. There are so many good .30-06 bullets, it shouldn't be easy to go wrong with a deer load. You could try any of the bonded bullets out there, but probably overkill for small deer.

juk
October 13, 2009, 02:09 AM
Use anything but the AMax... had a bad experience with one not bringing a deer down. My money ( and reloads) get Sierra 165 SPs. The way I have it set up, I can plink, shoot for groups, and hunt with the same load. I was open to trying ballistic tip bullets when I started, but I read several reviews that didn't favor them highly. On the other hand, a traditional bullet had taken every deer that I had seen killed and rarely got bad reviews. I know, I know...*********s and opinions....everybody's got one :)

Steve C
October 13, 2009, 03:25 AM
Lets put things into perspective. This a a deer hunt, not a once in a lifetime Big Horn Sheep hunt where you paid $10K for a tag and have 5 days for your hunt. Most people want to eat the game they take so ruining 20% of the meat with a high velocity light weight bullet should not me an option. There's also no reason to waste money on some premium bullets either. Don't know what the "limit" is in your state but I once saw a guys Texas hunting license and it had a 3 deer limit (no tags required).

Buy Remington 150gr core lock soft points and load them to around 2,600 or so fps and you will have a perfectly good deer killer that's worked fine for half a century or more and will kill deer as far as you can shoot. You can get a box of 100 from Midway for just under $20 which will leave you enough to develop an accurate load for your rifle and leave you 20 or more rounds to hunt with. Any similar bullet from Speer, Sierra or Hornady will work as well.

Remo-99
October 17, 2009, 01:20 AM
I don't agree that high velocity and meat damage equals less humane kills.

Paul meat damage alone will not cause fast enough bleeding for a humane death, the impact shock maybe enough to knock an animal down, but it has the likelyhood to get back up and run off.
Unless shoulder bones etc. are smashed and/or vital organs perforated causing excessive bleeding and loss of consisness within a short moment, I'm not confident that the kill was as cleanly as I could've made it. Choosing the correct bullet for the task is one way of ensuring this.

Smith357
October 21, 2009, 10:07 PM
Well it took me a while to find some basic 165 grain 30 caliber hunting bullets, It seems like i could find tons of 110 130 and 200 grain bullets and a lot of 168 grain target bullets. I finally found a couple of boxes of Speer Hot Core 165 grain Spitzer Soft points. I loaded up a bunch of them using my 47.9 grains of 4895 and took them to the range for testing. I'm very happy to report that they are shooting right at 1 MOA with a few groups just under and a few just over. I don't have a chronograph but the books say I should be in the 26-2700 fps neighborhood. These results give me great confidence in my rifle and its load. I also spent a day tracking my cold barrel shots by waiting 15-20 and cleaning my rifle between shots, I found that there is no variation. All I have to do now is practice shooting from hunting positions, I think this is a job for the .22, my shoulder is a bit sore from all the .30-06 :)

sonier
October 21, 2009, 10:50 PM
id go for a big bullet, not to explsove bullet either. something that hits hard. instead of a 125 gr spitzer blowing stuff up. my mule deer lost his whole chest nearly. my next bet would be a 220 gr bullet at 2200 fps. once hit he wont be gettin up. slow impact tremendous energy, will slow down pretty wuik not at 3000 fps range

KODB
October 22, 2009, 12:34 PM
I use 165 Hornady SSTs and/or 165 Sierra Gameking SPTs over 47gr Varget.
OAL on the SST 3.250", 3.30" on the Gamekings. Both work great.
I suspect given the responses here that the 165s are pretty popular which may account for the difficulties finding them in our "ammo component depleted" world we are living in now.
Regards,
Bob

hillbillydelux
October 22, 2009, 09:36 PM
Been using nosler 150 grain ballistic tips over 4350 for a long time now. Very accurate and deadly on whitetails. However sonier has a good point, A long time ago I used to use a 7mm Mauser for deer. That slow 175 grain bullet dropped about every deer I shot dead in its tracks like they were struck by lightning.

Roughwater
November 3, 2009, 11:23 PM
Hi, I'm new to this site and I'm not young but still trying to learn.

My opinion on this light fast VS heavy slow bullet which is the best for deer? I believe either will do just fine if you use the right bullet and load. If I use a 30-06 (308), 130 Gn controlled expansion bullet such as a barns TTSX on deer it will not explode like a varmit bullet and will not cause excessive meat damage. Even a minimum load with this 130gn or a similar bullet will fly at 3000+ FPS out of an 06 giving it a flatter trajectory than the heavy bullet out to 3-400 yds. It will always penetrate a broadside shot deer for a good blood trail though most deer drop in their tracks. On the side of heavier bullets they will have a slight accuracy advantage and better at busting thru brush.
My buddies wife just killed a doe at 220yds with her 243 using a 95gn Winchester XP3 bullet. The deer was hit in the shoulder and it dropped in it's tracks. It penetrated through both shoulders. They had been using ballistic tips previously which they had good success with except on deer shot in the shoulder. The XP3 seems to have corrected that problem but most likely other good controlled expansion bullets would do as well. Now, the bullets I'm talking about are considered premium bullets by many so if your budget can't afford them or you just prefer less expense then most any of the heavier bullets that shoot well in your rifle will probably do the trick for deer.
I load both the cheap and premium bullets and use the cheap ones for sighting in and play and the premium one's just for hunting.

Terry

All4eyes
November 4, 2009, 09:24 PM
For our North Dakota whitetail most use 150gr bullet. I use Sierra 150gr. btsp over 26.5 grs. IMR 4895. Very happy with this load. If you get a bad hit, it doesn't totally destroy the meat (hind quarters). If you wanna see a mess shoot one in the but with a .243.

tactikel
November 4, 2009, 09:42 PM
The classic .30-06 deer bullet is a 150 gr soft point. Bullets 150-165 gr are perfect for all but the largest deer. Cunsult several loading manuals for loads. I like Hornadys 150gr SP spitzer- but have used Sierra's 168 gr BTSP both were very accurate, and would take deer with good placement. Find a load your rifle shoots well and PRACTICE until you really know your rifle/load.

spd1303
November 4, 2009, 11:30 PM
Remington Core lokt 165gr. This is what I use for my 30-06

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