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30-06 load question

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by jeff788, Nov 23, 2008.

  1. jeff788

    jeff788 Member

    Hey all,
    I've been lurking here for a while and love all of the great discussion. I'm fairly new to reloading, and wanted the opinion of someone with more experience than myself concerning some 30-06 loads I've been shooting. I worked up an elk hunting load using 52 gr. of AA 2520 and 168 gr. Barnes TSX. That load worked well and make short work of a little bull this year. Now that the hunting season is passed, I'm working on a load for more recreational target shooting, and perhaps some hunting next season. I just loaded up some rounds with 54-57 gr. of IMR 4350 and 165 gr. GameKings. Based on my load data I would expect similar velocities from these loads and my Barnes loads. The BC of both rounds are also very close, so I expected them to shoot to about the same POI. I went to the range today and found that they were shooting approximately 8-10" lower than the Barnes load. Here is my question: does this mean that the velocity of the GameKing loads is significantly less than the Barnes loads? Or could this be caused by something else such as different barrel dynamics? I'm not that worried about it, as it is easy to adjust my scope, but am more just trying to understand how changes at the loading bench translate to the range. What do you guys think?
  2. Shoney

    Shoney Well-Known Member

    When you change only the bullet, you may get a wide POI even using identical powder charges. Bullelts have a great variation from brand to brand such as:
    bearing surface of bullet,
    alloy of bullet;
    shape of bullet;

    All of these factors can yield different harmonics in the barrel, and thereby produce variances in POI.

    Now start changing two factors, bullet and powder, and you will, more likely than not, have wider variances in POI.

    It's all part of the fun of reloading!!!!!
  3. ants

    ants Well-Known Member

    Welcome to THR, Jeff. And welcome to 30-06 reloading. You'll have fun with both.

    Well, you're not doing anything wrong. Performance is the result of dozens of dynamic variables, not just the few static variables we manipulate. Here's one that cracks me up: Same components and powder charge but a change from one bullet to another nearly identical bullet, and the POI changes to the left or right. That happens to me all the time, so a change up or down isn't just velocity and aerodynamic drag, there are all kinds of dynamics at work.

    Try some different bullets and powders. Let us know what else you discover. Have fun!
  4. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Well-Known Member

    I'm curious where you got the AA2520 load that you mentioned that you used? The Accurate reload site does not even list AA2520 in their data for 30-06. The Ammoguide site does show a load for 168 grain but they list 47.5gr as a MAX load for AA2520 and that's for Sierra hollow-point, boat-tailed bullets.
    That might explain some of the height variation that your experiencing. Your Max or maybe over Max elk load is printing higher than the loads of IMR4350 which are near starting loads and are probably lower in velocity. Look at www.hodgdon.com for loads in the '06 using IMR4350.
    Welcome to THR.

  5. jeff788

    jeff788 Member

    I got the load data from the Barnes website. They no longer list a load for AA2520, but a few months ago they did. For their 168 gr. TSX bullet they had the maximum load listed as 53 gr. I worked up to 52 gr. and had no signs of excess pressure. Thanks for the responses, good stuff to know.
  6. jpwilly

    jpwilly Well-Known Member

    I've had very good luck with Varget in 308 and 30-06 loads.
  7. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member


    Unless you chronograph your loads, you have no idea as to what the velocity is. You cannot simply take the velocity that is published in a reloading manual and assume that is what your velocity is. As an example, I have two .30-06 match rifles, and with the exact same load, one gets a velocity of 2875fps, while the other one gets 2950fps.

  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Maybe there is a reason for that?

    Speer #13 shows a MAX load of AA2520 with all three 165 grain bullets they make as 46.0 grains.

    My old Accurate powder guide shows a MAX load of AA2520 & a 165/168 as 47.5 grains.

    That 52.0 grain load of yours with a solid copper 165 bullet must be a real barn burner!

  9. 10 Spot Terminator

    10 Spot Terminator Well-Known Member


    When Barnes first progated the TSX bullets they were over 2 years in getting any published load data for this bullet into a manual . If you visited their website looking for help they stated simply that due to the decreased amount of pressure from the reduced load bearing surface of this bullet design to use the "X" bullet data and add 2 grains to the load data for that bullet as your reference . For those of you not familiar with the older Barnes "X" bullet they left a lot to be desired and are going away . The gliding metal on the "X" bullet was poor and would tend to show higher pressures than bullets of similar stature made by the other bullet companies and copper fouled the Hell out of your barrels while doing it . I have been using the TSX bullets longer than any reloader I have yet to meet and find the following to be true . When using the TSX bullet you find yourself basicly in the same realm as using moly coated bullets. Pressures as well as velocities are reduced using most of the published load data as this data was not developed to accomodate the lighter resistance of these types of bullets. Adding 2 grains to the starting as well as the max load data for all but Barnes published data unless specifically stated the TSX bullet was used is indeed a VERY safe range to operate under. My personal load developement using either the TSX or moly showed the rounds to perform best when driven to the higher end of the velocity range for any given calibre and in using either of these it took that additional 2grs of powder if not more to get the performance needed and never once showing signs of excessive pressure . Food for thought guys and as always work up slowly to those higher numbers as I did and dont just take somebodys word for it ( including mine . )
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Adding 2 grains is one thing.

    But adding 4.5 (Accurate) to 6.0 (Speer) is another thing, I would think!

  11. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    I would agree.

    AA2520 was very popular with the 308 Service rifle shooters back in the 80’s. I called AA about this powder and they told me it had the same pressure curve as IMR 4895.

    I had kegs of the stuff, and it works well in .223, 308 and 30-06.

    I conducted load testing in a Match Garand, and 47.0 grains is all that I am going to put behind a 168 in that rifle. The load testing is below for comparison.

    I would think 52.0 grains is a really hot load.

    I have put 55 grains of IMR 4350 behind a 175 SMK, it was hot, but it was not maximum.

    M1 Garand 24" Douglas Barrel 1:10 twist

    168 gr Sierra Match 47.0 AA2520 WWII cases WLR OAL 3.30"
    5 May 00 T = 82 ° F

    Ave Vel = 2658
    Std Dev = 35
    ES = 85
    Low = 2612
    High = 2697
    N = 5

    168 Sierra Match 47.0 grs AA2495 wtd WLR FC Cases OAL 3.30"
    5 May 00 T = 82 ° F

    Ave Vel = 2632
    Std Dev = 16
    ES = 50
    Low = 2616
    High = 2666
    N = 10

    168 gr Sierra Match 48.0 IMR 4064 wtd LC66NM WLR OAL 3.30"
    5 May 00 T = 82 ° F

    Ave Vel = 2594
    Std Dev = 18
    ES = 38
    Low = 2575
    High = 2613
    N = 5
  12. jeff788

    jeff788 Member

    The same load data that was on the Barnes website is also in their latest manual. Both state 53 gr. of AA 2520 as the max load for the 168 gr. TSX. I also saw no signs of excess pressure, nor any noticeable difference in the fired cases, primers, or hard bolt opening when working from 46 gr. up to 52 gr. 10_Spot_Terminator makes some good points about the drastic difference between the TSX bullet and most other bullets. It appears to me that they have very little bearing surface compared to most bullets. This should serve to reduce the pressure considerably. The + 2gr. being a rule of thumb, not an exact formula. Being a new reloader, I usually like to consult at least two sources before starting a new load. Unfortunately with the Barnes this is not really an option, as the data is tough to come by. In hind sight, maybe I should have looked at the 47 gr. max load for traditional jacketed bullets and exercised a bit more caution by starting a little lower than the Barnes published starting load. Luckily, there was no problem and the Barnes published loads worked very well in my rifle. Thanks for your thoughts. This is really a fun hobby.
  13. jeff788

    jeff788 Member

    This got me thinking, I wonder how the other Barnes TSX data compares with data for traditional bullets. Here are some comparisons of max loads (traditional jacketed bullet data is from my Lee manual):

    150 gr.
    Barnes: H4895 @ 51.0 gr.
    Jacketed: H4895 @ 51.0 gr.

    165 gr.
    Barnes: IMR 4064 @ 50.0 gr.
    Jacketed: IMR 4064 @ 47.5 gr.

    180 gr.
    Barnes: IMR 4064 @ 48 gr.
    Jacketed: IMR 4064 @ 44.7 gr.

    Interesting that some of the loads (particularly lighter bullets) call for about the same load as a traditional bullet, whereas with the heavier bullet Barnes calls for 3.5 gr. more than a traditional bullet.
  14. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Well-Known Member

    jeff788, you have a good attitude and are thinking about your decisions, I wish more people did that.

    Yes, it is a fun and rewarding hobby when done properly and the possibilities are nearly endless. You never can have too much information, it's just needs to be divided into good and bad and common sense will give you the edge to make those decisions.
    We're inundated with new powders and bullets nearly everyday and it's fun and interesting to experiment, but most times we stick with what works.
    Set up links to as many legitimate sources of data as possible. That means powder manufacturers and distributors, bullet makers and maybe even a pay site such as Ammoguide.com. The ability to cross-check data at the speed of the internet is invaluable.
    Be safe!

  15. Smilin Jack

    Smilin Jack Well-Known Member

    30-06 powders

    Hey, I've tried IMR 4350 and several other IMR powders. They work OK, but I still like the H4831 best, probably cause I've still got some left in the 50 pound keg.

    I've been shooting it for nearly 20 years and it works well on 180gr Nosler Partitions for elk and moose, and 150 Partitions for deer. The charge is a little different for each weight bullet, but both bullets group with in an inch or two in my old Ruger 77. That way I don't need to change the scope.

    The same cartridges shoot OK in my 1917 Eddystone with issue sights, but hit about 6" high at 100 yards. It's my back up hunting rifle and really hasn't been used for hunting in years.

    I've worked up a Speer Plinker 1/2 jacket 30 cal load. It's 100 grain slug and 3031 powder. Check the Speer book for correct load. It prints about the same as the hunting bullets. I carry a few for coyotes etc. They will hold a tennis ball sized group at 200 yards and have taken long range jack rabbits.

    My son used them as a 12 year old hunter for deer with reduced velocity as he was a light weight. Now at 34 years old, he's 200 lbs or better and can out shoot the old man. He has taken about all the small arms courses available while serving in the USN. It's nice to have an armourer in the family.

    Use one rifle enough and you get to know it.

    Smilin Jack
    Western Oregon
  16. 243winxb

    243winxb Well-Known Member

    The Barnes X bullet should never have been put on the market for sale IMO. It fouled the barrel and made to much pressure and was dangerous when using data for normal bullets in the same weight/style. The TSX is an attemp to correct the short comming of the X bullet. Just an overpriced glory bullet IMO. A Sierra Gameking will do the job just as well. Great info 10 Spot Terminator.
  17. 1200 meters

    1200 meters Well-Known Member

    My best ever 30-06 load is with Sierra 240 grian match kings with 47.0 grain IMO 4064 The ballistic chart gives me a 1300 meter transonic round that put 5 rounds in a thumb nail sized circle at 100 meters. Amazingly the recoil was less than my 270 loads. Blitz
  18. avan47

    avan47 Well-Known Member

    POI is affected as much (or more) by barrel dynamics as by changes in velocity. A lower point of impact is not necessarily an indication of lower velocity if you have changed bullet and powder.

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