30-06 ammunition recommendation

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by charleslabounty, Apr 3, 2014.

  1. charleslabounty

    charleslabounty AH Member

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    Hi,
    I need some recommendations for current proven factory ammunition for a 30-06 Savage 111.
    I will be leaving Sept. 1 2014 for Limpopo on a plains game hunt. Kudu, Gemsbok and Wildebeest are the largest on my wish list.
    My preferred load would be the Fed Prem Vital Shock TBT 180 gn. @ 2880 FPS advertised. Federal is not making another run until early June.

    So I need a back up plan for a premium load if I can't get the Federals.
    And I need some time to check out the other load. I hope not to have to go through several loads @ $40-$50 a box to find one that would be suitable.
    I'm not interested in reloading for this trip, as I'm not equipped.
    thanks
    Charlie
  2. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Barnes VOR-TX with either the 150 grain TTSX or the 168 grain TTSX bullets.
    They will work great and are usually very accurate.
  3. charleslabounty

    charleslabounty AH Member

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    Norwegian,
    Why did you not recommend the 180 gn ? (Barnes VOR-TX)
    thanks
    Charlie
  4. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    With the mono-metals, you get a longer bullet than one with lead. My concern would be your barrels twist rate being able to stabilize the 180gr TTSX.

    Besides with the high weight retention, you just don't need the heavier weight to get the penetration, so go lighter and faster.

    I would also recommend giving the Partitions in 165 or 180gr a go.
  5. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    PHOENIX PHIL gave you the answer.
    Personally I would use the 150 grain version as it gives higher speed, flatter trajectory and the Barnes bullets love speed to expand well and give a great effect on the animal, and it still penetrates very well.
    If using a 300 magnum of some kind, then the 180 grain Barnes TTSX bullet could be an option.
  6. Divernhunter

    Divernhunter AH Veteran

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    Barnes 150gr TTSX. NOT TSX. The TTSX bullets open better and are more reliable.
    Or you could go with 165gr Swift A-Frame loads.My favorite
    Or 150-165 gr Nosler PAR loads
  7. charleslabounty

    charleslabounty AH Member

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    Divernhunter,
    The Savage 111 has a 1in10" rate of twist.
    Who loads the Swift A-Frame for 30-06 165 gn? Remington shows a 180 gn Swift A-Frame PSP.
    Rem loads the Scirocco in a 150 and a 180 gn -- any opinions on the Scirocco?

    How about factory loads for 150 or 165 Nosler Partition? Nosler website does not show a 30-06 in the Partition.

    thanks
    Charlie
  8. Divernhunter

    Divernhunter AH Veteran

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    I believe Federal makes loads with Nosler Partition and also with swift A-Frame bullets.
    I think Rem loads a 165gr A-Frame but the 180 would work quite well.
    The Scirocco is a great bonded bullet(I think better than the Nosler one) A 150gr Scirocco would do very well also. I would use the 150gr in a 30-06 myself.
    When I was in Africa my PH's son used a 150gr regular cup/core bullet for a Waterbuck. One shot.

    I do not know where you are but I could load you some that work very well for me(TTSX, A-Frame, Nosler or Scirocco
  9. Royal27

    Royal27 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Interesting...

    I would have said TSX, but 180 grain, which is what I use. I may have to re-think my bullet weights.... Not yet though, as I know my drops with 1180 grain out to 600 yards! :)
  10. Cliffy

    Cliffy AH Elite

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    I'm a big fan of the Nosler Partition in 180 gr for the 30-06. Any factory load you can find will probably work well for what you need. You won't be shooting 500 or 600 yds in Africa
    at best 250 yds max. I've never gone over that in 5 hunts and 40+ animals.
  11. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Fanatic

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    Hello charlesbounty,

    If you will email your PH and ask what specific ammunition he recommends, you could happily disregard the following epic novel.
    If that is not an option, I hope you will find comfort in my long-winded speech:

    High velocity spitzers are not the best choice for the majority of Limpopo District / game species / hunting conditions.

    Most of the hunting is in what they call The Lowveld.

    It is rolling ground, with plenty of thorny trees and some brush, although the grass itself will be well trampled by the game, before you arrive in Sept.

    At glance, the majority of the Lowveld reminds me of Napa Valley California and surrounding foothills, prior to the vineyards that dominate it now (not that there's anything wrong with vineyards, especially Malbec vineyards, by dang).

    Likewise, the Lowveld is laced with riverine forest, here and there which is almost, but not quite jungle.

    These riverine conditions remind me of The Ozarks of Southern Missouri / Northern Arkansas.

    Much of Limpopo is crawling with many types of game (unless you booked with a crook who does not have access to a minimum of about 100,000 acres of self sustaining / game rich real estate, and much larger hunting concessions are so much the better).

    Close range shooting is the name of the game, with 75 yards being about the average distance.

    The Highveld is quite another story.

    If your PH plans to take you up there, 200 yard shots are not rare.

    That lofty area (still part of Limpopo) is typically around 7,000 ft above sea level, and not much for trees.

    It's gently rolling grassland, with rocks sticking up here and there to conceal your crawling into position for a shot.

    It's about like what we Americanos call "prairie" or "plains" but, in this case it is actually on top of a mountain range (Draakensberg Mts), something like but not exactly like the Mesas of some of our Western States, such as AZ, NM etc.

    Long BORING story short: If you will be hunting only the Lowveld, the good old 220 grain Hornady RNSP at about 2400 FPS worked well for me in the .30-06, and although it's not what I'd choose for the Highveld, I used it there and it worked fine.

    My longest shot up there was about 200 yds, on a black w.beest bull.

    Had to shoot him twice but that's because my first shot was a tic too high on the shoulder, no fault of the bullet, only the fault of the shooter.

    Sadly, it is pretty much impossible to find 220 grain round nose .30-06 ammunition in live factory ammo any more.

    If I were making ready for hunting BOTH Lowveld and Highveld, I'd prefer 180 grain bullets, as they shoot a bit flatter for the Highveld, yet will break bones at close range Lowveld conditions as well.

    Whether reloading or not, I would settle for nothing less than 180 grain Swift A-Frame these days (might as well spend a little more for a sturdier bullet, just in case).

    I suppose it'd be called a semi-spitzer but oh well, Swift does not make that one in a round nose shape to my knowledge.

    Even at 2600 fps, a .30 bullet of 180 grains will fly mighty flat, in big game hunting terms.

    I believe Remington loads it currently in .30-06.

    It's not cheap but way cheaper than a wounded and lost wildebeest, or what-have-you.

    Do not be fooled by our American deer, they carry their heart/lungs just behind the shoulder.

    Most (but not all) African antelopes carry theirs about directly between the shoulders and I believe their bones are a bit more stout than our critters are over here, at least that is my impression after having shot quite a few African so called plains game critters, as well as quite a few deer and such in The USA.

    In other words, on broadside shots, and quartering toward you shots, you must break through a shoulder bone to pierce the heart/lungs.

    That is why high velocity spitzers are not the best choice for your particular Safari.

    Whatever bullet you go with, be sure to practice, practice, practice.....and then practice some more.

    Again, that will not be cheap but worlds cheaper than losing a wounded big game animal.

    I tend to be long winded and for that I apologize.

    Best of luck with your safari,
    Velo Dog.
    ArmyGrunt likes this.
  12. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Scirocco is a premium bullet, that being said the best is TTSX.
  13. Divernhunter

    Divernhunter AH Veteran

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    Velo Dog---What you say has some merit when talking about plain cup and core bullets.
    Things change completely when you switch to better bullets. You get the penetration with lighter bullets and flatter shooting. I would even say better penetration with many of them.
    Yes a cup and core bullet will work. But the bullet is what determines the end result whether you collect the animal, chase it all over heck or loose it as wounded. The extra cost of a better bullet(Nosler, Swift, Barnes as such) is a very small additional cost compared to all the other costs of a(any) hunt.
    There is a reason it is hard to get 220gr 30-06. You are better served with a lighter bullet. I might still have a few rounds left from when I was young and the only bullets in factory ammo where cup and core. But my handloads or the factory stuff with better bullets are a much better choice.
    We were able to take Wildebeest/zebra/Kudu/Red Hartebeest/ and other game at ranges from 135 to 480 yards using 25cal 120gr Swift A-Frames and all but one were one shot with little or no tracking. I placed my 1st shot on my Gemsbok a bit too high and that was with a 338Win mag. I used a 30-06 with 150gr TTSX bullets and a 338 with 225gr Swift A-Frame bullets. We took in excess of 25 animals.
  14. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Fanatic

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    Hello enyesse,

    By reputation, the Sirocco is indeed a premium bullet.

    I have no experience with it but, would not hesitate to try it for long shots on antelopes.

    Spitzers have their place on my loading bench, for hunting in very open places like Namibia, The Highveld, etc.

    As for: "the best is the TTSX", I will say that I respect your opinion but, if TTSX is a Barnes X-type bullet, I politely do not agree.

    Admittedly, I have only one direct experience with Barnes X-type bullets and that was the first version (180 gr .30-06 ..... failed to expand on a caribou).

    On this subject, a PH friend of 12 years now, (Hannes Swanepoel) tells me that again this last season, more than one client (as usual) who refused to take his advise (IE: "Please avoid X-Type bullets") had failures to expand on buffalo.

    Hannes tells me that the problem arises all too often with less than straight-on impact angles and is almost predictable on critters that are caked in dry mud.

    According to Hannes, if the angle is not about perfectly 45 degrees, and free of dry mud, the tip often bends slightly on impact or, fills with mud/sand, or both, thereby closing the hole.

    With said hole bent shut, blood is not rammed into it at rifle speeds and so, the pedals are not forced open.

    The result is an ice pick style wound, exactly as what you'd expect from any military FMJ spitzer.

    I repeat that, I am only parroting what I have been told by those who have shot and/or seen shot hundreds, if not thousands of African animals each.

    My personal experience in Africa and North America indicates that Hornady round nose bullets, soft and solid are what I need for almost all my hunting needs (heck, they're half expanded before they leave the factory).

    Likewise, the Swift A-frame seems to me the most reliable / super extra tough expanding bullet, in terms of "most likely will perform as advertised".

    Furthermore, I have experience with the old Nosler partition in Africa (.30 caliber / 180 gr, .300 H&H on so called plains game only) and also can endorse that one but, strictly for thin skinned game and, I still prefer Hornady round nose over it.

    One man's bread is another man's poison.

    Regards,
    Velo Dog.
  15. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Fanatic

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    Hallo Divernhunter,

    My impression of why 220 grain .30-06 live ammo is hard to find these days is that, the USA is suffering a sweeping epidemic of Velocity Madness, stemming primarily from successful advertising campaigns (Weatherby, Lazzeroni, Ultra Mag and such likes).

    Myself and most of my Alaska mates have salted away decent supplies of Hornady round nose softs and solids, heavy for caliber, in various diameters, because they work so well on moose, bear, bison and African game.

    I submit that the majority of consumers do not actually sack very many animals per hunter but, likely they do read quite a bit about it (witness all the outdoor magazines and web sites, like this one).

    Walter Mitty types.

    Therefore, the average Joe Hunter is not aware that, in places like Limpopo District, (if not most of Africa in general), a heavy for caliber bullet, blunt in shape, traveling at moderate speed will put all the critters on the ground one could hope for.

    You obviously dig velocity.

    Far be it from me to argue against it for each and every type of hunting.

    I also sometimes use high velocity to my advantage (when hunting prairie dogs, coyotes and a few others).

    The chap was however asking what ammunition to use in his .30-06 during a Limpopo District hunt this Sept.

    Flatter shooting is almost the last thing he needs in Limpopo, unless hunting the Highveld.

    As I mentioned in my long and painful rant to the man, even up there, my longest shot was only 200 yds.

    As per my personal experience with his specific cartridge/.30-06, in that specific place, my suggestions remain as stated and I respectfully stand by same.

    The Lowveld of Limpopo District is primarily thick forest and the shots are close range.

    My personal experience with the critters he mentioned, at close range, plus add the teachings of most of the PHs I have spoken with about this, have taught me that, high velocity is risky, especially when using X-type bullets that too often bend shut at the nose, and/or plug up with dry mud, thereby failing to expand.

    Yours truly has only shot about 85 total, head of American so called big game and African so called plains game, plus one cape buffalo.

    Therefore, I am strictly a beginner here.

    I respect your opinion.

    However, I do not agree with it.

    Good / Safe Hunting My Friend,
    Velo Dog.
  16. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Velo Dog, Todays Barnes TSX and TTSX are a total different world from the old Barnes X bullets.
    They are not even apples and oranges.
    They are more like oranges and carrots.
    Same color, but that is about it.

    I have used both Barnes X, TSX and TTSX.
    Barnes X was a total pain in the rear end if you ask me. To slow and it didn't expand, to fast and the petals flew erratic everywhere and often the bullet canted inside the animal and had everything but a straight penetration.

    The Barnes TSX needs lots of speed to expand properly. In my opinion it works best when it leaves the gun at about 2800-3000 fps or faster. Then you usually get good expansion and outstanding penetration. Never recovered a bullet as they have all continued into the bush.

    The Barnes TTSX also likes speed, but it needs less than the TSX to expand well. The polymer tip helps a lot with expansion. But still it holds very well together and penetrates very well.
    I have only found one TTSX bullet after the shot. That was a 120 grain .264 bullet from my 6.5-06 and it penetrated 2 feet of deer, included lots of spine and ribs(head on shot).
    The bullet is picture perfect and kept all its weight but the polymer tip.
    View attachment 26228
    View attachment 26229
  17. jduckhunter

    jduckhunter AH Veteran

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    You guys know that you can debate the perfect bullet until the cows come home and will never agree on one. I rarely get drawn into that debate anymore but couldn't resist this time. I just wanted to tell you about a couple of friends of mine that went to Namibia 2 years ago on their first PG hunt. They took along a 30-06, 300 WM, 300 RUM, and a 338 WM and would you believe all their ammo was good old Remington factory loaded core-lokts. They hunted everything from eland on down and had zero problems and no lost game. I know that if you believe everything you read that never should have worked but it did. I honestly believe that if people would spend more time shooting their guns instead of worrying about them, that they would stand a better chance of having a successful hunt. I am not saying that I would go to Africa with core-lokts, I'm only telling you how my friends made out. When I hunt PG I use Speer Grand Slams and have had great success with them. I guess what I'm getting at is that you don't have to spend a fortune on bullets to hunt plains game.
  18. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    I agree on this jduckhunter, but considering how much money you already spend on a PG hunt and how much it will cost you if you just draw blood and don't recover your animal, I really don't see the point of saving money on the ammo.
  19. Royal27

    Royal27 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    SHOTPLACEMENTSHOTPLACEMENTSHOTPLACEMENT

    And I'm not buying cheap bullets either, not to hunt with. i'll practice with them, but not hunt.

    I've GOT to start re-loading....
  20. jduckhunter

    jduckhunter AH Veteran

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    I have always said use the best equipment that you can afford. This applies to guns, scopes, clothing, gear, and bullets as well. I just sometimes wonder how anybody killed any animals before the invention of the so called premium bullet. In my mind the premium bullet was invented to cope with the higher velocities that everybody was demanding, so they could push their shooting range a little farther. The problem with the original style cup and core bullets coupled with the higher velocities is that once in a while you get a close shot and the bullet can't hold together under those conditions. That being said when I hunt in Africa I load my bullets with heavy for caliber bullets and down a bit from max velocity so that I don't blow them apart on impact. I feel that penetration is more important then hydraulic shock. When I hunt in Wyoming I load up with light bullets and zing them along faster then most reloading manuals say is possible, because those thin skinned deer and pronghorns don't require a lot of penetration, so I give them a lot of shock. I'm just saying don't bust your budget trying to find the perfect bullet, because it doesn't exist they are all built for a purpose but none of them will cover every situation. Sometimes you have to just make the best out of what you have and that requires putting in the time at the range. It's only my opinion and I remember what my dad told me years ago about opinions. I won't repeat it here but what he said stayed with me. You have to understand that this is coming from a guy that has spent a long time as a shooting instructor. I always taught people that if you can't hit it where your supposed to that it makes precious little difference what you hit it with. I know that's a whole different subject but that's what counts for me putting your bullets on target where you want them.

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