30-06 ammunition recommendation

Velo Dog

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Good Morning Norweigianwoods,

Barnes always says that, each time they make some change to their mono-metal expanding bullet line.

I've only been to Africa 4 times so, perhaps you could email:
big5game@worldonline.co.za
and converse with Mr. Swanepoel who, has shot so many African animals and seen so many shot that I will not hazard a guess as to how many thousand it totals.

As for odd angle shots at big game, I already went over that one and so, will not whip a dead horse about it.

I respect you opinion but in my experience, plus questioning PHs every time I catch one standing still, I do not agree with you, in terms of what the hunter should take to Limpopo for up to and including blou wildebees.

Good hunting My Friend,
Velo Dog.
 

sestoppelman

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More ink has been spilled debating premium bullets in the last ten years, than our forefathers spent debating plain jane cup and core bullets in the last hundred years! Find a good bullet that shoots well in your gun and go with it. And never take factory velocites at face value. If Federal says it drives a 180 gr bullet to 2880, it will likely be closer to 2700 fps.
 

Norwegianwoods

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sestoppelman is right. Take the speeds the ammo makers claim with a big pinch of salt.
Normally you can shave of 5-10% of the speed they claim. Sometimes even more.

I don't have the experience of shooting thousands of big game animals, but I have shot a few in my life and I don't buy into Barnes's or any other bullet/ammo makers claims.
I test it myself.
Mono-metal bullets are not the answer for everything.
For slow and moderate cartridges, is a high quality cup and core bullet often a better choice.

One thing is for sure, hunters have always discussed what projectile is the best for the animal they hunt.
All the time since our Stone Age forefathers sat around their fires and discussed broad heads for their arrows :)
 

Velo Dog

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Norwegianwoods,

You spoke wise words.
I could not have said that better myself.

Cheers,
Velo Dog.
 

Velo Dog

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Hallo jduckhunter,

You are too right.

We could in fact debate the perfect bullet until my ex-wife and her sisters come home (hopefully not my home).

On the other hand, I do not claim there is a perfect bullet.

I do think a wise hunter will do enough homework to make an informed choice (generally for all equipment, Safari Company, PHs and all, not just bullets), prior to spending the kind of money a guided trip costs.

In this specific case, the man asked for advise on .30-06 loads for hunting non-dangerous game in Limpopo District of South Africa.

Turns out I have a decent spattering with that caliber, in that exact location.

My success was with 220 grain Hndy RNSP at moderate velocity.

In my senile opinion, if a hunter wants to hunt there with a .30-06, he or she could do a lot worse that my recommendation.

He did not ask what cartridge any of us might recommend for his pending safari or, I would have volunteered other than the .30-06.

It worked well for me then and would do fine again (the critters have not likely invested in military surplus body armor) but the .30-06 would not be my fist choice for that specific situation today.

It would be down around choice #5 or thereabouts.

With it though, if I was not a reloader (like he said he was not), I'd insist on factory live 180 grain Swift A-Frame for the .30-06.

I really enjoy debating bullets.

blah, blah, blah

Regards,
Velo Dog.
 

enysse

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180 Swift A Frame very deadly.

I have never tried the 220 gr. round nose but I think they would be super deadly, especially for the Limpopo. It great country for huge warthogs and kudu among other species. God I love the Limpopo Province.
 

Norwegianwoods

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One 30-06 factory ammo I advice you not to use in Africa, is the 180 grain Federal Fusion.
I used that in my 30-06 on my hunt in 2011, and even if it did a adequate job on the animals I shot, I was far from being impressed with the performance.
It did a great job on Springbok and Impala(DRT), but less than perfect on Kudu, Gemsbok and Black Wildebeest.

Now I don't own a 30-06 anymore as I find it to be an utterly boring cartridge :)
I think that about 308 win too, even if I still own one :)

If I am to bring a gun with me one my next African hunt, it will either be my 6.5-06 or my 375 Ruger. Both loaded with TTSX bullets :)
 

enysse

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The original Barnes X bullets acted like full metal jacket bullets. I still own some and wonder what I'll do with them.
 

Velo Dog

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Enysse,

We are in accord on the Swift A-Frame bullet, as well as that Heaven-on-Earth place known as Limpopo District.

If I were a wealthy enough man to live wherever I wanted, I would buy a place up in the Highveld of Limpopo and settle in for a quiet life of hunting (and trout fishing) and relaxing up there.

Up there, in the nearly treeless geography, I would use primarily spitzers or semi-spitzers, such as the A-frame and some other brands, depending on the species hunted.

Back to bullets.

A-Frames are my recommendation for many calibers and hunting scenarios, especially for people who do not reload.

For people who reload, the A-Frame is a fine bullet as well for big game but, most reloaders have, (as we have seen here), strong opinions about bullets, with little concern as to my opinion on Swift A-Frames or what have you.

I have no complaint with that, I share their attitudes for sure, just not their choices in every case.

Be that as it may, I personally used the 220 gr Hndy RNSP on one Limpopo safari because I carried the PH's spare rifle (BRNO Mauser) and I used the ammo he had for it.

Fortunately, I am quite familiar with same, since that is a common enough load for the .30-06 here where I live (Alaska) and many of us here have and will continue to use what has kept our freezers consistently full over the decades.

I have had no trouble shooting critters with round nose bullets, in various calibers, out to about 300 yds and therefore see no concrete reason to switch to anything else, unless as mentioned, if I planned to hunt primarily open ground, where shots well beyond that are somewhat likely to present themselves, once in a blue moon (across a steep canyon, etc).

One fellow here "what-iffed" me on bad angle shots, long shots and wounded game escaping shots (Texas heart shot), in regards to round nose bullets.

He even went so far as to state: round nose bullets only expand reliably for square-on shots (words to that affect, not a quote).

The exact opposite has been my personal experience, therefore being the reason for not wanting to try some other new fangled design projectiles.

Keep well my friend,
Velo Dog.
 

BWH

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The Barnes TTSX in 168gr for the 30-06 is a great choice IMO..... It basically has the speed of the 150gr. & the energy of the 180gr. That is what I will be using in May to RSA for Plainsgame.
 

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We took Federal Premium 30-06 with the 180gr Nosler Partition bullet.
It performed very well, is relatively easy to find and not the most expensive so I'm able to practice with it without breaking the bank.

REF: Federal Premium Ammunition - Rifle

Another great cartridge is the Remington 180gr Pointed Soft Point Core Lokt. It's less expensive and interestingly, I found these two to be interchangeable with the same point of impact, at least at 200 yds.
 

Velo Dog

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Hola again Norwegianwoods,

I totally agree with you on the Federal Fusion ammo but, only from its miserable Alaska reputation.

I have not been tempted to buy a box.

Apparently, it was designed for shooting whitetail deer.

You won't find many Alaskans, if any, who use it very much up here.

Stands to reason that it was less than satisfactory for your safari, except on the smallish antelopes.

Cheers,
Velo Dog
 

Velo Dog

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Enyssee,

Consider drilling a small hole clear through, lengthwise, beginning at the factory one, down through and out the base.

Then use them as sliding sinkers for bait fishing in catfish waters, for flounders in salt water, etc.

Regards,
Velo Dog.
 

Norwegianwoods

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The old Barnes X bullets I had, ended up in the garbage bin many years ago.
I used Swift A-frame after that for many years before I started to use the new TSX and TTSX bullets.

In my 6.5x55 I use 155 Lapua Mega factory loads as I am way to lazy to load my own ammo for all my guns :)

One of the cartridges and loads I find ideal for PGs as long as the shooting distances are short or moderate, is the 9.3x62 with the 285 grain Lapua Mega.
 

charleslabounty

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Lot's of good stuff here - thanks and I'm still reading every response made.
I understand the shot placement importance.
My dad would only use Rem 180 gn round nose in his Rem 740 -- and he shot a lot of deer in the Adirondacks of New York.
To make my decision tougher I was trying my new Savage 111 out with Win Super-X
Power Point 180 gn. Groups were not good - 4" at 100 yds. Some of this was me, I'm sure.
I called Savage and they said "that gun does not like soft points, it shoots best with ballistic tips or boat tails". Now these Win Power Points are brand new, but the tips are dinged up a bit and I looked at all 3 boxes.
So back to the range with an old box of American Eagle 150 gn FMJ Boat Tails -- groups came down to 2".
I will be hunting with Limcroma Safaris in Limpopo. Hannes Els the outfitter told me not plan on any shot no more than 125 yds. Hannes thought any premium slow expanding loads would be good like Barnes TTSX or Rem A-Frame.
I think my first choice will still be the Fed Vital Shok Trophy Bonded Tip @ 2880 FPS advertised if I can get them in time.(These were touted in March's NRA's American Hunter article on African hunting page 45.)
But as a back-up plan I will try to find a box of Rem Scirocco and a box of Barnes TTSX to try out. I have an old box of Win Round Nose I can try too.
I need to get off the bench and on the sticks. But I can practice on the sticks with less than premium ammo or even a cheaper caliber gun.
thanks and please keep the comments coming.
 

enysse

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Nothing wrong with the Trophy Bonded Tip, excellent bullet.

For years I hunted with 150 grain round nose bullets in my .270 Win. Very accurate, flat out to 200 yards...deadly.

I admit I like the 180 grain Core Lokt bullets. But I would avoid the quartering to shot at all costs, wrong bullet.
 

Velo Dog

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Norwegianwoods,

If I ever take a .30-06 to Africa, I will avoid "Fusion" ammo, as per your advise.

Here in Alaska, that bullet is not very popular, presumably because it is a bit too soft.

However, I have zero personal experience with it.

I'm with you on the .30-06, I do not find it interesting either.

With it, I have shot quite a bit of game, from prairie dogs and jack rabbits, through deer, caribou, boar and now lately, African animals.

I cannot complain about it but, like yourself, there are other cartridges I find more to my liking.

The 6.5-06 and .375 Ruger are not interesting to me either.

Nothing wrong with either one of them, probably very fine cartridges but even so, they do not draw me in.

No doubt you will clobber all that you use them on, despite my yawning.

Thankfully the world does not have to march to my cadence, or else it would be damn boring.
.
Sneak in close and shoot straight,
Velo Dog
 

Velo Dog

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Norwegiawoods,

I'm curious why you switched from the Swift A-Frame, to the Barnes TSX & TTSX.

Not familiar with Lapua Mega but, I totally dig the 6.5x55 (mine is a CZ with 20" barrel and full length stock).

I've personally only used the Hornady 160 gr RNSP.

Others I associate with, have used other brands, such as Norma Oryx (bonded), Woodleigh RNSP, etc, etc.

RE: The 9.3x62 Mauser, now we're talking.
I find that cartridge so interesting that I had a Mauser custom built for me, on a 1950s Belgian Commercial Model 98 Mauser, to resemble a Pre-War British Magazine Express rifle.

I confess that I have not taken any game with it yet but, more than one of my friends have them and/or the 9.3x74R (ballistic twins) and have taken game with same, they only sing happy songs about same.

If the man had asked what caliber to take on his Limpopo Plains Game Safari, the 9.3x62 would have been at or near the top of my suggestions.

I wish Swift had made their 9.3 A-Frames in 286 grain and 232 grain, instead of 300 grain and 250 grain (more common loading data).

Privi-Partisan factory live 286 gr RNSP are very accurate in my particular Mauser.

I look forward to trying Woodleigh 286 gr hand loads in it.

I totally agree with you that the 9.3x62 should make an ideal PG caliber today, like it has since around 1905 or 6, at least in typical bush conditions.

Cheers,
Velo Dog.
 

Norwegianwoods

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Velo Dog,

I still rate the Swift A-frame to be a very good bullet.
But I have found that by using lighter Barnes TSX and TTSX bullets I don't lose anything, but gain a bit.
I get about the same wound channel, but get a flatter trajectory and in my impression better shot effect on the animal.
I have only shot about 25 deer with them, so I need to at least shoot 25 more before I really claim that or not.

The A-frame was very accurate in my 6.5-06, but I had bigger difficulties in other guns. I am an accuracy freak and I know that I don't need stellar accuracy for all guns and their uses, but it still drives me crazy and I sell guns that I don't get to shoot 1 moa or better with a good bullet.
I get great accuracy in all guns with TSX and TTSX as long as I get decent speed with them.

You should really try the TTSX yourself before you rule it out ;)
It is extremely much better than the old Barnes X.

My 6.5x55 is an old second hand Tikka M65 and it is a shooting machine. Very accurate and a joy to shoot.
I use Lapua Mega factory loads in my 6.5x55 and I used also the Mega in my custom built 9.3x62 on a pre war Czech 98 Mauser action before I sold it.
The bullet doesn't have the best BC, but it has great effect on animals and it holds very well together.
I have not tried all types of traditional cup and core bullets, but I have tried many, and it has been the best of them all.

I have also heard that Partizan bullets are good. I use 300 grain Partizan bullets in my 375 Ruger a bit, but I have only shot some small deer with it and that is hardly a proper test for a 375 bullet :)

I still regret selling my 9.3x62, but because we got some really stupid gun laws in my country some years ago, where we can't own more than 6 guns for hunting, I had to make some hard choices...

You should really take out your 9.3x62 for some hunting.
You will be very pleased with the result :)

Sorry for the hijack of the thread as my post had nothing to do with 30-06 :p
 

enysse

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Funny that you keep bringing up the Lapua Mega bullet, I bought a bunch of them last year for my 9.3x62 and can't wait to load them up. I still bought TSX but I think those Mega's will be excellent in my old Mauser! Every fiber in my body thinks those bullets will hit the bullseye. I also bought Speer Hot Core bullets too, they are cheap and I have good luck with deer type animals with them.
 

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