30-06 & 180...

Guy Miner

Master Loader
Apr 6, 2006
16,469
744
I've been pretty stuck on my 2900+ fps load with the 165 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip. The 165 grain Nosler Partition shoots just as well.

Time to time I've tried 180 gr bullets... They clock a little slower, 2700 - 2800 fps for the most part...

This most recent mule deer hunt with the 180 gr Berger at 2730 fps doing a good job at 350 yards got me thinking... Recoil was no big deal. Accuracy was good. Buck dropped. Hmmm...

I always kinda thought of the 180 as more of an elk & bear bullet. Normally I hunt mule deer. What do you guys think of the 180 for deer & everything? Please include the 308, 30-06, 300 magnums...

Which 180 and at what velocity? The Partition? AccuBond? I kinda liked the "extra" bullet weight with that 180 and had no trouble placing the high shoulder shot with my little 6x Leupold at 350 yards...

Thanks, Guy
 

HodgemanAK

Beginner
Oct 23, 2020
185
52
The 180 AccuBond has been very good to me on everything from wolves, to caribou, to bears, to moose in my 300WSM. I hunt everything with that load.

I load the same bullet for a buddy's '06 just a 150fps slower and for another buddy's 300WM about 100fps faster. No critter alive would be able to tell the difference between them...which is mostly academic and involves a chart.

The 30'06 firing a 180gr bullet solves a whole lot of ballistic equations.

I also load the 178ELDX in my 308 carbine at a meager 2450. But that soft bullet at loping speeds performs beautifully on game.
 

mjcmichigan

Handloader
Dec 26, 2016
2,263
21
I’ve used all three in my 3006.

150’s 165’s 180’s and even 220’s( but never killed anything with the 3006 and 220’s over RL26 (2690fps Yikes!)

The real difference is longer bullets have longer pieces of brass on expansion.. this dumping copious amount of energy.

I think my gun shots 150’s a bit better than bigger bullets.

I’m not afraid of 180’s. But have a big stock of 150’s.


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jjs405

Beginner
Dec 24, 2017
129
13
I've shot 180gr from my 30-06 for decades. I started with Nosler Partitions but was disappointed with the core separation from the recovered rounds; time & time again.

Dumped the partitions for Ballistic Tips & then the Combined Technology Ballistic Tips which in my opinion were the best for my hunting needs.

All bullets were 180gr's and I used them on Deer, Bear, Antelope, and Elk & not once did they fail to bring down the game.
 

Keith1369

Beginner
Dec 20, 2019
15
3
In my rifle 180 Accubonds and RL26 work good and gets about 2860 FPS. It also shoots 180 Sierras good. With the Sierras something interesting happened. A cow elk was facing me at 450 yards and I held a little to high. Bullet hit neck bone and exited and re-hit elk in back strap and penetrated several more inches. When I found the bullet there it was a big surprise. First time that I ever hit an animal 2 times with the same bullet.
Regards
 

ozarkpugs

Beginner
Feb 3, 2017
85
2
jjs405":24s61xvh said:
I've shot 180gr from my 30-06 for decades. I started with Nosler Partitions but was disappointed with the core separation from the recovered rounds; time & time again.

Dumped the partitions for Ballistic Tips & then the Combined Technology Ballistic Tips which in my opinion were the best for my hunting needs.

All bullets were 180gr's and I used them on Deer, Bear, Antelope, and Elk & not once did they fail to bring down the game.
Are you sure it was partitions? 1 the front portion doesn't separate it expands vilontly and fragments leaving the back portion to continue on and exit . You must be shooting them really slow to be recovering them as they almost always exit . Back in the late 80s or early 90s ballistic tips shed cores and fragmented but that problem has been taken care of .

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ozarkpugs

Beginner
Feb 3, 2017
85
2
I have tried all of the bullets mentioned over the past 40+ years and all put down game as expected with only a few exceptions . Lately I have been using what is as close to the " majic bullet " as there is . Cavity back bullets . The 168 grain in 30/06 is super accurate handles wind like a 180.Damage to internals and penetration are phenomenal .

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FOTIS

Range Officer
Staff member
Oct 30, 2004
23,014
49
Any 180 from the 30-06 will do. Due to the fact that I have a lot of rifles I'm a firm believer of I'm going to unload
 

baltz526

Handloader
Sep 25, 2005
1,074
7
A few years ago I got a great deal on bulk packed 180gr Hornady hotcore bullets. I am shooting them out of a 308 and 300 win mag. I have not recovered any yet but they shoot great and kill as fast as any bullets I have recovered. This years deer shot with the 308 at around 150 yards had as close to perfect results as is possible. I mention this bullet because it is a flat base, shorter bullet for a 180gr in .30. My last couple 30-06 never gave satisfactory accuracy with the longer sleek bullets. Another I like is the Nosler Protected Point Partition. I have recovered some of these from dead Elk. Shot out of the 300.
 

FOTIS

Range Officer
Staff member
Oct 30, 2004
23,014
49
Any 180 from the 30-06 will do. Due to the fact that I have a lot of rifles I'm a firm believer of one rifle one load
 

JD338

Range Officer
Staff member
Nov 4, 2004
21,586
686
Guy, I think the 180 gr bullet weight is ideal in the 30-06 for all around hunting. I've taken quite a few WT deer with 180 gr bullets and they always kill deer.

JD338
 

HAWKEYESATX

Handloader
Aug 15, 2016
1,791
35
The great things about the 165 gr and up to 180 gr bullets in the .30-06 and above, is that they will do the job required of them. From deer up to moose.
I like the higher ballistic coefficient bullets because of the areas I used to hunt would have a mixture of woods, with long cut lines. So, I like the 180 gr more, because of what Fotis said. One load to one rifle.
The .30-06 military original military load was close to 180 grs, the 172 gr bullet. Going at a nominal 2700fps.
Trajectory isn’t that much lower than a 165 gr, but it does up the ft-lbs quite a bit, at any range.
Plus, if you have a somewhat longer shot to make, you won’t have to pass it up, because the velocity and ft-lbs will be there to take care of the job at hand.

Hawk
 

jjs405

Beginner
Dec 24, 2017
129
13
ozarkpugs":23bqe98n said:
Are you sure it was partitions? 1 the front portion doesn't separate it expands vilontly and fragments leaving the back portion to continue on and exit . You must be shooting them really slow to be recovering them as they almost always exit . Back in the late 80s or early 90s ballistic tips shed cores and fragmented but that problem has been taken care of .

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Yes, 100% sure that they were Nosler Partitions. Shooting at about 2700-2750 fps at the muzzle. I'd have to go & look at my reloading records to see what time period, may have been early 2000's.

For the 30-06 I'm very happy with the Combined Technology Ballistic Tips & will not go back to Partitions. I do plan to load up some Accubonds with my 30 Nosler sometime soon.
 

HAWKEYESATX

Handloader
Aug 15, 2016
1,791
35
Here’s something I found a few weeks ago.
If you have older Partition bullets, and they’ve been sitting around a long time in your reloading area, and this goes for other cup and core bullets as well, the older they are, the more the jackets get harder, and the lead in the bullet gets softer, and the area closest to the cup can actually become like a powdery substance.
If you shoot an animal, eg.. deer on up to moose with those older bullets, expect bullet failure, up to explosive activity, and or core separation.
If you have bullets on your bench that are reaching 10, 15, or even 20 or more years older, it’s probably not a good idea to use them for hunting. Probably best used as target, or testing loads.


Hawk
 

PJGunner

Handloader
Dec 11, 2010
1,711
114
I started serous hunting and reloading in 1954. Having read much stuff by Jack O'Connor naturally I used a 150 gr. bullet, mostly by Sierra. Hornadys were a bit more expensive and I rarely saw any from Speer. Fast forward to the late 1960s and a move from California to Nevada and I continued using basiclly the 150 gr, Sierra until one day hunting with a partner and he found out he had no ammo. This the day before the hunt. He always used 180 gr. bullets but the day before the hunt we'd sighted his rifle in with my 150 gr. Sierra hand loads. He shot a deer the next day and was appalled at the damage to the shoulder. He said he liked 180 gr. bullets as they ddidn't mangle up as much meat. Come the ext season I went with the 180s and used them pretty much ever since, at least until I had a custom rifle built by the late Cal Albrite. I'd picked up a commercial FN Mauser with a bad barrel for $100 and Cal offered to rebarrel it to 30-06 with a 1 in 12" twist barrel he'd ordered for a customer who canceled out. He even restocked the gun with the prettied piece of walnut I'd ever seen up to this time. I never could get that rifle to shoot 180 gr. bullets. I even went so far are to restock the gun myself with a McMillan to no avail. One day more for spits and grins than anything else, I ran a few loads with the 165 gr. AccuBond. BINGO! Good velocity and sub MOA on the first go round. Took an elk with that load too.
What puzzles me is my .308 M70 has a 1 in 12" twist and shoots decent groups with 180 gr. bullets. Curious. I'm thinking that custom may have a slower twist the 1 in 12, may a 1 in 14". Who knows?
I recently put a Husqvarna 640 barreled action with 24" barrel into a stock but haven't had a chance to shoot it. According to data in some of the Speer manuals, the 640 came with a 1 in 12" barrel. We'll see. If it shows promise with 180 gr. bullets I'll have my gunsmith restock it properly. I just happen to have one very nice stock blank left.
On game, when I used a 180 gr. bullet it was usually a Sierra Pro hunter. I have shot a few 180 gr. Hornadys from a Remington 700. Worked one load up to 2800 FPS and change that shot fairly well. Most of the time I load them to 2700 FPS, a speed that has worked well for me
Most of my deer hunting here in Arizona has been with a Ruger M77 RSI which turned out to be a one trick pony. One bullet, powder, brass and primer worked. Change any one of those components and accuracy went straight to hell. Bullet is the 165 gr. Speer Hot Core. It will just barely keep a 180 gr. Sierra round nose in about 2.5 to 3.0" on a good day. Like I said, it's a one trick pony. Love it or leave it.
Paul B.
 

Guy Miner

Master Loader
Apr 6, 2006
16,469
744
Good info Paul. Re the mystery of the 1:12 twist... Back when I was competing I had a 30" Krieger 308 barrel with a 1:13 twist, specifically for the 155 grain bullets used in Palma competition. I found that it shot 168's and 175's well too.

My 308 "Green Machine" has a 24" 1:12 Krieger, and has shot 180's just fine, though it's likely at it's best with 165/168 gr bullets.

Thanks for the input.

Regards, Guy
 

ShadeTree

Handloader
Mar 6, 2017
2,505
492
The 180 is a good bullet in the -06 Guy in my opinion. As is other weights. For me I'd be a little leery how hard a bullet I was using in that weight on smaller animals like whitetail. Good hits will have good results, rear lung might tend to be a little disappointing. I would think on heavier game like you hunt, take your pick. Plain old C&C to stouter bullets like the AccuBond, they should all work in that weight range.




HAWKEYESATX":1i2h6k1t said:
Here’s something I found a few weeks ago.
If you have older Partition bullets, and they’ve been sitting around a long time in your reloading area, and this goes for other cup and core bullets as well, the older they are, the more the jackets get harder, and the lead in the bullet gets softer, and the area closest to the cup can actually become like a powdery substance.
If you shoot an animal, eg.. deer on up to moose with those older bullets, expect bullet failure, up to explosive activity, and or core separation.
If you have bullets on your bench that are reaching 10, 15, or even 20 or more years older, it’s probably not a good idea to use them for hunting. Probably best used as target, or testing loads.


Hawk


Hawke, is true in my opinion that some of the old bullets can lose some integrity and get powdery, but it's not a blanket statement that age in and of itself affects them. You just have to test and verify what you got. I think it's more a matter of how they were stored, then age. I tend to distrust the boxes that look like they sat on a window shelf in sun for 15 yrs, but can't say in certain terms those all are bad either.

These bullets are every bit of 20 yrs old, maybe older. I know because I pulled them from reloads from an old gent, and he had them loaded by a co-worker when he was still working. Being round nose, they actually penetrated farther than what I expected even if new.

Edit, sorry Hawke, read my post in the link below, and realized I have my facts wrong. I tested out of 1 of the newer boxes, not the ones I pulled from the older gents reloads. Regardless, they're all older. Are in the long skinny boxes of Hornady, not the later more square boxes.


viewtopic.php?f=4&t=42319
 

filmjunkie4ever

Handloader
May 4, 2011
1,442
52
HAWKEYESATX":374a5m2y said:
The .30-06 military original military load was close to 180 grs, the 172 gr bullet. Going at a nominal 2700 fps.
Hawk

The original .30-06 load was a 150 grain bullet at 2700 fps.

Between the end of WWI and the adoption of the M1 Garand, a 172 grain long range load (at 2620 fps) was adopted as it functioned flawlessly in the 1903 Springfield.

Due to function issues in the Garand it was quickly abandoned as the standard service load and a 150 grain bullet load known as M2 was adopted for use through WWII.


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filmjunkie4ever

Handloader
May 4, 2011
1,442
52
Looking at a worldwide standpoint the 180 grain bullet is THE best all around choice in a .30-06 hunting rifle.

JB talks about the laundry list of animals that he and Eileen have killed with all the various different 180 grain bullets (going 2700 fps) and its quite impressive.

That being said here in North America, I don’t think you’d see much difference in performance on game between the 165 and 180 grain bullets. In my experience they both do about the same thing where terminal performance is concerned.

Where you will likely see a difference is in the wind drift at longer ranges (400 yards plus). Here the higher bc of the 180 truly comes into play. And you really don’t have to sacrifice much in the velocity department for the benefits of the higher bc, especially where the 180s catch up to and surpass (velocity wise) the 150s and 165s by about the 300 yard mark.

Whether you stick with 165s or switch to 180s is moot compared to upgrading your glass.

A Leupold VX3i in a 3.5-10 or 4.5-14 would pilot whichever bullet weight with equal efficacy to your 500 yard mark.


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