Best powder for 30.06 and maybe 1 other....

Best powder for 30.06 and maybe 1 other....

This is a discussion on Best powder for 30.06 and maybe 1 other.... within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; OK, now that I've got the handgun powder sorted out for awhile...at least for as long as it takes to go through a pound of ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Dadsnugun's Avatar
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    Best powder for 30.06 and maybe 1 other....

    OK, now that I've got the handgun powder sorted out for awhile...at least for as long as it takes to go through a pound of Titegroup and decide whether I like it as much as HP38 and/or Universal...which powder would you all recommend for 30.06 with possible use in .223/5.56 as well, but am kind of undecided on the latter due to my single stage operation and being unsure whether or not it would really be that cost effective to load for it when I've found some decent prices on factory ammo lately, and have built a small stockpile.

    I know almost zero about loading for rifles, and all that I really want to do is to replenish what I shoot, so that I have around 100 rounds for my .06 at any given time. The ammo I have now has 180g bullets on it but I'm not married to that...in general, though, I do prefer heavier bullets over light.
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  2. #2
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    I've handloaded a great, huge pile of .30-06 over many years time, enjoying continual experimentation with the cartridge at the loading bench, at the range and in the deer woods. It's my very favorite rifle cartridge of all.

    While I like IMR 4831 best of all for bullet weights of 180 grains to 220 grains when used the the .30-06, I could grow old and be happy just being stuck with any one of the following in no particular order. IMR 3031, IMR 4895, IMR 4064, and IMR 4320. Of course any other brand of propellant powder that falls within the burning rate range of these four mentioned would also be a really fine choice. Such powders also give proper function in the M1 rifle which is important to me. Powders with slower burning rates are reserved for use in my bolt-action .30-06 rifles.

    I've loaded more IMR 4895 than any other powder in the .30-06 for use in ammunition made up for high-power rifle competition. I've also had great luck with IMR 4895 in my AR 15, using bullets of 50 grain to 60 grain weight in its 1 in 12" twist barrel.

    If I was planning to use only a single powder for loading both cartridges I'd probably choose IMR 3031. It works great with 150 grain bullets in the .30-06, decent with heavier .30 caliber bullets and and it works well with bullets in the medium to heavy range in the .223. Gives good velocity performance over the chronograph screens with lighter .30 bullets, decent useful velocities with heavier .30 caliber bullets, and good velocity performance with the medium/heavy .223 bullets along with reliable function in an AR 15.

    Here's a link to a handy burning rate chart.
    Powder Burn Rates

    Here's an ancient post on the .30-06 that I originally wrote up for an earlier, now defunct firearms forum. It was several years old when I stuck it up here on DC four years ago.
    Cartridge Discussion: The .30-06
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society

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  3. #3
    Senior Member Array Dadsnugun's Avatar
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    Thanks bmcgilvray! Just the kind of post I was looking for. I'll explore your suggestions and check out the links. Looks like I've got some homework to do!
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    Dads, I think it's time to plunk down some change on a couple of loading manuals. There are just SO many variables to consider, and a whale of a lot more powders to choose from for loading rifle rounds. But believe me, I recognize the thought process - "Which one powder will cover all my reloading needs?" If you had to pick just one loading manual, I'd recommend the Lyman 49th edition. Second choice would be Modern Reloading, 2nd Edition, by Richard Lee. These are both more than just pages full of recipes - they are well-written with a good introductory paragraph or two for each caliber listed. Also, unlike the Hornady manual, they aren't biased toward their own components since they make tools, not components. I also heartily recommend reading the numerous chapters in the front part of each book to get you re-sensitized to which operations and components are most critical in reloading.

    Lastly, just a caution that with rifle calibers, the stakes are a lot higher than with reloading handgun cartridges, not only because the case pressures are higher, the powder charges are many times higher - for example, 25-30 grains of powder for a low-pressure round like the .30-30 vs 5-6 grains for a .45 ACP. Mistakes will have more serious consequences.
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  5. #5
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    I'm with you Dadsnugun, on liking heavier bullets in the .30-06. They retain more energy down range and are the best choice for competition at 600 yards or farther.

    For hunting, at least here in Texas where the whitetail deer are small and light, the heavier bullets take them down with a bit less damage. I really view the .30-06 as a bit much for deer hunting around here. A Sierra 150 grain spitzer boat tail or a Remington 150 grain Core-Lokt spitzer wound tight to around 3000 fps in a good hand load sometimes spreads a lot of deer particles to the four winds. Such destruction is wasteful to good meat and unnecessary to effectively put them down so I generally use 180 grain bullets. The old Sierra 180 grain flat-based spitzer is a special favorite fired out of a Winchester Model 70 bolt gun.

    Took my eldest son on his first deer hunt when he was eleven. He used a .220 Swift to take a fat doe. Distance was 136 steps from the stand. Another doe blithely ignored the sound of the shot and the instantaneous collapse of my son's doe from a perfect shot placement so I administered a 150 grain Remington to her, placing the bullet in the same spot where my son hit the first doe. She also collapsed in a heap.

    When we stepped off the distance as we approached our downed deer, mine was only 6 steps beyond his. He surveyed the scene and as I began field dressing, stating that he thought the .220 Swift was better for him than the .30-06 would be because it didn't "mess them up" so much. The speedy 55 grain Swift bullet didn't exit at all, making a tiny entrance hole and effectively scrambling up the vitals. The .30-06 had left a wide fan-shaped spray of blood, lung tissue, and bits on the broomweeds for up to 20 yards behind the deer.

    Considering that both deer collapsed where they stood, he may have had a point.
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society

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  6. #6
    Senior Member Array Dadsnugun's Avatar
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    Thanks gasmitty, I've got a Lyman 47th and a Speer 12th that I really need to look over again, especially in regards to rifle loading, as I've only made 20 .308 rounds total, in my life, as far as loading for rifle...I'm not even certain that I shot the ones that I made ...I kind of think they're sitting in my "stuff" pile out in the garage..good advice though, I know it's a bit different for rifle and I'll sure be re-familiarizing myself with the process before I dive in!

    ETA:... Manuals are great for covering the basics, and for putting a bunch of different loads and powders in front of a guy, but if one's not that experienced, and needs a starting place based on certain parameters, that's where asking for, and listening to the opinions/experience of guys like you and bmcgilvray comes in real handy for guys like me.
    Last edited by Dadsnugun; January 29th, 2012 at 04:14 PM.
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  7. #7
    Member Array Bear2's Avatar
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    I use IMR 4350 for all my rifles; 243, 7mm Mag, 30.06, & 338 W.M. Great accuracy and near max performance with medium to heavy bullet weights.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Array Dadsnugun's Avatar
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    Holy smokes!?!?....IMR 4350, IMR 4831, IMR 3031, IMR 4895, IMR 4064, IMR 4895 and IMR 4320....7 recommendations from 2 folks for 1 caliber...yikes...I can see I'm going to have to do a lot more thinking about what I actually want to accomplish with this round...doesn't sound like I can just jam a LSWC on top of a few grains of HP38 and let 'er rip...

    ...I guess one of the important factors to me is long-range accuracy, not for competition, I just find it entertaining to shoot for distance. I shoot with a bolt action Weatherby Vanguard, an economy rifle for sure, but it works for me. It'll be a little while before I start messing with this seriously, though, I don't shoot rifle in the wintertime. I don't even have any .06 dies yet. I've been thinking about trying to trade my .308 dies for 30.06 in the classifieds here. I got rid of my .308 years ago.
    Never pick a fight with an old man...If he's too old to fight, he'll just kill you - John Steinbeck
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  9. #9
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    I used 4064 behind Sierra 165 spiral point boat tails with great success on everything from ground squirrels (overkill) to AK caribou at ranges up to 300+ yards. It easily produces under 1" groups in my Rem 700. Others worked wll, but 4064 did all I asked of it.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Array Dadsnugun's Avatar
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    Thanks OldVet, another vote for 4064 .
    Never pick a fight with an old man...If he's too old to fight, he'll just kill you - John Steinbeck
    Come to Colorado...the governor is loopy
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  11. #11
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    I also am a fan of 4064 and 4831, from IMR. I could get along just fine with either of these for 3006 or 270.

    For anything below 25 caliber, I want H335. So you can pretty much get by with two powders for a wide array of calibers and keep it simple.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Array Dadsnugun's Avatar
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    Thanks Gman, what's the reasoning for your switch at 25 caliber? I'm all for keeping it simple!


    ETA....I see, looks like it was designed specifically for standard AR rounds, which would be the other cartridge I would load for in rifle.
    Never pick a fight with an old man...If he's too old to fight, he'll just kill you - John Steinbeck
    Come to Colorado...the governor is loopy
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  13. #13
    Distinguished Member Array coffeecup's Avatar
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    Use the powder that gives you the best accuracy with the bullets you choose in the rifle you choose at the velocity you choose. Case closed !

  14. #14
    Distinguished Member Array Elk Hunter's Avatar
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    Imr 4831

  15. #15
    Senior Member Array Dadsnugun's Avatar
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    bmcgilvray Just finished reading the 30.06 thread that you linked to, I enjoyed it quite a bit. I think I've decided to buy a pound of IMR 4895 and a variety of bullets from 150g to 180g and just shoot it til it's gone. That should tell me if I need to look further, but I kind of doubt that I will from looking over your data. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with this venerable cartridge. I enjoyed your hunting story too. 4831 would probably be the next in line.
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