Pre 64 Winchester Mod 70 - image Icollector

One load for his .30-06

Q: The only rifle I own and ever expect to own is an old pre-64 Model 70 Winchester in .30-06 which I inherited when my uncle died a few years ago. Being tied up with work, I didn’t get the chance to use it much – maybe two or three deer hunts every year – but having retired, I intend doing as much hunting as possible. I’m also starting out to reload.

I know there’s a real smorgasbord of .30 calibre bullets to choose from, but I think it’s silly to fool about with different bullets and different points of impact and intend to use the 150gn bullet for everything from ferals to all of our deer species. What do you think of this idea? Does the 150gn bullet have enough energy at long range? What bullet or bullets and powder should I buy?

Kevin Anderson


A: I think you are being sensible not wanting to load half a dozen different bullet weights. Bullets weighing 150 grains can be used in the .30-06 for deer sized game in open country where shots are likely to come at distances beyond 200 metres.

All you have to do is match the construction of the bullet to the size of the game you are pursuing. Most 150gn .30 calibre bullets are constructed with jackets thin enough to expand on deer-sized game yet will hold together well enough to break the relatively small, fragile bones of these animals and penetrate deeply enough to wreck vital organs. Since the 150gn bullet can be driven from the .30-06 at close to 3000fps affording a good,flat trajectory for long range shooting. Forget about the residual energy of this bullet weight as compared to others in the .30-06. Bullet energy means little in the hunting field.

Of far greater importance are penetration, expansion and the size of wound channel the bullet creates. While I’d recommend a standard design like the Hornady Interlock or Speer spitzer for most deer species, I’d go to the Barnes MRX for sambar. If you are a good careful stalker and cool calm marksman, you’ll do just fine with 150gn bullets in your .30-06.My powder of choice is AR2209 Try and work up to 62gn of AR2209 behind most 150gn bullets and drop back to 60gn with the Barnes MRX. That should produce the desired 3000fps in the 610mm barrel of your old pre-64 Model 70. Don’t believe what you hear about the .30-06 being borderline for sambar.

A few years ago I gave a guy a 180gn load for his .30-06 and he used it to bag two giant Kamchatka brown bears, each with a single shot.




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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.