Sako 85 Hunter (Bavarian)

Wants Loads For His .30-06

Nosler 168gn .30 Calibre E-Tip
Nosler 168gn .30 Calibre E-Tip

Q: This is my first time writing to you, but I appreciate your time and input into the magazine over the years, There was a time when my family and their sporting comittments had me put my hunting on the backburner for a period of time. I am now enjoying rejuvenated interest in hunting and have purchased a Sako 85 in .30-06 calibre. I have done very little reloading over the years (only 12ga.) and want to start reloading for the .30-06 as I tend to go through a few cartridges at the range. Can you provide me with recommended loading data for my rifle? Which powder, projectiles and primers to use. I am hunting allthe different species of deer plus pigs and perhaps the odd scrub bull. Currently, I’m chasing sambar in my home state, but yet to bag one. I’ve been using Sako factory ammo – 165gn Game Head Pro (Tipped GameKing) rated at 2905fps which has given good results on red deer at around 150 metres, I want to stick to just one load instead of experimenting with different loads. Do I need to step up to 150gn projectiles? I understand that for scrub bulls I need a 180gn projectile, Is the same powder suitable for different weight projectiles?
Ian Skiller

Sako 85 Hunter (Bavarian)
Sako 85 Hunter (Bavarian)

A: The Sako 85 is a fine rifle and renowned for its accuracy and performance. I have gained the best results in my own .30-06 rifles with AR2209 which is easily obtainable. For pigs, goats and all species of deer you could use a good 150gn bullet and 56gn of AR2209 for about 3000fps. For scrub bulls and sambar I recommend a stout 180gn bullet and 56gn of AR2209 for about 2750fps. I’ve simplified things for you by recommending only one powder – AR2209. If you would prefer to use one bullet for everything, the the tough Nosler 168gn E-Tip driven at 2800fps with 56gn of AR2209 would be a good all-around load.




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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.