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Best Woods Hammer 30-06 Load

28 Jun 2017
@ 09:53 am (GMT)

Luke Lahdenranta

I have an older Remington pump 30-06 that seems to be perpetually looking for a job to do in my gun safe. My primary hunting rifles are a Tikka 30-06, 243 and Marlin 30-30. So I have most of the bases already covered, but since the rifle is my father's I would never get rid of it but I would like to take it and hunt with it more often. I think with a real good 'woods hammer' load would make it a fun alternative to the 30-30 (and hit with much more authority) and it could stand in for bear protection duties sometimes too or come along on elk/moose hunts.

So with the following criteria, game weights around 160-700 lb or so typically deer through elk class at woods ranges out to max of say 150-200 yards, what's your pick for a best or at least very good woods hammer load? The rifle is currently sighted in with Remington 180 core lokt factory loads with okay ~1.75" @ 100 yards accuracy.

A couple options from what I have right now.

1. Hornady 208 gr ELD-M. I'm working with this right now in my main 30-06 as a general purpose load. I can get it to fit in the rather short box magazine by clipping off the plastic tip, I don't think it would affect BC enough to notice at woods ranges. But I haven't taken any game with this bullet yet and I'm not sure if it would work as a dedicated woods bullet? Maybe a bit too delicate? I would appreciate any feedback on this bullet at close range impacts. It is of course great at range.

2. I have some Sierra 180 gr Pro Hunter RN, no doubt a good woods load could be assembled with these bullets.

3. Maybe something else?

I would love to get a hold of some of the Norma Vulkans to try out, but they seem to pretty scarce here currently and I don't know if I will ever get to try them out. But failing that what's your pick for a real top notch woods load for a 30-06?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.


28 Jun 2017
@ 10:32 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Best Woods Hammer 30-06 Load
Hi Luke, I have been really enjoying using the 200gr ELD-X. It runs a bit shorter than the M which you could also use and would be fine to several hundred yards with a tip cut. But the X is a good bush pill and it hits hard, is fairly forgiving of shot placement and is not sensitive to velocity, so no need to chase speeds. So for the sake of playing, add that to your list of possibles. The heavier X bullets simply offer greater penetration via the combo of increased SD but with reduced impact velocity. Each are effective. Velocity cut off points are listed in Cartridges book 2, though I doubt you will run into such issues at woods ranges.

There are certainly many ways to go here. Another one is the 170gr Partition flat point. Will go an easy 2700fps in the pump. I managed to pick some of these up again when they were on special in Vegas. Or for larger animals, the 200gr Partition. Your Prohunter RN is another nice bullet to work with. The list goes on.

Certainly a great cartridge to play with, whether creating bush or open country loads.
28 Jun 2017
@ 05:49 pm (GMT)

Luke Lahdenranta

Re: Best Woods Hammer 30-06 Load
Thanks for the reply. I always seem to forget the ELD-X as a woods option, I will have to keep it in mind too. I do also have some Sierra 200 gr Game kings, maybe they could be pressed into service as a bush bullet too, comparable to the ELD-X in performance at closer ranges and game weights?

What about the 208 gr M bullet, at close bush ranges on medium to heavier game would I be giving up a lot of penetration over a conventional soft point like the Sierra 180 gr RN? If I could just run the 208 for near and far, big and small it certainly does clean up the logistics a bit. But I'm not wedded to having to use it for dedicated Bush use as well, I can dual load as well. It is fun to play around with different options too! Gets me more time at the range :)


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