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200 gr bullets in a .30-06

29 Sep 2013
@ 11:07 pm (GMT)

Drew Pigott


I have been curious as to everyone's opinion on 200 gr bullets in a .30-06. I have been looking for a economical bullet with a high sectional density for use on elk, pigs and possibly smaller bears from close to around 300 yards.

Has anyone used the 200 gr Sierra GameKing in the .30-06? I didn't see any information on this bullet in the knowledgebase.

I emailed a gentleman a Sierra and he told me I was right on the money with the notion that a heavy and high SD bullet, coupled with .30-06 velocities would do the job well. The load data he sent me shows that it's possible to get nearly 2700 fps with a 24" barrel and that bullet, I thought that was pretty optimistic.

I guess what I'm getting to is a 200 gr GameKing going to be any better performing than a 180 gr SST within these parameters?

Thanks everyone!


30 Sep 2013
@ 12:19 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: 200 gr bullets in a .30-06
Hi Drew, your premise is entirely sound. That said, it is a rather complex subject.

When loading heavy and slow (2600fps being realistic), we need a bullet that is soft and fast expanding. But at the same time, a degree of jacket core integrity is useful on large animals. The Nosler Partition achieves this in spades but does not meet your budget criteria.

One of my concerns with the Gameking in general, is that the jacket is quite tough/thick. At the same time, the GK has no means of controlled expansion. So we tend to see results that range from one extreme to the other. If pushed fast and hard into bone, the GK fragments. In other words, the GK is in fully frangible at high velocities / heavy resistance. Yet as we reach out, the loss in velocity can cause limited expansion. In this instance, you may see a noticeable drop in performance below 2200fps. I personally do not like such wide extremes.

I quite often recommend the 208gr A-max in the .30-06 due to its very soft nature. Wounding is very uniform from zero to 800 yards when launched at 2600fps. But this is a truly frangible bullet at all ranges. Penetration is adequate for the game you mention. All that I am talking about here is expectations. Have a look at the wound data base to see what I mean, there are plenty of photos in this section of the site.

If you want to try the GK, go for it. As long as game weights are over 200lb and ranges not exceedingly long, you will find that this bullet will produce desirable results and meet your budget criteria.

As for max velocities, this really depends on your accuracy criteria. Extreme accuracy may be anywhere from 2550fps to 2650fps. But if basic MOA accuracy is all that is required, you may be able to push loads slightly faster depending on the individual rifle / case life etc.

If you know what to expect and understand how each bullet design works, your bullet cannot fail you. For example, if you know there is a risk of fragmentation with the GK at close range on heavy bone and this does indeed occur, the bullet will have performed to your expectations. Providing the bullet achieves a clean kill, it will not have let you down. The same can be said of delayed killing at extended ranges.

No surprises.

Delving into this subject a lot deeper with the current book. Am just about finished now.

Which ever way you go, please keep your camera handy.

30 Sep 2013
@ 11:21 pm (GMT)

Drew Pigott

Re: 200 gr bullets in a .30-06
Thanks for the quick reply. I can't wait for the next book.

I have been looking at the 200 grain partition for a while and I have heard nothing but good things about these bullets. They are an older design but there doesn't seem as if there are really any bullets better today overall considering their good qualities. I may have to try some irregardless of the price.

It may sound silly but my overall concern has been been having enough penetration to save my 'bacon' in case of an attack from a bear in the western US. I have a buddy that was an elk guild after college for several years an has some hair raising stories.

I am going to give the 200 grain GameKings a try and hopefully go for around 26-2650 fps. I think coupled with the added SD an fragmenting ability they should do everything I could ask for.

I'll keep my camera handy. Should get some pictures of 150 grain SST's (got the 06' going at 3060 fps) this fall for you in whitetail an possibly a pig.
01 Oct 2013
@ 03:10 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: 200 gr bullets in a .30-06
Sounds good Drew and thanks in advance for any photos, really appreciate it.


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