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30-06 Ammo Setup for Elk

MtnElk

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I realize this opens a can of worms, but going to use this collective knowledge base and see if it helps. I have a Savage Timberline 110 Lefty .30-06. I love it. Shoots great. Shoots especially great with Federal Fusion 180 grain (100y for now, outdoor ranges near me just opened, planning to re-calibrate at 200). Oddly enough, that ammo was more easily available in my area.

But if one were to research said ammo, you get a lot of concerns about its ability to take em down (focusing on elk here) and a few comments that say it does the job just fine. I've shot four different types of ammo for no less than 20 shots of each, and about 120+ rounds of the Federal Fusion 180 grain. It's not even a competition that the FF180 is far more accurate, even more accurate than far more expensive ammo.

Am I crazy to stop trying out different types of supposedly more capable ammo and just focus on the fact that my rifle seems to love FF180? I also don't plan on taking shots beyond 350.

and go... feel free to pick this apart, here to learn!
 

OntarioHunter

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I agree, 180 grain in anything but FMJ or match bullets should kill an elk. I have stepped down to 165 for mule deer and African plains game just for a little more range. For decades I hunted elk and moose tracking them in snow so shots were usually fairly close. 180 gr cup-and-core worked well for that but I did experiment with 190 gr towards the end (bullet no longer made by Hornady).

Don't try to fix what isn't broken.
 

oxn939

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I realize this opens a can of worms, but going to use this collective knowledge base and see if it helps. I have a Savage Timberline 110 Lefty .30-06. I love it. Shoots great. Shoots especially great with Federal Fusion 180 grain


I also don't plan on taking shots beyond 350.

You are set and a half. I killed my first elk in MT with the same bullet out of a .300 WSM; took about five steps and tipped over.

If you're a "400 and in" kinda guy, like myself, you may consider looking at copper monos such as the Nosler E Tip or Barnes VOR TX. More consistent expansion, no toxic metal fragments in your food or the food chain, usually shoot quite well.
 

Beignet

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My Savage ‘06 loves the cheap lead too. 180g Core Lokt through that gun makes me think I’m good at shooting. Pricier lead factory loads just didn’t produce the same results at the range I could get from Core Lokt. That cheap stuff has killed animals plenty dead every time I’ve shot something with it.

Decided to switch to copper this year and it took a bit of me$$ing around to find what the gun likes (not Barnes so much). Someone on here sold me some 165g Federal Trophy Copper that worked very well. Just hoping that Federal starts making rounds with that bullet weight again soon.

I’m sure you can search around and find more info, but if you do switch to copper the consensus seems to be to drop down in weight from what you shoot well in lead.
 

MtnElk

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My Savage ‘06 loves the cheap lead too. 180g Core Lokt through that gun makes me think I’m good at shooting. Pricier lead factory loads just didn’t produce the same results at the range I could get from Core Lokt. That cheap stuff has killed animals plenty dead every time I’ve shot something with it.

Decided to switch to copper this year and it took a bit of me$$ing around to find what the gun likes (not Barnes so much). Someone on here sold me some 165g Federal Trophy Copper that worked very well. Just hoping that Federal starts making rounds with that bullet weight again soon.

I’m sure you can search around and find more info, but if you do switch to copper the consensus seems to be to drop down in weight from what you shoot well in lead.
I'll have to look that up... that might explain why the Fed Premium Trophy Copper 180 was all over the place.
 

wllm

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I'll have to look that up... that might explain why the Fed Premium Trophy Copper 180 was all over the place.
You should look up the twist rate for barrel, it’s possible you have a 1 in 11 which works for the fusion but for the copper which are longer you need a 1 in 10.
 
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JF35

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I killed a Rosi elk up in Oregon years ago with a Savage 110 in 30-06 180g bullet at 360 yards across a canyon at last light. Hit him solid all four shots. The first shot plugged him right through the boiler room and 3 more followed because he just stood there sucking them up. He then took a step and crashed. I do roll my own if you know what I mean but 30-06 is plenty of gun.
 

Beignet

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You should look up the twist rate for barrel, it’s possible you have a 1 in 11 which works for the fusion but for the copper which are longer you need a 1 in 10.
Salvage does their ‘06’s in 1:10. Or, has for as long as I’ve paid attention anyway (not terribly long).
 

wllm

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Salvage does their ‘06’s in 1:10. Or, has for as long as I’ve paid attention anyway (not terribly long).

1 in 10 should work, but I would check what the federal coppers need.

My 181 shock hammers, I believe, are shorter.

Anyway point being sometimes you can’t just shoot a heavier bullet in your gun.

180 grain fusions seem fine in my mind for elk.
 

buffybr

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My first centerfire rifle was a .30-06. I had no problem killing 7 bulls and 1 cow elk with it using 150 and 180 grain Sierra and Hornady cup and core bullets until I rechambered it to .30 Gibbs, just because I liked the looks of the Gibbs case. With the extra velocity of the .30 Gibbs I switched to 180 grain Nosler Partition bullets and they put another 21 elk in my freezer. I don't think that I've ever killed an elk at over 300 yards.
 

MtnElk

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alright... returning to this thread and its contributors to tap into much smarter minds than myself (@Backofbeyond, @OntarioHunter, @wllm, @VikingsGuy, @Beignet etc). Since removing the muzzle break on my rifle, suddenly the more expensive Federal Trophy Copper 180 grain that I have is now more accurate through my barrel. Below are separate dates / targets (so as to avoid a confirmation bias of one day) where the yellow highlighter is the trophy copper 180 grain and the circled holes are the Federal Fusion 180 grain. Prior to taking off the muzzle break, the Trophy Copper was ALL OVER the place.

Which brings me to my two questions:

1. For those with far more ballistic / rifle / ammo knowledge than me, is there an explanation for why the copper would be more accurate post removal of the muzzle break?

2. Am I correct to assume that all accuracy held equal, it is now smarter to hunt with the Copper vs Lead? For health, power, etc reasons?

The goods news is that I've never felt more confident in my rifle. The bad news is I can't seem to find the copper loads anywhere on the inter webs, but have found it in a store in Indy, IN... which I live no where near haha. So if you live near Indy and want to help a hunt talker out, let me know.

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