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I have been deer hunting with a .25-06 for a number of years and love it. Mostly I have used 117 - 119 grain factory loads because I don't shoot a rifle enough to reload.

As awesome as the 25-06 is, my question is: is it possible to make a 30-06 cartridge with a low grain bullet weight such as 100 - 125 grains? The lowest weight bullets I see for 30-06 are about 150 grains.

Hypothetically, if it is possible, would there be a ballistic advantage or disadvantage over the 25-06 or other sub-30 caliber cartridge? I would suppose there would have to be some compromise of bullet integrity (e.g., mushrooming) to make a 30 cal lighter. But I'd imagine such a bullet would arrive at the target in a big hurry with a pretty bad temper.

I see a practical advantage if one were to hunt different types of game, such as hunting Mulies or antelope with the lighter bullets, and having the ability to change to a heavier 150 -180 grain for Elk, moose or black bear. With the choice in bullet weights, only 1 rifle is needed.

How about you rifle experts weigh in on this. I'm curious to hear your opinions.

shoot well
 

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You can load sabot with a smaller caliber bullet in the .30-06 or you can load lighter bullets down to around 100 gn.

Click above link and cut-n-paste this link;

http://www.reloadammo.com/3006load.htm

Don T
 

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You will lose out on the light bullet '06. Keep your flat shooting 25/06 and continue harvesting game at long range with it.

The '06 needs heavier bullets to have good long range ballistics and game anchoring performance. The lighter bullets are not as aerodynamically efficient and shed velocity quickly, with the inevitable rainbow trajectory at range.

I prefer the 165 gr boat tail spire point for all my 30/06 game chores.
 

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Barnes makes a great 130 grain TSX .308" bullet that works fantastic on deer sized game. It's all I use anymore for deer. The lighter lead core bullets just don't perform like the Barnes.
 

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Yes bullets are available in .30 caliber in the 110 to 130 grain range intended for varmints up to light big game, the only 100 grainers I'm aware of are advertised as "plinkers". OTOH, on this light end of the weights you're better off staying with the .25-06 as by comparison bullets of the same weight and started at the same muzzle velocity will have higher sectional density and ballistic coeficient resulting in better velocity retention and flatter trajectory.
 

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Shooting Coach, Old Cowboy n I are in agreement.

A lot of things you can do and they will work. But doing it the right way and they work a whole lot better.
 

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Not to change the subject, but which is better, the 25-06 or the 257 weatherby?

Just asking.

Rick in MT
 

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Rick: Both are excellent long range medium game cartridges. If you are having trouble deciding between the two, start by looking at what rifles each is available in. After that, do you plan to handload, or rely on factory ammo? The Weatherby ammo can be pricey. -Ed
 

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The 25-06 is just a necked down 30-06. The 25-06 is one of my favorite rounds. I wouldn't change if all you're hunting is deer.
I have some 110gr I tried in a 30-06 that wouldn't group at all. I loaded a bunch of 180gr 300 win mag for an elk trip once and had some leftover 300mag cases and thought what the heck and loaded 20 110gr spire points. If I remember right they were around 3900 fps through the chronograph. I couldn't believe how well they shot. At 200 yards you could cover all 20 rounds with a Skoal can lid. They weren't supposed to shoot that well but they did. That was through my cheap Weatherby VGX. One of the best rifles I've ever owned. Larry
 

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Yes you can load lighter bullets in a 30-06. But they are NOT going to do as well at longer ranges.

The 110 to 130 grainers do well on coyotes, and are flat shooting at close to moderate ranges. But at long range their sectional density and ballistic coefficient, being less than that of a 150 grainer, works against them.

So there is a limit to how far you can shoot before the heavier bullets work better. You need to carefully check ballistics charts for this.

This is why the 257 Roberts and 25-06 came about. To have a smaller diameter bullet be able to shoot flatter to a further range than a light bullet from a 30-06. The smaller diameter simply has less air friction.
 

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My favorite bullet in the 30-06 just happens to be a 125 gr. Sierra. Groups within 1" and kills Whitetails with authority. Lighter recoil too. What's not to like??
 

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Rick in MT, quote: <i>"Not to change the subject, but which is better, the 25-06 or the 257 weatherby?"</i>

Depends. All cartridges are a compromise. You gain something and you lose something.

The 25-06 at one time had detractors who correctly pointed out that for all the extra powder it used, it gave velocities that were only a bit better than the 257 Roberts. This was because of the lack of really slow powders back in the day.

With modern slow powders, the 25-06 can now utilize the larger case and today does have significant velocity increase over the 257 Roberts.

But this comes at the expense of recoil, muzzle blast, and needing a longer barrel than the 257 Roberts to burn that powder. A 257 Roberts will work with barrel lengths of 22" to 24". A 26-06 is pretty much worthless if the barrel is less than 26". My 25-06 has a 30" barrel and works quite well (it's a Browning 1885 Single Shot, so it's overall length is about the same as a bolt gun with a 26" barrel).

Ever hear of the term "overbore"? PO Ackley used it to describe the point where case capacity no longer provided any significant increase in velocity. The 25-06 was considered overbore until modern slow powders came out, and it is overbore in anything shorter than a 26" barrel. Further, overbore cartridges also suffer more from throat erosion, as more powder is blown into the throat, causing a sand blast effect along with flame jet cutting. A 257 Roberts barrel is generally going to outlast a 25-96 barrel.

So now look at the 257 Weatherby. It has the same issues as the 25-06, only amplified. It needs a larger case for more powder to get any significant increase. Muzzle blast and recoil are increased. So is throat erosion. But if your mantra is Velocity is King and nothing else matters, not even high cost of ammo, then hell yeah, the 257 Weatherby is what you want. It's like buying a race car and using it as a daily driver to commute. Expensive and a pain in the, well for the Weatherby the shoulder, but if performance is all you care about, yeah. Frankly, if I was going on a once in a lifetime hunting trip for Oregon bighorn sheep, which has a lottery draw for a tag and you get one tag only for life whether you get a sheep or not, then absolutely I'd be looking at a 257 Weatherby even if I had to sell it later. Otherwise, the 25-06 would do better.

BTW, speaking of case design, ever hear of the 25-284? It's the 284 case necked down to 257. Case capacity is so close to the 25-06 that reloading charts are pretty much interchangeable. Where the design differs is in the case styles. The 25-06 is a long skinny case. The 25-284 is a shorter, fatter case. This makes a big difference in how the powder is burned, and the 25-284 can effectively use faster powders than the 25-06 and can get away with a 24" barrel. The 25-06 was designed before any real work was done on case design vs terminal results, barrel length and powders.

And one last thing... The 243 Win and especially the 6mm Rem compare quite favorably against the 25-06 in several areas. Of course they have less performance. But they also have less recoil, less muzzle blast, longer barrel life, use less powder, are cheaper to reload, and the guns are handier and lighter because the actions and barrels are shorter. What was said about the 257 Weatherby vs the 25-06 is similar to the argument about the 243 or 6mm vs the 25-06. Sure the 25-06 outperforms them, but at what cost?

As I said, I own a 25-06. and it's a damn fine rifle and cartridge. I bought it mainly to use as a long range coyote destroyer. And it exceeds at that. I don't have to hold off fur out to 300 yards with 100 grainers from the 30" barrel. But I've also shot a doe at a laser measured distance of 364 yards, put the bullet exactly where I was aiming, but the doe walked off and had to be hunted down and finished off. Why? Because bullet choice is CRITICAL for the 25-06. The 100 grain pointed Cor-Lokt Remington bullet I was using has a heavy jacket. This is so it doesn't blow up hitting something at 100 yards. But at 364 yards it did not expand, and went just behind the front leg, through a lung, through the liver, and out the opposite rear haunch. The bullet did not expand whatsoever. It was like I took a long 1/4" drill rod and drilled through her. The liver was not even damaged and could be eaten right up to the bullet hole. Totally wrong bullet for distance. We've found since that the ballistic tip style bullets work much better on big game at long range, but the flip side is they destroy meat at close range. And speaking of destroying coyotes, at close range the 25-06 is sheer overkill. It can and will blow a coyote in two, and if you're close enough you risk getting wet. But if you want to reach out in open country and whack coyotes or shoot antelope, the 25-06 and 257 Weatherby are your cartridges, *IF* you use the right bullet.

Having said all that, frankly I'd probably be a lot happier with a 270 as it truly will substitute for both the 25-06 and the 30-06 for anything in the lower 48. But that's another topic.
 

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The 30-06 with 125 Nosler Ballistc tips is a great long range deer killer ...but very rarely can you just switch to a heavier bullet at an opportune moment.....how many times do you switch from deer to say elk??...25.06s with heavy Nosler Partitions will take anything deer to elk and can still use very light for coyotes.....for that 30-06 150s may start slower than the heavy 25-06s but will carry more energy way further..shoot just as flat and wont mess up meat or hides as bas as the lighter gun either....I think you should sell the 25-06 and get a 270 or 280..best of both worlds..I have a 280 Ackley Imp...and love it...7mm Mag performance with way less powder and easier to turn down when you don't need put the max whump on them...plus it needs no scope POI adjustment when I load 120s and 160s..just seems to work out like that
 

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You can load the 30-06 down to 30-30/300 Savage velocity's using blue dot or 4759 powders. Your bullet choices should be the lighter jacket thickness bullets made for the 30-30 and include the Hornady 160gr FTX bullet for the 30-30. Taking this approach should duplicate Remingtons "managed recoil loads".

I have always considered the 30-06 more power than is necessary for short range
deer hunting and loading the cartridge down to below 2500 feet per second saves on the shoulder and your intended quarry will never know your are shooting a 30-06 or a 30-30.

Scoutmaster
 

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Brian, the bullet choice remarks are spot on. I was a callow youth with a Savge 99 in 300 Savage, planted a hard ass 180 round nose in a nice buck. After walking a half mile I found my deer on the ground, tagged and being field dressed by another hunter.

Lesson learned. I have a 257 Roberts in my safe that is the house meat gun. More sausage and steaks came from that rifle than all the others. Much of the success is the 117 grain pills that put all the energy into the animal.

Buuuuuuuut.....I have my eyes on a .257 AI My friend's widow has, and it's coming to my house this year.

The 257 AI is just about the most efficient round for delivering energy per grain of powder. Had the Weatherby, too much flash and roar. Also did not care for hauling a big shiny Mark V around the Wisconsin woods. Never had a 25-06 but suspect the same thing.

Wisconsin is the perfect territory for the Bob, most deer are killed at less than a hundred yards, except for the open field guys sitting in their stilt houses.

Wisconsin is full of overgunned hunters (270/30-06 and above), I feel that anything more than a .308 is too much gun for the job in the woods, other than special situations.

Most hunters with modern calibers do not pay enough attention to choosing the correct bullet in my area. But you would be surprised at how many of the older low velocity rounds put the deer DRT.

HM
 

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One place where the .257WBY has an edge on the .25-06REM is in bullet choices. Yes, they both can use the same ones but most .25-06s - at least the Remington Model 700s I use - have a rifling twist that is too slow for bullets over 95 grains to shoot with sufficient accuracy. I say "sufficient" because my standard for any rifle is holes in the target that touch or almost do so the amount of mechanical error is reduced as much as possible, leaving just my human errors to be accounted for.

I have three .25-06s and had two others; none of them will/would shoot well with 100 grain or heavier bullets. I've tried over 500 combinations of powder and bullet with them, some more than once. But they love 90-grain Sierra GameKings over 51.5 grains of IMR4007SSC at 3,303fps. On the other hand, my Model 700 in .257WBY will put three 115-grain Berger VLDs over 73.5 grains of H1000 at 3,348fps into nice little cloverleaf groups because the rifling twist is faster.

I for years have been and remain a huge 6mm fan and have several rifles each in .243WIN, .243AI and 6mmREM but since I got an engraved stainless Model 700 BDL/DM with a 24" barrel in .260REM seven years ago, I have become enamored with that caliber and I'm thinking a 6.5-284AI might be my next sporter-weight rifle.

Isn't it great that we have so many almost equally-good choices?

Ed
 

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Halfmile, interesting re: 257 Roberts Ackley Improved, because Ackley said the that it was the ideal case capacity for the 257 bore. Frankly, the 25-06 is at the threshold of what we would now call a magnum.

And your comments on overgunned hunters is spot on. I've used 45-70 for deer, but that's not overgunned in heavy brush. The ones who are overgunned are those with magnumitus, especially for western Oregon deer. Far too many hunters have blamed lack of power on their 30-06 instead of their poor marksmanship, fell for the latest pablum from gun magazine writers, and went out and bought a brand new .300 Loudenboomer Magnum and fired it for the first time at public sight in days at the local range two weeks before deer season. Then flinch badly every time they light it off. If Joe Magnum managed to hit a deer with it, especially at close range, he finds the deer has a huge amount of wasted meat and the far side leg blown off. If he'd only practiced with his 30-06 during the year he might have found he didn't need a magnum. Spend some time around hunters and it's amazing how many buy into the magnum hype.

Where magnums belong are for flat shooting at long range in open country, or for driving big, heavy bullets deep into large game in difficult terrain and anchoring it right there. Mule deer or antelope that are not easily approached in prairie conditions is one use for the former, and making an elk DRT in heavy mahogany thickets in the mountains of far eastern Oregon with a very heavy bullet is the other. Though the latter was exactly the kind of hunting a friend of mine used a hot loaded Marlin 45-70 for. Worked as well as a magnum and did not destroy meat. But he was able to get close to the elk.

Ed, my 25-06 does not care for heavier bullets. I've tried various 115 to 117 grainers and the groups open up. The bullets are not keyholing, but they aren't making a decent group. They're good enough to take a deer at close range, but the group size precludes long range. But 100 grainers make 1" and better groups depending on the ammo. I suspect the twist is a bit on the slow side, but not slow enough to keyhole. But, it could be barrel harmonics too, considering the barrel is 30" long. The 100 grainers may be hitting the node perfectly while the 115-117 grainers aren't.
 

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I am a trapshooter and I readily admit that I don't know anything about the science of rifle shooting although I have hunted deer for over 50 years. I have 2 big game rifles and both are older Ruger Model 77's with Leopold 2 1/2 to 8 scopes. A 270 and a 7 MM Mag which I inherited when a good friend passed away. Where do these calibers fit in this discussion ? I have killed a couple of big mule deer with the 7 MM but would much rather carry the 270 because it is lighter and does not seem like overkill on deer. I will probably give the 7 MM to my son-in-law because at my age another Elk Hunt does not seem realistic. I heard something about ballistic coefficient being ideal with the 270 and 7 MM but I don't understand this, could someone briefly explain. I hunt deer on the prairie and occasional antelope if I get drawn for a tag.
 
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