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30-06 Springfield - .308 or .309 bullets?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by JackThompson, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. JackThompson

    JackThompson Valley of the Demons Well-Known Member

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    So I'm working on gathering my reloading supplies, and I've seen recipes for 30-06 ammo using .308 and .309 bullets.

    Which ones do I want to use if I don't want to mess with resizing my bullets?

    I'm reloading for a British Parker Hale bolt action using Springfield 30-06 brass.

    One more quick question. When I see bullets for sale that are "30 caliber" will those bullets work?
     
  2. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Your .30-06 should be loaded (normally) with .308 diameter bullets. I'm not sure what you mean about "resizing bullets", (a procedure reserved most normally for cast lead bullets, and the term usually employed is "swaged", alternately "bumped"). In dim memory I do recall some sort of device or procedure in the past that could actually reduce (but not increase) the diameter of jacketed bullets. .309 bullets would be an anomaly, and most probably reserved for an old military gun where the bore has seen some serious wear, and another thousandths of an inch might help.

    Your Parker Hale is a VERY good gun. My first serious commercial bolt gun was a Parker Hale .270. VERY accurate, commercial Mauser action, and it must have had a very good barrel (or maybe all of them did).

    You say "Springfield .30-06 brass." I wonder actually what brand you have. No brand is regularly "better" than any other for your purposes. But for best accuracy, you will want all your brass to be of the same brand. Consistency is the watchword and don't forget it.

    A good standby stalwart powder for the .30-06 is IMR4350. You can never go wrong there, with bullets in the 150-180g range.

    Good luck with your nice Parker Hale.
     
  3. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Addendum: (you are now officially a victim of Spitpatch's long-winded replies: you are also charged with sorting out what is of use, and what is to be discarded as superfluous).

    Any bullet sold for reloading purposes will (or at least SHOULD) have its true diameter stated on the packaging: again, for a commercial hunting rifle chambered in .30-06, you will want .308 diameter bullets.

    The great thing here is that (I'm making some assumptions, so forgive if wrong) you are just starting out with reloading. There is NO BETTER cartridge on the face of the earth with which to learn reloading, and there may well be no better cartridge on the face of the earth, period. No shooter or reloader of any great experience would spend much effort arguing with someone who stated those beliefs. You are hearing this from someone who is NOT a devotee or big fan of the .30-06. My interests run to the more exotic, and I own only three guns in the caliber. But my respect and knowledge of that caliber's capabilities are hardly met by others which may be more favorite to me.

    Jack O'Connor probably gave the cartridge its true due when he stated that he would not be afraid to walk across the entire continent of Africa with a .30-06 balanced across his shoulder. He was right. The cartridge has long been used successfully and with little extension or allowance on everything from pocket gophers to pachyderms. It shines best in America, and for the working man that has one gun and knows how to use it: He can take to the rockchuck rimrock with a fine 100g load and hold his own against the best fat-barreleld .22-250 guys (BETTER in a 20mph wind), and then engage a packstring into the deep wilderness and take the biggest 6x6 Wapiti that ever walked, shooting clean through both shoulders at respectable range with the 180g offerings. It would be safe to say that any elk hunter believing in the requirement of a belted magnum has not had much experience hunting elk with a .30-06.

    Easy to handload is a vast understatement with the cartridge. It accepts any and all misattentions to carefulness in the loading process and selection of components, and somehow delivers accurate ammunition with ANY effort.

    The 150g load is often the recommended pill for deer-sized game, but often a lighter (125-130g) bullet might give more explosive instant kills. The 180g offerings are considered the best for elk generally, but new bullets of stout construction (Nosler, Barnes), can offer the same penetration with a lighter, flatter-shooting weight. 165g bullets are the darling of the cartridge, offering long range flat trajectory, and mass that does very well against solid bone: A rare event of a compromise that is not such. A 220g roundnose directed at a Grizzly's shoulder will instantly become a .60 caliber slug, traveling faster than any .45-70. No Grizzly guide in Alaska would question a hunter that showed up with his "only gun", a .30-06 loaded stoutly. Truth be told, that guide would trust that hunter and rifle more readily than any "walking Cabelas's catalog" dude that arrived with a belted-magnum big bore he'd bought just for the trip.

    For the North American Hunter, NO cartridge can be argued as better all-around. Those that engage in such debates are merely participating in recreational verbal sparring matches.
     
    gunfreak, orygun, FortRock and 3 others like this.
  4. JackThompson

    JackThompson Valley of the Demons Well-Known Member

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    Wow, I am awed at your detailed reply thanks!

    About 20 years ago I has picked up the flavor of the month handgun (I think it was a Tek-9?) and it was garbage. I could never get through a clip without a stovepiped round. I gave it to a gunsmith friend of mine (Ex-Nam vet) and asked if he could do anything for it.

    He said he'd see what he could do, and after a few weeks he called and said he had it sorted out. I went to his house and he handed me a rifle case. When I opened it I saw this gorgeous hunting Parker Hale. He said "I traded that piece of junk at a gun show...all better now". I could never have asked for a better fix for that pistol.

    I still have a few rounds left that he made for me, tailored for that rifle. I'll never come close to his level of craftsmanship, but I would like to do it some justice.

    When I looked for bullet moulds at cheaper than dirt they had .309 moulds
    7-90366 - Lee Precision Double Cavity Mold Produces a .309 Diameter 150 Grain Flat Nose Bullet Handles Included
    7-90038 - Lee Precision .309 Bullet Sizing Kit 7/8x14 Threads with 4 oz Bottle of Lee Liquid Alox Lube

    And .309 sizing dies, but no .308 so I got confused.

    I think I got the word "Springfield" from the reloading data when I select cartridge type. These are standard federal/Remington brass... Is Springfield the correct cartridge type to use in my recipes?

    Thanks again for sharing :)
     
  5. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    When I saw this post, the first thing that came to my mind regarding the .309 bullets was, "That must be a cast bullet".

    Spitpatch, Thanks for talking up my favorite cartridge for reasons I already know, or at least believe in!

    However, I'm pretty simple in my hunting bullets. I do use different bullets for deer vs. elk, but they are the same weight. (180gr)

    30-06 Springfield is the original (or near original) name for this cartridge as a sporting arm. Personally I use mostly all Remington cases mostly due to the availability. Winchester cases seem to be lighter, and may offer more internal space for powder, thereby having lower pressures for a specific amount of powder compared to Remington cases. But the Remington cases have proven to be durable and plentiful, so that's what I use.

    Jack, if you decide that the Parker Hale isn't for you, just let me know!:thumbup:
     
  6. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Orygun (as usual) has it right with your question regarding "Springfield" in the cartridge name. Since it was developed by and for the military (primarily at the Springfield Armory), the cartridge somehow gathered the Armory name as an attachment (guite a number of other cartridges hold the Armory as their birthplace, but only the .30-06 is named for the establishment there). The rifle it was partnered with gathered the same nomenclature parentage (the 1903 Springfield). Both are more than worthy of this title assignment.

    Jack, you say you have Federal and Remington brass. I will restate my obsession with consistency in hopes that some of it rubs off. Don't trash either brand (both are top-drawer material), but DO keep them seperate, and if you strive for accuracy, load only one brand per experiment. As a suggestion, you could use the Federal brass for a lighter bullet deer load, (125g-150g), and use the Remington brass for a heavy elk load (180g or so). Both brands are good and strong, so this arrangement could certainly be reversed.

    The important thing is to make everything you can control indentical within one loading session. You may experience no real trouble if you mix brass, but you may certainly see some inconsistencies in accuracy as a rest of any inconsistencies in component choice. Since your Parker Hale (if it is anyting like mine was) is a VERY accurate gun, it deserves to have precisely identical ammo fed to it. Likewise, it will probably tell you (on the target paper) if you do not feed it properly.

    Bullet choice? Well, if you can afford them, Nosler Ballistic Tips are the "go-to" for accuracy. Somewhat more economical, but possibly equally accurate would be the Sierra line. For deer, play around the area of 58g of IMR4350 behind a 150g bullet.

    If you want this gun to do everything all day on any continent on any game forever period, go with Orygun's strategy and hang with the 180g bullet. (Reduce your powder to the 55g range or so). If you are undecided, do what scatterbrains like me do: refuse to make a decision, and shoot 165g bullets. (56 grains of IMR4350 is very most likely a safe and accurate load to start with here: my gun likes 57g, and so does the Nosler book: it is their accuracy load for the 165g bullet.) Reloader 19 is another great powder for the ol' Springfield.
     
  7. PaulZ

    PaulZ Oregon City Active Member

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    Thanks for the info spitpatch I loaded my first batch with H4350 and some with H535 have not shot them yet.
    What is the deal with the 4350 ? IMR and Hodgen seem to be just a few grains apart in the charts
     
  8. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    This has been an ongoing problem for years, similar powder numbers by different manufacturers. They are the same in NUMBER ONLY. Hodgdon owns the brand name IMR and you'd think they'd do away with one or the other but apparently they want all the "cake they can eat."

    Just be careful to use only the data provided for the specific powder. They are definitely different powders. Not like motor oil where 10W-30 is pretty much the same from manufacturer to manufacturer.
     
  9. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    GENERALLY (and I cannot speak specifically toward the 4350 offerings, since I've never experimented with H4350), the Hogdon powder of the same numerical will be a slightly slower burning composition than the IMR of the same number. I know this to be true with the 4831's from each.

    Therefore, GENERALLY, you will see a bit more of the Hogdon offering allowed as a maximum load. DO NOT randomly interchange them as if the same, as deadshot so astutely expressed.

    By the way, this very month's issue of American Rifleman has begun a new feature: a very small column detailing a "New" load to try for a selected caliber. Rightfully, they chose the .30-06 to be the point man for the new feature. Guess what the load is?

    56 grains of IMR4350 behind a 168g Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet.

    (I sense an echo in the room.)
     
  10. PaulZ

    PaulZ Oregon City Active Member

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    No kidding Spit; I think the book says 57gr behind a 150gr bullet but hey, I will give it a try when I get some
    heavy lead