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As a shotgun hunting state hunter I’ve taken many deer with 12 ga & 20 ga slugs. I have 3 30-06 rifles but have never taken an animal with one. It seems to me that lots of magazine writers and ammo companies push the 150 grain bullets.
As a guy who normally fires big heavy and yes slow slugs, I always feel that I should use 165 grain loads. I have 165 Grn Nosler ballistic tip that I sighted in with and carried for a week in Maine and a few days in West Virginia but never got to shoot.

What at grain bullets should I be hunting with? Are my 165s over kill?
 

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Aim true !
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My neighbor loads his own for 30.06 he uses nosler 150 grain bullets. I used to use remington 220 grain core-lokt or how ever it's spelled. Have not been able to find them on the shelfs for awhile. They worked and worked good. Been carrying 180 grain lately. Have not shot a deer yet with them. Wood chucks yes. But no meat left after lol.
 

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It depends a lot on how big the deer are and the ranges at which you will be shooting. I have always shot 150s because that is what my rifle liked. My father and grandfather shot 125s in their 06s. That's what they liked. I have killed Whitetail deer with 110, 125, 130, 150, 170, 180, and 220 gr jacketed bullets in PSP, RN, and FN from a 30-06.

Truthfully, there is not a WT deer on this continent that cannot be killed with a well placed shot from a 30-06 from 125 - 220 gr out to 300 yards. As long as your rifle is shooting on, and you know where it's shooting there is no reason to fret over a few grains of lead one way or the other. IF you don't hit them right, of course, they will run just as far as if you had shot them with a 22lr.

But, as with a lot of other things, the bottom line is confidence. If you have confidence in your rifle, the ammo and your abilities, you'll likely be working on a dead deer soon enough.

Alan
 

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It was the rare occasion I did not get a pass through on a deer with anything from a 30-06.

I have shot a deer and a hog with Nosler Partition bullets (130 gr). I won't fire another one at game. The front came loose and slung off on the horizontal plane and the rear core passed through. I want my bullets to mushroom and pass through in more or less a straight line.

The buck in question was broadside at 100 yards or so. I shot him through the shoulder and I saw hair blow off of his back. I thought I'd hit him high on the spine as he dropped and then tried to get up. I shot him again in the same place and saw hair blow off his back again. When I got to him I found two entry wounds an inch apart, two exit wounds and two exit wounds on his back. Skinning and gutting would tell the tale. A week or so later I shot a hog at about the same distance. I called #2 son to come pick it up because his buddy wanted the hog. When they cleaned it he asked me how many times I shot it. I told him once. He asked if it was acting sick or if I had heard any other shots (which wasn't likely considering where I was hunting). I told him no on both counts and asked why. I said it had two holes in it. I checked and found one entry wound and two exit wounds. Once again the bullet had come apart.

It is simply my preference but I do not like how Nosler Partition bullets behave in their terminal ballistics. They did what they were supposed to do, I just don't like that.

I used Sierra bullets almost exclusively through all my hunting career. I tried others but always came back to Sierra. I do use Hornady in some rifles for some loads.

Now, Sierra bullets come apart too, sometimes very dramatically, but all the stuff is still going in one direction. On the smaller bullets the lead core will comletely separate from the jacket, pass through and leave the shredded jacket in the deer or hog. If you get a bone, lead, jacket AND bone will be going in one direction through the deer.

But, you just never know. I posted a picture a while back of a buck rack that my mother killed (or knocked out). She shot it with my dad's 25-06 (100 gr Sierra) and drilled the prettiest little 25 cal hole in the base of the antler. The last deer my dad killed was shot with the same rifle and load. It was a lung shot and the bullet went between the ribs and out between ribs. 25 cal hole on both sides. He said the deer took four steps and fell dead sitting up on his belly.

My point is that bullets sometimes act in a way inconsistent with how they are supposed to act.

But if you decide on 165s or 150s or 220s they will likely get the job done.

Is a 165 gr bullet overkill for a WT deer? Well, really, a 30-06 is overkill for a WT deer.

Alan
 
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Many of my rifles are 30.06. It's a chosen caliber of mine. While I find that 150 and 165 grain are very flat shooting, and lethal, for maximum
accuracy, my rifles seem to prefer 180 grain SPBTs.

I like 180 grain ammo, but you have to find what shoots best in your hunting rifle, and stick with it.
 

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Genius in Training
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I have a fraction of the experience of some of the members here but I would agree with Alan that it doesn't really matter. Neither of them are on the light side of the range, and neither are on the heavy side. Pick whichever one floats your boat, practice with it and sight your gun in for it and go drop some deer.
 

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I use both .243 and 30-06. It have always been amazed at how far a deer can run with an inch sized hole through it's chest. Tracking through Florida swamps is not fun. I typically make neck shots with the .243 but use Barnes 150 TSX in the .06. Makes a bigger hole and guaranteed pass tru leaving a great blood trail.
 

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I use both .243 and 30-06. It have always been amazed at how far a deer can run with an inch sized hole through it's chest. Tracking through Florida swamps is not fun. I typically make neck shots with the .243 but use Barnes 150 TSX in the .06. Makes a bigger hole and guaranteed pass tru leaving a great blood trail.
This is the primary reason for a passthrough. There is a school of thought that subscribes to the idea that if there is no pass through then all of the energy is transferred to the animal, thus killing it quicker. This idea works great until Mr. Murphy steps in. Then you need a blood trail and a pass through gives you a greater likelihood of getting that. If you get heart or lungs, the animal is going to die, and on a relative timescale, very soon.

Alan
 

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165 gr's is fine for deer sized game. My preferred bullet in that weight is the Sierra game king BTSP. Works fine for Blacktail, White Tail, and Muleys. If I'm moving up to Elk, Moose, or Bear I use the same bullet in 180 gr's and wouldn't be afraid to use the 165 gr bullet in most Black bear hunting applications. My rifle in that caliber is a late 1918- early 1919 vintage Sporterized Rock Island M1903.
 

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I usually use the 150 ones, so I am sure the 165 ones you have must be better than mine. I didn't have any problems; however, I am thinking of trying something new. I found this amazing website Hunting & Fishing Deals, Online Coupon Codes, Promo Codes. They have a lot of discounts and promotions on different brands, so it's a great occasion to try something new. Each time I get something new that I'm not sure I will love or not, I try to find it at the sale. In this way, I am sure it won't be a total failure.
 
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