It has been a very good couple of weeks. The Ruger American Rifle and Vortex scope provided hours of shooting and handloading enjoyment and Barry J. Hutchison released “Space Team: The Time Titan of Tomorrow”, the eight in the Space Team series and yet another appearance of Cal Carver, the every man in all of us. Great series. No, not the Rijksmuseum repository of culture, but an excellent break from TV and Movie violence, bad scripts and overpaid, talent-less actors… and American politics, although I guess there is a lot of redundancy in that sentence.
The 30-06 Springfield, because of its popularity, is a relatively inexpensive cartridge to shoot. Currently there are 126 types of factory 30-06 Springfield ammunition, with a wide variety of premium brands selling below $20 and up to $40 for 20 rounds. For the handloader, there is a ton of legitimate data and a huge supply of components. Bullet’s range from 55 grain, sabot mounted 22 caliber bullets to 240 grain match and hunting types; over 300 types and weights of 0.308″ diameter bullets are available, and 7 companies producing quality brass. The cost of assembling good handloads is only slightly less than low cost factory ammo, so why bother handloading? Because ammunition can be optimized for a specific firearm for enhanced performance and ammunition can be assemble at that low cost with component bullets typically found in $40 factory ammunition.
A familiar four…
|Hornady SST||Poly Tip||125||1.038||3.225|
|Combined Tech||Poly Tip||168||1.313||3.340|
Hornady’s 125 grain SST is intended for medium size game; 50 to 300 lbs. Listed at 3,300 fps from a 23 3/4″ barrel in the 10th Edition Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading, velocity is high and ballistic coefficient is moderate at 0.305. Point blank range is 280 yards and kinetic energy is over 1,000 ft-lbs at 450 yards.
Winchester lists the the Winchester Power Point 150 grain for hunting deer, antelope and black bear. At 2900 fps from a 23 3/4″ barrel, the 0.273 ballistic coefficient is low, which puts point blank range at 230 yards and kinetic energy falls below 1,000 ft-lbs at 350 yards.
Nosler’s Combined Technology 168 grain Ballistic Silvertip is another good bullet for deer. At 3,000 fps, the very slick 0.490 ballistic coefficient does a good job of holding onto velocity. Point blank range is 270 yards, 10 less than the 125 grain Hornady, but at 700 yards, the bullet is still traveling 1800 fps, the minimum velocity for full expansion and carrying 1,200 ft-lbs of kinetic energy.
Nosler’s 180 grain Partition is a tough bullet suitable for deer, elk, moose and bear. The ballistic coefficient is essentially the same as the CT 168 grain, but it is a tougher bullet and also requires 1,800 fps minimum impact velocity for full expansion. By the same token this bullet holds up to velocity levels well above the 30-06 Springfield cartridge.
When assembled with other stuff…
CCI large rifle magnum primers were selected because, over many years, they have yielded the fewest failures, they produce uniform results and they ignite even tough to ignite powder types. H414 takes up the least amount of case capacity, most others types are compressed when in excess of 58 grains. Cases were cleaned, sized trimmed and then loaded. The 30-06 Springfield is right up there with the 308 Winchester and 223 Remington in terms of ease of reloading.
Warning: Bullet selections are specific, and loads are not valid with substitutions of different bullets of the same weight. Variations in bullet length will alter net case capacity, pressure and velocity. Primer selection is specific and primer types are not interchangeable. These are maximum loads in my firearms and may easily be excessive in others. All loads should be reduced by 5%, and developed following safe handloading practices as represented in established reloading manuals produced by component manufacturers. Presentation of these loads does not constitute a solicitation for their use, nor a recommendation.
Cartridge: 30-06 Springfield
| Firearm: Ruger American
||COL: 2.940″ – 3.340″|
|Bullet Diameter: 0.3090″ -0.0030″/+0.0000″||Primer: CCI 250|
|Barrel: 22.0″||Reloading Dies: Hornady|
|Case length: 02.494″ +0.000″/-0.020″||Groups: 3 Shots 100 Yards|
|Hornady SST||Poly Tip||125||3.225||BL C2||60.0||3249||2931||0.7|
|Winchester PP||SP||150||3.195||Re 17||61.0||3066||3132||0.5|
|Combined Tech||Poly Tip||168||3.340||Re 17||58.0||2912||3164||0.8|
|Combined Tech||Poly Tip||168||3.340||Norma URP||57.0||2874||3082||0.4|
|Nosler Partition||SP||180||3.340||RE 17||57.0||2806||3148||0.9|
|Nosler Partition||SP||180||3.340||Norma URP||56.5||2776||3081||0.8|
As was the case with factory ammunition, the Ruger American operated without hesitation. Bolt throw was smooth, chambering a round took little effort and feed from the magazine was reliable. The scope adjusted predictably and adjustments stayed put. The supplied rings are stout and the Weaver type mounts offer some adjustment when juggling scope position to accommodate a shooter.
The American Rifle’s barrel is a relatively thin contour, an effort to keep weight down, but the rifle held precision even when warm. The shape, size and geometry of the stock makes for comfortable shooting; hand filling and properly positioned gripping surfaces without feeling… clubbish. Stippling made contact surfaces slip free even in cold and wet weather.
Report is not what I would call mild; a function of 22″ barrel, more than minor case capacity and 60,000 psi of chamber pressure. Other than with 125 grain bullets, recoil is noticeable, but the Ruger recoil pad offers good protection. No, the 30-06 does not kick like a 338 Winchester Mag, but you won’y doze while shooting. Accuracy within my frame of reference is excellent for a sporting rifle as one might expect considering the American Rifle action is at the sore of the Ruger Precision Rifle.
My preference is the 30-06 Springfield over the 308 Winchester, even if just for its 68 grain, 21% greater capacity and moderate velocity edge. When firearm and ammunition manufacturer’s were pushing short 308 Winchester cartridges as allowing shorter, more stout and faster actions, I kept thinking I had never notice an advantage in actual use. Die cost is about the same, as are components and cost of powder does not proportionally track to increase is case capacity.The Ruger American Rifle in this package form is a reliable and economical solution for any North American big game hunting application.