Handloads: A Mostly Finnish .30-’06 Sprg. Big-Game Load

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posted on January 24, 2024
.30-’06 Sprg. Big-Game Load

.30-’06 Sprg. Big-Game Load specsLapua’s 200-grain, .30-cal. Mega projectile is anything but sleek, with a G1 ballistic coefficient (BC) of 0.344, but for its intended use, the unimposing heavyweight is among the best options. The Mega is a basic, cup-and-core-style, flat-base, soft-point bullet in which expansion is controlled via strategic thickening of the jacket and mechanical bonding. Despite its no-frills design, weight retention averages more than 75 percent in most cases, and bullet expansion is up to 2.5 times original diameter, making it effective on large game animals.

I paired the above-mentioned Mega with components from two countries: Finland and the United States. Because of its tight tolerances, absolute consistency and long lifespan, I selected Lapua brass. I coupled it with Vihtavuori N555 propellant, which, like others in the N500 series, is a high-energy propellant that excels with heavy-for-caliber bullets. What’s more, it’s clean-burning, temperature-stable in extreme weather conditions, has excellent lot-to-lot consistency and also contains a decoppering agent. The U.S. contribution to this load was the ignition source—a Winchester Large Rifle primer.

Testing was performed by way of another Finnish product: a gently used Sako Model L61R Finnbear. From the rifle’s 24" barrel, the average velocity was 2,535 f.p.s., resulting in 2,854 ft.-lbs. of energy. It’s a stout load, but despite its lackluster BC, a 150-yard zero results in impacts 1.1" high at 100 yards and 3" and 8" low at 200 yards and 250 yards, respectively. Even at 300 yards it’s only 15.3" low. Considering the distances that most large quarry is taken, you’re sacrificing nothing by using this understated, old-school Finnish bullet and load. Onnea (good luck).

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