Handloads: Reduced-Recoil .30-’06 Springfield

posted on December 30, 2020
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Not all of the energy that a rifle cartridge can develop is necessary all the time, and excess power can be detrimental to meaningful practice. That’s where reduced-recoil handloads come in.

.30-’06 SpringfieldAn easy method of developing reduced-recoil loads is with Hodgdon Powder’s 60 percent formula for H4895 propellant that can be loaded in a variety of cartridges from .243 Win. to .300 WSM. Take the maximum amount of H4895 listed with a bullet in a reloading manual and multiply it by 60 percent to arrive at a starting point for a reduced-recoil load that can be increased slowly to attain the desired velocity and accuracy.

Hodgdon’s reloading manual lists 51.0 grs. of H4895 as maximum for Nosler 150-gr. Ballistic Tip bullets loaded in the .30-’06 Sprg., and 60 percent of that charge is 30.6 grs. Increasing that slightly to 32.0 grs. resulted in a velocity of 1957 f.p.s.; however, it also produced a three-shot group that measured nearly 2" at 100 yds. and an extreme spread of velocity of 135 f.p.s. Bumping up the charge up to 34.0 grs. increased velocity to 2056 f.p.s., but the group size was still nearly 2" and extreme spread of velocity was 99 f.p.s. The sweet spot came at 38.0 grs., which boosted velocity to 2263 f.p.s. with 81 f.p.s. velocity spread over nine shots with an average group size of 0.91" at 100 yds. 

At that muzzle velocity, 150-gr. Ballistic Tips are traveling 2078 f.p.s. and carrying 1,438 ft.-lbs. of energy at 100 yds., and still moving 1900 f.p.s. and packing 1,202 ft.-lbs. of energy at 200 yds. Hitting on aim at 100 yds., the bullets drop 6.5" at 200 yds. That mirrors the .30-30 Win. and would make a good deer-hunting load. Most importantly, recoil is half that of the maximum .30-’06 Sprg. load—the perfect prescription for plenty of practice.

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