Terry B. sent me the verbatim quoted note below from the USA. He is not a signed up member yet so I took the liberty to repeat his missive here (Terry was a member minutes after I had posted this...):
The 30-06 in Africa
With the African hunting season coming on soon, I thought of this old story I had about what gun to take on a plains game trip.
It actually started way back in 1960 with an article by a Dr. Wendell G. Swank from Michigan State College that was in the Sports Afield Gun Annual. He and a fellow doctor took their old pre-64 Winchester M 70 .30-06 Springfield’s with Sierra bullets to Uganda to harvest game for research.
They did a fantastic job of taking pictures of the bullets recovered and details of each bullets performance. Not only did they take plains game normally associated with the .30-06 Springfield, but also took Hippo, Lion and even a Cape Buffalo.
That article intrigued me so much that I still have an original copy and it prompted me to research the .30-06 Springfield performance ever since.
My first “Deer” rifle was lever action .30-30 Winchester, but my second was a Remington pump action .30-06 Springfield, and I don’t think that in the past 50 plus years, there has ever been a time that I did not have at least one or two .30-06 Springfield rifles around.
At first, I used factory Remington 180 grain RN Core Lokts and all the Deer I shot fell over just fine. Then as time progressed I took up reloading and since then have taken Deer, Elk, Moose, Caribou, Antelope and Mt Goat in North America with various bullets.
I started out using the same 180 grain Sierra bullets Dr. Swank used and eventually tried just about every bullet and powder combo I could come up with and eventually ended up using mostly 180 grain Nosler Partitions.
During the next 30+ years, I took the .30-06 Springfield to Africa with me several times as it was my intention to field test as many bullets as I could, and here is a list of the bullets tested there:
180 gr Hornady Spire Point FB & BT 180 gr Speer Hot Core
190 gr Hornady Spire Point BT 180 gr Speer SP BT
220 gr Hornady RN 220 gr Sierra RN
180 gr Remington Core-Lokt Ultra 165 gr Trophy Bonded Bear Claw
180 gr Nosler Partition 180 gr Speer Mag Tips
180 gr Remington RN Core Lokt 150 gr Barnes TSX & TTSX
180 gr Speer Deep Curl 165 gr Hornady GMX
180 gr Nosler AccuBond 168 gr Barnes TSX & TTSX
180 gr Federal Fusion 180 gr Barnes TSX & TTSX
180 gr Federal Tipped TBBC 180 gr Sierra SP BT & Flat Base
200 gr Nosler Partitions
150 gr Hornady SP
Each of the above-mentioned bullets has its own distinctive characteristic performance. The typical soft point bullets all seem to kill about the same, but the premium bonded core or monolithic bullets give much more dependable penetration.
On a recent trip, I shot six Blesbok with six different bullets and found that it made no difference at all. Each was shot about the same distance and they were all about the same broadside lung shots. Every bullet gave complete penetration and each animal rarely went more than a few yards before going down.
If you were to make me choose any one of the “common” lead cup and core bullets to use from now on, my choice is surely going to surprise you as I’d take the 220 grain Nosler Partition as my first choice and the 220 grain Sierra RN next.
Those two bullets will almost always penetrate completely and leave a nice exit hole. They will not give you those instant kills of high speed bullets, and seldom will the animals drop at the shot, but they will only go a few yards before expiring.
Ya, Ya, I can see the readers jumping up a down about the “rainbow” trajectory of those bullets. Now just a minute, with the 220 grain Partition at 2400 fps muzzle velocity that is zeroed 2.9” high at 100 yards, it is then dead on at 200 yards.
The 180 grain Nosler Partition at 2700 fps zeroed 2” high at 100 yards is dead on at 200 yards, so no big deal.
I’m being conservative on my 220 grain velocities at 2,400 fps as the Nosler Reloading Guide #4 page 329 shows loads up to 2,602 fps. For most shooters 200 yards is plenty far to shoot anyway, and if you can crawl up to 200 you will never know the difference in trajectory, but you will see a difference in performance on the game as those 220 grain bullets really put the hammer down.
I remember an outfitter from Zimbabwe that took some 220 grain Sierra RN bullets home to try. When I met up with him the next year, he said they were the most dependable bullet in the .30-06 Springfield he had ever used.
As you can well imagine this whole bullet subject can be cussed and discussed much like religion and politics long into the night, but the truth will end up being that the .30-06 Springfield with well placed shots, will take any plains game Africa has to offer.
Another wonderful thing about the .30-06 Springfield is that virtually anywhere in the world you go, and should you lose your luggage and ammo, you can usually scare up a box of ammo somewhere. It may not be your first choice of brand or bullet, but it beats having none at all.
Not having or being able to find ammo is my number one contention with the new RUM and WSM cartridges. Unless the fellow that hunted there ahead of you left his ammo, you don’t have a snow ball’s chance of buying any abroad.
We have seen great advances in bullet construction and technology with John Nosler’s first Partition bullets all the way thru the Jack Carter’s Trophy Bonded Bear Claws, and now unto the Hornady GMX and Barnes TSX lead free bullets.
As usually, it all boils down to “Bullet Placement”. If you do your job the old “ought six” will do its part.
Feel free to write Terry anytime about bullet choices at TBlauwkamp@superior-sales.com