7 replies [Last post]
Joined: 04/18/2011
Posts: 5
Good combination deer/elk load for 30-06

I just got a 30-06 for a combo deer/elk hunt.  While cow elk is what I am primarily seeking, there is a better chance I'll encounter mule deer instead.

Any recommendations on a factory load that would handle either a cow elk or doe mule deer with comparable effectiveness?

I was looking at a relatively light Barnes TTSX 150 grain load, as I'm aware velocity is king with the TTSX.  However, I still wonder if I would be better off with a bullet that has more violent expansion if I get a deer instead of an elk.  Thanks for any opinions.

Location: Colorado
Joined: 07/13/2011
Posts: 924
I'd go with a 165gr

I'd go with a 165gr Partition. Enough for the cow, and not too much for the muley.

hunter25's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Colorado western slope
Joined: 11/13/2009
Posts: 3040
I used the 150gr hollow point

I used the 150gr hollow point TSX in my 30-06 for many years. Very effective on deer and a handful of elk thrown in as well. No complaints at all.

Although expansion is not violent it is consistent and reliable all the time. I've killed coyotes, deer,elk and antelope all with the same results.

165gr in the same bullet is an option as well if elk were more likely but not needed.

I now shoot a 7mag with 160gr of the same bullet as my all around load.

buckykm1's picture
Location: Vicksburg, Mi
Joined: 11/24/2010
Posts: 366

A 30-06 is my back up gun, and i use the Hornady 180 grain SST in it.

I use the same bullet  in 300 win mag.

They work just fine for me.


COMeatHunter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Joined: 06/01/2011
Posts: 639
I've used a variety of

I've used a variety of bullets from 150 to 180 grains.  I've settled on the 150 gr. Hornady Interbonds for my all around bullet for the last few years.  They've worked well on Antelope, Whitetail, Mulies, and Elk--no issues at all.

Joined: 06/13/2010
Posts: 36
barnes 150 gr


You cannot go wrong with the barnes 150gr tsx for elk, deer, etc.  You should be able to get right around 3000 fps with that bullet in a 30-06 so you're good waaay out there.  I don't know what you mean by violent expansion but I'd consider the barnes controlled expansion.  They don't fly apart, just do their preset four leaf expansion and full penetration is the norm.   

I took a large cow elk last season with a 130 tsx in a 270 at about 230 yds.  The round hit right in the boiler room, full penetration.  She never took a step, the rear legs collapsed on impact, rolled over with legs in the air a couple seconds later, dead a few seconds after that, all over in 10 seconds.  Pretty impressive performance.  I'm not shooting anything else now.   One problem I had with the 30 cal. 150/165 tsx in my 308 was the bullet length.  The howas had (at least back then) a relatively short throat.  Shouldn't be a problem in the 06 though. 

Location: SW Mtns. NM
Joined: 05/04/2008
Posts: 227
Factory loads in 30-06

Been shooting Fed. Vital-shock 165 Barnes tsx in my Rem. 700 30-06 for years for both elk and deer, pigs too. 30 cal hole going in and 3/4 hole going out. One cow went 100 yrds downhill,most drop within 50 ft.

SFC B's picture
Joined: 09/20/2012
Posts: 93
I shoot the Federal Shoks in

I shoot the Federal Shoks in 150, and although I haven't taken an Elk yet, the deer I have taken haven't taken more than a couple of steps.  Sot placement is always the key. 

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