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Thread: thinking out loud - cast 125 grain bullet for 30-06

  1. #1

    thinking out loud - cast 125 grain bullet for 30-06

    I know its most likely to light a bullet but was thinking a cast 125gr bullet over 15 grains of reddot for a 30-06 if that would be good to go for deer up to 100 yards or if its just to light a bullet for the job I know factory loaded j bullets have a tendency to brake up or so I have read but I was thinking a cast boolit just may hold together better than a j-bullet yes/no? or just a bad idea to begin with just wondering as the wife's 243 uses factory 100gr J-bullets with very good success on deer.

    I currently use cast 180 grain and works great at giving deer lead poisoning...

  2. #2
    Boolit Master


    richhodg66's Avatar
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    Stick with the 180s for deer, but the 125s would work for a lot of other things. What design is the 125? A flat point seems to make a big difference.

    Without a loading manual in front of me, 15 grains of Red Dot sounds kinda hot. Have you tried this load? WHat kind of accuracy did you get.

  3. #3
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    bruce drake's Avatar
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    Too much Red Dot at 15gr. Do a Google search or look on this forum for C.E. Harris's article on "The Load" where he recommended a max load of 13gr of Red Dot in most full-size rifle cartridges (30-06 and down to around 22-250). He also discusses other pistol powders being loaded with cast bullets in rifles and its a very informative piece of reading

    There are several 125-130gr bullet molds available from various companies. Lee makes a 130gr RN profile with a gas-check design and Lyman has their class 311359 mold which is a spitzer profile gas checked design that is pretty stubby. Lyman also has a 311411 mold which is a longer nose profile spire point but no gas check which limits its velocity with regular lube recipes. NOE and Mountain Molds and a couple of other specialty mold makers offer quality 30-caliber bullets in that caliber if you want to go custom or semi-custom route. I would even be leery of recommending a hollow-point 125-130gr cast bullet design being effective at under 1800fps on deer as I don't believe it would expand as uniformly as a jacketed bullet of the same weight at a higher velocity.

    For Deer? I wouldn't recommend that small of a bullet weight in a cast lead bullet due to our velocity limitations with regular lubricants and also the potential non-expansion of the lead bullet should you coat with a hi-tech coating and upped the velocity. For Groundhogs, coyotes and varmints around the farm...sure, no problem at all. A no-recoil bullet load and if you have a semi-auto, a quick follow up shot as well.

    Now, buying a 100-count box of 125gr jacketed bullets may set you back around $25 but you will be able to build your wife a very nice low-recoiling 30-06 bullet moving out at 2700fps or faster that would definitely be a good deer load. set 50 bullets aside for load testing with her to gain her input on what is comfortable for her to shoot regarding recoil and accuracy and then use the next 50 to build her a lifetime (or at least a couple of deer seasons) of hunting loads with that rifle. A lot of deer get shot with SKS and AK rifles each year with 7.62x39 bullets with bullets of that weight. It won't ever be a long range cartridge with that light of a bullet but under 100 yards, I'd be comfortable with a 125gr .308 bullet starting out at 2700fps.

    I load a 125gr 30 caliber bullet for NRA Highpower match shooting in a .308 Winchester chambered AR10 rifle that is very accurate at 200 yards with very manageable recoil. (42gr of IMR4895 at 2700fps). Go up some or go down a bit and find a load your wife likes. Most 30-06 loads in load manuals have that 125gr bullet going out at 3000fps as a starting load but in reality, there isn't a major need to up the load up to where its painful for her to shoot. A 10% drop in velocity using the 308 Win loading will still keep the shot in the X-ring.

    Bruce
    I Cast my Boolits, Therefore I am Happy.
    Bona Fide member of the Jeff Brown Hunt Club

  4. #4
    Boolit Master





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    I use a 130 grain Barns X-Bullet for deer and bear in my 308 Remington 700. They retain full weight and open up well. My Grand niece loves shooting them with it, she weighs 90 pounds dressed in hunting gear, says it does not kick to her.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    In most .30-'06 throats a 125-grain bullet will be a poor fit and shoot inaccurately, even in subsonic loads.

    You are much better off with a 150-grain or heavier bullet which fits the throat and origin of rifling.

    NOE 311-155 and Accurate 31-160H designs work well without the GC in light loads and can also be driven to full velocity over 2000 fps which will cycle a Garand with grouping better than M2 Ball ammo and work for deer hunting.

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  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    a 100 gr bullet in a 243 is heavy for caliber bullet
    a 125 gr in a 30 cal is light for caliber which would be fine
    for target and vermin but not for any big game
    Hit em'hard
    hit em'often

  7. #7
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    Not sure about the Red Dot load but a 125 gr .30 caliber cast bullet, of appropriate design and cast of appropriate alloy, will certainly kill deer out to 100 yards given 1800 +/- fps. However, you must be able to place your shots into the heart/lung area or the head neck (a risky shot IMO). Also in many parts of the country the deer are small or relatively small and hunting is mostly done from stands or blinds so the use of such shouldn't present a problem.

    Years ago when it was legal and was all I had I killed several black tail deer with a 118 gr 311316 (GC'd 32-30 bullet) out of my M1 Carbine. Ranges were kept reasonable and it performed quite well. Velocity was 1850 fps. No reason the same bullet or one similar of 125 gr would not do as well at 1800 +/- fps. However, since you already have a 180 gr cast that "works great at giving deer lead poisoning" why change....if it ain't broke don't fix it........
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by richhodg66 View Post
    Stick with the 180s for deer, but the 125s would work for a lot of other things. What design is the 125? A flat point seems to make a big difference.

    Without a loading manual in front of me, 15 grains of Red Dot sounds kinda hot. Have you tried this load? WHat kind of accuracy did you get.
    I have tried it with loads as low as 7 grains and all inbetween never really gets any better or worse could just be me shooting though.
    it does about a 5 inch group at 100 yards and would not use it any farther than that its a round nose it sure puts out a loud crack when fired so yes I would say its a pretty hot load. I should get a flat nose to try out never thought on trying that it would give more contact area that is lacking with the round nose I will have to see if I can find a mold.
    Or I have an old sizing die I had made up years ago could find a punch that just fits and flatten that nose down just for doing some testing.
    did this years ago with .22 worked great... Always up to trying something new...
    Last edited by Survival Bill; 11-01-2017 at 01:27 PM.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I hope that what I propose here is not considered anathema:
    What about using a 150 - 170 gr. j-word bullet intended for use in .30-30, over a low-to-moderate powder charge that approximates .30-30 velocities?

    If you want to stick with cast 150gr.-180gr projectiles, try using 20-27.0/2400, or 12.5-16.5/Unique. The 15.0/Red Dot/125gr. Cast is listed in one of my older manuals, but it is a max load. The range is from 11.0 -15.0gr. and velocities never exceed 1900 f/s, which strikes me as marginal for deer. The load data using 2400 and the heavier projectiles gives velocities above 2100 f/s, which is more like it for deer.
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  10. #10
    Boolit Bub
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    Have a first year issue Jambamatic....eeer,740 Rem.It's in pretty durn nice shape.Anyway,Kosh's idea of 30-30 JB's solved two problems.It's a RN and feeds like greased ball bearings,but reduced loads in the 06 chambering really get those Hornady 150's easily in their sweet spot.

    This is only one of a mighty few JB's in inventory here anymore.

  11. #11
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    If you have an accurate load and absolutely do not shoot until you are sure it will go in the ear hole it will kill deer.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Man brewer12345's Avatar
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    Hmmm, Hornady sells a reduced recoil ("Lite") 30-06 cartridge with a jacketed 125 grain bullet propelled to 2700 or so FPS. I have shot this stuff and it shoots flat and very accurately and I have little doubt it would kill deer inside 200 yards. With cast, you would really like to get some expansion with a lighter weight bullet that is going almost 1000 FPS slower than the Hornady Lite. If you could find a hollow point, gas checked mold and cast it with lots of pure and lots of tin, I bet you could fool around with the charge and powders and get a very accurate load that would do the job inside 100 yards. Obviously more velocity would be better as far as killing power. Deer are not that hard to kill if you can make accurate shots in the heart/lung/liver area.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    Red Dot is fine, 10-13 grains should do well. But in my opinion for killing critters bigger and slower is better than smaller and faster.

    155 be ok, 185 better yet, over 200 would be big medicine.

    It has been my experience that there are almost always at least two and often 3 good accuracy nodes between 3 grains and 13 grains. Just got to find where they are for your rifle and the bullet you are going to use.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I shoot the 311041 with a small HP out of my 30-06s with 20 gr of 2400. Velocity is right at 1800 and accuracy is very good. Recoil and noise is very low. When shooting this load it's easy to question its terminal ability.
    I don't question it anymore. Ive killed far too many deer with it. Ive seen no reason to change it.
    Some people live and learn but I mostly just live

  15. #15
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    Before I made the switch to hunting with cast, I needed to set up a low recoil load for my youngest son. Hogdon publishes youth loads, and 37 grains of 4895 and a 125 grain jacketed bullet killed a few deer just fine for him. Recoil and noise is less than a .243 and was plenty accurate enough to do the job.

    But cast is different from jacketed and I think it prudent to have some bullet weight, a flat nose helps a lot too, but as always, shot placement trumps all.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Didn't another guy on here shoot a deer with a .30 Reece using a 115gr FP going 1500fps, wound channel looked like he shot it with 300 magnum....?

  17. #17
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    Wolfer
    What is a "small" HP?
    Diameter?
    Depth?

    What alloy/hardness?
    Nothing is impossible for the person that does not have to do it.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3leggedturtle View Post
    Didn't another guy on here shoot a deer with a .30 Reece using a 115gr FP going 1500fps, wound channel looked like he shot it with 300 magnum....?
    Maybe you're thinking of the time 357Maximum kilt one with a .30 Badger?

    I would have ZERO trepidation shooting a whitetail inside of 100 yards with a Lyman 311316 of suitable alloy.

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    That said, If low recoil is the aim, I would rather push a heavy with a big meplat at a medium speed rather than a light bullet faste,,,,,
    Last edited by Hamish; 11-02-2017 at 09:14 PM.
    More "This is what happened when I,,,,," and less "What would happen if I,,,,"

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  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    [QUOTE=TCLouis;4193766]Wolfer
    What is a "small" HP?
    Diameter?
    Depth?

    What alloy, hardness etc.

    Eric at hollow point mold services did it for me. I'm not sure if it's 1/16 by 3/16 deep or 1/8 by 3/16 deep. My alloy is pretty soft about 50/50. Since the only recovered boolit I have is mushroomed well below the HP I doubt the HP is necessary but it gives me comfort and I'll continue to use it.
    Some people live and learn but I mostly just live

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check