Back to the range

Brnsvllyjohn

Well-known member
Headed out to the range today with 5 different lead free loads for the 06. So far my results have been poor or at best mediocre. If I can't get the gun to shoot to my satisfaction I may either let a gunsmith work on bedding the action or wait until we start loading again.
Today test loads are Hornady GMX (the most promising so far) A new load by Federal, Winchesters new copper load, Trophy copper by Federal that didn't perorm well last time and a new one from Nosler with the Etips. Trying different bullet weights and different brands means you can spend hundreds trying to get something your gun shoots well. My main gun shoots Trophy Copper loads really well but the 06 won't shoot anything yet.
Forgot about the ELDX Loads I will try those today also. The gun still shoots Remington corelokt ultra and Federal Fusions well so I don't get why I can't find any non lead load it will shoot.
 

solus

Well-known member
My savage will shoot both 168 grain nosler e tip and barnes 168gr ttsx great. My dads likes barnes 1y8ttsx and a different powder load and my remington 710 wont shoot any lead-free i loaded up accurately. Luckily the remington is onky a range gun as i messed up the bolt head a long time ago and they no longer make the part. Good luck
 

Brnsvllyjohn

Well-known member
I shot 5 different loads and the ELDX were the worst at 100 at around 3". 2 others were right at 2.25 (GMX, Etips) The new Winchester loads did 1.4 inches for a 4 shot group. They will get shot a few more times to see how that goes. It is still tough to hunt with gun that I can't get to 1" or less at 100. My son's 06 likes the Etips so I had my hopes up for them. The Trophy Coppers were closer to 3". I would rather shoot a 165 and the Winchesters are 150 but they are a boat tail so not horrible but not a good BC. Not a decent long range load but out to 350 or so they should be fine. I haven't taken a deer with the 06 since around 1990 so it doesn't get much use anyway. Just like to know if I can still use it if I want to. It is the first rifle I ever owned and I have had since I was 12. Was thinking about giving it to a grandson but only if I can get it to shoot decently.
 

Brnsvllyjohn

Well-known member
I think in total lead free loads in the 30-06 I have now tried about 10 things. Every bullet weight in Barnes was not good. Etips loaded by Winchester were the worst of all. 2 different weights in Trophy Copper were only so so and the same with 2 different GMX loads. The 150 GMX is the second best and may be huntable but the Winchesters are better.

With my 7mag (model 70) all of the Barnes are bad as is the Hornady Full Boar but the GMX in the Superformance is decent at about 1.1 or so. The Trophy Coppers are way better than that. In a buddies 7 mag (Remington 700) the Barnes are the best so he was really happy to take the Barnes loads I couldn't shoot. Neither gun will shoot the Full Boar line from Hornady.
 

Bankrunner

Well-known member
Has all the copper fouling been cleaned out of the barrel.
I know there are a couple schools of thought, some clean all the time and some say don't touch it if it's shooting OK.
My 270wsm does not like any fouling in the barrel. I know when it's time to clean as soon as my groups start to widen.
 

Planetcat

Well-known member
If I remember right, you shoot a Browning? Believe it or not, I get best results from copper in my Browning BAR .308 and Benelli R1 in .30-06 with 180 grain copper bullets. These are hard to find, but Sellier & Bellot eXergy 180 grain shoot great out of both rifles. My son dropped a 405 lb. cow elk last year using them in my .308. The only other ammo company that makes .30 caliber 180 grain lead-free is HSM. They are Barnes TSX. I've used their ammo, and it is clean and reliable. It's a big copper bullet for .30 caliber, though. Both European rifles hate the GMX and Barnes loads, but don't mind the Federal trophy copper so much.
 

Brnsvllyjohn

Well-known member
No I Cannot guarantee "all" of the copper is out and in fact after this morning clearly there is some new stuff. I have cleaned it repeatedly over the last couple of years and I got it to where the patch comes out clean when using a copper solvent. This particular gun was never a tack driver but I did find some factory loads that it shot well. Remington Extended range in 168 shot really well and the Premier 165 was also good. I don't think Remington loads either one any longer. I only have the Fusions because some one else's gun wouldn't shoot them but this gun does. I have talked to 2 guys about changing the barrel and the stock but neither guy wanted to make changes to a Classic pre 64 Model 70. They think I should just look at it and buy a new gun before I alter a classic. I don't know why you keep a gun that you won't hunt with. When I was 16 I thought anything less than a 3 inch group at a hundred yards was really good and most major magazines did to. Things have changed and once you have a couple of guns that on a bad day still shoot about 1 inch it is hard to carry a gun that doesn't. I don't "need" to hunt with it I just would like to sometime. I could buy a new rifle that will guarantee 1" groups for less than it would cost to customize this one.
 

ltdann

Well-known member
John, your discovering what a lot of us found out when the condor zone went up in 2006. I personally went thru around $500 in ammo on my Springfield looking for the "right" ammo. I eventually just retired the rifle and bought a new one.

The lead free stuff shoots differently and a lot of folks are going to find that out the hard way. They'll wait till the last minute and not be able to find any on the shelf. Be glad you are doing this now, while you have options.
 

Brnsvllyjohn

Well-known member
I read your comments about that back when you posted it. I think I even replied that I was in the same situation with my 06. I started changing to lead free a number of years ago on some guns because I still hunted in Monterey Co. Fortunately I have always had one deer rifle that likes everything or seems to. I haven't found a lead free that it won't shoot but the 30-06 still bugs me.
This post is kind of a warning to guys to start looking now especially if you only have one gun or a caliber that isn't easy to get ammo for like some of the short magnums. In our group there is a guy with a 243 short mag and so far loading is his only choice. I am lucky because my guns are more popular calibers and I have lots of choices.
Someone just asked me what he should purchase a large quantity of for his deer rifle. He has never even tried any lead free stuff so I told him one or two boxes at a time until he found one then buy a bunch of it. He said he doesn't have time to do that. OH well. This year alone I have tried 6 or 7 different loads in guns. A lot more than that in prior years. Now some of that was to try a bullet with a better BC when I already had a workable load but just wanted to try something else. The ELDX bullets today was an example of that approach. Shot well in one gun but not the 06.
 

adam32

Well-known member
A .243 WSSM? Loading will be his only choice for the rest of eternity.

I hope you realize that the ELD-X is NOT a lead free bullet...
 

DonQuixote

Well-known member
I'm not thrilled with the grouping my .308 is getting using the 165 gr GMX. I shot some lead 150gr through it and it was sub-MOA, shouldn't have done that because now I'm bummed! Hoping the Federal trophy copper 165gr play well with the Weatherby. I should have been to the range twice this month already, but I've been rebuilding the transmission in my truck. Comes down to priorities in the end, I suppose. I won't be hunting unless I have a way to get up the mountain. :|
 

Brnsvllyjohn

Well-known member
A .243 WSSM? Loading will be his only choice for the rest of eternity.

I hope you realize that the ELD-X is NOT a lead free bullet...
Yes and my dilemma is should I have 2 different loads for any given gun? I hunt Idaho on years I don't get an X tag and so far I have only wanted to shoot one load everywhere. My last 2 Idaho bcks were taken with the 7 mag with the Trophy Copper loads. I didn't have to but I shoot it well so why change? ELD-X was just getting a lot of press and sounded interesting. I didn't purchase them another hunter did. He hunts way more states than I do. He was shooting a 300 RUM and his 06. Colorado don't care. Since the 06 is not liking anything so far I was thinking it might just be an out of state gun. It didn't like the ELD-X anyway.

Yes 243 WSM. That guy has everything including lots of brass but hasn't loaded for it yet. That was just an example of things that could happen for those with some calibers.
 

TheGDog

Well-known member
Have you tried the Barnes VOR-TX 168gr TTSX yet? They shot great out of my Savage Trophy Hunter .308win. The Federal Premium Trophy Copper (uh 150gr?) were good too.
 

Brnsvllyjohn

Well-known member
I'm not thrilled with the grouping my .308 is getting using the 165 gr GMX. I shot some lead 150gr through it and it was sub-MOA, shouldn't have done that because now I'm bummed! Hoping the Federal trophy copper 165gr play well with the Weatherby. I should have been to the range twice this month already, but I've been rebuilding the transmission in my truck. Comes down to priorities in the end, I suppose. I won't be hunting unless I have a way to get up the mountain. :|
Since the 308 is a really common caliber you have lots of things you can try. Probably 15-20 if you look hard. You might find that one manufacture's 165 will not shoot well but their 150 might. I prefer 165 in a 30 caliber but if the 150 is all my 06 will shoot then that would be my choice for hunting. I know it is way easier for me to run out to the range and shoot every time I want to sine I am retired but until you get something that you like what are your other choices?
Like others said cleaning your gun might help. I know some where that made a huge difference. A Remington 700 in 7 mag is one that after it was cleaned thoroughly now shoots the Barnes pretty well. Not so good before using a copper solvent.
 

Brnsvllyjohn

Well-known member
This site is posting my responses before I have a chance to double check them. I will be reading it and it posts. Oh Well. No option for editing either.
 

mischief209

Well-known member
what powder are you using? Have you tried switching it up? seems like youve tried everything? in my 06 i run 168 ttsx with 57.3gr of h4350 and the bullet set at 3.330. Messing with the bullet seating might improve your shots? Out of the bullets i tested when testing bullet seating, the closet i was able to get it to the lands the better the groups. Barnes recommends Ramshot "big Game" powder for velocity or 4350. I havent been able to find the big game powder to try out.
 

Brnsvllyjohn

Well-known member
Since rifle season is here I thought I would post our most recent experiences at the range. My 7 mag is still going to be Federal Trophy copper. 3/4 inch groups are normal with a few way less than that. Hornady GMX are also good. My 06 still is not great. I just ordered a Simms deresonator for the barrel. I hate the idea but am willing to try it.
For some other guys I hunt with. This how some of their guns did at the range.
Two 7 mags one model Remington 700 and one Tikka shoot Barnes really well. The trophy copper was OK but the Barnes was better.
A model 70 Winchester in 300 Win mag also likes the Barnes. Again Trophy Copper was OK but Barnes was better.
One 30-06 likes the Nosler E Tips the best but the Hornady GMX are not bad either.
Two different 7mm-08 will shoot almost anything. We are lucky with those 2 guns. One is a Browning and one is a Tikka. .5 inch groups are possible on any given day with either gun.
Another individual keeps asking me what his Model 70 300 win mag will shoot and I keep saying I have no idea. He wants to buy a bunch of shells without testing them. :( Good luck is all I can say.
I posted this update since I am sure there are still guys in California that have not found a lead free load yet. You may get lucky and find the first brand you buy is great but if you are more like my experiences it could take 3-4 brands and different bullet weights to find something you can live with. I have spent tons on ammo in two years. If you find more than one your gun will shoot then I would compare reviews on bullet performance. The info I have read recently indicates the major brands are all about the same on ballistics gel and other tests they did. I can tell you everything we have shot with Trophy Copper or Barnes have all been recovered without much difficulty.
 
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