The Right Load for the Right Game

I have a soft spot in my heart for Texas and the Marines, since many members of my family belong to one or the other. Both like to say “go big, or go home”. And I agree, usually. My preferred handgun caliber is .45 – because they don’t make a .46, heh.

And so, when I started deer hunting, I went with the largest and finest 30-06 bullet Wal-Mart had to offer: 180 grain. They also offered 150 and 165, but again…go big or go home, right? After all, shoulder cartilage heals, but trophy bucks are forever.

Last year I changed my mind. I’m hunting mule and whitetail deer, not moose. And the venerable 30-06 has plenty of knock-down power even with smaller bullets. I switched to the 150 grain for three reasons. First, it has slightly less recoil. It’s not a big deal, but it’s nice. Second, it has a slightly flatter trajectory, because the bullet doesn’t drop as much in flight. Using the comparison tools available at, I compared 150 and 180 grain bullets from the same Power-Shok line:

150 vs 180 grain bullet trajectory

Finally, it does less damage to your meat. This is probably the most important reason not to overdo it on bullet weight.


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