And the best part about most .30-06 ammunition is that they are able to run on a variety of different powders, and there’s a wide array of choices of gun powders. Some are slow burning and others are fast burning.
It should be noted that different powders do affect accuracy, velocity, and even recoil. Depending on the preference of the shooter, different powders will be more preferable than others. Hunters are very serious about their sport and rely heavily on the performance, power, and velocity that they pack under their arm when heading out into the field.
Here are our recommendations for the 4 best powders for .30-06 on the market:
IMR Powders – IMR 4831 Powders
In comparison to some other powders, the IMR 4831 has a slightly slower burn rate. This allows for the very best performance with heavier bullets. The reloading powder is specifically designed for mid-range magnum rifles, mainly for hunting purposes. This powder provides high velocities. The shape of the granules of the IMR 4831 are in an extruded “stick” form. If you like brute force and accuracy, the IMR 4831 packs a punch and is easily one of the best powers for .30-06 around.
IMR Powders – Enduron 4451 Powder
Performance is inevitable with this propellant, designed for mid-range burn speed cartridges. With the perfect, happy medium for burn speed, you are sure to be satisfied with this smokeless powder. The IMR 4451 is not sensitive to any temperature changes as some powders are. This means that you can take it on hunting trips that are prone to changes in temperatures. It also eliminates a copper fouling and is very versatile.
Vihtavuori – N550 High Energy Smokeless Rifle Powder
The N550 burns slowly in comparison to other powders suitable for the .30-06. Because the .30-06 is a heavier round, the N550 is ideal for accuracy. This powder features a symmetrical grain and has nitroglycerine added to provide for a better energy current without added wear to the rifle. It is an excellent choice for a well-rounded powder.
Winchester – 760 Smokeless Powder
The Win 760 smokeless ball powder is a spherical powder with a very consistent and reliable burn rate. It is said that this reloading powder is ideal for home reloads due to ease of use. It provides for a great velocity with the trusted performance of Winchester. The Winchester 760 has ideal flow characteristics and is not sensitive to temperature.
The Best Powder for .30-06 Facts
The .30-06 Springfield certainly sets the benchmark for any .30- caliber rifle cartridges. It has the ability to send any 125- or 130-grain bullet over 3,200 feet per second with ease. This cartridge was used in both world wars and is now an optimal choice for hunters as it has been used for just about any game animal. The cartridge has a wide variety of uses in your hunting rifle.
When it comes to reloading, the .30-06 is very forgiving and is simple to load. It has a well-balanced case design and bore diameter with a large velocity range. The case volume is very generous with a long brass life and availability.
The ammunition for .30-06 is said to be drastically cheaper than some other hunting calibers and the recoil is also often less, allowing much more training time.
.30-06 Powder Facts and Tips
It is important to note that one should not mix any two types of powder, no matter the brand, type, or source of the powder. This means that one should not substitute any powders, especially smokeless and black powders.
The burn rate of gunpowder depends heavily on the size of the granules. Smokeless powder is especially sensitive to the granule size, shape, and even coating. Mixing different types could heavily impact the performance, burn speed, and thus, may negatively impact the application.
Reloading powder into your .30-06 is a cinch. This caliber runs on any standard rifle primer.
What to Look for in the Best Powder for .30-06
When it comes to selecting the gunpowder for your .30-06, there are a few points to consider. It is important to note that the differing characteristics of different types of powder will make a difference in the ballistics of the round, the consistency, and the overall performance of your ammunition.
It is essential to pay attention to the powder’s burning rate. This directly influences the peak pressure that ends up being generated by the powder charge. As a general rule of thumb, non-magnum loads typically do better with powders that have a faster burning rate and magnum loads thrive off of powders that burn a little more slowly. Typically, as bullet weight of any cartridge increases, powder that burns more slowly will typically give the shooter a better, more accurate shot and shooting experience.
The density of your .30-06 powder will influence how much bulk is available for any charge weight. The bulkier the powder is, the more helpful is can be to prevent a double charge. A double charge occurs is one charge accounts for most of the powder space and the double charge will not allow the round to properly seat.
The shape of the granule of each powder particle contributes to the burning characteristics of the gunpowder. Some of the common shapes are ball powder, flattened ball powder, stick powder, and flake powder.
Powder that is not as sensitive to temperature changes provides the individual the opportunity to not have to worry about how their weapon is going to handle changes in the outdoors. In hunting situations where temperatures spike from morning to afternoon, temperature stable powders will prove to be very beneficial.
By doing your homework on what you will be using your .30-06 for, you can better determine the type of powder to choose, based on what it can offer. It is always a good idea to be well-informed before beginning to reload your own rounds. Remember that accuracy, velocity, and recoil are all affected by the minor differences that exist amongst different powders on the market. To get the most out of your weapon, the strategy begins in your gunpowder. Good luck!
Owner of Reloaderaddict.com, Boyd Smith is a major handgun enthusiast, and although he owns Glocks, he prefers the revolving wheel type. His go-to guns are a Smith & Wesson 642 Performance Center for carry and a Ruger GP100 in the nightstand biometric safe (he has kids). He loads both revolvers with old-school 148-grain Federal Gold Medal .38 wadcutters. It’s OK if you think he’s a wimp. Email him.