The .30-06 Improved

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Q: My mate and I have been hunting together for several years now using identical rifles – a pair of Ruger M77s in .30-06. But last year my mate got his rifle rechambered to .30-06 Ackley Improved. He is loading it with AR2209 and brags that his improved rifle now performs at 200 yards like it formerly did at 100 yards. To my knowledge he has never had his rifle chronographed with his improved handloads so I am at a loss to explain how he arrived at this conclusion. What do you think of the .30-06 Ackley Improved? How much gain is there in velocity?
Ken Barber

.30-06 Improving - case capacities. Image -
.30-06 Improving - case capacities. Image -

A: I built my .30-06 Ackley back in 1980, measuring the velocity of my loads with an old Telepacific chronograph which led me to believe that there was quite a gain in velocity. In 1992 I repeated my tests using Re-22 in place of the old H4831 and clocked my loads with a new Chrony chronograph. The results verified that the extra case volume really does give the Ackley version a discernable edge over the standard .30-06 in a 600mm barrel. This agreed closely with what some other experimenters have achieved. Velocities were: 3200fps with the 150gn bullet, 3100 with the 165gn, 2950fps with the 180gn and 2800fps with the 180gn. I am glad to know that your mate is happy with his rifle, but since he is loading AR2209, I hope he never gets it near a chonograph, as knowing the actual bullet speeds might ruin his confidence in the gun. The .30-06 Ackley does best with slow powders, but I've found that both Re-22 and AR2213sc both work better than AR2209.

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