Plains Game with the .30-06
I plan to hunt in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa come August of 2012. I plan on taking warthog, zebra, and black wildebeest with a .30-06 Springfield rifle. Is Hornady 185-grain SP and Hornady 165-grain SST ammo adequate for this type of game? Any suggestions?
The .30-06 Springfield is most certainly adequate for the species you will be hunting in SA’s Northern Cape Province. For warthog and black wildebeest, neither of which are large-bodied animals, either of the two Hornady bullets you mention, 180-grain SP or 165-grain SST, will do just fine if you do your part and place them perfectly.
Zebra are a different matter, especially a big stallion. Granted, many zebra have been taken successfully with .30-caliber 180-grainers, but to be honest, I prefer a bit more bullet weight for these striped equines, especially at what are known as “bushveld” shooting distances--in other words, 100 to 150 paces.
220-grainers really shift the good old .30-06 up a gear, and this would be my bullet weight recommendation for your August 2012 hunt. This weight will work better for your zebra and still cover the other bases.
Hornady offer a 220-grain .30-cal Interlock. This would be my recommendation if you want to stay with Hornady--and so as not to confuse the issue, just use them for all three of the species you intend to hunt.
For bushveld conditions I really like long, parallel-sided, round-nosed bullets and the 220-grain Hornady Interlock sure is that. The lower impact velocity of this bullet weight will ensure that they hold together better and the additional weight (and therefore momentum) of these bullets will also ensure deeper penetration with a larger permanent wound channel. For these reasons it is my experience that heavy-for-caliber bullets at bushveld shooting distances are a lot more effective than lighter ones of the same caliber and you can rest assured that 220-grain .30-caliber bullets have a wonderful reputation out here in southern Africa.