I really enjoy being able to use my big game rifle very often. Normally that urge is satisfied by doing a lot of shooting with affordable handloads using Remington 150 grain PSP bullets. Recently I came across a small game load for the .30-06 and decided to give it a try.
The author attributed the load to Townsend Whelen, who claimed to have repeatedly filled his pot by taking various forms of small game with the load. His load used 150 grain FMJ bullets, but since I had the 150 grain PSP bullets on hand I decided to give those a try. The load consists of 18.0 grains of IMR SR 4759 over Federal 210 primers, claiming 1548 fps and 765 ft lbs. The author stated the load is roughly comparable to 45 grain bullet out of a .22 Hornet, which generates 624 ft lbs. I crimped my bullets lightly using the Lee FCD. My brass was some once fired Federal cases I picked up over the internet for a good price.
I shot the loads out of my Kimber Montana and was rewarded with nice little clusters at 50 yards, comparable to the accuracy from a .22 LR. The recoil was negligble and would make an excellent starter round for a youngster. I anticipate trying the load on squirrels, rabbits, and grouse in the next couple of weeks. I don't think it will be nearly as devastating as the bunny hunting videos using full power big game rifles, but should still kill them cleanly and efficiently.
One note, the POI was about 3" away at 50 yards from my normal 100 yard full power zero. This isn't an issue for me, because I use a scope with marked turrets, but could be an issue if you have to re-zero for these rounds and then are faced with a shot on a wolf while out small game hunting.