Hi coach, I have a 30-06 pump also, I use 180 grain corelocks & it really kicks,if I go to 150 or 160, would the kick be as bad. Is 150grain efficient for deer. They can get big in NH-MAINE. Thanks for the information. John
180 grain in a 30-06 is overkill on whitetail. Don't get me wrong. I like overkill. Overkill is a good thing. I shot 180 grainers at whitetail for many years. If you're looking to reduce the kick, definately think about the 150 grain with both the 30-06 and the 308 WIN. Even the largest deer will find them hard to resist. Honestly, you could even drop down to a 130 grain bullet and still have a potent deer load.
Recoil will be much lighter using a 150 grain bullet, than a 180 if all other things are kept equal.
I generally shoot 165 grain Hornady SP in both the '06 and the 308 WIN, but it is not because of the deer per se. I standardized on the 165, because I shoot the same load in several rifles, and this one load shot well in all of them. It started out as 2-rifle/one load combination for the Texas Hill Country and then tried them in and M1 Garand. Now the '06 load is in five rifles and the bullet is used in 5 more rifles in other calibers-- my go-to deer bullet
I download my 308 Win down to about 300 Savage levels and it is still devastating on deer. We grow them big in KY as well-- live weights can get up around 300 lbs. I think my biggest one to date went 270 lbs. I've killed big ones with 180 grain Remmie core lokts, 165 grain and 150 Hornady SP's and several others. The bottom line is : find an inexpensive load that prints well on paper and you're comfortable shooting recoil-wise. Don't worry too much about the weight of the bullet.