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Subject Topic: Why the .30-30 lever gun? Post ReplyPost New Topic
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M700
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Posted: July 03 2012 at 8:37pm | IP Logged Quote M700

So I've had several center-fire leverguns over the years - not a huge quantity, and nothing really special.

.30-30 Win 94
.30-30 Marlin 336
.30-30 Glenfield 30 (current)

.45/70 Marlin Guide Gun 18.5"
.45/70 Marlin 1895 22"

None were breathtakingly accurate. None were abysmal. The Win 94 couldn't hold with the Marlins for accuracy, but wasn't what I'd call bad.

I've been interested in other cartridges, like the .35 Rem, the .375 Win, the .444, .450 Marlin, and the pistol cartridge lever guns in .357 mag & .44 mag.

So... After owning a couple of .45/70's that I loaded from mild to wild, and lusting after a particularly good looking .44 mag Marlin... Why do I like my .30-30's so much?

Recoil. The .30-30 is remarkably light in recoil, particularly so with the 150 gr loads, a little more obvious with the 170's - but still pretty silly recoil-wise. Low recoil makes it a joy to shoot, and also easy to shoot well.

Muzzle blast. Same thing. It's mild. Only a modest amount of gunpowder being ignited there, and hardly overbore.

Trajectory. Hmmmm... Really, at "normal" hunting ranges - like where I've taken probably 70% of my deer - it's point and shoot. A 200 yard shot is certainly not tough with an accurate .30-30 rifle.

Effectiveness. Really? Yeah - the bullet makers and ammo companies figured this one out a long time ago. With a muzzle velocity of only about 2100 fps, the standard jacketed round nose 170 gr bullets both open well, and penetrate well. As I've seen in my tests, the 170's penetrate about as well as many soft point hunting bullets from the .375 H&H magnum... Interesting eh?

So there ya go: Modest recoil & muzzle blast. Pleasing in fact. Reasonably flat trajectory. Don't think so? Compare with a .44 magnum lever gun, or a .45/70 lever gun with traditional flat nose or round nose bullets. Effective? Oh yeah. Name some large game animal in North America that hasn't been taken with the ubiquitous .30-30 cartridge...

Worth looking at. Easy to load. Easy to shoot. Effective.

Guy

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Paul5388
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Posted: July 03 2012 at 9:14pm | IP Logged Quote Paul5388

I don't guess I've ever owned a .30-30 lever gun. I do have a .30-30, but it's a single shot Handi rifle. I do have a lever gun, but it's a .35 Rem.

I shoot cast in the .30-30 and still need to see what it will do at normal ranges. The .35 Rem is probably a better choice for me, with its heavier bullets. But, I need to get some cast worked out for it too.

Too many projects and time is running out.

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thorschariot
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Posted: July 03 2012 at 9:18pm | IP Logged Quote thorschariot

Don't forget that every country store and merc has a box or two of .30-30 behind the counter. And the fact that it was the first rifle many hunters were allowed to borrow from Dad or Grandpa on the first hunting trip. I took my first deer and elk with Dad's trusty 94. Iron sights, no less. My son took his first deer with my 94, but with a scope.
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Slick
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Posted: July 03 2012 at 10:43pm | IP Logged Quote Slick

Oh, I agree totally... I made the mistake of passing on a fantastic deal ($250) on a cherry 1950's Winchester 94 in .30-30 all because I'd just dropped $1100 on my Winchester (Miroku) 1886 take-down at my last stop. That was dumb and I'll forever regret it - but I know that there's another .30-30 out there with my name on it, but I just haven't found her yet.

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richhodg66
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Posted: July 04 2012 at 5:45am | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

It's a good round in other actions too.I've worked with a couple of Handi rifles in it and also a Savage 340 bolt gun and a Savage 170 pump. All the cartridge a guy really needs if he has some basic hunting skills, at least in the terrain we have here.

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davemuzz
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Posted: July 04 2012 at 6:07am | IP Logged Quote davemuzz

Accurate? Well Guy...now I'll have to disagree with you on that one. My Marlin 1895XLR is one of the most accurate guns that I own. I shoot it with peep sights, and it will give me cloverleafs at 100 and 200 yards with either a 405 Cast Performance bullet, or those 325 gummy tip Hornady's. And it will do it all the time!!!

My current "collection" consist of

Winchester 94-22 22-mag
Marlin 1895XLR 45-70
Winchester M-88 .308

And my only wanna add to is a Henry 22-LR.


Dave

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Buffalogun
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Posted: July 04 2012 at 8:10am | IP Logged Quote Buffalogun

Guy,

One could say a S&W 4" revolver or a Glock are the lawman's working handguns, since lots of lawmen have in the past and currently use them. The lawmen don't need cutting edge accuracy, just minute-of-bad-guy with some extra attributes as well!

The 30-30 levergun is the outdoorsman's/cowboy's working gun! It is plenty accurate for putting down a bear, steer, coyote, hogs, deer, etc. The tube holds several rounds and a practiced shooter can fire all of them without having to drop the rifle/carbine from the line of sight.
It can also be reloaded while still on the shooters shoulder!

One of the best long-guns for self defense is a Marlin 1894 (with 9-10 quick shots) that can be reloaded very easily/quickly.


I have two Win 94's and a Marlin 336 in 30-30. I like "hammer guns"!


Happy 4th Everyone!
Mike


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NVcaster
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Posted: July 04 2012 at 8:14am | IP Logged Quote NVcaster

I have considered the 30-30 but went with the 35 remington as I already had a couple of bullet moulds in 35 cal. But if I see one at the right price I may grab one! It comes down to how much do you really need. The shootabilty because of less recoil is a big plus.

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STCM(SW)
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Posted: July 04 2012 at 9:32am | IP Logged Quote STCM(SW)

I have had only 3 lever actions.
First was a Marlin .444 in the early '70's.
OK, but I got a 7mm Rem mag. to hunt with.
Next was a few years ago, a Marlin in 45-70, didn't like it at all.
Still have a Winchester 94 30-30, cost was about $200. Much more of a easy round to shoot, beat up a little, put peep sights on it.
Put it in the truck as a back-up deer rifle. Don't worry about it getting snow or wet and no scope that might get damaged & off.
Seems big bore lever rifles are not my cup of tea.....

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yyz
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Posted: July 04 2012 at 11:52am | IP Logged Quote yyz

big bore lever actions may not be every bodies cup of tea, but find me some one that can't shoot a basic 30-30 lever. the 30-30 with open sights is good for most game in north america. only the 22lr has taken more deer, though you may have a hard time getting people to admit to it ;-). having grown up listening to guys complain about the 30-30, here in the UP of mich (and much of the east and western rain forest) there really is not any good reason for a different rifle/cartridge combo then the handy lever action and the 30-30.

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hoghunter
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Posted: July 04 2012 at 4:21pm | IP Logged Quote hoghunter

My father killed 18 bucks in his hunting career with a Winchester Model 94, 30-30, open sights. He hunted in the mountains of central PA where 150 yards and under shots are the rule.

Although I personally never used a 30-30, many of my father's generation (including many of my uncles) did and were quite successful.

One of the largest black bear in PA state history was taken with a 30-30; a one shot kill.

So I often smile when I hear someone critisize the cartridge's effectiveness in today's magnum crazed world.

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Ham Gunner
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Posted: July 05 2012 at 12:20pm | IP Logged Quote Ham Gunner

hoghunter wrote:
So I often smile when I hear someone critisize the cartridge's effectiveness in today's magnum crazed world.



Shot my first deer with a 94 .30-30. Never owned one, but I do have a 94 in .44 Mag. Not nearly as flat shooting as the .30-30, but I think it takes a "hunter" to get in close to where the hunting range is for these rifles, ordinarily. Many either do not know how to hunt in close, or just choose to snipe from a more comfortable distance.

It might be a stretch to intentionally use one for long range hunting, such as antelope or out West ranges in the open. But, even there, one can find close range spots to hunt. Might take some time and a lot of scouting work to find a decent hunting spot, but I think the old lever guns are quite capable.

Love my Marlin 39 too.

Edited by Ham Gunner on July 05 2012 at 12:21pm


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M700
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Posted: July 05 2012 at 1:46pm | IP Logged Quote M700

Oh yeah - the .22 Marlin 39A is about as good as it gets as far as I'm concerned. It's my all-time favorite rifle!
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Buffalogun
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Posted: July 05 2012 at 3:26pm | IP Logged Quote Buffalogun

Ham Gunner wrote:
hoghunter wrote:
So I often smile when I hear someone critisize the cartridge's effectiveness in today's magnum crazed world.



It might be a stretch to intentionally use one for long range hunting, such as antelope or out West ranges in the open.


When the old 30-30 is put up in a good bolt or singleshot action it is a very accurate cartridge. The carbine leverguns just don't do the cartridge justice.

For long range shooting with the 30-30 one needs only to change to the Nosler 125gr BallTip at 2,500+ fps. and the trajectory gets flattened quite a bit. 125gr bullets should be plenty for antelope. There is also the option of "improving" the 30-30, which may happen to my 336 Marlin.

I should add the BallTips and other hard nosed spitzers cannot be loaded with more than one cartridge in the tube magazines!

Mike




Edited by Buffalogun on July 05 2012 at 4:16pm


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joed
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Posted: July 05 2012 at 3:34pm | IP Logged Quote joed

I have 3 lever guns in the safe, a 9422 Win, 94 win in .30-
30 and a 336c Marlin in .35 Rem.

Jury's out on the .35, hard to find ammo and components.
Not impossible but no where as easy as .30-30.
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M700
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Posted: July 05 2012 at 4:04pm | IP Logged Quote M700

Mike - I think I may have a half box or so of those 125 grain Nosler Ballistic Tips left around here somewhere... That just might make a dandy deer bullet from the .30-30, and it would still be a two-shooter, even with the pointy bullets. One in the chamber, one in the mag.

Not a bad thought at all - although I think it's hard to improve on the terminal performance of the good old 170 gr soft points.

Guy
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Buffalogun
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Posted: July 05 2012 at 4:19pm | IP Logged Quote Buffalogun

Guy,

Our whitetails aren't as big as your local deer, but I have used the 125gr BallTip and the Barnes 130gr TSX with excellent results in the 30-30 and 30-30AI.

Joe,
I shoot the 357 Max and since it is as fast or faster than factory 35 Rem loads, I use the same bullets. I haven't had any problem finding 357/358 bullets, both cast and jacketed.



Mike

Edited by Buffalogun on July 05 2012 at 4:23pm


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joed
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Posted: July 05 2012 at 4:50pm | IP Logged Quote joed

Mike, I was looking for REM 200 gr a few months ago and could not
find them.    Haven't looked since. Can't even remember what my
second choice was but they were equally as scarce.
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hoghunter
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Posted: July 05 2012 at 5:32pm | IP Logged Quote hoghunter

Ham Gunner wrote:
hoghunter wrote:
So I often smile when I hear someone critisize the cartridge's effectiveness in today's magnum crazed world.



Shot my first deer with a 94 .30-30. Never owned one, but I do have a 94 in .44 Mag. Not nearly as flat shooting as the .30-30, but I think it takes a "hunter" to get in close to where the hunting range is for these rifles, ordinarily. Many either do not know how to hunt in close, or just choose to snipe from a more comfortable distance.

It might be a stretch to intentionally use one for long range hunting, such as antelope or out West ranges in the open. But, even there, one can find close range spots to hunt. Might take some time and a lot of scouting work to find a decent hunting spot, but I think the old lever guns are quite capable.

Love my Marlin 39 too.


My comments on the old 30 -30 apply to hunting in the mountains of PA where shots are rarely over 150 yards due to the dense forest although longer shots are possible on power lines.

I totally agree, this is not a long range open country cartridge.

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Buffalogun
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Posted: July 05 2012 at 5:49pm | IP Logged Quote Buffalogun

According to "PointBlank" if we run the 125gr BallTip at 2,500 fps. at an elevation of 3000 ft., it will carry 1,000 ftlbs of energy past 300 yds. and with a 200 yd. zero will be down apprx 10" at the 300 yd. mark.

Not bad for an old levergun cartridge!


Mike

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