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Thread: Realistic ability of a 30-30?

  1. #1

    Realistic ability of a 30-30?

    Hi all, looking into getting a Winchester 94AE in 30-30 as my first rifle, something to cut my teeth on over a reasonable range. As the 30-30's seem to be the most popular calibre that is (from my googling) suitable for medium sized deer hunting, I'm looking towards getting one. But has anyone had any experience with this calibred rifle? I may be over compensating due to lack of experience and knowledge, but would a 30-30 be enough for a clean and humane kill?

    thanks and happy new year!

    A

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by AlMai View Post
    Hi all, looking into getting a Winchester 94AE in 30-30 as my first rifle, something to cut my teeth on over a reasonable range. As the 30-30's seem to be the most popular calibre that is (from my googling) suitable for medium sized deer hunting, I'm looking towards getting one. But has anyone had any experience with this calibred rifle? I may be over compensating due to lack of experience and knowledge, but would a 30-30 be enough for a clean and humane kill?

    thanks and happy new year!

    A
    A. I suggest you do some training before you invest in a rifle. DSC1 All the best for 2016. JCS

  3. #3
    Really not the most popular in the UK, for good reason. A bolt actioned rifle will serve you far better as a stalking rifle. JCS gives you good advice above. Get a bit more knowledge before deciding what would best serve your needs.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by jcampbellsmith View Post
    A. I suggest you do some training before you invest in a rifle. DSC1 All the best for 2016. JCS
    Plus 1 to this.

    I can can understand from googling why you have come to the view that the 30-30 is a good deer calibre. Most results will be from US websites as that is where the vast majority of deer are shot and the vast majority of deer hunters live. Nothing wrong with the 30-30 and a very large number of deer are harvested with it each year.

    But it and it's a very big but, in the UK there minimum velocity and muzzle energy requirements and the majority of 30-30 cartridges don't meet these, and thus are technically illegal. For a first rifle I would look for a bolt action in 243, 6.5x55 or 308 with a 6x42 scope.

  5. #5
    30-30 is a moderate energy calibre that fires big bullets at low velocity that just makes the legal energy with Factory some ammo offerings for roe deer or bigger in England and Wales, it is simply not deer legal in Scotland because the bullets are too slow (around 2,200fps) to meet the minimum muzzle velocity in law there (2450fps @ muzzle).

    While not wishing to knock the calibre, it is certainly not the choice for beginners and forget a ready supply of factory ammo. Get a .243 like everyone else then get the experience to choose the right calibre for you.

  6. #6
    Would just like to point out that not all rifles in 30-30 are lever actions. Savage and Winchester both made bolt action rifles in 30-30 although finding one in the UK may be a problem. Remington had their own version of the cartridge that was a rimless one it seems. Bear in mind that many in the UK view the 30-30 as marginal in the accuracy department as well a view that is not held in the US and Australia where lever actions are much more accepted. If your dead set on a lever action of the Winchester 94 or Marlin 1894 type then perhaps the 7-30 Waters is what you should be looking for but of course many a gunshop today may not have ever heard of it. Oddly enough was reading the article on this cartridges development in Ken Waters Pet Loads only the other day having discovered where my horde of old shooting books had been stashed away after the move.

    I see the occasional Winchetser 30-30 being shot on the range one of which is the rifle and not the shorter barrel carbine that seems to be more common.

    Yes I have been spending time reading American forums.

  7. #7
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    If you are buying stalking where the gamekeeper (more correctly the stalker) sits you in a high seat and says "Shoot that one, Sir" then there is absolutely no need at all for a DSC 1. The ONLY training that will be relevant to you is training to hit a target of about three inches diameter at the distance that the stalker expects you to take the shot.

    But is 30-30 ideal? It is adequate, probably at up to about one hundred yards for smaller deer (muntjac, roe, fallow) from a stand (more correctly high seat) of just wandering about through woodland hoping to jump shoot a deer (more correctly woodland stalking).

    But not at all the best practice or best choice for on the hill (meaning traditional Highland stalking) as the calibre is marginal IMHO and its flat pointed bullet shape only increases that handicap as ranges increase. Also the Winchester 94 is not an ideal rifle. It is no longer made and therefore spares are virtually unobtainable for the parts that do wear out. So unless you source a rare bolt action 30-30 (as CONURE says they do exist Norman Clarke has or had one for sale) then flat point bullet are the handicap you will have to take on board.

    As CONURE says if you are dead set on a lever action there are better choices than a Winchester and better calibres. 7-30 Waters, as he says, and .307 Winchester. But better of all is to look at the Browning BLR or the Savage. But personally a good bolt action in a widely available calibre is a better choice.

  8. #8
    The .30-30 will be found all over the Internet because about 7,000,000 of them have been sold since 1894, and Winchester and Marlin still make them and sell them steadily today, all over the USA.

    As already stated, it fires a 170-gr flat nosed bullet at 2,200 fps or a 150-gr at 2,400 fps. The 20-inch carbines were designed to fit in a saddle scabbard, stage coach or overhead compartment on a steam locomotive, and are handy for hunting in the woods. The trajectory is a bit of an arch, making them best for 100-yard hunting. Inside 100 yards they are very effective on deer, and even boar, bear, elk and moose.

    In the hands of a marksman with the right sights on a 24-inch barrel rifle of some accuracy, the .30-30 can easily take a deer cleanly at 200 yards, especially with handloads of 150-gr, 130 or 125-gr spitzer bullets, used as a single shot. But few people do that. I am one of them, using a Marlin half-magazine 24-inch barrel Model 336 Deluxe, and I enjoy it.

    The Winchester, having top ejection, is not amenable to a scope, unless you get the more modern 94AE ( Angle Eject ). The .30-30 is too much power for a fox.

    So my suggestion is to listen to your fellow UK deer hunters, get a mild-recoil rifle like the .243 which is very common there, very accurate and very versatile for anything from fox to large deer; and there are tons of nice used ones to be bought.

    Then, if you still have the itch for a lever action, get one in a handgun caliber, like the .357 Magnum /.38 Special, for lots of cheap and fun shooting. I hope you do, and get the bug later for a .30-30, .444 Marlin, or .45-70, or a Savage 99 or Browning BLR firing a bolt-action cartridge.

  9. #9
    The problem isn't the cartridge as 130 and 140 grain loads will reach the velocity and energy values necessary. It is the rifle. Even in the US were the lever gun is popular, people tend to go to a bolt gun where shots longer than 100 yards are needed -and especially when precision is needed. I have three 30-30 lever guns and all of them are accurate but I seldom use them. What is of more interest is one of the afore-mentioned bolt actions that have been made in the past. I briefly owned a Model 54 Winchester (model 70 forerunner) in 30-30, I have owned three Remington 788's in 30-30, and I once owned a Swedish Mauser that someone had converted to 30-30. These rifles will shed a whole new light on the 30-30.~Muir

  10. #10
    A wonderful .30-30 is a rifle in the 1885 falling block single shot action. I especially like the Browning 1885 Traditional Hunter Low Wall with crescent buttplate, open sights, and a tang peep sight. Wish I had one, but I am making do with my Marlin rifle.

    Another is a Thompson break action single shot, or the really small EA Brown 97D.

    Put a .30-30 with a 125-gr Sierra or Nosler BT handload in one of these and you will be a happy camper.

    Can you get a Merkel, Heym or Blaser single shot over there in .30-30?

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