We're going to be moving to the hills of PA by year's end (mostlikely mid-summer) and since we're gonna be in the middle of nowhere, I'm thinking of giving serious consideration to getting a rifle for self-defense purposes against four-legged creatures.
I've narrowed it down to either the Marlin 1894SS
or the Marlin 336SS
... Which one would provide me with better protection against bears, wolves, etc.; ten rounds of .44mag or six rounds of .30/30?
Please don't recommend a shotgun, as I already have that covered in a seperate thread (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=22374) ... let's concentrate on rifles in here. :D Thanks.
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May 13, 2003, 05:19 PM
I'd say the 45/70 would out do them both for bears. Of course PA bears are on the smaller size.
Since you're looking for protection not hunting, performance at range shouldent be an issue, so I'd lean towards the 44.
May 13, 2003, 05:27 PM
When I think of self defense, I think of something occurring at close range. The chance of getting off 6 rounds, much less 10, is somewhere between slim and none. It's pretty much a toss up between the two, but I'd probably take the .30-30 for the extra range in non-self defense situations.
May 13, 2003, 05:47 PM
Personally, I'd go for the .30-30. But that doesn't mean that the .44 Mag. would be a bad choice. For the applications you described, it is such a close call that you'd be a winner either way.
Does rural PA have wolves? Watch out for coyotes also. My parents, city slickers that they are, moved to the mountains of Colorado for a brief time 'bout 20 years back. They let the family dog out one morning before sunrise and he was attacked and killed by coyotes. It broke the family's heart.
May 13, 2003, 05:52 PM
Out to about 100 yards, the .44 Magnum is easily the equal of the .30-30 when fired out of a rifle. It has higher sectional density, hits very hard out of a rifle barrel, and offers more rounds in an equally sized rifle. As an added bonus, .44 Magnum rifles can be shot at many indoor ranges, and you could share ammo with a .44 Magnum sidearm while out and about.
That said, it's hard to find anything wrong with the .30-30, and the "thutty thutty" is definitely flatter shooting past 100 yards.
May 13, 2003, 06:04 PM
Get the .30-30
As for a .44 having a higher SD----I think not. Well if I'm reading this correctly.
May 13, 2003, 06:11 PM
Either one will do the trick.........I've had both, and had more fun with the 44 mag.......I reloaded for mine along with my Ruger Redhawk, and my Ruger Super Blackhawk, and the ammo is of course interchangeable........If you are looking for over 100 yards, get the 30-30.............
May 13, 2003, 06:12 PM
I like the .45-70 idea, in a guide gun, for Pa. bear country. Contrary to what was posted, Pa. black bears can get huge, with the current state record, a recent kill, going in the 700 pond range. Check the Pa. Game Commision web site or back issues of Pennsylvania Game News.
The .45-70 can be pretty versitile when handloaded, lite for deer and heavy for bear.
The link below is to a good Pa. based hunting and outdoor site, with a link to the Game Comm. website.
May 13, 2003, 06:28 PM
The .44 Magnum is a great pistol cartridge. But why carry a rifle and shoot a pistol round? Get the .30-30.
May 13, 2003, 06:37 PM
But why carry a rifle and shoot a pistol round? Based on what I've read from Paco Kelly(www.sixguns.com www.leverguns.com ), the .44 has more poop at typical levergun ranges than the .30/.30.:confused:
May 13, 2003, 06:48 PM
I've had Winchesters in both and still do have one in 30/30 and 45. Personally, I'd go with the 30/30. Not that the 44 wont work on Black Bear, my brother in law took a 450 pounder with one shot at about 50 yards with a Winchester 44mag.
May 13, 2003, 07:12 PM
So ... you going to carry a rifle with you everywhere that you go ...? Mowing the yard, cutting wood, just puttering around ...?
Get a wheelgun too. :)
May 13, 2003, 08:48 PM
I agree with Jim Keenan. If you're going to carry a rifle, use a rifle cartridge, in this case the .30-30. If ya want a .44 Mag......get a revolver. :D
May 13, 2003, 09:24 PM
One nice thing about that stainless steel is that it's nice and shiny and its reflected gleamings will let Mr. Bear know it's time to leave and you won't see him and you'll wind up thinking there ain't no bears there. And thus he wouldn't be near where you are because he'd be a way-over-there bear and you'd be right. Got that?
And in Pennsylvania, wolves they ain't got no of. What is more likely than bears and wolves is feral dogs, and if your rifle is not ready to hand you have problem you wouldn't have if you had your trusty wheelgun right there in its snuggly little holster.
But if you limit your shooting of Bambi to the range at which you can always hit a tin can while using the iron sights, odds are that a .44 Maggie rifle will work for you just as well as the thutty-thutty.
Just trying to be helpful...
May 13, 2003, 09:36 PM
Don't worry about wolves ;) As for the other stuff, what Art said rings true as always. When I lived in PA packs of feral dogs were more of a problem than anything. Nothing my Dad's '06 couldn't cure though.
Personally I would go with the .30/30 since that is what I have in my gun safe. .44 Mag should do just as well for what you intend.
May 13, 2003, 10:45 PM
Do what I did - get 'em both! :D
Seriously, I have hunted deer with both rifles, and found little or no difference (out to 100-125 yards) in impact effect - in fact, I'd give a slight advantage to the .44 Magnum in terms of the size of wound created. Outside that range, the .30-30 picks up a big advantage in terms of a flatter trajectory. However, in brush or woods, how often are you going to get even a 100-yard clear shot? I like them both, and use them interchangeably in the woods. If I want magazine capacity (e.g. hog hunting), I take the .44; if I'm not likely to need so many shots (e.g. whitetail hunting), I take the .30-30. Either way, I'm happy.
(For "social use", I'd actually prefer the .44 Magnum version because of the extra magazine capacity, and because defensive shots are unlikely to be "way out there" - if you're shooting at someone more than 100 yards away, you're going to have a heck of a time convincing the DA that you were shooting defensively, rather than offensively!)
May 13, 2003, 11:15 PM
I can't say for sure what you'll see in PA but I can tell you about neighboring MD. Here in MD bears are indeed making a bit of a comeback. Montgomery County MD (the suburbs of Washington, DC) actually had a fairly well publicized problem w/ bears going through people's trash and such (of course knowing the press, the problem was probably one or two bears going through one or two home's trash). A while back they were almost non-existant in western MD and presumably western PA, but they have made a great comeback to the degree that there is limited hunting again (or were they only considering that, I don't remember for sure now that I'm thinking about it) and of course they sometimes make their way east (like to Montgomery County). Still, you'll be highly unlikely to encounter one, they are still relatively scarce and they are very shy animals that try hard to avoid humans.
A bigger problem is that coyotes have recently made their way to MD. I've even seen one here in Columbia (I think it was a coyote, it looked almost like a really ugly and ratty looking fox, but about double the size). I don't know if they are in PA or not, but if not it is only a matter of time. From what I understand they aren't a threat to people but they pretty much destroy the local fox population (and I have seen very few around here this year) and are a huge danger to cats and dogs that the owners allow to roam free.
Anyway, I have a Win 94 in 30-30 which is really my favorite gun of all of those I have. Still, I wish I had the .357mag or .44mag. For me the pistol calibers make sense since I don't get to the rifle range often and one can shoot the revolver cartridges at a pistol range. Still, even if that weren't the case many people seem to consider the .357mag in a wheelgun to be the minimum for bears (especially East Coast bears) so I'd guess that a .44mag would be sufficient out of a long gun. In addition, if you were so inclined you could use it, loaded w/ .44spl, for home defense duties without too much risk of overpenatration (whereas the 30-30 would be a danger to more than just the intruder when shot indoors due to overpenatration).
May 14, 2003, 12:23 AM
Posted by TallPine: So ... you going to carry a rifle with you everywhere that you go ...? Mowing the yard, cutting wood, just puttering around ...?
Get a wheelgun too. Got the handgun part pretty well covered ...
... But I appreciate the input on the rifle. I should have posted this as a poll because it appears to be pretty evenly split so far between the .44 and the .30/30
May 14, 2003, 03:20 AM
Well, like someone else said, to me, self defence usually means up close and I think up close, I'd rather rely on a 44 Magnum. I'd rather have the frontal area of a 44 Magnum than the extra energy and penetration of the 30-30. Within 30 yards or so, I'd think either of them are going to pretty consistantly penetrate anything you're likely to see from most angles at that sort of range... record bears not withstanding.
Now on the other hand, if you were planning on hunting with this rifle and if a 75+ yard shot was planned/expected/anticipated, I'd rather go for the 30-30. If you're buying a rifle, and you are planning for self defense up close and personal, how about a 35 Remington or a a 45-70 as has been suggested?
None of the cartridges listed are ideal for 200+ shots but the long ones are adequate. But if I was caught in a 30 yard stuggle with a bear or a man, or even a startled deer, I'd rather have the 35 Remington or a 45-70.
May 14, 2003, 05:42 AM
Good points, cratz2, but I'd still stick with the .30-30, although, like I said above, I think either one is a winner for the stated applications.
May 14, 2003, 06:07 AM
I dont think you can really "plan" on a specific distance in hunting, the critters aint usually that accommodating. I dont really consider the pistol caliber guns to be more than 50 yard guns, not that you cant hit farther or kill someting that far, I just think its pushing it. The need to keep them in the vital zone increases and the power and probability of doing so is decreasing. My 30/30 shoots tighter at these distances than my 44 or 45. I also think it has a little more "oommff" when it gets there.
May 14, 2003, 08:10 AM
Reportedly, coyotes are in every one of the Lower 48. They generally run no more than 40 pounds or so, and you don't need a bunch of power-pistol to kill one.
They're quick-reaction critters, but they have one bad habit: Just before getting totally out of sight behind brush or over the crest of a hill, they tend to stop and look back. Big Mistake.
May 14, 2003, 08:52 AM
i agree w/those who like the .45-70 if it is your only lever gun
but of the choices you gave, would go with the .44, if you want to shoot past 150 yrds. go to a .30-60/.270/7mag not a .30-30. the .44 gives you an excuse to buy a campanion revovler. this is if "i" was buying new, if you run across a great bargan my op. might change.
May 14, 2003, 08:55 AM
Okay, so everyone is saying is that I can take out a coyote with either the .45 or .357 that normally sits on my hip ...
... and for bears that are less than 100 yards away, the .44 is a better option while bears at over 100 yards, the .30/30 is a better choice.
Do I have that right?
If so, then I think that I'm going to lean toward the .44 because an animal beyond a 100 yards would not really be considered to be a threat to me unless it was charging in my direction.
Another question, if I may. If I'm out in the open and spot a bear charging in my direcction, at what range would it be safe to start shooting -- taking into account that they can move pretty fast and that I might miss while trying to hit a moving target and/or the first shot or two might not do the trick.
May 14, 2003, 09:44 AM
head down full speed, i'm not bluffing charge, i,d be on target at 50yrds. and start firing at 30yrds.(assuming black bear).
May 14, 2003, 10:06 AM
Bears? Charging bears? Have you ever seen how fast a bear can run?
I'd go with a Marlin 444. JT
"A big bore favorite that combines the power of the big 444 Marlin cartridge—which generates nearly 1.5 tons of muzzle energy—with the quick and super-smooth Marlin lever action system. Its 22" barrel makes the 444 a real joy to handle, no matter what the conditions."
May 14, 2003, 11:44 AM
Alan - I have a 336M (the first model year's designation for the 336SS) and a 1894P, with my eye on an 1894SS as my next purchase. For your purposes, I'd take the 1894SS. The 44 mag is a very flexible cartridge w/respect to bullet types and wts, plus you can shoot .44 spcl's out of it. For bear, you want big, heavy bullets. Federal 300 gr Castcores cycle fine in my 1894, and it is abt the heaviest commercial loading you can find that's not too long to cycle in a lever gun (tho I've not tried the Buffalo Bores)
I gotta say, tho, that you are really overly concerned abt the whole Pa bear thing. A bear sighting, let alone a charge, is HIGHLY, HIGHLY unlikely while you're hanging about the woods. Because of the nature of my research, I have spent more than a few summers, or parts of them, with more outdoor time than indoor time all over the U.S. At times those were in places fairly thick with bears (like Denali NP, Yellowstone NP, Kodiak Isl., the Alaskan bush) and I have too seldom even seen bears. Shoot, one of my research sites in W. North Carolina was home to a problem bear from Shenandoah NP that had been relocated there, and in three years neither I nor my students ever saw him once (tho he did destroy some of my equipment). I've had research gear destroyed by griz in AK on more than one occasion, but again never saw a bear at that particular spot. Some of my AK friends have been bluff charged, but never attacked. And a bluff charge may end w/in feet, not yards - you just never know. Shooting would be a last resort, and only justified at very close range (a few yds) at a charging bear. If you read accounts of folks attacked by bears, lots of them never had (or if armed would have had) time to fire a shot anyway (attacked at dark, in thick brush, non-frontal attack, etc.)
Rather than bears, my most nerve-wracking encounters have been with other angry or jittery critters - specifically moose, bison, musk oxen and a stampeding herd of caribou I met head-on in a narrow gully while they were being chased by wolves one winter. Now THAT was frightening. Honestly, I almost never worry abt bears.
May 14, 2003, 11:49 AM
At my parent's house in PA I've seen coyote tracks in our upper grazing field. But never have I encountered one in living there for 18 years. That was on the far Western side of the state however.
Both rifles will do, you're thinking too hard ;) Just get one, get a ton of ammo or reloading supplies and learn that gun like it is an extension of your body.
May 14, 2003, 12:59 PM
Alan, if you ever have trouble with a (black) bear, chances are 99.999999 % it will be a mother with cubs that you stumble onto in thick trees and/or brush.
So you should practice shooting while lying on your back and feeding an extra arm or leg to mama bear for a diversion. :)
Actually, if you already have a 357 revolver, I would think about a lever rifle in 357. Otherwise, a 44 mag revolver / lever rifle combo.
Coyotes will not be a hazard unless you have livestock to defend (sheep, rabbits, chickens, etc).
The two legged varmits are always the most dangerous where ever you are.
May 14, 2003, 02:32 PM
I tell ya... those durn coyotes are sneaky little devils. I know we have them, I've been told so by avid hunters (keep in mind we've only live in our new house for abotu 4 months) and I can hear them and the hunters take them all the time and I've seen the tracks in three places that I can confirm... but I've yet to see one. I stayed up all night on one of the decks waiting for one to come around to a squirrel I'd shot and left. Never saw any trace of one but in the morning, the squirrel was gone.
Did I doze off? Was the mut able to walk across many leaves without so much as a crackle? Am I deaf and blind?
As for killing coyote, I've said before the most prolific coyote hunter I personally know hunts them with a light weight Winchester .357 lever gun. There is a golf course no too far from Indy that I guess was over run with them for a while. Whe was hired to clean 'em up. He swears a 357 is more effective than a 223 or 22.250. For whatever that's worth. I've taken them with 22 Magnum, 223, 243, 25-06, 270 and 12 gauge. First time out was with buckshot at my friends suggestion. Only got one the first night be the buckshot flopped him around and he didn't get out of sight before he quit runnin'.
If you can hit one in anything close to a vital with one 357 or 45 handgun, you'll kill it.
May 14, 2003, 02:48 PM
I'd prefer the .44 because you can always get some special ammo for slithering creatures. I'd be more worried about rattlers than bears.
May 14, 2003, 03:02 PM
I'd say if its good for gators, it's probably gonna be good for a bear or anything smaller.
Were I to move to PA, I'd worry more about being outdoors during the hunting season and having a stray bullet find its way towards me. I've got two friends who both lived in PA (born and raised) with scars from one of the those "To Whom It May Concern" type bullets.
Neither ever heard the shot, both were just floored (literally) when they were hit (left arm for one, lower right leg other). Each has two perfect little .30 caliber (we assume) scars, entrance and exit. Both had slight bone damage, both moved from PA soon thereafter. One to Texas, one to Nevada. Both still hunt but claim that the number of hunters where they now hunt is waaaaaaaayyyy lower than PA during deer season.
Fud, you really need one of each eventually.
May 14, 2003, 07:25 PM
The 30/30 probably has more kinetic energy, per hornady, but the 44 would be better at stopping bears close. I think you should shoot a friend's and find out which round you want to spend time with.
on rattlesnakes; if you're close enough to need a gun with rattlers, it is already too late. If you have time to pick your shot, you don't need snake shot.
May 14, 2003, 08:01 PM
You'll get far better ballistics at 150-200 yards with the 30-30, not to mention longe range knockdown power.
Besides the curved pistol grip is better.
May 14, 2003, 09:36 PM
To muddy the waters a little more (heh heh :evil: ) why not also consider a Puma lever action (beefed up 1892 clone) in .454 Casull? I just handles one at my local gunshop and fell in love! The action`s as smooth as a well worn vintage 1894 and it looks to be very nicely made. If they`re all that good (and they shoot that good too) they`re a bargain at the $399 asking price. WHich would you rather have 10rds. of .44 mag., 6 of .30-30 or 9 of .454 Casull? :) As for bear defense in Pa. I`ve lived here all my life and spent a good deal of time off the beaten path. I`ve never even seen a track let alone a bear (although I`d love to!). All my close calls have been with Eastern Diamondbacks. I carry an NAA Mini revolver in .22mag. loaded with 2rds. of CCI snakeshot and the rest MaximagVs for them. ;) Marcus
May 14, 2003, 10:43 PM
If it'll do for close up pigs in California, it'll do for bears, wolves, whatever wherever... the round fits my Redhawk too;) Don't see a lot of 30-30 handguns except for a Thompson Contender:p
May 14, 2003, 11:35 PM
I'd go with the 44 mag given the parameters of use. More frontal area, plenty of weight, extremely similar ballistics to the 30/30, compatable ammo with wheelguns, more versatility than the 30/30, more ammo capacity, cheaper ammo, need I go on?:D
May 15, 2003, 11:24 AM
Get the '94 in 44Mag. In addition to all the reasons stated above, staring down that big-ol pipe of a 44 mag rifle will discourage anybody with an IQ over the wind-chill temp.
May 15, 2003, 10:16 PM
What about a Ruger .44mag. "Deerfield" carbine ? That should give you plenty of "firepower" for just about anything.
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