Best .30-30 load for whitetail?


Dave Markowitz
December 18, 2006, 08:49 PM
Seeing as I just bought a Marlin 336 in .30-30 I thought I'd take a poll and see what all of y'all favor for whitetail in that caliber?

125 grain? 150 grain? 170 grain? Sumpin else?

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December 18, 2006, 08:56 PM
I'll vote, but it's not a recommendation. My 336 seems to like 150 gr Remington Core-Lokts, but you have to try the various loadings in your own rifle to see which group best.

December 18, 2006, 09:00 PM
150gr gives the best compromise trajectory, and work well. Their SD is on the low side of what I like; I'd go no lighter in a 30cal. The 125gr stuff is for plinkin' and varmints.

December 18, 2006, 09:11 PM
I didn't vote the poll because I don't have any real preference between 150gr and 170gr in any company's offerings. My old Winchester eats any .30-30 load I feed it. That last deer which I've told about several times on here lately... I got him with a 150gr CoreLokt through the lungs and it was all over PDQ.

December 18, 2006, 09:16 PM
I'd give the new Hornady Lever Revolution ammo a try. It's got the best balistics by far of any 30-30 ammo (that I know of, at least). My 336 XLR groups < 1 MOA with this ammo (scoped w/ a Nikon Buckmasters and Leupold base & rings).

December 18, 2006, 09:55 PM


December 18, 2006, 10:54 PM
I'm going to offer counterpoint to Grizz... I suspect that new Hornady ammo won't make much difference except in narrow circumstances of real long range, especially when fired from a 20" 336. I'm just supposing, I've not tried the new (expensive) Hornady ammo. I just got a 30-30 in Nov. after years of using muzzleloader, and I love it. Killed three bucks with 150gr corelokt. One was a bad shot - he ran off, didn't get found til day later. Next one hit correctly, he went about five seconds and dropped. Third was a bang/flop.

I really like this 30-30 Marlin... sweet shooting, lethal, and it looks good, too.

December 18, 2006, 11:01 PM
I've seen it advertised where Marlin's making a 336 with a longer barrel. They're saying it's to take better advantage of the LeveRevolution ammo. I don't know whether it will or not.

If I were going to shoot LeveRevolution in my .30-30's, I'd put it in my Savage M340. It's scoped, but I'd do it if I were talking about apertures too.

But, me and my Winchester with the Lyman #2 tang sight... that buck finished his run and piled up within 100yds of where he stood when I lit that CoreLokt. That was with his lungs punched. If it'd been upper lungs and spinal, he'd have been DRT.

December 18, 2006, 11:35 PM
170gr hornady over 3031.

December 18, 2006, 11:54 PM
Pumpkinheaver, What speed to you like to run a 170grainer? Of course, I'd consult my Hornady 5th Edition manual before I loaded it just like I consulted it before loading 150grainers.

December 19, 2006, 12:01 AM
160 LeverEVOLUTION. Worked great on two pigs for me earlier this season.

High Planes Drifter
December 19, 2006, 01:42 PM
Has anyone taken a whitetail with LeverEvolution? Just curious. I'm hunting with my 336 loaded with it this year but havent had the opportunity to use it.

Fred Fuller
December 19, 2006, 02:00 PM
In a 20" barrel, I prefer 170 gr. just in case the shot isn't perfect. I'm not a light bullet fan where game is concerned, varmints yes but not bigger stuff. And with deer I definitely want an exit wound to up the odds in my favor if tracking is necessary. Whitetail aren't built as tough as bigger game but under some circumstances they can tote off an awful lot of punishment. I want to do as much damage to the important plumbing as I can with the first shot because there won't be another chance as good as the first...


Essex County
December 19, 2006, 02:08 PM
I have no experience with the new Hornady offerings, but I'e had great luck with the 170 grain Hornady that's been around forever..Essex

December 19, 2006, 03:18 PM
I load a 170 over 3031 also. Being a short range proposition (for me any way) I'll live with a little less BC in exchange for the weight. Dropped a nice Wisconsin whitetail in his tracks.

December 19, 2006, 08:52 PM
I shot deer with the factory 170 grain Core-Lokt Remington for years, and felt nothing could do a better job. I was wrong.
My handloads, using a 170 grain Speer FP over 35 grains of IMR 4320 run rings around the Remington factory load.
They kill deer dead. Hogs too.

December 19, 2006, 11:05 PM
While there isn't a darned thing wrong with rounded or flat nose bullets and I have several boxes around still. But the increase in performance potential at longer ranges would be my deciding factor. Not because areas I a likely to hunt are mostly open, they are not. But 'spozin on the way to or from the truck, say, on a powerline or other rare open longish area a suitable target is sighted. Having a flatter shooting spitzer type means a zero hold to at least 250 yards or slightly more might just make the difference between venison in the freezer or just hamburger. I will try to stack the odds in my favor where I can.

Also from online ammo dealers it isn't really THAT expensive. $15.00-$18.00/box for no hassle performance is not too much for me to pay, especially considering all the other cash dumped into the endeavor in one form or another, I ain't going to get cheap with ammo for my 30-30. I am hoping that Hornady will see fit to sell the slugs for handloaders though, but not holding my breath. I'd buy at least 500 and maybe a thousand if I could...


December 20, 2006, 08:43 AM
My Marlin prefers the Rem 170-Gr "Core-Lokt" SP over the others. Haven't tried the new Hornady 'Leverevolution' stuff yet, though.

December 20, 2006, 09:54 AM
I also have a marlin 336 I bought back in 1966.I use a williams reciever sight and rem 170gr core-lokts,one shot in the shoulder and 9 times out of 10 they drop right on the

December 20, 2006, 10:28 AM
As my own old 336 is a .35 Remington, my practical experience with .30-30 is fairly limited. FWIW, I think that the size of the average whitetail in your area and what your rifle shoots its best with ought to be the deciding criteria.

Given proper placement, any of them will do the job just dandy. If the deer tend to be in the 175-200 lb. range, I'd lean toward the 170 gr. unless your rifle makes significantly better groups with 150s or the new Hornady load.

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