How about a Lever Action 30/30?


April 30, 2007, 12:25 PM
In reading all the great comments about the virtues of various military caliber semis, how about a regular lever action 30-30?

-This would be viewed as a good-guy gun by police/neighbors,
-can shoot more than a regular bolt action,
-is fine for most hunting,
-you can always keep them topped off.
-don't have to worry so much about mechanical malfunctions
-probably won't ever be banned (if it ever is, then it really would be worst case scenario).
-can find 30-30 anywhere
-you could "patrol" your property (if you live in the country) without being suspect.

The main reasons AGAINST it are:

-can't rapid fire like a semi auto (in case of gangs, zombies, or WW3),
-can't reload 20rounds like you can a magazine fed gun
-doesn't have the extreme range that a 30-06, 308 or .223 does.
-no surplus ammo, so it is more expensive to feed.

Anybody think about a lever action? I'd love to hear any views (pro & con).



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Heavy Metal Hero
April 30, 2007, 12:28 PM
Hasn't this been discussed numerous times? I forsee a closed thread.

April 30, 2007, 12:33 PM
Perhaps it has. I've only been reading this list for about 2 months and have not seen it. If it has, I apologize.

April 30, 2007, 12:40 PM
I think it would be just fine for that purpose. Read this:

April 30, 2007, 12:49 PM
Thanks OldWolf. That is exactly the kind of information I'm looking for.

April 30, 2007, 12:52 PM
IMO, while one might be able to do 'better', one could certainly do a lot worse.

April 30, 2007, 01:07 PM
Check out the advanced search function, this has been addressed several times.

April 30, 2007, 01:07 PM
The only drawback I'm familiar with is in the "heat of the moment" short stroking the lever causes all sorts of unhappiness. A semi auto with full power mil spec ammo removes this dangerous chance of stress induced failure to fire.

April 30, 2007, 02:20 PM
It is a perfectly capable firearm - I have two for exactly the reasons you listed (in 30-30 and a short one in .45 Colt). If you buy one, make sure you practice enough so that it feels like an extension of your arm. Your abilities are much more important than the selection of rifle. Practice in all manner of circumstances: cold, heat, at dusk, in the bright sunlight, when you are tired, and at at ranges from 25 yards to 300 yards - then you should have confidence from knowledge in yourself and your rifle.

By the way - with regard to 'rapid fire', I can fire my 30-30 almost as fast as my SKS, assuming I am actually aiming at the target. Just lever the action while reacquiring the target.

April 30, 2007, 09:26 PM
A lever action can be very quick with follow up shots. I'ts all about practice. Although you will probably hear (or may have heard) how anemic the 30-30 is it is actually a very good short to medium range round. To drop most targets you really don't need a cannon, just a well placed shot. Zombies may be a different scenario, however. I've never hunted zombies so I have no experience here.

April 30, 2007, 09:59 PM
you might consider a lever action in .357 or .44 mag.

greater capacity in the tube and very capable out to 100 yds.

Using Katrina as a SHTF test case...does anyone think they would be able to justify using deadly force at a range greater than that?

April 30, 2007, 10:12 PM
I am not so sure what you mean by ''can shoot more than a regular bolt action''. A good mag fed bolt gun like an SMLE Enfield in .303 has it all over most any 30-30 lever action. Cheaper, more accuarate, longer range, more round capacity, more powerful round (it is heavier).

It is also prettier than a Mosin.

April 30, 2007, 10:17 PM
OK I'll take it from the top

-This would be viewed as a good-guy gun by police/neighbors
Where do you buy those rose colored glasses

-can shoot more than a regular bolt action,
Except for ones that take strippers

is fine for most hunting,
deer,elk and black bear and that's about it

you can always keep them topped off.
Kinda like a bolt action

-don't have to worry so much about mechanical malfunctions
never dealt with a winchester much have ya?

-probably won't ever be banned (if it ever is, then it really would be worst case scenario).
If it shoots it'll be banned one day

can find 30-30 anywhere
As well as 30-06, 223, 308, 7.62x39 ect ect

you could "patrol" your property (if you live in the country) without being suspect.
You don't live in the country do ya?

April 30, 2007, 10:25 PM
You'll tend to become a much better shot with a gun such as a lever. Autos users tend to fire to quickly and miss a lot because they know they have a follow up instantly. This is not true with all shooters, but I have observed it enough times to know it happens plenty. One well placed shot is worth a large clip full of misses. Buy the lever. If a lever of more power is wanted/needed look into the new Marlin 308. or as said already the handgun round guns hold more and are fun but both still have that nostalgic look. Even a BLR to some extent and that can be a 7 Mag

May 1, 2007, 12:00 AM
it is never bad to see if new information has been brought up. I just started reading, One Ranger, about a Texas Ranger who loved his cut down Win 94. He had the bbl cut to 16 1/4 inches and had the whole thing hard chromed. He said the fellow that stood against him when he had his .30/30 was pretty much toast. I have to agree with most of the positives. Even here at the beach I can show a .30/30 to the neighbors and they don't get too tuffled.

I prefer Marlins and can say they they are about as trouble free as you can get.

Heck, when I was younger and spent a lot of time hanging around a ranch in TX we accidently left a Marlin on the roof of the work truck. We didn't discover our error until we hit the breaks to grap a cold one. The Marlin went flying. Although it got hammered pretty good, it worked fine.

I think you are on the right track. Do a search to find more info. Folks that are not interested in this tread should just move on, no need to comment; be a good neighbor.

I keep several Marlin .30/30 at any one time for all of the reasons that you listed.


Nomad, 2nd
May 1, 2007, 12:55 AM
Everything's pretty much been covered. But let me weigh in on a few points:

Autos users tend to fire to quickly and miss a lot because they know they have a follow up instantly.

You kinda touched on this, but let me go into more (Plainer) detail: This is BS! It's ALL in the shooter.

Katrina/Cops: ANY gun is a gun to them (I went to N.O. to help during Katrina.)

There is a reason EBR's are used. they are more durable, and load quicker.

I like leverguns, and if that's what I got, they will work, but if given the choice I'll take a EBR.

May 1, 2007, 08:56 AM
I would prefer my US Rifle Cal .30 M1 or my Yugo SKS in most of the ugly situations (Zombies, SHTF, TEOTWAWKI), etc.

That being said, if what I have in my hands when things go poo-poo is my Marlin .30-30, well "Run Whatcha Brung".

My Marlin 30AW holds 6+1, and I have a butt cuff with 9 more already installed. It is fairly easy to shoot 1, load 1 with a lever gun.

May 1, 2007, 10:16 AM
Another advantage to levers (and bolts) is that you can shoot reduced loads without malfunction.

Handloading expands the versatility. Reduced loads allow the rifleman less expensive practice with less report and low recoil. In the field one could have the first loaded cartridge with a close(r) range, quiet load for harvesting small game without notifying the rest of the county. If longer shot is required , or bigger game encountered one could simply lever in the next round.

Anyone who has shot varmints with high velocity ammo knows there isnt a lot of meat left afterwards.

One of the reduced loads I use is a 170gr cast bullet over pistol powder (like Red Dot). Rimfire like report and recoil and accurate out to 75 yards with very nearly the same POA as my full power 100 yard zero. Much better on game Raccoon and up than a rimfire.

I'll have to check with the 336 but in my 1895 (same action) I can UNload the magazine through the loading gate. Handy if I come across a target rich environment and want to top off with more specialized ammo.

Another advantage of the 30-30 levergun is the slim profile. Slimmer than a 30 M1 carbine and lighter than most other 30 caliber autoloading rifles and carbines.

Another consideration about reloading speed and high capacity is that this comparision tends to assume the autoloading rifle has several loaded magazines on hand. If a scenario arose that required grabbing an empty rifle and a box of ammo while hurrying out the door the levergun could be put into action quicker. It would be easier to load while on the move too and the levergun could still be in action while being topped off. The levergun would not need to be set down or slung while being loaded. It remains in the hand of the user, running, walking or sitting and is ready to go mid-sentence if need be.

Brass is easier to recover and is less likely to be damaged. When an autoloader goes off there is the report and then the tink of the brass. As a tactical consideration, if the target might or will shoot back he and his buddies will have an easier time zeroing in and flanking you if your brass is ejecting beyond your concealment and bouncing all around you.

Depending on your specific and expected needs, I believe a levergun would be wise to consider.

May 1, 2007, 11:28 AM
Thanks for all the thoughtful comments on this topic.

I especially love to hear these great comments from those who have owned 30-30 lever guns and can speak from experience. I have owned guns for about 15 years, and have over the years shot several military semi autos, including the frequently mentioned SKS. But I have an affinity for the lever 30-30, and plan to add that to my collection (Marlin 336 in SS), as well as the 1894C for .38/.357.

I just appreciate hearing what others think about such ideas in addition to my own, just to keep from missing things. Thanks for all the friendly comments.


May 1, 2007, 11:37 AM
very capable out to 100 yds.

Using Katrina as a SHTF test case...does anyone think they would be able to justify using deadly force at a range greater than that?

No, but it sure looks cool in the movies and video games.

Only in wartime against an enemy on this country's soil could that be
justified IMO.

Or for deer.

Bud Tugly
May 1, 2007, 11:52 AM
I'm sure this has been said many times before, but the best weapon to use in a crisis situation is one that you can shoot and reload with total confidence. The gun with the biggest boom is useless if you can't find the safety and rack in a shell in pitch darkness while you're half asleep and your mind is a panic.

In those situations, familiarity is FAR more important than firepower, and the type of action is mostly a matter of personal preference.

May 1, 2007, 11:54 AM
I always read that the ARs are a pain in the butt if you don't keep them clean. I know AKs are pretty good with dirt... Anyone else have anything to say on this topic?


May 1, 2007, 08:04 PM
Just my experience comparing a semi-auto and a lever in two similar situations: Last year I was hunting pigs with my Saiga 7.62x39 (shooting Wolf 154gr sp) which had a Busnell scope mounted on it. About a dozen pigs came running into the feeder at 100 yds away. I zeroed in on one and pulled the trigger, Bam! they all went running, no apparent hit. I fired a bit wildly as they ran for cover, but knew I missed that second shot immediately. I heard them in the brush and figured they would make another appearance to cross the road and sure enough they did. Bam, Bam, Bam I fired 3 more times, no hits. I am usually a much better shot than this and didn't know whether to blame the scope mount, the gun or just me, but it shook my faith in the whole package so I decided to buy a .30-30.
I'd been wanting an SS .30-30 for awhile, so I found a good deal on a LNIB SS, bought a Leupold scope mount for it and switched the Bushnell over to it. I sighted in at the range and took it out with some LeverEvolution loaded for pigs. Sure enough they appeared again. I zeroed in on a particularly ugly orange spotted one , took some deeper, longer breaths this time (I did not want it to be my fault for missing again) and pulled the trigger. Different results this time, he went down immediately and the rest scattered. Again I knew they were going to appear again and I quickly levered in another round. They showed up and I put one in a white one, he went down but I had hit him a little far back because he was running and I hadn't swung with him well. I automatically levered again and shot him again in the engine room and he ceased movement. I took one more quick, wild shot at a black one, but he was running and the grass was high and I missed.
So this time the score was 4 shots, 2 pigs dead, three hits, one miss. Before it had been 5 shots, all misses. I have full confidence in my Marlin now, and have relegated the Saiga for shorter range, iron sight fun and SHTF gun. It is plenty accurate iron sighted at 25 yards, but I just don't think it was the right combo on small pigs at 100 yds. Poor trigger, inconsistant shooting results, etc. I have much more faith the Marlin will perform if I do out to 300 yds.
And it was darned quick in action and its a BLAST to lever those rounds into it when those piggies are running and banging away at them. To me its totally instinctual and very fast in action. I think levering the round in takes just long enough so that you able to aquire a good sight picture again. I may have been jumping the trigger on the Saiga and shooting too quick.
It really taught me I desired accuracy and consistancy from my guns more than how many rounds I could load it with and how quick I could shoot it. The Marlin gives me enough rounds to kill a few piggies or coyotes and still have a couple in the tube, and it gives me enough accuracy to do it over and over. Not that all semis or Saigas can't do that, but it didn't happen for me that one time and that was enough for me.

Nomad, 2nd
May 1, 2007, 08:21 PM
TexAg: That is a GREAT example of how it is the SHOOTER, not the rifle.

The second time you did what you were saposto..

George Hill
May 1, 2007, 08:39 PM
I love mine. Does the job out to 300.

May 1, 2007, 08:54 PM
Most of this seems lost to the, "High Speed" generation. I have some AR's, a Mini, and such the like, but my Marlin is the one I choose to ride with me when I really need to hit something and put it down. Besides, leverguns make great companions. I have never be able to warm up to a semi-auto. I do use Bolt Actions when the range is long or I am hunting in the mountains, but for most of my woods/desert helling the lever is king.

It also reminded me of a time in west Texas when a bunch of hogs started chewing upon a deer we had hung in the tree. It was nighttime and we red lighted them to discover a sizable flock. I had recently picked up an AR so I was elected to slay said hogs invaders. I put a good Indian sneak up on them and got w/in 20 yards. I let loose with the AR, firing all 30 rounds and I hit precisely one pig. It weighed about 25 lbs. It was quickly named Petunia Pig and I was mocked for the rest of the weekend. I put up the AR and went back to my Trusted Win 94 I was using at the time.

I am not saying that multi round rifles don't have a place and cannot be shot accurately, but most of us are not in a war type situation. For most things a levergun works and works well.


May 1, 2007, 09:16 PM
Whether it has been talked about or not, I am glad to reply and see the chat because, I haven't seen it!. Those that have time to complain about the post should have spent their keyboard clicks in a positive way on a different thread.

I bought my Winchester 94 a couple of years ago because I always wanted one! It was from an estate sale and looked brand new. I was blown away to find out it was 30 years old when I got home and ran the S/N. So off I went to shoot my new found prize. I am mechanical in nature and love to see machines work and see HOW they work etc. The Winchester 94 is just that type of weapon for me. It is mechanical, easy to handle, easy to clean, and easy on the eyes. All those things mean it is the right weapon for me to love and learn to handle properly. For "around the farm" defense it is certainly as much gun as a person could need. I keep hearing how the 30-30 is not very good over 100 yards, but my son and I target shoot with it using open sights at 100 yards all the time. The round still easily penetrates 1/4" of 316 stainless steel at that distance within 2-3 inch groupings. I like the Winchester version because of loading it without pulling out a magazine rod. That is something to consider in a hurried confrontation I guess. I have nothing against the Marlin at all. Winchester was just my preference. Enjoy yours as I have mine!

May 1, 2007, 10:04 PM
Nomad, I think its the shooter AND the rifle.

May 1, 2007, 10:30 PM
Despite owning a couple EBRs, it's still a .30-30 I've had loaded up and in the corner "just in case." Partly because it's cheap enough I don't feel too hinky leaving it unsecured, partly 'cause yes it's less intimidating looking to Mr. Policeman (or God fobid, a jury), but mostly 'cause it's just so darn handy and easy to hit with. Besides, it's more than adequate for pretty much anything liable to happen around here.

(and nice shootin' Tex. :) )


PS - having owned a Marlin and a Winchester, I prefer the latter. I don't know why, but for me that ol' Marlin just never shot too straight, and had God-awful felt recoil to boot. Despite being lighter, the straight-stocked Winchester just plain shoots more friendly to me for some reason.

May 1, 2007, 11:11 PM
i have had my 30-30 for about 17 years now. i have loaded light loads cast lead from 100-170 grains. and have also loaded jacketed loads from 100-180 grn. then same time i have used spier round nose. almost anything made in .30 caliber. by far it is the best and almost only rifle that you can change your load to suite what you want to shoot.

Same time i agree its the shooter not the gun. i have seen a lot of people with their sks ar15 and whatever semi auto. they get trigger itchy and shoot all over the target. CANT SHOOT SHIEEET. Most of them couldnt shoot there way out of a paper bag. The USMC said it best. One Shot One Kill.

Its all about making that one round count. If you only have a 30-30 when shtf. then you have all you need. In fact you are probably better armed then the guy down the street with the ar15.


when hunting deer you have one shot to bring em down. a 30 round clip wont do shiieeeet unless you like swiss cheese meat.

Texas Colt
May 3, 2007, 10:58 PM
There's lots of great things to be said about the 30-30. The fact that is still going strong over 100 years after it was developed speaks volumes about it.

Then there's the fact that Hornady would spend the development dollars to create the new Leverevolution ammo.

I've owned several 30-30s through the years and every one has been 100% dependable and has always hit what I was aiming at (when I did my part, right TexAg?)

I just bought my first box of Hornady Leverevolution ammo yesterday and the latest addition to my Winchester 94 collection will be here in a couple days. We'll see how that combo works out at the range. I have no doubts that it will be great.

The good ole lever gun is a long way from extinction and is certainly capable of defending hearth and home as well as putting meat on the table. More often than not, it's a lever gun that I reach for when heading to the woods or the range.

The fact that I have 6 lever guns, only one semi-auto, and only one bolt gun should tell you something.

May 4, 2007, 09:21 AM
+1 to what Texas Colt says

I put a deposit down on a LNIB Marlin 336C with scope at the local pawn shop yesterday. Funny because it's the 3-9x32 scope you typically see coming with the "A" model but it's definitely a "C" model. Anyway now I'm chompin' at the bit until I can go collect it on Monday!

I can't wait to try some of that Hornady LEVERevolution stuff in it too!

May 4, 2007, 08:26 PM
I wouldn't give up on a modern lever action in 357 Magnum, 45 Colt, 44 magnum, etc. Get a pistol to match and you're in good shape.

The 357 Magnum is a very versatle cartridge in a levergun and as good or better balistically than the 30-30. Lots easier to find.

I have a Puma 92 20" Carbine in 45 Colt that is an absolute joy to shoot. Light, accurate and much faster than a bolt gun.

May 4, 2007, 08:40 PM
and as good or better balistically than the 30-30. Lots easier to find.

Both of these are debatable.

Texas Colt
May 4, 2007, 09:51 PM
I can agree with fastbike. As versatile as the 30-30 is, the pistol caliber lever guns have their benefits too. I have a Winchester Trapper in 44 mag. It has plenty of punch at short range and with a 16" barrel, it is very easy to handle. It makes a great home defense weapon.

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