The 30-30 round?


March 10, 2008, 02:45 PM
Hi all, you've all been so very helpful in Rifle Country in other threads I just needed some help choosing between calibers.

In a earlier post I was comparing a Marlin 45-70 lever to the pistol caliber models, and we pretty much settled on the pistol cals due to its not a dedicated hunting arm so the 45-70 ammo $$$ settled that. What I forgot to ask is whats a 30-30? The reason I ask is the Sporting Goods shop where I probably would be buying this rifle frequently has Marlin 30-30s on sale (If you live in So-Cal I bet you know the place) at the exact same price as the .44s and .357s. I have read on here that the 30-30 is a decent Deer Cartridge, but .44 Mag out of a rifle is too, so now I am a bit confused.

So never one to pass up a possible deal whats the deal with the Marlin 30-30? Especially compared to his brother the Marlin .44M


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March 10, 2008, 03:03 PM
My experience only; Your Mileage Will Vary.

Pistol-cal rifles/carbines I limit to about 75 Yds. I have taken a white-tail deer a measured 176 Yds away with my .30-30. The Hornaday
Lever-revolution ammo is supposed to extend this range, but I have not tested any.

Vern Humphrey
March 10, 2008, 03:19 PM
The .30-30 (which the developer, Winchester called the .30 Winchester Central Fire or WCF) was the first sporting smokeless powder round. Winchester's competitors were caught on the wrong foot -- they had guns that could be chambered for the round, but didn't have their own smokeless powder cartridges. So they chambered their rifles for it, but called it the ".30-30" (since the case held about 30 grains of smokeless powder) to avoid putting "Winchester" on their rifles.

The .30-30 will launch a 150 to 170 grain bullet (flat nosed, because it uses a tubular magazine, where the point of one bullet would rest on the primer of the next) at around 2000 to 2300 fps. Generally speaking, it is good for deer-sized game to about 150 yards, but that can be stretched to 200 if necessary.

The Hornady company recently developed new ammunition for this cartridge -- the LeveRevolution rounds. These cartridges have a sharp but soft polymer tip, and better ballistic coefficients than the old flat-nosed bullets. They offer a significant improvement over conventional .30-30 ammunition.

March 10, 2008, 03:24 PM
when she was hunting regularly (before the kids were born) my wife would take deer at 200 yards no trouble with her 30-30. i never figured out the trjaectory for long range shooting like she could with that rifle, i ended up with a 300 win mag. shoot MUCH flatter. anyway, i did shoot a couple of deer with the 30-30 before my wife ended up with it. it did a great job, much faster, more humane kill that the one i shot with my .357 magnum (pistol). light recoil, quick action, quick handleing, really not much bad to say about a 30-30. and ammo is pretty cheap. also. i also bought some of the hornady "levereveloution" ammo to try, havent done it yet (to cold up here in michigan) from the balistics, it should make a 300 yard gun out of it! i have not shot a pistol caliber rifle, but if it were me, and i was going to use it for HUNTING, i would buy the 30-30. if it would be a target gun, well almost anything kills paper, and a pistol cartridge shooting lever rifle would have a lot of appeal to me.

March 10, 2008, 04:14 PM
I have used marlin lever guns in .357 and 30-30 for mule deer, both are sufficient, but you will be more pleased with the 30-30 for hunting, as the range is more, although if it will see mostly target or plinking use, the .357 allows you to use the .38special round also, a bit cheaper than .357, so it makes it versitile ie. hunting or plinking, but in my opinion the 30-30 is a better round for a general use rifle/brush gun.
hope that's helpful

March 10, 2008, 04:18 PM
As far as how the .30-30 compares to the pistol cartridges in a lever gun, you may have people claiming that there are loads that put the .357 Mag in .30-30 territory. However, in order for the .357 to approach the performance of the .30-30 both the gun and ammo will be more expensive. And while the .357 & .44 Magnums will be quite effective within their range, they lose energy faster than the .30-30. As mentioned above, the .30-30 with conventional ammo is a good 150 yard deer gun. The LeverEvolution ammo extends that range to 200+ yards. The magnum pistol cartridges won't get you there by any stretch.

You can find quality .30-30 ammo for prices ranging from $9 to $25 (or more) for a box of 20 rounds depending on brand and where you buy it. You can usually find LeverEvolution ammo under $20.

March 10, 2008, 06:36 PM
I love my 30-30 rifles (Win 94 and Marlin 336). I have a tang-mounted peep on the 94 and, somewhere along the way, Ackley Improved the chamber. The 336 has a scope and unmodified chamber.

The 30-30 round has never failed to drop a deer when I used it for that. The 94 is light enough to hike a bit with it and it shoulders fast. Follow-up shots, if ever needed, can be chambered without taking your eye from the front sight. (Assuming the standard issue lever-action with the 30-30.) Oddly, I never took the 336 into the wood.

At the range, it is fun to shoot. It is challenging enough to keep you interested, powerful enough to keep your attention, yet light enough to keep you shooting.

Recently, I picked up a BFR in 30-30. Of all the BFR's chamberings, this is the cartridge I thought was the coolest. While not the most powerful, I thought it would be quite useful from the shorter barrel. (I also have this thing for staying with one cartridge in my cabinet.) It also is not as punishing as, say, a 450 Marlin. I feel I could actually drop a deer with it, and the chrony and target seem to agree. Others at the range do not doubt that it can drop Godzilla. I keep walking out of my stockroom with BFR in one hand and AI reamer in the other, but I just can't seem to stop turning around and putting the reamer back, yet. The .30-30 seems to be 'nuff in there as is.

I also reload the cartridge in both the standard and AI. Not a problem. The AI does seem to keep the brass around a bit longer and I can push a few hundred more ft/s from it.

March 10, 2008, 06:43 PM
officially or unofficially, the 30 WCF is said to have dropped more deer and other critters in North America than any other caliber...

Plus the fact that I think that dang near everyone in Texas growing up shot the 30 WCF as their first big centerfire rifle. :)


March 10, 2008, 07:08 PM
Ammo prices vary all over the place, geography, the store, makers and load. I took what I thought was an o.k. average of $1.00 for every 30-30 round and .35 cents for a .38 special.

So... you buy the Marlin 1894c and happily plink away with those .35 cent .38 special cartridges and at the same time put away the .65 cents for every round you shoot (your savings). In just 615 rounds (just a bit over 12 boxes) you will have enough to buy a $400 Marlin 336 in 30-30. Your math may vary,,,,,:)

March 10, 2008, 07:17 PM
Furncliff, you have some very scary logic for a shooter. ;) I will remember your words everytime the sale paper comes out and I'm in deliberations for which Marlin to choose.

March 10, 2008, 07:20 PM
Furncliff has the right idea - although I, personally would forget the 38/357 and get a Marlin 39A lever-action .22 and that would really save you some money fast ... but if you just don't want two rifles - go with the 30/30. You can cut ammo cost for it a little bit by reloading but, Truth is, factory ammo for the 30/30 is usually of such high quality that reloading won't improve the performance.

Good Luck !!!


March 10, 2008, 07:36 PM
If I could only have one ... it would probably be the 30-30 for the versatility. GOOD ammo is comparatively inexpensive. Each Fall Federal and Remington have Rebates and if you watch the sales you can get four boxes of very good ammo for ~$4 each. I can't reload it that cheap.

If you do reload you load some excellent stuff for under $0.40 a round and if you use bulk bullets a little less than that -- not counting brass which I get all I want from guys that don't reload for free...

Reloading also lets you create some very accurate subsonic loads using cast bullets. A little bit of Red Dot a cast bullet and you have a load that has the report and recoil of a 22. I shoot a lot of these loads in my Marlins. Inexpensive, accurate and fun.

If you know YOUR limitations you can shoot a wide variety of critters too. With the reduced loads Grouse and other small game are fun and there will be something left to eat afterward. The Hornady site shows Moose taken cleanly with the 30-30... I have friends that have successfully used it on Bear and Elk too and everything on down...

That being said I would dearly miss my 1894 in 45 Colt. I prefer to hunt with it and based on personal experience big and slow kills critters quicker than skinny bullets. I give up some range and low power loads aren't as accurate but other than that it's about equal.

Joe the Redneck
March 10, 2008, 07:48 PM
"What's a 30-30?"


One step closer to the end of the world.

March 10, 2008, 07:59 PM
If I understand your post correctly you stated that the 30-30 was on sale for the same price as the pistol caliber rifles. That seems odd because the pistol caliber Marlins usually sell for considerably more around here. Either would be fine and I own several 30-30's from Marlin and Winchester but you will be able to shoot the .357 or .44's cheaper and unless you are planning on hunting at ranges greater than 75 yards or so they will serve your needs

March 10, 2008, 08:04 PM
The .44 Mag out of a levergun has similar ft. lbs. inside of 50 yards to the .30-30. But there are major ballistic differences. The .30-30 loadings are almost ALL tried and true hunting rounds, whether 150 or 170 grain. Just about anything you pull off the shelf is good for deer size game, though a partition 170 would be better for black bear or larger deer.

The .44 mag, in contrast, is not generally loaded for rifles. Hornady custom has some heavy loads for leverguns but they're not easy to find. Much of the OTS stuff is going to be for personal defense out of a short gun, not hunting out of a long gun. So you're likely to need to handload for the game you're looking at. Plus there's a much wider range of loadings from high velocity bullets under 200 grains to enormous hardcast solids up to 320 grains and beyond.

Simply put, the .30-30 is the one for someone who wants a tried and true, off the shelf hunting platform for 150 yard shots. It's an archaic cartridge design from the 1890's but deer haven't gotten any tougher.

March 10, 2008, 08:09 PM
My .30-30 costs .50 cents per round to shoot factory, and less for reloading. Take up reloading, whichever caliber you get.

But I'd grab one an 1894C in .357 before I'd get the .30-30 if the 1894 is on sale- you can always get a 336 for less than the 1894.

Plus, lower recoil.

Jeff F
March 10, 2008, 08:49 PM
I think everyone should own at least one lever action 30-30. It's a damn nice shooting cartridge, pretty accurate and will get her done as it has for years.

March 10, 2008, 09:00 PM
"What's a 30-30?"


One step closer to the end of the world.

LOL! Great, Now I'm the sign of the apocalypse! :evil:


P.S. here is the ad ( it says it ends today but they have it on sale twice a month, about a month ago Presidents day? They had them on for $379.

March 10, 2008, 09:39 PM
Here's what I do. I shoot my 30-30 with 150gr factory loads but for plinking I load my 30-30 to 357 velocities.

Oregon Trail 170gr cast flat nose
7 grains unique powder (just like a 38+p or low power .357)
These are cheap to reload, about .25 each. That's about 5.00 per box of 20

It great for target practice and I'll bet you can still take small game with them, but I don't hunt, I just like to shoot.

with the 30-30 you can load down, with the .357 you can't load up.

Shoot safe - I do.

March 10, 2008, 09:54 PM
I say go with a 357. I have one and it is the best all around rifle I own. Shoot cheap 38's for plinking, stoked up 110 grain 357 for varmints. Stoked up 158 or 180 for deer. I am curious to see how the new polymer tip stuff works out. I mean the 30-30 is a good hunting round but thats it. Its not a plinking round and inside 100 yards a deer won't know the difference. As far as price I dont know where you shop. Here 30-30 is 50 cents a round 38 is about half that. If you reload its a non issue.

March 11, 2008, 12:39 AM
Went to the store to check both of em out. One thing I noticed was the 30-30 having a slightly larger receiver felt a little better in my hand, not that it was radically different, just slightly.

They both had zip ties holding the actions so I couldn't check that and the sights looked identical.

March 11, 2008, 01:41 AM
I would go with the .30-30. It is more versatile and a great round to boot. With all the magnum craziness of late it often gets overlooked, but it truely is one of the best rounds out there for close to medium shooting.

There is just nothing like a good day in the field with a good levergun balanced in your hand. It is as American as apple pie and all shooters should have at least one .30-30.

I have had some poor luck with my 1894 in .357 feeding certain rounds. I have had better luck with my .44. All of my .30-30's feed with no problem. A great round for SD is the Federal 125 HP in the .30-30. It really wallops things at close range.

Either way you will probably be happy.


March 11, 2008, 01:59 AM
I'm glad you brought up SD ECVMatt, while this gun would be like my 6th choice in my arsenal for HD, I always like to keep at least a box of the good stuff around in all the calibers I shoot just in case.

Also while at Federal's website I also saw a 170gr round chambered in Nosler Partition, but I can't shoot that because its hard and pointy right?


March 11, 2008, 02:33 AM
I recently bought one of those 30-30s at that store. Turners has the 336W on sale for the same price right now. Check that out. The difference between the 336A and the 336W is, as far as I am aware, the W has a bit nicer walnut stock.

At any rate, the 336A that you looked at is a nice gun. A man should have a 30-30 in his closet, but I have thought about going back for the 357 for a fun plinker. Go with a 30-30 first, then reassess your gun goals.

March 11, 2008, 08:50 AM
whats a 30-30? you wouldnt want to be trespassing at less than 200 yards and ask that question!

March 11, 2008, 09:19 AM
You're right - the common flavors of pointy bullets in tubular magazines aren't a good mix. Hornady's Leverlution ammo is worth a look though.
In "standard" ammo, the 150-gr. bullets are excellent 30/30 fodder. Personally, I think the 170-gr. ammo has never been anything more than a Marketing sop to those fuddy-duddys who think they have to heave a bowling ball at everything. The 150-gr. Winchester "Silvertips" have always been dynamite deer medicine.


March 11, 2008, 09:51 AM
30-30 performs far better than ballistic charts would suggest. This is because the factories have had decades to figure out the optimal jacket thickness and lead alloy for impact velocity. In other words, 30-30 bullets open up into a mushroom shape and drive through animals in a straight line every time. Depending upon ammo type, the 30-30 is dependable everytime way out to 200 yards or more.

The medium velocity is not a handicap at all. The medium velocity assures deep penetration every time. Even large bones in moose and elk are no match for the well aimed 30-30 bullet.

Millions of carbines in the hands of ranchers, explorerers, woodsmen, and once-a-year deer hunters have proven the 30-30 as a hunting cartridge of outstanding value. Amazingly, more makes and models of 30-30 carbines are available to the new rifle-seeker than ever before!

44 MAG is another genuine deer toppler. Hornday's XTP bullet shoots big holes in animals. Yet it loses its lethality after about 85 yards or so. After all, 44 MAG is a revolver cartridge.

In summary, both cartridges are great choices for the hunter who watches his distance and places his first shot into the chest organs.

March 11, 2008, 11:38 AM
.30-30 is a favorite of many PA deer & black bear hunters; gives you enough snot for clean kills without the magnum recoil that can loosen your fillings; usual loads for this are 150 gr & 170 gr flat tipped jacketed softpoints (tubular magazine on the most common lever action guns place the rounds with tip against the primer of the round in front of it; Hornady developed the LeveRevolution bullet for tubular-fed rifles (.30-30, .444 Marlin, .450 Marlin, .45-70, etc) by placing a flexible ballistic type polymer tip to improve longer range trajectories; .30-30 is equipped with a 160 gr LeveRevolution bullet; a not-so-well-known round for .30-30 is a 125gr flat-tipped shallow jacketed hollow point load made by Federal; it does great on medium-sized varmints, smaller deer, and two-legged aggressive critters; I just had my friend help me sight in the 125 gr jhp load for my new Marlin 336; it does @ 1/75" 3 shot groups @ 100 yards; hope this helps

March 11, 2008, 12:12 PM
Speaking of the aggressive critters, I recently opened up the can-o-worms with .357s vs. bears (defense only, not hunting) on another thread, I settled on Double Taps 180/200gr Cast for things with claws.

Now I'm not too worried about Browns as the last known CA Grizzly was taken in 1922, any suggestions for 4-legged 30-30 protection? i.e. Do I still steer away from the Hollow Points since I want penetration? Or is this cartridge stout enough to launch hollow points, where my .357 cannot?


Vern Humphrey
March 11, 2008, 12:35 PM
Phil Shoemaker, who is a licensed bear guide in Alaska and a genuine sourdough -- he lives hundreds of miles from town in bear country -- says the .357 with a hard-cast 180 grain bullet is best for defense against grizzleys (if you're relying on a handgun.) His reasoning is that you need a precisely-placed head shot, and with a .357, you might get a second shot if the first one misses.

Of course, he also points out that the most important thing about the gun is simply having it -- because your best defense against a bear is your own behavior. Convey through body language, "I don't intend to attack you, but if you attack me, I can whip you." It's a lot easier psychologically for a well-armed man to send that message.

Hollow points by and large (there are exceptions in premium bullets like the Barnes X-bullets) are designed for thin skinned game. A standard 150 or 170 grain soft point -- like you buy at Wal-Mart -- will do very well for black bear.

An old sourdough I know uses the .30-30 on grizzleys, and he uses the 170 grain bullet. But his advice to me was, "Break bone with your first shot."

March 11, 2008, 12:55 PM
VERN! How ya been,

I bring up the thread you were very helpful in and you pop up here. How fortuitous.

I think its great that the 30-30 round is so loved and respected over all, by that I mean it doesn't matter the gun its being fired from. The only other round I have found like that is the .44Magnum.

For some reason when you talk .357s a Ruger vs. (pre-lock of course, even though my 686-6 has yet to give me any problem) S&W tends to break out. :)

Looks like I will be going with the 336 in 30-30 (c or w is still up in the air, gotta look that w up at Turners, and I gotta save my pennies anyhow.)

Thank you all!


March 11, 2008, 01:03 PM
What I forgot to ask is whats a 30-30?

That's not a question I hear too often. Sign of the tacticool times???? Sheesh! Well, in MY day, if you knew of a rifle caliber, it was likely the .30-30, THE "deer rifle" for years and years. It is hand over fist better than pistol calibers IMHO for hunting, a proven stopper of deer sized game and has taken much larger animals. For years it has been the most common of Walmart calibers and about the least expensive as rifles went until the popularity of 7.62x39s and all the crappy ammo that gets imported for those rifles. Hornady Lever Evolution ammo has put some new life in the old caliber, too.

Vern Humphrey
March 11, 2008, 01:17 PM
The .30-30 is a modest, light-kicking deer cartridge. It was developed in 1895 and was the first smokeless powder sporting cartridge generally available. In its long life, it became the deer cartridge, and still places in the top two or three for hunters.

March 11, 2008, 01:58 PM
Thinking about changing my THR handle to Bringeroftheendtimes, for my bringing the apocalypse by not knowing the great 30-30. :evil: That and I've always regretted not coming up with something more creative than my name. I'll think about it on my vacation.

March 11, 2008, 10:10 PM
For all the squalking that goes on out there about micro-groove Marlins, I will suggest that if you get the .30-30, you will be pleasantly surprised by it's accuracy.....especially if you plop a William's Fool Proof peep sight on it.

The 336A has a fore arm cap that attaches to the barrel via a tennon.

The 336W has the fore arm banded to the barrel.

The 336C is just like the W, but with Walnut furniture (as opposed to Birch with Walnut stain).

The 336S is just like the W, but with Walnut furniture and stainless steel.

Mines a C and it is the apple of my modest rifle collection.

March 11, 2008, 10:19 PM
The 30-30 is one of the all time greats and is still going strong. for ranges under 200 yrds its great. i have taken many deer in the big woods with a 30-30. I would not buy a .44 in a rifle. a 30-30 is a much better choice. My 30-30 is a joy to carry in teh woods due to is size and weight. as for when i hunt open country its not the best i have other rifles for that

March 11, 2008, 10:50 PM
Good stuff guys, keep it coming.

One favor also, can someone please post some pics of mounted williams peep sights? The floating in air pics on Midway aren't helping. :) Not going the optics road though, just need some better "iron."

March 11, 2008, 11:43 PM
granted its on a brand W but you asked. the 170 nosler partition is a round nose and can be used in a tube mag, plus it is a great preforming bullet stays together and penatrates deep (ie. pretty good bear medacine) ps. you can't go wrong with any of the three they all have loads avaliable that will get the job done.for plinking I love my .357.

March 12, 2008, 06:01 AM
since you asked, hollow points all the way!!!!!!! they work wonders! best bullet you can buy for the 30-30, except for maybe the hornady levereveloution rounds.

March 12, 2008, 07:13 PM
I guess I actually have four. I have the Williams, Lyman, XS, and Williams GR type. I like the Lyman and XS the best. They are they most sturdy and trouble free. For beating around hard I like the XS, for hunting and plinking I like the Lyman sights.

I would look for an older 336 that is drilled for the Lyman sight. It has two holes drilled on the solid side of the receiver. They are filled with two plug screws. It is also easy for a gunsmith to add the Lyman sight if you get a newer model.


March 12, 2008, 08:16 PM
The steel Lyman is the bee's knees. The later aluminum ones are ehhhhhh. However, the Williams sights are aluminum, too, and IMNSHO are more susceptible to damage if you drop the rifle than even the aluminum Lyman. In ordinary use, though, they're all great. (Have steel Lyman on a 336 and two Williams FPs on a Marlin 1895 and a Winchester 94 Wrangler II).

March 12, 2008, 10:41 PM
Man I hesitate to be so
profoundly "pro-30-30" but.........
I can't think of a round OR gun chambered for it that has given more people such pleasure in my lifetime..... the Winchester 94, the Marlins..... it doesn't matter much. The 30-30 cartridge is a winner, be it 150gr or 170gr or the new Leverevolution 160's...... this is a true winner. Every time I pick up my Mod 94, the feeling of history combined with the sense of "go-get-em" makes me (and others) feel GREAT. I'll never feel "outgunned" or underpowered carrying my "30-30"
(and yes, I KNOW it's limitations)

March 12, 2008, 11:49 PM
I've killed more deer/hogs,bobcats with my old marlin .30-30 than with any other rifle. It's really a great deer ctg. out to about 150 yds. or so. A little further I hear with the new ammo from Hornady. You will not be disappointed.

March 13, 2008, 01:09 AM
You cannot compare a 30-30 round with a 44 Mag never mind a 357....they are totally different amount of tweaking can take a 357 round in 30-30 not going to happen....

Some people in Alaska take the big bears with them....

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