Which .30-30 to buy?


December 20, 2011, 05:23 AM
"Prices might seem high, but they are fair in Australia"

Today I went to a few gun shops to check out LA in .30-30. I came across four Winchester 94, and only new Marlin 336s and the Rossi Rio Grande!

The Winchesters varied in price from $620 (fair) to $695 (good) and a commemorative version $745 (good condition, that seemed like a good price!)

The Marlin 336 looked nice had a firm action, that I would hope would loosen with use, the main thing other than the price of $1130 for a 336SS that puts me off, is how good is the QC at Remington, would I just be buying an expensive lemon?

The Rossi looked good for the cash, how deep does the copying of the 336 go? If its does as one poster suggest have plastic parts (I find it hard to believe) then its not to be touched with a barge pole! But if a Stainless Rossi Rio id $695 vs the 336 $1130 then the Marlin needs to be a lot better! Can anyone testify as to the accuracy of the Rossi?

As the accuracy not that you can get a BLR in .30-30 but I have seen them achieve 1" at 100 yards! Then a 100 yards for a .308 is nothing!

I don't want to scope so the top eject makes no difference to me!

Which one do I buy?

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December 20, 2011, 05:46 AM
If you want a traditional style lever gun I'd stick with either Marlin or Winchester. All of the copies that I've seen, Rossi, Mossberg, ect. have been very poor quality. Never shot one and they may well be accurate enough. Lots of cheap, poor quality guns shoot accurately enough when new, but won't hold up in the long run. At least here I can still get the real thing used for considerably less than the poor quality stuff made by Rossi and Mossberg.

The only Rossi's I've seen had cheap birch stocks and about half had the butt plate fittting so badly it was literally about 1/4" larger than the stock all the way around. If the pad fits that poorly I can only imagine how bad the internal parts must be.

Between Winchester and Marlin I have found Marlin to generally be better quality and more accurate. Winchester quality has been all over the place in the last 50-60 years. When buying a used Winchester, if you get a good one, it will be at least as good as the Marlin. If you get a bad one, you may not do much better than 4-6" 100 yard groups. Marlins quality has been consistent over the years and you are less likely to get a lemon. At least when buying used.

I have no personal experience with the newer guns, but I keep reading how new Marlin quality is not good. Might want to avoid a new Marlin at this time.

December 20, 2011, 06:11 AM
the Marlin will also be much easier to clean. one screw and you can remove the bolt, so you can clean it like a bolt action gun, from the breech. i can not even imagine how many rounds have been shot thru my Marlin, somewhere in the 10,000 round count would be close. it is now getting to the point that i am going to have to replace the main spring (which drives the hammer hard enough to move the firing pin), which i less than a ten dollar part. as i am starting to get unreliable ignition and lite firing pin strikes. and that will be the only repair ever done to this. the Winchester, as i understand it is a royal pain in the rear to take apart and clean. for my money, the Marlin is a much better, simpler, gun. i firmly believe in the K.I.S.S. method. besides, 10 or 20 years from now, you may HAVE to have a scope in order to see well enough to shoot. when i was young, i didn't need one either, but now it is a must have if i want to shoot more than 30 yards!

December 20, 2011, 06:22 AM
You get a lot of detractions of the Rossi guns by people who have never even held one in their hands & judging by their erroneous remarks know very little about them.:mad:

I own 3 Rossi Puma 92s & a Rossi Rio Grande & they are well built & accurate guns.

The wood on mine is a Brazilian hardwood native to the location of the Rossi factory.

December 20, 2011, 06:48 AM
i would go for the winchester i wouldnt buy a new marlin right now. and im not a fan of browning, i think theyre over priced and over hyped

December 20, 2011, 06:50 AM
If you prefer iron sights, get the Winchester 94.

December 20, 2011, 07:09 AM
Just another question, if I went for the Rossi, I would want to put peep sights on it!

Would the FP-336-TK Receiver Sight w/Target Knob that fits Marlin 336 using existing holes without drilling, work on the Rossi Rio Grande?

how accurate a copy of the 336 is the Rio Grande, are the screws in the same location?

December 20, 2011, 01:59 PM

December 20, 2011, 04:57 PM
I think the OP is looking for range reports from posters who have actually field tested the various guns in question not a bunch of negative "parroting" or conjecture from people who have never even held any of the guns in their hands let alone shot them.

I will be taking my Rossi Rio Grande in .30-30 Win out & will be giving it a good range assessment when the weather permits & will report back on my assessment.

December 20, 2011, 05:20 PM
I agree, a lot of the posters are just stating opinions and not from actual experience. I won’t comment on the Rossi's as I have fired several and they were ok but the finish was not really great.
I have shot my own Marlin 336 for quite some years and it has never given me a problem in any way.
Accuracy with factory ammo was just so so and usually resulted in groups of 2.5 inches at 100 yard using a bench for support. By working up some hand loads with 150G flat points I was able to bring the groups down to under 1.5 inches. The point of impact doesn’t seem to move with the barrel warming during a long afternoon of paper punching. My 336 has provided many hours of fun punching paper as well as being a good Deer gun.

The overall fit and finish of the 336 is very nice and I recently purchased a Marlin 22 rifle for lazy day plinking. Again the price was great and the rifle has nice fir and finish. This seems to be a consistent factor in the Marlin products. They get a thumbs up!

December 20, 2011, 05:26 PM
Iron sights: Winchester or Marlin.

I favor Winchester because it seems more "historical."
If I have any reservation about the Winchester its that godawful dingus that is supposed to interfere with the trigger if you don't squeeze the lever hard while operating the trigger.

Optics: Marlin 100%

I have one of each.

My first centerfire rifle - from the 70's

A 70's vintage "orphan" I rescued

December 20, 2011, 07:41 PM
I wouldn't touch a newfangled Japchester for $1300-$1500 with their tang safeties or their rebounding hammers.

I wouldn't touch a new Remlin with the outstanding quality control issues in the new Remington factory.

So we're looking at used New Haven Winchesters, Mossbergs, used JM Marlins & Rossis.

I own Rossi clones of the 92s & 336s & like them. I bought them before I knew that it was politically incorrect to like the Rossis regardless of how nice they looked or how well they performed.

December 20, 2011, 08:12 PM
I like an attractive gun that is well built with good w/m fit & properly machined & well fitted parts.

I don't give a hoot whether the wood is high grade walnut or Brazilian hardwood as long as the gun is of good workmanship, functional & accurate.

My guns are tools that are not designed to be historical in & of themselves but to make any game I aim them at "historical" (dead).

December 21, 2011, 04:52 AM
I am by no means ruling out a Marlin, but availability of the 336 for a reasonable price is pretty much non existent secondhand! And I don't have enough confidence to buy a new one!

At the moment I torn between getting a WIN 94 Golden Spike 1969 model for $745 (in good but not excellent condition) or a new Rossi Rio Grande for $695!

Might sound silly but what do I look for in terms of worn/well used rifle? Damaged stock, Marks on the loading gate? But what else in the action and barrel?

How long is a 94 action likely to last?

Does the fact that half of it spits out when you push the lever forward make it weaker than a Marlin 336?

The Rossi is a copy of the 336 but how deep does that go? How good a quality is the Rossi vs the Marlin?

Which one to go for?

December 21, 2011, 05:19 AM
There are literally hundreds of examples of Winchester 94 rifles made around 1900 that still fire fine. The action is made to last. If I were you, I would simply ask to cycle five cartridges though the rifle to see that she works. Check to make sure the safety will sit at the full and half-cock positions....this will allow you to try the trigger as well. Check the bore for rust. Look for screws that have been tampered with and boogered up. Light rust and minor pitting from previous rust is not a deal breaker, but could help you to negotiate a lower price; the same goes for excessive dents in the wood.

I would much rather have this than a Rossi:


December 21, 2011, 05:29 AM
Does anyone know if the front sight is on a 3/8 dovetail (it does not look to be!)? I would like to change it for something like a Lyman globe front sight!


December 21, 2011, 08:04 AM
I vote for Winchester 94's. I've seen plenty on GB that needs rescuing and TLC that can be had for a descent price.

December 21, 2011, 08:11 AM
At one time or another I have shot all three, I vote Winchester, Rossi, Marlin in that order.

December 21, 2011, 09:27 AM
If you have it narrowed down to a 1969 Winchester or a Rossi for just a little less, there's no question in my mind. I'd take the Winchester.

December 21, 2011, 11:27 AM
I sold my Winchester and kept the Marlin - better fit and somewhat easier to clean and service. I have not shot a Rossi lever. I do own some Rossi's and have had no issues with them.

So, to me it comes down to fit to shoulder and natural sight alignment. Buy whichever fits and lines up the best :)

December 21, 2011, 01:10 PM
A side note, you won't find a stainless steel Winchester or if you can they're exceedingly rare. Whether you care or not is a different story, but aesthetically a 336ss is a beauty to own and fun to shoot.

December 21, 2011, 01:17 PM
Knowing very little of most of the guns mentioned, I can only talk about my father's old Winchester. He has one made sometime between 1940-48; they didn't keep accurate dating/serial number records for those years. Anyway, it is one cool rifle, light and handy. It thumps one a bit due to the light weight but it's a great piece. I'd be honered to have that one in my safe.

Judging from some of the prices mentioned, I'd go for a good, ol' Winchester made by the riginal company, the classic. There's equity in the older ones; the price just keeps going up and up.

December 22, 2011, 06:01 AM
Well I ended up getting the Winchester, a gold strike and not a golden spike (1996 not 1969), as much as the Rossi really appealed to me! I hope I have made the right choice!

The Rossi did have a nice action and was new, but I was lead to believe than in perhaps three years the Rossi might be getting worn out!

But the the 94 .30-30 is second to none bar perhaps the 336!

Being a commemorative version however, as was pointed out to me by the gent in the Gun shop, the stock is not really designed for shooting, being short and with angular and not round edges! This is why I question if my choice was right!

December 22, 2011, 11:09 AM
Of the three choices you had available, all are viable. If you picked the one that you like the looks of, it will grow on you a little quicker.

Good gun and good luck in the field. If you get a chance, there is a sublime pleasure in shooting heavy cast lead bullets out of you .30-30 in the 1200-1500 fps range. Great for plinking, small game and developing proficiency with your rifle.

December 23, 2011, 05:46 AM
The Rossi Rio Grande stock is made of stained birch but it looks good & the gun is a shooter.
As a hunter I'd sooner see the manufacturer skimp on cosmetic stuff and build the value into the quality of the hardware.
Birch stocks are tough & look half decent if finished right.
Birch is fine with me.
The Rossi Rio Grande has a more "historical" look about it than other leverguns I've seen.
It would look contemporary in a western movie setting.

December 24, 2011, 08:47 AM
I think that you done good with the 94. I have 3 of them and love em. I have winchester, marlins and rossi lever actions and I would have to lean toward the winchester myself. With the Rossi coming in second. If you got what you wanted then that is all that matters. Keep us posted as to how it shoots.


December 29, 2011, 05:49 AM
It sounds silly but it always irked me the way the Winchester 1894 "disembowels" itself when you cycle the action.
I prefer the Marlin 336 action for a .30-30 WCF rifle.

December 29, 2011, 06:07 AM
Well I ended up getting the Winchester, a gold strike and not a golden spike (1996 not 1969), as much as the Rossi really appealed to me! I hope I have made the right choice!

The Rossi did have a nice action and was new, but I was lead to believe than in perhaps three years the Rossi might be getting worn out!

But the the 94 .30-30 is second to none bar perhaps the 336!

Being a commemorative version however, as was pointed out to me by the gent in the Gun shop, the stock is not really designed for shooting, being short and with angular and not round edges! This is why I question if my choice was right!
Rossi wearing out in 3 years. :rolleyes:

More anecdotal BS from somebody probably who has never as much as held a Rossi firearm in his hands.

You read more "parroted" derogatory nonsense about Rossis than any other brand on gun forums...........90% of it undeserved.

December 29, 2011, 06:12 AM
I would think that the Rossi would last at least five years.

December 29, 2011, 11:25 AM
I would think the Rossi would last much more than 5 years, unless you shot it almost constantly.

To my understanding, they make pretty good guns. The action might not be quite as strong as a Marlin, but not by that much.

December 30, 2011, 01:42 PM
Andy, buyer's remorse is pretty common in all of us. :cuss: Here's what I'd do:

Check to see if your Commemorative is actually increasing in value. In the US, most don't, especially if they've been shot. Since you plan on shooting yours, there's no reason not to fix it up the way you want.

Examine the wood in yours. Is it walnut or birch/poplar, etc. stained walnut? If it's the latter, there's no reason you can't shape the angular stock outlines into something more pleasing.

Is the length of pull satisfactory to you? Most 94s have a shorter LOP, which is fine for shorties like me, especially with winter clothing.

If you want a longer LOP, or if you don't want to mess with the stock on the gun, there are several sources for replacement stocks, including Boyd's and a host of others that pop up from Google.

Have fun with your '94! Years ago, in a trade, a post-'64 '94 was included. The serial number shows it was built in the '70s, the receiver is of some kind of non-magnetic mystery metal, and there are at least 5 screw-holes indicating that scope-mounts or receiver sights or what-have you were attempted/mounted by previous owners. And, of course, it rattles.

Since it was almost a throw-in, I meant to clean it up, sell it for a modest profit and someday get "a good one." But a trip to the range showed it shooting gopher-head groups at 75 yards. Since then, I've carried it (and killed) in several deer hunts.

I'm an anomaly in the PacNW....all my hunting buddies use '06, 300 Win, etc. But the ol' 30-30 sure works like it's supposed to, is easy to carry, and deadly at woods ranges. The new Hornady Leverevolution ammo does what they say it will.


December 30, 2011, 02:21 PM
The post-'64 Model 94s seem like a bargain to me. I picked up a mid-70s Model 94 on GB with a Burris scope and sling for $250 delivered. I haven't taken it out yet, but it's very clean with only the typical corrosion on the sides.

Even the pre-'64s can be had in the $350-450 range.

I've seen some of the commemorative ones, fired w/out the boxes, going for the high-$300s to low $500s. It's a fun gun with a great history and, assuming this one's as solid as I think it will be, I'll probably add another some day. If money was free, I'd get a Browning 1886 in 45-70, but as it's not, I'll probably settle on a Guide Gun at some point.

December 30, 2011, 11:23 PM
I owned the Win 94 and the Marlin 336. I also own some Rossi, but not a lever rifle. I sold the Winchester last year and never looked back. Kept the Marlin and I like it. My Rossi's shoot fine and I'd have no problem buying one of their levers.

But, if you could find one, I'd be looking at a Savage 99 as the real king of the lever guns. In Savage 300 or 308, it'll shoot further and more accurately than the others. I own one of these and it's my all time favorite "do-all" rifle. Mine's in 308 :)

And in case you need to stick to 30-30, there were a lot of Savage 99's built in 30-30 back in the day. Some even with octagonal barrels and few as take-down models :)

January 2, 2012, 08:50 PM
Most 94s have a shorter LOP, which is fine for shorties like me, especially with winter clothing.

If you want a longer LOP, or if you don't want to mess with the stock on the gun, there are several sources for replacement stocks, including Boyd's and a host of others that pop up from Google.

Well I am a shorty too, so I don't think the LOP will present to big a problem. I was thinking of buying a boyd stock for it!

January 14, 2012, 07:38 AM
I own 3 Rossi model 92s and one of their Rio Grande rifles in .30-30 WCF as well as their exposed hammer SXS 12 gauge Coachgun in 12 gauge and am very pleased with all 5 guns.

Some guys will go on the rag bashing guns that they've never even shouldered because they weren't made in the USA.

If the Korean &/or Chinese made parts and components are assembled in the USA that's OK though. :rolleyes:

January 15, 2012, 07:43 PM
"There are literally hundreds of examples of Winchester 94 rifles made around 1900 that still fire fine." Not true....should have said, "there are...literally millions of Winchester 94 rifles that still fire fine" !!!

You made a fine choice. If the stock doesn't fit....or if you want to save the commemorative stock for re-sale, there are a plethora of after-market (or used) stocks you can fit using only a screwdriver.

I'm an old guy, and don't hunt as often as when I was younger. Still, I like to get out into the woods and at least sit on a stump on a nice late summer/early fall day. As I was reducing my "inventory," I found myself reluctant to let go of a 1970's (you know, the "bad years") 94 Win.

Of course, I kept it. It's easy to carry, easy to load for, and shoots small fist-sized groups at 100 yds. Even though the receiver is made of mystery metal, the rest of it is in good shape, and the stock is a nice walnut. I use a Williams peep sight. Last fall, eschewing my trusty re-loads, I knocked down a nice buck with Hornady FTX (Leverevolution) factory bullets; those cartridges knock group size in half.


January 15, 2012, 07:49 PM
I will not comment on the Rossi or the browning as I do not own one or have practical experience with either of them. I do on the other hand own the Winchester in 30-30 and a Marlin 336 in 35 Remington. I am pleased with both of them, so either one of them would be my recommendation to you.

January 1, 2014, 06:07 PM
Just an update, the WIN 94 is shooting very well 1500 rounds latter. i haven't looked back once I found a decent load!

But now I can't make my mind up which I like more the 92 or the 94!

January 1, 2014, 06:38 PM

So was the Winchester you bought the Klondike Commemorative Model? Good to hear that it's worked out really well for you. I'm also partial to the Model 92.

January 1, 2014, 08:23 PM
Yes it was the Klondike Commemorative Model. The only thing that could make it better would be having 4 more inches of barrel, but that just means I have to be that much better with less sighting radius!

The 92 is a recent edition (1903 38-40, and it shoots really well) and its giving the 94 a run for its money for my favorite rifle!

February 17, 2014, 02:18 AM
I have a 92 rosi in 45 LC love the gun, action smoth, accuracy good, fit is good, but it isnt a 30 30, i have a couple of pre 64 winchester 94s great guns, also have a Marlin 336t, great little gun but I do shoot some cast and hate the microgrove rifling.

February 17, 2014, 12:30 PM
The old Winchesters are quality. The old Marlins are too before they sold out. The Rossi? I do not know, I shot one years ago and was not impressed. I would pick the Winchester, because the Marlin feels clumsy to me. Throw them up and see which one feels best to you. I would think that accuracy is equal between the two depending upon condition.

January 8, 2015, 12:16 PM
I have a Rossi ss 92 in 357 and the last two times I was shooting it someone tried to hand me a roll of 100 for it. My Rio Grande 3030 is also stainless and shoots just fine. I put a Williams peep on it. My 20+ year old Rossi 88 38 special is still going strong too. Just like my 1100 and 700 Remington have done for over 50 years. Knowing how to shot and care for a gun does wonders.

January 8, 2015, 12:35 PM
I own 4 rifles in .30-30, and 3 of them are Winchester 94s. I have had good luck with all of them. I can recommend them. They are very easy to carry which is probably my favorite thing about them. Most other lever guns seem bulky in comparison to the Winchester (this is my main compliant about the Marlin, it feels "fat" next to a Winchester)

My 4th rifle is a Savage model 99, which I also like. Not sure if these are an option in your area but might want to consider it as well if you're looking at lever actions. One nice thing about the Savage 99 is you can shoot pointed bullets thanks to its rotor style magazine (as opposed to the tube style mag on most lever guns that require you to use flat point bullets)

January 8, 2015, 12:39 PM
Wait a minute, I just looked at the date and now I see this was a really old thread, and that the OP had already made his choice. Feeling silly. Anyway, if you are looking for another lever gun to add to your collection, think about the Savage...

January 8, 2015, 12:53 PM
Gotta love a good necrothread. Still relevant.

January 8, 2015, 03:16 PM
you get A lot of detractions about Rossi Rifles from people that have owned them also.

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