Heavy cast bullets in .30-30


April 20, 2012, 10:27 AM
What's about the heaviest cast lead bullet that can be safely used in a .30-30 (Marlin 336)? Think a 250-260gr might work - that is, feed and chamber - reliably?


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April 20, 2012, 10:50 AM
what about the rifling twist? I don't know what it would be for a 30-30 but those bullets might be getting a little long for the velocity you might get.

April 20, 2012, 10:59 AM
I am guessing from internet research that the Marlin is 1-10" rifling. It is Micro-Groove.


Wil Terry
April 20, 2012, 11:21 AM
WHY BOTHER ?? A decent 30-30 with 170 to 200GR LFN bullets will hit 1000 yard targets incessently. Your idea will NOT improve on that one whit for all the known reasons of the 30-30 cartridge. READ it's history.

Jim Watson
April 20, 2012, 11:37 AM
Wow, I guess I am wasting my time and money with a .40-65 and 400 grain bullets, then.

The .300 Whisper etc use about an 8 twist to shoot 240 gr subsonic bullets.

April 20, 2012, 11:51 AM
I think that Jim missed the previous posters point.....
FWIW; I just checked the twist on my Marlin/Glenfield .30/30 and it's a 1/12" twist M/G barrel.

The problem with the .30/30 from a l/a will be more action length and case capacity. Most cast bullets suitable for the .30/30 are 200gr or lighter. The longer cast bullets will contact the lead in the barrel (rifling/throat), limiting how far out they can be seated and with the depth of seating, will limit powder capacity.

Additionally, I've found that with the cast bullets, having the base and lower driving bands exposed to the powder combustion seriously deteriorates the accuracy, hence the wonderful long neck of the .30/30 making it highly suited to cast bullets.

I've found that for best velocities/accuracy, that the .30/30 just about peaks out with a 170-180gr bullet. My personal favorite for over 3 decades is the Lee 150gr FNGC which casts to 158-162gr depending on alloy and mould..... A second favorite is the 170gr Lee FNGC which casts to 180gr and with bullet crimped to the crimp-grooove puts the gascheck right at the base of the neck preserving the integrity of the groove and lube and driving band just above it.....

And yes, the 180gr FN does about anything you'd want from a .30/30.... From low velocity "QUIET" plinking to heavy deep penetrator.... A heavier bullet than 200gr will likely "key-hole" drammatically reducing penetration....
Jacketed bullets of up to 240gr "CAN" be shot, but won't likely be offering any benifit....

April 20, 2012, 12:27 PM
I fiddled around with this, but 190 is about the max you can squeeze in there unless you use a single shot with a generous throat. There's some data for that load around. B Bore loads some in this range.

If you're looking for heavy bullets out of a similar round, go with the .30-40 Krag. It's designed for bullets up to 220 grains.

April 20, 2012, 12:53 PM
I'll be honest - I saw Missouri Bullet is coming out with a .309" cast lead 265gr bullet for the .300 Whisper/Blackout and I wondered if that would work in the .30-30.

Sounds like "probably not." I'll save those bullets for others to enjoy.


April 20, 2012, 12:55 PM
The problem you might have will be finding a RN or FP cast bullet that heavy you can seat & crimp to a max OAL of 2.550".

Anything longer then that will very likely not work through a lever-action.


April 20, 2012, 02:49 PM
300 BO - 30-30 ballistics in an almost straight walled case with a heavy CB to get the gas system to work.

April 20, 2012, 09:05 PM
I think spit wads would be faster than a 260 grain bullet out of 30-30.

April 21, 2012, 11:32 PM
Yeah, but then again, early in the Civil War, some thought it might be "good idea" to "kick a bouncing cannon ball" and go home with your foot in a cast.....
But,...... what foot?, and where did my knee go???

April 22, 2012, 03:43 AM
Your biggest problem is going to be velocity, and accuracy.

I found the more weight I put in my .30-30 bullets, the worse it got. This summer, I'm actually gonna try some 30 carbine 110's, and see how that works.

My guess it ( your 220 grain) will look something like this :


But it will be in real time :)

April 22, 2012, 10:27 PM
IMO that's what the 35 Remington is for, not the 30-30...

April 22, 2012, 11:45 PM
I think the MB offering you mentioned of .309 would be too small. Probably want .310 anyway.

The Beartooth bullets 170 FN in .310 work great in my 336.

loose noose
April 23, 2012, 05:09 PM
I used to have a Marlin/Glenfield 30-30 with the micro-groove rifling, and I could not get that rifle to shoot lead cast rounds worth a darn. I got a Marlin Cowboy 30-30 with the Ballard rifling and it shot both the jacketed as well as the lead cast very accurately. I had an old timer tell me that the micro-groove rifling is not aggressive enough to grasp the lead projectile, such as the older Ballard Rifling, however the jacketed rounds shoot well in the micro-groove. Go figure!? Also I wouldn't go over a 190 grain in a lead cast bullet, due to the length as previously noted, especially in a 1/12 twist.

April 23, 2012, 05:30 PM
I tried the RCBS 311-180, Lubed and checked, they dropped at 197g. The nose on them would work it's way into the rifling a bit, and would sometimes pull the bullet when unloading a live round. I can't imaging you'd even be able to get one of the 250'ish ones to load and chamber fully. I've settled on a 180'ish cast bullet from Lyman (311041), thats about as heavy as i care to shoot from the 30-30 levers.

April 24, 2012, 12:28 PM
loose -

I have had good luck with my Micro-Grooved Marlin shooting slightly over-sized bullets, .310 or .311, that force themselves into the rifling.


April 24, 2012, 01:14 PM
My 30-30 is a Glenfield (Marlin) and it has Ballard rifling. It shoots 165gr plain base hard cast bullets quite well...

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