30-30 ai


January 6, 2013, 11:39 PM
Buddy of mine inherited a 336 in 30-30. He asked me what I thought of making it an AI. I thought it was good b/c you can form ammo you buy from Walmart. But I have no idea how much it costs or if it is 'worth' it. Ballistically it is better but is it enough? Are there other considerations?


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January 6, 2013, 11:58 PM
"My amp goes to 11".

AI doesn't do as much in the 30-30 as it does in some other cartridges - in part because it headspaces on the rim so all you are getting is a slight increase in cartridge capacity. But then, you don't want to heat up a lever action (even a 336) too much anyway. IMHO, your friend can get at least as much out of factory Leverevolution ammo or handloading with said powder and ballistic tip bullets as he would out of going AI. Of course he would get that much more from same loaded AI! If he is confident renting the chamber reamer and doing it himself, he's looking at $50 + dies ($60?). Might be worth it. At more than $110 it wouldn't be worth it to me.

January 7, 2013, 12:38 AM
A little powder & a good bit of data will do as much. For the change, the cost of the reamer plus the new .30-30AI dies in place of my normal .30-30 dies makes it not worth it to me.

.257 Roberts vs AI? Ah, now there's one where it makes a bit of difference...

January 7, 2013, 02:32 AM
There are many cartrages that I would want to put a 35-40 degree shoulder on, the 30-30 however is not one of them, seems like alot of trouble for an extra 2-3gr of case volume, besides I am not so sure how well 40 degree shoulders mix with 336 actions I cannot say I have ever seen that before.

January 7, 2013, 02:34 AM
What the heck is AI?

1911 guy
January 7, 2013, 03:58 AM
Ackley Improved. P.O. Ackley came up with mods to many well known cartridges.


January 7, 2013, 05:32 AM
I don't think that its worth it. I just use the Hornady LE ammo and call it good. It does very well for me. If I need more, I grab a more powerful rifle.

January 7, 2013, 09:45 AM
These are exactly the things I needed to know: thanks guys,

January 7, 2013, 12:32 PM
The 30-30 brass is too thin to handle a big increase in pressure. Case life will be short. Plus the 336 has a rear lockup and can handle only so much pressure. John Barsness made the point that to get a 1% increase in power you need a 4% increase in powder capacity. The gain isn't worth the trouble.

One of the best selling points of a 30-30 is lighter recoil. Adding speed will just beat you up a little more. Enjoy the gun for what it is.

January 8, 2013, 03:52 PM
The bulk of the gain in capacity from an AI cartridge is from removing the case taper. The .30-30 doesn't have a lot of that. Ideally, pressures are not increased much if at all, though much of the load data that is floating around for AI cartridges showing significant velocity gains includes loading way over the SAAMI pressure for the parent cartridge. The 336 action isn't hugely strong, but it is a lot stonger than it needs to be for the .30-30. The .308 MX rifles are built on the same action and the .307 Winchester was as well. Both run hotter than the .30-30.

Would I bother? Not even. I wanted something more powerful so I bought a .308 MX.

January 8, 2013, 03:59 PM
What kind of velocity gain do you get with going to the AI?

January 8, 2013, 04:13 PM
Back to the the 1970s! .30-30 Improved was in a couple of the annuals as were articles on using sptizer type bullets in 1894 Winnies as a two shot (one in the chamber and one in the mag).

I will have to go look if I get around to it but I seem to recall it was not more than 200 fps.

I felt at the time that a .30-30 aught to be a .30-30 and if I wanted a bit more I would buy a .308 or a .300 Savage. Still seems to make more sense. I seem to recall the articles tauting that one plus was that one could simply shoot .30-30 and get the same results as the un modified gun while fire forming a new case.....I have to wonder about that. seems like a good way to blow a case to me.


January 8, 2013, 04:15 PM
Depends on the cartridge. The more body taper the cartridge has, the more you increase the powder capacity and the more potential gain is there. The .257 Roberts, the 6mm Remington and the .22-250 are cartridges that are known for achieving significant gains when converted to an AI configuration. Others like the .243 or .223 see very little to no gain. The former have a lot of case taper, the latter very little.

January 8, 2013, 11:03 PM
I'm glad I asked.
I am also glad to learn more about AI...257 has appealed to me: but I just got a 6.5x55. Maybe someday when i can talk more money out of my wife for my gun safe...

Thanks again,

January 8, 2013, 11:37 PM
I did the spitzer bullit "two shot" thing a few years ago. Didn't matter. I only shot paper with them. I just load 170 gr. standard projectiles...its just a .30-30 so I use it like it is. If I want or need something bigger and faster I just don't pick up a .30-30. :D


January 8, 2013, 11:56 PM
I read somewhere that the AI .243 wasn't as hard on throats, but from me it's just hearsay.

January 9, 2013, 12:01 AM
If the truth is known.
And AI calibers were fairly compared to the parent calibers at the same safe pressure levels?

You just spent your hard earned money on a conversation that lost all it's resale value.

AI a 30-30 Marlin?

Shirley not!

All the deer you can kill with it will never know the tiny difference.


January 10, 2013, 07:48 AM
I think that if you did the AI conversion, had a 24" barrel, and loaded using the Lever Evolution powder, you could get to 2450 using 150 gr bullets.

Texan Scott
January 10, 2013, 10:08 AM
If he wanted a Marlin with a bit more OOMPH than a 3030 (for which reloading is desirable and also almost mandatory due to cost and low availability of factory ammo), may I point out that there are always several nice 35 rems to choose from on GB?

January 10, 2013, 12:36 PM
Texan if you think 30-30 ammo is hard to find now just try to find 35 remington. It's nearly always out. Brass is rarely in stock and bullets are hit and miss. I just looked on line last night. My buddy has a 336 in 35 rem for sale but since no ammo is to be found I guess I will pass.

Here is an interest comparison of the 30-30 and 35 remington. Many years ago a friend in east texas bought a 35 rem marlin and stated he wished he had of just got the 30-30 because ammo was easier to find. And that was in about the mid 1980s.


Texan Scott
January 10, 2013, 12:51 PM
I actually wouldn't bother with anything more than 3030... just pointing out the 35 rem is s better option than the AI conversion IMO.

I can't imagine what I'd need more than plain ol' 3030 for, not around here.

January 10, 2013, 01:16 PM
I see what you are saying Texan. But if you study that chart I linked to you will see the 30-30 beats the 35 rem in almost every way. Handloading would improve both but not by that much. I have bumped up some 30-30 rounds but they were not very pleasant to shoot.

If more power is needed than what the off the shelf 30-30 provides its just better to get a more powerful rifle.

January 10, 2013, 03:47 PM
I kick the AI 30-30 can down the road a little in the late 80s....

The best answer I got was to get a Savage 99 in 300 savage.

In the end, loading Hornady Lever Evolution soft tip spitzer bullets would get you 30-30 Ai perfomance down range where it counts.

On a side note, in a 30-30 H&R single shot instead of doing a 30-30 AI, rechamber it for 30-40 Kraig. Big increase in performance.

January 10, 2013, 04:13 PM
I thought about doing the same thing with anH&R 30-30 till I realized at best it would match the reduced 30-06 loads i already had on hand. And I would spend a lot of money to do it.

I load 170gr 30-30 bullets to about 2500fps per Finn Aagard. With a 150gr full power load sighted in 1" high at a hundred the 170gr load hits right on the bullseye. No need for a scope adjustment.

January 10, 2013, 04:28 PM
Ratshooter - thanks for the 30-30 .35 Rem comparison chart.

January 10, 2013, 04:48 PM
One thing I think is funny about this 30-30 vs 35 conversation is that the deer shot by them don't know the difference.
Now don't get me wrong...I enjoy the dialog as well...but the only way we have this discussion is that we have a bunch of guns. Two guys, one with a 30-30 and one with a 35 and no other guns are going to be very happy to have what they have.
It is amazing what consumerism has reduced us to.

January 10, 2013, 06:13 PM
"my amp goes to 11"


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