Barrel Length for 30-30?


March 16, 2004, 10:06 AM
Brand new member, first time poster. What a great website!!! I am looking at buying a winchester 94 in 30/30. Can get a pretty good deal on one with a 16 inch barrel but I'm afraid I may not be happy with it later. Any opinions on 20" over 16" barrels? Thanks in advance.

If you enjoyed reading about "Barrel Length for 30-30?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
March 16, 2004, 11:13 AM
.16"bbl vs. 20" bbl

Gain: Increased handiness.

Loss: Naturally, some velocity.

Typical factory ammo for a .30-30 in a 170 gr bullet lists a muzzle velocity of abt 2200 fps and 1827 ft lbs of muzzle energy. People tend to use these figures as a performance reference for the .30-30, although the numbers are from a 24" bbl. Most .30-30's, however, come in in a 20" bbl. While I don't have the chrono data handy, in a 20" bbl that same factory load runs abt 2120 fps, and in a 16" bbl just under 2000 fps. Velocity loss in a 20" bbl drops muzzle energy from published 1827 ft lbs to abt 1700 ft lbs and in a 16" bbl, it's down to abt 1500 lbs.

March 16, 2004, 01:26 PM
I have .30-30's in 20" and 24" barrels (Marlin 336 and Marlin 1894 Cowboy models respectively), and have fired it in a 16" Winchester. The 24" is optimum for the cartridge, but is longer and less "wieldy" in tight situations. The 20" gives slightly less velocity and energy, but is more compact and handy. The 16" has a great deal less velocity and energy, and although it's very handy, the muzzle blast is also significantly higher. As an all-round .30-30, I believe the 20" is the way to go: and I like the 24" barrels for stand use, where handiness is not a major factor.

March 16, 2004, 01:59 PM
I guess I didn't adddress anything other than velocity and energy.

For hunting or other general purposes, I'd go with a 20" to maximize the .30-30 w/out having to go to a longer 24" bbl gun. If compactness is a high priority, a 16" will work well (I have an 336LTS that I really like) but IMO, the gain in effectiveness of the .44 mag (or even a .357 mag) in a 16"-18" levergun, combined with the performance loss from the .30-30 as the bbl shortens, begins to tilt the balance towards the pistol caliber leverguns if you plan on short-range work. Not having fired my 16" and 20" -ers side-by-side I can't say how much more blast you get in the 16", but I don't recall it being too obnoxious.

Preacherman, how's that Cowboy shoot? I should have bought one when I first looked at them, because Marlin is only showing them in .38/55 these days.

March 16, 2004, 04:44 PM
I have and shoot both a 16 inch Trapper 30-30 and a couple of 20inch 1894's and a couple of Rem 788's with some what longer barrels. All in 30-30. It sure seems that the short barrles are much louder and the concussion is higher than the same rounds out of the longer barrels. The reverse is what happens when I shoot the pistol caliber levers in 357, and 44 mag. The longer barrels are much easier on ya than the same rounds out of a handgun. I still like the little lever actions a lot. And the Rem 788's are the perfect cast bullet rifles!!!! :D

March 16, 2004, 10:49 PM
Thanks guys. Your replies made a lot of sense and helped me make my decision. I think for my use the 16" will be the right choice.

If you enjoyed reading about "Barrel Length for 30-30?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!