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.30-30 vs 7.62x39?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by bud45, Jan 15, 2005.

  1. bud45

    bud45 Well-Known Member

    I thought of something today while in the tree stand: I have a hunting partner who likes to use a lever action .30-30 with lead ammo, while I use an SKS with soft-nosed surplus Russian ammo. I was wondering, with both being .30 caliber, were their ballistics & knockdown ability be the same? Or does one have something over the other?

    Even though the 7.62x39 is longer, I think the soft-nosed ammo is heaver in grain weight...or is it? And being a short-range round (I don't like shooting over 100 yards or so- eyes getting older!), would both rounds' ranges be similar?

    (BTW, I harvested a nice doe a couple weeks ago @ 60 yards with a head shot- the soft-nosed round obliterated everything behind the ears and it was a quick kill. BUT, a buddy of mine used some surplus hollow points in the same rifle and shot a buck in the heart/lung area at about the same distance & we haven't found it yet! Judging these two performances, I'll stay with the soft-nosed variety.)
  2. ACP230

    ACP230 Well-Known Member

    The ballistics tables say that the .30-30 starts with more velocity and hence the edge in energy and killing power.

    After a while the two get closer. The pointed soft points in the 7.62 X 39 hold their velocity better then flat point .30-30 slugs.
  3. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Depending on who's talking, the AK's 139-grain bullet is about 2,300 ft/sec at the muzzle. The .30-30's 170-grain bullet is out at about 2,200.

    Either works okay on smaller deer, and at relatively close range. You're generally better off with a heart shot or head/neck hit. I'd bet that for an angling shot, the .30-30's heavier bullet would give better penetration and thus be more likely to hit a vital spot.

    I wouldn't use either for the combination of deer dressing out around 150 pounds or more, and shots likely at 200 to 300 yards...

  4. pete f

    pete f Well-Known Member

    A lot of 200 pound plus deer die every year to 30 30's.

    load one with 170 partitions and they do a great job on bigger deer, My dad shot a couple of Moose with a 30 30 and said they died real quick, with in 50 yards. shoot one of a 24 inch barrel like a marlin 36 or a model 64 winchester and you get another 200 fps. short and light 30 cals just have too much surface area vs wieght to penetrate deep enough to be reliable killers of game in real world situations.
  5. Delmar

    Delmar Well-Known Member

    Not very scientific, but I have taken one deer with a 30-30, 150 grain handload at about 100 yards-killed em quickly as anything else I have used. Because my 94 has the typical semi buckhorn sights, I don't trust my eyes to any greater distance.
  6. ID_shooting

    ID_shooting Well-Known Member

    Mine, mod 94, like speer 170 gr bullets. It has taken several mulies and elk, I personally wouldn't be afraid to shoot a moose with it at range.

    IMO, the 30-30 is real hard to beat if used with in the limitations and loaded with ammo designed for 30-30 velocities.

    One of my projects is to mount a Burris scout mount on it and use a leuy 2x scout scope to increase my pointing accuracy. Right now, I get about a 3 inch group @ 100 but I know it is me and not the rifle.

    In comparison to 7.62x39, IMO they are fairly equal in trajectory, but I prefer the heavier bullet in the 30-30.
  7. buzz meeks

    buzz meeks Well-Known Member

    I've been mulling over the same thing lately. I dote on a Marlin 336 in 30-30 even though I rarely hunt anything bigger than jackrabbits/coyotes with it. Most of my "real" hunting is for elk and the terrain is pretty open.

    One thing that is obvious to me is that 30-30 bullets had their bugs worked out long ago. They have been optimized to a narrow velocity range and they work well within that range. I have to wonder if the new SP or HP designs in the 7.62x39 benefit from the same level of research and fine tuning.

    Also, my gut tells me that round nose bullets will always impart more initial energy than any spitzer bullet. This last point, however, is pure speculation. There is just no way to quantify it. It's just an observation based on watching 30-30 kills.

    One other anecdotal bit. At a recent 3-gun match I used my 30-30. The targets were pepper poppers and falling steel plates. The 7.62s hit noticeably harder than any .223. But the 30-30 literally slammed the pepper poppers to the ground with an authority the 7.62 just didn't seem to posses.
  8. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    The problem with such as the .30-30 or the AK is not so much the cartridge as the sights on the typical rifle. And, of course, the skill level or the optimism of the shooter.

    I've heard more than one game warden comment when the old cliche was trotted out, "The thutty-thutty has killed more deer than any other ca'tridge." that, "Yeah, but it's wounded and lost more deer."

    The majority of my hunting has been walking in open, brushy country. The deer population is sparse. You never know if a shot will be at 20 or at 300 yards, and often Bambi is doing his best to practice being elsewhere. If you're not confident about killing a running deer at 200 yards or so, stay home.

    I dunno. I guess that's why cartridges in the '06 class are regarded as the "all around" critters. Still, it's mostly the skill and the good judgement of the shooter that's most important...

    :), Art
  9. Yooper

    Yooper Well-Known Member

    If I remember correctly, 30-30 jacketed bullets are of lighter construction than other .308 cal. They're designed to mushroom at lower velocities.
  10. bud45

    bud45 Well-Known Member

    Good points...

    ...but it'll probably be awhile before I can afford a .30-30; in the meantime, I'll probably continue to use the SP's and buy a few 158 grain SP's.

    Needless to say, I hardly shoot over 100 yards or so; this is where both my SKS's are zero'ed in. Hardly any greenfields/patches around here that approach that length and woods here are thick- sometimes shots from a treestand in the woods are measured in feet! Like Delmar, I don't trust my eyes much over 100-150 yards, even with the small scopes I have on the rifles (to clear the action). When I get the 158 grain bullets, I'll check zero, since the heavier bullet will most likely drop a little.

    Buzz, were the other competitors using 122 grain or 158 grain 7.62x39's? I'll bet they were using the lighter bullet, since they're more plentiful.
  11. Fuzzy

    Fuzzy Active Member

    The 30-30 is a fine rifle. A lot depends on where you are hunting. I hunt with a scoped 30-06 out here in AZ where long shots are not only possible, but probable. But my buddy who lives in MO wouldn't be able to take a shot over 100 yards where he hunts due to the trees. So he carries a 30-30 with a peep. Both rifles are well suited to the locations where they will be used. I would much rather use his 30-30 for a quick shot at 30 yards but a 200+ yard shot would be a bit easier with my 30-06. IMO, it's best to equip yourself for where you're going to hunt and if you're going to hunt in multiple radically different locations it would be best to buy mutiple guns, budget and spouse permitting, of course.

    As for hunting with an SKS, I've never done it. They aren't bad rifles though as long as it's still in good shape. I've seen a few that haven't been well maintained to say the least.
  12. dfaugh

    dfaugh Well-Known Member

    While we can't use rifles

    to hunt deer in my state....I would consider the 7.62x39 adequate for most of the hunting around here....Because, as you mentioned, most shots measured in feet, or at most a few yards. I would rather have 30-30, given the choice, for the heavier bullet, but then I'd REALLY rather have .308 or better, "just in case"...As long as your shots are short, and you can place shot properly, I think SKS makes for a decent, although maybe not optimal, "woods rifle".
  13. rbernie

    rbernie Well-Known Member

  14. Browns Fan

    Browns Fan Well-Known Member

    Interesting post; I just bought a Saiga 7.62x39 and took it to the range last weekend (whata rush!). I definitely want to hunt with it. It'll do the job!
  15. Mannlicher

    Mannlicher Well-Known Member

    If you want to use the SKS or another 7.62 X 39 rifle, Ruger Mini-30 included, then for goodness sake use proper hunting bullets. Yes they cost more, but they are a lot more effective on game than mil surp 123 grain HP. The Remington CoreLokt 125 grain PSP is awfully good for whitetail and hog.
  16. bud45

    bud45 Well-Known Member

    fuzzy, both my SKSs are in very good shape- one was NIB as a present from my wife, the other, from what my bro-in-law said, was new and he shot 5 rounds through it. Both have proved to be good, consistant shooters.

    rbernie, due to an unfortunate thing called "aging", my eyes won't allow me to use the peep sight, but, wow! what a neat set-up! I used to shoot open/iron sights exclusively, until I HAD to go to a scope just a few years ago.

    Mannlicher, I need to find those Remingtons! Sounds good, but will something that light grained do a quick kill on a hog? I'm thinking about using my Mosin-Nagant with heavy loads, since the hogs here in the Mobile Delta (I've heard) get pretty darned big....

    The good thing about SKS rifles are that they are affordable and a decent entry gun and are cheap to shoot. However, I wouldn't turn down a much more, *ahem*, "sporting rifle" if someone were to bless me with one at Christmas, birthday, etc.! :rolleyes:
  17. buzz meeks

    buzz meeks Well-Known Member

    bud45- Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. You asked what grain weight those 7.62x39 three-gunners were using? I have no idea, frankly. I saw a lot of Wolf boxes and steel cases. Does that mean 123s? Maybe. It would certainly explain the differences I saw on those reactive targets. 154s or whatever would close the gap considerably. But I still question whether our Russian counterparts have put as much R&D into their hunting bullets as we have into ours. 30-30 bullets can fail but rarely do. Don't know if we have the database on the old Soviet round. Good luck either way and go do some field testing for the rest of us.
  18. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Well-Known Member

    I've shot several deer with a SKS, and a sizeable number with the .30/30.

    Comparing these two is actually more like comparing apples to oranges.

    Both are developing similar velocities and similar diameter bullet/weights, but from there the differences become profound.

    As other posters noted, the .30/30 typically uses heavier, but blounter bullets (due to tubular magazines).

    The problem is that the 7.62x39 hunting ammo usually doesn't turn out the "claimed" velocities. The Winchester and Remington 123-125gr factory loads I've chrono'd usually ran ~2,275fps from a 20" bbl SKS (Chinese).
    FWIW; the last 150gr Winchester 150gr ammo I chrono'd ran 2,275fps from a 20"bbl (Marlin 336). Some have approached 2,400fps. Most 170's have been 2,100 to 2,250fps.

    The reason your buddy lost the deer with the shot with the H.P.'s, is that all the H.P. ammo I've seen is the import mil-spec. stuff that is really a mild steel-copper coated FMJ jacket reversed and don't expand the way conventional SoftPt. or Hollowpt thin guilding metal jackets do. In essence, you buddy was still shooting steel jacketed ammo. It is modified to be legal to use in the U.S. where the various states require "expanding type" ammunition. Ditto some of the import Soft Pt. ammo I've seen/shot. I would also bet on a marginal lung shot. A "heart" shot that goes 3-4" low, will usually result in a small blood trail, and lost animal. Thats why I usually try for high lung shots in the shoulder. A high hit results in a spine shot, a low one in a heart shot.

    I don't know about the 158gr 7.62x39 ammo you mentioned. I think that you may be confusing it with 7.62x54R. It is frequently loaded with 154-174gr bullets. NOT INTERCHANGEABLE with 7.62x39! It is for the Mosin-Nagant rifles. Power is similar to the 7.62x51 NATO, aka the .308.

    In my experience, like another poster stated, the paramenters of good performing .30/30 ammo has been long worked out. The 150gr ammo is good for animals to 250lbs, the 170gr for 200lb and up. The 170gr Cor-lokts and Nosler Part. have a very good reputation amoung the locals in Maine and adjacent Canada on Black Bear and Moose. While he was stationed in the Air Force in Alaska, my brother encountered a lot of locals (interior native americans) who held the .30/30 w/170gr Federal/Nosler Partitions in near reverence. They used it for subsistence hunting and took many moose, caribou, and occasional bears. Their advice? Get close, shoot-em in the ribs, get ready to haul 'em home! Good advice wherever big game is shot!
    In 20+yrs as a game warden, most deer I encounterd lost, were lost due to poor shot placement. At night, at 25mph from bouncing vehicle, with iron sights, at 200yds is not conducive to good shot placement! How many times did I hear 10+ shots, and no "dead deer" to be found!
    Main reason so many deer are "lost" with the .30/30! Also, many hunters can't judge between 125yds and 225yds. Also, most .30/30's are zero'd at 100yds, instead of 150yds as they sould be (2.5" high at 100yds; 4" low at 200yds for 220yd "point-blank" range for deer- a 150yd zero).

    I've not lost but one deer with a .30/30 and good bullets. (lost one with rear-lung/gut shot w/170gr Sierra FN, another w/150gr Nosler Solid Base- similar shot placement, both deer were walking pursuing does at the moment) None for the .223! I also take pains to place shots well.

    Deer I've lost (more than I like to admit too), have been when I took shot placement for granted with either the .257Roberts,.270,.30/06,.338, and 12ga.

    If you can hit where you aim, the 7.62x39 does about as well as the .30/30, assuming you use good bullets. If not, it fails about as often, too. Same goes for .270's and 7mm Mag'.s as well.
    The biggest variable is the "Nut" holding the stock and manipulating the trigger!
  19. bud45

    bud45 Well-Known Member

    Interesting, GooseGestapo!

    Thanks for the refresher on 7.62 milsups! I mistyped (sp?) when I said "158" when I meant 154 grains- I just got a Cheaper Than Dirt catalog that advertised 154 grain 7.62x39 rounds. I also have a Mosin-Nagant I intend on using for hogs this spring- a MUCH different bullet! Needless to say, I wonder if CTD misprinted their ad in the catalog?

    I think the ammo I've bought for the Mosin-Nagant are of the 147 grain variety. I remember some is Czech lately, but I can remember the other stuff I bought previously (I'll have to go back to the site & see what I got!). I also remember therre's some heavier ammo, but was warned it provided some heavy recoil! Needless to say, I haven't had time to fire the rifle yet, but will do some test firing after hunting season is over, so I won't unnecessarily disturb other hunters....

    Both my SKS rifles are Chinese (pre-Bubba Klintonian ban) and on a rest, seem very accurate for my usage (close-in hunting). Like you, GooseGestapo, I don't hurry my shots and I want to make sure every kill is a clean one, whether its a deer or a squirrel- I've been fortunate to not waste or lose any game over all these years, thank God! I would feel very bad if I had've, but I've tried to be the best hunter, in all aspects, that I could be.

    Hey, buzz, if they had Wolf, that's what they had- 122/123 grain variety. I think for next hunting season, I'll start stocking up on "true" hunting ammo like the CoreLoct stuff.

    Thanks for all the fine info, y'all; as I learned in emergency medicine, the only stupid question is the one you DON'T ask! Bud
  20. Malice

    Malice Well-Known Member

    As for ammo ponderings...

    Ammo, 7.62x39, SP, 20rds, Russian Mfg, Wolf®

    •Non-Corrosive •New Production •Soft Point •154 Grain •Mfg by Wolf® •Berdan Primed

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