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Ammo Availability and Utility for a Handi-Rifle

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Nashoba, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. Nashoba

    Nashoba Member

    Hey guys.
    Well, as the host of one of my favorite youtube channels put it; welcome to firearmageddon.
    I am not freaking out to much about it though. I am slightly annoyed that just short of the time that I could afford a RRA LAR-15, every rifle that can accept a STANAG magazine flew off the shelves. Oh well, I guess it's no biggie. Anyway, on to my question.
    Situation being what it is ( AR shortages, ammo shortages, men weeping in the gun-shop line (seriously)) I have decided to consolidate what I have and try to streamline my "armory". I am not going to fret over getting a new rifle anymore, so I am improving what I have and spending money that would otherwise have been spent on an AR, on ammo and other sensible things. One thing that I will be doing to is getting a new barrel for my Handi-Rifle. Mine is currently chambered in .35 Whelen, which is great for my hunting purposes, but the price causes me to have miniature emotional breakdowns whenever I shoot something. So, I looked at H&R's barrel list, and I have narrowed my decision to three calibers; .223 rem, .308 win, and 30-30 win.
    The only thing I care about is the availability of the cartridge and it's utility in dealing with anything from Mississippi class big game to rural defensive purposes.
    Lets hear some thoughts and opinion on the matter. Thanks!
  2. chris in va

    chris in va Well-Known Member

    You could always get a Lee Hand Press and reload for the Wheelen cartridge instead of getting another barrel.
  3. Reloadron

    Reloadron Well-Known Member

    If I were you I would keep the .35 Whelen as it meets the requirements of what you seem to be looking for. The .35 Whelen is no more than a 30-06 cartridge necked up to .35 caliber. Nice cartridge that can be hand loaded with plenty of bullet weights from 110 grains to 300 grains and that is a nice wide spectrum to work from. There is also no shortage of 30-06 brass out there allowing you to easily roll your own ammunition. I also believe rolling your own will really give you an opportunity to get the very most from your rifle. I would sink a few bucks into a good simple single stage press like a RCBS Rock Chucker and get started in hand loading, I like RCBS but as Chris_in_Va mentions a basic Lee setup would work fine.

    While I am not real big on using any high powered rifle cartridge for home defense (if that is what you mean) the .35 Whelen certainly meets or exceeds your other requirements. You have a great cartridge in the .35 Whelen, I would stick with a good thing.

    That said...
    If you absolutely want to get away from the .35 Whelen I would run with the .308 Winchester of the choices you listed. While none of the choices will duplicate the .35 Whelen the .308 Winchester is likely as good as it gets.

    Just My Take...
  4. gp911

    gp911 Well-Known Member

    Rimmed cartridges seem to perform better in Handis, the others tend to be literally hit-or-miss. The .30-30 would be the safest bet and as others noted your .35 Whelen can do a lot on its own. The .30-30 Ackley Improved is a common upgrade for folks wanting to extend the performance a bit. On the lighter side the .22 Hornet is usually a good performer in a Handi. Good luck in your search! Oh, and do keep that Whelen no matter what else you get.
  5. Nico Testosteros

    Nico Testosteros Well-Known Member

    I'd go with 30-30. Ammo is fairly cheap and one can't find .223 or .308 right now.
  6. 303tom

    303tom member

    You can do as I did & get all three................
  7. klw1911

    klw1911 Member

    I have a handi ultra varmit in .223 for sale if you might be interested.Ga.
  8. gspn

    gspn Well-Known Member


    I see you live in North MS...I'm in the same area...and of the calibers you list the 30-30 is the only one I see on the store shelves right now.

    You might look at reloading...it's nice to be able to unplug from the madness of the retail supply lines. When you want ammo you just go out to the garage and make it.
  9. Tolkachi Robotnik

    Tolkachi Robotnik Well-Known Member

    Yes to 30-30.

    Ammo cheaper and easier to get for 30-30. You can always send it in later and get a third barrel in something else, but you will be well covered with 35 Whelen and a 30-30. It will also be better for practice, less recoil by quite a bit. I have four barrels for this type of thing and am well pleased by the array.
  10. RPRNY

    RPRNY Well-Known Member

    The 30-30 has historically been the best shooter in a Handi rifle ever. It will serve you well for plinking , and from squirrel to hogs and deer .

    I take it you don't reload. That's a pity because in the Handi you can load the 30-30 pretty hot and use spitzer bullets. This turns your Handi 30-30 into a very reliable 200 yd rifle. But I bet you will be very close with the Hornady Leverevolution ammo.

    30-30 isn't ideal for HD, and 223 would likely be better in that respect but as the recent run has shown 223 ammo will disappear every time the gun grabbers get ambitious. I load a Hornady 86 gr .308 short jacket bullet over Trail Boss that is a good HD round and softy for the kids but there must be a factory varmint round out there that would also suit you.
  11. Col. Plink

    Col. Plink Well-Known Member

    Interesting to note that 30-30 continues to be widely available and has always been one of the most affordable rifle cartridges (Walmart sells Federal 150-gr softpoints for about $11.00/20).
  12. osprey176

    osprey176 Well-Known Member

    Learn to reload and you won't have to cry over spent cartridges.It' s really a hobby most shooters should take up.
  13. 303tom

    303tom member

    Get the .30 WCF, then learn to reload, then you can shoot these.........It`s what I use in mine.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013
  14. splithoof

    splithoof Well-Known Member

    My daughter was given a Handi Rifle in .243.......We sent the receiver back to the factory and had both .308 & .223 barrels fitted. The whole job was about two weeks door to door. They make for a very easy to carry hunting rifle when you have to hike. I added an ammo carrier to the stock, a decent sling, and good optics. It has worked out very well.
  15. Win73

    Win73 Well-Known Member

    Here is my Handi Rifle. It is a .30-06 with a Nikon Buckmasters 3x9-40 scope. I have never had any problem with it ejecting the rimless '06 cartridge. I have fired it eleven times at deer and one time at a coyote and put eleven deer and one coyote on the ground. The range varied from 25 to 125 yards.

  16. black_powder_Rob

    black_powder_Rob Well-Known Member

    I love my Handi rifle in .223 but if you are looking for ammo availability right now it is some hard stuff to find.

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