30-30 Ammo

Steve S.

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Jan 13, 2014
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1,779
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Missouri
I just purchased a Winchester Deluxe Sporting in 30-30; never owned that caliber before, popular and nostalgic - so why not - great looking rifle also. Anyway, I went to the Ammoseek website and I was amazed at the availability and affordable pricing. I ended up purchasing 13 boxes of S&B 150 grain - $15.96 per box to my door - I was amazed. It was not too long ago that 30-30 ammo and toilet paper were unaffordable and non-existent. I guess that is why all of the continuing wise advice to buy in these times - the next shortage or government restriction is just around the corner!
 
Yep. Save your brass, even if you do not reload yet. Thuty Thuty can be reloaded to be very mild with cast bullets all the way up to potent jacketed big game loads with jacketed bullets. It is a very cool nostalgic round that still gets the job done all over the country and then some. Classy rifle and classy round! :thumbup:

edited to say: I am glad factory ammo for some calibers is coming down. I see decent 308 stuff now for pretty good prices. Had no idea 30-30 was that low. That is good!
 
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I haven't even looked at 30-30 factory ammo. I started reloading it and set my 336 up for cast bullets. No manufacturer I know of makes that sort of load now. At least it's back on shelves.
 
That's an outstanding price per box for nowadays. Makes me feel like I overpaid for any I bought in the last couple of years.

I thought $25/box or so was here to stay.


Glad to see prices actually decreasing, although that's just one manufacturer...
 
Bluejeans, I do reload (many other calibers) and I now have two new Model 94’s - this new 30-30 and one I purchased (about) three months ago - a 38-55. I do reload and shoot lead projectiles from the 38-55 but I doubt if I will ever reload lead in this 30-30 - (probably) only jacketed 150’s. With that reloading preference and component prices as they are, I am not sure that I can reload for less $. However, I always save my brass for future needs and who knows, maybe lead bullets.
 
At the time I started reloading 30-30, things were still relatively calm (early 2020). I shoot 30-30 as a recreational round but if it’s purely a working gun it would take a lot of work to save enough money to cover the cost of dies. Unless of course you’re looking at $50/20 rounds. Then it only takes about 2 boxes of ammo.
 
$16 a box to your door is cheap. Cheapest local is Walmart and that's for Federal Powershock. It's about $23 a box
 
$15.96 a box of 30-30 ammo delivered to your door is outstanding these days. Although I don't trust that it won't go up real soon. I find the 30-30 to be a real nice reloaders cartridge. In a lever gun ( all my 30-30 experience), it's just a matter of basic reloading practice minus all the benchrest accuracy tips & tricks that some rifles & cartridges receive. Just find a good load that your 30-30 shoots well, and stick with that for hunting, & practice and in the long run I believe it will be more economical and you become more familiar with your gun and its ballistics. My 30-30 is a woods gun, a classic American deer rifle; lever action Marlin 30-30 and is ideal for most of my woods hunting where I can't even see 100 yds.. Experimented with the pointed, soft tip Hornady FTX bullets but never quite got accuracy as good as some of my "old school" 30-30 loads with flat nose or round nose jacketed bullets. At the ranges I shoot at in the woods I finally realized the old 30-30 has been doing quite well with the old style bullets for over a century now, so I settled on my most accurate 100 yard load with a 170 gr. FN and just stuck to that one load. Zero it at 100 yds. and its only a bit high at 50 and then go hunt. If I'm in an area that allows opportunities further away then the 30-30 stays in the safe and another rifle gets the call. Got a lot of those 170 gr. FN bullets and an 8 lb. jug of the powder I need so there won't be any 30-30 ammo costs for years. Last few years I have averaged 60-something rounds a year between hunting & the range. I know I'm shooting cheaper but someday I should calculate my ammo costs compared to buying factory.
 
That’s a remarkably good price. I recently did the calculations on reload costs and it’s about $11-14 per 20 depending on bullets (as I can remember since I don’t feel like turning on the computer just to look it up). primer and bullet cost matter more than with the 30-06 where powder starts to be a significant cost.

Im starting to learn my 94’s load preference. So far a failure on the Berrys plated. They say they’re good to 2000 fps, but I’m pretty sure they explode at 2001 fps. So not like some of their others where people get away with a little extra.
 
I just cleaned up this Winchester (bore and factory grease/ oil) and got a good look-see at the detail of it in a brighter light. I must say that Miroku makes some fine, fine stuff - the fit/ finish of this rifle is flawless - gorgeous wood. If it is a shooter, I very much got lucky!
 
The ammo I bought was on Ammoseek from KIR ammo in Texas. S&B 150 grain advertised for $15.75 per box of 20. I purchased 13 boxes to exceed a $199 total to get free shipping and there was a $2 (and some change) added fee for shipping insurance - and no sales tax. I thought it was a dandy deal for these times of inflation and especially what 30-30 ammo pricing was during COVID.
 
If I could have found 30-30 for that price three years ago I probably wouldn’t have reloaded it.
 
Despite having a jacketed bullet hunting load I really like, as described in my previous post, I still get the urge to try cast bullets in the 30-30. Earlier this year I picked up some hard cast .309" FPGC bullets weighing 173 grs.. Haven't seen a ton of load data on something like that other than some folks are using IMR-4198 with cast bullets in that chambering. I have plenty of that powder here, as it's my main powder for the 444 Marlin. To stay on the topic of 30-30 ammo and the economics of such; is there any data out there for cast bullets & IMR-4198? I'd also really appreciate feedback from folks who have experience with that bullet & powder combination in a 30-30.
 
Lyman's 311291 gc....truly a great bullet and accurate in .30-30, .30-40, and .30-06 for me as well. As a rule, I cast them from wheel weight alloy, size to 0.310", lube with 50-50 alox/beeswax, and seat an annealed Hornady gas check on the base.

In a 1955 vintage Winchester M-94, 14.5 gr of 4227 gave me 1367 fps, chrono'd, and 1" groups for three shots at 50 yds. Elevation on the open sight was in the top notch with this slow cast bullet load, while two notches lower would zero R-P 170 gr Core-lokts at the same range.

In the .30-40 Krag, I used my own home cast, 311291 gc, sized 0.310" and gas checked, to pick up a silver CMP medal in the '06 Vintage Match at Camp Perry. Built in 1900 with a pristine bore and in overall immaculate shape, that old infantry rifle would group into ~2" at 100 yds using a moderate charge of SR4759 (15.5 gr gave me a chrono'd 1495 fps).

Aside from the occasional wood chuck, I haven't hunted with either, but both should do OK with good shot placement. As a rule I cast with a straight wheel weight alloy with a pinch of tin to help mold fill out. But for hunting, a softer alloy (50-50 mix of wheel weights and pure lead) should allow some mushrooming but a hollow point (as done with one of the venerable Forester hollow point tools) would be even better.

In the .30-06, especially in a trio of 1903's, that bullet does wonders. Sized and cast as noted above, and using the same charges of either SR4759 or 4227, the combination makes for a great, light recoiling practice round. In my Smith Corona 03-A3, and a Nat'l Match 1931 '03, it's very close to a MOA grouper for 5 shots.

I still have the .30-30, and the '03's but rarely shoot them, regrettably. The .30-30, however has been a much loved 'loaner' to young friends who've showed up for deer season. The Krag went to my #1 son up in NY some years ago, where he occasionally dazzles his range buddies that laugh at it until the targets are checked!

Those of you that haven't tried cast bullets in your hunting rifles are missing out on a fun (and cheap) way to practice for the upcoming seasons. While casting equipment can run to some considerable expense, it lasts forever....I'm still using molds that a bought as a young USAF Lt. in 1968, in fact. But there's a viable alternative and that is to try some of Missouri Bullet Co's cast bullets....they really are top quality.

Best regards, Rod.....Pic below: the Nat'l Match 1903a1 from 1931.

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A very nice cast bullet for 30-30 is the Bear Creek Supply moly coated 160 grain FP. Unfortunately I am away from home so I can’t list my loads for that bullet.
 
I just but my ammo locally. But we have many places with it available.
After Shipping and Hazmat it's usually cheaper.
 
Despite having a jacketed bullet hunting load I really like, as described in my previous post, I still get the urge to try cast bullets in the 30-30. Earlier this year I picked up some hard cast .309" FPGC bullets weighing 173 grs.. Haven't seen a ton of load data on something like that other than some folks are using IMR-4198 with cast bullets in that chambering. I have plenty of that powder here, as it's my main powder for the 444 Marlin. To stay on the topic of 30-30 ammo and the economics of such; is there any data out there for cast bullets & IMR-4198? I'd also really appreciate feedback from folks who have experience with that bullet & powder combination in a 30-30.
Lyman manual for cast bullets lists IMR 4198 as the potential accuracy load starting at 18 grains and running to 23.5. These are full pressure loads with a max velocity just below 2000 fps. Starting loads are ~1600 fps. No direct comment as I shoot the Missouri Bullet Company 165 grain White Tail #4 sized for Marlin microgroove barrels pushed by H335.
 
311291, right. I've cast and shot thousands in 30-30, 308 and 30-06
311291 is correct. I was lucky to get a wide variety of .30 molds from 100-220gr passed down to me from my wife’s grandfather who shot competition garand. Some a bit rusty but cleaned up to be serviceable. Then found a lubrisizer press at a yard sale so I got a cheap start. I use 4895 powder for my loads. I know there could be better powders but I’ve never had a complaint with 4895 to look elsewhere
 
I am not going to scrub lead out of my MG Marlin .30-30 barrels. I like the Sierra 170 JSP and the Hornady 160 FTX. Also the Federal Hammerdown is good stuff over the counter.



Edit to add, that chart is for the Lever Revolution powder if not evident. The chart got messed up so you have to use your brain to slide some of the columns to the correct places. The loads are good, I back the 160 FTX load off .5 grain from the factory load and get best accuracy for guns.

Also, Walmart has been carrying the Hammerdown in .30-30 and .45-70 of recent. Not the cheapest stuff but a premium load with nickel cases.
 
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Yes save your brass even if you don't reload 30-30 yet. I just ordered two boxes of Speer 150gr bullets and they were around $23 each from Midway. Grafs has Speer 170gr bullets priced at $26 per box. I have three 30-30s now. Two Marlins and a new Rossi R95 I haven't tried yet. I put a Vortex 2-7 scope on it. The 30-30 is probably my favorite deer round and I really like lever action rifles. I will buy all i see if the price is right. They do all I need for the way I hunt.

I just loaded my first ever lead bullet 30-30 loads. I loaded some 100gr loads using resized 32 pistol bullets and Red Dot powder and some 170gr bullets cast from a Lee mold. I haven't tried any of them yet. Its been too wet at m buds land to shoot.

Also Brownells has 3031 powder in stock with free hazmat.
 
Experimented with the pointed, soft tip Hornady FTX bullets but never quite got accuracy as good as some of my "old school" 30-30 loads with flat nose or round nose jacketed bullets.
The main advantage to pointy bullets is that they deliver slightly more energy down range. Difference in trajectory is not enough difference to make a difference. Even the energy difference only comes into play at longer range than one would normally use one's .30WCF. So yeah, flat nose of round nose are "perfect".
 
On cast bullets, for plinking of course any weight is fine. But if you want to maximize power, and still stay below barrel-leading velocity, I like a 200 grain cast bullet. A long heavy bullet doesn't need much velocity. It won't expand much if any, but neither will the lighter bullets...but the penetration with a 200 grain is off the charts. !!
 
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