30-30 or 44 mag for black bear protection?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Southmountain, Aug 3, 2022.

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  1. Southmountain

    Southmountain Member

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    I know neither is the top choice.

    Between a 20-inch lever action in 30-30 or 44 mag (also have one in 32 win spl), what would be your choice for black bear defense in the eastern woods? 240 grain jsp for 44 mag, 170 grain jsp for 30-30/32ws

    Going hiking with family, 2 young kids, in a pretty wild area known to have black bears. Probability is low but feel better with some protection. Not hunting on this trip. Any noticeable difference in these limited options, or pick out of a hat? TIA
     
  2. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Either will work. If you shoot both equally good at 50 yards and less, I would pick the lightest.
     
  3. Hugger-4641

    Hugger-4641 Member

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    The 30-30 will do more damage, but the 44 is going to be quicker to get into action. In thick woods and undergrowth, I'd take the 44 in a chest rig. If its more low growth fields and old growth woods with 100yds or more of consistent visibility, then the 30-30 might be better.
     
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  4. .45Coltguy

    .45Coltguy Member

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    30-30 been getting it done for a long time in the Eastern woods. Probably no flies on the .44 mag, but, 30-30 would be my choice.
     
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  5. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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  6. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    If it had to be one or the other, I would grab my 30-30 before my 44 mag, for that use.

    Keep your food and trash put up and the racket of 2 young kids should do the rest. :)
     
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  7. Ethan Verity

    Ethan Verity Member

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    I think the OP is choosing between two 20" lever guns, rather than a rifle or revolver platform.

    In that case, I would probably choose the 30-30 if the two options are equal in size and weight. If the pistol caliber leveraction were significantly lighter than the 30-30, I may choose that one instead. I would feel well armed with either.

    I actually carry a 6.5" 44 Mag revolver for bear defense already, so if I trust that as is then popping one of those out of a 20" barrel would be even better.
     
  8. Hugger-4641

    Hugger-4641 Member

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    I missed that!
    In that case, definitely the 30-30.
     
  9. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I do believe the 30-30 is the more powerful round, all things considered. My Marlin 336 shoots a 170 grain bullet about 2150 fps, a 150 at 2250 fps. The 44 Magnum in a rifle gets about 300 to 400 fps more velocity than the same round in a revolver, and therefore is a very powerful round. In my 1894 Marlin, I push 240 lead or 240 JHP at 1700 to 1750 fps.

    The recoil of my 44 Magnum Marlin was so objectionable, that I removed the factory hard plastic buttplate and installed a hard rubber version. I purchased this rifle new around 1982 at a local K Mart. Had the original microgroove barrel removed by Marlin and they installed a Ballard barrel around 2000.

    Code:
    M1894 Marlin Ballard Barrel
    
    
    240 Speer JHP 22.0 grs 2400 CCI 500                                 
    21-Dec-01                      T = 54  °F                                         
    
    Ave Vel =1747                                                     
    Std Dev =21                                                         
    ES =68                                                                   
    Low =1717                                                           
    High =1785                                                           
    N =7                                                                       
                                                                                             
    
    240 Nosler JHP 24.0 grs W296 WLP Fed cases
    23-Mar-05                      T = 65° F                                           
    
    Ave Vel =1725                                                     
    Std Dev =7                                                           
    ES =21                                                                   
    Low =1715                                                       
    High =1736                                                           
    N =5                                                                        
    
    240 Nosler JHP 24.5 grs W296 WLP Fed cases
    23-Mar-05T = 65° F                                             
    Ave Vel =1752                                                     
    Std Dev =12                                                         
    ES =28                                                               
    Low =1735                                                           
    High =1763                                                           
    N =5                                                                        
    
    240 Nosler JHP 24.0 grs H110 WLP Midway cases
    23-Mar-05 T = 65° F                                           
    
    Ave Vel =1710                                                     
    Std Dev =3                                                       
    ES =9                                                                     
    Low =1705                                                           
    High =1714                                                           
    N =5                                                                        
    
    240 Nosler JHP 24.5 grs H110 WLP Midway cases
    23-Mar-05 T = 65° F                                           
    
    Ave Vel =1745                                                     
    Std Dev =12                                                         
    ES =45                                                                   
    Low =1723                                                           
    High =1768                                                           
    N =10                                                                     
    
    240 Rem JHP 24.0 grs H110 WLP Midway cases
    23-Mar-05                      T = 65° F                                           
    
    Ave Vel =1719                                                     
    Std Dev =10                                                         
    ES =29                                                               
    Low =1705                                                           
    High =1734                                                           
    N =10  
    n9pZMXy.jpg

    GpKogWG.jpg


    You can compare the rifle velocities with the same ammunition in a pistol. The rifle really does push the bullet faster.

    S&W M629-4 5" Barrel


    Code:
    250 LSWC 22.0 grs 2400 Midway cases, Fed primers                   
    1-Oct-95                               T = 75 °F                                           
    
    Ave Vel =                            1336                                                   
    Std Dev =                             39                                                       
    ES =                                     108                                                   
    Low =                                   1286                                                   
    High =                                  1394                                                   
    N =                                         6
    
    
    240JHP R-P 24.0 grs H110 Midway cases WLP                         
    9-Oct-05           T = 66 °F                                                                                       
    
    Ave Vel =1228                                                                          
    Std Dev =21.47                                                                             
    ES =70.16                                                                                 
    Low =1268                                                                                 
    High =1197                                                                               
    N=22            



    4oiCm5W.jpg


    the twist on the Marlin has limited me to 240 grain bullets. The twist is so slow that when I tried 290's, they tumbled. The 265 gr bullets were after my testing. I am satisfied that a 240 gr solid bullet in a 44 Magnum would do everything I would need it to do. But not on Elk, Bison, or dinosaurs, etc.

    What I don't know is a lethality comparison between the two based on wound channels. For something tough, like a bear, I would believe penetration through and through is more important than expansion. For the reason that I would want to make sure the bear is bleeding out as fast as possible. Bears are rugged animals, top of the food chain in the USA after humans eliminated all the megafauna. Up close, 50 yard ish, I don't see any reason why a 30-30 won't shoot through a black bear. Ditto for the 44 Magnum. Having shot both the 30-30 rifle is heavier, its practical range is maybe 25 to 50 yards more. Both rounds drop like lead balloons past 100 yards.

    If someone had data that the wound channels of either are so close that it is six of one, half a dozen of the other, I would go with the 44 Magnum because it carries ten rounds, while the 30-30 has six.
     
  10. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    I would take the 44mag with hot 300gr hardcast flat nose bullets. If the 240gr JSP is your only option of ammo, the 30-30 may prove to be a better choice.

    I would take said 300grainers and load em in my ruger 96/44. With the 4 round mag, it weighs under 6 pounds and is short and handy. Backup 10 round box mag if the bears come in numbers lol ;)
     
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  11. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    I don't think they make chest rigs for lever action rifles. Seems like that'd be terribly inconvenient. ;)
     
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  12. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    Either one would be fine. Or don't bother. You're far more likely to be killed or injured by a deer while driving to the trailhead than by a black bear while hiking. I live, hike, camp and hunt in Grizzly and black bear country and (when not hunting) carry the same pistol I carry everywhere else. Only difference in the woods is it's in a holster at 4 O'clock or in a chest rig, instead of appendix.
     
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  13. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    Black bears aren't generally considered to be particularly tough, certainly no more so than a whitetail. The person I know who has killed more bears than any other (I'm talking in the hundreds) has killed most of them with a 5 mm rimfire. I can say from personal experience however, avoid shooting them in the head with a 9 mm. It doesn't work well.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2022
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  14. jak67429

    jak67429 Member

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    If both are carbines I don't think it matter much. I just don't see a rifle as being very handy in a self defense situation like this. you are hiking with a bunch of people including kids. You will want your hands free for other things than carrying a rifle. If you do need it for self defense from a bear the incident will be over before you can get it into position. In my experience with black bears in N WI. noise is your best defense. They generally don't like humans, unless they have been fed by them. I would take a pistol for defense of 2 legged varmints, and if needed use it on the bear.
     
  15. DM~

    DM~ Member

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    IF, you can find some 30-30 Federal 170 Nosler Partition ammo, it would be a big step up from the 44.

    DM
     
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  16. DM~

    DM~ Member

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    What's a 7mm rimfire???

    DM
     
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  17. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    Sorry, I meant 5 mm rimfire. I edited the post. Not a widely known cartridge. I believe it was introduced in the late 60's. Never was popular, but an old mountain man I know from WV bought one when they first came out and it's been his rifle of choice for bears and whitetails since then.
     
  18. Hugger-4641

    Hugger-4641 Member

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    I think you missed a couple posts where that was already cleared up.
     
  19. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    o_Oo_Oo_O
    I don't know anything about the hunting regulations in WV, (where that "old mountain man" is from) bearcreek, but I see you claim "N Idaho" is your Location. It's against the law to hunt big game (except for mountain lions or legally-trapped gray wolves with ANY rimfire rifle or rimfire handgun in Idaho. It's spelled out right there in black and white on page 100 of the "Idaho Big Game 2022 Seasons & Rules" book.
    I won't be drawn into an argument about whether or not it's ethical to hunt black bears (or any other big game) with a 5mm rimfire either. Hunting black bears with a rimfire is against the law in Idaho. Period. ;)
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2022
  20. trekker73

    trekker73 Member

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    how does 30-30 drop like a lead balloon past 100 yards? 2200fps with a 170gn zeroed at 130 is 1" high at 50yards and less than 5" low at 200...

    Even a 44mag with a 240 grain at 1800 and 110 yard zero will rise an inch at 50 and only drop 4" at 150.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2022
  21. N555

    N555 Member

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    If its factory ammo vs factory ammo? 30-30.
    If I load them, 44mag. Because my 44mag rifle loads are as much H110 as will fit under a 240gr bullet.
     
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  22. trekker73

    trekker73 Member

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    Ive seen chrony results of buffalo bore loads in 44 mag rifles running 2100+ftlbs. 30-30 will outrun it the further it gets out, but not more power in close.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2022
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  23. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    The 30-30 does drop less out to 200 yards than the 44 Magnum. I just held over shooting at my gong targets at 150 yards. I had 100 yard zeros and had to hold top of the gong. I assumed the 44 Magnum was as bad as a 45/70. According to a ballistic table I have, the 405 grain 45/70 bullet at 1330 fps drops twenty inches in 200 yards. But you are right, in comparison, not as bad a lead balloon as some other cartridges.

    I have shot my 30-30 at 200 yards and 300 yards at CMP Talledega. The 30-30 is not a 300 yard round, it floats in the wind at the further distance.
     
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  24. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    Because neither round is vastly superior, I would test my ability to shoot both and if one feeds better choose that one. Some levers feed like a dream and some are a little cranky. Choose the one that works the best.
     
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  25. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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    Sorry! I missed it too.

    In that case, and assuming OP is NOT carrying a pistol, I’d suggest the .44 for three reasons:

    1. Greater round capacity

    2. Both would work fine as people or critter defense

    3. Less recoil which should mean faster follow up. In a rifle, I’d even prefer .44 specials with an adequate bullet.

    The only other consideration would be which is shorter/lighter, but I’m not sure there is enough difference between the two.

    Paul Harrell has a pretty good video comparing the two:

     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2022
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