Curious about the lethality of the 44 Rem Mag and 308 vs the 30-30

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by TheFlynn01, Sep 24, 2022.

  1. TheFlynn01

    TheFlynn01 Member

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    So, I am not a hunter but I would like to one day. I have a few rifles that are some old surplus rifles. My favorite range gun is my inherited 94 in 30-30.

    Now I am new to all of this, as far as hunting would go and what to use, on what animal. What I am trying to understand is this: Why is the 44 mag considered great for big game, while the 30-30 is advertised for medium game, yet the guy at my local gun store warned against using anything less that a 308 for even that.

    For me, the self admitted newbie that I am, I see that the 30-30 moves faster, apparently can reach out farther, and has more energy than the 44 rem, and while the 30-30 does not seem to hold a candle to the 308. So is it the bullet weight that makes the 44 so much better for game than the 30-30? Is it the speed and force that makes the 308 better for deer?

    I know this sounds silly but I had been kicking around the idea to try to go for deer and the guy behind the counter filled my head with doubt about the dependability of my old inherited 30-30 for clean kills. The internet says the 30-30 is great for deer... I just want to understand what the fuss is about... or if this guy was just trying to make me nervous and get me to buy a new rifle.

    Sorry for the rant! I hope it makes sense what I am trying to ask. I appreciate any info you all might share! Thank you.
     
  2. crstrode

    crstrode Member

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    That guy behind the counter should stay there. He has obviously rarely been outdoors.
     
  3. N555

    N555 Member

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    I have seen too many times with older Remington 30-30 ammo the bullet goes straight through a deer and looks like ball ammo was used.
    Maybe the new stuff isn't as bad.
     
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  4. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I suppose it depends on who you talk to. I don't consider 44 mag from a rifle to be anything special compared to other rifle cartridges. Relatively speaking it is one of the better options in a handgun. But most any rifle is a more effective tool than any handgun.

    If both 44 mag and 30-30 are fired from rifles they are about equal out to around 75 yards. Beyond that the 30-30 is the better option. But even the 30-30 is best at well under 200 yards and on deer size game. It isn't a great choice for elk sized game. It is possible to make hits, and kills, with either 44 mag or 30-30 at 200 yards but you're really pushing things. That would be comparable to making hits, and kills, with a 308 at 600 yards. Possible, but not recommended for most people.

    The 30-30 has a long history. It has been stated that it has probably killed more deer than any other cartridge. Maybe, maybe not, but it is close. But it has also probably wounded more animals that were never recovered than any other cartridge too.

    As hunters many of us deliberately handicap ourselves to make the hunt more challenging. In 1895 when the 30-30 was introduced it was one of the better options available. But technology has left it behind. In fact, there were better cartridges that were introduced several years before 30-30.

    Some guys will only hunt with traditional archery gear such as long bows. Others choose to only use traditional muzzle loaders. Some will only hunt with handguns. All of those people are purposely handicapping themselves because they just prefer those tools.

    I'd place cartridges like 30-30, 35 Rem, 45-70, and similar into the next handicap level. They can be effective, but you're handicapping yourself to shoot at closer ranges than modern cartridges. Partly because of the power, partly because long range accuracy isn't there.

    Your 30-30 will be fine if used within its design parameters. Keep shots under 150 yards, preferably closer to 100 and the cartridge is capable on deer size game. But you may have to limit yourself to much closer shots depending on what kind of accuracy you get. If you can't hit a deer's vitals at ranges beyond 50-75 yards, then limit shots to 50-75 yards. The crude sights and difficulty of mounting a scope on your rifle will probably prove to be the thing that limits you the most.
     
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  5. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    Ascending measure of lethality = .44 mag., .30-30, .308.
    If you have a .30-30 and are hunting in areas where a 125 yard shot or less is normal, use what you have. The .30-30 if it is accurate is fine. 70 yards or less the .44 mag. will work OK IMO. The .308 is adequate for anything in your area from zero to about 250+ yards depending on how good a shot you are.

    If you are going for elk or moose, use the .308 or anything larger.
     
  6. TheFlynn01

    TheFlynn01 Member

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    Thank you for taking the time to write this up. I appreciate it. It makes sense to use it with in its limits, maybe the guy behind the counter was simply worried I wouldnt be able to make the shot or some such, but all I can do is practice.
     
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  7. Hugger-4641

    Hugger-4641 Member

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    I've taken well over 100 deer with a 30-30 in the last four decades, a few with .308, haven't used a 44 yet.
    Lot's of people who dis the 30-30 have either never used one, or made poor choices of bullet and/or shot placement.
    Bullet technology has also changed things a bit. The 160ftx has greatly improved the accuracy and range of my Model 94 30-30. I agree with the statement about Rem core-locks in 30-30 not expanding, I have experienced it and quit using them 20yrs ago.
    There have been advances in bullet designs for the .308 and 44 also. From 100yds in, I don't think it would matter between the three. But much over 100yds the .308 starts to pull away from 30-30, and both are leaving the 44 behind.
     
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  8. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Most deer are shot at 100 yards or closer. The 30-30 and the 308 will easily drop any deer at these typical ranges. I prefer 243 (a lighter. "lesser caliber". Ever deer I shot with it ended up in my freezer after minimal tracking.
     
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  9. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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    The OP is in Colorado.
    I assume Colorado distances and a scope

    A 30-30/150gr Soft Point doing 2,400fps at the muzzle - zeroed at 185 yds - is point-blank
    within a 5" circle out to 225 yds,...and plenty good enough for Colorado mule deer.

    .
     
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  10. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    I have killed deer with rifles/carbines chambered in all three. I have also killed deer with a .44 revolver. All did the job well within their own parameters. The biggest parameter is distance. Use standard for caliber bullets designed for deer and keep your shots within their(and your) effective range. Pretty simple.
     
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  11. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    I've killed dozens of whitetails with a .44 Mag rifle, the furthest at about 125 yards. 150ish is about as far as I'd want to use it. Works great inside of that. I taught concealed carry classes for a number of years and one of the things I always tried to impress upon my students was that one of the worst sources of information to rely upon when it came to guns was the people behind the counter in the gun store. Some of the most unbelievably ridiculous BS that I've ever heard about guns came from behind a gun counter. That's not to say that someone behind that counter can't give you good info, but the fact they're back there should, in and of itself, give you zero confidence that they know what they're talking about.
     
  12. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    Since you are in Colorado I would assume you will be shooting possibly ranges beyond 200 yards. The 308 would be a much better choice. I prefer the similar 7-08 but either would be fine. At those ranges I would want a cartridge that has a muzzle velocity of 2700 fps at least and 6 MM or bigger caliber deer. Elk I would want 7MM and up
     
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  13. hawg

    hawg Member

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    I don't consider the .44 mag a great deer cartridge. it's ok within it's range. Both the 30-30 and .308 are vastly superior. I've killed deer with an iron sighted 30-30 at 150 yards. I have no doubts it will do the job at 200 but you will have to know where it hits relative to sights. I would want a 30-06 over any of them at longer ranges.
     
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  14. nick22

    nick22 Member

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    I would consider all three of those great deer cartridges, The limiting factor is you and your ability to know where to aim at on a deer quartering away/towards you. If you're above it aim higher than you would if you were even with it. Do your homework if you can't put the bullet in an 8" circle at whatever range you're aiming don't shoot that far. The guy behind the counter was right when he advised that the .308 was the best it shoots flatter and has more energy than the others the 30-30 and the .44 mag both have a more rainbow trajectory so knowing if the animal is 125 yards away or 175 yards away becomes important. Good luck with your choice and enjoy your time in the woods.
     
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  15. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    I've been hunting with .44Mag revolvers for over 30yrs. For deer sized game, 100yds is easily attainable. In rifles, where standard weight bullets may approach 2000fps, 150yds is a good limit on your effective range. The problem with the opinions of most people is that they're based on myths, marketing, lies and BS, all based on energy figures. Energy is not a viable measure of a cartridge's effectiveness, never was. It is only useful as a marketing tool for selling velocity. It greatly exaggerates the importance of velocity while trivializing mass and ignoring bullet construction altogether. So most folks, especially rifle hunters, are going to rate the .44Mag at the bottom of the totem pole. Real life experience would seem to dictate otherwise, in fact, it flips conventional wisdom on its ass. ALL of the African Big Six have been taken with the .44Mag. How many with the .30-30 or .308? None that I know of. This is because critters don't read ballistics tables and a big bore revolver kills all out of proportion to its paltry paper ballistics. They don't need to expand to be effective. Small bore rifles are completely dependent on expansion to be effective and that puts an immediate limit on penetration.

    For example, the .22-250 generates about 1400ft-lbs of energy. About the same as the .44 loads used on this 2000lb water buffalo. I shot two that year and both ran about 100yds and laid down after one or two shots. It's literally ALL about the bullet. A standard 240gr jacketed at 1400fps is great for deer and will anchor them quickly. A 250gr cast will get you elk. This was done with a 300gr bronze solid at 1450fps. Heavier cast bullets yielded similar results, broken shoulders and bullets recovered under the hide on the off side. Some exited. A dozen or so of us repeated this exercise literally dozens of times. Some were even bigger, one hybrid estimated at 2500lbs. So no sir, the .44 is far more than just a deer cartridge. Where the .30-30 and .308 gain is in range, they're both still at their limit with elk, which are less than half the weight of this water buffalo.

    IMG_066613.jpg


    However, the problem with .44 rifles is the twist rate and that the action normally does not tolerate very long bullets. This usually limits them to 300gr or lighter bullets. Only the newer Henry Big Boy and Chiappa 1892's have the standard 1-20" twist.
     
  16. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    If you are hunting in Colorado, 44 mag out of a rifle barely makes the energy requirements and only with certain ammo. That said, I wouldn't hesitate with 100 yards if you stay legal. 30-30 probably good to 200 yards. 308 for beyond that to maybe 400 yards.

    If you are hunting in Colorado you may be hunting at anything from bad breath distance (in a river bottom where I will be chasing deer with a round ball percussion rifle) to medium range in forested slopes, to as far as you can shoot/see. I have different weapons for hunting different areas. Stick to within 200 yards and your 30-30 will do fine.
     
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  17. dh1633pm
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    dh1633pm Contributing Member

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    Same here. Match the rifle to the area. 45-70 for the tight woods, where a 100 yard shot would be abnormal. The .308 when I need to reach out a little. I could easily substitute 44 mag or 45 Colt for 45-70.
     
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  18. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    Energy requirements in Colorado look to be rifles - 1000ft-lbs at 100yds and handguns - 550ft-lbs at 50yds. Virtually any .44Mag load is going to fall within those parameters.
     
  19. TheFlynn01

    TheFlynn01 Member

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    I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has taken the time to write back and weigh in on everything. As I had figured there is a lot I have to learn!


    Thanks for the info here Craig, this is really neat to learn and understand. So the weight, penetration, and expansion is what plays into the lethality of a cartridge over the energy. If I could I would prefer to keep my shots at 100 yards or less. I don't like the idea of being in a tree stand or doing that baiting stuff that I hear about. I like the idea of stalking. I love hiking so... if I can hike and hunt at the same time, I would love that. Even if it means I go home empty handed most times. So it sounds like the 44mag has a lot of versatility then even if it is in shorter ranges, if I am understanding proper.

    Another question for the group here: I saw dh1633pm mentioned the 45 colt, I imagine people used to hunt with that a lot... but I thought it might be more of a cowboy action shooting round now. Do people still use it to hunt often? How would that compare to something like the 44 mag and the other rounds mentioned? I suppose it is not really here or there, but there is a part of me that enjoys shooting old cartridges.
     
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  20. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    I would much rather hunt from my hind legs than be sitting in a stand, blind or on a turkey seat as I've been doing for several years. It's just not practical in the forested southeast. Out west, you're in country that was made for wandering.

    The .45Colt is normally held to original ballistics in guns that replicate the originals. However, in strong guns like the large frame Ruger Blackhawk, it is routinely loaded to 30,000psi ("Ruger only") levels that basically duplicate .44Mag ballistics. John Linebaugh wrote an article on this titled "Dissolving the Myth, Discovering the Potential" that outlined the details on how/why this is possible. Unfortunately, it also paints the .44 in a negative light and a lot of people take it as gospel. Despite the fact that .44 bullets and data have drastically improved in the nearly 40yrs since it was written.
     
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  21. hawg

    hawg Member

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    There's a lot more to hunting than hiking while carrying a rifle.
     
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  22. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    True. It does depend on what the objective is though. If it's simply time in nature, hiking with a rifle is as complicated as it needs to be. If the goal is meat, then there's a lot more to consider.
     
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  23. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    You'd be amazed. Most fall just short: 44 Magnum Ballistics - Gunners Den

    Last I looked with any serious effort, only leverevolution and a buffalo bore loading made the cutoff.
     
  24. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    Are people in Colorado getting tickets for hunting with .44Mag rifles?

    My eyes glaze over just talking about energy.
     
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  25. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    Don't know. In most places I hunt I never run into a warden. I suppose I could poach herds of deer with nobody the wiser, but I don't and wouldn't.
     
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