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Emergency NM lever gun, .45LC or .30-30?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by TexAg, Jan 30, 2011.

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  1. TexAg

    TexAg Member

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    We've got a cabin in a fairly remote part of NM, on a few acres and wildlife is abundant. For two-legged predators, coyotes, and even black bear in an emergency, which would you rather have, a 24" .45 Colt 1894 loaded with 300-325 grain loads or a 20" .30-30 336ss loaded with 170s or LE 160s? Both wear stock irons, but part of this is me trying to decide which one I want to upgrade sights on. I've killed pigs with the .30-30 and one deer with the .45.
    Thanks for the replies.
     
  2. ants

    ants Member

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    30-30.

    Unless you already have a handgun in 45 Colt at the cabin.
    Then match it with the rifle. That's always handy.

    Otherwise, I go with the real rifle caliber.
    No question in my mind, and I've owned both.
    Better performance & better ballistics with the 30WCF.
    Either cartridge gives you plenty of magazine capacity.
     
  3. redbullitt

    redbullitt Member

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    45 70 could be viable too, but you didnt mention having that handy lol.

    I love my 30 30. Marlin. Very handy and quite accurate. Never had any issues with it at all and I think it would work well on any of the predators you mentioned.
     
  4. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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    30-30. Better range. Flatter shoooting.
     
  5. oerllikon

    oerllikon Member

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    If its an emergency gun, I would recommend a 12 ga, but this isnt "Shotgun Country"

    30-30, Youll have no problem with anything listed above with it
     
  6. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Emeritus

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    Well, if it's for emergencies, not hunting, the .30-30 (IMHO) range advantage is moot. If you reload or a have a factory source for the 300 grain loads, I'd go with that. Should be faster to cycle and sectional density looks pretty good. :)
     
  7. TexAg

    TexAg Member

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    Yes, for the most part range would not be an issue since it would only be used in an emergency. Unless we got stuck there and had to hunt for our food I reckon, but last time we were there we had a nice buck mulie lie down in the front yard not 5 yards from the deck.
    I do have an old Ruger Vaquero in .45 Colt that would probably come along if I brought the 1894. I also have a good number of .300 grain JSPs that do 1300 fps out of a pistol and some hardcast as well that might be 335 grain (I need to check).
    I have been taking my 6" GP100 .357 loaded with 200 or 180 grain hardcast, with some reserve rounds loaded in HKS speed loaders.
    I thought about a shotty, but my 12s are on the long side and I do have a youth 20 Winchester 1300, but I think both levers would offer better penetration than a 20g slug (not positive of course).
    Thanks for the replies so far guys.
     
  8. epijunkie67

    epijunkie67 Member

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    Between the two I'd go 30-30. If bear is a real consideration you might want to consider 35 Remington, 45-70, or even 44 mag as all would give better performance than the 45LC.

    But if you are selecting between two guns you already own, then 30-30.
     
  9. Dr T

    Dr T Member

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    I would prefer the 30-30 as a cartridge.

    I suspect that the 30-30 with the 20" barrel is easier to handle. For me, the ergonomics are the tipping point: Use the one that it easiest to handle or that you can shoot better.
     
  10. kaferhaus

    kaferhaus Member

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    no contest, 30-30
     
  11. sappyg

    sappyg Member

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    definately 30-30
     
  12. USSR

    USSR Member

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    TexAg,

    Sounds like you reload for the .45 Colt? A lot of guys read only the ammo manufacturer's ballistics chart for the .45 Colt, and are not aware of what can be done with it when you handload. Since the range of your shots seem to be quite close, and you have the Vaquero in .45 Colt as well, I would be inclined to upgrade the .45 Colt levergun.

    Don
     
  13. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Member

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    The 45 Colt. aka 45 Long Colt, was not originally chambered in lever action rifles back in the 1800s because the rim is a little too narrow for positive extraction and the case does not have enough taper to seal black powder gases correctly. Thus the rifle would foul easily and then fail to extract.
    This is now relieved by smokeless powder and the fact that ammo (brass) manufacturers now put a groove above the rim of the 45 Colt case to create more grab for the extractor. A result of the cowboy shooting craze.

    Personally if I was going to use a pistol caliber lever action, ( I have a few) I would use a 44 mag in that situation. It has a larger rim and stronger brass.

    But if it was a toss up between a 30-30 and 45 Colt I would go with the 30-30 as long as there is nothing friendly (neighbors) to worry about hitting within 500 yards or so.

    Tom Horn used a 30-30 Winchester 1894 Rifle (not carbine) during the last part of his Range Detective career. Compared to his old 45-60 chambered 1876 Winchester, the 30-30 was a flat shooter, smokeless and fairly accurate.

    The bullet design of the 30-30 also lends itself to penetrating things like car doors, body armor and other light cover, much better than a 45 Colt bullet.
     
  14. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    Never owned a lever gun in .45 Colt, but did have one in .44 Mag- for a few days. Then I had a chance to try it on targets at over 100 yards...

    I'd definitely choose the .30-30, given a choice between the two calibers. Being able to actually see the difference in trajectories of the two rounds taught me a lot about why the .30-30 was considered so revolutionary when it first appeared.

    lpl
     
  15. mgkdrgn

    mgkdrgn Member

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    I would agree with this, with two additions:

    1) Consider a lever gun in 454 Casull. That will shoot (safely) any 45 Colt load you care to put in it. There is only one I am aware of ... and is currently out of production. Puma/Rossi M92 clone
    2) If you don't already, start reloading 45 Colt. It's a LOT cheaper than buying ammo for it, and you can produce ammo that you simply can't buy. 45 Colt loads can give you a vast range of power loadings, esp when fired from a rifle.
     
  16. mdauben

    mdauben Member

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    I see the primary benefit of pistol caliber lever-actions as ammunition commonality. If you already have one or more .45LC revolvers the .45LC rifle makes sense. A quick check of on-line ammo prices seems to indicate the prices for factory ammo are pretty similar (unless you reload). If you don't already shoot .45LC (or plan on doing so), then you might as well go with the better ballistics of the .30-30.
     
  17. TexAg

    TexAg Member

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    I do some .45 Colt reloading and I do have two Rugers in .45 Colt, but I thought the .30-30 would be better and I think y'all confirmed my initial choice. I think 170 grain .30-30s will penetrate better and obviously they give more range, though that's less important here. If I were to buy a gun it would be a .45-70, but unfortunately I dont really NEED to.
    Now I'm thinking XS Lever Rail with ghost ring for now, maybe a Fast Fire II later.
    And I'll still pack the GP100!
     
  18. bpl

    bpl Member

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    I'd go with the 30-30.
     
  19. grubbylabs

    grubbylabs Member

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    If you already have the 45LC gear then I would go with that. It will work for emergency and for getting food if it has too. If people can get close enough to shoot a deer with a bow I don't see why you would have a problem with the 45LC. That way you can keep a pair of guns on you and you can load the same ammo for both.
     
  20. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    The .45Colt will do everything you want it to. The Marlin action is stronger than a Vaquero or Blackhawk so it can digest Ruger-only loads with ease and add 300-400fps. It will also be more fun to shoot, recoil considerably less and produce much less muzzle blast.
     
  21. RX-178

    RX-178 Member

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    The thing about calling anything an emergency gun, is that you're not going to be the one deciding what kind of emergency it is.

    I think the 30-30 is a more versatile cartridge, able to handle many more different situations than a .45 long colt.

    As an emergency gun, you could consider a way to put a flashlight on it. It's not as hard as it sounds, it looks like you could put something like a GG&G offset flashlight mount on the XS lever rail, and still have it be underneath the sight line of the ghost ring.
     
  22. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    If the situation runs the gamut from coyote and badger to intruders and black bears, there's nothing there the .45 can't handle with 250-300gr cast or jacketed bullets. Hell, there's nothing there a good .44Spl or .45Colt sixgun couldn't handle. The Marlin also has a fast 1-16" twist and with some tuning, can function with the heavyweights. Which makes it a bigger hammer than the .30-30, within its range. Yet still maintaining a broad load range, mice to moose. IMHO, folks put too much stock in muzzle energy figures. :rolleyes:


    I'm not opposed to putting a light on anything that needs it but that would pose a couple of problems. One being that the light would have too much gun in front of it. It would severely limit how much of the target area was lit up and produce a large blind spot. Two, it would light up the front sight and that is a bad thing. You want the light on the target, not the sights. It would be better to use a clamp on the magazine and put it out towards the muzzle.
     
  23. Asherdan

    Asherdan Member

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    Only thing I haven't heard turned over is capacity. Does another 3 cartridges onboard matter to the OP? For the intended use, it might to me.
     
  24. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I totally agree with Float Pilot on the thin rim for the 45 LC. I have one balloon head 45 LC case, and it has hardly any rim.
    So for the comparison between 30-30 and 45 LC, I am all for the 30-30.
    ReducedMarlin336fulllength.gif

    Now if it was a comparison between 30-30 and 44 Mag, that might be a coin toss. I have never had any feeding/ejection problems with my 44 Mag M1894. That sucker hits very hard out at 100 yards. Busts welds on my gong target. And it takes 10 rounds.

    M1894FullLength.jpg
     
  25. Mencius

    Mencius Member

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    30-30 - it is a rifle after all...
     
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