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In praise of the good old .30-30

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Preacherman, Dec 21, 2002.

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  1. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    I've been enjoying the relatively few days of hunting I've managed to fit in this season, what with starting a new job just before opening day, moving to a new home, etc., etc. Weather hasn't helped, either... too many days either too hot for the deer to want to move, or too cold for me to want to be out there!

    Still, for the kind of hunting we get down here in Louisiana, I'm more and more impressed by the good old .30-30. I've got, and use, more modern cartridges in more modern rifle designs, but at the short to medium ranges we most often encounter, in the wooded environment of Central Louisiana, the .30-30 and lever-action rifle SHINE! Very fast to handle and reload; quick acquisition of sights; light and compact; manageable recoil; pretty devastating impact on the receiving end of the round... this rifle/round combination seems just the perfect balance for this sort of hunting.

    I've been using two .30-30's this year. The first is employed from a stand, either early in the morning or late afternoon/early evening. It's a 24" octagonal-barrel Marlin 336 Cowboy version. I've mounted a Tasco World Class Plus 4x44 fixed-power scope on it, and the low power and wide bell really help in picking up the target in the low light of dawn or dusk. It's also extremely accurate - the first lever-action I've owned that will shoot sub-MOA groups at 100 yards. I'm sure the heavier octagonal barrel and deep-cut Ballard-type rifling have a lot to do with that.

    The second is a standard 20"-barrel Marlin 336, to which I've fitted the Express Sights Scout scope mount, and topped it with a Leupold 2.5x Scout Scope. It's perfect for woods stalking, being short, light and compact. The Scout scope is the fastest target-acquisition scope I've ever used, and it really brings the short .30-30 rifle/carbine into a new level of usefulness. (By the way, don't believe those folks who tell you that with the low power and long eye relief of a Scout scope, you can't hit anything at any reasonable distance... I've made shots at well over 200 yards with this type of scope, on a .308, and found it no trouble at all.)

    I've seen many, many hunters out there with modern, up-to-date rifles and high-power scopes: but none of them have had more success, or had it more easily, than I have with the good old lever-actions and the .30-30 round...
     
  2. C.R.Sam

    C.R.Sam Moderator Emeritus

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    Bow, spear, sling, rifle or whatever.
    Takes a hunter to make the weapon work.
    Skill and mindset.
    A rifleman/hunter with a Nagant will eat well.
    While the tyro with a Weatherby has to buy take out.

    Sam
     
  3. Marko Kloos

    Marko Kloos Moderator Emeritus

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    And that sums up the Shooter Vs. Equipment debate in a most concise manner.

    That C.R.Sam guy, he's right smart. :D
     
  4. C.R.Sam

    C.R.Sam Moderator Emeritus

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    Not smart....
    Observent with lot of time behind me.

    A good man always makes a good gun perform better.

    Sam
     
  5. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Preacherman, do you feel the extra 4" gives you extra "oomph" enough to justify the extra ounces and length? Or does that octagonal barrel give you a pleasantly barrel-forward balance?
     
  6. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    The latter... it's noticeably heavier than the standard 20" Marlin, but the weight is in the right place. The thin handguard on the Cowboy models is fine once you're used to it (very like the Winchesters), but feels strange if you're used to the fatter handguard on the standard 336. I'm very impressed with the heavier-barrel Marlin, and only wish they would bring out a 20" octagonal barrel with the Ballard-type rifling as well. I think it would be a real improvement over the standard barrel. I suspect the added "stiffness" of the heavy barrel is what lends accuracy to the Cowboy model, as much as the length.
     
  7. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

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    Sounds as if you have a handle on the .30 WCF thing - - -

    It is surely sold short by a lot of people, but the cartridge has been a good one for over a century, and the basic launching platform has even more history!

    Only thing about the octagonal barrel is that it is so HEAVY. :p I do understand what you're saying about the steadiness and stiffness of your long barreled rifle. I just never liked the extra weight in the short tubes.

    I have one friend who went the scout scope mount on a 20" barrel Marlin, too. While the work was being done, he had the gunsmith slim down the bulky Marlin fore end to about Winchester dimensions, and it really, REALLY, changed the feel for the better. It is the type of do-it-yourself project I can manage--A wood rasp, a sanding block with various grits of paper, and some linseed oil is all it takes.

    What kind of ammo do you use in your Marlins?

    Best,
    Johnny
     
  8. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    I use the Remington Core-Lokt rounds - tried, tested and very effective! I've also used the Winchester hollow-points on smaller game. I tend to stick with 150gr. bullet weights, as they do all one needs to do on whitetail. For heavier game, I'd move up to the 170gr.

    Instead of thinning down the fore-end of the Marlins, you can, of course, simply buy the appropriate Cowboy-model fore-end from Marlin. They're not very expensive, and this saves you a lot of work. One of my pet thoughts is to take a standard Marlin 336 and fit it with the straight buttstock and fore-end of the Cowboy model. This would necessitate straightening the metal on the frame where the stock is bolted in, but I think that a competent gunsmith shouldn't find this too difficult. Anyone else like the idea?
     
  9. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Staff Member

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    Marlin used to make one like that, sans the slim fore-end. The name was "Marauder" - I have one in .22LR.

    My next lever gun will be a .45-70 unless I can get a screaming deal on a .30-30.
     
  10. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    Try the "Cowboy" model of the Marlin 1895. Following my good experience with this version of the 336, I'm busy with a .45-70 "project gun" right now. I bought the 1895 Cowboy, with its 26" octagonal barrel, but I want something a bit faster-handling for snap shots in heavy brush and forest (we have plenty of that here!) I'm shortening the barrel to 22", and the magazine tube also (which still gives me a full-length magazine, unlike the circumcised version in the Guide Gun and the original 1895 - I like as much mag. capacity as I can get in a dangerous-game gun). I'll have an action job done, and fit ghost-ring sights (I had originally thought of the Express Sights version, but am now looking at Jim Brockman's and Wild West Gun's versions - they're just much more expensive than ES, so they may have to wait...). I'll also fit a Kick-Eez pad. (I must post a separate thread about these - just got one for testing, and I'm VERY impressed with the recoil reduction.) Should be a wonderful brush gun, and if I'm in an area "controlled" by large things with teeth, the Garrett Hammerheads in .45-70 should see me home at night.
     
  11. labgrade

    labgrade Member In Memoriam

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    Nothing the matter with a lever gun or the .30-30 - except for a limited range.

    That & the iron sights which also limits the range.

    For all, I've gravitated to a Rem M7, .308 w/2X8 scope. 2X gives a wonderful sight picture/field of view for close in + great light gathering (older eyes, you know). The variable allows for more precison further out as does the .308's better trajectory/punch for longer shots.

    Not a Scout rifle, but a very all 'round package without going $-wise silly & still take most anything 48-wise.

    Slower on a follow-up than a lever, fer sure, but how many ya need? ;)
     
  12. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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    Good to see you guys here.

    Since my 'first' high powered rifle was a 30-30 I still have a fondness for it. While the old hands at elk camp would caution you to "be sure of your shot" and "shoot twice" with that "iffy" cartridge.

    Well it seems to me that being sure of your shot and being ready for a follow-up is good advice if you are carrying a .22 or a .470.

    The Marlin 336 I carried as a teenager is still going to elk camp as a back up rifle (and we've needed it a time or two) and we still stoke it with 170 grain ammunition. Out to 200 yards it's a good rifle, beyond 250 it starts dropping like a rock. (Even had one young man borrow it for an antelope hunt... sucessfully) We'd just sight it in to be 2 inches high at 100 yards and call it good to go.

    The old 30-30 may well be underpowered, and fly like a football, but it's far from obsolete. Plenty of big game has dropped to the humble 30-30.

    It's not a cartridge that brags, but the hunter carrying one may indeed have bragging rights back at camp.
     
  13. Gophfer

    Gophfer Member

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    I've got my granddad's old 94. It is the carbine and I have hunted with it since I got out of the Army in 1972. This year I got a bolt action .270 with a scope. The eyes aren't the same ant the 94 has a peep sight.
     
  14. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Moderator In Memoriam

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    Hello, Johnny! Como Esta?

    Count me in as a fan of the .30-30 for brush work, shooting hogs, or just when I want something with a bit more reach than a handgun.

    That said, I prefer my .30-30 to be small and convenient as I plan to use it only for "close range" shooting.

    I understand that essentially the same features I paid for back when I had Lou Williamson do this Marlin can now be had straight from Marlin.

    My one .30-30:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Best.
     
  15. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Member

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    Stephen, I like that stainless/synthetic combo!

    I've been thinking about finding a derelict Winchester Model 94, getting it matte nickel plated, and adding synthetic furniture. Not quite stainless steel, but still utilitarian.

    One of the few regrets of my divorce was that I signed over a certain .30-30 to my ex-wife. It was a Savage Model 340 bolt action, with a couple spare box magazines. I had glass-bedded the action and honed the trigger. Darned thing was a deer-getter, and a kick in the pants to shoot accurately. I'll miss that gun. :(
     
  16. cratz2

    cratz2 Member

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    Good old cartridge which, despites its many 'shortcomings' such as low velocity, poor long range performance etc has killed oodles and oodles of deer and continues to do so every season.
     
  17. Spoonman

    Spoonman Member

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    The good old Marlin 30-30 is still my favorite companion in the deer stand. Here in SW GA, my hunting is mostly in hardwood creek bottoms surrounded by planted pines and my longest shot is < 100 yards. The Marlin is perfect for these conditions.

    However, I may not be entirely objective about Marlin lever actions. I have 3 (a 336CS and 2 1894s), 2 of my sons have 30-30s, and my wife has an 1894 in .44 mag. (How cool is it to have a wife that hunts and owns her own guns? Married 24 years and never regretted it for a second.)
     
  18. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Moderator In Memoriam

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    Hello. The finish on the gun's actually a dull, matte, black that appears shinier and brighter than it really is due to the flash. The rifle was black parkerized.

    Best.
     
  19. Shooter973

    Shooter973 Member

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    30-30's

    I really enjoy my 30-30's, I have 6 or so fo them and they all shoot very well with the cast bullets that I love to make and shoot in them. I have 2 Rem.788's in 30-30 that are fine shooters and are perfect cast bullet rifles. The others are versions of the same theme. Win 94's with open sights. From long barrells to the short little Trapper lengths. It is just MHO That every one should own at least 1 good 30-30 and a good 357, and a 12ga. shotgun, anything else is just Gravy. :D
     
  20. Schuey2002

    Schuey2002 Member

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    *sniff * I wish that my Winchester model 94 Ranger looked as cool as gun that Stephen posted..:D
     
  21. Southla1

    Southla1 Member In Memoriam

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    There are a many a deer in the Tunica Hills that were dropped by the 30-30 and 35 Remington...................probably as many or more than other cartridges combined. up to 125 yards or so they are hard to beat!
     
  22. Iggy

    Iggy Member

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    Trienta-Trienta

    My first rifle was a 94 Winchester30-30 carbine.. Paid $64.00 new and he threw in a box of shells..
    I was 12.. That was the hardest kicking rifle I ever owned.. Sold it to a sheepherder that worked for a neighboring outfit for $65.00
    He said Iyee chewahwah.. That Trienta trienta he shoots like a bomb!!!

    I inherited a 94 rifle with an octagonal barrel, that belonged to a feller that spent a lot of time in the saddle in Wyoming and Montana at the turn of the century..(the last one)

    There was quiet talk among older family members, about the owner being in some serious social engagments of the fatal kind, but nobody would ever elaborate on the details.

    Something about disputes over "range maggots" or some such.... *G*

    The rifle has a bead for a front sight and it is nearly worn away from riding in a saddle scabbard.
    The rear sight doesn't have a notch and is non adjustable.. It is just a folding blade with a white triangle.. You put the bead at the top of the triangle at let'er rip.. It has it's limitations, but would ride well in a scabbard.

    It shoots where you point it. If you learn the rifle and shoot within it's limitations, it'll make meat anytime you need it..

    Beware of the man with only one gun..
     
  23. Erich

    Erich Member

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    Durn it.

    Y'all are making me feel remorse for that clean pre-'64 I traded away years ago.
     
  24. sam3

    sam3 Member

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    my 336 has ridden behind the seat of my truck since i bought it,the rifle that is.
     
  25. charlie d

    charlie d Member

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    My first "high power rifle" was a 1948 vintage '94. It's a .32 Special, but almost the same thing and what I got in a trade. Still have it of course. ;)
     
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