The .30-30 Deer Rifle — An American Classic

Winchester Model 94 Trails End Takedown

When it comes to deer hunting, one of America’s classics has always been the venerable .30-30 lever-action. Many deer hunters took his or her first buck with a Winchester Model 94 or a Marlin 336, or any of a dozen other similarly styled rifles. The .30-30 cartridge has the reputation of having killed more deer than any other cartridge. It’s been around for more than 100 years, so the rumor is likely more fact than fiction. In fact, some would even wager that to this day it still kills more deer than any other cartridge.

.30-.30 Deer RifleWhy is the .30-30 such a popular deer cartridge? And what is it about the lever actions chambered in .30-30 that makes them so potent for taking deer? Initially created by Winchester for its 1894 lever-action, the .30 Winchester Center Fire was one of the first modern small-bore centerfire cartridges designed to use smokeless powder. Marlin also developed its own lever-action, the 336, but renamed the round the .30-30 so as not to have the name “Winchester” in Marlin’s cartridge designation. Both rifles are short, lightweight, and easily portable through heavy woods and brush. The light recoil of the round and quick lever-action provides the ability for rapid follow-up shots if necessary.

When it was first introduced, the .30-30 was known as a very flat shooting cartridge. Of course today we’d consider it a very short-range cartridge that fairly arcs in towards the target. But considering that the hunting cartridge of the day was the black powder .45-75, the .30-30 was extremely flat shooting by comparison.

Deer RifleBut why does the popularity of the .30-30 persist to this day? Surely modern cartridges such as the .243 or .270 are much better deer rounds. They have a much longer effective range, and shoot much flatter than the .30-30. One answer is that the Marlin 336 and Henry Repeating Rifle are inexpensive rifles by comparison, making them popular entry-level guns. In addition, .30-30 ammunition is significantly less expensive than most modern hunting cartridges. What’s more, most deer are shot in the woods at distances that rarely exceed 75 yards, a range at which the .30-30 excels. Finally, the .30-30 has extremely light recoil, making it popular among women and younger inexperienced hunters.

Despite its long and successful history, many still question the effectiveness of the .30-30 round on deer. I think the millions of deer taken with the .30-30 is sufficient evidence of the cartridge’s adequacy at dropping most medium-sized game. Heavier 150-170 grain .30-30 bullets have more than enough energy to drop a deer out to 200 yards, provided the hunter is capable of making such a shot. While the .30-30 isn’t suitable for heavier game such as elk or grizzly, more than a few hunters have been successful taking large North American game with the round.

So, if you’re looking for a light, accurate, and effective deer gun that is perfect for use in the woods and thick brush where deer encounters are up close and personal, don’t overlook the good ‘ol .30-30. Whether you use a Winchester Model 94 or Marlin 336, iron sights or a simple 1-4x scope, you’ll find that the .30-30 is a great soft-shooting deer gun that is still able to hold her own against modern hunting cartridges.

What caliber did you use to shoot your first deer? Tell us in the comment section.


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Comments (119)

  1. Excellent artical for more information, it’s truly helpful for anybody loved gun range.
    I love searching along with weapon. I’ve a great weapon, occasionally after i obtain period as well as proceed searching…

  2. Although my first buck was during bow season, my first rifle season buck was taken with a Marlin 336 in 30-30 Win. For Missouri’s Ozark’s the lever action rifle is an ideal gun for the deer stand. I now have rifles in 30-06, 7mm Mag, .243 and 9mm for almost every type of game in North America. So, what do I take each fall to the woods in my beloved Missouri home? The Marlin 30-30.

  3. I killed my first deer with a 94 Winchester. I still hunt with it almost exclusively. People who say the 30 30 is not accurate are blaming their faults on the gun. I have dropped (not just killed) deer at 250 yards with it. I can say from hunting with it, it works. so don’t fix whats not broken. My first deer were a Tennessee six pointer and a doe on the same day.

    1. There is several reasons why the 30-30 is still found in hunting camps .. One reason is the guns that this cartridge is housed .. Slick handling carbines .. light and maneuverable ….
      But I feel the main reason is that the 30-30 doesn’t need high tech bullets and bullets made for the 30-30 are made to function at 30-30 velocities … This cartridge just works well !!

  4. Shot my first buck in Texas Hill Country with a Marlin 336 .30-30, approximately 90 lbs. on the hoof, fork horn. Very typical deer for 50 years ago.

  5. My father bought me a Malin 336 in 1973. I have taken many deer with this rifle. The fellows I hunt with for the most part started out using 30 30’s
    but have all bought larger caliber guns. They often ask “why are you still hunting with that 30 30” my reply is as always; “when I see you guys shooting more deer than me I will get another gun”. This usually stops the conversation. The 30 30 is a great gun! Unless you are huntingin wide open areas that require a long shot the 30 30 is all you need to take down a deer. It is short, shoulders good and accurate out to upwards of 125 yds. Most deer are taken well within this range.

  6. I killed my first deer when i was 15 years old with a winchester 94 in 1968. I have had all the rifle calibers sense then, i am 63 now and just purchased a marlin 30-30 manufactured in 1981 which is in new condition . 2015 season i will put down the 308 and the 243 an hunt deer with this great 30-30

  7. A friend came up with a Marlin 30-30 18 inches long no trigger ,fires by lever. Made in 1930. what is it

    1. @ Phil Ervin

      I think the one your referring to, was the Model 336 which had a “Glass Break Trigger” with 4-1/4-pound trigger pull. The trigger was recessed nearly into the Lever Action and you really had to look close to actually see the trigger.

  8. Got my first deer (a Mule buck in Montana) with a borrowed sporterized ’03 Springfield .30-06. I own both a 336 Marlin and a Model 94 Winchester.

  9. I am 55 yrs old today. I still carry the 30-30 into the woods and have killed many deer with it. Mine is a Marlin 336 bought in 1973. It works fine and shoots well. Only once have I had to have it repaired. The spring in the side loading sleve weekened and would not allow me to load properly. My other hunting partners have long moved on from their 30-30 days but I still prefer having it. I do allot of walk ups for the guys and do not like having a long barrel sticking up past my shoulder. To date I believe I have taken 37 deer with this rifle. Preferring not to take anymore does around 110 yrs ago do to the fact I live in PA. If you are wondering if this is a good all around gun; I can tell you it is. If I were given another gun 308, 243 etc….I would still carry my old 336 30-30

  10. Mr. S. just finished loading 100 rds. .30-30s for my H&R Ultra w/ .30-30 barrel. My reloading mentor guided me through the process, lest I make no mistakes, and wreck something/somebody. Trying the Hornady 125gr, SSTs this time. His Oehler 35P is chrono-ing them at 2726 fps w/ a stiff load of IMR 4895 in Win. cases and primers. Surprisingly accurate, especially for a single-shot rifle such as the H&R/NEF breed. I’ll be thinkin’ ’bout you when I try a little “1-on-1 w/1” this year. Docs wanna put pins in me to keep me together but say my mobility will be practically nil in the woods, especially for a short time immediately-after, so I’m gonna make a go for it this season. Hope they work.

    1. @ will.

      Hey Will, Have yo considered the .30-30 Ackley Improved. 0.309-caliber
      (7.848×50.8) ~125% improvement in range and ~300-ft/s. increase in muzzle velocity. According to Handloader Issue 107 (1984). Sec…

  11. Mr. Secundius, I meant no disrespect; then, nor in the future. The mind tends to remember certain things and times. The most memorable are more often most prevalent. However, the “other” times tend to confuse us. Live in the good ones my friend. Sometimes we need a little agitation to stir up the mind-juices and keep us on track. I don’t mind a bit if someone sets me straight on something I’ve misunderstood thru the years, although often when doing so, the parts we don’t wish to remember somehow emerge and screw everything up- Big time.. The Storm left me with some things which did not really affect my physical well-being until 14yrs had passed, and adjustment is has not been an easy road. Well,, too much ranting and reminiscing. Have a cold one for me, and keep the rest of ’em on their toes.

  12. been going over past correspondence re: .30-30 win. MR. Secundius, The proper designations of the two 7.62×51 ctgs. are as follows . The 7.62x51R is the European designation for the ,30-30 win. ctg.(no such thing as 7.62x51R NATO -sorry. The 7.62×51 NATO is the Military. designation for the .308 Win. And no, they are not one and the same. Uncle Sam sent me my greetings on Nov.7,’66 and Tigerland was no picnic. I learned all about the M-14 and related hardware, and have two ,30-30 Marlins and 1- .444 Marlin. – (.30-30s for 40 yrs ). and the .444 for 14; Not enough $$ in the world for them. As for the .308s, I have four:( 1- Ruger77V, 2-savage 110s,and 1- H&R Ultra (with an extra .30-30 barrel). All are accurate with the right ammo. Load the .30-30s in the H&R with 150 Nos. Ballistic Tips to 2400 fps and you can take anything reasonable out to 250-300 yds. Scoff if you want to, it is entirely possible. I’ve taken deer at a measured 247yds.(done with a surveyor’s laser transit ) a Marlin .30-30 and a handload w/ Speer 150gr. Flat point bullets loaded to a chronographed 2427fps.(Oehler 35P) the load came from the 1978 DuPont IMR pamphlet. Been shooting it 40-some yrs. No brag,-just fact. If I can do it, so can anyone else. You need to know only what your equipment can do,and treat it with respect, and it will not let you down. Mr. Secundius, as a fellow brother in arms, I wish you the best.

    1. @ Will-i am.

      While the technically the .308Win and 7.62×51 Nato, are the same rounds. They are in fact two completely different BEASTS. The .308Winchester (7.18×51.18mm @ 62,000-psi) and the 7.62×51 Nato (7.82×51.2mm @ 60,191-psi) rounds. While you can fire the 7.62×51 Nato, from a .308Win., Rifle. Unfortunately CAN NOT fire the .308Win. from a 7.62×51 Nato, Rifle. A bit of a Conundrum there. If you don’t believe me, just look it up in Wikipedia. It will tell pretty much the same thing. And by the way, I don’t mind being corrected. It’s part of the Learning Process. And after having a Stroke, you want to keep your mind active as much a possible. That’s probably the reason why I’m on a 100 websites Can’t say if it does my High Blood Pressure any good, though.

  13. Gunny sorry but for me hunting is meat on the table I could care less about all the sportsman ship some want with the big rack to hang on the wall I have shot a doe standing next to a huge 14 point buck and let him run off! he would not be fit to eat! if I see one at 600 yards I am comfortable with taking that shot with out worrying about having to track a wounded animal I perfected my shooting abilities in nam last I checked I could still put 10 rounds in the v ring at 200 yards offhand! and I made the 1000 yard shot with my m-14 and I can assure you it was not I repeat not a luck shot! hunting for me is scout where they will be and then limit out! if I can shoot from far enough away to not spook the rest and do it all 2 does and one buck in 5 min all the better! Ssgt usmc! Semper Fi

  14. I know very well the surgical ability of the m-14 that is what I made my longest shot with! I have shot the ak a few times and I know its biggest asset is the ability to put large volumes of ammo down range in a hurry with out the rise in barrel like a m-16 or m-14 with out a muzzle brake! after 300 yards It is useless except for spray and pray! it did wound lots of guys further out but no with out luck! the mini 30 in the hands of a good marksman can deliver more accurate longer range shots! it is not the bullet that is the problem! it is the delivery system! if you read my original comment I talked about making a 400 yard kill shot on a deer at 400 yds with a 30-30 it is a way under rated bullet! but if you put a 762×39 in an sks it can diliver much more accurate groups! than even the mini 30

    1. I agree with you, as I taught QRT teams some years ago that kill shots have be made with an sks and even ak’s at a 1000 yds and more, with what was called fire for effect (shoot THAT direction!) ie luck. The purpose
      of hunting is to get as close as possible…I have made a shot on deer as
      close as 12 feet, my brother with a VHB ruger 25-06 made one at 8 inches, as the doe stepped around the tree he was sitting against. She stood next to him looking at the field below, and he raise the barrel from his lap and pulled the trigger. Mine was a buck that materialized out of the fog starring at the cigarette hanging out of my mouth. He would turn very slowly and then turn back and as he did I slowly raised my rifle stopping when he wasn’t looking…after about 4-5 minutes he looked at the fields below and I shot him in the back of the head.

    2. @ James.

      You hunt a Deer, One-ON-One, and leave the Forest Alone. That call Sportsmanship. You don’t Eviscerate the Forest to get to the Deer. That call Slaughter.

  15. most of the trees where I hunt are smaller than the kill zone on a decent sized doe! the three I got all in 5 min were at 325 yards with a mini 30 same round as an ak! my longest shot was 1000+ yards with a 7.62×51 but not in this country or even this century! I would guess most of those guys would have been better served with a marlin 30-30 or model 98 Winchester 30-30 because they are making shots under 75 yards! but if the only gun you have is a ak and you want to hunt use what you have!

    1. @ James.

      Comparing the Mini 30 to the AK-47/Type-56, in 7.62x39mm livery. One is a Medium-Range Scalpel, and the other one a Water Hose. Is also like comparing the Springfield M-14 with Marlin Model .30-30, in 7.62x51mm-R livery. One is a long-range Surgical Weapon, while the other is Shoot-and-Hit-Something-Maybe Weapon. It is comparing Apples with Oranges.

  16. Back in the early 2000’s, before I lost the use of my legs. A group of friends of mine, including myself. Calling ourselves “The Thirty Caliber Club, were hunting Elk. All of us carrying different types of .30-caliber rifles, one had an 8Mau, two .308Win’s. another an actual 9Parabellum rifle and myself. .30-06Sprnfld. We came up to another .30-caliber club, but all carrying either the AK-47 or Type-56. All with tactical rigging and enough ammunition to start a war. Has this what it come too, carrying assault-style weapons, just to go hunting. I’ve seen recent YouTube video’s of where The Great Beaver, has been showing Bambi Karate moves, against the hunters. What’s next RPG’s. Why not an 85mm equipped T-34 tank too implode Bambi with. How about a TOW II Missile and Launcher for that Alaskan Brown Bear. Hang a fragment of its fur, over the mantle of the fireplace. With a plaque say how and where you EVISCERATED the Fierce and Mighty Creature from 2-1/2 miles away.

    1. Now Secundius that’s a little overboard.. Oh sure I can see an Apache for chasing ducks and geese and maybe an A10 Warthog for bear but a tank for Bambi jut seems a little much.
      You know theses animals don’t just sit and do nothing all day. They’re planning something….. Oh Yes….

    2. in response to secunduis you referred to them hunting with a ak well the 308 you referred to has more knock down power than an ak! second I hunt hogs and I hunt with an AR 10 which is a 308 in simi auto and I have gotten 10 hogs from one pack before they got out of range! I’m not hunting for sport by the way I’m trying to kill as many of these pest as possible but once in a while I take my ar 10 and shoot a deer with it have not needed a second shot with it yet! but never leave home with out enough ammo! you don’t know what you may run into sitting it a deer blind I shot a doe and she ran 50 ft and fell over dead when I looked back there was still a buck and two does so I took a second shot at the larger of the two does! she ran 75 ft the other way and fell over dead, the buck and other doe were still standing less than 15 ft from where I shot the first two, I shot the buck this time because it was the last tag I had! I would have preferred to shoot another doe but two and one buck Is the limit where I hunt! good thing I had more than 1 round with me!

    3. @ James.

      Most of my friends are better shots than me, The longest kill shot I’ve ever made, barely exceed 400-yards, too most of friends. That’s a Walk-In-the-Park, shot. But, an AK-47 or Type-56, you’d be lucky to hit a f@#$%^g tree, at that range.

  17. Sounds good. I Like Beau Geste. I’m going to be Creamated with all my stuff so nobody else can use it. The only thing–I haven’t found the Human dog yet to put @ my Feet.

  18. i was 14 yrs old in 1963 with a m1 carbine in my hand and when i saw the buck running thwards me i nailed him bang, bang,,,,,,,bang band band and it was all over. and that fast…i am now 66 and still have his horns and still respect him, the buck ..he was beautiful, and thank god for the oppertunity to get him… i may take him to my creamation with long memory

    1. I did the same thing–almost. Came back from Vietnam and had bought a M1 carbine in the mail. DI’s didn’t think I should be allowed to keep it in my locker so the Provost Marshal took custody. While being discharged I had to spend time in a VA hospital for a couple of weeks. I was given a pass for the weekend so I grabbed the carbine and hit the hills. Got the buck with one shot. Traded the carbine for a Samsonite briefcase which I still have (sold life insurance). In retrospect the M1 carbine round was not powerful enough to be legal in Colorado. Well, the statute of limitations is up and I’m over 70. Those antlers on my wall belong to my Grandfather–who used a 303 Savage. Sounds relevant and insightful to me. Thor

  19. Could be so; Make it so in the words of Capt. Picard. Im becoming totally senile in the last few days of trying to move out if this berg.

  20. grandfather born Minnesota, moved to Montana, my father born there; then, moved to North Dakota where his father was a Blacksmith and made Funeral hearses similar to ones in Magnificient seven movie. Thats where my father used the .32 Win Spcl. until of age and went to Detroit/Chigago to work @ the Deusenberg car factory.

  21. Old good friends are never lost–as long as it, them are remembered. Its still there whenever you want to hold it and follow its classic lines out to the end of the barrell. Lovingly run an oiled cloth over it until the blueing is almost gone then put it back for another time. Im afraid I am becoming too nostalgic after passing hours of this. Almost time to quit and reflect on another day.

  22. Cherish it–My father had a Win lever gun (Rifle) with Octagon barrell in .32 Win. Spcl when he was a boy in early 1900’s. When his father passed away while my fathers rifle was still there dissappeared after the funeral forever. I had a friend in the 80’s that also had one of identical breed from has father. I tried to buy it from him numerious times and also shot it many times but said he would never part with it. Quite a while after that i tried again. He said– I pawned because I needed the money and he never went back and got it. That wasn’t the cause of–but, I never saw him again after he got married then Divorced a yr. later. Go Figure.Never miss an Valuable Opportunity speaking from experience.

  23. Great for Werewolves to (A little Levity now at this point). As I start to get blog Silly now. There all shiny all over @ both ends and polish up really brilliant. Im going to make a necklace with a Loaded one to show off @ the Range. In a pinch; I can shoot it to with the chain on it and get it back later.

    1. Silver has come down a lot in the last 3 years. Buy it now. lol
      I still have some Win. silvertip 44 mag that I had my Ex use in the Ruger carbine I bought for her to hunt with. She brought down a nice buck with that one year, and did not stop lording it over me how hers was bigger than mine. haha

  24. A real treasure to have. One built for me from WW2 reconditioned parts is eventually on its way to me. I got it from–Im not going to tell. I don’t want my part and WW2 ammo Supplier to get deluged with orders and dry up.

  25. I have a Satellite Phone with GPS. Accurate to within Oh Heck, you got me, I dont know, never did. As long as i can make a call and be found is all that I care about. Sorry about the Stroke–Keep well.

  26. Forget the deer–Tell me where you buried the tractors–I’ll come, dig them up–some mechanic work, new paint and tires and a new seat. For a added bonus–You can keep the deer.

  27. Tech Advance. is Great for most things. But not for everything. Its all Subjective depending on who you talk to. If you talk about Lethal injections Vs. Electric Chairs or Hangings for Mass Murderes–Who in the Hell wants them to die Peaceably. The Victums didn’t have that Luxery. The perpetrators shouldn’t ; no matter how you look at it. Maybe IM Just Old Fashioned !.I still like square shaped Cars and Trucks too.

  28. I got my first deer with a .32. It was a one shot kill at about 75 yards. This was in Pennsylvania. It was a 6 point buck weighing about 130 pounds. The best tenderloin ever.

  29. 7 Shots, near dark , from Lever action in blink of eye , all hits that quick as it ran by. Where is that Still located, I want some of that too. Was it the Big Loop John Wayne, or Rifleman Model .

  30. I shot my first deer with a 30 30. Later I learned to shoot high in the lungs and the deer would just drop on the spot. The last 9 deer I shot with the 30 30 did not run, just dropped immediately. You cannot beat those results. Later I bought a 30 06 so I could hunt bigger game and gave my 30 30 to my son. I am glad my son has my 30 30 but I miss it.

  31. I love these type of Blog Questions/answers. I’ve been doing that a long time as a gun/ammo experimentor. Make my own swaged bullets (Rifle and Handgun), fire “um and recover and see the resuts. Before my eyes right now is a BIANCHI speed strip for.38-.357 revolver loaded with .357 mag. cartridges–hollow base wadcutters with Gas Checks, Seated backwards flush with the case mouth and 5 grns. of Unique Powder. Old and never fired, but got to try them out real soon.Should be OK still as was/are in a controled invironment. Have shot them before and as being near dead soft lead they flatten out like about a .50c. Piece. The M1 GARAND–we know who said it and still is.

  32. Is that the same cal as a .35 Whelen__A Wildcat cart. from way back. If so, I have a Paper gun magazine with what and how to do, make,resize, reform brass, and suggested handloads for that. I’ll bet from a .30-.06 resized brass. Its been a long time ago on that one?

  33. My first deer was at age 12 out the kitchen window with a .22. It was in our garden eating stuff we needed, it got added to the menu.

  34. You could hit a rabbit in his tail with a 375 H&H and in all likelihood it would run away.
    Perhaps the point should be; shot placement is somewhat important regardless of the round. You can dump a lot of lead into a hogs ass without bringing it down but of course it may eventually bleed to death.

  35. My first deer were taken with a Marlin .35 it is I think the most drop dead deer rifle around. The Marlin .35 expands to 70 caliber on impact. I have killed many deer with this Marlin. The only problem is getting Ammo for it now. The .30 30 is much more popular and easy to get ammo for. Winchester ejects rounds from the top of the receiver in your face and Marlin ejects from the side and no Problem if you need to put a scope on it. I have never used a scope and I have dropped deer from 115 yards no problem.

  36. While I agree that because of it’s popularity, the 30-30 has probably killed more deer than any other round, I would also say that because it;s an under powered round that there are probably more deer running around carrying 30-30 rounds inside them. Although not a deer story, one time my hunting buddy was tracking a boar (later estimated at about 300lbs) that had been shot by another member of our hunting party. As he was walking down a trail, the pig was laying next to it and my buddy almost walked on it. He was carrying a Winchester 30-30 lever action and immediately began to shooting. As the the pig ran by him, he emptied the magazine but didn’t bring it down. It was almost dark, so we gave up the hunt but in the morning when we returned, we tracked the pig up the mountain and found where it rested ( there was a pool of blood). Apparently, the pig wasn’t mortally wounded although it was carrying at least half a dozen 30-30 rounds in it. We never did find it. My point being the 30-30 is under powered.

    1. @ David.

      I’ve told this story so many times that I’ve lost count. There’s a WW1 “Ghillie/Sniper” trick called SPALLING, What you do is reverse the bullet in the cartridge, Take the Conical Point or Spitzers Point and set it facing the powder charge. And have the Blunted end facing forward. When fired the Blunted end hits the target, releasing the Kinetic Energy into the Target, usually the Skull. The kinetic energy, is then transferred through the skull. To the other side of the skull, where it causes the skull to either shatter or break apart and pieces of skull bone fragments fly into the Brain. Shredding the brain or causing enough damage to kill the animal, instantly, in most cases. I’ve done this with a .30-06Sprnfld. (7.62x63mm)-round. killing a Alaskan Brown Bear. Range will be effected, do a few test firings, until you are comfortable with the results.

  37. I used a Winchester 1894 on my first Pennsylvania buck. I grew up within eyesight of Pennsylvania line on the New York side. My grandfather had farmland and woods in Pennsylvania and I asked him to go, and he said that I could. He took me out about three days ahead and told me that this would be where I was to stand. It was up against a stone fence, and at the edge of the woods. He just said keep quiet and if I had a shot to take it… He gave me one round. it was a 150 grain Winchester Super-X, I still have the casing. I waited about a half hour, and a four point headed toward me from the other side of the field. I raised and pulled the hammer back, lined up the shot and fired. He just fell, never run at all. Grandpa helped me field dress the deer, and put the tag in. Then he went to the house to get the tractor to bring him in. He said “we’ll bury three tractors around here before we drag a deer.”

  38. As with all things in life, technology tends to make things better over time. 9mm rounds are much better than they were in the 1980’s; and the same holds true with the 30-30. Consider the LeverRevolutin rounds by Hornady; many would argue the old 100 yd. cartridge is now good to 200 yds. with the soft red pointy tips that raise the ballistic coefficient.

  39. I have six GPS units, one of which is a Differential GPS. Which is accurate, down too the inch, at least that’s what the manual tell’s me. I know ther more accurate ones that that, but I don’t have one of those, YET. The Longest Head Shot Kill I ever had on a White Tail Deer, according to that GPS, was 367.588797574-meters (or, for those non-metric folks: 402-yards, exactly.) The shot was made with a M1E6 .30-06Sprnfld. (7.62x63mm) Sniper/Garand Rifle, and that was around 2000 CE. I can’t rember the exact date, I should, but I can’t. A Stroke will do that to you.

  40. I used a model 70 winchester 30-06 on the first .MY wife and son used thesame rifle to get theirs also. I killed most of mine with a ww2 m-1 with a scope.

    1. I got my first deer in TN with a Marlin 336. I shot high and got the spinal cord (whhops) The deer dropped on the spot and I had congratulated myself until I got closer. I finished the job, cleaned the deer – then headed for the range and re sighted my weapon. Better times ahead and no misses before or since. Love my Marlin.

  41. I shot my first deer with my Marlin 30-30 at 200 yds. I have regularly taken deer at 100-150 yds with it since, mostly because I don’t leave myself any opportunity for such a long shot any more. I don’t plan on ever using a different rifle for deer, you just can’t beat the 30-30 at what it does best. A friend once called it bowhunting due to the “range” of the round.

  42. the 30-30 is probably the most under rated cartage ever
    I have heard my uncle tell of his brother dropping a coyote at 400 yards with an old model 94! my uncle said his old model 94 was sighted for 400 yards when he got it! I saw him light a stick match at 100 ft 8 times in a row with a model 512 Remington 22 which I now have! so I believe the story! ok now mine I dropped a deer at 400 yards with a marlin 336, after my father in law missed with a 30-06 you do have to know your rifle and the load to make that shot!

  43. Growing up in Burney California I could not wait until I was 12 years old to take my hunter safety course and get my first hunting license I took the course in May and applied for D2A zone tags. I had been splitting firewood for a man down the street for most of the summer and managed to have 5 1/2 cords of wood cut and stacked for him in trade for an old 1954 model 94 Winchester 30-30. All through archery and black powder season I had been looking at an area not too far from Burney Falls State Park and I had seen this one meal there with the most unusual rack I have ever seen in my life. Well opening day of deer season finally got there with me and my rifle in the hand and his book ad been looking at for the last two months was nowhere to be found so I went home disappointed and disheartened waiting for morning though once again come. When morning did come after a sleepless night once again I grabbed my old 3030 and walked back up the mountain and lo and behold there he was about 105 yards out is near as I could tell after walking it off. The first shot went over his head I think as I said Dustin debris kick up up behind them but the second shot lo and behold dropped him right to his knees where he then slowly slid over on his side. After checking a man with fishing game officer told me that it was one of the most unusual rack see it ever seen on a deer taking pictures of it. My dad decided to have the head mounted for me and still to this day I look at this old beast in wonder wonder. That was the first dear I ever took with the 30-30 but out of the 63 deer I’ve taken in my life 51 of them have been with that old 54 Lever action 30-30 and even my son took his first deer with that I wouldn’t trade that rifle for anything in the world and it will be a Family heirloom for many generations to come I hope

  44. When I was 12 yrs old I took a 170lb 8pt buck with my Marlin 3030 at 70 yards and he was running full out. I hit him on the third shot and he ran a bit further and dropped. If a 12 yr old can hit a deer running full speed at 70 yards I’d say this kinda puts to rest the argument on it’s effectiveness out to say 100-150 yards. I still have and probably will never sell that rifle.

  45. I too still have a couple boxes of the Win Silvertips left in .30-.30. Great loads they are. I also have a large supply of Win silvertips for my Glock mod. 20 in 10 mm. Also awesome for a semi-auto pistol round. they are 165 grain hollow points in nickled cases. 2 mags are loaded with them and the other six with Hornady XTP’ reloads in 170 grns. max loads? in front of six grns. of now discontinued WIN 231 powder and win primers in new cases.

    1. Hi Martin, I too have some old 30-30 silvertips and several other vintage rounds for this excellent round.. I also have a Glock 20 I load for and am quite impressed with the 175g silvertips.. 8.7 g of power pistol pwd runs them right along.. the same charge works nicely with the 180g XTP’s

  46. My first three deer were shot with a remmy 700 7mm mag that my grandfather built long before I was born. First deer out at 170 yards, second one out at 150 and the last one would be at 75. All were shot with hand loads and the Barnes triple x projectile. None of them took a step….

  47. “While the .30-30 isn’t suitable for heavier game such as elk or grizzly, more than a few hunters have been successful taking large North American game with the round.”

    I would like to address this assumption, as a hunter who knows that shot placement is far more important than anything else.
    The ‘under’ powered 7mm x 57 Mouser, (aka .275 Rigby) which has no more energy or flatter trajectory than the average .308, has taken more elephant in Africa by one of the most famous elephant hunters of all, W. D. M. Bell.
    That should put to rest all of the talk from the ballistic experts out there. Unless it is just another statistic to deny, as politics likes to do also.
    Shot placement means everything. Always. I have helped tracked down deer in New Hampshire shot with 300 Win mags and 7mm Rem mags at close range, for hours. And we even lost a few. So I know this first hand. Nothing beats seeing it happen for real, especially when beat up and scratched up by New Hampshire deep woods and swamps after looking for a 120 pound deer that did not realize that a 300 Weatherby Mag should have made it lay down right where it was shot. Again, as always, just my opinion.

    1. Mr. Bell was probably one of the best rifle shots of his time, and he would tell you that shot placement and BULLET DESIGN were the two most important factors in hunting. The 30-30 was so famous because of the round available….the Winchester 150gr or 170gr Silvertip. This bullet was designed for the 30-30’s speed and I have never found any other bullet that comes close to it’s performance. I was lucky (or smart) enough to buy a lot of them for reloading in the late 1990’s, and still have a good supply. Having researched some over the years, I have not found a single instance of anyone shot with a 30-30 in the torso above the belt buckle who survived. I shot my first deal with a Marlin in the Black Hills of South Dakota in 1967. I had one shot (that’s what my father gave me) to get it right. This buck was bounding down the mountain thru the forest at about 75-80 yards and the bullet broke both shoulders and the backbone and crumpled him as he landed and slid downhill. When I skinned him later that day, I saw the damage that silvertip did, and learned an important lesson about ballistics that has stuck with me for 47 years, and I still test bullets be for going hunting for both accuracy and performance.

  48. Have my moms old savage bolt action 30-30. For lever action I have a savage 99 300 sav. And a marlin 336 in 35 rem. But I usually use my muzzleloader due to in NH they have shotgun / muzzleloader areas.

    1. @ Robert

      My favorite deer season in New Hampshire was always Muzzle loader season. Back in my day, it was any deer for 3 weeks, and very few hunters in the woods. A fantastic nature time, not just hunting time. I put more than one deer in the freezer for my young family with my .50 Cal Hawken also.

  49. I live in The Republic of Texas. While this AR15 craze was overwhelming the rest of the states, a majority of Texans still carried a 30-30 lever action rifle as a truck gun. It has knock down power, reliablility, don’t blow through ammo like Rambo and when a drug crazed hill rat hears that lever action being engaged and they’re on the business end of the barrel, they know play time is over and to get the hell outta Dodge. It is also a popular border protection rifle for farmer’s working agriculture because what you iot isn’t likely to get back up for a second crack at you and it has the range to be effective against those pesky coyotes, if you get my drift.

  50. @ Nathan Lambshead.

    My wayward friend, just North of me, Rob. Was asking about the popularity of the Winchester Model 94 .30-30 (7.62x51mm) Lever Action Rifle. While the .308Winchester (7.8×51.18mm), round is 47.6% greater performance then the .30-30, its still essentially the same round. The only diiference being that the .30-30Win. has a Conical Bullet and .308Win. has a Spitzer Point Bullet. If he wants to fire .308Win in his .30.30Win, I suggest a barrel swap to .308Win. specifications. That way he fife both Ammunition Loads from the same gun. And, lastly the other feature of the .3030Win is price $$$, as compared to .308Win. $$$$. If I came on to forceful or partronizing, I apologize, I Sorry Rob. We WDC. “Shitheads” tend to be that way!!!

  51. My 1st hunt was with a ’94 30-30. It was built in 1957. Still have it. Why so popular…..It’s history in the development of the early US west.

    1. @ Rob.

      Because, its a cheap alternative, to purchasing .308Win or a .30-06 rifles.
      The only difference between the .30-30 and .308 is. Is the fact the .30-30Win has a Conical Bullet and the .308Win has a Spitzer Point Bullet.
      Other that that their both the exact same caliber. (7.62x51mm).

    2. @ Rob.

      Two other alternative rifles you might want to consider, because of the price, is. The .30-40 Krag (7.8×58.8mm) or .308 and 8-mil Mauser (7.92x57mm). Like the .30-30, these rifles are also underrated. But, both of these riles are worth there cost and are extremely reliable.

    3. Who said they weren’t?!?! Since you brought it up how about the 30-30 soft polymer flex tip ammo? When I was young we called the ’94 30-30 a brush gun. Folks with nice fancy 30-06 ‘s didn’t want to scratch up the furniture.

    4. @ Rob.

      I don’t know why your attacking me for. I never said they bad, I said they were underrated, their’s a difference. All the calibers mentioned, are over 100-years old technology. Old doesn’t mean Bad. Hell, a 68-caliber Kentucky Rifle, is still as effective today as it was 200+ years ago.

    5. Hmm, Not sure why you compared these two rounds. The average velocity, energy, and trajectory difference between the two is not exactly the same.
      Maybe you can tell me what you meant by that?

      A typical .30-30 = Muzzle velocity: 2100 fps, Muzzle energy: 1470 ft/lbs, over 24 inch drop at 300 yds when zeroed at 200.
      A typical .308 = Muzzle velocity: 2950 fps, Muzzle energy: 2880 ft/lbs, 7 inch drop at 300 yds when zeroed at 200.

      Two different rounds for two different hunting conditions.

    6. Sorry, that was for Secundus.
      Resonse to:
      “The only difference between the .30-30 and .308 is. Is the fact the .30-30Win has a Conical Bullet and the .308Win has a Spitzer Point Bullet.
      Other that that their both the exact same caliber. (7.62x51mm).”

      There are plenty of 30 caliber rifles out there. Probably the most common. Why do you compare apples with oranges?

  52. Secundius

    Sorry, my intention was not to give a history lesson so much as give my opinion on the influence of the 30-30. In the future I shall endeavor to provide the full history along with my opinion.

    1. @ Mc Ruger.

      I wasn’t trying to be patronizing. I think if you add a little history to the story/subject, You pass this information down to others, and they intern do the same. Because, once you lose sight of where it all began, it get’s lost. And once its lost, its gone FOREVER!!! Just think of it a Paying-It-Forward. What that person does with that information is their business, but, at least you’ve done your part to keep the message going to the Next Generation.

    1. @ Mc Ruger.

      What you said is, that the 7.62x51mm Nato & the .308Win evolution derived from the .30-30. Whereas in actuality the .308Win evolved from the .30-40 Krag, and that the 7.62x51mmR evolved from the .30-30Win. You also failed to mention that both the .30-40 Krag & .30-30Win were both Test Bed models, for the introduction of Smokeless Gunpowder. And you also Failed to mention, While You Can Fire .30-30Win from a .30-40 Krag Rifle, But, You Can’t Fire the .30-40 Krag from a .30-30Win Rifle, the Conumdrum/Oxymoron. Other than that, you were correct about everything else.

    2. The test program continued for several years, including both the original .30-06 round and a modified .300 Savage (then known as the T65). In the end, the T65 cartridge demonstrated power roughly equal to the original .30-06, firing a 147-grain (9.5 g) bullet at 2,750 feet per second (840 m/s) but was approximately 1⁄2 inch (13 mm) shorter. The eventual result of this competition was the T44 rifle.
      Parent case .308 Winchester (derived from the .300 Savage)

  53. @ Nathan Lambshead.

    Sorry about treading on sensitive toes., I Live just Outside of Manure Capitol of the World (aka, Washington,DC.). Which probably qualifies me as a Washingtonian. We (according to some Media Outlets) tend to see things through Rose-Colored Glasses. No Insult Intended, Sorry!!!

    But, it still makes for a good bar bet Just like firing a .454 Casull from a .44 Magnum.

    1. Oh no offense taken. There are plenty of hillbillies around here that do not know ballistics from bar rooms. But you would probably find that, on average, rural folk know a lot more than city folk about guns. They are far more second nature to us, and less of a ‘Rambo’ syndrome. (a dig at city folk haha)
      I have reloaded for years, shot local competitions, state competition (in trap) and been around guns since a little tyke. I know what goes in what hole. 🙂

    2. I still disagree. Gang bangers have guns, and shoot them, but they do not know as much as a hunters, reloaders, competitive shooters, etc. They mostly know about capacity, spray and pray out of car windows, how to get them illegally, etc. I am sure there are a few exceptions.

  54. @ Mc Ruger.

    The .30-40 Krag (7.8×58.8mm), was introduced in 1892, and was the first use of Smokeless Powder. The .30-30 (or, .30-US, .30-Army) introduced in 1895, was the first introduction of Smokeless Powder to the Civilian Market. Also note, the the .30-40 Krag is a .308Win. round, and not a 7.62x51mm round. While you can fire one in the other, you can’t fire the other form the one. A Real Conundrum/Oxymoron.

  55. Secundius

    Although it might be more appropriate to say the 7.62×51 / 308 came out of the 30-30. I believe the 30-30 was originally a 30-40 Krag. My understanding is that the 30-40 was developed for military and a few years later Winchester developed the 30-40 for civilian use producing the 30-30.

    Some say it is dated and with all there is to chose from now an unnecessary cartridge but I think it is a testament to Winchester R&D of 120 years ago. It spawned a lot of cartridges.

  56. I find it funny how many people, especially new to the game, think that a .30-30 is under powered, but a 44 Magnum Handgun is a blockbuster.

    .30-30 using a 160 Gr FTX has basically double the muzzle energy of a 44 Mag in 240 Gr XTP, and at 200 yards the .30-30 has more ft/lb than the 44 does at 50 yards.
    Sure, the .30-30 is no sniper round, but for anything up to and including 200 yards (with optics) it is more than adequate to hunt most North American game.

    1. @ Nathan Lambshead.

      I don’t think it has anything to due with Caliber Size, I thing it the 60-years difference in their Production, Introduction Dates. Some people, still view anything produced in the 19-century, as, either Muzzleloaders or Black Powder, and not worthy of being compared, with. Or in the same league with 20th/21st-Century Weaponry. It’s like comparing the Bow & Arrow, with the Spear, or the Atlatl.

    2. Well that’s true too, but I was addressing anyone who thinks the .30-30 is underpowered for hunting.
      As for the style, I personally love lever guns, and their rich history. Of coarse I am also a fan of the side-by-each coach gun and single action revolver.
      Not only my age showing, but my love for the history of them.
      I have absolutely no desire to own an AR-15, for example, other than if I want one to spite the antis. I think they are ugly as hell.

      All personal preference

    3. @ Nathan Lambshead.

      Also makes for good Bar-Room Bets for Free Drinks. Get some Country Person ( trying to be politically correct, here) and bet them you can shoot a Spitizer Point 7.62x51mmR Nato or .308Win. from a .30-30Win Leaver-Action Rifle.

  57. @ BELIEVE-IT or NOT!!!

    All a .30-30Winchester is, is a 7.62x51R Nato) with a Conical Point Bullet, instead of a .308Winchester with a Spitzer Point Bullet.

    1. Are you mad? First of all there is no. 7.62x51R, it is a 7.62x54R. This round is nowhere a 30-30, along with the fact that the R stand for Russian. This is the standard Mosin Nagant round. If you referring to the 7.62 x51 NATO round, you are also very much mistaken. The 7.62x 51. NATO is necked completely different, has a larger diameter casing, and generates more energy and velocity.

    2. What Mar said.
      There is a WHOLE lot of difference between a 308 and a .30-30. Being the same basic diameter doesn’t mean a thing. The bullet is different (as you said Secundus) but so is the case, the powder, and the pressure. Venus and mars here. (Thank you Mar)

  58. I will never get rid of my Marlin 30 30. Sure there are ‘better’ rifles to hunt with, (not that a whitetail knows the difference) but in the thick New Hampshire woods and swamps, a cheap (when I bought it) and reliable lever gun with open sights is about as good as it gets. Unless you are hunting power lines or open fields, you can’t see any more than 25 yards, if even that, in the majority of the woods you will be hunting in. And I hate to scratch up a 1000 dollar set up just for the sake of using something ‘better’. My lever gun will never be sold, and will be passed on to my son.

  59. Aside from the positive reasons mentioned e.g. fast, reliable. light weight and accurate. Americans in general and hunters in particular seem to have a closeness to tradition. Although more than willing to try and utilize the most modern and innovative in firearms, for many it just feels right to keep connection to origins and history.
    Similar to the popularity of single action revolvers and the resurgence in 45-70 popularity. I submit that tradition is also one of the big reasons the 30-30 lever action has hung around 120 years. I have 2 30-30s I don’t use anymore because I’ve moved on to more modern guns but the safe would sure look empty if I ever got rid of them.

  60. I also “had” the 30-30 lever action saddle carbine and it’s now just a vision of my past. True,I wasn’t using it much, less than one outing a year, so I let a friend and persuasive bargainer talk me out of it. I had forgotten how much pleasure it was to fire. I’ll regret it forever, and still today tell myself that I didn’t use it enough to justify having it. I lie to myself quite often… Have you ever wondered why a special firearm has so much more value when you no longer own it??? My resolution is; Think about it twice, and still say NO. 😉

  61. I loved my Marlin 30-30 but sold it to update my meager collection. Something to keep in mind, is that the 7.62×39 cartridge(AK47) has very similar ballistics as the 30-30. And can now be had in in various makes(Saiga, Vepr, etc.). I would recommend the long barreled versions as they get you better accuracy and a bit more range. I went with a CAI RPK, a heavy built AK with a 23″ barrel to squeeze every little bit out of the round.

  62. Henrys… Not around my neighborhood. I haven’t seen one of the .30-30s yet, but the pistol-caliber Henrys are usually priced higher than Marlins in the same caliber. They also feel distinctly heavier and “clunkier”, at least to me.

    The best deals by far in .30-30 are the Marlins and the Mossberg 464s. If anyone finds a Win 94 at a reasonable price, buy it and run, but even junky ones seem to be priced at the same level as, say, Browning Citoris.

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