Ballistics: .45 Colt rifle vs. .30/30

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Yosemite Sam

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How do .45 Colt rifle rounds compare with .30/30 rounds ballistically speaking?

Comparing light loads to heavier loads in both I see I can do [email protected] to [email protected] out of the .30/30, compared to [email protected] to [email protected] out of the .45 Colt. Those are actually "Ruger/TC" loads, so velocities might be slightly higher out of a rifle barrel.

I can imagine the .30 caliber bullet would have a better BC than the .45 bullet(s). What are the effective ranges of the two calibers, both from an accuracy and terminal power perspective?

Would a heavy .45 Colt load be suitable for say, Elk? At what distance? Let me say that I don't currently hunt, so if this is a common, obvious dumb question, please don't hurt me too bad. I understand that either of these rounds would be marginal at best on Wapiti, and I'm not advocating such, I'm just curious. I know I can hunt with my .54 cal muzzle loader, so why not a .45 Colt rifle?

What I'm trying to do is decide if a .45 Colt rifle has a place in my collection. I might hunt some day, and am wondering if the gun could serve some useful purpose other than just scratching an itch.

I primarily shoot targets, recently started reloading lead for the .30/30, and am wondering if the .45 could replace the .30/30, give me the accuracy I see out of that gun, and be a better caliber for hunting should I choose to do that.

-- Sam
 

Ruber

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Sam,

Get yourself a .45 rifle and come down here and hunt some pigs with us!

The places I hunt you'd be lucky to find a shot over 100yrds and those big bullets seem to do the job real well on the hogs. I got tired of carrying the big 30-cal rifles and find the short big-bore levers to do the trick nicely.

Basically, out to about 75 yards, I'd rather have a .45 Colt or .44 Magnum in a trapper sized rifle. After that, I'd feel a bit more comfortable with the faster 30-cal bullet.

As far as Elk, I haven't the foggiest...
 

BearStopper

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Heavy 45 Colt loads out any action type will definitely take elk at reasonable range but it is far from what is considered optimum. I would say 100 yards or less with a broadside shot through the heart lung area with that setup. You have much better trajectory out of the 30-30 but it is also less than optimum and the range should be reasonably close. If you want to shoot it in the shoulder as some like to do then the bigger the magnum the better to transfer as much shock as possible and in alot of cases dropping the animal in its tracks.
 
A

Anonymous

While the 45 may be quite adequate for deer sized game out to 75-100 yards and if stuck in a survival situation I would shoot at a elk w/o compunction. The 30-30 has it all over the 45 for almost all hunting situations. The 30-30 is a very viable hunting rifle even for elk out to probably 200 yds. for deer sized game probably 250 or so. Don't believe the "rainbow trajectory" comments. While not as flat as a 270 the 30-30 is flat enough to make hits out to 250 yds fairly easily. The biggest problem most 30-30's have is sighting equipment coupled with a light short barrel carbine pkg.. Frankly most people have never developed the skill to shoot with open sights at extended ranges. However put a scope on a 30-30 and 250 yds becomes quite feasible. On the other hand take the scope off someone's 30-06 or 7mag and see how well they do at 250-300 yds. Just my $.02
 

Hammer

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.

Not knocking the 30-30 at all...

But the 45 Colt loaded to its potential does fine on elk.

Have one 6 x 7 elk on the wall taken with a Ruger Bisley revolver.

45 Colt Trapper would be even better.


.
 

Yosemite Sam

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Thanks for the responses, and not taking me to task for "going out undergunned". I wouldn't do that, that's why I'm asking.

The "rainbow trajectory" comment was what I was wondering about, though I was thinking the .45 Colt might be more subject to it, especially on longer shots. It makes sense that the .30/30 would be somewhat flatter.

Of course I'm going to check the types of terrain available for this endeavor and figure that in, too. Ideally I'd have a .270 as minimum, up to a .308, .30-06, or 7mm mag for a dedicated Elk rifle, but I'm looking for something that will suit me for general purpose, too. Heck, I have a .243, but it weighs 12.x lbs in a pseudo bench stock (Savage 12BVSS), and I don't see me lugging that around the outback.

Sounds like I may just need to pick up the .45 Colt gun, load for it, and see how they compare at the target range...

Maybe that's the next question: Which is more versatile between the two? I'm thinking a .45 Trapper sized gun would be fun, if nothing else.

-- Sam
 

tek4260

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My nod would go to the 30-30 in all aspects and it can be had in trapper legnth as well. I have a 45 Colt carbine, and while I like it, I cannot begin to lie and say it is better than a 30-30 in my mind. Now switch that 30-30 to a 35 Rem and the gap widens dramatically :D
FWIW, I can buy factory 30-30 ammo cheaper than 45 Colt as well.
 

Ruber

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Yosemite Sam":3b7qm970 said:
I'm thinking a .45 Trapper sized gun would be fun, if nothing else.

In my experience, you get a pretty solid boost going from a Blackhawk barrel to a Trapper barrel in the large pistol cartridges, but not that much more when you add on a couple of extra inches over that, like you do with the typical rifle powders in a .30 caliber (even my H110 loads don't seem to notice much difference between the Trapper length and the Carbine length).

Since I tend to hike a bunch through chap and oak, the Trapper makes the trip with me more than anything else, just seems to balance and handle well.

But, there are a lot of really nice Carbines and Cowboy models out there to choose from!!! I think some of the 24" octagon Cowboy model 92s that are out there are great!
 

Bucks Owin

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I'd like to have one for the simple reason that it can shoot CAS too, (.30/30 ain't welcome) as well as be a fine shortish range brush buster. Heck, look at the fine reputation of the .45/70 which isn't all THAT much faster in 300-350 gr loads... JMO, Dennis
 

I_Like_Pie

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Bucks Owin":2ih2zyvc said:
Heck, look at the fine reputation of the .45/70 which isn't all THAT much faster in 300-350 gr loads... JMO, Dennis

I am getting 2000fps+ out of my 18" guide gun with 300 grain JHP. My 170 grain 30-30 load out of my 18" 336 is only pushing 2100.

Both are much, much more powerful than the 45 colt. The question is - Is that power really needed? Not really.

If you don't reload you are better off with a 30/30. it does everything well and is cheap for both gun and ammo. If you reload the 45 colt or 45/70 will do the same but with a slightly bigger hole for a lot more money.
 

dougader

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Yosemite Sam":v5hhwt8n said:
Thanks for the responses, and not taking me to task for "going out undergunned". I wouldn't do that, that's why I'm asking.

The "rainbow trajectory" comment was what I was wondering about, though I was thinking the .45 Colt might be more subject to it, especially on longer shots. It makes sense that the .30/30 would be somewhat flatter.

Of course I'm going to check the types of terrain available for this endeavor and figure that in, too. Ideally I'd have a .270 as minimum, up to a .308, .30-06, or 7mm mag for a dedicated Elk rifle, but I'm looking for something that will suit me for general purpose, too. Heck, I have a .243, but it weighs 12.x lbs in a pseudo bench stock (Savage 12BVSS), and I don't see me lugging that around the outback.

Sounds like I may just need to pick up the .45 Colt gun, load for it, and see how they compare at the target range...

Maybe that's the next question: Which is more versatile between the two? I'm thinking a .45 Trapper sized gun would be fun, if nothing else.

-- Sam

Where do you hunt, Sam... or where might you hunt? If its heavy brush and close in shots I'd go with the trapper in 45 Colt.

But if you need distance for your shots on elk - like over 200 yards - I've gone with the 338-06 for an elk rifle. I found a Savage that had been rechambered/rebarreled and it shoots great. You need to reload for the 338-06, but you need to reload for the 45 Colt and 45-70 too.

Guys give me grief for not going with the 338 Win Mag, but full power 338 Win Mag just isn't needed for elk, and the recoil steps up exponentially. Most of the guys I know who load for the 338 Win Mag download it to 338-06 power levels anyway.
 

Yosemite Sam

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dougader":1ucjdaa4 said:
Where do you hunt, Sam... or where might you hunt? If its heavy brush and close in shots I'd go with the trapper in 45 Colt.

But if you need distance for your shots on elk - like over 200 yards - I've gone with the 338-06 for an elk rifle. I found a Savage that had been rechambered/rebarreled and it shoots great. You need to reload for the 338-06, but you need to reload for the 45 Colt and 45-70 too.

Guys give me grief for not going with the 338 Win Mag, but full power 338 Win Mag just isn't needed for elk, and the recoil steps up exponentially. Most of the guys I know who load for the 338 Win Mag download it to 338-06 power levels anyway.
That's just it; Totally hypothetical at this point. I'm in the Willamette Valley and would consider going anywhere within driving distance. I've got friends with property out east, but I'm not sure of the game distribution around the state, either. I really haven't looked into it, just sort of trying to hedge my bets. Trying to justify a "fun" rifle as having a potential real world use.

I really just use Elk as the extreme top end example of what I'd hunt. Sort of like, "They're around here, I should be equipped to take them." If I were really going to get into hunting I'd be just as happy going after mulies, blacktail, whatever. And upland game birds. I even have the shotguns and trap shooting experience for that.

-- Sam
 

dougader

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I'm up by McMinnville. I've hunted both east and west-side. Mule deer down by French Glen (SE corner, south of Burns, OR) and blacktail deer on the way to the coast from Portland... out past Timber, OR.

Even in the thick trees and brush on the west-side you come across clear cuts where you might need to take a 300 yard shot. Once elk hunting west-side I actually used an old FN-49 semi-auto military rifle in 8mm Mauser with stout handloads. Heavy sucker, that, and I had to block the 10 round box magazine so it only held 5.

Eastern Oregon gives you lots of shots from 75-400 yards... mostly over 200, though.
 

Yosemite Sam

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dougader":16jc1c4g said:
I'm up by McMinnville. I've hunted both east and west-side. Mule deer down by French Glen (SE corner, south of Burns, OR) and blacktail deer on the way to the coast from Portland... out past Timber, OR.

Even in the thick trees and brush on the west-side you come across clear cuts where you might need to take a 300 yard shot. Once elk hunting west-side I actually used an old FN-49 semi-auto military rifle in 8mm Mauser with stout handloads. Heavy sucker, that, and I had to block the 10 round box magazine so it only held 5.

Eastern Oregon gives you lots of shots from 75-400 yards... mostly over 200, though.
That's what I was thinking. Out east, lots of open high desert and long shots. Lots of good varmint hunting. I hadn't thought of the clear cuts on this side, though.

-- Sam
 

tek4260

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Ill shoot this one across the chrony and list the velocities. Heck I couldn't pass on it for $125. Seems no one wants a 45 in a rifle round here.
 

J Miller

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Sam,

Here is a quote from a thread about .45 Colt velocities and trajectory you might be interested in. It comes from Mike Rintoul owner of Grizzly Cartridge Ammunition Company.

I cannot provide a recipe because my insurance prohibits that, but I will share some ballistics for you to ponder:

260 gr @ 1100 FPS will be 3"-3.5" high at 50 yds to be dead on @ 100 yds.

260 gr @ 1700 FPS will be 1.75" high @ 50 yds to be dead on @ 100 yds.

A 250, 260 or 265 grain bullet will have nearly the same flight path from zero to 100 yds for the same velocities.

Past 125 yds the heavier bullets retain the velocity and therefore the line of flight better than the lighter bullets. If you are shooting 150 for instance, the 300 gr will actually fly flatter at 150 and beyond.

This quote came from this thread over on Leverguns.com:
http://levergunscommunity.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=24069
There is a lot of good information in it.

I have two rifles, actually a carbine and a Trapper in .45 Colt. They are a lot of fun to shoot and very versatile.
Last year in Indiana at a Leverguns get together I was hitting the 200 yard gong target with my Marlin 1894 and standard pressure ammo off hand. I'm sure that with some load development I could tailor a load for hunting deer, hogs or most anything.

Joe
 

BeagleDog

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I_Like_Pie":36laiey7 said:
Bucks Owin":36laiey7 said:
Heck, look at the fine reputation of the .45/70 which isn't all THAT much faster in 300-350 gr loads... JMO, Dennis
I am getting 2000fps+ out of my 18" guide gun with 300 grain JHP. My 170 grain 30-30 load out of my 18" 336 is only pushing 2100.

Don't want to get to off thread but here's what I have in stock right now for my Marlin 1895GS in 45/70, all JFN except for the Hornady;

Buffalo Bore 405gr 2,000fps
Grizzly 350gr 2,200
Buffalo Bore 350gr 2,150
Buffalo Bore 300gr 2,350
Hornady Leverevolution FTX 325gr 2,050 but only a 4" drop at 200yds.

I've never shot a 30-30 though. What's the recoil like? The 45/70 in 350gr gets tiresome for me after 10-15 rounds but there's no need to shoot more than that once sighted in.
 

Jayhawkhuntclub

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A 30/30 is pretty gentle as far as recoil is concerned. Especially compared to a heavy load in a 45/70. I'd say night and day. But then again, an 1895 isn't bad with some 300 grainers and Trailboss.
 

BeagleDog

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Jayhawkhuntclub":1y00dxdz said:
A 30/30 is pretty gentle as far as recoil is concerned. Especially compared to a heavy load in a 45/70. I'd say night and day. But then again, an 1895 isn't bad with some 300 grainers and Trailboss.

Can you enlighten me with what "trailboss" is? Thanks.
 

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