Looking at 30-30

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Clovishound

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Jan 3, 2012
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I've been jonesing for a lever gun for a while. I need lots of time to mull things over so I thought I would ask a few questions here.

I would really like to get a .38/.357, but the only one I have seen that was somewhat affordable is the Rossi. I wasn't impressed with the fit and finish. Marlins seem to fit the bill in that department, but the choice there seems to be 30-30. I do some hunting, so this would be a decent caliber for the brush areas I frequent.

I have looked into the component situation, and it looks like 30-30 may not be too terribly expensive to reload. Plated bullets are relatively inexpensive, and it looks like I'd be getting something like 225 loads from a pound of powder. I'm talking plinking loads here, not hunting loads. MVs are looking like low 2000s. Not sure if the plated will handle that, but I'm sure there are decent loads that will work for plated. Brass may be an issue, as I don't think I've ever seen any on the ground at the range. I'd probably have to either buy factory ammo, or empty brass. That jacks up the cost.

Without factoring brass, it looks like I can load for around $25 a hundred. That's about twice what I spend on .38, although I'm sure I wouldn't shoot as much from a rifle as I would a handgun.

I know 30-30 isn't much good beyond 100 to 200 yds. That isn't an issue. Any feedback on the caliber from a standpoint of reloading and general performance?
 

Chief 101

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Feb 14, 2007
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I use cast bullets in the 30 30 lever guns mostly. Low 2000 fps is normal hunting loads for this caliber. 170gr at 21-2200fps and 150gr at 2250-2350 fps.
The cast bullets I load from 1000fps to just over 2000fps, with most in the middle somewheres. Loadin the 30-30 doesn't have to be expensive and 25 bucks a hundred is reasonable. I have Winchester and Marlin lever guns in this caliber, both shoot good with cast bullets
 

mikld

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Apr 22, 2009
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I have never been able to "justify" my reloading by counting costs. A few "problems" arise when I tried once many years ago; various cost of powders and other components (purchased over several years and priced did change!), and "misc. costs" that spring up; vehicle costs (gas and wear and tear on vehicle when I drove to pick up components), shipping and hazmat costs, utilities for my reloading room, etc. So, I don't count pennies. I like to reload and if it costs more to reload than to buy factory ammo, I prolly would.

I have a Rossi Puma in .44 Magnum and it has been trouble free for a couple thousand rounds. Fit and finish was better than some "Remlins" I've seen, but I haven't checked a newer one. There's a feller known as Nate Kiowa Jones that is the Rossi '92 Specialist and you can check out his site, Steve's Guns; http://store.stevesgunz.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=19_20_27&products_id=5

So, I would think it boils down to personal choice of cartridge. I've read of many deer taken with a .357 Magnum levergun, and with proper reloads it can be a pretty versatile cartridge. The 30-30 is a classic cartridge and components are easily found and ammo is available world wide. Ballistically, the 30-30 edges out the .357, but I doubt if a deer could tell the difference...
 

Jimbo357mag

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Feb 22, 2007
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I have both a 357 Mag Winchester and a 30-30 Marlin. The 357 mag isn't much of a hunting round. The 30-30 isn't that hard to reload. The 30-30 cost to reload is one of the cheapest rifle calibers out there but is decidedly more than any pistol cartridge. I made the jump a few years ago and enjoy loading and shooting the 30-30 more than any other rifle I have. There is plenty of data for reduced 30-30 loads and brass will last a long time at lower velocities. Go for it, Rossi, Henry, Marlin and Mossberg make great 30-30's besides the Winny.
 

wolfsong

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And Hornady's Leverevolution bullets in 30 caliber will get you a very effective range of 250-300 yards from a lever gun, which makes your gun a versatile hunting rifle instead of a "brush" gun.
 

Chief 101

Hunter
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wolfsong said:
And Hornady's Leverevolution bullets in 30 caliber will get you a very effective range of 250-300 yards from a lever gun, which makes your gun a versatile hunting rifle instead of a "brush" gun.
250-300 with the proper sights of course.
 

Ugly Hombre

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Aug 2, 2014
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Always thought it would be fun to buy a old 336 in 30-30 and try to have it remade into a "Marauder" clone.

http://www.35cal.com/gunpics/my_marauder2.jpg

Maybe a 18 inch barrell? Be cool as Hades.

Lusted after the original Marauders as a kid- a 30-30 one- a repro. would be fun to have.
 

jsh

Single-Sixer
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Oct 6, 2013
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All my levers are marlins. 357, .44, 30-30. Have donors for a 356 and a 38-55.
The 30-30 is so under rated that is silly. The 30-30 and 30-40 Krag are exceptional case designs for cast bullets. I would look long and hard at the powder coated types that are out there.
The 357 mag and a 180 cast bullet is a deer killer out to 200.
The .44 mag I have shot a bit but not near as much as the 357. The 44 is not near as accurate at the 357. But, I need to give it some time and a good work out.
The 30-30 in a rifle or Pistol platform is a good one. Their are a LOT of myths floating around still to this day. It is no magnum by any means. But with a modern gun, modern thinking it is over above what it was in the 40s and 50's.
My factory barreled TC will shoot sub MOA groups on demand. This didn't happen over night. My Marlin rifle( not micro grooved) will shoot cast almost as well.

If I were in your shoes and know what I know today, I would search out a non micro grooved 357 and not look back.
Jeff
 

greenmtnguy

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Aug 29, 2005
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Marlin 1894C in 357/38 - especially a nice older used one until the new company manages to work out the kinks in their production line- would be a fun, fine hunting carbine with the right ammo and keeping the ranges shorter. The 30-30 Winchester and 35 Remington are both great hunting calibers with a fair amount of flexibility, especially when handloading. I hunted with 35 Remington, which is similar in ballistics, to the 30-30 for many years.
 

Bucks Owin

Hunter
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Mar 22, 2004
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I too cast for my M-94. Inexpensive to load for and makes for, among other things, a pretty good 250 yd "A word" rifle... :wink:
 

Clovishound

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I probably didn't make it clear, but my primary focus is plinking/target shooting. I do some hunting and wouldn't mind a nice brush friendly, iron sight gun, but that is secondary. Primary game would be hogs and deer. Deer are somewhat small in my area, so I don't need a real heavy hitter.

I appreciate all the input. I would really like to go with .38/.357 as I already load for .38. I probably need to see if I can find a friend with a lever gun who will let me try it out.

I would be a little nervous about running lead at 2K. The thought of trying to clean 20" of badly leaded barrel is rather daunting.
 

Rick Courtright

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Mar 10, 2002
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Clovishound said:
I would be a little nervous about running lead at 2K. The thought of trying to clean 20" of badly leaded barrel is rather daunting.

Hi,

I started casting for the .30-30 with a 170 gr Lee RN mold. It's gas checked, and would run as fast as one probably wants to take cast bullets. I stayed around 1700 fps using RotoMetals' "hardball" alloy with GCs. In the 94 Winchester that lived here for a while, that was a good bullet. The 94's place was taken by a 336 Marlin. It seems to be a tad short in the chamber, and those 170s can jam up in the rifling when chambered. So I went to 150s, also from Lee, same alloy and gas checks. A lot of folks will tell you Marlins with MicroGroove rifling don't like lead, but that 150 makes a fun "try to blast desert rocks at 250-300 yds" load, and with the gas checks, there's been no leading problem with either rifle.

Only problem with gas checks is their pricing's gotten crazy and supply's still sketchy at times, but even using them with a commercial alloy the overall cost is reasonable. If one's fortunate enough to still have a good supply of free wheelweights, the cost is plenty cheap even with the GCs.

Some of the "pop gun" loads from Lyman's Cast Bullet Handbook are great from 50-100 yds for killing cans and other dangerous debris...

Brass supplies can be sketchy, too. Once in a while Graf's gets in a load of PRVI brass, and I got 100 .30-30s from them one time. They work as well as our domestic Big 3 as far as I can tell.

Rick C
 

6gun

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When I can afford it I'm going to buy a new 38/357 lever gun and it will be the new jap made Winchester model 73. 8)
 

stevemb

Hunter
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Aug 8, 2012
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While I have a M1894 in .44 I'd not steer you that way since you have invested in the .38/357 bore. In a carbine/rifle it is a 'hole 'nother critter. Yes you can whack your smaller deer and boars at close range just fine with a .357 lever gun. In SC, its either tight woods shooting or bean fields. Bean field rifles are the next thing to sniper rifles and you haven't mentioned any such, so... the .357 levergun of your choice will do, will cycle .38's. Also will be cheaper to feed than anything else. Sorry, but I cannot recommend the 30-30 choice for you.
 

Bucks Owin

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Mar 22, 2004
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stevemb said:
 Sorry, but I cannot recommend the 30-30 choice for you.

Care to say why? I see no downside to a cartridge that cast bullets generally shoot very well in, with velocities ranging from 1200 fps plinkers to 2200+ fps 200 yd hunting ammo. Component price same with either.

357 can't hold a candle I'd say... :?
 

Chief 101

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I happen to agree with you on the 30-30 Bucks, I also like 357 and 44 mags...white tail and pigs don't particularly like any of them...
 

Clovishound

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Jan 3, 2012
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I was in the LGS today with my daughter. On the way out I stopped and looked at the lever action rifles. I noticed they had a Henry in .38/.357. Really nice rifle. Price was a little high, but it was only a couple hundred more than the Rossi, and much better fit and finish. Beautiful stock on it.

I got to looking at some reloading data for .357 and discovered that Hodgdon has a separate rifle section for .357. They have some impressive velocities with the right powders. 125 grain bullets with h110 are rated for over 2200 fps out of an 18.5 " barrel. Wow those use about the same powder charge as my .223.

I'm having a hard time resisting this gun. looks like it would be a whole lot of fun. Might even bring home a hog or two. Daughter sounded like she would really like to spend some quality time with this rifle.
 

Jimbo357mag

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Feb 22, 2007
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Although you might get some great velocity with 125gr bullets out of a 357mag rifle the most deadly loads would be with 180gr bullets. The reason being that neither round is going to shoot very far and the heavier weight bullet will have much more energy on impact. ...and I don't even hunt but I can read a chart and read accounts from other hunters.

The 'Henry' sounds like a winner. I have heard only good things about them. :D
 

Clovishound

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Wasn't really planning on loading 125s for hunting. Just impressed with the MV produced. My attention was actually drawn to the 158 grain which came in at 1757, the 180 at 1381. Although, the Nosler partitions are reputed to be very respectable hunting rounds.
 

6gun

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Clovishound said:
Wasn't really planning on loading 125s for hunting. Just impressed with the MV produced. My attention was actually drawn to the 158 grain which came in at 1757, the 180 at 1381. Although, the Nosler partitions are reputed to be very respectable hunting rounds.

Since your not looking for a hunting rifle the 357 would be best for what your looking for, I consider a 357 rifle a plinker.

The 30-30 is a high powered hunting rifle excellent for deer and elk hunting, way over kill for plinking.
 
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