In Defense of the 30-30 Winchester

A pre-64 Model 94, a post-64 Model 94 and a Rossi 92, Top to Bottom

With the turn of another century well behind us, the development of rifles and cartridges continues with the trend toward bigger, hotter, and flatter shooting rounds. Today it is no trick at all to find a basic bolt-action that throws big, boat-tail spitzers close to 3000 feet per second. While they are entertaining to read about and probably fun to shoot, I hardly ever hunt brick outhouses at a mile and a half.

The availability of all this heavy hardware leads some to question the usefulness of the old standard offerings and the 30-30 Winchester has suffered its share of derision. I still hear an occasional “expert” say that they are no good past 50 yards and tell stories of cronies who emptied one into a big buck- only to have him run away and be seen the following year. I believe these tales can generally be placed in one of two categories- “Baldface Lies” and the “Chronicles of Them What Can’t Shoot”.


Author’s son Erik, at age 7, proves that you really CAN kill a deer with the poor old 30-30.


Younger son Mark, proves it again 12 years later!

 The lever-action 30-30’s virtues are many. New rifles are available at moderate prices and used specimens can be found at about a third the price of a really nice sporter. The more recent versions are capable of mounting a scope over the bore and even the old lever-actions are adaptable to receiver sights. The rifles are mechanically accurate enough for any sensible hunting chore. I have put many a Winchester or Marlin on paper at 100 yards, and the vast majority would place three shots in two inches or less with good sights or a low-powered scope. Many would hold close to one MOA and a couple have been scary accurate. The groups in this target were fired with the post-64 rifle above using the factory iron sights.

This group was shot at a little over 200 yards, same load, from a particularly accurate little pre-safety Winchester 94 Angle Eject.

Ammunition for the 30-30 is available anywhere and remains economical compared to other hunting cartridges. Still, reloading the 30-30 is a worthwhile endeavor and the best-shooting loads I have ever fired were born of my battered old Pacific press. Brass is abundant and the cartridge lends itself well to reloading. Go easy on the case lube and spring for a factory crimp die, which preempts a lot of problems associated with case length. It does not eliminate the need to trim entirely. Best accuracy comes with sorting cases by manufacturer. Do NOT try to make the 30-30 into a brevet magnum by overloading it. If you can shoot, you probably don’t need the extra powder anyhow. If you do need it, pass on the 30-30 and buy more rifle to begin with.

When the 30 WCF arrived on the scene in 1895, with its 160 grain bullet at 1900 feet per second, it was viewed as a fine long-range hunting rifle and it quickly established itself as a reliable killer. Today, this seems ridiculous; but consider that its predecessors posted velocities in the 1300-1600 fps range, and it all comes into perspective. It was far easier to punch the boiler room at 200-250 yards with the flat-shooting Winchester. I have fooled with the 30-30 to about 330 yards and I can see why westerners soon came to like it.

Three, 3-shot groups with an iron-sighted 94 Winchester at 330 yards- including a sight adjustment.

The new 1894 was notably handier than the vast majority of big game rifles then available and it didn’t kick as hard, either. These qualities endeared it generations of American hunters, ranchers, and lawmen.

Yes, lawmen- and that application is by no means limited to the last century. I have a few decades behind a badge, and many miles traveled, with a 94 Winchester within easy reach. Its presence has been comfort to me and a terror to the few wayward souls who got a social introduction to it. An awful lot of people have seen the 30-30 do its dirty work on junk dogs and deer; and they want no part of that on the third button of their shirt. For criminals in and behind autos, I am convinced that it beats a .223 all hollow. There are far worse choices in a defensive carbine and no less an authority than Jeff Cooper noted that fact.

As a handy hunting rifle to about 200 yards, the 30-30 excels. It has ample power for the clean harvesting of deer at that distance, provided that the shot is well placed. This requires usable sights and considerable practice. Getting the most from your lever-gun requires careful regulation of those sights, a common-sense approach to their use at various distances and the restraint to pass up shots where a specific, vital area of the target cannot be engaged with confidence. Confidence is the product of practice.

Several years ago I was hunting with a 94 Winchester made in the 1970’s, fitted with a Williams “Foolproof” receiver sight, and a fine blade mounted up front. which I had zeroed for 200 yards with 150 grain Winchester factory loads. I was still-hunted a heavily-wooded waterway, between two big bean fields, and I was sure I’d heard a deer moving around timber. But frankly I was cold, tired of the rain, and ready to go home for the morning. I was slogging out uphill over the harvested field, when I stopped on a terrace to catch my breath. As I rested I looked back at the timber and saw a nice fork-horn buck, walking out from the trees.

Going prone on the muddy terrace, I guessed the buck to be about 250 yards, so I held the tip of the front sight on the top edge of his shoulder as I waited a few seconds to get my breathing under control. The buck turned nearly broadside, and lowered his head to forage. I pressed the trigger and as the rifle bucked I heard the solid impact of the bullet. The buck stumbled forward a step and fell on his chin. The slug had taken a 1″ section of bone out, upon exiting his shoulder. After the advent of Google Earth I ranged that shot at about 235 yards. My ballistics charts tell me that a 150 grain Winchester Silvertip has slowed to around 1600 fps, but it was enough to accomplish the task at hand.

The next year, I watched as a coyote snuck through grass as high as his neck, toward the treestand my wife & I were sitting in. Peggi saw him about 125 yards out, put the post under his head and pressed the trigger on that same 94 Winchester. Thwock! No more Mr. Coyote.

I used the old-school Winchester 150 grain Silvertip and Power-Point for decades and have seen enough deer fall to them to be confident in their effectiveness. The last 20 years saw the old 30-30 get a boost with new powders and factory loads like the ‘Ballistic’ Silvertip, Nosler’s Partition and Hornady’s LeverEvolution. These are nice additions but I don’t see them as critical to the survival of the cartridge or rifles that fire it.

In its heyday, common 30-30 loads were used on all manner of game including some large, irritable species with a propensity for vacuuming the human gene pool. In 1895 John Horton of Kalispel, MT used one to kill a huge grizzly that had terrorized that area, killing men and cattle, for nearly 20 years. In 1965, a world-record grizzly fell to one .30/30 bullet fired by Jack Turner. In dire circumstances we use what we have. While dangerous game is not the forte of the little cowboy gun, a 30-30 lever action is handy enough to always have along. For all the developments in ammunition for this cartridge, I’m a little disappointed that nobody makes a flat-nosed, heavy-jacket FMJ bullet more suitable to these purposes.

It is great fun to explode jugs of water at 400 yards with a necked-down lightning bolt and for quarter-mile hunting, the 30-30 is a waste of time. But about 85% of real-world rifle chores can be handled by a good shot with a 94 Winchester and 110 years of technological advances hasn’t changed that. If you see beauty in utility, it is the Sophia Loren of hunting rifles.



54 Responses to In Defense of the 30-30 Winchester

  1. 336BL says:

    Thank you for the article. I re-discovered the 30/30 agin this year after a 14 year break (recently bought a Marlin 336BL). When I lived in NYS and hunted in the Adirondacks it was all the gun/caliber that I needed, even my Father told me when I was younger that the 30/30 was all that I needed–he was right (been switching between the 270 Win, 45/70, 444, 44Mag and even tried the 357Mag, but deep down in my heart I was missing the 30/30). So this year I am focusing my attention and my reloading exclusively on the 30/30 and will be Mule Deer hunting with it.

  2. Sarge says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed it, 336BL. BTW I handled one of the little guns that is your namesake and they are real slick. Think I could get used to one pretty easy!

  3. Hobie says:

    All I can say is that this article proves that there is too long a wait from one article to the next. Keep up the good work Sarge…

  4. johndefresno says:

    Nice article, Sarge – very well written and entertaining.

    I recall that even in the early 70’s, deputies in Central California relied on the handy .30-30 as a tactical car gun, kept in the trunk, in addition to the dash mounted 12 gauge; especially with the mountain resident officers. It is indeed a great American tradition, and a gun with many roles.

  5. T.R. says:

    Thanks for sharing your words about my favorite hunting cartridge for the forests and foothills. 30-30 is a KEEPER!!


  6. Keith Isaacs says:

    I have a model 94 that the ser. number tells me that it was made in 1965 but the gun is exactly like a pre-64? It has all the parts but the wrong ser. number 28x and not 27x.

  7. Randy says:

    I bought a Winchester 94 in 30/30 caliber when I was 16 and used it until I went to the army. When I got out I put a Williams receiver sight on it and have used it that way until now. Back in the 1970s I bought a bolt action 308 and quickly figured out that where I hunt the scope was in the way and the 94 was all I needed. I am almost 64 now and still use that 94 with the same receiver sight. With a good rest I can hit ground hogs at up to 200 yds, but the longest shot I ever made on a deer was around 100 and that is a long way in these laurel thickets. I don’t blame people for buying higher caliber or more accurate rifles but for me that old 94 is perfect and nothing carries like a Winchester 94.

  8. Jambrdly says:

    I just bought my first 30-30 (model 94 made in 1971). I bought it at a gunshow for $250. It has a bit of freckling on the action but everything else is 95% and the bore is cherry. I have hunted in Africa, the UK, Germany and Japan – I considered myself to be an experienced hunter who was knowledgable about guns. I didn’t know anything about the 1894 or the 30-30 and had never really wanted to. Now I must say – where has this gun been all my life? Its so light that I could carry it all day and never feel it – and the 2″ groups at 100 yards are all I would ever need here in Missouri. Great little gun.

  9. Just bought a Pre-64 Model 94 accuracy is literacy unbelievable at 100 yards.
    Also bought Post-64 Model 94 with a maple plain stock for my partner. Told her we have a pair, she is not yet impressed. Intent to fly-fish at some of the National Parks carrying a back pack with a 0-wt Sage on on side and a Model 94 on the other.

  10. Jack Penix says:

    I’m glad to see some of the smart fellers out there using one of the best hunt’n rifles ever made!!!!

  11. Elktanner says:

    Had a pre-’64 that shot under an inch with iron sights & handloads @ 100 yards & all my post’64 rifles shoot almost as well. AR-10’s & 15’s are fun & reliable but if it’s under 250 yards, I prefer the lever gun. All one really needs is a single properly placed pill or perhaps two.

  12. monte white usmc retired says:

    had an old topeject mod94 that was made in 57 on or near my it for 40 bucks from a friend of my uncle who like so many fell into magnum mania during the sixtys and seventies.have had the chance to shoot many weapons in my life,many the civilians were not privy to.if I could have only one rifle to walk the earth with it is the little great uncle killed bear and elk and prairie chickens to feed his family in Montana.i have taken many adear with it and consider it to be combat worthy as well.sorry to lose it when my old house burned down.its still out in the shed and I look at it sometimes.havnt the funds for another as they are out of sight in price these days,but someday all the brass I have saved will be run through a 94 again.monte white galena Missouri.semper fi….

  13. I grew up hunting deer with the 94 in northern Maine. I then when through the next thirty years using other guns and other calibers. Last year, while coming back from a fly fishing expedition, I stopped at a yard sale and bought a 94 manufactured in the early seventies. It was like running into an old friend when I picked it up. I bought it on the spot and fell back in love with it. Easy to use, light weight, and accurate as can be up to 200 yards.

  14. KenNlongshot says:

    For many years I have had nothing but disdain for the lowly 30-30. I wondered why any thinking individual would want a slow round ball hurling at less than impressive speeds when a 308 could do the job better. After receiving one in poor condition in return for payment for some smith work I had done I restored the post 64 top eject that looked as though it had spent much of life as a tomato stake. I figured I would refinish and resell it in short order. After fondling it and doing some reading I started to like the way it felt. It was slim and light and easy to handle. I loaded some shells for it and headed to the range with the stock open sights and made a few adjustments. With the stock sights I put 3 rounds repeatedly in under 1 1/2 inches. It is the ak-47 of the west. I just can’t seem to let it go now. I just came across a 94 pack gun with a walnut stock and a burris scope and decided to add it to my collection. Carrying one of these in the trunk of your car in our politically correct anti gun atmosphere turns much fewer heads than an AR or an AK evil black guns out there and is just as, or even more effective. A whitetail will never know the difference if it was a super magnum oober thumper or if it was the 30-30 that ended it days. Thanks for the article reflecting on a great rifle that will hopefully remain appreciated for many years to come.

  15. Graat Pelser says:

    I got my grandfathers’s 30-30 mod 325B Stevens that came from the 1950’s and reload for it. using 150gr bullets. I use a 308 K98 Mauser and interarms 458 magnum too. But I leave the heavy rifles for my son and am quite content to hunt Wildebeest, Kudu, Impala and warthog plus Bushpig. I floated the barrel and added an extra screw onto the bolt action at the back. fire 2″ groups at 100meters.

  16. Paul Dunagan says:

    Really liked the article. Was given a model 94 carbine Winchester my grandad carried as a river rider on the Texas Mexican Border in the 1940s. It was made in 1911 according to the serial number. I am doing some handloads and it shoots great. I have been told it has taken down many a white tail deer and several varmints 4 legged and 2 legged. Grandpa said he had this rifle in his possession when he crossed pathes with Poncho Viilla in the 1920 while running angora goats in the Texas Big Bend County. Wish I would have listened closer to his stories.

  17. James Van Etten says:

    I own a mauser converted to .257 Rob, a model 700 in 7 mag, several .22 bolts and a 336 in .308 ME, but my fav is my ’94 in .30-30. Easy carry light recoil and just pure joy to shoot. I live in upstate NY along the Canadian border where hunting can take you from the woods to endless cornfields…it had never let me down. Great article!

  18. Mike says:

    The use of the lever action 30-30 as a tactical weapon is very viable in my opinion. It is one of the few weapons available today that you can reload without taking it out of the fight.

  19. Fred Bright says:

    Loved the article. I feel much the same way about my 35 Remington. The guys with the big magnums and hot loads put down the old deer guns, but I have hardly ever taken a deer beyond 100 yards because here in Virginia, the trees have a way of getting in the way in the deep woods I hunt. In a stand, most of them were taken at 45 or 60 yards. Something about a lever gun just says “American” and they are beautiful things. Love my 1894 Marlins, 357 mag, 44 mag and my 336 in 35 Remington. Real love affair.

  20. Mike says:

    I have never fired a 30-30, but I am considering buying one. I like the idea of a light, easy to handle rifle with enough punch to be effective at 100 to 200 yards. I never much cared for the AR type rifles (I had an M16 in the Army). Is there much of a difference between pre and post 1964 Winchester 94s? I am not a collector, I just want a good shooter. Although I have to admit that a Winchester 94 would be way cool.

  21. David Dailey says:

    Over the years I’ve stayed with two rifles: a Savage bolt action .308 and a Marlin 336c 30/30. The .308 I developed a fondness for as a result of my Marine Corps days with the M14. It’s accurate out to (and beyond) 400 yards and packs a wallop, but my go-to piece is my 30/30, and for all the reasons noted in the posts above. The 30/30 is light to carry, fast pointing, and accurate and powerful enough to take down Mule deer out to 200 yards. And it’s a better than good as a protection piece. I respect it and what it’s capable of handling. I wouldn’t be without mine. It’s a keeper.

    • Never served in the military (but thanks for your service. I expect when the SHTF the people will be able to count on the Corps for sure…just an opinion).

      Serving as a Correctional Officer I heard lots of talk on the issue of what constitutes a good round for self-defense and security.

      I cannot name one round that anyone will stand in front of even in heavy winter wear and take a shot from it. Every round, it seems to me, has its application and the 30-30 has been tried and proven in more theaters or operation than most.

  22. Sarge says:

    Great bunch of comments guys. Thank you all for participating and keeping this fantastic combination of rifle and cartridge alive. Feel free to share this article, so the next generation of shooters doesn’t miss out on it.

  23. GW says:

    I have a 94 Ranger in 30-30 bought it in 1992, for 180.00 new. Dad also has one in the 7-30 Waters. They are great ” little rifles”, I mean they shoot sub 2 inch groups at 100 yards, and have taken many mule deer in Oregon and Montana. If I would have known back then the prices being today what they are I would have bought 100 of them back in the day. Can remember 94’s and Marlin 336’s going for 180- 200 dollars all day at Wally World, K-mart etc. Nothing more iconic than a Winchester 30-30 , just like deniem and stetson hats, and Ford trucks, truely American.

  24. GW says:

    Never reloaded for the 30-30 until here recently, always shot factory 170 gr silver tips by Winchester. That is in the 90’s factory even in the off season was 10.00 bucks a box, just bought one or two boxes and that was it. Before deer season Wally World would put 30-30 ammo on sale for 7.99 a box still have a box, today I reload ” cheaper” never would have belived 30-30 ammo would sell as today at 20+ dollars a box. Then again never thought I’d pay 4.00 for a gallon of gas either.

  25. Tony says:

    Years back I worked as a forest fire lookout in the Slave Lake area in Alberta. The friends I made, who lived and worked in the bush there, always used 30-30 Winchester lever rifles to take moose, and for black bear protection. The rifles worked very well for those tasks, and took moose easily within 50 yards or so, providing them with their winter freezer meat. I had no problems dropping heavy Mule Deer for winter’s meat out in that bush country with the 30-30 during the hunting season .
    Sometimes I have to chuckle when I read the occasional magazine article disparaging the original first smokeless sporting round, and claiming 30-30s don’t have enough power for serious hunting of big game. Because I, and my friends, knew what the 170 grain soft point rounds could do when accurately placed, and we certainly never noticed any lack of power from the combination !
    Much enjoyed the article , thanks for the great read regarding a great rifle/cartridge.

  26. Bill says:

    I’ll be the first to admit I’ve yet to pull the trigger on a 30 wcf… not for any practical reason. I grew up with a 6.5-55 dad bought me and later went to a 444 Marlin of which knocked everything down it hit… lately though I’ve been thinking it might be a good idea to own a 30 wcf… I’m not recoil shy, always had heavy caliber guns but it’s about time i add one of these to the herd

  27. Mark Harry says:

    Had around 50 rifles at one time. Sold (most) all, and went and bought a 336 with 24″ barrel. With crossed sticks and the ol’ butt propped against a tree, it’ll toss 150 gr Winchester “cheap” stuff out the spout at 2400’/sec all day- and it’ll plop them into 1.5″ when I do my part. Easy to carry, efficient hunting round. Will penetrate a 7″ hemlock consistently at close range with this ammo.
    The ones I kept deserve mention. Single shot T/C contender carbines, in 7-30 waters (scarey accurate, based on the same case) 357 mag, 22 WMR ( shoots eyes out of red squirrels at 75 yards).
    Most all I have kept seem to throw pellets at around 1500-2500’/sec. All easy to master, reload for, and easy to get good results with. Have had everything from 220 swift to 458 win mag. Seems the guys who came up with the 30 wcf knew what they were doing. things work well with medium size cases, and serve to be extremely flexible for most all purposes.
    Would like to ‘mod the 336 in 2 ways. Get one of those large loop levers for gloved hands, and get a red-dot sight where the battery doesn’t discharge while it’s sitting in the cabinet!
    30-30 a keeper for sure.

  28. Steve Burton says:

    I have a 1968 mdl 94 that is always in my truck. I have several other rifles but I love shooting and loading for the old 30-30. And over the years I have seen some pretty impressive shots made with Marlin and Winchester lever guns in 30-30

  29. Dave says:

    Now you know darn good and well, if you’re hunting squirrel with anything smaller than a 50 BMG, you’re screwing up! Seriously, I grew up carrying a Winchester 94 and a Marlin 336. The round is just as relevant today as it was a century ago. I have one or two other guns to choose from, but I’m never far from my 30/30 no matter where I go because even though it may not be sexy, but it damn sure works every time.

  30. Sarge says:

    I’d forgotten this little episode, which occurred when I was maybe 19 years old, until the topic of ’50 Yard Defense’ came up recently on another forum. I wrote:

    “…I can recall instances where morons were taking potshots at folks from what would be considered long range in defensive circles. Even had such an exchange myself late one night involving some drunk coon (I suppose) hunters some 200 yards away, where they had stopped along my creek to raise hell. My dogs heard the ruckus and woke me up. They had lit themselves up; I hadn’t. I yelled, from behind a tree, that they were trespassing and to get moving along, Our brief exchange of words soon turned into cursing and threats, spiced with a barrage of what sounded like .22 semi-auto fire up the hill toward the sound of my voice.”

    (I’d heard a couple of bullets whine past me after they clipped brush and limbs near my location. Cell phones were unheard of then. I was 150 yards from the house and didn’t want to draw fire there, even if I could get back. It was dark, cold and I was getting PISSED.)

    “Four rounds of 30-30, directed into the hillside about 50 yards above them, resolved the matter w/o apparent bloodshed; or at least the deputy and I didn’t find any blood among the dropped booze, .22 casings and garbage left in their wake. He seemed to find it all rather humorous and mentioned to me later that is was the talk of bars and coffee shops for several weeks.”

    Just another instance where having a 94 Winchester, handy and ready to go, worked out to the good.

  31. Dear guys! I love my rifle pre-64 in the “Antique” model. Went hunting with it in France and South Africa. Shot with it big wildboars at about 60 yards and in Africa Wildebeast, impalas and warthogs with iron sights. I reload with the Sierra’s bullet Pro-Hunter in 170gr FN. They work just well, good speed and very good penetration as well.

    Always, brought me goood meat on the table. Very light to carry and amazing accurate.

    The 30-30 WCF is really a good round, a keeper with low recoil.

    I’m todays 42 years old and will hunt with this rifle until my end!

    Thanks for reading.


  32. John Burgoon says:

    What a pleasure to read a common-sense article, with holes in paper plates to back it up. Thanks for writing down what I’ve always privately thought about my favorite rifle.

  33. Bob says:

    Put a lay-a-way on a m 94 today. S# 1319xxx. Cant wait for the shop to get some more back ground froms in the next day or so

  34. sully v says:

    I’m a little late to the game but I bought a Marlin 336Y “spikehorn”, 16″ barrel and a youth stock (12 1/2″) this year. This has been a fantastic “trapper, the short stock fits me and is very comfortable, the shorter barrel swings quickly, it’s accurate, the recoil is not an issue. I was thinking about chopping an older 20” 336 into a trapper, but found the 336Y at my local gun shop–didn’t even know they existed.

    The 30/30 is my all time favorite caliber, I’ve shot and owned a bunch of other calibers in a levergun, but in the end I’ll take a 30/30. I also think the 336Y would make a good patrol rifle…Sarge, thank you for a great article.

  35. Thanks for your article. It confirmed what I decided last year. I had a limited budget at the time but still wanted a rifle capable of hunting and self-defense at medium ranges. I also wanted cheap ammunition choices and something that would not make the gun control freaks start calling their therapist at the sight of it.

    Enter the 30-30.

    I got all kinds of grief from my buddies about my choice, what with their claiming I could by a cheap AR-15 for what I paid for my Marlin 30-30. Well, this gun has been around a long time, I thought. I understand how it works and it has taken more deer than any other round is what I have read. If it kills deer it will kill a man in self-defense.

    I quit thinking about it and bought a Marlin 30-30…at Walmart, mainly because they did not make me feel like an idiot for my choice. Sometimes thinking you are right and so much smarter than your customer is expensive.

  36. Wade L. says:

    I remember a story my Grandfather told to me about a cousin of his on his first deer hunting trip in Minnesota:
    He was only about 16 years old and had set off with his lever gun and was alone in the woods. As he approached a fallen tree with a big trunk, a black bear heard him and stood up on his hind legs to see what the noise was. Surprised, his cousin took a shot at the bear, which fell down. Suddenly, the bear got back up on his hind legs, so his cousin shot him again, and again he fell down. Still scared, his cousin ran all the way back to camp…
    When his father returned to camp, my Grandfather’s cousin told him the story about the bear, so his Dad said, “Show me where this happened.”
    He took his Father to the fallen tree and pointed to where the bear stood up, but wasn’t too eager to get very close. His Father walked over to the spot he pointed at and peered over the tree’s trunk and there were the two bears he had shot earlier…
    Since I was a boy, I have always had a fascination with the 30-30 round. Certainly there are calibers out there that can extend their dangerous fury to longer ranges, but the 30-30 has served my family well for several generations and I hope, for several more to come.
    Right now, I have a friend looking to sell his Winnie 94 and I think I’m going to accept his offer… Semper Fi

  37. Lary Hooker says:

    Sarge great article and I want to tell you that I have owned and hunted with my two 30-30’s for most of my life. I can not describe the satisfaction I get whenever I shoot these simple,accurate and very reliable rifles. Lastly to all your readers, if you don’t own a lever action 30-30 go find one, you will not regret it once you shoot one of these great rifles.

  38. Gene says:

    I just purchased a Winchester Ranger M94 that was made in 1986. It’s the perfect daily knock about truck gun that can go with me everywhere, and I am thrilled. I’ve always wanted a “.30-30,” and the Winchester 94 is the gun it was made for. Thanks for taking the time to write this article. Great read!

  39. Sarge says:

    Sarashota- The Sixgun Journal is a WordPress site using the ‘Hemmingway’ theme. Posting this because your comment showed some spam indicators, so I didn’t approve it for publication. But I did want to answer your question, all the same.

  40. Scott B. says:

    A Marlin 336 .30-30 has been my deer/hog gun since I was 16. That is 30 years at this point. I just picked up a Marlin 336SS for truck gun duty and my original 336 will continue to be my primary big game gun. I have never had a need for another caliber for the critters I hunt. It simply continues to work well, year after year.

  41. Doug Jeffries says:

    I’m 49, just a couple months from 50. I just started shooting and only have a Henry .22 lever and a 10/22. Figured I’d start off easy. But I’ve been wanting a bigger caliber lever from the start. I’ve been considering a .357, maybe a .44, but the versatility and history of the 30-30 really draws me to it. I don’t hunt, I don’t currently live in the woods, and I’ll hopefully never use it for more than target practice, but I still want something “just in case.” This article and the comments are making that decision real easy!

  42. john stump says:

    It’s great to finely read something about 30/30 that gives credit where it’s due. This is a cartridge that has proven it’s self time and time again. Thank you again. John

  43. Mark Stewart says:

    I’ve had many rifles in many chamberings and have recently gone back to hunting with a 30-30. I bought a nice old Marlin 36 SC that carries probably as well as a ’94. With its 1893 style bolt, it’s very smooth and doesn’t seem to chew on the case rims as much. I plan to try the Barnes 150X and 170 Partition which conveniently can be bought either factory loaded by Barnes and Federal or as components for hand loading. These are truly high performing loads that could handle anything with antlers inside of 100 yards. There is a lot to be said for the under $20/box Win Power Points for deer too as you said. I’ve read many comments and articles praising their accuracy and on game performance.


    I bought a Winchester model 94 30-30 in 1967. It is all the gun I have ever needed for hunting game in Texas. I can take out just about anything at up to 200 yards. Deer, coyotes, etc. It was extremely accurate, right out of the box with open sights and I never had to mess with the sights at all. I own more high powered rifles, but I seldom use them for hunting because the old 94 does the trick every time.


    I forgot to add in my previous post: I don’t like hunting with scopes. I prefer open sights.That is one of the reasons I like my old 94 Winchester. I am a target shooter and I don’t really like using scopes for target shooting. I like iron sights. My seventeen year old grandson recently purchased a WWII Mosen-Nagant, and he can hit a three liter bottle with it at over three hundred yards with open sights. Scopes are for sissies. A real man will do his business with open sights. I have not much use for scopes on rifles. I am old school. Using Kentucky windage and the way the rifle shoots. If you know your rifle, you know where it will hit, according to the direction of the wind, you can hit your target. A 30-30 will kill just about anything that walks or crawls on the north american continent, with the exception of a grizzly bear, but I have read stories, where even grizzly’s have been taken down with a 30-30. Enough said. I am going to go to bed.

  46. Don Schimpff says:

    I have owned several 30-30s in my time (1926 to now and more). I shot .50 caliber machine guns in the WWII Navy but the 30-30 (AKA .30 WCF) is one of my favorites I’ve had in Takedown rifles, regular rifles, carbines and as model 55s and model 64s, all Winchesters, all 30-30. I have killed deer in Wisconsin, Colorado, Wyomiing and California with them. I like all lever action Winchesters and a few of mine are in the WINCHESTER BOOK by George Madis. The 30-30 will dispatch any game found in North America when used by a hunter who knows his ability and his gun, well enough to be confident. I have killed with a 30-06 and a .308, but the 30-30 is still a fine cartridge and the 1894 is still a great gun. My dad preferred the .32 Winchester Special which was just slightly better when it first was introduced. Now, at 91, I am sadly selling all guns, but only to people who will give them a really good home and good care. . I am selling them on You can’t take ’em with you.

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