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Old November 25, 2012, 07:58 PM   #1
summerman
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looking for safer rifle for deer

Deer hunting regulations just changed from shotgun to rifle here. My sabot shotgun scope was off so I tried an old 50-60 year old Marlin (four digit serial number) 30-30 rifle. I loved it. It had open sights and dropped a doe dead at 75 yards. Problem is it is old, not tapped for scope and don't want to change it. I looked at 3 Marlins and all had obvious production issues in my mind.. rough spots, rough action, poor black spray painted looking finish etc... I thought a lever in 30-30 would be great with a Leopold 2-7 vary2. I want to buy a great one and keep it.

My 1187 shot sabots at 1900 fps and 30-30 is about 2300 or so.
I looked at Browning, and a bunch of other companies and only Marlin, Savage, Winchester, Mossberg make 30-30. I really wanted a Browning BLR (lever) or even and X bolt in 30-30 as I really want to limit distance and power due to area hunting in. To make a long story short I want the least powerful, sufficient deer rifle to put a scope on with out worrying about hitting a barn 5 miles away. I want it light, reliable and with low recoil..

What would be the best BLR to get? 243, 308? Any ideas would be great, Thanks.
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Old November 25, 2012, 08:06 PM   #2
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Have you looked at Henry Repeating Arms .30-30s? They are very well made, quite popular with lever gun aficionados... and fit your requirements exactly.
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Old November 25, 2012, 08:07 PM   #3
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Nothing wrong with a BLR if you want one. You'll get the most gun for the dollar right now with a bolt gun. Many budget bolt guns right now are about 1/2 the cost of a BLR, and you'll get a top end bolt rifle for about the same price as the BLR.

A bolt gun is much lighter, more reliable, and usually more accurate. And with no hammer would be safer in theory. Most lever gun accidents happen when shooters try to lower a hammer and it slips off their thumb, or when unloading.

Good calibers would be 243, 260, 7-08, or 308. Any of those will recoil very similar to, or less than your old 30-30. A 260 or 7-08 would be about perfect, but 243 and 308 ammo are easier to find and usually cheaper.
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Old November 25, 2012, 08:12 PM   #4
Brian Pfleuger
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You're worrying a lot about nothing, IMO. Your bullet will hit the ground and even if it "bounces" it will be destabilized and make a crash landing in short order. In all likelihood, it'll stay in the ground more often than not.

Plus, there's not a great deal of lethality difference between, say, a 223, 243 and 7mm-08, as examples.

Many areas of the country have had rifle hunting for decades and accident rates are no higher, and in fact often lower, than shotgun areas.

NY has slowly been transitioning from all shotguns in the southern zone to now nearly all rifle, with just a few "hold out" counties. The accident rates have not increased.

If you practice safe shooting, be sure of your target and what is beyond, you have nothing to worry about.

Pick a good deer cartridge and don't worry about it. Safety is in your hands, literally, not in the cartridge you select.

(I recommend 243, 25-06 or 7mm-08)
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Old November 25, 2012, 08:24 PM   #5
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Option 1: Buy a used Marlin 30-30 that was made before the take over. They are a dime a dozen. Better yet, find a Marlin 336 in 35 Remington. Nothing wrong with a used rifle.

Option 2: Buy a bolt action in your favorite maker in .308 or 30-06... Most of your shots are probably going to be towards woods or something. Don't worry too much about the barn 5 miles away...

Option 3: Use what you have. It has worked so far...
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Old November 25, 2012, 08:44 PM   #6
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Be sure of your target and beyond...

Based on the hunting regs, there are a lot of good options besides the 30-30. If you have an AR, you could get a .450 Bushmaster Upper. There are several other really good whitetail suitable cartridges that can be put on an AR upper as well.

If you really want a lever, .338 Marlin, .44 Mag, .45 Colt and .444 Marlin are all proven calibers with shorter range cartridges than a .308 on up.

If you are set on the BLR, then .308 would be a good choice.
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Old November 25, 2012, 08:55 PM   #7
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We have a Marlin 336 in .30-30, initially the action was a little stiff so I took it completely apart, cleaned, and polished some parts it is very smooth.

It is tapped for scope mounts, I think it would be good to put a rail and a red dot on it.

We also have a much older Marlin 336 in .35 Remington. Did the same thing to it. But it has killed deer for 3 generations at this point. Regarded highly for its potential for thick woods hunting, a 200 grain .35 will shoot through some thick stuff and keep on going. I don't know if its tapped for a scope but I know I hit the deer I killed with it with a perfect shot using iron sights so I don't plan to worry about putting a scope on it.

Both are very capable of taking whitetail with appropriate bullets. I suggest a Marlin 336 in .30-30 or .35 Remington.
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Old November 25, 2012, 08:58 PM   #8
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I'll second the Henry 30-30. I've had the Marlin in both blued and stainless.With and without scopes. But that Henry really stands out! I've sold off the two 30-30 Marlins in favor of a Marlin stainless 45-70. That Henry 30-30 is a keeper.
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Old November 25, 2012, 09:18 PM   #9
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Daughter has a Marlin 30A in 30/30 ..... killed two deer with it two weeks ago.

She has a forward mounted 2X Burris Pistol scope on it ...works really well.

I can not for the life of me understand why anyone would put a high magnification scope on a 30/30 ...... If you need anything greater than 4x to see your target, then it is probably too far away to be takin' pokes at with the thuddy-thuddy.
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Old November 25, 2012, 10:07 PM   #10
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Something in 44 mag or a x39 bolt gun.
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Old November 25, 2012, 10:10 PM   #11
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Of the newer cartridges for Adirondack or Catskill Mtn hunting the 7mm-08 is probably the best .
If you want to use a real cartridge get a 45-70 !! [the 300 gr bullets are mild in recoil .]
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Old November 25, 2012, 10:18 PM   #12
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Man there are a lot of great .30-30's out there, just find an old Marlin 336 if you want a scope or the more expensive Savage 99. If you would really like a bolt action .30-30 you'll have to find an old Remington 788 or Savage 340 (marketed as Stevens and Springfield as well). Savage made a pump but I can't remember the model of it at the moment. H&R/NEF, T/C, and Rossi all offer single shot break action .30-30's as well. As far as the BLR goes, .243 or .308 would be excellent choices for deer.
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Old November 25, 2012, 10:18 PM   #13
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If you want an 30-30 you might as well find a used, later-production 336 that is already drilled for mounts. Get the model with the cross-bolt safety, if that's your bag.They are plentiful and usually pretty cheap.
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Old November 25, 2012, 11:37 PM   #14
summerman
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Great advice, thanks

Thanks for the replies. After lugging the 1187 with scope the Marlin felt great. Nice not to have a scope in some ways. I looked at my Marlin which was given to me and not ever fired by me until this week while sighting in is a model 1936 serial number7xxx. From what I see it was the first run on 1936 and made 1936 to 1940. I don't want to tap it for scope. I think I will continue to look for a BLR and nice 30-30 and get the first one I like. A 2-7 scope or even a 1-4 would be great for where I hunt. I was delighted by its handling. I really have only 12 gauge experience with 3 magnums, along with some limited pistol, and 22 rifle experience to compare. I have shot my friends 30-06 and that gets old at the range fast. Any more ideas I would greatly appreciate. Thanks again.
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Old November 26, 2012, 05:58 AM   #15
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My Marlin 336 came drilled and tapped. In fact when I got it from my FIL after he passed he had a scope mounted on it. I found using Remington green box 150 gr 30-30 ammo, I could put the whole 20 rounds in a group about the size of a quarter at 100 yards. Good enough for hunting. Like already brought up used 336's are a dime a dozen. I've seen the BLR's get a little sticky to operate after firing a 308. Should br ok in 30-30 I would think.
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Old November 26, 2012, 08:26 AM   #16
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As has been said, safety is your department, not the gun's.
If you're looking for an excuse to buy another gun, you can bet we're all for it, what ever the make and caliber.
I'd vote for the slower, bigger bullet calibers, both for their effectiveness and limited range, though.
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Old November 26, 2012, 08:59 AM   #17
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If you wear bifocals...

Quote:
I can not for the life of me understand why anyone would put a high magnification scope on a 30/30
Ahem... older eyes can use all the help they can get in making sure that deer has antlers or not depending on tag in hand, time of day and brush around said ungulate.

Even tho scopes on lever actions do look off putting, given the above, they can be a blessing at times. For older eyes that is. But I hear ya.

YMMV
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Old November 26, 2012, 10:20 AM   #18
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I have several Marlins' and will second the looking for a good used one probably older than 2009. I do see the newer production guns, and some have improved quite a bit. Most don't realize that even when you bought new prior to the 2009 takeover, they needed breaking in as well. A 30-30 is hard to beat hunting close range, and with success, confidence ensues. I like my BLR, but the trigger on it is pretty bad, and it gets hunted very seldom anymore. I'll be going out with my son (shoots a 243 Marlin), and I'll have a 308MXLR and a 45 colt, both in Marlin. Nothing else can take their place.
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Old November 26, 2012, 10:25 AM   #19
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Baba- If you wear bi-focals, then a conventionally mounted scope would cause prolems in that you'd need to have the "near focus" part in the top 1/2 of the lens, no?

With a pistol scope, the ocular lens is out there 12-16 inches .... I have never worn bifocals, but i have seen folks that wear them hold reading material out that far......

2-4X is plenty of help for older eyes to put antlers on a deer at 30/30 ranges. If you need more, than how can you tell the difference between a large dog and a doe back east?

As for
Quote:
"I was delighted by its handling"
..... putting a large scope on levergun will really change it's handling, especially if it is mounted on high rings ..... carring the gun "at the balance", the scope bell hits your arm .....

This is her set-up .... we had to raise the comb height 3/8", but now when you bring the gun to your shoulder and your face to the stock with both eyes on the target, the crosshairs just magically appear on the target ..... it's a good enough system that she can hit a running deer, even though the only moving target practice she had was a single season on the Jr. high trap team....
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Old November 26, 2012, 11:04 AM   #20
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As for hitting something 5 miles away with a 30/30 ...... keep it below the horizon and you'll be fine. A 150gr 30/30 bullet zeroed for 100 yards drops a bit more than 6 feet at 400 yards and more than 12 feet by 500, by which time it is subsonic and slowing quickly...... you'd have to hold it up at a 30-45 degree angle to get it out of your section, I'd think......
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Old November 26, 2012, 12:27 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbob86
I can not for the life of me understand why anyone would put a high magnification scope on a 30/30 ...... If you need anything greater than 4x to see your target, then it is probably too far away to be takin' pokes at with the thuddy-thuddy.
Well the 2-7 Leupold has a 33mm objective lense same size as their FXII 4X scope, a lot of fixed 4X scopes have objectives on either side of 33mm. I'd say that the 2-7 is a great choice in scope for the .30-30 Win, my M788 wears a 2-7X35 Nikon Monarch UUC and it isn't a huge scope either. So if the variable has a little more magnification and comes in the same size package or slightly smaller what is there to complain about. You don't have to use 7x in the field but it sure is a lot better than 4x when zeroing the rifle at the range.
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Old November 26, 2012, 12:38 PM   #22
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This year I switched up guns, I went from using a Savage 110 .243 to a Rossi Circuit Judge in .45 Colt/ .410. I haven't got a deer yet but it being compact and light has made hunting much more easy. It's about an hour walk to my spot, didn't have to shoulder it once and it's much easier getting through the woods. It's a world's difference. I do not have a scope on this gun though, the way the gun feels the sights practically line theirselves up. I believe this to be a perfect short range hunting gun. Bigger but slower bullet compared to the smaller and faster rounds. There's a .44 Magnum version if you want the little extra power. For my .45 Colt version, I use Hornady LeveRevolution ammo. And I've put hundreds of rounds through my gun. For .45s I have used coyboy loads, jacketed soft points and ballistic tips. For .410s I've used 7 shot, 4 shot, pdxi, and 000. Never once has it failed to fire or have any problem of any kind. And there's no issue of lead or gun powder getting past the cylinder shield. And those who say there's accuracy issues with the 3 inch cylinder, I have to say you are wrong. These are amazing guns, just don't expect to shoot no more than around 100 yards.
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Old November 26, 2012, 01:34 PM   #23
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IF you really want a Browning BLR, then you shouldn't settle for anything less.

A 243 will do every thing you mentioned, super accurate, zero recoil. Ammo found anywhere.

Its one of the most popular deer rounds out there for a reason.
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Old November 26, 2012, 01:45 PM   #24
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I would caution going from a Marlin to a Henry or Winchester could give you "feel" issues. The Marlin most likely has a "pistol grip" while the Henry and Winchester will most likely have a straight stock. If you want to stay lever action, stay with the same stock as well. It'll feel more natural.
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Old November 26, 2012, 06:59 PM   #25
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I currently own 2 BLRs and I'm looking for another one. I have a 243 and 30-06 and both are shooters. I love how they handle and that you can shoot any bullet type due to the detachable magazine. Since you are looking at one I'd have to say the 308 may be a little more versatile. I don't think you'll regret getting a BLR.....
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