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Old December 25, 2013, 02:07 AM   #1
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Opinion of .30 Carbine for deer hunting



I just acquired a Universal .30 Carbine, mostly for a fun /home defense gun , but I was also curious as to the experiences of those who have and do use them for hunting. It's not my only rifle, I have a Win. '94 in .30-30, as well as a .308 and a 8mm Mauser. I am just curious if a .30 carbine is a viable option for a brush gun for deer.
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Old December 25, 2013, 05:10 AM   #2
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Carbines are cool but I would take one of your other more powerful rifles for hunting deer. I'm sure you could kill a deer with the carbine given proper ammo and shot placement but the 94 Win just seems like a better choice for a brush gun.
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Old December 25, 2013, 06:16 AM   #3
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If its suitable to kill a man its suitable to kill a deer. IMHO.
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Old December 25, 2013, 06:19 AM   #4
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The Win 94 is a much better choice.

The 30 Carbine will launch a 110 grain bullet at 2000 fps, producing less than a thousand ft/lbs of energy at the muzzle.

The 30-30 will launch a 150 grain bullet at 2400 fps, or 170 grain bullet at 2200 fps.

At 100 yards, the 30-30 loads will still have over 1,000 ft/lbs of energy, and the 30 carbine will be just over 600 ft/lbs. I know that some folks hunt with handguns which produce similar energy numbers to the 30 Carbine, but they are using much heavier bullets that have much higher momentum numbers due to having much more mass than the 110 grain loadings.

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Old December 25, 2013, 06:34 AM   #5
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The 30 carbine is significantly underpowered for deer. That said, if you get very close, and make a very good shot it will work. Working against the 30 carbine, the cartridge is not known for outstanding accuracy, but then a broadside deer at twenty yards does not require outstanding accuracy. All of your other cartridges are far superior.
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Old December 25, 2013, 06:42 AM   #6
Mike / Tx
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Have I used the Carbine to hunt with yes, and I have killed deer with it. I have also used my Ruger Blackhawk in 30 Carbine on feral hogs, which when in the up close and personal ranges of 5-15yds worked, but there are better calibers for hogs.

That said for deer with the rifle I also kept the ranges within 50'ish yards.

I actually shot my first deer at age 6 with one and killed it dead. My mother also used the same rifle when she was hunting back in the early 60's and killed quite a few deer as well as a few turkeys.

I am surely not going to tell you they will blow a deer off it's feet, but they will kill a deer using a proper expanding bullets like the Sierra 110gr RNSP or the Speer 110gr SJHP when put in the proper place. The Speer bullet is a bit tricky when it comes to feeding in some Carbines. It has a pretty wide nose which hs IME shown to hangup upon feeding form a magazine into the chamber. To get around this yet still preserve the expanding properties of the HP I used a seater stem which was more for a RN than the flatter wider HP. This in effect gives the HP a much rounder profile which feeds better, as well as hold the expansion back just a touch due to closing up the cavity some.

For shots within around 50yds I wouldn't have an issues using one that could keep the bullets in a 2-3" group. It to me is no different than using a 357 magnum with proper shot placement.

I know it isn't recommended to use cast in the M1, but plenty of folks do. In doing so you can easily get the bullet weights up a touch into the 120 and 130gr range. Using a flat pointed gas checked bullet of decent alloy you could easily get a bit more capability from penetration with this particular caliber. However even with these heavier bullets I would still not use it out past 50yds.

All of the rounds through our Carbines have been hand loaded using 2400, 296, or AA-9 powders. These loads were tailored to each carbine as well as to the revolver for the best velocity and accuracy. In each case this may or may not have been the top end loads so you should work yours up accordingly.
Mike / TX
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Old December 25, 2013, 08:22 AM   #7
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Hard to beat the tried and true '94 in 30-30 for deer in the brush. Tracking a wounded deer can be unpleasant...they tend to head for the most unwholesome places.

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Old December 25, 2013, 08:30 AM   #8
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If its suitable to kill a man its suitable to kill a deer. IMHO.

In wartime, maiming an enemy to die a slow, painful death later is a perfectly acceptable choice. That is NEVER acceptable in hunting.
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Old December 25, 2013, 08:43 AM   #9
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Your question: is the .30 carbine a viable option for deer? I would echo what other said and say yes with caveats... Limit the range, make sure you have the accuracy, use the right ammo...

BUT... You own an even better brush gun in your lever 30-30. I would pick that above the .30 carbine every day and twice on Christmas!

As for comparing the .30 carbine from killing men to deer, I stand with Doyle. Yeah, they may have been issued in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, but as for hunting deer, it's not a similar comparison.
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Old December 25, 2013, 08:51 AM   #10
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The 30carbine would be staying home if I was going to hunt deer.
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Old December 25, 2013, 10:04 AM   #11
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Carbine for Deer????

Depends on if you're a hunter or shooter. If you don't know the difference then you're a shooter so the Carbine shouldn't be used for deer.

I grew up in a poor area. People didn't have a lot of fancy guns, people normally had one and did what needed to be done.

What was popular was a 25-20. Much less powerful then the 30 Cal Carbine. But I've seen a lot of one shot kills with the little 25-20. But this was from hunters not shooters.

Later in life I've seen a lot of screw ups with a 300 WM (or similar) on deer.

Somewhere I have a picture of a Water Buffalo my father shot in the South Pacific during WWII with a carbine.

I don't hunt with mine. I wouldn't' recommend hunting with one. But if I needed a deer, I wouldn't be afraid to use the Carbine.

Its not the gun that makes a hunting rifle, its the hunter.
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Old December 25, 2013, 10:53 AM   #12
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>>If its suitable to kill a man its suitable to kill a deer<<

Unfortunately, it was only marginally suitable for that.
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Old December 25, 2013, 11:29 AM   #13
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I wouldn't use one, but it will kill a deer if close enough and shots are placed well. Most any centerfire handgun or rifle round will kill a deer. It is just a matter of knowing the chamberings range limitations and being disciplined enough to only take shots within the chamberings and the shooters limitations. That is just as true with a 300 magnum as a 30 Carbine.
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Old December 25, 2013, 11:33 AM   #14
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I have no experience hunting deer with a 30 caliber carbine, however I had a cousin that used one, he got his deer every year.
He hunted in Southern Missouri, the places he hunted the shots would have had to been close.

Best Regards
Bob Hunter
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Old December 25, 2013, 12:49 PM   #15
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Since you just got it I would say no. If you had it for a long time and practiced with it lots then the story may be different.

During the great depression my now deceased grand father killed many deer with a 22lr. That said you have better options. Most on my deer have been taken with a 357 magnum but I have owned that gun for about 25 years and shot many 1000s of rounds through it. That gun more than any other I own I feel is a part of me. When I hold it, the gun feels as natural as holding nothing.

If It was me with your guns I would use the 30-30. Id use the 30 carbine for coyotes or other similar sized animals.
Shot placement is everything! I would rather take a round of 50BMG to the foot than a 22short to the base of the skull.

all 25 of my guns are 45/70 govt, 357 mag, 22 or 12 ga... I believe in keeping it simple
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Old December 25, 2013, 02:22 PM   #16
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Maybe if you kept it to bow hunting ranges, but I feel it is to light a bullet for the caliber at to much velocity and not enough energy
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Old December 25, 2013, 05:47 PM   #17
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So you're out there with your carbine. Yeah, you know all the caveats about picking the spot on some doe that you will shoot if she's maybe 35 to 50 yards out. Great! You're ready!

And then a truly monster buck shows up at 200 yards and poses. It's a "gimme" shot with a real-deal cartridge.


Makes you feel all full of wisdom, doesn't it?

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Old December 25, 2013, 07:41 PM   #18
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Last edited by bcarver; December 25, 2013 at 07:53 PM.
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Old December 25, 2013, 07:51 PM   #19
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IMO, it should be OK if you treat it as a pistol round. That means, keep ranges realistic and more importantly, shot placement is key and don't expect hydrostatic shock to drop the deer like a .30-06 may do. Put the hole in the right place and any deer should go down.
Non-expanding rounds would be preferable IMO. You want to maximize penetration put the hole in the right place and make sure it goes DEEP, rather than relying more on the 'energy dump' of an expanding round, like you would with a full sized rifle round.
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Old December 25, 2013, 08:02 PM   #20
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In the right hands a 30 Carbine can be just as deadly on large game as a 300 Win Mag is. I would have no problem with its use. But there are many who believe else wise. I'm sure those fellows have some pretty good view points why it shouldn't be allowed. But again my State allows for its use. So I'll have to side with those in my State who make the rules and say it's a capable cartridge for deer hunting.
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Old December 25, 2013, 10:44 PM   #21
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Here in Ohio, it is legal to use a 5" 357mag or a 410ga slug on our big deer...I would rather use my M1 carbine than either, rifles allowed here.
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Old December 25, 2013, 10:54 PM   #22
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I think as most have said it is not by any means the first choice deer gun. Keep in mind depending on what state you hunt in you may have magazine ammo count limitations. I do not deer hunt with mine, but it is a fun close range coyote getter. I had to find a 5 round mag to stay legal.
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Old December 25, 2013, 11:48 PM   #23
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In wartime, maiming an enemy to die a slow, painful death later is a perfectly acceptable choice. That is NEVER acceptable in hunting.
.30 carbine was never designed to maim enemys and its ballistics overshadow the .357 magnum which is considered GTG on deer in most places.
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Old December 26, 2013, 07:45 AM   #24
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I love playing with my .30 carbine, but hunting Ohio whitetails? Hell no!

I know that some folks hunt with handguns which produce similar energy numbers to the 30 Carbine...

I hunt deer exclusively with handgun, and a handgun that produces similar energy is not legal in Ohio. A .30 carbine energy about equals a .38 spl with a much more miserable selection of suitable hunting bullets. .30 carbines lame performance on humans in the Pacific during WWII is well documented.

Sure, if you are starving, its better than a good slingshot (slightly), but when you have more suitable arms at home, using the .30 carbine is unnecessarily cruel and inhumane.
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Old December 26, 2013, 09:50 AM   #25
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Art nailed it.
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