View Full Version : .30-30

April 26, 2005, 10:40 PM
looking at a Winchester Ranger in 30-30 for a deer rifle just wondering what you guys thought of this rifle and possible what scope to attach to it thanks for your advise and opinions

April 26, 2005, 10:49 PM
I'd recommend an aperture rear sight, no scope. That's a great little rifle, so why burden it with a big heavy scope?

If you really want a scope, I'd go with a marlin 336, since it has a solid top receiver. I have one and it's my favorite rifle.

April 26, 2005, 11:41 PM
I would go with a 3x9x32mm. I use one for the New England woods area and it's just fine. I usually keep it on 3 power but crank it up to 9 just to identify my target in thick brush. I don't think you'll be dissapointed. It's a fairly standard and very widely used scope. I like Bushnell, but also own BSA and Tasco. You can get a decent scope to fit your needs for between $75 and $125 dollars. Good luck!
By the way, I'd go with the Mariln 336 in .35 Rem caliber. It has a little more punch than a 30-30, has side ejection, and is easier to mount a scope on.

April 26, 2005, 11:42 PM
The Ranger, like all Model 94's, can be scoped with a side-mount. They are a bit tricky to get straight with the bore and that is why they are not popular. I agree with getting a Marlin 336 if you want a scope, and a good, clear 4x32 is plenty for a 30-30.

April 27, 2005, 12:05 AM
Like others have stated, go with a marlin 336 is you want to scope it. With its side ejection and being drilled and tapped all you need is a base, a set of rings and the scope. Get something relativly low powered(around 4x) as the ranges youll be shooting a 30-30 at are relatively low and youll want to have a wide field of view at shorter ranges for fast target aquisition.

April 27, 2005, 03:56 AM
My vote for the aperture sight. Kileed the only 2 deer I ever shot at with a Marlin 336 and open sights. One at about 125 yds the other about 110 (by my pace count) Never saw the need for a scope at all.

Also, I believe the newer Win 94's are angle eject so wouldn't a top mounted scope work?

April 27, 2005, 06:20 AM
I scope my 30-30 lever guns, and my Savage 170 pump 30-30. Neither the rifle or the cartridge is a good choice for long range shooting. I personally go with a lower power scope, my favorites being old Redfield 5 Star or Weaver (El Paso) low power variables, with 20mm tubes.

If you just have to scope the Winchester, and have trouble finding a side mount, I have an old Weaver mount, with rings, in the original box, tucked away somewhere.

April 27, 2005, 10:15 AM
Thanks for the advise so far guys Ill have to look into that Marlin didnt even consider that but sounds like a good option. I was just looking for a lighter deer rifle I get tired of lugging by .308 target rifle into the woods being thats the largest rifle I have right now other than a .22 :(

April 27, 2005, 10:26 AM
Hard to beat a good .30-30 for deer at 150 yards or less.

Mine is a Marlin Mdl 30A (same as 336, but came bundled with a sling) I used a set of high-rise see-through rings, and a fixed 4x32 scope.

Longest shot I have made was a laser rangefinder measured 176 Yds. Bambi's dad just sort of stood there for about 15 seconds, wagging his tail, [thought I had missed] then fell over...DRT

Mike Irwin
April 27, 2005, 10:45 AM
Don't newer Winchester .30-30s all have the "angle eject" modification, making it possible to mount a scope over top of the receiver?

That said (and question asked), I too would take a serious look at the Marlin. You can often find used Marlins for much less than 94s, which have the big name associated with them.

I also find that the recoil on the Marlin is less objectionable, as the stock is better shaped for me.

April 27, 2005, 02:34 PM
94's of the past decade or more are AE and I believe all current models except maybe the trapper, are drilled and tapped for scope mounting without the old angle mounts, so no problem there. I'll go with Striker 1 on this one and Rodger Peterson in a similar thread in the reloading section, a rifle this handy makes for a beautiful truck-gun with the aperture or "Peep" sight and you won't be handicapped in the Deer woods. I also liked TPAW's take on using a variable and shooting with low magnification and there's definitely nothing wrong with a fixed 4 power or low power variable.

To me .30-30 means Winchester and with a peeper you have a truck-gun that has a lot of uses. Many around here think of them as a politically correct assault rifle considering that Winchesters have been in rifle racks since we've had pick-ups! ;)

Tom B
April 27, 2005, 03:51 PM
I just picked up a used Ranger and had it to the range yesterday. Shoots pretty well up to 100 yards. Put about 60rds of Federal 150gr thru it. Like everyone else I don't like the crossbolt safety. This one will be my truck gun. Personally I wouldn't put a scope on a lever action rifle.

April 27, 2005, 05:37 PM
The 30-30 shell is good for hunting deer. I have a 30-30 lever action winchester model 94. And it is great for about 150 Yard shots but not much more so i would leave it open sighted.

April 28, 2005, 02:26 PM
Winchestr 94 and Lyman peep sight. The perfect woods deer rifle.

April 28, 2005, 04:04 PM
I would say the same about the Marlin 336, except it is stronger.


April 28, 2005, 04:11 PM
Stronger than what?

And what is anyone doing with a 30-30 that strength is an issue?

I can discuss the tests done on various models of lever rifles and their relative strength. The bottom line is, in a actual tests, the marlins don't hold up as well as the winchester 94 action. None of which makes any difference in the real world of 30-30's. Both are entirely strong enough for a lifetime of 30-30 use.

April 28, 2005, 04:49 PM

That's really interesting. I always thought the marlin was the stronger gun. What is it that Marlin's don't hold up on as well as 94's?

April 28, 2005, 08:57 PM
As former owner of both variety (pre and post AE 94s). don't scope it. Whole point and charm (to me) of the nice slab side/lever action configuration is scopeless/open sights for light weight/quickest handling and target/sight aquisition within 150 (maybe 175) yard range mentioned. I always said 100 done deal, 125-150 pretty likely, 175 ok with a steady hand and low wind, and 200-225 with a hope and a prayer (and some elevaton--the Lonesome Dove/Duvall situation :))! I had a high mount application ("see through") on an AE 94 once that worked well/was (sort of) the best of both worlds, but made the package even more unwieldy and less "truckish." Went back to open sights.
I say former owner, currently have "way" pre 64 (pre war) saddle ring carbine that's a gem, but looking to get just a nice "regular" pre 64 for hunting again. Truth be known, nothing really wrong with 70s/early 80s pre AE (i.e., after they corrected the junk metal problem of the immediate-post 64s), as well as pre-bolt AEs--just something particularly charming about especially the metal butt pre 64s.

Lawyer Daggit
April 29, 2005, 12:35 AM
My vote is for a ghost ring aperature sight and replace the front sight with a fine blade. AO sight systems have an excellent blade with a white stripe.

Another 'trick' is to replace the Winchester semi buck horn sight with a sight of a Ruger 10/22 or similar - they just slide into the dovetail with a few taps with a mallet and dowl and provide an excellent backup sight that just folds out of the way. Simply detatch the peep sight, fold up the folding sight and you can operate the gun with two loads.

If you have poor eyesight by all means scope it but if you do I would suggest a 2.5 power compact. It won't affect the balance of the rifle too much and the low magnification won't encourage you to take shots beyond the ballistic capability of the round. This latter point is I think the reason why the .30-30 has developed a reputation as an indifferent killer in some circles.

Keep the range down to 120-150 max and the .30-30 will always bring home the venison.

April 29, 2005, 09:49 AM
Lawyer, some very good points/tips. The high mount set up I had one one of my AEs (forget the particular parts) was ok but suffered the negatives you usually encounter when you try to have your cake and eat it too--did the trick but made the 94 less "functionally charming" than its intent. (Nice solution for a regular bolt action set up though (where you have open sights/getting fewer and fewer out ther) where you're already dealing with a pretty major rig/what's a few extra ounces and profile?) For those that want to scope, the compact 2.5 (4x max) sounds like just the ticket.

April 29, 2005, 10:05 AM
Shootingstudent, I thought so too, but learned of a guy that did some testing with various guns for suitability for use with the 454 cassull round (60,000 to 65,000 psi loads)

Only one of the guns tried proved usable, the 1892 Browning/Winchester action. It was deduced that the locking bolt angle being 90 deg to the bopre, and the large amount of locking bolt to bolt area helped. This particular gun survived the tests and has lived a prosperous life as a 45 Colt carbine since then.

The Marlin 336 action swelled the receiver at the locking bolt area, making the gun unable to function or fire. I think he said it lasted less than 30 rounds.

The winchester 94 angle eject stretched the receiver on the right side noticably, and an older 1920's made 94 Winchester action stetched also, but lsted longer than the angle eject. The angle eject may have been a big bore also, I don't recall exactly. Both these actons lasted longer than the Marlin.

If you go to leverguns.com forum and do a search for posts by "Buck Elliot" you should be able to find the info direct. Be sure to check the "archived posts" box when you search.

As I mentioned in the earlier post, all of this talk of strength is mostly meaningless if we are talking 30-30's, as none of us are ever likely to come close to hurting or wearing out any winchester or marlin 30-30. Both are plenty strong for any sane 30-30 loads.

April 29, 2005, 10:19 AM
The Marlin rattles less for me than a Winchester, feels more solid, than the Winchester. This is based on my desire to buy a Winchester, but instead going with the Marlin after trying a bunch out.


April 29, 2005, 11:35 AM
Hey guys, how come no one has mentioned the Browning BLR? The extractor on this lever action is strong enough for magnum loads! Whenever lever action guns get discussed it seems it's always Marlin or Winchester, the Browning is one of the best lever guns out there. The cam-action gives it it's great strength. They handle well and they balance great too. Oh well, what do I know? Just my $.02 worth. :rolleyes:

April 29, 2005, 11:57 AM
NEF SB2-30-30 single shot.....accurate and can load sharp pointed bullets in it.....4 power scope...made an over two hundred yard shot using 150 grain CT-BST bullets and a charge of W748....under $200 at Walmart...most shots made in under 120 yards......good rifle...

Mike Irwin
April 29, 2005, 12:30 PM
"Hey guys, how come no one has mentioned the Browning BLR?"

Since when has Browning been chambering the BLR in .30-30?

No one has mentioned my favorite .30-30, either, the Savage 1899.

April 29, 2005, 01:56 PM

Thanks for the link and info. And now that you mention it, the only leverguns I've seen in 454 have been those Rossie 1892 clones, so that makes sense.

April 29, 2005, 10:42 PM
"I always thought the marlin was the stronger gun."

"Shootingstudent, I thought so too, but learned of a guy that did some testing with various guns for suitability for use with the 454 cassull round (60,000 to 65,000 psi loads)"

Mike, comment was directed more towards this portion of thread. It does come in most popular calibers, but I should have been more specific. No the BLR does not come in the old reliable .30-30 :o

April 29, 2005, 11:03 PM

how does that BLR shoot and cycle? I've never handled one before, but I love lever actions of all kinds so maybe I'll have to pick one up somewhere.

Mike Irwin
April 30, 2005, 12:00 AM

The BLR is a fine rifle. With its rotary bolt head it's more like a lever-action bolt rifle than a traditional bolt action, and as such can be capable of exceptional accuracy.

The biggest drawback seems to be the rack and pinion gear. The extraction power doesn't seem to be as great as other lever rifles. I've seen two BLRs, both .308s, that have had cases stuck in the chamer and the owners have sheared the rack and pinion gearing. Both were shooting cheap, foreign military surplus ammo.

May 2, 2005, 03:02 PM
My vote is for the best low powered scope you can put on it.

It won't look as neat as if it had a peep sight on it, but if this is your one and only for deer hunting, and you are more worried about if you get a deer than how you get one, it needs a scope.

I have a Model 94 with a Lyman peep sight on it to use as a rifle for the specific purpose of moving through deer during snow and rain, when I wouldn't have time to wipe off the lenses or fumble with scope covers. Otherwise, I can't think of a time when sights would be superior over a scope.

May 2, 2005, 05:10 PM
I used to have a 94AE and got rid of it. It was a sweet gun for the woods, with see thru mounts and a 4x38 Swift scope. My problems with it was the lousy trigger and sloppy lever. I didn't like squeezing the lever to engage the safety. The trigger has a pull like a DA/SA pistol trigger, with 40 miles of free travel before engaging the sear. I never got used to it. My next will be a Marlin, unless Winchester does something different.

May 4, 2005, 03:23 PM
Winchester = iron sights.
Marlin = Scope.

May 4, 2005, 11:38 PM
The Egg...Short and sweat....A+...Go To The Head Of The Room.....