View Full Version : 30-30 for trophy hunting?

Jack O'Conner
March 8, 2006, 09:25 PM


I guess it's true after all. 30-30 has what it takes to put meat on the table and trophies on the wall. A friend sent me these photos. Truthfully, I've never met either of these hunters but thought some of you would enjoy the photos, too.

roy reali
March 9, 2006, 11:24 AM
That hunter is lucky he did not confront a California BALCO deer. That .30-30 would have been useless.:D

March 9, 2006, 11:57 AM
axis deer for $2000 a weekend?
w/ a 30-30?
no thanks
Id hate to be sitting there when a trophy walked out a 250 yards and all i have is an iron sighted 30-30. best reserved for whitetail under 150 yards or perfect broadside shots. i dont want to spen half a 2000 buck trip looking for a deer.

roy reali
March 9, 2006, 11:59 AM
With our deer you had better be inside of one hundred inches with a .30-30.

Tom Matiska
March 9, 2006, 12:17 PM
Longest string of clean single shot kills I know of belongs to my brother's 30-30 with Win
150gr factory hollow points. That includes bucks that couldn't be laid out in a 6 foot
pickup bed with the tailgate up. More than capable of busting through a heavy shoulder,
almost always enough penetration to exit, and as the post says, "meat on the table", not a
wasteful amount of purple jelly due to massive shock damage.

March 9, 2006, 12:45 PM
I once read that the 30-30 had killed more deer than anyother caliber in existance. Don;t know how factual that is but stands to reason, since that cartrige has been around for so long. I have one but I do not hunt with it. I carry it at all times in the scabert on the 4-wheeler, just incase I run up on a hog. However, I have shot it enough to know that it would be an effective deer gun out to atleast 200 yards.

March 11, 2006, 01:43 AM
Timeout, PSE isn't that the point of hunting? An iron sighted .30-30 just adds to the challenge, oh wait thats right our society of hunting has gone to pot and we need at least a .300 magnum to kill a deer, and we can't learn to shoot our rifles before we hunt??? The .30-30 is an excellent cartridge, many people use it and more deer have been killed with it than anything else. How many times do we have to repeat shot placement is everything, ok I said my peace. :D

roy reali
March 11, 2006, 02:29 AM
The .30-30 does have a major drawback. The word magnum is not part of its name. The word magnum automatically extend the range of whatever cartridge that the name is attached to. It also increases the size of the game it can be used for.

You need a brass making company to add the word "magnum" to the rim of a regular .30-30 Winchester round. Then they add that word to several locations on the box. Now you have increased the effectiveness of the round.:D

March 11, 2006, 03:52 PM
Thats great, and so true, if the .30-30 had some extra word like magnum or super or improved, people would have more confidence in it, I mean for example, I read in a magazine (I think it was rifle shooter) the comparison between the regular good ole .270 win and the new .270 wsm (magnum in the name) and they are the same ballistics, my main point though is that the good ole cartridges like the .30-30, .270, .30-06, and .45-70 are still very effective and to say that you would not take one on a hunt because you dont want to actually HUNT just sets me off a little.

Magnums pooey

March 11, 2006, 07:36 PM
The 30-30 is a very adequate cartridge. There are one or two around here somewhere and they see regular use. Do not think that you can take a big buck throught the front shoulder. Look at the pictures and see where they were shot. The 30-30 requires a cool hand to wait for proper shot placement.

roy reali
March 11, 2006, 08:10 PM
Take a .22 long rifle round and place it in the palm of your left hand. Place a .30-30 round in the palm of your right hand. There is hardly any comparison between the two, don't you agree.

Now look at that tiny round in your left hand. Half ton beef are routinely killed by that. Granted, the range and shot placement are precise, but it is still capable of killing a large animal.

Look at the round in your right hand. Now tell me that it is barely adequete for deer. An animal one-tenth the size of a cow.

Unless you are Mr. Magoo's near sighted brother, you will plainly see that the .30-30 debate is silly.

March 11, 2006, 09:45 PM
The 30- 30 has taken many large game animals at different ranges. Yea it might not be a super dooper magnum with a ton of energy at 400 yards but its one heck of a brush gun. I can't complain because years ago on my first deer hunt I took a 4 point buck with my grandpa's pre 64 model 94 Winchester with open sights. And just recently If I recall correctly Hornady has come out with some new bullet technology that will take the 30-30 to the next level.

roy reali
March 11, 2006, 11:59 PM
A friend of mine has a wife that bags a deer every year. To some of you that may hardly raise an eyebrow. But I am talking about California were the deer hunter success rate is around ten percent.

She uses a rifle that she has used for over twenty years. It is an old, beat up model 94. It has an equally beat up, side mounted scope on it. She has gotten every deer with exactly one shot each. She does not pracice with this rifle. She does no preseason sighting in. She just kills deer with it.

Her husband has on several occasions offered to buy her a brand new, shiny rifle and scope. The look she gives him when he has made these offers could kill a deer.

March 12, 2006, 02:06 AM
Nice job with a classic cartridge. 30-30 is not for me though. IMO it is one of the most overrated cartidges out there. It will kill deer, even PA black bear--don't even hesitate to shoot at either with it. And it certainly adds to the experience of hunt like the photos show.
I don't have anything against the 30-30 it. It worked 70 years ago for deer, and deer haven't evolved in a manner to change that. It's just that there's better stuff out there and has been for decades. I don't believe in using a 375H&H on whitetail, but there is 30-06, 308, 270, 243...a few decades ago there was 300 savage and 30-40 Kraig. Most of the other cartidges I mentioned are acceptable for larger game as well, and of the one that's not--well the 243 doubles as a varmit gun :D

March 12, 2006, 08:38 AM
i guess my point was missed. to sum up...
those are not whitetails. they are paid and penned trophy exotics and they cost to hunt.
ME, I, MYSELF cannot see hunting exotics that cost that much money without a sure clean killer like a weatherby mag.
you want a challenge and have 2 grand to spend? good to go, have at it.
i have and hunt w/ a 30-30. it actually a very nice DRC custom marlin. i use it in Arkansas on whitetail. i wouldnt take it to hunt Muffon sheep or sikas moose. would it kill them, yep.

Art Eatman
March 12, 2006, 11:08 AM
Aw, now, PSE, where did it say $2,000?

A buddy of mine moved from Terlingua to Rio Frio, Texas. He commented that it was nice to be able to open his bedroom window and shoot a deer any hour of the day or night, any day of the year.

I says, "Do what?"

He says, "Axis deer."

"Oh. Yeah. Not a game animal."

"Yeah. But, I don't feel right unless I lie down alongside when I gut him, so nobody will see me."

Old crop-dusters, old race-car drivers, old poachers...Some folks never change.

:D, Art

March 12, 2006, 11:38 AM
We had a lease out neer Banderia that Axis on it and all kinds of other Stuff. The place was surrounded by Game Ranch's and the lease had no High fence so any escape's from the Game ranch's roamed free. There was Rumor of a Elk running around the Lease at one point the guy that saw it hauled butt back to Camp to ask if it was legal to shoot, but by the time he got back to where he saw it they couldn't find it.

March 12, 2006, 11:43 AM
30-30 muzzle velocity is about the same as a 300Win at 250 yds so just keep the range reasonable !!!:rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Jack O'Conner
March 12, 2006, 01:11 PM
I'm always amazed at the diversity of comments inspired by the 30-30 cartridge.
Yet so far, no one has hurled unkind insults and for that I'm thankful.

For those assume hunting exotics is a cake walk: These animals are often quite spooky indeed. Let's remember that they're hunted nearly year round. Fallow deer are hefty animals. A mature buck routinely weighs in at 180 lbs after field dressing. It takes a careful hunter to make a perfect shot and these men appear to fit that description. I admire them for choosing open sights.

Good hunting to you all.

March 13, 2006, 05:50 AM
God forbid that you should have to put an effort forth to get close to the game.
Maybe scent free laundry and body soap. Maybe cover and camo. Maybe even a tree stand or ground blind. Play the wind?

It is easy to use a "reach out and touch em" round with a nice scope. Not a guarantee, but much easier than open sights and a 30-30. A little effort in scent control and terrain study might make it more like hunting and less like shooting fish in a barrell. At thirty yards from an elevated stand, 30-30 wins every time.
Hunting, like a craft not like a casual hobby.

March 13, 2006, 09:12 AM
Well said Desertfox ;)

Wild Bill Bucks
March 13, 2006, 06:28 PM
Back about 30 years ago (Before I got rich:D ) the only gun I could afford was a marlin 30-30.
It put meat on the table until my first son got old enough to hunt, and he past it on to my second son, and he past it on to my daughter.
It has yet to kill some kind of deer every year for the last 30 years.
It doesn't look to good, but it still continues to kill a deer every year.
I don't see why it couldn't be used on about any game you can get close enough to shoot. The way it looks, I could not get $25.00 for it, but it is worth it's weight in gold to my daughter. She also has a 7mm-08, but she takes her 30-30 every year.

Jack O'Conner
March 14, 2006, 03:36 PM

Most of my friends hunt mulies each Fall with 270, 25-06, or other flat shooting rifles. Yet typically, I still slay mulies with my older 30-30 carbine. I enjoy hunting very much and stalking to get within range is very enjoyable to me.

30-30 is a keeper!

March 14, 2006, 04:54 PM
Maybe the deer nowadays are a lot tougher than they used to be, but for years the 30-30 was king. Shots inside of 200yards used to be as good as dead, out to 350 you had to know the range pretty well because of the trajectory. Magnums mostly just make it easier to hit at long range (flatter trajectory). Oh yeah, and they help sell guns, too.

Of course, now that the deer are bulletproof, only a (insert favorite number here) super magnum will kill them. Only problem is nobody told the deer they're not supposed to die when you poke 'em with a 30-30. Or a 44-40, or whatever. I still shoot my 7X57 and love it. And I don't miss very many meals, either.

I remember reading once to make sure your rifle had 600 ft-lbs at whatever range you were shooting to ensure clean, one shot kills. Pretty soon it became 1000 ft-lbs. Pretty soon it was absolutely required to have at least 1000 ft-lbs at whatever range or you wouldn't kill the deer at all! I wonder how those guys ate back when 45 caliber muzzleloaders shot a 180 gr roundball at 600 ft/second? If you do the math, the animals were safe (280 ft-lbs at the muzzle). Also, if you check, you only need 28 ft-lbs to pierce hide, 80 ft-lbs to break bone, so theoretically you could kill deer with a 22 LR, which a lot of poachers did (and likely still do). Lucky nobody told the deer.

Hunt with whatever you enjoy hunting with! Do it safely and aim well. Enjoy your meal.

roy reali
March 14, 2006, 10:48 PM
Here in California our deer are into BALCO products. They saw what it could do for ball players. The added bulk makes bullet penetration porblematic at best. They have also developed nasty personalities.

March 19, 2006, 10:23 AM
When I was young I was the last in our little group to not go to the .308, the .270, or the 30-06, from a lever action rifle.
Seems I was the one calling them, to see if they needed a little venison.

March 19, 2006, 11:26 AM
along those lines, 2 days ago, I was a fly on the wall in a gun store, and the prospective buyer with his girlfriend asked the salesman about a rifle for deer hunting, and specifically about the remaining Win 70s - good choice I thought, then he said, do you have one in .300 WSM? I mentally shook my head, thinking poor choice. I just mentally picture these guys who are casual shooters and hunters, going to the range and getting their shoulders blasted by the first few rounds, then saying "damn, that's close enough" after 5 rounds of attempt to get a good zero, then going home. It's no wonder people have to have the sales clerks put a bore sighting on the rifle when they buy a new one - every shot not fired is a blessing! :eek:

I'm still looking for a good deal on a used marlin 336 - so I can have my ".30-30 magnum". ;)

Jack O'Conner
March 20, 2006, 01:36 PM
I was in Reading, Pennsylvania last January. This store had a dozen good Marlins for sale $175. to $225.

Gun Gallery 610-779-4160


March 20, 2006, 06:23 PM
Has anyone seen or tried the new "LEVERevolution" ammo by Hornady? The 30-30 load looks interesting on paper.

Wild Bill Bucks
March 21, 2006, 11:30 AM
First off welcome to the forum.

I have not used any of the new hornady ammo yet, but they tell a pretty good story.
Supposed to be safe in tubular feed rifle, 2400fps, 160grain bullet.Thats not bad for a 30-30.
I'll probably try some, and I'll bet if you own a 30-30, you will probably try some to.:D

March 21, 2006, 05:28 PM
Thanks, Wild Bill. You're right, I'll be looking for that ammo next time I'm in the gun shop.

March 21, 2006, 05:47 PM
So... .30-30 for bigger game hunting.

Not 200lb whitetail or black bear, but Arizona Elk.

Granted, bigger is better (especially at +100yds) and my primary rifle for this year (if drawn) is a .308.

But...Am I irresponsible for considering a .30-30 as my second weapon in case anything happens to my 308? It's the only other rifle I have (other than .22LR).

I have 2 30-30's, a 1970's model with iron sights and a brand new '06 with a swift 3-9x40 mounted up top. It is surprisingly accurate. I didn't measure, but 3-shot group all inside the bull, holes touching each other while I was standing at 50 yards. I didn't run out to 100 yards.

So, can I do it fellas? I haven't had the fortune to bag any big game yet in my very young hunting career. Only bunnies and birds so far. Haven't been drawn for deer or elk yet, only javelina and black bear. Didn't get either of those when I went out.

Elk and .30-30?

March 21, 2006, 06:04 PM
I don't know why you couldn't use a 30-30 on elk. Elmer Keith (you remember him of 44 mag and 45-70 revolver fame) used to say the best rifle for elk was a 25-35. As long as you don't try to shoot through the shoulderblade or take them head-on, it will kill them. I'd make sure to use 170 gr bullets, and don't expect them to drop in their tracks, but a lung shot or two should make them lay down after a minute or so.

Fat White Boy
March 21, 2006, 08:22 PM
I have a Savage Model 340 boltie in .30-30 That I got from my dad. It is well over 50 years old. The iron sights were barely adjustable so I had a gunsmith friend put a scope mount and a 4X fixed power scope. I hand loaded some 110 gr Hornady's for it. It's not perfect but at 100 yards everything is inside the 8 Ring....And, in one of the luckiest shots I have ever seen, I saw a guy hit and kill a 250 pound hog on the run (running away from him)at over 200 yards using a Model 94 Winchester in .30-30...

March 23, 2006, 09:16 AM
First Freedom,
I work in a sporting goods shop and we have customers all the time asking for rifles in the short magnums and regular magnums. (We stock none, though I keep telling my superiors to get the buyer to get us some! We'd sell them easily enough. Whether or not they are necessary is another matter. ;) ) Early this year the .325 WSM was the one everybody was looking for. Must be a lot of local guys going out West elk hunting or something to need that kind of firepower!

Yet oddly enough we still sell .30-30s fairly regularly. Marlins only now, no more Winnies left in stock. They're reasonably priced, lightweight and cheap to shoot. I actually kind of want one myself, but have a .44 Magnum Marlin already and can't justify the .30-30 at the moment.

March 24, 2006, 11:46 PM
My Father had a 30-30. When I became old enough to hunt deer, he took me hunting. I had never even fired the gun but had used a 22 single shot quite a lot. Well that first day I killed 2 deer with the first 2 shots I had ever fired with the gun.

I soon afterwards bought my own 30-30 carbine. I started to reload for it and shot the 30-30 the way most kids shoot a 22. Squirrels, Chucks, deer, elk, rabbits, magpies, no problem. The real trick is simply shooting enough to learn what the gun can do and where to expect it to hit at various ranges.

As for a gun to use in close cover, it's hard to beat. Light and quick to point and hitting a deer under 75 yards with open sights is a piece of cake.

Does it have enough killing power? Consider this: The largest Grizzly bear ever killed was killed with a 25-35. ( Do A Google search for Old Ephriam)

I am not suggesting that the 30-30 is the best deer rifle ever, but in the hands of a good shot it will put the meat on the table. I now use a 270 for deer hunting and appreciate the flat trajectory, but my custom rifle weighs 9 pounds. Quite a load compared to packing the little carbine.

April 5, 2006, 01:41 PM
i own a marlin 336 in 30-30 and it is topped by a set of see-thru rings and a 3-9x40 tasco it cant be beat for deerr it has been around for many years and killed many deer

Dark Canyon
April 5, 2006, 02:10 PM
People who believe the .30-30 is not adequate for deer size game to 200 yards either has very little experience with the caliber or is a mediocre marksman. It also does very well on feral hogs here in Texas.

In addition to several more powerful centerfire rifles, I have always owned a Model 94 in this caliber and it does its part if I do mine.

April 5, 2006, 06:21 PM
most caliburs can take down a white tail easy enough, personaly i have 2 30-06s i use remington 760 and a 7400, have used a .270 (rem 760) and even a wingmaster 870 with slugbarrel a few times...
I always recomend any of the following and have seen them all used .270, .30-06, .30-30, .303 brit , and .35 whelen... lots of bullets can do it if placed properly, i like these ones though cause ammos easy to find in my area..:)

oh and on a side note, i know a kid my age that will never step away from his .30-30 and has always had luck with it, i have always used .30-06 and never had a problem, its all what you were raised with and get used to...:P

April 8, 2006, 08:39 PM
It is amazing how many people trash the 30-30 as a deer rifle. Are you saying a .30 caliber rifle can't take down deer reliably? The 30-30 definitely has the power just not the range. Used within its limitations it is an excellent deer rifle. 90% of deer are taken within 200yds you know. It is actually somewhat silly to take a shot longer than 400yds no matter what you have. You should always try to get in closer. In wooded country shots are typically less than 100yds and a good hunter can stalk to within handgun range.

April 9, 2006, 07:12 PM
I dropped a spike last year at 90 yrds.rifled sights, with a marlin 336.That was the first deer I have ever taken with a rifle.Most have been with a bow or shotgun slug.I must say i was impressed,dropped him right on the spot,like someone pulled a rug out from under him.Granted he wasn't a monster but it was meat on the table.Next season I'm going to try to take one with my winchester 94' 45.colt.Seems like It has plenty of knockdown power for whitetails.

April 12, 2006, 12:50 AM
I have used a model 94 Winchester in 30-30 to take 2 wild boars both over 250lbs. and had complete penetration with decent exit wounds. Given this nobody can say that it is not capable of taking a deer. I recently had a Williams peep sight installed on it and I plan to one day take a deer with it. So far I have only killed 2 deer, one with a Knight 50 cal. muzzleloader and one with a Marlin 1895 in 45/70. But I will never have to think twice about the rifle being able to get the job done when I take it out of the safe.

April 15, 2006, 08:05 PM
I have gone through various models of handguns, shotguns & rifles..keeping a few permanently...I recently wanted a good, all-around hunting longarm..and I found and bought a mint pre-64 Win 94 30-30..it suits me just fine here in Arizona...I plan to put in for both deer and elk tags & unless I find something I like thats bigger..this gun will go elk hunting as well...I don't plan on changing it's metallic sights for anything else...unless in an unusual situation, I would try to limit my deer shots to 200 yds or less and no more than 100 yds for an elk...my father hunted more than myself(when he was younger) and has pictures of enormous downed mulies while holding his 30-30 94..pick a good arm and practice and let others talk if they insist to..

Jack O'Conner
April 16, 2006, 05:53 AM

This big buck fell to a single 30-30 bullet through the chest. Distance was about 125 yards or so after a half hour stalk in rough country. Plain Remington core-lockt ammo did the job. The buck bounded away at the shot but collapsed a couple jumps. The 150 grain soft tip destroyed both lungs in an instant. Even the mighty 460 Weatherby MAG could not have performed better!

I've killed 3 elk with the 30-30 cartridge. They all died and none got away. The trick is go for bone with the first shot. Here is where you aim: place your scope's vertical line even with the front edge of the front leg. Place your horizontal line about one third down from the backline. A good 170 bullet placed here will drop the animal where it stands. But watch your distance, DO NOT fire if the animal is farther than 150 yards or so.

Good 30-30 hunting to you.

May 5, 2006, 05:45 PM
It's just a well balanced practical round... My lever gun 30/30 is light, accurate,flat shooting,quicker than a bolt gun, and packs a 30 cal. 150gr. bullet that delivers a powerful punch of 1000 - 1500lbs+ energy to just about anything within 200 yds. I personally try to limit my shot with the 30/30 to less than 100 yds.(mainly because I'm in brush/timber where that's the maximum range!) To top it all off - it has very mild recoil! Great gun!
Did I mention it has a wide variety of factory ammo and of course now it has the pointy hornady bullets!? Great caliber! Great Marlin Lever Guns!
It might not be as sexy as a $2000 Mk.V Weatherby...but it's a lot sexier than a slug gun...and it has a way of putting more meat on the table than those fancy guns that tend to end up not getting used inasmuch just getting displayed. The 30/30 lever gun is a working dog - not a show dog. In fact, I think a 30/30 might be a good choice for a kid to start out with as a first deer rifle... Afterall, if you learn how to hunt well with an iron sighted 30/30
- then you will hunt all that much better when it comes to scopes and longer ranges!!! :cool:

May 5, 2006, 06:24 PM
ME, I, MYSELF cannot see hunting exotics that cost that much money without a sure clean killer like a weatherby mag.

I hate to be nitpicky but I will, these little wee exotic deer would fall to a .22lr in proper hands and a .243 in mediocre hands. I see your point about not risking the money but a Weatherby magnum shouldnt have to be used on deer. If all the country that I hunt wasnt so open Id sure as heck be shooting a .30-30 but since its mainly open and flat my .270 serves rather well.

I saw a pronghorn that someone had shot with a .22lr dead as could be laying out in our pea field a few years ago and Im sure that these deer arent much bigger than a pronghorn. (Yes I did report it the game warden said a few of those had been showing up around the area)

May 6, 2006, 10:15 PM
my 'new' hunting arm...

Jack...if I get out this season, I will try for the aforementioned spot if a shot presents itself..

May 7, 2006, 12:28 AM
Maybe it's just me but are those deer both gutshot?

May 7, 2006, 10:15 AM
I hunt with a recurve bow, primarily. When I don't fill my tags, I hunt rifle season with my bow until the last week. When the last week comes, a 3030 goes with me. Here in the Appalachians, the 3030 is nearly the perfect weapon.
Of course, the guys who sit on top of a pile of bait in a heated treestand in walking distance of their 40 thousand dollar diesel trucks that are hotrodded to the max don't care for the 3030. They have the uber-magnums. But, for those who still care to actually hunt deer and can stalk in closely, the 3030 is a great weapon.

And, for the record, I can use a large bore rifle out to 1000 meters better than most. But, I use the 3030 here because I prefer to keep honing my skills and because it is terrain appropriate. I can afford whatever I want.

May 7, 2006, 10:32 AM
The new 30-30 Hornady round seems to have great results...

Hornady LEVERevolution Ammunition


Old Time Hunter
May 8, 2006, 07:14 PM
I have a GREAT DEAL on 30-30MAGNUMS, seems that the boxes they came in were mis-printed and they neglected to print the MAGNUM on the box. All that they say is :30-30 cal Winchester 170gr Cor-Lokt, but don't worry, I will hand print MAGNUM on them so you will know that you received the right ones. Cheap too, only $29.95 for a box of 20. Hurry, get 'em while my Sharpie has ink...I mean while they last!