View Full Version : .30-30 ammo

March 7, 2007, 06:11 AM
Hey guys, I'm new to this forum and I've never been hunting before, though I would really like to. I know that for deer I want to get a Marlin 336C. I can't think of a more handsome rifle to harvest game with. What is the best ammo for whitetail, 150 or 170 grain? In Wisconsin, deer ranges can be anywhere from 20 to 150 yards, but are usually around 70 (this is what my friend told me). Also, I was wondering if the Cabela's bulk re-manufactured ammo is worth the buy. It would be great for practicing and getting good with the Marlin, but is it good for hunting? Has anyone had any experience with it?

Why is the Grizzly 170 grain 30-30 ammo so expensive? What makes it better than the Cabela's?

Also, would a .30-30 be an adequate elk or moose cartridge using standard 150g lead-tipped bullets, supposing you were a very decent shot?

And is it really true that if you shoot an animal and it runs away before dying, that the meat will taste bad?

March 7, 2007, 01:22 PM
Ok, alot of questions so I will answer the ones I can and others can chime in. First off, kudos for choosing a great hunting rifle. The .30/30 has harvested more deer than any other cartrige hands down. When you buy your rifle I would suggest buying one box each of the bullet weights available (probably 150, 170, and 180 grain) and shooting each to find out which is the most accurate. The cabelas bulk is remanufactored and pretty expensive so I would stay away. Remington Corlokt is great hunting ammo and can be found at any wallyworld that sells ammo, it should run about $10/20. As to Grizzly, I'm not familiar with it so no help here. Just get a good hunting bullet and practice, practice, practice.

I would not recomend hunting elk and especially not moose with a .30/30. It can be done, but should only be attempted by an experienced hunter. The minimum for elk and moose is .308 and even then it can be iffy.

No, game meat will not taste bad if the animal runs off. IMHO meat taste is more attributed to cleaning, and preparation of that meat. Wild game must be properly aged to insure most of the blood is drained from the meat. I do this by soaking the meat in ice water for at least 3 days changing the ice everyday before taking it to the processor. Many shots on deer will not result in immediate knock downs so learning to track is very improtant. Stick around and learn as much as you can and make sure to take a hunter's education course.

This question may be better answered in the hunting forum.

March 7, 2007, 01:41 PM
First let me congratulate you on your consideration about getting a Marlin 30-30. I've had mine for several years and it's never failed me. I have to totally agree with Clayfish and his analysis of the correct ammo. I've used both the Federal vital shock in 170 grain and the Hornady Leverevolution in 160 grain and have found both to be excellent food for the 336. I would highly reccommend that if you do buy the weapon, spend a considerable amount of time trying the various ammo available.

Clayfish had a good description of the field dressing of the game. In this state (depending on where you hunt) you can chase the deer up or down steep canyons or across rolling hills and never once have I had the meat turn out bad if it's dressed out properly. Best ofg luck to you and good hunting..

March 7, 2007, 03:19 PM
A Marlin 30-30 is a fine woods rifle and you will be happy with it. If you don't handload, the 170 grain Remington Core-Loct has a great number of fans in this neck of the woods. And, yes I know of a number of Moose cleanly taken with this combination at reasonable ranges. I won't say this is ideal but it will work with careful shot placement......Essex

March 7, 2007, 03:50 PM
I've taken many deer in the U.P. of Michigan(the shooting distances are very much like yours) with my 336CS. I use Remington's Core-Loct 180 grn.

March 7, 2007, 06:38 PM
Don't forget the new Hornady Leverevolution 160g Flex Tip (pointed). I saw some at Bass Pro Shops for $19 per box. of 20. Gives you better (flat) trajectory compared to normal 30-30 ammo.

March 7, 2007, 08:23 PM
thanks guys for the good advice. also, on the marlin 336C there is a barrel band holding the foregrip, whereas on the 336A there is not. Does this affect the practical accuracy of the gun? I know that a barrel that isn't touching anything else on the gun but the action is more accurate, but I wonder if it would matter that much on a .30-30 woods gun.

March 7, 2007, 10:24 PM
The .30-30 is not a bench rifle and was never intended to be. You get practical accuracy from the rifle. Don't worry about the barrel band, it's not going to make enough difference to matter.

March 7, 2007, 10:50 PM
I agree with Clayfish, if you get 2-2.5" groups with your .30-30 you are good to go hunting. You should be able to bring down any deer within 150-200 yards with this kind of accuracy. Most of the time the deer will be much closer than that. 150 grain and up cartridges should work fine for any deer, just find the ones that shoot best in your rifle.

Here is where I disagree with Clayfish. I'm hunting the dreaded elk this year with a Win M94 in .30-30 which is fine for elk as long as you know the limitations of the round. The .30-30 with a 170 grain bullet has far more power than my .50 and .54 caliber muzzle loaders, and there are plenty of elk harvested every year with those calibers. If I keep my shots inside 150 yards and keep my shots to broadside and quartering shots I should be all right. If this was a once in a lifetime hunt I defiantly wouldn't recommend a .30-30 for elk, but I've been getting two elk tags a year for the last few years so I'm using the rifle for the challenge of the hunt.

March 7, 2007, 11:30 PM
Thanks for all the info, and I appreciate you fellas taking the time to share your experience. I have one more 30-30 question. Is there a significant trajectory difference between the 150g and 170/180g bullets at woods ranges? At say, 150 yards (which is the longest shot I will attempt to make on a deer with the Marlin), how much would I have to compensate if I were shooting heavier bullets? In other words, would I have to learn how to shoot 150g bullets and 170g bullets differently?

Also, I just realized that this probably isn't the right forum to be asking about rifles and ammo... but thanks for the all the input anyway. This is quite a resource.

Man, I want to go hunting already!! If I ever get rich someday (IF) I'm buying some land from an Indian reservation somewhere (yeah, like they'd sell it to me) and I'm going to build a cabin with my own hands and do all the hunting, fishing, and hiking I want. No tags, bag limits, etc. because it would be on reservation. I would live off the land 100%, with my trusty old .30-30 hanging over the fireplace. Someday.

roy reali
March 8, 2007, 02:12 AM
Many years ago I had a Savage bolt action in .30-30. With certain handloads it would shoot groups as good as many other hunting rifles. It would shoot one inch groups at one hundred yards. It is not the cartridge itself that ii inaccurate or accurate, it is the firearm they are put into.

March 8, 2007, 07:20 AM
I bought some leverRevolutions in 170 grain for my marlin 30-30.

The shots were within a 2 inch circle at 100 yards off the bench using regular 150 grain soft points.

The shots were off the paper at 100 yds. and 7 inches high and 5 inches right at 50 yds. upon shifting to the LeveRevolutions.

Shooter- Ammo- cartridge- what have you, The heavier round and different grain of powder and different shape bullet were the difference. The gun sat on a lead sled and didn't move. I am sure I could sight in to the heavier round, but the 150 grain softpoint works fine.

March 8, 2007, 08:47 AM
You can go to Federal's or Remington's websites and get the information on trajectories and energy of the .30-30 Winchester. I like Federal's best because it will graph the flight path out for you. Federal has 4 loads for the .30-30 in 125, 150 and two in 170 grain bullets. The 150 and 170 grain loads are within .5" of each other at 150 yards. I wouldn't recommend the 125 grain loads on deer.

March 8, 2007, 10:21 AM
Sodapop, IMHO you should pick a bullet weight and brand that shoots well in your rifle and stick with it for now. You don't worry about changing trajectory if you only shoot one weight of bullet. Just for example, in testing loads for my .308, my 165g loads were right on the bull and my 150g loads were 7 inches low and 3 inches left. Then I changed powder and my 165g were a couple inches low and the 150s were several inches high and right. It's amazing how much differance bullet weights can make.

March 8, 2007, 04:07 PM
you have a good choice in the marlin .30-30, i have the 336A and shoot the Remington Core-Loct in 170 grain and they do a pretty good job.it's a great brush and short distance gun. i shot a deer around 50yards away this year with it and only had to walk about 20 yards from where i shot it at and it was down, its all about proper shot placement and accuracy of the shot. go out like the others said and find out which brand, weight, and round is good for your rifle.

Jack O'Conner
March 8, 2007, 08:28 PM

There are many good comments previous to this post. Plenty of experienced hunters have made the 30-30 their 1st choice for deer hunting the forests and foothills.

Most Marlins feature a 1 - 10 twist which will shoot both 170 and 150 grain bullets exceptionally well. This older Glenfield of mine shoots 150 grain Remington core-lockt bullets into amazing groups. Handloaders typically favor Sierra, Speer,and Hornady.

I've never tried the foreign 30-30 ammo. Please share your experiences with us.


March 8, 2007, 09:03 PM
I bought some leverRevolutions in 170 grain for my marlin 30-30

Are you sure those weren't 160s, DF?

I'd probably run with 170s over 150s for elk & moose, for good measure, in case the big boy comes along and you have to break a shoulder and want to get clear through the vitals. But the .30-30 will get the job done, regardless, and I'd wager that cheapie Federal Fusion would do the job as well as any other bullet.

roy reali
March 8, 2007, 10:31 PM

March 9, 2007, 12:29 AM
blaspheme! LOL Roy I like it...

I'd wager that cheapie Federal Fusion would do the job as well as any other bullet.

I gotta agree, I have never used them but bet they are just fine.

I donna know but I have been killing game with Remington Core-Lok's a long time. Now days I hear em called the "cheap stuff". IMHO Remington figured out what needed to be done to make a bullet perform the way it should on game a long time ago.
Most of this spendy stuff I bet is good but not worth the cost. They will have fancy-dancy ads and show ya all kinds of cutaways etc but bottom line is they don't work a bit better on American game.
I have cut and wrapped well in excess of 50 animals killed with them cheap cor-locs so have first hand knowledge of how well they work. I used some so called premium stuff a couple of times and to me they didn't work any better or destroy less meat than them cheap bullets I reload. Core-locks are still less than 15 cents apiece from Midway or Sportsman's.

I have only recovered one, that I remember, it had went thru a elks neck bone at about a 45 degree angle on into the far shoulder, thru the shoulder blade and came to a stop against the hide on the far side. and still ( if I remember right) weighed about 90 of it's original 150 grains.

Rant rant,, lol,, nuttin wrong with bullets that cost 50 cents or even two dollars apiece but IMO it's a waste of money. To each his own, if premium makes you feel more confident go for it. Ima shutup now, doubt anyone read this far anyhow.

March 9, 2007, 07:01 AM
FF you are correct. The LeveRevolution rounds were 160 gr.

Here is a photo of those same rounds next to some hand loaded rounds my buddy from work has fallen in love with.

His two daughters cut their hunting teeth with the same marlin 30-30.

He claims accuracy out to 200 yards with these rounds. (I think that means pie plate accuracy just so you know)


Understand, you can only load one in the chamber and one in the magazine, but that is enough for me. I will try these rounds with my marlin and see if I get similar results.

We will modify the powder up or down until we can get some consistency with my marlin.

March 9, 2007, 07:04 AM

sorry, try the photo again.

March 12, 2007, 09:07 PM
You wont go wrong with the 30-30. I use 150gr. soft points, and my dad's 120gr. handloads when I can get some. (he doesnt load much anymore)

The 336 is a very accruate rifle, in my openion. I own one, but have installed scopes on several. I've got 1.5 and 2 inch groups with my 336w, and managed a 1 inch group with and old 336c once. Guy woudlnt sell me the rifle after i showed him the target.

An animal wont taste bad unless its been run alot. Down in some southern states, they run deer with hounds. Deer taste very gamey when they've been running for an hour. A 20 yard sprint wont make much difference in the taste, i think.

March 14, 2007, 02:31 AM
So, I bought the Marlin today!!

336C, walnut stock, $400, beautiful. For some reason, I really like the fat foregrip. I feel it gives me more control when I'm aiming at a "deer" (a blank spot on the wall). I can't wait to shoot some groups and try out some ammo!! I think I will install a peep reciever sight, a scope I think would ruin the handiness, and my eyesight is still pretty top-notch. The action is a little stiff, and I pinched my fingers a little the first several times working it. My friend told me not to oil it, that I should just keep working the dry metal until it smoothed out on its own. Is he right?

The gentleman at Gander Mountain told me that the .30-30 is not a good whitetail cartridge. Excellent for coyotes and varmints, he said, maybe small whitetails, but not a good all-around deer getter. He told me that a .308 or a .270 is much better. I then noticed that the Remington 700 .270 on the shelf was $750. I smiled at the gentleman and told him my heart was set on the Marlin. "Okay," he said, "as long as your 20 feet from the deer you're shooting." And then he went into some story about how when he was kid he shot the same buck with a Win 94 for three seasons in a row, wounding it each time, but the buck kept living until someone brought him down with a .30-06 a year later. However, all the experienced hunters who obviously know what they're talking about say the .30-30 is an excellent whitetail cartridge, that it does its job if you do yours, and I think that's all you can ever ask of a rifle, no matter how powerful or accurate. Either the gentleman was trying to sell me the more expensive rifle, he is a lousy shot, or he is a good story teller. Or all three. I suppose they're all just as likely, but man, does that Marlin feel good in my hands! I hope Wisconsin is FULL of whitetails this season!

Thanks for all the great advice guys!!!

March 14, 2007, 03:10 AM
I'm an old timer on the 30-30 and like the 170 grain Remington Core-Loct so much that I have bought this bullet and handloaded it for years. I have always liked the 170 grain best, but I will be candid here and admit after good luck with the 170 I have not used the 150 grain in 30 years.

When I need longer range, I use a 308 with 165 gr and 180 gr for brush country where shots may be longer. I think the 30-30 is one heck of a deer number and I also use a marlin and for many years shot open sights, but last year I scoped my 30-30 because my eyes are not as good as they used to be and when I can get close enough to use open sights, I use either a 44 or 35 rem in a Marlin. I love those Marlins!

March 14, 2007, 03:25 AM
By the way,

Is it possible to wear out a Micro-groove barrel? I know the .30-30 is not a high-pressure cartridge, but I was wondering if it is possible to shoot a Marlin out, especially with the shallow rifling. When I'm shooting on the bench, should I let the barrel cool after each group? Should this be a concern of mine? Does accuracy degrade after a lot of rounds? I don't plan on shooting 100,000 rounds out of the Marlin in my lifetime (maybe in the rifle's lifetime), but after 5,000 or so, will accuracy being to suffer? Someone told me that only 3,000 rounds out of a .243 will begin to wear its accuracy down. Is this true with the 30-30? I have access to a private rifle range and I plan on shooting the Marlin A LOT.

Thanks again!

Also, out of curiosity, does a Marlin .30-30 with a 24 or 26 inch barrel exist other than that ugly XLR, or are they all 20 inch carbines? There's something about stainless guns-- they just don't seem right to me. For sure, they have very real and practical advantages, but they look unwholesome.

March 14, 2007, 03:41 AM
Small fast calibers do brun out barrels faster, but a 30-06 will hold up well, I heard over 5000 rounds. That is a good question about the micro groove barrell and all I can say is that I put about 1000 rounds through mine and it still shoots perfect.

I think there might be a difference with the micro groove, but consider that the 30-30 is rather mild, I doubt it is a concern. It will be interesting to see what response you get from anyone who has read or actually has shot one out.

March 14, 2007, 06:45 AM
Congratulations on your purchase, you did a good job of picking rifle and caliber. While you picked a rifle that is not of modern design it will defiantly do the job on deer. Enjoy shooting it and give us a range report when you shoot it for the first time.

Northslope Nimrod
March 19, 2007, 05:21 PM
Enjoy your Marlin.

I carry mine (or my Winchester 94) deer hunting all the time. I also carry my Marlin Elk hunting occassionally. Its not a great elk caliber, but personally, at 100 yards and under, I'd rather have my 30-30 than a .270.

My uncle lost an elk last year he shot at about 15 yards with a 7mm. Again, I think a 30-30 at that distance would have been better. Just my opinion.

March 19, 2007, 10:31 PM
My uncle lost an elk last year he shot at about 15 yards with a 7mm

I don't know you or your uncle or want to blast you or him, but if a elk is lost at 15 yards don't blame any capable caliber. It wasn't the guns fault.

May 24, 2007, 02:09 AM
Hey y'all,

Just finished up with school and **finally** got a chance to shoot the 336. I bought a box of federal fusions 170g, Leverevolution 160g, remington corlokts 150g, and found some old winchester 150 g. round noses that might have been around since the 1930's. I shot with iron sights from 100 yards and managed 2-3 inch groups. The fusions were pretty decent, I averaged around 2.5 inches or so with them. The old winchester ammo shot pretty decently, too, the best group being around 3 inches. I was a little disappointed with the leverevolution ammo, the groups averaged more than 2.5 inches. I don't know why, but my Marlin doesn't seem to like them, which is a pity. I thought the leverevolutions were supposed to be super accurate out of Marlins. But then again, I was shooting open sights with a nice hefty tigger. My rifle, however, seemed to prefer the corlokts over the others. One of the corlokt groups was 1.3 inches, and that's the bullet I will hunt whitetails with. They say you can't do much better than a corlokt.

I think the rifle needs a little tigger-smoothing. A reciever ghost-ring sight is next, and I will see if I can shoot a pig or two while waiting for deer season.

Thanks for all the great advice guys, and happy hunting!