View Full Version : SC Whitetail Deer with a .30 Carbine?

October 15, 2009, 06:19 PM
Okay, a few parameters first: Deer I hunt average 85 to 150lbs. The two blinds/stands I would hunt have ranges from 25 to 100 yards. Assume I can hit the deer in the right place, heart lung shot, neck/head shot. Given those things, would you consider a .30 Carbine enough gun? Good shot placement under 100 yards, not so big deer. I ask because I have had people tell me the Carbine is woefully underpowered for any game larger than rabbits, etc. It killed a lot of the other side in several wars, and has about 975 ft pounds at the muzzle. What gives?

October 15, 2009, 06:32 PM
Nope, not enough power. Even the GI's who used it in WWII recognized it as being underpowered.

October 15, 2009, 07:00 PM
If it is all you have and you can find some ammo with premiun hunting bullets you could succeed up close.
I looked and the usual suspects only have FMJ in stock which would probably be a disappointment.

October 15, 2009, 08:50 PM
Sure, go ahead. Or any .22 is good; just head shoot 'em. Oh! And let's do it at 600 yards.............

Good grief! You guys who want to use these itty bitty guns on big game- see how you feel when that deer leaves a little blood trail a half a mile long ,then you can't find it.

Use enough gun & realize you limitations. You owe it to the animal.:(


October 15, 2009, 09:01 PM
I shot my first deer with one when I was 10 years old. A SMALL mule deer at 75 yards. Hit it in the heart, the bullet stopped in the heart, about 6" of penatration is all. Way to underpowered for even small deer.

October 15, 2009, 09:18 PM
I would avoid it.
It is a pistol caliber in carbine form.
Shotgun with buck shot would be better.
But they are fun to tote around the woods.

The carbine was designed for rear guard troops (cooks, quartermasters, officers, secretaries at HG. Basicly anyone who was not expected to shoot at an enemy personel. It is great for armadillo shooting and coyote/feral dog/cats.

However if I was in alaska with a 30 carbine and hungry I would try a caribou.

It would be like eating soup with a fork. It is gonna be a lot of work to get just a little sucess. And you would only do it if you were stupid or without a spoon.

Here is an idea. Imagine you are gonna be shot and left to die in the woods. What caliber and chamber do you want to be with?
I like blowing the heart to jello. They run but only so far.

Friends don't let friends shoot weak guns. Or go home with the ugly chick in the tank top yelling "I am so Drunk" It sounds fun but you always regret it.

October 16, 2009, 08:48 AM
Sure, go ahead. Or any .22 is good; just head shoot 'em. Oh! And let's do it at 600 yards.............

Good grief! You guys who want to use these itty bitty guns on big game- see how you feel when that deer leaves a little blood trail a half a mile long ,then you can't find it.

Use enough gun & realize you limitations. You owe it to the animal.


Sometimes I think the same thing.

October 16, 2009, 09:09 AM
They weren't good with people........................................................

October 16, 2009, 09:17 AM
Here's my deal: Most everyone would tell you a .357 in a lever gun is plenty for deer. The Carbine out performs the .357 in energy and penetration at all ranges.

The .30 Carbine was said to be underpowered by some soldiers. Well, having been there, soldiers will always say their weapon is underpowered, has too much recoil, jams, is too long/short/heavy or light. Anecdotal evidence aside, it was a sidearm, not a main battle rifle. In fact some sources say that up to 70% of all infantry inflicted casualties on Okinawa were inflicted by Carbines fitted with the first night vision device at ranges of less than 100 yards. (pretty ballsy shooting!) I have heard anecdotal evidence that it was a short range killer or a bb gun.

So other than tying up my neighbors 100 pound dog and doing some ballistic testing, has anyone shot deer, within my parameters, and had good or bad experience?

October 16, 2009, 09:21 AM
Interesting article: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BQY/is_6_47/ai_74033105/?tag=content;col1

Dr. Strangelove
October 16, 2009, 09:52 AM
Many things have killed deer over the years, hunters, bobcats, cars, wolves, etc., but the only thing I am certain never has is an internet discussion forum.

You have to make the decision. If it's legal in SC, then give it a "shot". You sound like you have the right concerns regarding range and bullet placement, so if it's an ethical shot to you, take it.

I wonder how many of the folks above have ever shot a deer with a .30 carbine? I have not, in fact I haven't fired a .30 carbine in probably 30 years. I'm certainly no expert, but it seems reasonable enough to me staying within the OP's parameters.

October 16, 2009, 09:57 AM
The HP/SP bullets aren't designed for medium game. Maybe it would work OK (and by that I mean barely OK) from a carbine at 25 yds. If you can pull off head and neck shots I'd say it could be done out to 100 yds. But I would strongly recommend getting/using a much more qualified gun for the task of hunting.
You really need to be fair and respect the game you hunt by choosing the right tools for the sake of a humane kill. No needless suffering. Oh, and I've heard that the 30 Carb was very underpowered and unliked for that reason, but carried and used because it was compact and light. Was more a paratrooper/vehicle rifle where the overall length was an issue.

October 16, 2009, 09:58 AM
A voice of reason in the wilderness! I was just trying to flush out someone with some real time over the gun shooting deer. I think I am going to take my little Carbine to the range and then to my "punchbowl" and wait on some whitetail with my "hunting" load .30 Carbines. If I don't shoot one, not a good day wasted, my little punchbowl overlooks a nice stream and is always cool and shaded. I think falling asleep is the biggest threat to my deer harvesting!

October 16, 2009, 10:18 AM
The big difference between the 357 and 30 is the bullet design. I just checked both Federal and Winchester, and your info is incorrect about the 30 Carb being more powerful. @ 100 yds the Fed 30 Car 110 grn has 597 ft/lbs, Win 357 158 grn has 715, and Fed 180 grn has 657. The 30 cal being as light weight with a small sectional density coupled with a bullet design not intended for madium game spells animal suffering if everything doesn't work out perfectly. That's why I said a heart/lung shot under 25 yds may work. Now a head or neck shot will definately work. People do it with 22s.

October 16, 2009, 10:22 AM
Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing you. If it was all I had I'd take it and go for neck shots, which I'm fond of. They drop right there. If given the choice I'd rather get a caliber more suited for medium game so that I wasn't hindered by the range or shot placement (head/neck). So if that's all you have access to then use it.

October 16, 2009, 11:58 AM
I have a bunch of other guns, but I just love this dang carbine. My wife got it for me for my birthday. I guess first things first, I need to make sure I can pull off the shot reliably before I try anything else.

October 16, 2009, 12:07 PM
For dirt cheap just go get a used .30-30 lever gun and not have to wonder.

October 16, 2009, 12:16 PM
You're right, but I love the stupid carbine! Haven't you ever carried a weapon and just felt like it was special? Yes, I am crazy.

October 16, 2009, 12:25 PM
Midway shows that CarBon makes a 30 with a Barnes Triple X.
If you could round up a box I'm sure they would kill a deer within 100 yards with a heart/lung shot.

But, as has been said it ain't the best for the job. But, try to get a consensus on what is.:)

October 16, 2009, 12:34 PM
I certainly have had special feelings about certain guns, that's for sure, and still do. My pre '64 Model 70 in .264 Mag is one like that, it feels like a lightning bolt. Another is a Marlin 336 I got for home defense--I almost can't put it down it feels so good. Maybe give that one a try, bigjack.

Art Eatman
October 16, 2009, 12:46 PM
Bullet selection is the obvious problem, even for a reloader. Whatever decent hunting bullet you choose must also feed properly.

Next, of course, is the intended use: In military combat, you're not concerned with ethical kills, nor do you have to stop shooting just because an enemy falls to the ground. In civilian self-defense, you're not concerned with ethical kills, either, but you are supposed to stop shooting when the immediate threat ceases. In hunting, the optimum is a clean and ethical DRT kill.

Hey, I really, really enjoyed driving open-wheel race cars, but they don't haul loads of cargo as nearly as well as does my pickup truck.

October 16, 2009, 01:09 PM

Follow your own advice.

October 16, 2009, 01:45 PM

almost ironic considering the original question

October 16, 2009, 03:16 PM
The 30 carbine was designed to replace the sidearm, NOT to replace the battle rifle. In that respect, it was very successful.

cole k
October 16, 2009, 05:55 PM
Blackjack, the .30 Carbine isn't enough gun. I'd get a .30-30.

October 16, 2009, 08:42 PM
i've killed 4 deer with a 30carbine ,2 with a GI carbine and 2 with a ruger blackhawk all using corbon ammo and all under 50yards. not my first choice but it will work under the right conditions

October 16, 2009, 09:04 PM
a friend that lives in north Florida hunts deer with his ruger sbh 7.5" bbl chambered in .30 car.

he has no problem taking deer with it.

as in all shooting its all about shot placement.

October 17, 2009, 09:56 AM
Do, the question I posed is not ironic considering my taglin of "always Bring Enough Gun." That is why I am asking the question, is it enough gun? It is actually a logical progression from my tagline. Anyways...now I see hunters coming on board that have shot deer with the round and been successful. I love vintage rifles, especially military ones. The thrill would be to see if the old warhorse can be useful in my hunts. My K98 is superb, the K31 Swiss does wonders, the Lee Enfield is great. The Swede shoots sweet, the AR in 6.8 is the best of all. But, I am curious, how will this great little gun do?

October 17, 2009, 10:27 AM
i don't understand this conversation. the 30 carbine was used by soldiers during war to stop men. ruger makes a blackhawk in 30 carbine for hunting, t/c makes a 30 carbine barrel for its hunting pistols. people use 357 in rifles and pistols all the time for deer with great success with less power.

there is always a "better" caliber or a "better" choice. someone will recommend a 243, someone else will says that is to under powered and recommend a 270, others will say nothing under a 30/06 is suitable, someone else will up the anti to a 300 mag and before you know it someone will say nothing under a 458 mag is suitable.

know your gun, know your game and know both you and the guns limitations. i see people are hunting deer with 223's claiming good success even tho they are illegal in some states. certainly a 30 carbine within a reasonable range is a reasonable choice.

October 17, 2009, 10:45 AM
The carbine had it's share of wartime detractors, who compared it to the Garand, but it also had it's advocates. The most famouse being Audie Murphy, who had a habit of hunting German snipers with his. He liked his so much, that when the stock cracked, he wired it back together, and refused the offer of a replacement.
With SP bullets, the 30 carbine is a great cartridge fo HD. My CMP Inland is my goto longarm for SD, even though I have 12ga, 5.56mm, and 7.62x39 options.
I believe that deer would be a suitable use for the M1 carbine if it is used as if handgun hunting. Here in Ohio, a 5" barrel 357 handgun is legal. No reason (other than regulation) an M1 carbine shouldn't be also.

October 17, 2009, 12:49 PM
The award for sanity goes to rickyjames, amd and a couple others. My original question came about because people around here will hunt deer with 357 and 44's in lever guns all day. Then they pull out the underpower arguement based on anecdotal evidence from old soldiers. Nothing against old soldiers, I am becoming one fast, but sometimes we tend to protest a wee bit much about things.

I am putting the carbine through the paces. If I can be confident of 100 yard or less heart or head shot accuracy I am going to shoot some venison with it. And I will sit there channeling all the great old soldiers that used this weapon to great effect, experience a little history the best way possible.

October 17, 2009, 01:35 PM
Why not?
It worked for this guy for bear(s):

October 17, 2009, 01:56 PM
I don't know. That rifle looks awfly similar to a Daisy Red Ryder. :D

October 17, 2009, 09:24 PM
OK I have no problem with shooting a deer or a hog with a .30 carbine. I have taken a few hogs with one. But there is no way I am going after bear, esp. bear that big, with one.

Fred Rogers
October 17, 2009, 11:47 PM
Never shot a .30 carbine, but i know 7.62x39 is a good deer killin cartridge. The two might be pretty similar. Thing about the x39 is it can be hard to hit them in the shoulder past 300 or so yards. I've got some folks in the ozarks who get clean kills on deer with .223's. The 30 carbine probably isnt underpowered at all for deer but i dont know much about it. I imagine it would be very similar to x39.

Art Eatman
October 18, 2009, 09:24 AM
Fred, the AK round has some 15% more velocity and about 30% more bullet weight. The shape of the AK bullet gives a much better drag coefficient.

In general, the sights on any military weapon are coarse, and precision shot placement is not as easy as with quality sights. This gets us back to the "clean, ethical kill" which is our goal. The problem holds for the buckhorn sights commonly seen on the Winchester 94--which leads to all the comments about the range limitations.

It seems to me that quite often it is not the cartridge as a cartridge which creates problems so much as it is the total package--which includes sights as well as power. Marginal power + coarse sights = problems.

October 18, 2009, 09:57 AM
I shot my first deer with a 30 carbine....

looking back at the photos, it appears I double lunged the deer and got an exit wound. I was 10 at the time, so I don't recall performing critical ballistic tests to determine whether or not the round was adequate enough. However, Ido have photos of a dead (texas hill country) deer. I shot the deer at about 75 yards, and I don't think my father would have allowed me to shoot much further.

I don't think I'd try to shoot one of the canadian 300 lb'er whitetails, but I don't see any reason why it would work with good shot placement, under moderate ranges.. probably 100 yards or less..

If you shoot a deer through the heart with a 30 caliber bullet, and it penetrates in and out... or the lungs for that matter, what is the point?

I primarily use a 7mm mag for deer hunting now, but that's only because of the range I can take deer at.

October 19, 2009, 10:36 PM
I have killed 6 deer within a 50 to 75 yrd range with my 30. carbine. Placement is everything and that Is why I only take neck shots. The deer is down isntantly and is dead by the time I walk over to it.

I never shoot a deer while it is running and if it is walking, it has to be within a 100yrds regardless of the rifle I am using.

Everyone who hunts, should be tuned up with there shooting skills to take a placement shot with in 100yrds. If you are tuned up, you will have the blessings of toating around a very light and fast moving carbine to harvest your deer with. :) Now is the time to be at range honing your shooting skills, before firearms season opens.

October 20, 2009, 09:37 AM
Exactly what I am doing! Ordered some Corbon rounds as well.