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Forum Index > Rifles general discussion > Clarifying the .30-30 Winchester (.30 WCF ) Factory Ammunition Article - Best Factory Ammo?

Clarifying the .30-30 Winchester (.30 WCF ) Factory Ammunition Article - Best Factory Ammo?

07 Dec 2018
@ 07:06 am (GMT)


There is a great article in the knowledge base on the .30-30. I inherited a Marlin and wanted to use it whitetail hunting. I put a Leupold scope on it and wanted to find the best ammunition. I've had several suggestions- Core-Lokt, Hornady LeveRevolution, and it appears the article in the knowledgebase suggests a slight advantage to the Win 170gr SilverTip (scoped trajectory).

I wanted to confirm that this chart is actually listing the authors opinion of best ammunition for the .30-30.

I'm getting sufficiently sucked into the world of riflescopes, hunting, kill shots, hydrostatic shock, loads, etc and I'm hoping to salvage some productivity and time. :)

Thanks for the clarification.[b]


07 Dec 2018
@ 08:07 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Clarifying the .30-30 Winchester (.30 WCF ) Factory Ammunition Article - Best Factory Ammo?
Hi Jarryd, the issue here is that there is no best bullet, nothing that stands out way above others. The impact velocities are low no matter what you use. Penetration is generally acceptable across the board due to low impact velocities, wounding is mild. The Silvertip in now no longer in production. the nearest to this is the ballistic silvertip (lubalox coated). Without the black coating, its called the Deer season XP.

The idea behind the XP and BST is to create a frangible bullet. This helps to promote wide (mechanical) wounding in the absence of high velocity (hydraulic wounding). My only issue with this, is that it can help to start out with more bullet weight if running a frangible bullet for woods hunting / raking shots.

The point about hydrostatic shock was that with a fast load, it could be seen on occasion at close ranges under the right conditions, but that it was not reliable. With a .30-30, shot placement is the main variable for speed of killing.

All you can do is try to match the bullet weight to the job at hand and aim forwards. For light to medium weight deer, a 150gr is the go and a frangible (wide hollow point hidden under a tip) can be useful if you are not having to take raking shots. For heavier deer, the 160 to 170gr weight can be useful.

The Rem and Hornady ammunition recomended to you are both acceptable.

Have a think about how you intend to use the rifle. Will you be bush stalking (raking shots) or shooting from a stand or across open fields. If bush stalking, you will find the Remington ammo more useful. If hunting in the open where you have to reach out a bit, the frangibles will be the best bet.

Above all, check to see what the rifle likes. Take the gun to a bench and see how it performs at 100 yards. Hold it with two hands, rest it over a pack or soft rest (do not use a sling with the Marlin).

Further reading:

One of my readers wrote the following article which is worth paying attention to:
07 Dec 2018
@ 08:55 am (GMT)

Jarryd Nolen

Re: Clarifying the .30-30 Winchester (.30 WCF ) Factory Ammunition Article - Best Factory Ammo?
Thanks Nathan, due to the placement being such an important factor I will not be taking raking shots or a shot with brush in the way. I will test out a few options at the range and see what the rifle likes.

Based on your article I am thinking the Hornady FTX is a good start.

Your article was very positive about Federal's premium .30-30 loading, my second to compare.

Thanks again,

07 Dec 2018
@ 02:39 pm (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: Clarifying the .30-30 Winchester (.30 WCF ) Factory Ammunition Article - Best Factory Ammo?
Do you Reload? You may have already seen and read this article. Have a look and see what you think? Power for the 30-30: Ackley Improved and Hornady LEVERevolution.
I liked this.... "No deer are shot at the muzzle", "ft-lbs of goose". "An informal rule of thumb has been that you need 1000 foot-whacks of energy to take a big game animal". Check it out link below.......enjoy it for what it is.
09 Dec 2018
@ 09:46 am (GMT)

Luke Lahdenranta

Re: Clarifying the .30-30 Winchester (.30 WCF ) Factory Ammunition Article - Best Factory Ammo?
One thing I can add about Marlin lever guns (since they are one of favorite hunting rifles) is that they can be fairly sensitive to brand and bullet weight of ammo and it can really pay to test a few different brands and weights. You may get a box of Brand X 150 gr and lucky to shoot a 6" group at 100 yards but Brand Y with 170 gr load may go into 2". Once you find the brand and bullet weight that your particular rifle likes, just stick with that.

Now with all that said, many Marlin 30-30s (including mine) do seem to like the cheap Federal 'Blue Box' 170 gr load. that along with the Hornady 160 gr load can at least get you started. The old 30-30 is at least affordable to buy a few different boxes of ammo to experiment with. Whatever leftover ammo your rifle didn't like can be used for some very fun offhand shooting practice sessions! Good luck with your Marlin 30-30. I think if you take a bit of time to sight in your Marlin properly and follow Nathans ammo and shot placement tips, you will find your Marlin rifle to be a fun gun to shoot and a fine companion in the deer woods.
13 Jan 2019
@ 08:24 pm (GMT)

Rod Forray

Re: Clarifying the .30-30 Winchester (.30 WCF ) Factory Ammunition Article - Best Factory Ammo?
Hi Jarryd,

I dont have a Marlin in a 30-30 but i do own a model 94 Winchester in 30-30 cal.

Most of my hunting i've done is hunting kangaroos in outback Aust out to a max range of 100 yards. I gave up on factory ammunition, i found the wounding to be very shallow and game would run a long way before dropping. This isn't my preferred style of hunting.
I used the Winchester super-x in 170 grain and the Hornady White tail classic in 150 grain. Both these factory loads were disappointing.

Since i loved this gun even with its deficiencies i got a custom made bullet mold made in two sizes, a 150 grain gas check flat nosed hollow point and a flat nosed 170 grain. Both of these are cast with a semi hard cast lead/tin mix. Using ADI2207 powder of 21 grains i believe i am getting around 1850 f/s from the 150gn and about 1770 f/s from the 170gn. Unfortunately i have no way of confirming this i am just going on the load data.

I can confirm that both of these bullets are much more effective on medium sized game the perpetration is twice that of factory loads with the 170 gn and the hollow point is spectacular at close ranges. (well spectacular for a 30-30)

That all being said i still found it a bit under powered so I purchased a 45-70 marlin. This is a much more humane killer on medium sized game but the rainbow trajectory takes some getting used to. I had a similar mold made by CBE for this rifle as well using a 350 grain hollow point and a 410 grain flat point. Both of these are just the amazing compared to the 30-30 and i am yet to have any game run after being hit by either or them.

Sorry if this doesn't quite answer your question but for a 30-30 i think it is definitely worth while reloading your own instead of using factory ammunition due to the old adage of manufactures loading all ammunition to suit the weakest rifles. As this bullet is over 100 years old there are a large number of older rifles still in use restricting more powerful factory loads.



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