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.35 Rem vs 30/30

24 Nov 2015
@ 03:07 pm (GMT)

Chris Inscore

I am going to be purchasing a Marlin 336C in either .35 Rem or 30/30. I have never used either cartridge so would like to get input from folks who have used them on Eastern White-tailed deer sized game (max 200 lbs). I do not handload, so therefore would have to rely on factory ammo such as Hornady LeverEvolution.

This is strictly going to be a woods rifle, i.e. less than 100 yds, so I am not concerned with long range performance.



24 Nov 2015
@ 07:39 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .35 Rem vs 30/30
Cut and paste from my own notes, un-edited:

Although the .35 Remington was chambered in a number of bolt, pump and semi auto rifles which allowed the use of pointed bullets, its adoption by Marlin as a chambering for the 336 lever action rifle in 1950 was the most successful combination. Today the .35 Remington enjoys a small following among hunters who appreciate its balance of adequate killing power versus minimal recoil. The .35 was initially used for hunting game up to the size of moose and brown bear however this cartridge is now more commonly used on light to mid-sized deer species. Rifles in this calibre can be found outside of the U.S but are not as popular as more recent woods cartridge designs. The .35 Remington has also been chambered in the Thompson Center Contender.

The short carbine woods cartridge market is generally divided into three catergories of demand, hunters who want a mild recoiling cartridge such as the .30-30 and .35 Remington, those requiring a high powered medium bore such as the .358 Win, Whelen or magnum and those who want maximum frontal area, a virtue of the big bores such as the .44 magnum, .444 Marlin and .45-70 etc. Each group of cartridges have their following however for woods hunting the success of a cartridge largely depends on the style of rifle that it is chambered in. An ideal woods rifle can (from a relative perspective) best be described as short, light, compact and having clean lines that do not cause the rifle to get hung up on undergrowth. The action must be fast to operate. An ideal woods cartridge is one that offers enough power to allow shots to be taken at game from varying angles and creates a blood trail where shot placement error has allowed game to travel away from the point of the shot. The .35 Remington fits these criteria well when chambered in the Marlin lever action rifle.

One drawback of the .35 Remington is that its mild impact velocities do not create any form of hydrostatic shock (immediate nervous / electrical trauma causing instantaneous coma). From true muzzle velocities of around 2000fps, impact velocities are typically between 1700 and 1900fps. The same can of course be said of the .30-30 even though impact velocities are typically slightly higher. While the .35 bore does normally display hydrostatic shock at lower velocities in comparison to smaller bores (2200fps as opposed to the general 2600fps cut off point for small bores), the .35 Remington slips below this bracket. For those wanting more in the way of raw ‘knock down’ power and also more room for shot placement error, a faster cartridge is advisable. These comments aside, the .35 Remington is capable of generating adequately wide wounding for clean killing and a wide free bleeding blood trail. Put simply, it gets the job done and is a pleasure to use. If there is anything we can learn from the .35 caliber, it is that this bore diameter is reliable. Readers are referred to my .30-30 research for discussions on shot placement versus speed of killing.

End of cut and paste.

In my notes I played a lot with pistol bullets- .357 jobbies for close range work. But this falls into the domain of hand loading and accuracy is dependent on individual bore dimenions. The 180gr Speer FP is one of the better standard bullets for hand loading but we now also have the 200gr Hornady FTX in both factory form and hand loads. The 200gr FTX stays closer to the hydrostatic shock mark with impact velocities around 2100fps if hunting right in close. Sorry, I know all of this is a bit random.

Also keep in mind that I am not completely sold on the idea that lever actions and super short rifles are the only way to go. Generations of us hunted with bolt action SMLE and K98 rifles. So I would be just as happy to hunt in bush with a 22 - 24" barreled bolt action, regardless of what criteria it fits.

My goal is to complete the KB this coming year.


We are a small, family run business, based out of Taranaki, New Zealand, who specialize in cartridge research and testing, and rifle accurizing.