Handloads: .30-30 Winchester

posted on March 24, 2020
hand30.jpg

You’d think a cartridge introduced when Grover Cleveland was president would be nothing but an artifact by now, but the .30-30 Win. is doing quite well as it celebrates its 125th birthday this year.

The original load was a 160-gr. soft-point bullet with a muzzle velocity of 1970 f.p.s., but it has improved through the decades with better bullets and increased velocities. Single-metal bullets include the Cutting Edge Lever Gun Raptor and Barnes Triple Shock Flat Nose, which are both constructed with wide-open tips to initiate expansion. Dual-core bullets include the Swift A-Frame Lever Action and Nosler Partition. Ordinary bullets with an exposed lead tip, such as the Sierra 170-gr. Flat Nose or Hornady 150-gr. Round Nose Interlock, still reliably expand and hold together at the .30-30’s relatively sedate velocities. Hornady 160-gr. Flex-Tip eXpanding (FTX) bullets, with a pointed elastic tip, do marginally flatten the .30-30’s trajectory and carry nearly 20 percent more energy than the flat-nose bullet at 200 yds.

When I started handloading the .30-30 Win. more than 40 years ago, my hunting load was Sierra 150-gr. FN bullets fired by IMR 4320 at approximately 2100 f.p.s. from the 20" barrel of a Winchester Model 94. Today, propellants such as IMR 8208 XBR, CFE 223, TAC and Varget significantly increase that velocity. LEVERevolution, though, is the leader, firing Hornady 150-gr. Round Nose Interlock bullets at 2469 f.p.s. from the 24" barrel of a Model 94 Legacy. The same load delivered 2357 f.p.s. from the 20" barrel of my standard Model 94. That velocity boost makes the .30-30 Win. an excellent cartridge in a lightweight lever-action rifle for hunting deer, black bear and even larger game at short-range—just as originally intended.

Latest

The Armed Citizen
The Armed Citizen

The Armed Citizen® Oct. 18, 2021

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

Bergmann’s Extraordinary Pistols

Although Bergmann’s products never received the notoriety of the Luger, the Broomhandle or the Colt M1911, he nevertheless set many milestones in firearm development—including making the first pistol to achieve genuine commercial success. How’s that for extraordinary?

Preview: Bushnell Outdoorsman Bluetooth Speaker

Having tunes playing while working outdoors can keep the momentum going, and Bushnell’s Outdoorsman Bluetooth speaker has the durability and longevity to keep up with long projects, outdoor parties and more.

Preview: LA Police Gear Freedom Axe

With full-tang construction, a 3Cr13 stainless-steel head and water-resistant Pakkawood scales, the compact Freedom Axe from LA Police Gear is a versatile survival tool designed to shrug off the elements and hard use.

Rifleman Q&A: .32 Long Rimfire Shot?

Where did .32 Long Rimfire shotshell cartridges come from? What guns were chambered for it? Here's what we found out.

The .32-20 Winchester Center Fire: History & Performance

Born from a desire for a faster and flatter shooting cartridge, the .32-20 Winchester Center Fire cartridge came to the world stage at the end of the 19th century as a popular option for revolvers and lever-action rifles alike, but its popularity eventually dwindled as the 20th century progressed.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.