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I own military surplus rifles. Other gun owners talk about the 30-30. I wonder what the heck is it?


Originally .30-30 denoted a 30 caliber bullet with 30 grains of smokeless powder.

I think it is a .308 bullet, but after reading about how it has evolved and changed names, I'm bewildered. Is there a standard .30-30? Is the cartridge a certain length? Does it always have a shoulder? How does it compare to other rounds?

History of .30-30

Here's an interesting thread I ran across: Origin of bullet diameter?
 

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I know its a great brush gun for deer hunting. Plenty of knock down power up to 40 yards. Killed my first deer with a single shot 30-30.
 

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I do too own one of the Winchester repeating arms in 30-30 and love it. Would never think of selling it or replacing it.
 

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I thought a .30-30 was a thirty-caliber rifle and a 30-pack of beer? (Just kidding).

For those who didn't read the whole history, .30-30 is the 19th Century way of designating a cartridge by the bullet diameter (.30) and grains of black powder (30).

Hence, .30-30 is a thirty-caliber bullet with 30 grains of black powder. The designation stuck even long after the advent of smokeless powder and probably doesn't mean much anymore. Just like .38 Special really uses a .357 bullet, .303 British is really .311, 5.45 x 39 is really 5.45 x 39.5, .45 Long Colt is really just .45 Colt, etc.

It's enough to give you a headache...
 

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I have my Dear departed Dads sport model win lever action 30-30. I saw him take many many deer with it growing up. I remember him being very very sure of its knock down power on some danged big muleys out to 150 yards or so. Buckhorn rear sight and all.
I shoot it some and like the smaller grain bullet the best. They are indeed .308 dia bullets, flat nose are used because of the tubular magazine. he also had the traditional saddle model win lever action. They are the ones with the mag and barrel the same lenght. My bro now has that one.

As for brush guns, that is a misnomer, no bullet really has the ability to go thru brush and still have a good filght path. Many have tryed to show that thru the yrs in various articles.
 

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The "thuty-thuty" is the quintessential deer cartridge. In it's most common vehicle, the Winchester model 94, it is seen in every corner of our country every deer season. More deer have probably been taken with the .30-30 than all other cartridges put together. Used to be, everybody owned at least one, sometimes it was the only gun the family owned. The cartridge was one you could just about count on being carried in every small country store in the nation. The cartridge combines accuracy, power and ease of reloading. And don't kid yourself-lots of old farmers used to reload those cartridges! Sears, Roebuck sold hand operated one-at-a-time reloading kits as early as 1900.
The Rifle it came in was just about everywhere. The slim lever action came in rifle and carbine lengths, with all the custom options one could want, including the fancy take down and half magazine rifle styles. And it was durable. My family still use a rifle length M 1894 to hunt deer with that appears in a family photo dated around 1900.
The Carbine length is sometimes called a "Brush Gun" because the short barrel makes it easier to handle in heavy brush. Try a MN 91/30 in the thick woods sometime and you will appreciate shorter barrels.

EDIT: and not just deer were taken with the old .30-30 either. Tom Horn was carrying a Win 1894 during the period of the activities for which he was later, incorrectly I believe, hung. And yes, I know the movie says it was a .45-75, but it wasn't. (although he did own one). Tom Horn's Win 94 in .30-30 currently resides in the National Cowboy Hall Of Fame In Oklahoma City.
 

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Hey Cowdawg I was under the impression they refered to the 30-30 as a brush gun because it was a shorter gun for manuvering yourself and it through the brush ;)
 

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I guess there is two meanings to the term "Brush Gun" out in these parts the term means ability to go thru brush and not be deflected. But then again I'm out in the wide open spaces.
 

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Cammobunker,
Glad you mention my great(or even great great) uncle(actually it was something like second cousin twice removed, but I prefer uncle). Tom Horn stories are thick in my family, but I never knew much about his later life until I got a little older and read up on him. Some people only focus and his last few adventures(or mis-adventures) in his life. Hope someday I can get to OK CY to see his gun.
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Well, there's little question that he was a hard, hard man who led a real interesting and adventuresome life. I persoanlly think he got a raw deal from some folks who were eager to assuage thier collective conscience with a dose of rope medicine. No doubt he sent a good number of folks-good and bad both- on to meet their makers. No doubt he also had trouble adjusting to the new rules the frontier tamed as well. I think the rich cattle folks that hired him deserved a good neck adjustment too.
 

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something I learned on the history channel today....
Oliver Winchester wasn't a gun designer.
He was a shirt maker who invested in a company called Volcanic Arms, who manufactured the first lever-action, which oddly enough, was a pistol. The company started producing these around 1854, and 2 years later, went belly up. Winchester then turned to a machine mechanic who worked for his shirt factory fixing pedal sewing machines, to invent a rifle which was named after the inventor, Henry. The henry rifle was refined several times until it is what you see now. I believe even John Browning had a big role in designing what we see today as the M94 and M95.
Food for thought...
 

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Cammo,
He did do a lot for this country as a trapper explorer and frontiersman. Whether or not he deserved what he got is up for debate. Some say his last murder was a case of mistaken identity but as they say, the winner writes history. I cannot defend him, but who knows what it was really like to live back then.

SKS,
I saw that show a year or so ago and was heartbroken. I always thought Winchester was this master gunsmith when he was really just a businessman. It's really Henry that gets the credit. At least it nice to know John Browning is still one of my heroes. People say Sam Colt was the man that made all men equal, but in my book John Browning was THE man.
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ITS A COMMON FACT THAT MORE DEER HAVE BEEN TAKEN WITH A GOOD OL 30-30 THAN WITH ANY OTHER GUN. I TOOK MY FIRST ONE WITH A MARLIN 30-30 AND FULLY INTEND FOR MY SON TO TAKE HIS FIRST WITH THE SAME GUN WHEN HES OLD ENOUGH. I NORMALLY HUNT IN WEST TX. {REAL WIDE OPEN SPACES} AND USE EITHER A 7 MAG. OR MY TRUSTY FAVORITE 30.06 BUT FOR A SHORT RANGE {100 YRDS OR LESS} YOU CANT BEAT A 30-30. LOOK HANGIN ON THE SIDE OF JOHN WAYNES SADDLE AND WHAT DO YA SEE ?? ALLRIGHTY THEN.
 

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.30 caliber and 30 grains of smokeless powder?

Interesting: I had thought that having a second number to indicate the powder charge died with the introduction of smokeless power, always indicated a BP charge.
 

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Dzerzhinsky,
It die and it didn't. I believe it is now just basically a cartride type. It does not refer to the amount of smokeless powder, just what type of cartridge it is. Reloading data varies, but a 30-30 takes from 28-34 grains of smokeless, a 45-70 takes 30-40 grains and a 44-40 takes 13-23 grains, depending on the load. These numbers vary, but you get the idea.
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