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30-30 VARMINT LOADS..
And other variants on a fine old caliber that is 105yrs old
If you think the title is oxymoronic, wait till you hear some of the loads. If I had a dollar for every varmint that has bit the dust because of a country boy and a
30-30, I would retire to 600 acres somewhere...with signs up saying ďno socialists, liberals, greenies, tree huggers and Klintonistas....those that need fresh venison, turkey, squirrel and rabbit meat are welcome....Ē.
Plus Winchester has come out with a new 30-30 on the standard 94 action with a half magazine, 24 inch barrel, and Black Shadow stocks.....mmmm nice, very nice.....and it is a shooter.
My very best favorite load for this rifle, and many of the other 30-30s I have had, is the famous Lyman 311440 bullet...which I think is now listed as 308440..which ever...it is a 150 grain flat faced killer.
From 1000 fps with 10 grains of 2400 to 2500 fps with 36.5 grains of H335, and thatís from a 20 inch barrel, this 150 grain cast bullet shaped like a fist is extremely accurate. The H335 load runs just over 40,000 psi so be sure your 30-30 is in good condition.....
Using the Hornady half jacket soft nose 100 grain plinking bullet over 39 grains of A2015 gives close to the magic 3000 fps...still in 20 inch rifles. This load scares coyotes into deep respect for the far reach of leveraction rifles.....Hornadyís number for this bullet is 3005. With a 3 inch high at 100 yards it is on at 300 yards and down 20 inches at 400 yards...ouch thatís good....and we are still talking a 30-30! With a 1 Ĺ inch high at 100 yards it is down a measured 11 inches at 300 yards. Brush gun, isnít that the phrase some use? I think I have mentioned before the adjective I use to describe how I feel about that phrase, and those that refuse to believe the 30-30's real ballistic potentials.
When you start getting close to 38 grains of powder, any powder, and over...the 30-30 case starts getting crowded...I very partially size my brass. As long as itís fired in the same chamber it usually works well. Full length resizing is really hard on brass...especially 30-30 brass. I only have to do it after a long number of firings. Plus I use nickel brass from MidwayUSA, I buy it in bulk and it is strong.....
Another favorite bullet for me is a spire point...I clip the nose off so it can be fed into the tube. It is Hornady again #3010...a 110 grain jacketed spire point. 35.5 grains of H4198 pushes it to near 2900 fps at around 38,000 psi. Hornady makes a twin to this bullet at 130 grains #3020...and 39.5 H335 and close to 2800 fps....this a top bullet for long range and killing power for deer sized animals....Iíve taken Virginia Black Bear with this load. Itís a varmint bullet for 30-06 class velocities, so from the heavy loaded 30-30 it will act like a game bullet. Again with a 1Ĺ inch 100 yrd high itís nearly on at 200 and down around 10 inches at 300.
The 110 grain jacketed HP is a known as the Plinker...and over 2500 fps it comes apart and so does the target... whether vermin or varmints, up into the coyote and feral dog class. Speer has been making this bullet for years and it is a good one. This is a fragile bullet and really starts to do strange things when you push it up around 2800 fps and over.
So do you still think the title was silly...the 30-30 can and is a varmint rifle as good as the accuracy potential of the gun. My Winchester 24 inch mod. 64, will with some loads, out shoot some of my bolt guns. The new Winchester Black Shadow 30-30 puts the 311440 cast bullet into 1 and Ĺ inches at 100 yards.....accuracy and load development is the key.
The other aspect of the 30-30 is light loads....they are and can be fun.light loads...for as far as it goes......
The afore mentioned 150 grain gas checked 311440 bullet over 10 grains of 2400 in WW cases and WW standard primers from my Model 64 put five rounds into 3/4 ths of an inch at 100 yards. It is my squirrel load, it will take a squirrel right out of a tall tree...and wonít ruin more than a spoonful of meat. When squirrels lay flat on branches so they canít be shot...I just shoot right up thru the branch...works every time. Head shoots to 30 yards or so, are easy with a small 4 power scope. And with Winchesterís angle eject system it is practical. Same with Marlin...a small scope for small game hunting can mean the difference in having lunch or not.
I was walking the wilds behind my home in the wilderness one late October, quietly stalking squirrels with this load. Had a few squirrels already in my coat, and was getting ready to call it a day...when I heard rooting and snorting....I slipped behind a tree....watching and waiting, he came out of the brush into a little clearing. It was a feral pig and he had to be 250 lbs on the hoof.
I put the cross hairs right between his eyes and squeezed it off. He fell literally in his tracks...this 311440 bullet exited the back of his head at 20 yards.....I had more trouble getting the four wheel in and winching him up into a tree to gut and clean him....than anything else. These wild pigs have little fat in their meat...and are uncommonly delicious. I think even the olíturkey buzzards like pig scraps the best.
RCBS makes a mold for a 115 grain round nose that is gas checked. Cast somewhat soft with checks and Apache Blu lube, over 7 grains of Unique and 1200 fps this is a 32 H&R magnum load from a handgun out of the 20 inch 30-30. Takes rabbits and small game without destroying a lot of meat. I buy a bulk Hornady swaged 32 caliber bullets...really .311...itís a swaged 90 grain SWC that really comes to a flat point....7 grains of Unique again will give 1300 fps and it cuts a sharp caliber hole thru small critters. 4.5 grains of Bullseye in some guns is even better in the accuracy department....remember just put a little Dacron fiber down on the powder to hold it to the primer. Iíve read a lot about small amounts of powder in rifle cases blowing up guns. What it was really, were a small number of rifles blown from using small amounts of very slow rifle powder in very large cases like 30-06 and 300 Win Mags. P.O. Ackley in the 1960s tried to blow all kinds of rifles up using small amounts of pistol powder and never could.
Now saying that, Winchester/Olin stated in the past that 296 (and I guess that means H110 also) shouldnít be lowered more than 10% of recommended loads in handguns. I tell you what was a warning on the old canisters. Let your reloading practices be your guide. But personally I use 296 and H110 in small amounts in all kind of rifle cases....
Sierra makes a 125 grain 30-30 bullet that is flat nosed and is hollow pointed. Jim Taylorís Dad used it one year in AZ to take his deer, around 1986. I forget the load, but it was a lot of 3031 and the bullet hit behind the rib cage and broke the deerís spine and it was at long range as I remember. (webmaster's note- 200+ yards.. I was there when he did it) Excellent performance for a light bullet. I have used it on two antelope at extended ranges, both one shot kills. My friends never cease to be amazed at my long range shooting of game with the 30-30. They know itís not supposed to be able to do that...been told all their lives about short range brush guns.
Pushing a 100 to 130 grain bullet at 2000 fps from a 30-30 is a great training load for youngsters...they have power and little real recoil. But there is a better way for short range woods hunting with kids. Lyman makes a 170 grain cast bullet...31141..but if you donít cast then I recommend Magus bullets. They cast a quality product and a few hundred will not put a dent in your gun budget. A heavy weight 308 cast bullet loaded to around 1600 to 1700 fps still has a lot of power without recoil and will harvest deer and black bear.
By the way Magnus makes a 309 caliber flatnose at 100 grains #205...over 10 grains of 2400 this is one accurate bullet. Even 4.5 grains of Bullseye does a neat job. No recoil and you can see the target react...or not react if you miss. Their #207 is a 150+ grain flat base with a flat tip and at 1600 to 1700 fps can be excellent also. Again Unique...4227...2400...they will do the job well, you just have to find the fast rifle powder that suits your gun. And donít forget wadcutters for short range squirrel/rabbit loads....Magnus makes a 98 grainer that works well.
NEI makes a number of excellent molds for the 308/311 caliber. I have their 220 grain round flat nose. What a fun bullet. Cast dead soft over Ĺ to 3/4 ths of a grain of Bullseye it is almost silent from the 24 inch barrel...a loud pop from the 20 inch barrels. And it gives the power of a snubby .38 special 158 gr round nose load. I have eliminated a number of problems with these silent loads. And this 220 grain gas checked bullet over 38 grains of H450 gives near 2000 fps and is a killer of even large game....but you need a hot primer with this powder. Cast Performance Bullets make so many wonderful .308 to .311/2 hard cast bullets, you just want to test them all. And olíKelly Brost owner and honcho will send you a mixed sample for FREE!
The 30-30 spells versatility with todayís powders and bullets....all we have to do is stop thinking like the old days...with all the old ideas about brush guns and loads....this is now a 21 century cartridge!