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The .30-30 in South Africa
Thursday, 21 Aug 2008 

Always nice to see what hunters are doing with their lever guns. I thought it would be nice to show what these guns are doing right now here in South Africa. 

I have hunted with 30-30 for more than 25 years here in SA. First with a Winchester (top ejector) then later (when my eyesight started to give me trouble) I changed the Winchester to a Marlin 336 side ejector and mounted a 1.5x6 Lynx scope.

I have used this caliber very successfully (never required more than a single shot), but must emphasize that I always made a point of staying with range (max 120M) and I never fired unless I was sure of a good hit. Meat damage is always minimal. Game shot includes Kudu, Black and Blue Wildebeest, Warthog, Impala, Blesbuck, Gemsbuck.

Hunters are bombarded by information and many of them suffer from information overload. Most of them buy whatever is recommended by the salesman or whatever the manufacturers advertisements are promising.

Most have no clue of how calibers evolved over the years, and they have no knowledge of the basic fundamentals. Many have no idea of what it takes to down an animal. No idea about ballistics, penetration, expansion, bullet placement etc. etc.

It is inevitable that hunters talk about bullets and calibers when gathered around a campfire. It’s part of what we do. It’s part of the fun. 

I get tired of reading stories in magazines about the “ideal” gun. In Africa, with a degree of monotony, this becomes a 375 or a 9.3 since this is referred to as a “good-all-round” cartridge. Well, I disagree. 

99% of hunters will never get an opportunity to hunt lion, elephant, buffalo etc. So why carry a rifle which is extremely heavy, has tremendous recoil, uses expensive ammo and a long list of other disadvantages ?

I think what determines the ideal caliber is based on a few basic parameters (type of game mostly hunted, range).

Every time I get questions about what kind of “toy gun” I use (I never miss an opportunity to inform the un-enlightened). When they then see the result of my “little toy gun”, they tend to change their mind. Suddenly it is not such a bad gun after all.

Many people commend on the fact that meat damage on the 30-30 is absolutely minimal. I hardly recover bullets. Most have gone straight through the animal. 

The hype about lack of accuracy in lever action rifles is also blown up beyond proportion. I shoot my Marlin more accurately at 100m than most guys at the shooting range with their selection of bolt actions. I agree on a technical basis that LA rifles cannot be as accurate as BA rifles due largely to the fact that bullet seating is further from the lands of the barrel (compared to BA rifle) due to the loading/extracting mechanism (plus several other factors).

However, the gun is likely to be inherently more accurate than the shooters ability to shoot smaller groups. 

Kind Regards,
Peter Held

impala.jpg (69771 bytes)

warthog.jpg (63028 bytes)

Not RW trophy size, but good size anyway (22 ½”)
Bullet: Federal 170Gn FN.
Distance: 95 Meters
Single shot Kill in vital plumbing area.
Location: Mount Hope Game Ranch – South Africa
Date: 1st July 2008.
Bullet: Federal 170Gn FN
Distance: 110 Meters
Single shot kill heart/lung area.
Location: Mount Hope Game Ranch – South Africa
Date: 2nd July 2008







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