Standard for decades, 170 grain soft point .30-30 ammo is a mainstay of the ammunition industry, and a reliable partner of countless hunters. There has been a long time now for this .30-30 ammo to be perfected. The modest muzzle velocity of the .30-30, coupled with the large exposed lead tips of most factory ammunition typically results in excellent bullet performance on game. To explore that a little further, I selected three common types of 170 grain .30-30 ammunition for testing.
The test platform was my trusty 336 Marlin with iron sights. Conditions were 40 degrees, overcast, with a slight wind blowing from the north. The chronograph was about 12' from the muzzle, and the one-gallon plastic jugs of water were at 25 yards.
Remington 170 gr Core Lokt: Recovered from the 6th jug. Retained weight is 132.5 gr. Expanded diameter is .552" and the muzzle velocity was 2118 fps.
Winchester 170 gr Silvertip: Recovered from the 6th jug. Retained weight is 125.6 gr. Expanded diameter is .584" and the muzzle velocity was 2167 fps.
Winchester 170 gr Power Point: Recovered from the 6th jug. Retained weight is 138.5 gr. Expanded diameter is .606" and the muzzle velocity was 2141 fps.
The three different types of ammunition were very similar in performance, which didn't surprise me. All were between 2118 fps - 2167 fps, retained weight varied from 125 - 138 grains, all expanded between about .55" and .60" and all penetrated into the 6th one-gallon water-filled jug.
That last part about penetration is noteworthy - recovering bullets from the 6th water jug is impressive stuff. All three types of .30-30 ammo tested produced that amount of penetration, which is greater than I've seen with some .45/70 and .375 H&H hunting ammo!
At this point all I can advise it to use the one that shoots best from your rifle - and that may be hard to determine too, there was no real accuracy difference between them from my rifle... Maybe I'll use Silvertips because they look cool, but I like that green box the Remington ammo comes in... Decisions, decisions... It's obvious that the ammo makers long ago figured out how to make really good 170 grain .30-30 hunting ammo.
I'll try to round up some other 170 gr .30-30 ammo and test it as time permits.