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I know, I know. Everyone has their favorite. But why?

I'd love to get the combined wisdom of this forum on the subject of "best" 30-30 ammo. I'm wondering about (i) brand less than (ii) bullet weight. Let's dismiss premium ammo (190-grain Buffalo Bore, expensive copper solids, etc). The question has to do with 125 grain, 150 grain, 160 grain Hornady LR, and 170 grain. This assumes that there is little difference among the 150 and 170 grain loadings of the major manufacturers.

My dear old deceased dad (who is most definitely getting smarter all the time) advocated heavier bullets (in this case, 170 grain) in moderate-velocity cartridges. He argued that in flesh and bone, 170 grains at 2200 fps is more potent than 150 grains at 2350, especially at typical 30-30 distances.

His opinion seems to be born out by the manufacture and sale of obsolete calibers. I've heard it said that as calibers lose their demand, the demand that remains is for heavier bullets.

As an aside, why would Winchester 170 grainers be $1 per 20 cheaper than 170 grain Remingtons?
 

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Winchester Silver tips in either 150 or 170 grains. But now I load my own and haven't bought any factory ammo in a couple yrs. now.
 

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I have used Win and Feds in 150/170grs and never had a problem with downing a hog or deer. Good luck... :tee:
 

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Federal Blue Box 150 and 170 grain ammo. Bass Pro sells it for about $18.50 a box.

Its very consistent ammo, I get good distance and accuracy from this ammo, despite my shooting skills are not what they use to be. I'm working on it.

What good is a particular caliber of a particular kind of ammo if you can't afford to shoot it? I see a lot of 22 owners crying the blues about the prices, and their right. At one time folks could get into target shooting at a reasonable price. Low cost of buying a rifle, and even lower price of buying ammo. I see a lot of 22's for sale these days. I'll stick with my 30-30's for range practice and a little fun!



Cheers!


Mike T.
 

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In my limited experiences;

Winchester "silver tips". The new silver tips do not perform as well as the sixties vintage. I'm thinking it's because the tip material is different than the old silver alloy. My experience and observation based on one deer, while accurate I wasn't impressed by performance.

Remington. I like them. Good accurate ammo. I like the way 170's perform on deer. Usually pass through, with expansion and energy delivery adequate by observation difference of entrance/exit wound.I keep going back to green box 170's.

Federal blue box. Like the remmie ammo, good and accurate. I have not taken game with them but from what I hear and read, I think they are very close to remmie .


I compare my rifle's with different flavor's to see if one performs better. So far all have shot remington well. My savage 24 definently like's the rem green box over anything else, showing tighter group's

I like heavy bullets so aside from testing, I usually choose 170's for hunting.
 

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So far my Marlin 30-30 likes Remington 170's better than Winchester or Federal. Now that is just shooting off the hood of my truck. Don't know why but I can tell the difference in the tighter groups.
 

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My dear old deceased dad (who is most definitely getting smarter all the time) advocated heavier bullets (in this case, 170 grain) in moderate-velocity cartridges. He argued that in flesh and bone, 170 grains at 2200 fps is more potent than 150 grains at 2350, especially at typical 30-30 distances.

As an aside, why would Winchester 170 grainers be $1 per 20 cheaper than 170 grain Remingtons?
With deference to your Dad, I don't think that 170's are necessary for most hunting in terms of "potency". In my experience, 150's blow through deer like they were nothing. In the big game section of this site, there is a thread about a member who shoots 1000 pound feral cattle with his 30-30 using 150 grain bullets. He says he has never recovered any 150 from one of those scrub bulls as they all exit, even 150 grain hollow points. A lot of people use 170's because they group better in many Marlins, probably because they are a little longer. But, I think the reality is that a 30-30 is a slow enough round that it is not going to over expand lighter bullets like a lot of the more modern faster rounds can do and they all do pretty much the same.

For factory ammo, my current favorite is Winchester 150 grain Power Max loads, but I understand that they now make them in 170 too. I hope I can find another box or two before next season. I think they might expand a little wider on deer than some of the others but it may be my imagination.

Lots of times these ammo companies play games with one another with their pricing....probably trying to steal market share. I doubt that there is not a hill of beans worth of difference on game between 170 grain Winchester or Remington loads except that individual rifles will group one better than the other.
 

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DSCF1218.jpg DSCF1216.jpg DSCF1223.jpg i have posted these photos before, i hope you don't mind if i post them again. from a deer i killed last year with a handload. a 125 gr. sierra fphp i killed three deer with them last year, all bullets of all deer were recovered on the skin on off side. the bullets broke rib and shoulder bones and still remained intact. all deer died almost instant. all were around 140-160 lbs
 

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If I understand your question it is not necessarily the shooters favorite but the guns favorite that counts.Every rifle is an individual and all will perform diferently with different ammo.You need to buy yourself several different brands and bullet weights and try them in you rifle or rifles off the bench.The gun will tell you what ammo it likes best.
 

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:dito:
 

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Well, the gun can't tell me what it likes best, 'cause my eyes aren't good enough any more to tell the difference. In other words, any ammo is going to group better than I will be able to. I will NOT put a scope on a lever action. In my book, they are intended for scabbards - horse or 4-wheeler. I know, I'm a geezer. O.K., having said that, back in the 70's, I purchased ten boxes of Winchester 30-30 "Wells Fargo" ammo. It also carries the "Silvertip" nomenclature, and has a nice exposed lead tip with a flat nose for lever actions. It also has nickel finished cases which are still bright & shiny, and feed very slick. Powerful loads - never had to trail a deer when using these. I don't use them for practice, so still have maybe seven boxes left.
 
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Yeah, I'd horde them too! That was great ammo! The current Winchester ammo is OK, but what they use to make was better. But then, the rifles we shot 50 years ago were better made too.


Mike T.
 

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My Only shooting is once or twice a year to get ready for hunting season, then whatever shooting I do to actually take game. (This holds true for each rifle I own except my henry 22WMR)So, for me, loading my own just isn't cost effective. So, it's factory ammo for me.

Personally, I really like the Hornady LE FTX 160 grain ammo. I love the flatter trajectory, especially out to 250 yards or so. The ballistic coefficients are very impressive. I have never had any difficulty getting a deer or hog to lay down and give up after taking a well placed round. In short, for me, it's just easier to shoot accurately because of the flat trajectory.

same goes for my 45-70.

Bob
 
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I know, I know. Everyone has their favorite. But why?

I'd love to get the combined wisdom of this forum on the subject of "best" 30-30 ammo. I'm wondering about (i) brand less than (ii) bullet weight. Let's dismiss premium ammo (190-grain Buffalo Bore, expensive copper solids, etc). The question has to do with 125 grain, 150 grain, 160 grain Hornady LR, and 170 grain. This assumes that there is little difference among the 150 and 170 grain loadings of the major manufacturers.

My dear old deceased dad (who is most definitely getting smarter all the time) advocated heavier bullets (in this case, 170 grain) in moderate-velocity cartridges. He argued that in flesh and bone, 170 grains at 2200 fps is more potent than 150 grains at 2350, especially at typical 30-30 distances.

His opinion seems to be born out by the manufacture and sale of obsolete calibers. I've heard it said that as calibers lose their demand, the demand that remains is for heavier bullets.

As an aside, why would Winchester 170 grainers be $1 per 20 cheaper than 170 grain Remingtons?
Too many variables to proclaim one 30-30 cartridge is best. Best for what purpose? Best as in what characteristics?

The "best" cartridge in my 30-30, in my current situation, is a hand-loaded Lee C309-150-F, over-top IMR 4064.

The factory cartridges I've tried so far, weren't precise enough. If I were to have found a factory round that was precise enough, (and I am sure there are some that would have been,) that would have been my "favorite."
That choice didn't come from "wisdom.".. and it has little to offer others, since maybe 80% of the other 30-30s may not shoot that ammo precisely.
As long as the rifle/ammo combination is precise enough, the bullet hard enough to hold together while penetrating into the vitals, (probably a non issue,) shot placement does the rest.

...but seeing that I live in Ohio, whereas the 30-30 can only hunt varmints and the like; light, precise, bullets will do.
Now if I lived one state to the east, I would consider using the Lee C309-170-F to hunt black bear.
 

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I'm now at a point where the bulk of my shooting is just for the love of shooting; in other words, shooting at the range for accuracy. Yes, we do reload, but most of our shooting is with factory ammo and the fact that factory 303-0 ammo is very reasonably priced really helps.

Being a traditionalist, I don't shoot the fancy LE loads all that much. In our 30-30s, both Marlin and Winchesters, several brands of standard 30-30 ammo really stand out. Federal Blue Box 150s and the Hornady Whitetail Classic 150s have consistently given us the best groups, with Winchester and Remington still very good, though not quite as good as far as average group size. Not that group size is the whole story, but it helps.

By the way, the Hornady Whitetail is the new kid on the black in traditional 30-30 ammo, but it's been excellent in terms of consistency and accuracy in our lever guns. Might be worth a try if you see some.
 

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I'm partial to 170 grain pills, but as far as brand, I leave it up to the individual rifle. The major brands all produce good quality ammo. And I agree with NC Gal, the price is what puts the 30 30 above its competition.
 
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