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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Over thirty years ago I bough my first big rifle a lever 30-30 (from the other lever company) As a 13 year old I was sure that my 30-30 would see me through anything. I of course steadily moved up the power scale and never looked back after I traded that nice 94 for a speadier caliber.

Looking for a rifle for my wife to hunt caribou I found an old Stevens 325B in 30-30. I have been playing with her rifle for a while and have to admit to being re-impressed with the old caliber. The kick is mild and the 170 grain bullets seem to penetrate very well. It is also very accurate, RL15 and the Win PP being a particularly fine combination.

There has been a bit written on the Big Bore forum about 458 slugs penetrating better at 45-70 speeds than faster. I am thinking that one might find a similar phenomenum working in favour of the old 30-30.

I am thinking this will be a fine caribou rifle to 200 yards. Not bad for the odd Black Bear either. In fact 85% of the shots at game I have taken over the last 30 years could have been done with this open sighted carbine.
 

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N of 61,

I'll have to go on record as saying if you hunt caribou with a 30WCF I think it best to keep shots to 100 yds or less. Though caribou are not huge and are not noted for being super tough they are a good deal larger and more resiliant than whitetail.

Don't mean to be a prude, but if you go to the time and effort to hunt such a grand animal a clean, humane kill is most important.

SS
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
SS: I am going to respectfully disagree with you. I have lived in Canada's North for 15 years and taken between 3-10 caribou per year during that time. (I have to be close to 100 total) I have used or seen used everything from 222's to 300 magnums or my great 350 Rem Mag. My last caribou was taken with a 450 Marlin.

I have settled on a 308 Winchester as about the perfect rig. When I got a chronograph turns out my favourite handload was only generating 2600ft/sec with 150 bullets. I took a lot of caribou to 300yards with that combination. At 300 yards I was only getting about 1900ft/sec. Never had a failure due to lack of horsepower.

Started at 2400ft/sec a 150 Speer FN has 1808ft/sec at 200 yards and is designed to expand at that speed.

Seeing as my 30-30 is a clip fed model I can substitute spitzers. Started at 2400 these bullets will be at around 2000ft/sec at 200 yards.

I can't see 200 yards as a problem for an accurate 30-30.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Na! But I have been very lucky being able to make a living in the wilderness with my family.

Caribou follow an instinct to lay down when hurt which allows for a bit less power than needed by other members of the deer family.

Also we are meat hunters so most of the animals we take are deer size.
 

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I've killed 3 caribou in my lifetime. Certainly does not make me an expert nor do I pretend to be. But my guide was a Cree Indian and he is truely an expert. Hundreds of caribou have fallen to his antique Remington auto-loader in 35 Remington. His shots are typically 75 yards or so since he shoots from behind stacked rocks on the open tundra. He told me these rocks were placed by his grandfather's grandfathers. Been there well over a century.

Caribou are about the same size as a big mule deer. Sometimes they appear larger due to thier enormous antlers. But fact remains that a mature bull is not much larger than a big muley.

I'd guess that more caribou have fallen to 30-30 carbines than any other single popular cartridge. The Cree people I met were armed with various Winchesters, Marlins, and older Savage rifles. Seemed like a universal cartridge in that particular region of Canada.

I killed those caribou with a .308 Remington carbine and 180 grain softip ammo by Remington. Used the same ammo for moose on that trip, too. Core-lockt bullets have brought me much luck over the years. My longest caribou shot was approximately 175 long strides. The bull moose was nailed at less than 100 yards.

Good hunting to you.
Jack
 

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For the last 25 years I've reloaded for a friend further north in caribou country. His rifle is also a 30-30 bolt, and he has me load because he's happier with spitzer bullets. After years of trying different loads on the game, he likes the terminal performance of Nosler 150 grain Ballistic Tips. He feels they give the best combo of penetration and trajectory. His experience, not mine, but his extended family has never missed a meal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I hate to admit it but the 30-30 is replacing a 223 Browning Micro-Medallion as my wifes' caribou gun. We took a number of caribou with the 223 and loads with 53X bullets, 55 Trophy Bonded, 60 grain Nosler partitions and Allred Triple Jackets and the 64 grain Power Point.

All these bullets worked well but the energy was too low past 125-150 yards or so. We reluctantly concluded that despite it's handy dimensions, low kick, 1/2 MOA groups and general cuteness the little Browning was no big game rifle.

The 30-30 then is Jane's new big bore rifle and we are guessing will have a greater impact on our little meat Boo's than the little 223, even when it was loaded with great bullets.
 

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I hear ya, North. Lots of big animals taken over here with the 223, too. The impressive kill rate says a lot more about the people pointing the rifle than the caliber.

My friend had me load some "special" loads for his 30-30 (an old Remington 788, BTW). His son was a little leery of the 150 grain loads- more psychological than reaction to recoil. I made the boy up some of "his own" loads with Sierra 125 grain spitzers at around 2400 fps. Recoil is a little less, and dad says they drop bou like a bolt of lightning out to 150 yards, the distance limit he put on his son. Powder in both loads is from my stash of Reloader 7.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
BBear:

I just received a package of 125 grain Sierra Spitzer bullets from Russell Sports in the mail.

I have been testing 125 Nosler BT's but have to put them in the lathe and trim off the plastic tip to make them fit through the magazine. makes a neat looking flatpoint that shoot pretty well.

Starting load of RL7 put them out at 2258ft/sec and I should be able to easily make it to 2400+. Prints about 6 inches higher than 170 grains at 2050ft/sec.

The 125 Sierra Spitzers will work as is. I'll try them both on wet newsprint and I think they will make a dandy caribou load.
 

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I picked out the 125 Sierra after some low vel testing for light loads in another 30 cal. It comes apart pretty good at over 3000 fps, but down at 2400-2500 it seems to hold together well. Let us know how your tests turn out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Did you test other bullets? If so can you give a short run down of your findings?

I have considered the following for low velocity use/testing:

110 Barnes X 2600
125 Nosler BT (have) 2450
125 Sierra Spitz (have) 2450
130 Hornady 2450
130 Speer FN 2450
135 Sierra 2400
150 Nosler part (have) 2350

However if I buy all these components and go crazy I have negated some of the financial advantage of a new rifle.
 

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The only other one I tried was the Hornady 130. It shot well too, but I ran out before I was able to load him up a batch for hunting. The local store only had the Sierras, so I went with them when it was time to send him a bunch.

This is what happened to my previous stock of Horandy 130's: Another friend here in town jumped from a heavy 300 Savage to a Ruger M77 Featherweight in 30-06. The recoil increase really bothered him, and he was ready to sell the '06 in frustration after some embarrassing misses. I worked up the Hornady 130's at 2500 fps, which cut the recoil roughly in half from his factory 180's. He shot it for several years and never lost a deer, even on shots out a little past 200 yards. In his eyes, my loads were PFM.

I simply haven't shot enough bou to speculate about these two or your other listed bullets, but I can't imagine their would be all that much difference between them. Unless an advantage was perceptible in terminal performance, I'd settle for the one that hit the best compromise between accuracy, price and availability.
 

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Sierra 125gr Flat Nose HP w/ 30.0gr of Reloader 7 = 2,630
Groups nice in my 336.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I started with 28.5 grains of RL7 and am inching up to 30 grains with 125 Sierra's. 28.5 grains only made it to 2260ft/sec so I doubt if 30 will get me
out of the 2400ft/sec area.

I promised some guys at 24hour campfire to finish a terminal effects report started last fall on 35 caliber bullets at 358 Norma velocities. I'll add the Sierras and Nolsers at 30-30 velocities if I can locate enough newsprint.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
30.0 of RL 7 is about maximum and gives me just over 2400ft/sec. I am also trying 748 and like the pressure curve better so far. 34.0 grains shoots incredible groups at low pressure but is a bit slow(2340) am trying 35.5 grains today.

Fired into hard catalogues the 125 flatpointed Nosler BT's did their usual core separation and weighed in at 47.5 grains. Made some impressive holes for the first three inches and penetrated about 5". This doesn't sound like much but sears catalogues are tough some 250 grain 358 Norma's only making it past 7"

The 125 Sierras went about .5 inches more and weighed in at 64.2 grains. The managed to retain some core. Surprisingly good actually.

I definately won't be making it to 2600 in a 20" barrel at any reasonable pressure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
One other thing...so far I can't beat the accuracy of 170 Win PP and 32.5 RL15 at 2050ft/sec. Fantastic load though 34.0 748 and 125 Sierras is close.

I am very pleased with this 20" Stevens 325.

I am absolutely a new 30-30 fan.
 

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My first loads for a 30-30 were the 110 grain Hornady Spire point loaded over a mild 33.0 grains of 3031. The ogive is so long on this bullet that to get it to fit in the magazine I shortened the neck of the case .100 of an inch. After testing in various mediums the bullet performed just like heavier bullets and was very accurate. My Savage was a 340C and it had a 181/2 inch barrel but whatever the velocity was it took javelina and Texas whitetails with ease. It was a terror on armadillos and jackrabbits too not to mention hundreds of bait thieving turtles. I found the iron sights on this rifle perfect for my eyes at the time. In an H&R single shot with a long throat I loaded up to 35.5 grains of 3031 and the Sierra 125 grain Spitzer for what appeared to be 2550 fps on an early cheap chronograph, This load shot well but all I used it for was varmints as I too was in the 270/30-06 stage by then.
 

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Maybe that’s the problem I’m having with my 336 & 110gr HP Speer’s. 125gr on up chambers fine, but the 110's (my handload, new brass) will chamber up to the last 1/8 inch, and then will start jamming. I stopped trying after 3 rounds.
When I got the rifle, a friend gave me some (of his) lite handloads. 2nd round jammed real bad. Thought maybe he didn’t resize it right.
 

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North of 61 said:
One other thing...so far I can't beat the accuracy of 170 Win PP and 32.5 RL15 at 2050ft/sec. Fantastic load though 34.0 748 and 125 Sierras is close.
Are you saying "34.0 of W748 for the 170's or 125's?
 
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