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The sadness of my 30-30

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I really love my Marlin lever action. Its kinda like an old friend, dependable and always comfotable. I am a bit saddened by its potential though. This sold in such limited grains....150's or 170's. Now they have the 55 grain accelerator. I played with this round but its really a joke. It'll skin a groundsquirel at a distance but the problem is you have to crank down the site all the way and still hold under. Worse yet, this ammo is a single load because of the point and its brutally expensivde (about 20.00 a box!!!). If I had a wish come true I would like to see this "potentially" versital shooter have the option of 100 or 120 grain loads. If done right, i think it would be a natural for cyote and jacks given there distance. I have been to every show in ca., az. nv. and never saw anything but 150 and 170....does anyone reload a custom round here???
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The .30-30, my all-time favorite rifle caliber, has limited factory loads available because the vast majority of the rifles out there have tubular magazines and are lever guns, with relatively weak actions. The 150 and 170 grain loads will handle 99% of what the .30-30 is used for - short range deer shooting. I've taken larger with it, bear and once a caribou in Labrador, but it is a deer rifle for the most part.

If you handload, you can use spitzer bullets, one in the chamber and one in the magazine. Someone, Speer I think, makes a flat point 130 grain bullet for the .30-30. I've played with a lot of different loads, but nothing is going to make the .30-30 into a long range cartridge. One load with Reloader 15 loads I've worked with stretches a 170 grain bullet's effective range to MAYBE 200 yards on a real good day, and that's about the absolute maximum. Lever guns aren't noted for their inherent accuracy, so a high velocity 110 grain load won't make the gun into a long range varmint gun.

My $.02.

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It gets better.......

DC....thank you. Since I am not a big fan of either Saint Louis or Cleveland I did some surfing last night on this issue. The most informative article I found was at:

I think your right about 110 grains. Now that I am just "beginning" to understand something about ballistics, the caliber in that weight (110) is not effective. The speer 130 grain you mentioned was the author’s favorite! What intrigued me was the "improved" cartridge or "Ackley" design that he mentioned. As I read it you can do a minor chambering job and effectively feed the improved cartridge in the lever action models. Now...with that said the author writes the 130 grain speer bullet will do almost 2900 FPS at only 36000 CUP!!! He goes on to state that he could envision 3000 FPS within the 40000 CUP limit of the modern lever action Win's and Marlins. I have e-mailed the author with several questions concerning specifics of this improved cartridge. I will pass along any info. So now let me restate my dream to a wish with a question....If any Win. or Marlin owners had an opportunity to by a modification kit and could buy a 130 / 150 round off the shelf that put out 2900 and 2600 FPS respectively.....WOULD YOU BUY IT?????
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30-30 Ackley Improved

Look into the old 30-30 Ackley Improved. Its a 30-30 with the shoulders blown out. Re cutting a 30-30 chamber still allows you to fire 30-30 Winchester in it; it fire forms the brass in the Ackley configuration. With the standard bullet weights, you'll get another 150-300 fps. I know, its syill a round or flat point bullet, but hey, like the earlier post said, tube mags&spitzers are bad mixes unless you are talking 8mm Lebel.
I didn’t have a chance to look at that website - I have very limited computer time - but I’m familiar with Paco’s writing. He has a lot of good stuff, although I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says.

The Ackley Improved .30-30 is simply a .30-30 with a blown-out case and the shoulder changed from an angle of 15 degrees 39 minutes to 40 degrees. This increases case capacity so a loader can cram in more slow-burning powder without a huge pressure increase. An increase of from 100 to 200 feet per second at the muzzle can be reasonably expected (over a standard .30-30). The case is formed from firing a standard .30-30 cartridge in an AI chamber. Reloads are usually a neck-size only proposition.

There a couple of problems with an off-the-shelf AI cartridge. There would be very limited sales. Remington or Winchester would most likely lose money with anything they came out with, since a standard .30-30 wouldn’t chamber it and there aren’t a whole lot of Ackley Improved rifles out there. Another problem is there is no true “standard” Ackley Improved chamber. In other words, your gunsmith might cut the chamber slightly different than mine, causing chambering troubles for one of us if factory ammunition were available..

The .30-30 is a pretty good cartridge as-is with factory loads, but it can be improved somewhat. That is, improved with handloads in the standard .30-30 case. To realize the full range of loads practical in a .30-30, you need to reload. Then, if you have an idea, you can try it out. Might not work the way you planned, or it might - but if you try, you won’t have that question “What if I try this?” You’ll know. If you get an idea for a load, even if it seems sort of off the wall, you can give it a try. Get a little experience before any experimenting though. Most body parts aren’t readily replaceable.

I guess if I was looking for a fast 130 grain load in a regular .30-30 case, I’d start with around 36.0 grains of Alliant’s Reloader 15 and work to maybe 38.0 grains. The 38.0 should give around 2,700 to 2,750 fps. Just speculation, not a recipe. Never have loaded that light, I prefer heavy bullets - but like I said, if it interests you, you’ll never know what it’ll do unless you try. Just keep it within reason.

If you decide to reload, don’t take anything you read on the web as gospel. (Except from me, because I’m a wonderful person and a true joy to know ;) ). Get books, gain experience and work from that experience. Anybody can post his “pet load”. If it seems a little fast given the powder, the pressure is probably on the wrong side of safe. Just because he’s still got the use of at least one eye and most of his fingers doesn’t mean it is a safe load. I’ve seen loads posted that were bombs just waiting to go off.


Lebels are fun. That cartridge is a weird looking little critter.:)
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Thanks guys. Hey 45...I have never realoaded. Between, kids, shooting, fishing and the girlriend I need to clone myself (yes the grass is three inches high in my yard). Thank G*d for friends. I called a buddy who is a serious realoader with all the high tec. equipment. He wants to jump at the chance for my dream 30-30 round. I guess all my 10,000+/- casings donated to him over the years has finally paid off. I will play with it and let you guys know. Goal: 130 grain speer bullet at 2800fps with a good show on trajectory/accuracy at 200 yards. OK OK i know your gonna say "keep dreamin" but thats half the fun. I like my Marlin too much to cut it 'till I see the resultts so I think i'll by a cosmetically poor pitted old 30-30 (with a cracked stock) at a show and cut that one first. Thanks, Eric.
for more added fun try a tang sight on your .30-30. especially if you want to shoot singlely loaded pointy bullets. the tang sight offers more precise zeroing and better attunuation over longer ranges. have fun.
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