The 7 Greatest .30-30 Rifles

As America’s first smokeless cartridge, launched 1895, the outdated .30-30 isn’t just outdated—it’s the oldest, as trendy American cartridges go. And but it stays as efficient as ever. In reality, with immediately’s hundreds, the .30-30 is a greater coast-to-coast big-game cartridge than at some other time in its historical past. I’ve even used it on African plains recreation. So why not get a rifle in .30-30? Its solely actual limitation could be attain, because the cartridge is finest used inside 200 yards. But when you understand how to hunt—and shoot—that’s hardly ever an issue. The .30-30’s mixture of lethality, low recoil, and the truth that it’s often chambered in helpful weapons is what has made it some of the standard and trusted big-game cartridges of all time.

photo of .30/30 cartridges
The .30-30 is a traditional that’s nonetheless loads succesful. Richard Mann

When most individuals consider the .30-30 Winchester, lever-action rifles pop to thoughts. The cartridge did, in spite of everything, get its begin with the Winchester 1894. However .30-30 has additionally often been provided in bolt-action and single-shot rifles. As of late, with Marlin at the moment rebuilding beneath Ruger administration, you’re choices for getting a brand-new .30-30 come from Winchester or Henry. These are each fantastic choices, however there are additionally hundreds of nice used .30-30 rifles on the market. It’s virtually not possible to look on the Web or go to a gun store and never see a number of on the market. However before you purchase, take a detailed have a look at this listing of the very best .30-30 rifles.

1. Winchester Mannequin 94

There’s no rifle on the planet that feels and handles like a 94. Its slim and trim and appears to only need to soar to your shoulder. And if it weren’t for the 94, there is perhaps no .30-30. The cartridge debuted with the rifle, and now it’s exhausting to consider a extra American mixture. The gun was a direct hit. It provided quick, repetitive fireplace in a helpful package deal and have become so ubiquitous that it has, by now, bee in every single place and completed rattling close to every little thing.

photo of Winchester 94
Although not identified for its precision, the .30-30 can shoot very properly, even out of lever-action rifles. Richard Mann

Winchester has provided Mannequin 94s chambered for the .30-30 Winchester in numerous configurations. Some had been plain, some had been fancy, some had quick barrels, others had lengthy barrels; thousands and thousands have been bought. However in 2006, American manufacturing ceased. Now all 94s are made in Japan. That stated, they’re made fairly properly. Presently 5 variations are provided, with barrels from 20 to 24 inches and costs starting from $1,300 to $2,230. If that greater than you need to pay, the best choice is a used 94. Excluding fancy or extremely collectible items, costs might be between $500 and $1,500. The Winchester 94 ejects from the highest of the motion, which limits riflescope attachment. A later model with what Winchester known as “angle-eject” is a little more scope pleasant. The 94 shouldn’t be the very best rifle ever made, however it’s a rifle I feel everybody ought to have not less than one in all.

2. Savage 99

photo of Savage 99
A classic Savage 99 chambered for .30-30. Rock Island Public sale Firm

Although it lacks the cowboy enchantment of the Winchester 94, the hammerless 99 is arguably the best lever-action rifle ever produced. In the end discontinued in 2003, the rifle’s distinctive five-shot rotary journal—later transformed to a removable journal—and its suitability for scope mounting are what actually set these lever-guns aside. Additionally, as with bolt-action and single-shot 30-30’s, the 99’s journal allowed handloaders to make use of pointy bullets within the .30-30.

Costs for used 99s are everywhere in the map. Some fashions had been very plain whereas others had been manufacturing unit engraved with beautiful wooden. Takedown variations had been additionally provided. You may discover one in a yard sale for a fraction of what it’s value, whereas on the identical time others can deliver hundreds of {dollars}. The 99 has grow to be a extremely collectible rifle, so you might want to be cautious when shopping for; many have been re-barreled and refinished and might not be fully authentic. That will not have an effect on performance, however you’ll be able to find yourself paying much more for a 99 than what it’s value. For a handsome and mechanically sound Savage 99 in .30-30 Winchester, anticipate to pay between one and two grand.

3. Marlin 336

photo of Marlin 336
The preferred Marlin 336 rifles had been configured on this method, and a few had been packaged with a reasonable riflescope already mounted. Richard Mann

Launched in 1948, America’s different well-known lever gun is the Marlin 336. An up to date model of the Mannequin 36, the first distinction between the Marlin 336 and the Winchester 94 was that the Marlin ejected from the aspect. This made it a pure for scope mounting. A model of the 336 often known as the Mannequin 30 Glenfield was additionally provided. It was primarily the identical rifle with extra rudimentary sights and a hardwood inventory. Many Glenfield’s had been bought by means of chain malls. When Marlin and their mum or dad firm Remington when bankrupt in 2020, manufacturing of the 336 ceased. Marlin was acquired by Ruger, which reintroduced the Model 1895 SBL this yr, and if we’re all fortunate, will quickly resurrect the 336 as properly.

photo of Marlin 336 rifles
A beautiful Remington-era custom-shop 336 (high) and a laminate-stocked takedown mannequin. Richard Mann

As with Winchester 94s, there are many 336s on the used market, in all kinds of kinds. Relying on situation, variation, and yr of producer, 336 costs can vary from $500 to $2,000, with “JM” marked, pre-Remington Marlins costing probably the most. The lever weapons have additionally grow to be very fashionable for personalisation, with options like scout scope rails, AR-style handguards, and even takedown variations. The place deer searching timbered ridges and brushy attracts is widespread, you’ll discover a comfortable and profitable hunter toting a 336. That’s one thing that’s more likely to by no means change.

4. Savage Mannequin 340

photo of Savage 340 rifle
A Savage 340C chambered in .30-30. Rock Island Public sale Firm

Supplied in varied configurations between 1950 and 1985, the 340 was a bolt-action .30-30 Winchester. It was a really utilitarian sort of rifle, however a number of the nicer variations got here with a peep sight. To my data, all 340s had a black walnut inventory, and a few of had been drilled and tapped for a side-receiver scope mount. For a time, and presumably beginning Savage’s custom of “packaged rifles,” Savage even provided a scope mount and a reasonable scope with the rifle. All 340s chambered for the .30-30 Winchester had been fed from a removable three-shot journal, and plenty of had been bought by means of malls like Sears beneath a distinct mannequin identify.

These rifles are fairly straightforward to search out on the used market, with costs ranging between round $400 to $700. An earlier model often known as the Stevens Mannequin 325 had a cool-looking European-style butterknife bolt deal with. Although by trendy requirements these rifles look a bit archaic, they had been well-made and most have aged very properly. The 340 provides the benefit for handloaders to make use of conventional spire level bullets within the .30-30, which may enhance the cartridges exterior and even terminal ballistics. These rifles had been by no means regarded as engaging, however they’ve popularity within the timber. A 340 would make a terrific rifle for a brand new deer hunter.

5. Remington Mannequin 788

photo of Remington 788
A traditional Remington Mannequin 788 with scope. Rock Island Public sale Firm

The Mannequin 700 is Remington’s flagship bolt-action rifle, however Remington’s Mannequin 788, which was launched in 1967 and provided till 1983, was a way more inexpensive rifle with a popularity for fantastic precision. Aside from its no-frills look, with less-than-spectacular bluing and a birchwood inventory, the principle distinction between the 788 and the 700 is the motion. The 788 feeds from a three-shot removable journal and makes use of a bolt with rear-locking lugs. This made the bolt appear a bit sloppy throughout biking. A high-school pal of mine purchased one and although it was a tack-driver, however his mom thought the weird bolt made the rifle low cost. She made him take it again.

The 788 was cheap—however not low cost. And it was chambered for the .30-30 Winchester from 1967 till 1970. If you’d like a bolt-action .30-30 Winchester, that is the rifle to hunt for. I’ve seen costs on used 788s in .30-30 as little as $500 and as excessive as $1,200. With no actual collector worth, they might make a terrific youth rifle, the place you possibly can minimize the inventory to suit, and even shorten the barrel if crucial. They are often was splendidly compact and light-weight rifles. My son shot his first deer with a {custom} 788 chambered for the .25-35 Winchester, which was a cartridge primarily based on the .30-30.

6. Ruger No. 1

photo of Ruger No. 1 rifle
A Ruger No. 1 K1A Mild Sporter in .30-30 Winchester. Ruger

In 1966 Ruger launched their No. 1, a hammerless, Farquharson-style falling-block rifle. Since its introduction, the No. 1 has been provided in additional than 50 completely different chamberings, together with the .30-30 Winchester. With its rimmed case, the .30-30 cartridge was ideally suited to the sort of motion, which might additionally enable the usage of pointed bullets, and was sturdy sufficient for handloaders to barely enhance efficiency.

For a time, I owned a limited-edition, stainless-steel, Ruger No. 1, in .30-30. It was a stunning rifle, and I handloaded it with 125-grain Nosler AccuBonds forward of 33-grains of benchmark powder. Out of the 22-inch barrel, it could do 2550 fps. Zeroed 1.5 inches excessive at 100 yards, I might maintain lifeless on a deer out to 200. If I did my half, three-shot, 100-yard teams had been beneath an inch.

photo of Ruger No. 1 .30-30
The creator will get able to load a .30-30 cartridge with a polymer-tipped spitzer bullet right into a single-shot Ruger No. 1. Richard Mann

If you’d like a chic and weird .30-30, look no additional than the Ruger No. 1. Nevertheless, in order for you one, you’re going to need to look exhausting. Not many had been made, and those that had been don’t appear to pop up on the market fairly often. In the event you do discover one in good situation, anticipate to pay between $1,500 and $2,000. They’re fabulous rifles.

Henry Lever Motion .30-30 Facet Gate

Henry provides the one at the moment produced American-made, lever-action, .30-30 rifles. Henry can be America’s largest producer of lever-action rifles. And, with regards to the .30-30, they’ve a number of to select from. Their Metal Lever Motion Facet Gate is probably the most inexpensive and is available in two configurations. One comes with a typical lever and the opposite has a big loop lever. Each retail for proper at a grand, are drilled for scope mounts, have American walnut shares, and lack the cross-bolt security on latest Marlin and Winchester lever weapons that traditionalist hate.

Henry lever-guns in .30-30 Winchester are additionally distinctive in that whereas the tubular journal might be loaded within the conventional method by means of the aspect gate, simply as with tube-fed rimfire rifles, they can be loaded by means of a port within the journal. Although pointless, this redundancy does allow a lot simpler and safer unloading as a result of the cartridges don’t must be cycled by means of the motion. Henry provides different .30-30 lever weapons together with one with a shade case hardened receiver, one with a stainless-steel receiver, and one with a hardened brass receiver. Although these three variations are inclined to value a bit extra.

Learn Subsequent: The 8 Best Lever Action Rifles Ever Made

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