Some thoughts on the .30 WCF

Posted: March 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

That would be the .30-30 for you whippersnappers out there.

Like I have stated before, I spend a lot of time around things that are shooting related.

Ranges, stores, people.

One thing that always gets me are the people who have to buy the newest whiz bang cartridge out there, or one that has MAGNUM in the name.

Now, please… dont get me wrong.

I love advancing ammo and firearms tech, and I do also happen to own firearms with the magical MAGNUM moniker attached to them.

However, I am also one of the guys who understands that some things just work.

From time to time I am saddened by the words and attitude I witness directed at a fine old round.

As you may guess from the title, this would be the .30 WCF, .30-30 Winchester, or if you are old enough to have been dead for a few decades… the .30 Smokeless.

The venerable .30-30 celebrates its 118th birthday this year, in anyones book that is a lot of years… in ammo, it is ancient.

This round was the first small bore sporting rifle round to be designed for use with the then new smokeless powder.
Today many people look at a .30 to be at least medium bore, but this was back in the day when most people remembered when .45 and .50 caliber hunting rifles were common.

This new round was a revelation, fast and flat shooting.
You didnt have to adjust much for drop and it hit like a hammer.

Today, many people look at the ballistics on paper and dismiss it as an obsolete round that hangs on only due to nostalgia.

Ballistics charts only tell a part of the story.

The .30-30 is a joy to shoot, it has around half the recoil energy as a .30’06.

No, it doesnt shoot as far and as straight as that younger, longer, harder hitting round.

But the .30-30 is a great round for younger and/or smaller people to hunt with.

One interesting thing about rifle rounds.
An ultra fast spitzer round does a lot of damage on meat, the slower and flatter round tends to do less meat damage… while having even more penetration.

Another thing, the rifles you typically find chambered in this round… the WInchester 94 and Marlin 336 are joys to hunt with.

Light, well balanced for 1 hand carry, short, and very fast to the shoulder and on target.

The combination of round and rifle are a beautiful match.

Such a good match, that I recently bought my wife a Marlin 336Y youth model… 16.25″ barrel and a stock that is an inch shorter than standard.
That little rifle should have its picture in the dictionary next to the term “Brush Gun”.

Not that I would get rid of my .45-70 stubby shoulder howitzer, but I could see me adding one of those models to my side of the safe.
It is lighter, so it recoils a little more than a standard 336… but the round is mild enough that it is in no way objectionable.

Good sights and some practice, and I wouldnt be afraid to hunt much in North America under about 150 yards… with the proper ammo.

This round has accounted for more deer in the US than any other rifle round.
The nice thing about deer, they dont keep up on gun trends, so they have not yet learned that is old cartridge is super underpowered and obsolete… so they still fall over and die when shot with it.

As to is being obsolete, it has ballistics similar to a couple of rounds that are currently in vogue.
The 7.62×39 and the .300 BLK, and I dont see a lot of drivvle about how those are useless.
Now, the .30 WCF doesnt have the spitzer bullet or the semi auto rifle to sling it down range… but it is still a damn fine and effective tool.

There are constantly people talking about their 300-600 yard shots on deer, unless you are in the prairies or shooting from a mountain… the average hunter will not get those shots.
No matter what he tells you.

Most places I have lived, it has been woods hunting.
And guess what, most of the US has forests.

In the woods, a 50 yard shot is much more common… trees tend to interrupt longer ones.

There are circumstances that the flat shooting long distance rounds have their place, but most shooters with those rifles more than likely shouldnt be pulling the trigger on those truly long distance attempts.

How many of you hear That Guy talking?

“No shit… there I was 556 yards away, wind blowing pretty good left to right.

I see this buck walk up, so I shouldered up my Big Bang Recoil Express and took the shot off hand… and that deer did a back flip… dead where he landed.”

That guy my friends, has a 99% chance of being a bald face liar.

I am not saying dont buy whatever rifle and cartridge that you like, by all means… do whatever blows your skirt up.

But evaluate, honestly evaluate, your hunt.

Most people out there would be just as successful, possibly more, with a medium power round in a handy rifle.

The .30-30 may be almost 120 years old, but there is no reason for it to be dead.
In all honesty, I expect it to far outlive me.
Because there is a group out there that know and understand it… and see it for what it is.
I good all around cartridge, that you can get in some damn good guns.

A good round in a good gun, in the hands of a good hunter is what we should strive for every time we go out to gather meat.

And none have done it any better.





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