You are using an out of date browser. It may not display this or other websites correctly. You should upgrade or use an alternative browser.
Join the #1 community for gun owners of the Northwest
We believe the 2nd Amendment is best defended through grass-roots organization, education, and advocacy centered around individual gun owners. It is our mission to encourage, organize, and support these efforts throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
Discuss firearms and all aspects of firearm ownership
Join others in organizing against anti-gun legislation
Buy, sell, and trade in our classified section
Find nearby gun shops, ranges, training, and other resources
Discover free outdoor shooting areas
Stay up to date on firearm-related events
Share photos and video with other members
...and much more!
For just fun shooting and varmint hunting nothing beats the 125 gr HPFN bullet - hardly any recoil and super accurate. I too recently made a deal on a 30-30 Winchester from a forum member and have just gotten back into it myself after not having one for many years. Ditto on the brass only and keep the case lube light. The 30-30 case is thinner than most and will oil dent easily with too much lube. Also you might consider a separate crimping die as opposed to using the bullet seating die crimp function as it it easy to bulge a case unless they are all trimmed to the same length. I got a Lee crimp die and I wish I had used one years ago! Keep your loads in the medium range and not too hot or accuracy may suffer. Traditional 'best' powders for the 30-30 used to be IMR 3031 and WW 748 but lots of new ones to try. I am currently trying out the new 'Ramshot' brand. If you want to really see how accurate your rifle is or want to squeeze a little more velocity and range try loading a few rounds with 150 gr Spire point bullets but remember you can only load two in the rifle - one in the pipe and one in the tube otherwise recoil could cause primer detonation if a primer were struck by a sharp, spire point with a full mag tube.
I've had pretty good luck sticking with the 170gr RN bullets. Like RVTECH said, 3031 is a traditional powder, and its served me well. Others have used Varget, Re15, or 4895 to good effect. My issue with 3031 is metering... its a long stick powder and doesn't meter nicely, so I meter short, then trickle up to exact weight. The bonus for 3031 is loading density -- it fills up the case nicely. Once you get into a rhythm it goes quick.
Also agree with RVTECH, its pretty thin brass so you must be careful. Ensure the brass gets trimmed to same length after sizing, and I always separate my seating & crimping on this cartridge. A uniform trim length = a uniform crimp, and that's important for accuracy.
I agree with sar a case length die die and a file works good and a chamfering tool do the inside and outside edges. just a twist will do on each.I use Imr 4895 and 4350 also 4831 all are good powders with a 170 gr. bullet load powders 1/2 to 3/4 of the range of the loading data never max load you would be wasting powder and not gaining any accuracy. lee final crimp die are the cats meow I love them.
Motorhomescientist is dead-on with the recommendation for the 125g HPFN (Sierra).
This is a superb bullet for deer. Faster kills in my experience than the heavier offerings (although 150 and 170 are the standards). It also makes my old Marlin 336RC shoot to a level of accuracy rivaled only by my fat-barrelled varmint guns.
Case length is critical and should be consistent (as with any cartridge where crimping in the cannelure is desired.)
I am puzzled by the difficulty expressed when dealing with nickel-plated brass. I have never seen this problem (42 years of reloading, including .30-30) in any caliber, and I would seriously doubt that anything about the .30-30 case itself would create such a problem. I don't use nickel all the time, but a young friend of mine hunts with a Savage 340 .30-30, and for his first reloading experience, I bought him a hundred-lot of R-P nickel brass, and the loading operation went as normal. Shiny objects grab the attention of young people, and he is sure proud of those chrome cartridges! Three deer and one elk have fallen to his .30-30.
Nickel cases should not be used for any case forming process where annealing is necessary. (Loading for the .30-30 is not in this category.) That is the only prohibition or problem with them of which I have become aware.
If there is a problem with cases sticking in the die, I would look elsewhere than the nickel for the solution. For years I used the old RCBS case lube (on the traditional inkpad application), but in the past 20 years I've been using One-Shot spray.
Win 748 and H335 are great powders for this cartridge: meter precisely and produce top velocities. Just last month, I realized I had exhausted all my .30-30 stockpile, and so put together some Sierra 150g Flatnose cannelured bullets (for an all-purpose load in the four .30-30's that reside here). This load is 33.0g of H335, CCI200 primer, in the nickel R-P case.
I run a Lyman 311041 cast out of wheelweights sized to .310 over a charge of 3031. I lube with Lar's Red. I've never had any problem with nickel cases sticking but I don't seem to get the case life that I do with brass
While I agree with the brass only crowd I have never personally loaded nickel 30-30 but have loaded many 38/357 in nickel and do not care for it. It seems to work harden and crack much sooner than brass and I do not like the 'feel' of it going through the sizing die. Spit's mention of the 'ink pad' method of lubing cases brought back memories and it made me think about the old, thick RCBS case lube and how that may contribute to problems sizing nickle cases. I remember occasionally having oil denting problems with the RCBS case lube. Stick with the one shot spray lube and you will probably never have a problem sizing nickel cases but case life will probably be shorter.
For a tube magazine lever gun, It is more important that you seat the bullet precisely to the cannelure, and crimp the brass into the cannelure. Any thoughts of "seating to the rifling for accuracy" should be dispensed with.
This crimping into the cannelure is very important because your cartridges are stacked in the magazine, one behind the other, under increasing spring tension according to the amount you have put in the gun.
Firing the gun increases this pressure upon the tip of the bullet of a cartridge in the magazine, tending to push the bullet further into the case. Uncrimped/no cannelure bullets in a tube-fed gun can easily begin to "walk" back into the case. Then, not only have you lost any attempt to "seat to the rifling", you have created a perhaps dangerous situation, or at the very least a very messy one should the bullet walk all the way back and thereby dump powder inside the gun.
For tube fed guns, always use cannelured bullets, always trim your cases to precise and uniform length, and crimp into the cannelure. A moderate crip is entirely sufficient to prevent movement of the bullet in the case.
There are bolt-action, clip fed .30-30's which are the exception to this rule,( Savage 340, Rem M788), and a guy can certainly improve the ballistic performance of the ol' "Thutty-Thutty" in these guns through the use of pointy bullets, no cannelure, and no crimping, and seating to a depth just off the rifling. Break-action guns (NEF, Contender,Topper, Savage 24) also fall into this category, as well as old Savage 99's: none of which stack cartridges butt to tip in a tube magazine.
Your Marlin will shoot impressively if you take care with your handloading, weigh each charge, trim and crimp precisely and use quality bullets. Save your "scientific seating depth" procedures for your guns without tube mags.
I have a Marlin 336RC that will group with a good handload into 1" or better, and that is with it's "of the period" 2.5x Lyman Alaskan scope, and heavy post reticle. Marlin 336 actions have the distinction of having held their own even in benchrest competition in the early years of that sport!
my stepson never shot a marlin microgroove before hit a 20 oz. mountain dew bottle free hand with my instructsion at 75 yards right in the center of the bottle with 30-30 ammo i loaded just 10 thousands under max overall lenght good enough for the girls i go out with . the bottle is approx. 3in. wide