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Winchester Model 94 - .30-30 vs .44 Mag

Joe Link

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I've thought about getting one of these for a while now, but I'm not sure which caliber I'd purchase. My brother inherited a .30-30 from my grandfather and I'm dead on with the irons out to 150+ yards if not more. I absolutely love the way it shoots, love the action, love the size, etc.

When it was time to decide who gets what guns after grandpa's death, we decided it'd be best to take turns choosing. It was my turn to choose and the model 94 was still available, but I chose the Colt Anaconda .44 mag instead. I had such fond memories grandpa shooting it for the first time and the gun flying out of his hand cracking the grill of his brand new Ford I just couldn't pass it up.

I really like the idea of having a brush gun chambered in the same caliber as my Anaconda, but my question is whether or not a Model 94 chambered in .44 mag will shoot comparably to one chambered in .30-.30 which I love so much. I'm thinking the obvious answer is no because I'm comparing a pistol round to a rifle round, but I'd like to know just how different they are.
 
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That Win. 94 with the new Hornady round is super flat to 150 yds or
more. The 44 drops pretty rapid. Value of the Colt keeps climbing
at a rapid rate, and is about double or more depending on condition of
the pistol.
 
OP
Joe Link

Joe Link

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That Win. 94 with the new Hornady round is super flat to 150 yds or
more. The 44 drops pretty rapid. Value of the Colt keeps climbing
at a rapid rate, and is about double or more depending on condition of
the pistol.
Super flat in .30-30 or .44?

I think the Colt has around 60 rounds through it, it's like new :)
 
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The 30-30 shoots a bunch flater. Think it's 160 gr. bullet and
only available in Hornady's loaded ammo. They also have the
same in the 44 Mag, but the squat heavy pointed slug drops off
quicker even with the improvement. Value wise the Colt is double
that of the Winchester. Even though neither is currantly being
made, Colt stuff (including the Python) continues to climb in value.
 

DeanMk

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.30-30: 150 gr. bullet, MV 2350, ME 1839
.44 mag: 240 grain bullet, MV 1770, ME 1670

The rifle round wins in trajectory and energy.
If you ever get around to handloading, try making up some loads for the .30-30 with 165 gr. gaschecked lead flatnosed bullet. MV of 2000fps.
Energy would be low (1465 ft./lbs.), but that was the original loading for the .30-30 back in 1895. It was considered a high powered and flat shooting round at that time....of course, you have to remember that back then, the "king" round for lever guns was still the .44-40. It's 200 gr. bullet left the barrel at about 1200 ft./sec. making about 640 ft./lbs., so you can see the ferver over the .30-30.


Dean
 
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.30-30: 150 gr. bullet, MV 2350, ME 1839
.44 mag: 240 grain bullet, MV 1770, ME 1670

The rifle round wins in trajectory and energy.
If you ever get around to handloading, try making up some loads for the .30-30 with 165 gr. gaschecked lead flatnosed bullet. MV of 2000fps.
Energy would be low (1465 ft./lbs.), but that was the original loading for the .30-30 back in 1895. It was considered a high powered and flat shooting round at that time....of course, you have to remember that back then, the "king" round for lever guns was still the .44-40. It's 200 gr. bullet left the barrel at about 1200 ft./sec. making about 640 ft./lbs., so you can see the ferver over the .30-30.


Dean
HUH? you are leaving out a WHOLE bunch of cartridges. 40-60 45-60 45-70 50-90 45-90 all available in lever actions in the model 1876 and 1886 The 44-40 was done with the 1873.

In 1895 the king of the pile for flat shooting lever action was the 30-40 Krag. in the model 1895 I can come within 50fps of a .308's ability with my 30-40Krag chambered Model 1895. Or I can load it with up to a 220gr slug. And with the model 1895's box magazine no need to stick with flat or round nosed slugs. I get 2650+fps with a 150gr Spire point.
 

DeanMk

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HUH? you are leaving out a WHOLE bunch of cartridges. 40-60 45-60 45-70 50-90 45-90 all available in lever actions in the model 1876 and 1886 The 44-40 was done with the 1873.

In 1895 the king of the pile for flat shooting lever action was the 30-40 Krag. in the model 1895 I can come within 50fps of a .308's ability with my 30-40Krag chambered Model 1895. Or I can load it with up to a 220gr slug. And with the model 1895's box magazine no need to stick with flat or round nosed slugs. I get 2650+fps with a 150gr Spire point.
MarkW,

By "King", I meant popularity, not best or greatest.
Apologies for not clarifying that earlier.
You're right, there were cartridges out there that performed much better, but according to an article I read in Shooting Times magazine, that little pistol round was still pretty much the "go to" round for lever actions, even that late in the 19th century.
...and yes, it was done with the '73, as well as the '92.
The article went on to say that in 1895, when the .30-30 was introduced in the model 94 Winchester Lever action rifle, it quickly became known for its power and flat shooting abilities.
Granted, if I was looking for the flattest shooting round, at that time, I would probably have to look to one of the European rounds to attain that goal.
Just goes to show how the general consensus was still thinking at the time.



Dean
 
I have two 94's both in 30-30, one is a '48 model with wear and character, the other a '69 Model that has never been loaded. The '69's lift mechanism is stamped as opposed to the older models machined mechanism. It makes less noise in cocking the empty rifles and makes the action seem even smoother. I never used the 69 as I had the 48 available and then I thought it would enhance the "collectability" of the 69 not to load it. Alas it will never be a "Collectable" so I might as well shoot it.
I think a .44 Mag in a carbine is a great choice for a brush gun. Like others have said it is not a long range round, but it is a real game stopper close in.
I am still a .30-30 fan though and if I had some spare money I might get this Tacticool <broken link removed> . It does have some practical aspects, like an all-weather stock and is adjustable to different sized humans
 
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While being long on .30 150 gr. BT HP bullets and nothing other than my 30-30 to shoot them out of I loaded them up. Although they turn the Winchester into a single shot because they will not chamber from the tube they have turned it into a tackdriver. Fun to see a 30-30 shoot almost as accurately as a decent bolt action .30 cal rifle.
 

DeanMk

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An older 1894 without a crossbolt safety would be my second pick after a 336-44.
A GUN FOR A LEGEND - M4Carbine.net Forums
Ever shoot a gun like that before?
I used to be into the short barrel's too, but they get too light in the front end. Makes the gun "whippy" and harder to hold on target.
These days, I have a renewed appreciation for 20 and 22 inch barrels.
Anyway, snap swivels allow you to setup a sling so the end of the 94's barrel actually sits just below your shoulder.
Very handy for making your way through brushy terrain and ends any need for a sub 18" barrel.
But otherwise, that is a cool gun.
I don't remember the 336 in 44 mag, but apparently it was a short lived option.
Just looked at Marlin's website - these days, the 336 is only chambered for the .30-30 and .35 Remington (a combo I jonesed for in my younger days), while the 1894 is only available in .44 Mag / Special.
There is still a part of me that wants to "rough it" in the wilderness with a pistol/rifle combo in .357 Mag. Alas, I think those days are behind me now.



Dean
 
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There are so many options in lever rifles that you can satisfy whatever your desire is but there is no doubt that the 30-30 is equal or superior to the 44mag in almost all possibilities. I can never understand wanting to carry a rifle and pistol in the same caliber. This is not 1880.
I do own a Winchester 92 in 357 and consider it just a fun gun or possibly an in the yard coyote gun with 38sp.
Some years ago I read a study that showed accuracy in the brush was more a function of proper rate of twist to bullet length/weight. A heavy fat bullet that is not well stabilized is not as accurate as a smaller bullet with optimal stability. 30 cal bullets seem very forgiving of twist rate.
I had a Win 94 Trapper in 44mag and it was nothing to be impressed about. Sold it.
 
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"Perhaps the caliber influencing the poor impression rather than the rifle? I have a Trapper in .357 and love it. Very accurate."

I think you are probably right. I do like my Win 92 in 357. Usually shoot 38 LRN and it is fun.
As a practical rifle I just consider it for yard use on predators and even then usually get out the Marlin 22mag. Neighborhood is small acreage lots 2 1/2 to 5 with homes so need to be careful and not overpower.
 

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