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Discussion in 'Lever Action' started by choco-lab, Jul 9, 2006.
Has anyone pulled out the old marlin or winchester 30-30 and tried some of this ammo?
Silk purse from a sow's ear comes to mind. I ran a couple boxes through a Savage 325 (or is it 340) and it is some tough stuff. I thought it kicked a bit more than expected through a light rifle though it still wasn't as bad as my Ruger 77 in 30/06. It grouped fairly well in the gun but isn't something I'm likely to buy again. I get much the same performance with reloads using a good pointed bullet like a Ballistic Tip in my bolt action Savage with much less recoil. This ammo seems to defeat the purpose of the 30/30; an adequate, light recoiling, relatively inexpensive, easy to shoot, short range cartridge. Adding range via velocity and increased recoil is not what I carry a 30/30 for. If I need a flat shooting cartridge for 200 yard plus shots I'll pick a much more suitable platform like a bolt, single shot, or even a pump or semi-auto. In a good single shot like the T/C Contender or a bolt like the Remington 788 or even the Savage/Stevens like I have the Leverevolution may be plausable but much the same effect can be had with reloads. In a lever gun I would say this is all marketing hype.
One of the guys I keep up with from Lousianna used some this past year,most shots were within 50 yards but if you walk onto a pipeline or clearcut it gave him more confidence knowing the tapered bullet would fly long enough to down game at 200 yards.He killed both his deer at less than 50 feet,as usuall the 30/30 did its job.Is the new ammo really that good?I never used them so I can't say but several of the guys he hunts with started using them and had to adjust their scopes to new POI,much higher they said.Time will tell,could be hype as our favorite dog said.Drop-Shot
Other than slightly higher cost per box, why wouldn't you want to use this stuff??? Can the old, standard flat point 30-30's do a good job on deer and black bear? Sure - but so does the Leverevolution ammo PLUS it does it out to 250-300 yards and hits harder and shoots flatter at ALL ranges. Win-win situation - you get to use your favorite short-mid range rifle in the woods with some extra punch, plus you can take those occassional longer range shots. I've shot them and recoil is barely a tad more than regular 30-30's. Do you need the new Hornady ammo if all you shoot is under 100 yard deer? No, but then again - why wouldn't you want that extra power? I think some people are just hesitant of giving kudos to new products - older can be good, but not always better. Just like newer is not always better - but in this case it truly is.
It's the same thing that happened when they started coming out with better construction of bullets for other calibers like the 270 Win.. With the newer bonded core bullets and "super" bullets like the Fail Safe, you can use that 270 on elk with a bit more confidence. Same rifles, same caliber - just increased efficiency from that round.
Shooting Times magazine had a review of these things when they first came out.
Realizing that some things can be very subjective, and that most gun rags NEVER say anything bad about any product...
No opinions - just the facts from the Oeler system.... these things had a much better ballistic coefficient than your typical .30-30 boxcar. I don't remember the exact figures, but they had about the same velocity (and energy) at 200 yards that a 150 grain flat-point had at 100 yards.
They shot them from a couple different rifles and, as you would expect, the group size differed from one rifle to the next, but they all had "minute of whitetail" accuracy.
Why do I prefer the old style ammo to the Leverevolution?
Let me be clear.
In the order it appears in my first post;
1) It kicks more than standard ammo. I don't use the 30/30 much but my young nieces and nephews do. Minor increases in recoil can be much more noticable to them than to me. The first shot of Leverevolution I fired surprised me as I was mentally expecting less recoil. Was it objectionable? No, not to me but a neice and my wife can readily tell the difference between Federal and Winchester factory loads with the Winchester being nicer to shoot for them (they are slower). I would expect them to not care for the Hornady loading for this reason. The "extra power" is superfluous as standard bullets expand readily and exit the animal at ranges out to 200 yards. There is only one degree of dead and bullet placement matters more than "power" with this cartridge and its use on deer. Less recoil means better bullet placement all else being equal.
2) Though it grouped fairly well, it wasn't drastically better than factory loads and less so than my reloads using polymer tipped bullets. I am not afraid to push the 30/30 out to 200 yards with round nosed bullets and that I can still get standard factory 30/30 ammo for under $9 compared to the $17 Leverevolution costs which makes for nearly double the practice for the same price. Compared to reloads there is a much greater price discrepancy. Also figure the number of 30/30s that have open sights and the difficulty making good shots out to 150 yards and it makes even less sense to use this ammo.
3) As I said, if I realistically expect shots over 200 yards I'll pick a firearm/cartridge better suited to that. Out to 200 yards with a decent scope and some practice at that range standard round nose bullets do fine. I prefer 150 gr soft points over the 170 gr versions as they seem to open up a bit more. Even better are the hollow points but they are much harder to find on the shelf. One can get them mail order but at a higher cost due to shipping. Even with Leverevolution the loading is limited by the platform. A Marlin 336 or Winchester 94 was not built to shoot at long ranges. In this case the gun is definitely less capable than the loading. In a Remington 788, T/C Contender, NEF Handi-Rifle, or even a Savage/Stevens bolt like I have it may be a decent option but certainly not if one reloads. I can get the same performance and numbers with the previously mentioned Ballistic Tips but with less velocity ergo recoil. If one doesn't reload the Hornady is the only other option.
I am certainly not hesitant to give kudos to a new product, I am a fan of the Barnes copper bullets and have been so for a long time. Even now I often feel like a lone voice in the wilderness on the subject. I also jumped on the big game version of the Ballistic Points. Talk about a lone voice, many still think of them as only varmint bullets, even in the .338 mag! I am not against anyone having their pet loads but in this instance I just don't see the need. Now if it were a 170 gr Nosler Partition or other heavy duty bullet to use on blackbears I would endorse it whole heartedly!! The number of people who use their 30/30 for bear are pretty great and the standard 170 gr bullet is stressed pretty good at the typical close ranges found over baits or behind hounds. Something stouter to provide deeper penetration or even to just hold together when a heavy bone is contacted would be great. I am not against new, just practical.