The .30-30 Winchester has probably killed
more deer than any other cartridge. And it has probably wounded and lost
more deer than any other cartridge. But hunters and not the .30-30 cartridge
must be given credit for one and blamed for the other. In the hands of those
hunters who accept the .30-30's limitations as a big game cartridge, the
Winchester Model 94 and the Marlin Model 336 are deadly deer rifles. But
those same rifles in the hands of hunters who don't believe their shots should
be limited to 200 paces or less and a lot of wounded deer will limp over
the next hill.
The .30-40 Krag was the first smokeless cartridge available in sporting rifles but the .30-30 Winchester was the first smokeless cartridge specifically designed for big game hunting. When introduced in 1895 in the Winchester Model 94, the .30-30 didn't immediately set the woods on fire with its popularity. In those days most hunters still judged the killing power of a rifle by the size of the hole at the end of the barrel. But word of the .30-30's flatter trajectory, mild recoil, and ability to drop a buck as quickly as big bore cartridges soon got around. This, plus the fact that for decades the Winchester Model 94 represented the least expensive way a fellow could get into deer hunting, soon catapulted the .30-30 to stardom.
Even though the .30-30 has celebrated over 100 birthdays it still accounts for its share of venison each year. When loaded with H335, H4895, IMR-4895, or W-748 behind a 170 grain bullet, the .30-30 is a good deer cartridge. Not spectacular, but good enough. Little more can be said of a number of more modern cartridges.
Source: Hodgdon Data Manual, 26th Edition
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