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Effective range of a 30-30 lever action rifle
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ME
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January 26, 2023 - 3:25 pm
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Was searching for 170 gr accuracy and found this on 150 gr. “The 150 gr 30-30 has a maximum effective range of around 150-200 yards. When using a polymer tipped bullet and a scoped rifle, it’s possible to extend that somewhat to around 250 yards or so. That’s plenty of range for most hunters though. 30-30 Winchester 150-gr bullets are within an inch of aim out to 100 yards, by 150 yards it’s putting them nearly 5 inches low. And at 200 yards the 11 inches of drop are guaranteeing a miss unless you hold on or slightly over a deer’s backline.”
 
Anyone agree with those stats. Would the 170gr drop more than the 150gr at 150 & 200yds ?

 RickC 

   

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January 26, 2023 - 4:02 pm
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RickC said

 
Would the 170gr drop more than the 150gr at 150 & 200yds ?

  

Though starting with a lower MV, heavier bullets retain velocity better than lighter ones, equating to less drop at long range.  The Army discovered that their 172 g. M1 .30-06 bullet was too flat shooting for many practice ranges, leading to overshooting the berms, so it was replaced by a 150 g. bullet, the M2, which became the standard service round of WW II. 

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January 26, 2023 - 4:14 pm
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clarence said

RickC said

 
Would the 170gr drop more than the 150gr at 150 & 200yds ?

  

Though starting with a lower MV, heavier bullets retain velocity better than lighter ones, equating to less drop at long range.  The Army discovered that their 172 g. M1 .30-06 bullet was too flat shooting for many practice ranges, leading to overshooting the berms, so it was replaced by a 150 g. bullet, the M2, which became the standard service round of WW II. 

  

Good info Clarence. I would be inclined to acquire 170gr over 150gr based on that info as well as a little more hitting power. What was the purpose behind the 150gr ?, or was it produced first and then the 170gr after with the trials & research. 

 RickC 

   

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January 26, 2023 - 4:52 pm
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RickC said

What was the purpose behind the 150gr ?, or was it produced first and then the 170gr after with the trials & research. 

  

Like all developments in military hardware, a complicated evolution.  The standard service cartridge of WWI was the Model 1906 with a 150 g. bullet.  After the war, a 172 g. BT bullet was adopted to increase range, esp. for machine guns, the M1.  But then the problem I described became (the Army thought) more important than the range advantage of the M1, so the Army reverted to the earlier 150 g., renamed the M2.

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January 26, 2023 - 7:43 pm
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Clarence, you are a well of information!  Good info and history.  Now, back to the .30 WCF or .30-30.  I do shoot one a bit at our silhouette games.  I use the heavier bullets mostly to assure the rams will go down, usually shooting at 200 yards.  I do see others shooting the 150s because that is what they could buy, and they also seem to take down the rams, but maybe not the buffalo silhouette.  But I think it is your choice as to accuracy and drop at the ranges you anticipate.  Tim

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January 26, 2023 - 7:56 pm
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Here is some Winchester data.

http://gundata.org/blog/post/30-30-ballistics-chart/

https://ballisticscalculator.winchester.com/#!/result

The second site you will have to fill in the data.  It wouldn’t save the 170 gr data for me.  You can easily see where the energy will fall off.  Assuming you need about 1000 lbs of energy. 

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January 26, 2023 - 8:53 pm
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Both good websites Chuck. The 170gr does drop just a little more than 150gr 30-30 between 100-200yrds but not significant enough to choose one or the other for hunting imo. If I was using 30-30 as a sniper rifle, I guess I would have to choose 150gr but that scenario is not realistic. 

 RickC 

   

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January 26, 2023 - 9:10 pm
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Heavier bullets buck the wind better. 

Another reason I believe that the military used the 150 gr. bullet and the powder they did was to prevent the operating rod in the Garand from cracking.  This is also why they started using a radius in the corner.

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January 26, 2023 - 10:00 pm
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Just looking at the Winchester 2023 Ammunition Catalogue.They give the following drop  for their  150 and 170 grain Power Point .30-30 ammunition,sighted in at 100 yards.

 

          200yds    300yds

150 gr -7.7          -27.9

170 gr -8.4         -30.8

 

 So it would seem,that the heavier  bullet  drops more than the lighter one.Smile

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January 26, 2023 - 10:51 pm
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28 gauge said
Just looking at the Winchester 2023 Ammunition Catalogue.They give the following drop  for their  150 and 170 grain Power Point .30-30 ammunition,sighted in at 100 yards.

 

          200yds    300yds

150 gr -7.7          -27.9

170 gr -8.4         -30.8

 

 So it would seem,that the heavier  bullet  drops more than the lighter one.Smile

  

Yes, but it retains more energy and isn’t effected by the wind as bad.  Do a powder ladder test and see if you can get more powder safely in your load.  Start at a middle spot in the manual.  Load 3 rounds at that charge weight.  Then load 3 more at plus .3 grains and so on.  You need to stop at the first sign of pressure.  Along the way you are looking for flat spots (nodes) where the fps changes very little or not at all for a couple of jumps in the charge weight. You can also find nodes when doing the bullet seating depth tests.  Your barrel and groups will tell you when all is in tune. Load your ammo using a powder node and a bullet node.

All of this is assuming you are using a Model 94 that is in good shape.  Loading manuals are on the conservative side.

So at whatever speed they had at 300 yds it means you would have to hold 9.3 MOA high or 10.3 MOA.  (1 MOA at 300 yds is 3″)  At a faster speed you would not have to hold as high and would have more down range energy.  Use one of the ballistic calculators and add 50 fps and see the change.

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January 26, 2023 - 11:08 pm
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 Yes ,I agree the 170 grain retains more energy and bucks the wind better.Always use 170 grain bullets in my 30-30 rifles.Some have 20 inch barrels and some 24 inch barrels.Never really took to the 150 grain bullet,although the drop is a bit less than the 170,but not enough to make a difference on a hunting load.I believe the original loading for the 30-30 used a 165 grain bullet,but could be wrong on that.Smile

 

 I am pretty sure you are right about the U.S. Army going to the lighter load to be easier on the garand rifle.

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January 26, 2023 - 11:39 pm
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I think in the right rifle, with the right shooter, 200 yards is a good number for a practical maximum range for .30WCF in a hunting situation.  I am factoring in drop and muzzle energy.  This assumes the shooter and rifle are capable of shooting a fairly tight group at that range.

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January 26, 2023 - 11:41 pm
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One thing nobody has mentioned yet… Winchester conducted a lot of ballistics testing for the original 30 WCF cartridge.  In the end, they purposefully loaded it with a 170 FP bullet which provided the optimum accuracy with the 1:12 rifling twist rate.  If you shoot pre-war Winchesters, the factory sights were regulated for the 170-grain bullet & load.  Shooting modern 150-grain bullet loads in an older Winchester will result in it shooting too high.

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January 26, 2023 - 11:52 pm
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Bert H. said
One thing nobody has mentioned yet… Winchester conducted a lot of ballistics testing for the original 30 WCF cartridge.  In the end, they purposefully loaded it with a 170 FP bullet which provided the optimum accuracy with the 1:12 rifling twist rate.  If you shoot pre-war Winchesters, the factory sights were regulated for the 170-grain bullet & load.  Shooting modern 150-grain bullet loads in an older Winchester will result in it shooting too high.

  

Good point and info Bert. Did not know that. 

 RickC 

   

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January 26, 2023 - 11:54 pm
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28 gauge said
 I am pretty sure you are right about the U.S. Army going to the lighter load to be easier on the garand rifle.

  

The radiused op rod was not adopted until after WW II, but the 150 g. M2 round was authorized in April, 1938, roughly 6 yrs before the op rod problem was corrected. 

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January 26, 2023 - 11:57 pm
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steve004 said This assumes the shooter and rifle are capable of shooting a fairly tight group at that range.
  

Which doesn’t mean sitting at a bench rest.

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January 27, 2023 - 12:08 am
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clarence said

steve004 said This assumes the shooter and rifle are capable of shooting a fairly tight group at that range.

  

Which doesn’t mean sitting at a bench rest.

  

Exactly.  This is partly why I would not suggest beyond 200 yards.  With most hunting (that I’m familiar with) you need to be prepared to shoot without a rest.  I suppose with the real long shots, you might chose to not shoot unless you have a good rest.

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January 27, 2023 - 3:32 am
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My personal maximum effective range with irons was 150 yards because both 150 and 170 bullets begin to drop rapidly soon after 150 and I suck at range estimation. A lot happens between 150 and 200 yards and I just wouldn’t take the chance.

 

 

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January 27, 2023 - 1:19 pm
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 I agree TX.With myself, I am much happier at 50 to 75 yards.:)Was looking around and it was not 165 grain in the early days for the 30-30 ,but 160 grain.Have seem seen some of  those early  boxes.

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