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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking to pick up a lever action for some antlerless hunts out here in Colorado. I'll use it to hunt antelope, deer, and elk. I'll be sticking with open sights on this gun which will likely keep my effective range around 100-150 yards. At that distance with a 160 grain bullet will I have sufficient KE for elk? I'm sure a 45-70 would be a better option for elk but then I've got a lot of gun for the deer and antelope and it won't be near as fun to shoot as the 30-30. Is there a fairly common caliber somewhere in the middle I should consider for a lever gun?
 

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I have smacked some pronghorn with a 30-30 and they just tip over and never get back up. It is an amazing sight to watch such a slow bullet put them down. I have also resorted to toting my 30-30 in thick timber for elk as well. Sometimes the advantage to a lever gun over a scoped rifle is you are able to take the close shots where fur is all that you would see in a scope. Also you can fit 7 rounds in a magazine. As far as killing power goes out to 150 yards you should be just fine killing an elk.

Hunting with a lever 30-30 is basically like hunting with a semi-automatic muzzleloader. If you want to hunt with a reduced range sounds like a great hunt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Great! Thanks for the thoughts Nambaster. How about the 35 rem? Is there a noticeable difference between it and the 30-30?
 

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30-30 has probably taken more big game than pretty much any other cartridge. Under 200 yards, it is just as capable as ANY other typical round. And with open sights, that is about as far as you can shoot anyway. As generations have turned over, and shifted from horseback to four wheelers, the 30-30 popularity has fallen victim to the bigger-faster-more magnumer movement of selling rifles. But the bullet fired from a 30-30 didn't get any less impactful, nor killing power reduced. Hit it where you should with any rifle, and it will effectively kill an elk.
 

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I'd rather shoot a 45-70 than a 30-30 any day. If you hand load and use a modern rifle, you can make that old 45-70 do anything you want. If you don't load and only use those awful 405 gr military load stuff, you're probable right.
 

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I absolutely agree that a 30-30 is fine for Elk. It's like anything else as long as you know the gun and can shoot it's great. May I suggest a Savage 99 in 300 savage? It used to be a very common caliber but got edged out by the .308 in the past 20 years. 300 Savage is fun if you are a hand-loader less so if you are not. Though I've never used mine on Elk I'm sure I could work up a load (165gr or 180gr acubond comes to mind) that would fine. None of the deer it's killed seem to notice it wasn't a 300 Win Mag I doubt the Elk would either.

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys, great info! I don't hand load but it is something i'd be interested in getting into in the not so distant future. It would open up a lot more options for me. How about barrel length... What kind of difference will 4 inches of barrel make? Is it worth it to step up from the 20" to 22" or 24" barrel from an accuracy or trajectory perspective? I spoke with a guy at cabelas the other day and he mentioned something a long the lines of better accuracy when the distance from your rear sight to the front sight is larger. Any truth to this? If the gun department is anything like the archery department, majority of the time those guys don't know what the heck their talking about. The large majority of my hunting experience has been behind a bow so please forgive my ignorance when it comes to guns.
 

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Barrel length has nothing to do with accuracy. But, a longer sight plane does make it easier to shoot accurately. Most people relate lever guns with short, handy rifles. 18" 20" barrels are pretty much standard on modern lever guns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks BP. How about from a trajectory standpoint. Is the increase in velocity out of the longer barrel going to make a significant difference from 20" to 24"?
 

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20-30fps is the rough standard for each inch of barrel.

My wife inherited her grandmothers 30-30, while my wife has shot it a few times she's yet to use it hunting. It would be pretty cool to use it on a hunt.


-DallanC
 

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On an open sight lever gun I would be very surprised to find a difference in barrel length affecting your velocity or accuracy significantly out to 150 yards. Having a shorter gun is lighter and handier and makes maneuvering through cover easier. The first buck I ever shot was a 2pt at 180 yards with an open sight lever action 30-30. They seem to hit the ground just as hard as when I have shot deer with my 30-06
 

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Won't make a difference for hunting purposes.

Which goes back to the reality of discussions related to one cartridge over any other. At distances under about 300 yards, any typical hunting round will do the job as well as any other when the target is hit in the same place. Barrel length may make a 20 fps difference, but functionally, that is not a difference for hunting. Impact on the target at 200 yards will be pretty much instant with any of them. But it's fun to argue about and compare and come up with some kind of scientific explanation to justify a rifle in some other caliber. But the reality is, hit where you aim, aim correctly, and you'll have success.

I'd love to harvest something with an old Winchester 94 in 30-30. Just because it is a cool rifle. And really, that is excuse enough, right? 8)
 

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I'm looking to pick up a lever action for some antlerless hunts out here in Colorado. I'll use it to hunt antelope, deer, and elk. I'll be sticking with open sights on this gun which will likely keep my effective range around 100-150 yards. At that distance with a 160 grain bullet will I have sufficient KE for elk? YES I'm sure a 45-70 would be a better option for elk but then I've got a lot of gun for the deer and antelope and it won't be near as fun to shoot as the 30-30. Is there a fairly common caliber somewhere in the middle I should consider for a lever gun? NO, but a .35 Rem would be better than a 30-30.
see red
 

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Anytime you limit the range of a hunting weapon, forcing you to get closer to the game, you make the hunt just a little better. Don't get me wrong here, most hunting is good and there are many other factors besides closeness to the animal that make a hunt enjoyable. Hunting with vintage or vintage reproduction weapons can be a lot of fun.
I 've hunted with old Marlin rifles, all lever guns, for years and enjoyed every minute.
 

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Although Savage 99's, Winchester 88's, Browning BLR etc, and the ammo they normally use, are lever action rifles, most people aren't thinking of those when they talk about shooting old vintage style lever rifles.
 

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I love the Savage 99. Cut my teeth with a 308 model E as a kid and stuck with it for my first 15 years of hunting. Caved to better technology and accuracy over the last 10 years but man, those are cool guns. I would love to find one in pristine shape to keep as a collector piece one day
 

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Although Savage 99's, Winchester 88's, Browning BLR etc, and the ammo they normally use, are lever action rifles, most people aren't thinking of those when they talk about shooting old vintage style lever rifles.
Yeah, maybe to all the cowboys west of the Mississippi, but to the flannel-shirt hog farmers east of the Big River pump guns in the same calibers as the rifles you mentioned are really popular.

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My great grand-dad killed them with an old 336 in Oregon back in the 50's and 60's. Things happen pretty close in the coastal mountains. My uncle used a 32 WCF. Another uncle used an old Remington semi-auto in 30 Remington. Dead elk everywhere.-----SS
 

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I've put two down with an old open sights Winchester Model 94. I watched my dad do it for years on a bunch of deer and elk. Between us we never wounded one. The 30-30 drops 'em like rocks. But we always hunted in trees and not open country, so shots tended to be close.
 
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