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What caliber would you pick?

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My younger brother wants to get a lever action rifle. I don't own one, so I didn't know exactly what to recommend for him. He's kind of debating between a 30/30, .44 magnum, or .45 LC. He's only going to use the iron sights, so it's probably going to be a medium range gun at best. He mostly hunts deer, but I think the possibility for elk would be there for him. He does shoot a lot, so he kind of wants one that would be pretty economical while hopefully fulfilling his big game desires. He does not reload ammo.

I do know the 30/30 ammo is usually pretty cheap, and the Leverevolution (spelling?) ammo is supposed to be amazing for these guns. As for the .45 LC, I've noticed the cowboy loads aren't too bad on price, but underpowered for hunting.

I guess the biggest question I have is what do you guys think is a better philosophy for short to medium range big game hunting, bigger hole or faster bullet?
 

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Since he will be hunting with the gun go with the 30-30....the .44 rifle would only be effective out to about 75 yards on deer.
 

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I could hit a 4" clay pigeon with my old marlin 30-30 @ 200 yards with iron sites about 4 times out of five.
 

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huntducksordietrying said:
I could hit a 4" clay pigeon with my old marlin 30-30 @ 200 yards with iron sites about 4 times out of five.
I bet you couldn't hit the same one 4 times... :p :p

Desperado....I wouldn't go with the .45 LC...you gotta 'aim high' and wait. It's a real slow bullet and by the time it hits something...it's already tomorrow... :)

I'd go for the 'nasty .44' or even the famous 45-70 !! That's what I shoot !!.. :) :)
 

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I don't think any of those calibers is ideal for western hunting. They're better for more confined areas where shots are closer, like in the south or east.

I'd recommend he look into a flatter-shooting caliber that provides more accuracy at greater distances. Unless it's the novelty of the gun he's interested in.
 

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Instead of the Winchester 94 type lever, check out the Savage model 99. It has a rotary magazine, so it will take pointed bullets. They chambered it in 243, 300 savage, and 308 to name a few. The 308 is an excellent round - better that the 30-30 type mentioned. But it will do far better for medium ranges than the others.
 

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I'd suggest that **most** lever action rifles are great for short-range still hunting at ranges under 100 yards. Beyond that distance, the limitation of the rifle is the sights, not the cartridge. If you have a scoped lever action that you want to be an all-purpose rifle, I agree on looking for something with good ballistics and pointed bullets. That said, the classic lever guns are excellent for hunting in the pines and thick stuff, where 100 yards is a long shot. The .30-30 is more than adequate for that purpose.

I'd argue that if it's a sub-100 yard gun that is wanted, a lever action .30-30 would be nearly ideal. If an all-around gun is wanted, get a bolt action in a caliber .270 or larger and it will be great for deer/elk out to longer ranges.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Gumbo said:
I don't think any of those calibers is ideal for western hunting. They're better for more confined areas where shots are closer, like in the south or east.

I'd recommend he look into a flatter-shooting caliber that provides more accuracy at greater distances. Unless it's the novelty of the gun he's interested in.
It is the novelty he's after. He's got plenty of bolt action rifles to fill every hunting niche, I think he just wants to go "old school" for a change.

.45 said:
huntducksordietrying said:
I could hit a 4" clay pigeon with my old marlin 30-30 @ 200 yards with iron sites about 4 times out of five.
I bet you couldn't hit the same one 4 times... :p :p

Desperado....I wouldn't go with the .45 LC...you gotta 'aim high' and wait. It's a real slow bullet and by the time it hits something...it's already tomorrow... :)

I'd go for the 'nasty .44' or even the famous 45-70 !! That's what I shoot !!.. :) :)
The .45/70 is what I would get, but my brother is just a little guy and scared of it. :cry:
I told him to buy one and if he doesn't like it he can sell it to me, but no go. Oh well, I think I'd rather have one in a Sharps rifle anyways.
 

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Desperado said:
It is the novelty he's after. He's got plenty of bolt action rifles to fill every hunting niche, I think he just wants to go "old school" for a change.
That being the case, I would suggest a 30-30. I have owned both the Winchester and the Rossi .45 lever. Both rifle's shot powder back in my face...under the safety glass'es and into my eye's....I wasn't happy with these rifle's at all...!!!!

I kinda miss the old 30-30's... :) :)
 

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If he is looking for the model 94 style gun, definitely go with the 30-30. If he is looking for a lever gun, style aside, he might look into the Browning BLRs in something like the .308 or 7mm-08. If he decides he wants something for a little longer range, the BLR is also available in the long action chambered in the '06, .270, .25-06, 7mm, and probably several others. I have a BLR in .223 and have loved it since I bought it. It is very accurate and is ambidextrous. With or without a scope, the only complaint I have about it is the high-gloss finish on the stock. Haven't yet found a synthetic or matte finished stock for replacement.
 

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A lever gun chambered for 45-70 Gov't is exactly what the Doctor ordered for your brother!

His manufacturer ammo will NEVER exceed $25 (heck, I've found it for $9.99 on clearance at WallyWorld), and the manufacturer stuff is great for deer.

For elk, I reload with a 300 grain Nosler Partition that goes about 2,200 fps. It takes a real nasty bite outta things. Oughta be perfect!
 

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If your bro doesn't like the kick of the 45-70, I would suggest a 35 remington. Still really capable and not at all punishing to shoot.
 

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tapehoser said:
A lever gun chambered for 45-70 Gov't is exactly what the Doctor ordered for your brother!

His manufacturer ammo will NEVER exceed $25 (heck, I've found it for $9.99 on clearance at WallyWorld), and the manufacturer stuff is great for deer.

For elk, I reload with a 300 grain Nosler Partition that goes about 2,200 fps. It takes a real nasty bite outta things. Oughta be perfect!
I believe you shoot a 45-70, don't you ?? I actually shoot a Browning Single Shot 45-70. I 'almost' had the lever but it's kind of pricey...I sure do want one though..... :) I could almost be like Tom Horn.... :mrgreen:
 

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"old school" is a ton of fun. I went through a period of old school and never had more fun. You need to define what period you really want to copy. For me it was the straight cased, black powder cartridges of the late 1800's. I chose the Marlin rifle and tryed to bag deer and elk with most of them. These guns are truly a ball to shoot and will kill with well placed shots at medium distances out to 150 yards just fine. The 30-30 is a very late comer and is mostly considered a smokeless cartidge. Of the three you have given us to chose from the 30-30 wins hands down. But if he really wants to go "old School" he needs to study up. He needs to shoot old rifles and old cartridges to truly enjoy "old school". By all means go "old School", sell off a few of those bolt actions and pick up a fine old Marlin or Winchester rifle. They are getting a little pricey but what else can you buy today, use and enjoy, a still re-sell it for more money a few years down the road? Just do it...you'll have a ball!
 

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I would really suggest looking at a .35 whelen.
Or a .358 Browning BLR which has already been suggested I think.
You can't beat them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
My brother came by with his new toy today. He picked up a Winchester 94 in .30/30. Pretty sweet. It's got a gold colored finish to it so it kind of looks like a Henry. He bought it off some dude he works with for $300. Suddenly, I'm in the mood for a Marlin Guide Gun in 45/70. -()/-
 

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.45 said:
I believe you shoot a 45-70, don't you ?? I actually shoot a Browning Single Shot 45-70. I 'almost' had the lever but it's kind of pricey...I sure do want one though..... :) I could almost be like Tom Horn.... :mrgreen:
Yes, I shoot a Marlin 1895 with a 22" barrel.
 

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+1000000 on thhe 45-70. You can shoot Buff bore or Garrett ammunition through a volkswagon and kill the critter on the other side. 8)
 
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