30/30 Thoughts - Marlin

Jeff H

NW Ohio
Nobody had issues with all of the dozens or variations of the 30 cal throats and leades and the dozens of combinations of them 20 yr ago because we couldn't share on demand or at will all of them 24/7 .
Good point.

I also remembered a note in the Speer #14 (2007) which mentioned the appearance of short-throat 30/30s "over the past couple decades."

Maybe, maybe not. I haven't owned enough of them to notice and I don't bother looking unless I can't get something to shoot that my brain tells me SHOULD. Not that my brain is always spot-on regarding such matters.


High Steppes of Eastern Washington
i've had the 'shoould' happen before, then the next rifle in the same cartridge shot the first riles leftover rounds like the first rifle should have.
you just shake your head, make some more and move along.
I've found this especially true with military rifles, especially Krags and '03's.

Jeff H

NW Ohio
I suppose the appropriate thing to say would be "well, keeps ya honest,"

...but in truth, it keeps me from breaking the habit of using profanity.

400 Whelen

New Member
Last October I was able to pick-up a 30-30, Model 64 Winchester that was made in 1941. It also has a short, no throat chamber. An issue, that I did not know anything about. I discovered this when I loaded the Lee C309-160-R cast bullet and I could not chamber the cases. Upon inspection I observed that the tips of the bullets were marked with rifling grooves.

Mdl 64 winchester resized.jpg

I casted up some 174gr. 311041 bullets. This is an old Lyman mold. It has a long nose that causes a bore riding section that allows the loaded cases to chamber without contacting the rifling. I sized them to .309 when I seated the gas check. I loaded them with 22.0 grains of IMR 4227, which is a max load published in the 49th edition of the Lyman Reloading Handbook. I shot the below group at 50 yards with this load. Velocity from my rifle's 24" barrel was 2009 fps average.

H-4227 cropped.jpg

I also loaded the same bullet with 28.0 grains of H-335 (2 grs. under max load). Below is its 50 yard group.

H-335 cropped.jpg

I have to say shooting these groups wasn't easy. Seeing these 1 inch squares, at 50 yards through the receiver sights isn't the easiest thing for me to do. I had to use a six o'clock hold just so the front sight would not cover the entire square. I have used other powders with this bullet, and nothing comes close to these loads.

Good luck with your adventures.


Well-Known Member
Shooting my 336 today, Accurate 185C. My version of the RD, little smaller meplat, seated 2.511". Did OK, but I found that the step in the nose of the 041 helped align the bore on chambering, no jamming lands. I used a washer to 'nose size'. I had the Lee RD for marlin yrs ago, it shot OK. Michael removed the GC on a couple holes so I did PB too. I had trouble with unique, one day a good group, next everywhere. 2400 works much better. Red dot did OK, for 1400 fps, PB. I'm getting back to shooting full power loads and the shoulder (and accuracy) notices the difference. I did find that 3 coats BLL (GCd) works up around 2k fps without leading. Alloy is ~ 3% Sb, air cooled. Borescope mid bore after 30 rnds. Just a little junk.
Yours is 10 thou deeper than I loaded, not a problem.
311_3030 185gc 3031.jpg
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Official forum enigma
Lyman's #311041 is by some distance my best casting in the 30/30 WCF. #311291 has done OK in a couple of mine, but the '041' chambers without gymnastics in all of my rifles when a light crimp is applied to its groove. Short, abrupt throating is a feature of most black powder era calibers--25/20. 32/20, 38/55, 44/40, and 45/70 have this attribute almost across the board. 30/30 leverguns are not benchrest rifles, they are meant to be hunted with and when I started in 1978 at Indio Station/Riverside S.O. there were 6 pre-64 Winchester 94s in the armory for repelling boarders. 2"-3" groups at 100 yards will suffice in these venues.

Some examples will group far better. I have one such rifle, a mid-50s Marlin 336 with 2/3 magazine that can cut 1.5" to 1.3" groups at 100 yards. Its previous owner (the late Cobb Mtn. Mac) managed 7/8" to 1" groups from it, so the RIFLE can manage it with castings......it's yours truly that falls short.

I liken the 30/30's performance and accuracy standards to that of the 7.62 x 39 cartridge's in SKS and AK-47 variants. Ballistic performance and grouping integrity run about neck-and-neck. Folks grumble about the casual accuracy of leverguns, but readily accept the spray-and-pray scatterings of the AKs like meringue on lemon custard pie. Human nature is a constant source of fascination and conjecture.
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Well-Known Member
and they don't need to accept it there either.
well maybe with the atrocious trigger and boingy boingy barrel on the average AK it's mostly unavoidable.
but a wonderfully accurate AR is pretty easily achieved.


Well-Known Member
But in all reality the "average troop" with an accurate rifle is no more dangerous than an average troop with a "blahhh" accurate rifle.
Personally I yet prefer a caliber .30 over a .22 when I want to see the "endangered species" go down, plop and not return fire.
The AR could have been a .30 ACC back in 65. Would never have needed a 3 shot burst far to late in history.


Well-Known Member
Back to 30-30.... We have had well over 10 Micro-Marlins in our time. Most quickly were sent to JES Reboring and turned into 35 Rem and the 38-55 or 375 Winchester. Really no difference when JES does those two. Near forgot the 405 JES he did for us. That is a winner to never sell !!!
But we still have one Micro 30-30 That just maybe will get to a range again... But I have serious doubts with the others that are Bored out.


Staff member
I thought about the Black out, the 7.62X39, etc.
I decided to stay with the old time tested and proven 30-30.
No regrets here.

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Active Member
@Ben What scope are you using? With a bell objective, my set up doesn't let me get the eyepiece far enough back. Thank you.

Jeff H

NW Ohio
I went back and forth between the 30/30 and 7.62x39 too. Shooting cast, either of them shot very satisfactorily for me with the same powders and charge levels to boot.

My last 7.62x39 was a little doll of a gun - a CZ 527 Youth Carbine. My current 30/30 is a 24" MGM Contender Carbine barrel on a stainless Contender frame. After several years and a handful of each of the two chamberings, it had come down to those two guns, but then I spent several more years deciding between the two for my ONE 30-cal.

A lot of people compare the 30/30 to the 7.62x39, but I still think the edge goes to the 30/30. I personally find it easier to load for - easier to get one to shoot exceptionally well, brass is easier to find, heavier than 170 grain bullets are not out of the question, moulds are available in greater variety and that rim and looong neck both have a special place in my heart as well. I'm not trying to convince anyone and I'm not going to argue about it.

The 7.62x39 is a really great CB cartridge in the right gun, but the 30/30 still won me over - and over and over, repeatedly over the years.


Well-Known Member
the other part of the 30-30 versus all the newcomers is they all make their fame claim by basing their goodness on how they are similar to the old round.
it's close to with XX bullet,, it has a faster twist to handle a heavier bullet, on and on.