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30-30 Ammo Background & Common Uses

First introduced in 1895, the 30-30 Winchester is a lever action rifle cartridge and one of the first to be designed for smokeless powder. It is also known as the 7.62x51mmR (not to be confused with 7.62 NATO) and the .30 WCF (Winchester Center Fire). A solid medium range performer that shines in wooded environments, the 30-30 is an excellent deer cartridge that produces a manageable level of recoil. Rifles chambered in 30-30 include the classic Winchester Model 1894 as well as the Marlin 336 and several models from Mossberg and Rossi; some bolt-action rifles have also been offered in this caliber, though this is considered a somewhat unusual pairing.

A typical round of 30-30 Winchester ammo fires a 150 grain bullet at a muzzle velocity of about 2,400 feet per second. As with other medium power calibers, the 30-30 is quite versatile and loads are available with varying bullet weights. 30-30 ammo firing lighter 110 or 130 grain bullets works well for varmints and small game, while heavier 160 or 170 grain projectiles are more suitable for moose, elk, and other larger prey.

Bullets used in 30-30 ammo tend to be of the flat nosed, soft point variety. These projectiles are safe for tubular magazines and provide high diameter expansion in game without fragmentation. However, the 30-30 has come a long way since the 1890s with new polymer tipped spitzers from Hornady's Leverevolution series as well as copper bullets from Barnes and Federal. This new 30-30 ammunition offers better external ballistics and penetration than conventional ammo, though it does come at a bit of a price premium in most cases.