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  #1  
Old 02-24-2010, 05:42 PM
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336 Conversion - 30-30AI or 307 Win... help me please


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Hey guys, I have a Marlin 336C that I'm refinishing and working on b/c it looks like some 12 kid drug it all over the woods and beat the heck out of it b/c... well... I was 12 when I got the gun. Lately I've been intrigued by the 30-30 AI and the 307 WIN. I've read on forums that people have converted their old 30-30's to these calibers, but I haven't been able to figure out HOW exaclty the process works. Obviously you need to buy a reamer, but other than I don't know whre to start. My questions are:

Will the 336C blow up in my hands if converted to a 307 WIN?

How do you actually convert it over? Just buy a reamer and go to town on your chamber?

How do you fireform the brass for 30-30AI? I already reload and saw that Midway has 307 WIN brass but no 30-30AI brass.

Lastly, on a slightly different note, I haven't reloaded any of the leveRevolution bullets, but they look like fun to say the least. Does anyone have any experience with them? How do they group, shoot, perform on game, etc.?

A little advice would be most appreciated.
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Old 02-24-2010, 06:05 PM
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We have had a few threads on the subject but I don't know where they are, exactly. Yes, just ream a new chamber (one of the benefits to doing 'improved' chamberings on a rimmed case as headspace will not change if you don't deepen the rim recess). How much will the guns take? I don't think that anyone really knows. You are sort of on your own, here.

With the smaller case head of the .30-30 AI, it seems to me a more prudent choice for such things vs. the .307. Your call......
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  #3  
Old 02-24-2010, 06:38 PM
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You can have Regan Nonneman rechamber your rifle to 307W. The last time I checked he charged about 125.00 for the work which included tuning the action for the new cartridge. Your rifle won't blow up providing you don't do anything really silly. I have a couple of Marlins in 307W and they shoot very well however I don't load them to full power 307 loads. Below are a few threads we've had running on the subject. Slim can give you all the information you need on the 30-30 AI.

http://www.shootersforum.com/showthread.htm?t=53835

http://shootersforum.com/showthread.htm?t=44322

Regan's web site:

http://www.leveractions.com/

If you do choose to have Regan work on your gun, please be patient. He has quite a waiting list.
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Old 02-24-2010, 06:42 PM
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I've seen some of the posts about 30-30AI here on this forum, but the ones I've seen haven't actually described all the steps that need to be taken and how to do it. Will the fact the my gun has a 20 inch barrel affect which caliber I should choose. I see that Midway has reamers in both 30-30AI and 307 Win for about 100 bucks.
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  #5  
Old 02-24-2010, 07:58 PM
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IMHO the 30-30AI is a waste of money. If you're not satisfied w/ a 30-30 for what it is, sell it and get a 300 savage or 308. The new Hornady ammo makes the 30-30 a much more capable round.

Another option is to rebore your barrel to 356 Win. That's a serious levergun cartridge that will not disappoint. I rechambered my 30-30 to 30-30AI and later to 356 Win.

There's plenty of threads in the wildcat section that discuss these options.
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  #6  
Old 02-24-2010, 08:07 PM
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goose, no the 20" bbl. won't hurt you with either chambering... i have a 30/30AI and i do like it. i've thought about doing a 307 rechamber to it as the factory chamber is a bit loose towards the base and this would be a good way to clean it up... unfortunately the AI rechambering didn't... it isn't that bad but me being the knothead that i am since i know its that way it bugs me even though it doesn't hurt anything other than brass life.
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  #7  
Old 02-25-2010, 07:55 AM
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Plain ammo like this has taken stacks of animals. The new Hornady leverevolution ammo flattens trajectory for shots of 225 yards or so.

AI will increase case life and improve velocity. Whether 300 Savage has much advantage over the 30-30 AI is debate-able.

TR
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  #8  
Old 02-25-2010, 06:38 PM
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The main velocity benefit from the 30-30AI over the 30-30 is from hot rodding...but you still just have a hot 30-30. You can hot rod a 300 Savage and basically have a 308. So I'll debate.

THe 30-30 AI is answer to a problem that existed 60-70 years ago. It's kinda like asking if you should rechamber your WW2 Mauser bring back to the 8mm-06.

I should have mentioned earlier that Marlin now has the 308 and 338 ME rounds. If you want more from a 30-30, sell it and buy a rifle that's chambered from the get go in a modern, more versatile cartridge. Otherwise keep the 30-30 and apppreciate it for it's humble virtues.

yea, I know...mea culpa, I insulted the 30-30. I'm just trying to keep Goose from wasting his time and money like I did. And what value is a 30-30AI when you or your family wants to sell it? A 30-30 is good as folding green most places.

Last edited by leverite; 02-25-2010 at 06:42 PM.
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  #9  
Old 02-26-2010, 02:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Goose1125 View Post
Hey guys, I have a Marlin 336C that I'm refinishing and working on b/c it looks like some 12 kid drug it all over the woods and beat the heck out of it b/c... well... I was 12 when I got the gun. Lately I've been intrigued by the 30-30 AI and the 307 WIN. I've read on forums that people have converted their old 30-30's to these calibers, but I haven't been able to figure out HOW exaclty the process works. Obviously you need to buy a reamer, but other than I don't know whre to start. My questions are:

Will the 336C blow up in my hands if converted to a 307 WIN?

How do you actually convert it over? Just buy a reamer and go to town on your chamber?

How do you fireform the brass for 30-30AI? I already reload and saw that Midway has 307 WIN brass but no 30-30AI brass.

Lastly, on a slightly different note, I haven't reloaded any of the leveRevolution bullets, but they look like fun to say the least. Does anyone have any experience with them? How do they group, shoot, perform on game, etc.?

A little advice would be most appreciated.
Goose,

I love refinishing old guns, especially the two I've done where a lot of the damage was caused by me dragging them through the woods over the years.

Your gun won't blow up with either cartridge.

You (or a gunsmith will, for a nominal fee) ream the chamber.

You can just shoot regular 30/30 ammo and "ta da!"...30/30 AI cases. (Light charge handloads with heavier bullets, seated into the lands, may result in less cases being lost in this process.) Still, it will cost less than buying 307 brass.

I enjoy a good wildcat as much as the next guy and if the 30/30 had a stronger case with a higher operating pressure ceiling, it would be an excellent candidate for "improving", due to it's substantial body taper, shallow shoulder and l-o-n-g neck. However, when you're restricted to 42,000 psi, by both case and action design, adding more case volume isn't going to give you much more performance. Then again, none of the AI cartridges increase velocity by more than about 5%, over their parent case, anyway...they just work more efficiently and have better case life.

Before going to the expense and trouble of all the above, shoot or load some FTX bullets. Check your actual velocity and if you don't have a ballistics program, let us know how many FPS you're running and we'll give you the numbers. I think you'll be surprised by how much those new bullets will let a plain Jane thutty-thutty stretch them old legs!
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  #10  
Old 02-26-2010, 01:10 PM
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I am surprised none of you knoledgable people have mentioned that the 30-30 recieves the biggest boost in performance out of any improved cartridge. It would definitly make a noticable difference.

Maybe i am wrong, but couldnt a person get about the same velocity out of a 200 gr round nosed bullet with a 30-30 AI as they could with a 170 grain bullet being pushed by the standard 30-30? Using the leverevolution bullet a person could easily make a scoped 30-30 A.I a 300 yard deer rifle, and without a scope a even more imposing brush buster, possibly more suitable for blackbear and elk, using heavier bullets.
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  #11  
Old 02-26-2010, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by BarkBuster20 View Post
I am surprised none of you knoledgable people have mentioned that the 30-30 recieves the biggest boost in performance out of any improved cartridge. It would definitly make a noticable difference.

Maybe i am wrong, but couldnt a person get about the same velocity out of a 200 gr round nosed bullet with a 30-30 AI as they could with a 170 grain bullet being pushed by the standard 30-30? Using the leverevolution bullet a person could easily make a scoped 30-30 A.I a 300 yard deer rifle, and without a scope a even more imposing brush buster, possibly more suitable for blackbear and elk, using heavier bullets.
Nope. You're still restricted to the same COAL that cycles thru the Marlin action. Heavy bullets won't cycle unless deeply seated and then you loose the powder capacity gained from the AI...which ain't much to begin with.

You'll gain 100 fps or so w/ a 150 gr bullet, but that's largely from running at higher pressures. Using low BC roundnose bullets, velocity still won't carry very well out to 300 yards.

It really comes down to "why bother". Use Hornady factory loads in an "unimproved" 30-30 and you'll have a better shooter.

Last edited by leverite; 02-26-2010 at 07:01 PM.
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  #12  
Old 02-26-2010, 07:18 PM
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If I was going to go through the expense, then I'd look into the new .308 caliber, which is an unrimmed .307, I think. Hornady fixed the issues w/the .307 and made some other changes. If not, then how is the ammo availability w/.307? What sort of fps does it have on the 30-30. Leverevolution ammo probably has the same fps at 200 yds as a bullet that has 200 fps on it...look at the ballistic charts on the ammo makers websites.
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  #13  
Old 02-27-2010, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by stinky View Post
If I was going to go through the expense, then I'd look into the new .308 caliber, which is an unrimmed .307, I think. Hornady fixed the issues w/the .307 and made some other changes. If not, then how is the ammo availability w/.307? What sort of fps does it have on the 30-30. Leverevolution ammo probably has the same fps at 200 yds as a bullet that has 200 fps on it...look at the ballistic charts on the ammo makers websites.
I was initially a little confused by this post, but I think I figured it out.

Point by point:

The 307 is a 308, with a rim ADDED. Are you referring to the .308 Marlin Express? That is a rimmed case, of modern design, which uses proprietary loading powders/techniques, along with a redesigned 160gr Hornady FTX bullet, to provide performance that is somewhere between a 307Win and 308Win. For a rimmed, lever-action cartridge, it gives very good performance. MV of the Hornady 160gr FTX is around 2650, resulting in a maximum PBR of ~300 yards, assuming an 8" kill zone. (I would not expect a 30/30 AI to have quite that much range...closer to 250 yards.)

I can't find any indication that Hornady has done anything to "fix" the 307...I didn't even know there was something wrong with it.

The 307Win is generally capable of ~300fps more MV than a standard 30/30. I would expect it to still be 200fps faster than a 30/30 AI. (While the 30/30 IS a great candidate for the standard Ackley Improved changes, the case pressure rating of 42,000psi limits how much gain you can get from the increased capacity.) The 308 Marlin Express is an improvement over both, but again, that is achieved largely with powders we can't get.

I think the last comment was meant to say the retained velocity of the FTX bullets, with their improved shape, is equal to a standard, flat-point 30 caliber bullet, that starts out with 200fps more muzzle velocity. I'm not positive, but I don't think the difference is quite that dramatic, until the distances are extended a bit further.

I tend to agree with most of the other posts: Use the 30/30 to the ranges it was designed for, and be happy with that. Or, use the LeverEvolution ammo and you can extend your range to 225-250 yards. The survey I conducted late last year indicates the average shot taken to harvest a deer is very near 100 yards, with more animals being taken at less than 100 yards, than past that distance. If more range is absolutely required, there are much more cost-effective ways to achieve that, with even better results than the 30/30AI can give.
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  #14  
Old 02-27-2010, 12:08 PM
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Theres always something better, or something that works more efficiently so that argument holds no water, and to say a 30-30 AI will only gain 100 fps is a bit of an understatement, atleast from all i have read about it. Using a 30-30 with leverevolution ammo, you can stretch the range out to 250 yards or so, if you A.I AND handload the newly designed leverevolution bullets, its not unrealistic to expect a 300 yard gun, obviously its not the best route if you wanna go long range lever action rifle, but if you wanna look at it that way, a 336 is not a good platform for a long range lever gun in the first place. For that matter no tube fed leveraction is a good platform for a long range lever gun.
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  #15  
Old 02-28-2010, 04:58 AM
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I have a really great looking Marlin 336A that I had rechambered to 30-30AI and I think it takes more than just reaming the chamber, the barrel must be set back to conform with the original design specification. As far as the performance improvement is concerned with the AI chamber, I think it was a waste of time and money! I went into the rechamber without much thought other than I had several 30-30 Win so "why not?"

This rifle has a strain gage attached to the barrel and all my load work has been done with pressure trace equipment and what I have found is that most of the stuff passed around on the web is very scary. I've read the stuff about reduced bolt thrust, etc., but I don't buy it. Pressure is pressure. Pressure recorded abeam the neck of the cartridge reflects what is going on in the chamber. A barrel is going to give way at the threads and forward long before it pushes the bolt out.

If you want to "improve" your cartridge, load to the CIP standard. You can safely increase your reloading limits from the SAAMI spec of 42K PSI to the CIP spec of 46K PSI (Piezo).

The real gains in velocity that Ackley pushed was with light bullets, he did not pressure check his suggested loads. I understand that, he was an old fashion "wildcatter" and that is what you did. You just pushed the cartridge and hoped for the best. He published loads that didn't blow guns up. With heavy bullets (170-grain) there is very little gain. When loading my 165-grain cast bullet to the same pressures (46K PSI) in the AI and the parent rifle, I see a 40 FPS gain.

Since the spike in primer prices, it is definitely not worth fire-forming brass. This, coupled with the lack of improvement has pretty much ended my hopes for the rifle. I'm still playing with it once in awhile but I do not take the cartridge seriously. In light what it has taken to maintain my primer inventory, I'm not fire-forming the brass anymore. I guess I could buy the forming dies but hate to get into that. A couple of weeks ago, a friend here on the forum sent me a like new 336A barrel. My rifle is parkerized, so that work must be done if that barrel is going to replace the AI barrel. In that I have three other 30-30 Wins, another thought I've had is having Jesse Ocumpauch (Cottage Grove, OR) rebore and rechamber the rifle to either 38-55 Win or 444 Marlin. I have friends that have had him do this work to their rifles and they have been very pleased. JES and I have corresponded about the 405 JES that he developed and I even went through the steps to develop a bullet that fits the chamber, throat, and leade. The performance predictions looked really great but you cannot reliably purchase 41 caliber gas checks anymore. Hornady's .416s are to large and the only other source is Gator which are only handled through group buys the Cast Boolit forum.

I do hate to just sell the rifle as it and I have some hunting history.
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336 Conversion - 30-30AI or 307 Win...  help me please-jes_reboring.jpg  
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Last edited by Ranch Dog; 02-28-2010 at 05:05 AM. Reason: grammer
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  #16  
Old 02-28-2010, 03:25 PM
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This post dovetails with a recent post on the Marlin Owners forum. In this thread the question was: “Is the 30-30AI worth it?”
The responses to this question were rather negative. The general opinion was there are better options for today’s shooter. Beartooth forum member Ranch Dog posted that he had loaded the 30-30AI to SAAMI pressure specs for the 30-30 and received very little “Improvement.”
Ranch Dogs comments reminded me of the article in the December 1953 American Rifleman by William F. Wieman from the H. P. White Laboratory. The article titled: “How Improved is It?” compared the standard 30-06 to the 30-06 Ackley Improved. The White Laboratory loaded the 30-06AI to standard 30-06 pressure and received very little “Improvement” for their efforts.
It took P. O. Ackley nearly a year to perform some tests for examples and to pen a response to his critics. The Ackley article, printed in the October 1954 issue of the American Rifleman was titled: “Improved Cartridges” and quite clearly explained the reason for an Improved cartridge and the reason a significant Improvement could obtained. The Improved cartridge with its straight wall case develops less back pressure and allows the handloader to increase his powder charge significantly over that of the standard cartridge and a significant increase in velocity is achieved.

If the handloader is unwilling to increase the propellant charge he is not going to experience a significant “Improvement” in performance using the Improved cartridge shape.

There are exceptions to this statement. The 25-35 WCF when shot from the Thompson Contender is a good example. The 25-35 WCF has difficulty using current, rather low pressure load data in the Thompson Contender due to the limited extraction provided by the TC design. The 25-35 Ackley Improved allows the use of published load data with heavy bullets and easy extraction. Using the Improved case shape the 25-35 may then be loaded to equal and exceed the performance of the 250 Savage with equal bullet weights. I have shot the two cartridges side by side and know this to be true. The operating pressure for the 25-35AI is high but case life is excellent.

Getting back to the 30-30AI, anyone who would suggest the “Improvement” realized with the 20” barrel carbine is not significant has not studied the cartridge very closely. From the 20” Barrel Marlin 336 or the Winchester Model 94AE you can safely touch 2,600 fps using the various 150-grain bullets intended for the standard 30-30. You can do this using a variety of powders with Hodgdon’s 4895 and Benchmark coming to mind as two of the very best powders for the 150-grain bullets.

The 170-grain bullets can be driven to 2,460 fps using a variety of powders from the 20” barrel Marlin and Winchester rifles, Hodgdon Varget, BLc2, Winchester 748 and Alliant Reloder 15 are all powders capable of this level of performance.

I have shot hundreds of rounds through my rifles at these velocities with no indication of premature wear to the rifles and with excellent case life. I prefer a slightly lower velocity due to bullet construction issues but you will see these comments in the various threads on the Beartooth forum.
A look at the Load Swap section will give a few loads I have posted for the 30-30AI. Use of the advanced search function using “.30-30AI” and”william iorg” should bring up a number of threads with load data for the cartridge. These loads are operating at higher pressure than that specified for the standard 30-30 cartridge, so the handloader should exercise caution when developing loads for his individual rifle.

Not all is “cookies and cream” and not everyone is happy with their 30-30AI rifles. Anyone interested in the 30-30AI owes it to himself to look for threads in the advanced search function using “.30-30AI” and “Taylor” as search items. Taylor experienced some problems with his 30-30AI rifle and his comments bear reading.

Some have suggested the 308 Marlin Express renders the 30-30AI obsolete and I agree with these thoughts. If I had a 30-30 and wanted “Improved” performance I would save my nickels and buy a 308 Marlin Express. I would also keep my 30-30 as it is a lot of fun to shoot.
If you ever have an opportunity to shoot a 26” barrel 30-30 of recent construction you will see that our Great Grandfathers knew a few things about long barrels and performance. The 26” barrel 30-30 is a surprising hunting rifle.
The 308 Marlin Express is a 2,600 fps cartridge with the 160-grain bullet in the 22” barrel rifle. The standard 30-30 will push the 150-grain bullets to 2,550 fps from the 26” barrel rifle and this is without excessive pressure.
Neither the 30-30AI nor the 308 Marlin Express are the true equal of the 307 Winchester but you will not notice the difference between the 308ME and the 307 Winchester in most hunting applications. With proper sight-in both cartridges have a point blank range on an 8” target circle of just under 250-yards. This is enough for most of us.

While I was writing this I noticed that Ranch Dog has posted on this thread. RD and I see the purpose of the 30-30AI cartridge a bit differently. The 30-30AI was developed at the Request of Robert Hutton for use as a long range target cartridge. Hutton developed the load data for Ackley and the data was developed in a long barreled Mauser bolt action rifle. I do not see the 30-30AI as a cast bullet cartridge and I do not believe the cartridge is at its best with cast bullets.
The most difficult part of studying P.O. Ackley’s writing is that most of it is in periodicals. It takes a great deal of digging to develop a good understanding of Ackley’s goals.
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:07 PM
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As always, Slim is probably the most knowledgeable guy I know of concerning this cartridge and he brings up excellent points about the purpose and use of the 30-30 AI.
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by BarkBuster20 View Post
There's always something better, or something that works more efficiently so that argument holds no water...
Beg to differ,

This thread was about getting something "better". The 30-30AI ain't much better and there are may other options pointed out in the thread that are a great deal better.

Unless you've done a 30-30AI yourself, you don't know the costs and dashed expectations that go along with it.

Many of us who have tried it would not repeat.
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Old 02-28-2010, 06:59 PM
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I agree the 30-30AI is at its best when loaded with jacketed bullets.
The cartridge case when formed from new brass, exhibits good case life when loaded to high pressure.
Bullet seating requires care and understanding of the fragile nature of the case.
The load data from P.O. Ackley’s Handbook for Shooters and Reloaders is almost useless as it is intended for use in bolt action rifles. Robert Hutton only had a lever action rifle chambered for the Improved cartridge after his tests in the bolt action rifle. Hutton believed there was no need for the 30-30AI in the lever-action rifles and it was H.V. Stent who wrote the first magazine articles extolling the virtues of the 30-30AI in the lever-action rifle.

However, once a few of the “tricks” of reloading the cartridge are learned I see no real down side to the cartridge. I reamed four rifles to the Improved case and all of them fed properly without alteration.
Our main problem was the lack of reliable reloading data for lever-action rifles at the time we started to load the cartridge. Beartooth forum member Terry Murbach got us started in the right direction with some sharp kicks to head us down the correct path. I don’t know Terry and have not seen a post from him in quite some time but at the time we started experimenting he was the only shooter to post who had reliable: “Been there, done that” data and tips.”

The 30-30AI is a viable alternative to the 308 Marlin Express with a few caveats: the 308 Marlin Express has better brass, factory ammunition is available for the 308ME and there is pressure tested load data available for the 308ME.

The 308 Marlin Express suffers from a pressure restriction which limits the capability of the cartridge. The 308 Marlin Express has enough powder capacity to allow the cartridge to be overloaded quite easily. Before there was pressure tested data I was overloading the cartridge with no indication of distress. Reducing my loads to within the pressure limits certainly reduced the thrill of the 308 Marlin Express. Having said this I also believe the 308ME is the way to go today for a .30 caliber lever-action cartridge of Improved performance.

If I had a bit more skill with a computer I would have a pressure trace and I would answer my questions about pressure. I am a bit concerned the learning curve might be a bit steep and I am not yet prepared to make the leap.
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Last edited by William Iorg; 02-28-2010 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:45 AM
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I, for one, would like to thank William for a wonderful Tutorial he posted a few years ago. My father and I reamed two Winchester Model 94's with these directions, and had a lot of fun doing it and working up loads. One of the rifles was a "basket case" given to us, the other was a gunbroker special for under $200. The reamer rental was less that $50. The time spent together has been priceless.

If the dollar figure is your only concern, go by a stevens kit gun in 308, it will shoot circles around anything we're talking about here.

Thank you William for championing the Ackley, and thanks to P.O. for being so far ahead of his time, we haven't caught him yet.

Gordon
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