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A few months ago I signed up to compete in the Hunting Rifle category at the 2003 NRA HIGH POWER RIFLE SILHOUETTE CHAMPIONSHIP that was held in Ridgway, PA on July 17, 18 & 19 .

I decided to compete with a real hunting rifle, my circa 1949 .30-30 Marlin 336SC (Sporting Carbine) along with some prime cast bulleted ammunition.

This competition is awash with bolt action rifles and high powered scopes. Of course, since it is fired from the offhand position at steel targets at 200 meters (chickens), 300 meters (javelina), 385 meters (turkeys) & 500 meters (rams) it is more the test of the shooter than the equipment. As it turned out it was the only levergun out of 300 or so entries and the only .30-30.

Certainly, the equipment also must also be up to the task and in June I had the opportunity to mount a 10X Lyman Silhouette on this rifle and test it at those distances and the rifle delivered those cast bullets pretty much on call all the way out to the rams at 500 meters (547 yards). For that target I used bullets from Lyman's 311644 mold which weighed 202 grs. over H414 powder. In Hunter class, all cartridges have to be fed into the chamber from the magazine, so I had to seat those 202 gr. bullets deep into the case which is normally not the best situation for fine cast bullet accuracy from a bottle neck case. It didn’t work too bad with slow burning
H414 though.

I used a 168 gr. bullet made from an LBT mold over 32.5 grs. of 748 for the chickens, pigs and turkeys. The alloy for both bullets was wheelweight + 2% tin / heat treated. Bullet lubricant was the NRA formula of 50/50 beeswax/alox.

As I mentioned, this competition is more a test of the shooter than the rifle because of the offhand shooting required. That is the tough part. Those targets move around too much when I shoot from the standing position! A better shooter would have done this .30-30 Marlin rifle more justice.

As it turned out, I was only able to shoot 2 out of the 3 days of competition due to a family reunion. I fired my best score on day two and ended up placing in the top 1/3 in my class, so at least my Marlin .30-30 bested a number of bolt action rifles and their jacketed bullet ammunition (!).

Interestingly, several different shooters approached me and asked me questions about the rifle and the .30-30 over the two days I was there. I am sure some of them were wondering “……. hmmmm …….. a .30-30 @ 547 yards (?) …….. and just look at those lead bullets ……… will it even shoot that far(!).” Even two of the NRA match officials took an interest in my rifle and its capabilities.

On day two, I happened to connect with 4 of the 10 rams @ 500 meters. The shooter next to me had hit two with his 700 Remington rifle. He was amazed that a .30-30 levergun could even down any 55# steel rams at all at that extended distance!

All in all it was a very enriching, rewarding experience using a lever gun in an all bolt action rifle sport. No doubt, some folks went home with a newfound respect for the classic .30-30 cartridge and the leverguns that chamber it.

Long live the .30-30!

John
 

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John,
that is one of the more interesting, and adventurous, things I've heard in quite some time. I hope you had a good time. It's unfortunate you couldn't shoot the complete match, but it sounds like you had a good time anyway.
 

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Great article John.
I've never been able to practice off hand for such precision shooting. And on the very rare occasion when I use a scoped rifle, the targets came alive and moved around all over the place.
You did good.
I'll bet there will be more people considering the old 30-30 now that you have opened their eyes.

I am in the process of buying a 1950 vintage Win Mdl 94 in 30-30. Almost new, very little use. As I shoot up my stash of ammo I am seriously considering converting to all cast loads. I don't hunt and so I really don't have any real use for jacketed bullets.

I also have a 16" trapper, and want a load that I can use in both guns that will duplicate the factory loads.

What would you suggest as far as powder bullet combos?
I'm not able to cast at this time, so any bullets I use will have to be commercial cast.

Thanks for any help, J
 

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John,

You're an inspiration! I haven't shot Iron Chickens in years, but will be looking for local matches. Just maybe, I'll see you at next summers match!

Lobo in West Virginia
 

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Way to go John!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Most excellent!! It is always sweet to be the dark horse, and come away haveing been seen and an interest taken in.

I have a 30-06 with double set triggers, and I know that if I can get my technique relaxed, the rifle itself is a no brainer to reach out and touch. Now I don't feel that I would want to do that, it's almost like being unfair, there is NO WAY this is a woods rifle, I would never do that to it, so I could not say it is a true hunting rifle - sniping, yes, but that is not what the contest was, was it?

I feel your pride - well done!
 

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John,

Were can we find the rules and regulations so we can be part of the "Lever Invasion" at future events?

Lobo in West Virginia
 

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Way to go, John!!! I'm sure you earned a lot of respect for the ol' thutty-thutty and yourself that day. Great job!
 

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John Kort
So all those guy's with the big Mags got agitated did they?
That little old 30-30 kicked some butt great!!
:D
 

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Thanks for that report John. It put a big ol smile on my face.

Hopefully, folks got an idea that some of these things are supposed to be fun!

Scotty
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you, everyone for your kind comments. It was a lot of fun and I am looking forward to the next time.

Lobo,
The NRA has a rule book for Silhouette which can be ordered from the NRA. I believe the cost is $5.00. As an overview,
the rules for an NRA Silhouette Hunter rifle indicate that it cannot weigh more than 9 lbs. with scope (any power). It must have a trigger pull of at least 2#. The caliber must be .24 and over. All cartridges must be loaded into and fed from the magazine. Shooting is done from the offhand position with 2 1/2 minutes to fire 5 rounds with a 15 second preparation period prior to that (Just enough time to load the magazime.).

JMiller,
If you are going to replicate standard .30-30 velocities, then hard (18 bhn and over) GAS CHECKED bulletss are necessary. Marshall has 140, 160 & 170 gr. 30 caliber gas checked bullets that would work well for this application.

A favorite .30-30 bullet of mine is Lyman's 311041. Tru Shot Bullets, a division of Oregon Trail Cast Bullets offers them. It is listed as their .30 Cal 170 gr. RNFP-GC http://www.trueshotbullets.com/bullets.html
My favorite load with this bullet is 36 grs. of H414 powder. That is a capacity load and performs very well in all my .30-30's.

Good luck with that 1950 vintage .30-30.

John
 

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OUTSTANDING!!!!

Sounds like great fun, and with a classic rifle to boot! Interesting how so many of our shooting sports turn into a gamesmanship/mony race in the equipment category, taking much of the fun out of competition. It's really refreshing to hear of your success with your lowly .30-30 levergun amid a field awash with high power, high dollar gadgetry.

Way to go! Thanks too for the info on your loads and bullet selections.

By the way, we too now offer the Lyman 311041 bullet, although I haven't updated the shopping cart yet, as we're reworking it and redoing all photos. The bullets are available, just ask!

Thanks again John,

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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John, reminds me of the time I went skeet shooting with a former co-worker. He had a new Baretta o/u, about $4,000 worth of shotgun, all the accessories, and a case of 'Sporting Clays' target loads. I took my $200 pawn-shop Remington, straw hat, plastic grocery bag full of reloads...... and just beat the pants off of him.

Lotsa fun.....
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Marshall,
Thank you for your kind comments. I look forward to the next time I can show the bolt action boys what the .30-30 is capable of.

MikeG,
Good shooting! I know what you mean.

John
 

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I KEEP SAYING THAT THE 30/30 WILL DO A GOOD JOB ON DEER IF YOUR SHOT IS PLACED RIGHT.IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO USE A MAGNUM RIFLE.MY SON JUST GOT A DEER WITH ONE SHOT FROM AN SKS.DROPPED DEAD SHOT CLEAR THRU.I USE LYMAN 311291/170 GR (ALSO USE THIS BULLET IN 30/06 WITH 13 GR RED DOT[1680fs]CRONY
 

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TAWILDCATT said:
I KEEP SAYING THAT THE 30/30 WILL DO A GOOD JOB ON DEER IF YOUR SHOT IS PLACED RIGHT.IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO USE A MAGNUM RIFLE.MY SON JUST GOT A DEER WITH ONE SHOT FROM AN SKS.DROPPED DEAD SHOT CLEAR THRU.I USE LYMAN 311291/170 GR (ALSO USE THIS BULLET IN 30/06 WITH 13 GR RED DOT[1680fs]CRONY
Welcome to the forum. Note, it appears that your "caps lock" key is stuck ;)
 

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Hello John,

It has been awhile since we've talked about the 30wcf. Very interesting dissertation of shootong silhouettes with a production 30-30 lever gun. One of these days I plan to mount a scope on top of my Marlin 30-30 CB and have some longer range "fun". Out of curiosity - what's your preference for brass (brand) when reloading ?

Regards, Vic
 
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