Actually, if you buy/load the FTX bullets Hornady is using in their 30-30 Leverevolution rounds, you can easily surpass the potential of that cartridge, due to the higher working pressure of the .307. I would think even standard, flat-pointed bullets, from a 307, would be equal to or faster than the FTX rounds in 30-30, but I'd have to look up the numbers on that one.
Either way, if you like what the 308 will do in a semi-auto, the 307 in a lever-gun should keep you pretty happy. I think there is a VERY long thread here on 307 loads, so you won't have any trouble figuring out what to shoot through it, I'm sure.
I still rue the day I traded a M94BB/.307 on a BLR/.358. I LOVE that steel receiver BLR, but, of course, the M94 has risen a good deal in value since that day. I am glad I chose trading it over my 336ER/.356 however...lol. I also turned down a mint .307BB for $200 around 10 yrs ago as well.... In my opinion there was no need to bring out the .308ME when we already had the .307 which could easily have been adapted to the LE ammo as well. Of course, Marlin did NOT want to resurrect the Winchester named round and likely remembered their failed attempt in the mid eighties as well. Nothing wrong with a .307! It's what I wanted, originally, when I got the .356/336. They could not get a .307/336. Now that would have been a really rare rifle!
Guys at the Marlin forum are less then enthusiastic of the 307. Brass has a short life and is hard to get seems to be the main objection. They are suggesting having my 336 marlin 30/30 rechambered to 307 if that's what I want. But as far as I can tell, the SAAMI pressure ratings for the 336 marlin are not that of the 307 big bore. I figure if I want to get a positive response, I should ask for it from people who like the Winchesters. Seems gun owners can be prejudice.
It was hard for me to filter out the reloading threads here between 94's and TC's.
I already have a 30/30. Is there enough increase in performance between the 30/30 and the 307 to warrant owning both? I could do the Ackley inproved conversion to my 30/30 and be closer to 307 performance. Hoping to get some words of wisdom here.
Take it from someone who has shot the 307 Winchester quite a lot, the case life is quite good. You will loose an occasional case from split case mouths and you will wear out a primer pocket or two over time, the same as with any cartridge.
I would keep my 30-30 which is a lot of fun to shoot and buy the 307. Check the first thread out and look for posts by Seattleloader, he has two Marlin rebarreled for the 307 Winchester.
The diffeence between the standard 30-30 and the 307 Winchester is significant. The difference between the 307 and the 30-30AI is a bit less but the 30-30AI is operating at full throttle while the 307 is not.
If you're a reloader, and if you're considering the 307, I presume you are, then there is no comparison between the 30/30 AI and the 307. Load both with FTX bullets to safe (for the respective case) pressures and the 307 will be 200-300fps faster. There should be no problem with the action handling that, either, since it will be no different than the pressure from factory loads.
The 307 is a great cartridge however you won't get its full potential in a rechambered Marlin 336. A Marlin can handle AI velocities/pressures just fine. I find that the Marlin rifle struggles when I start to get close to the upper limits of the 307 design pressures. Bolt thrust is the first limiting factor in my experience. If you do consider rechambering a Marlin, you will find that you can use 308W brass and reloading gear which really opens up a lot of possibilities. I have two of them and am very happy with them.
There is still a lot of 307 brass around. If you run out, I have about 1200 unfired cases which I would be happy to unload. I pretty much just use 308W cases in my rifles.
Don't let the guys at MO scare you off. They are a great bunch of guys but they get a little conservative when it comes to the 307W.
One other thing - learn how to aneal case necks. You will get a ton more life out of your brass.
Oh yes, one other thing: The 307w drops deer so fast you won't believe it. It is a handy, accurate and powerful rifle which really performs well under 250 yds and is a pleasure to carry and shoot.
Thanks for the info and encouragement. There is so much info in the 307 threads. Can you summarize your most successful loads. I figure that the 170's will retain their energy best at long ranges. Did the Hornady LE bullets ever pan out?
The Hornady Le bullet works well in my 20 inch rifle. I use Hornady's max load of Varget and usually get between 2450 and 2500 fps depending on seating depth and crimp. My most consistently accurate load is 42.1 grains of RE 15 and in cold weather (RE15 is somewhat temperature sensitive) it chronos between 2400 fps and 2435 in my 20" rifle. Groups are usually between 1.25" and 1.5". My 22" rifle did not like LEs at all however it shot Speer 170 grain bullets great. 41.5 grains of RE15 used to shoot Speer 170 grain bullets between 2450 and 2500 with great accuracy. Groups are in the 1.25" range.
About 6 months ago I sent the 22" rifle back to Regan Nonneman to cut a wild cat chamber in it. The cartridge will have an AI profile with the shoulder set back about .1" shorter than a 308w case. Regan is changing the bolt to a 35 Remington bolt and then cutting the bolt face to match a 308 rim. I hope to have the rifle back this month.
Slim can give you all the information you would ever need on loading for the Win 94AE.
“Can you summarize your most successful loads. I figure that the 170's will retain their energy best at long ranges. Did the Hornady LE bullets ever pan out?”
For deer hunting I believe I get the quickest kills with the 170-grain bullets driven between 2,350 and 2,450 fps. This seems to be a good speed for the bullets designed for 30-30 velocities. As you would expect the Sierra bullet has a bit thinner jacket and for lung shots it delivers a very quick kill. The Sierra bullet is strong enough for the 307 Winchester but it does tend to leave a lead trail through the body cavity. The Sierra bullet generally always exits but will sometimes leave its jacket under the hide on the off side.
In my Winchester Big Bore rifle and one other that was in the family the Hornady 170-grain bullet had a profile that was a bit to blunt and the bullets had to be seated a bit deeper in the case for reliable chambering while hunting – this to say chambering without a firm grip on the lever close it and release the firing pin block. The 307 Winchester case begins to run out of capacity at the upper load limits prior to reaching its maximum load and the 170-grain Hornady bullet required heavy compression of the powder charge to remain within my preferred COAL of 2.550”. The Hornady bullet works very well on deer at 307 Winchester impact velocities.
The best bullet I have found for average deer hunting is the 170-grain Speer Hot Core bullet – which is now obsolete and being replaced. The 170-grain Speer bullet has the best BC of the 170-grain flat nose bullets. At 307 Winchester impact velocities the Speer bullet opens up quickly, holds together very well and penetrates deep and straight. I have only recovered one 170-grain Speer bullet – this from a chest shot and it penetrated the full length of the deer’s body coming to rest under the hide on the rump.
Best accuracy in a variety of 30-30, 30-30AI, 307 Winchester and 308 Marlin Express rifles came from the 150-grain Barnes X (the older smooth bullet) and the 130-grain Speer flat nose Hot Core bullet – also recently made obsolete. Both of these bullets are capable of genuine 3 shot 1” groups at 100 yards using full power hunting ammunition in lightly tuned lever action rifles. They won’t do it every time when I’m doing the shooting but they are accurate bullets for the lever action rifles.
A wide variety of powders will push the 170-grain bullets over the 2,450 fps mark including IMR 4064, Hodgdon 4895, Hodgdon Varget and Alliant Reloder 15 among them. I don’t care for ball powders but if you do Accurate Arms 2520, Hodgdon 335, Winchester 748 and Hodgdon BLc2 will all do the deed.
When you want to go above 2,500 fps with the 170-grain bullets Hodgdon Blc2, Winchester 748, and Accurate Arms 2520 will get the job done. I prefer Hodgdon Varget and Alliant Reloder 15 for highest velocity loading in the 307 Winchester.
The 150-grain bullets have not given me quite a quick kills as the 170-grain bullets. Ken Waters wrote he obtained some of his best hunting results using the 150-grain bullets. Townsend Whelen wrote no one hunter could shoot enough game to make absolute statements on bullet performance so we all have to try a variety of bullet weights and types in order to find what works best for us.
The 130-grain Speer bullet is a good deer killer and should not be overlooked for deer under 160-pounds on the hoof. I have experienced excellent results on game with this bullet.
The Hornady 160-grain FTX bullet shoots very well in the 307 Winchester. The BC on the Hornady FTX bullet is .330. Driven at 2,500 fps the FTX bullet has a point blank range on a 6” target circle (3” above and below point of aim) of 236 yards. This with a 200 yard zero. At 260 yards the bullet still retains 1,240 fpe and is less than 6” low.
With everything the same the 170-grain Speer bullet has a point blank range of 235 yards. At 260 yards the heavier Speer bullet retains 1,249 fpe and is just shy of 6” low.
Where you begin to get the real benefit of the Hornady FTX bullet is when the wind is blowing. The FTX bullet handles wind a bit better as the distance exceeds 200 yards. Even then the difference is not dramatic.
Less than 200 yards pick the bullet you like best and go hunting, you and the deer will never know the difference.
When you start reloading we can become more specific with the details.
Don’t overlook the 308 Marlin Express. The rifle displays remarkable accuracy potential right out of the box. The factory ammunition is superbly accurate in my rifle and any handloader will have to work hard to equal the average accuracy of the Hornady LeveRevolution ammunition on a daily basis.
A forum community dedicated to Sport shooters, owners and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about optics, hand casting bullets, hunting, gunsmithing, styles, reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more!