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21st century .30-30: bridging three centuries, this old timer just gets better.

After kicking around for 112 years, one would think the Winchester .30-30 would pretty much be clawing for life in the face of the ballistic advances during the same decades. Yet, this historic big-game cartridge continues to breeze along, placing among the top five best selling centerfire rifle cartridges year-after-year-after-year. I suspect that's exactly why Winchester Ammunition, in cooperation with Nosier Bullets just released a new .30-30 round, the 150-grain Ballistic Silvertip.

This new entry in the Winchester Supreme line features a 150-grain, boattail bullet with a deep, hollow cavity, capped off with a rounded polymer tip reminding me of a little, plastic toadstool. With the tip removed, it's a wicked-looking, hollowpoint bullet, designed specifically for whitetail deer and similar sized light-to-medium big game.

The .30-30 Ballistic Silvertip has an advertised velocity of 2,390 fps. Zeroed at 100 yards, it drops -7.5" at 200 and -27" at 300, but zero it at 200 yards, and you will be +3.8" high at 100 and -15.6" low at 300. Is the .30-30 a realistic 300-yard cartridge for whitetail deer? Yes, it is, if it's teamed up with a quality rifle and a good scope.

I just returned from an Axis deer hunt with Texas Outfitters, Ltd. and its President, Frank Fackovec. Fackovec's ranches are Texas sized and the game there is strictly free ranging. In short, it's a hunt, not a fenced, pasture shoot. The ranch on which we hunted Axis was just west of Kerrville in that picturesque oak and rolling grassland environment of the Texas Hill Country.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Frank's a Weatherby guy and when I uncased Marlin's latest stainless Model 336XLR lever action mounted with Sightron's top-of-the-line 3-9x42mm SII Big Sky scope, I just caught a glimpse of a questioning moment he had. He needn't have been concerned.

The Marlin/Sightron/Ballistic Silvertip combination was capable of turning in 1" groups at 100 yards with some regularity. The latest Marlins are not only good looking in stainless steel and black laminates, they sport tight tolerances, good triggers and their 24" barrels ekes out all the velocity the new Winchester ammunition can offer. In fact, over a PACT Professional Chronograph, the 150-grain Ballistic Silvertip averaged 2,357 fps from the 24" barrel and 2,296 fps from the 20" barrel of my Winchester Model 94.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Over a period of two days, seven hunters took 14 Axis bucks and does with the new Winchester ammunition. The bucks ranged from my cull buck to one trophy buck sure to rank in the top five in the SCI record book. I saw Axis taken as close as 40 yards and as far as 278 yards. There were classic heart-lung shots and raking shots. No Axis ran more than 50 yards and most dropped at the shot.

Remembering the new bullet is constructed with a large, hollow cavity under the polymer tip, the bullet did what it was designed to do--expand quickly on deer-size bodies. It's an advanced design deer bullet. I would not try walloping an elk with it, although I would if my .30-30 was loaded with a 170-grain Nosler Partition or a 150-grain Barnes X-Bullet.

Light And Handy

And that's the beauty of the .30-30. It's a well-balanced, accurate cartridge very mild in the recoil department when chambered in light and handy firearms. The modest recoil dished out by the .30-30 is to me one of its most endearing qualities. I would place the .30-30 at the head of the list as an ideal light big-game caliber for many women and youths who are recoil sensitive and who find a 6.5 to 7 pound rifle is just about all they want to carry afield.

Now that Winchester is out of the lever action market, Marlin owns the territory. It's reassuring to see the quality being built into the new stainless steel Model 336 and 1895 XLR's. If the M336XLR with Sightron's latest SII Big Sky scope I carried are any measure, Marlin's latest lever action generation is quite capable of delivering average bolt-action accuracy with quality optics.

Even though it's 112-years old, the .30-30 Winchester is still a modern classic and holding its own into the new millennium.

TEXAS OUTFITTERS LTD.

FRANK FACKOVEC, PRES.

DROPTINE RANCH

PEARSALL, TX 78061

(800) TEX-HUNT

WWW.TEXASOUTFITTERSLTD.COM

WINCHESTER AMMUNITION

427 NORTH SHAMROCK ST.

EAST ALTON, IL 62024

(618) 258-2000, WWW.WINCHESTER.COM
336XLR
MAKER: Marlin Firearm Company
100 Kenna Drive
North Haven, CT 06473
(203) 239-5621
www.marlinfirearms.com

ACTION: Lever action
CALIBER: .30-30
CAPACITY: 5
OVERALL LENGTH: 42.5"
BARREL LENGTH: 24"
SIGHTS: Folding rear, ramp
 front, scope ready
WEIGHT: 7 pounds
STOCK: Black/grey
 laminated hardwood
FINISH: Polished stainless
PRICE: $782

SII BIG SKY

MAKER: Sightron, Inc.
100 Jeffrey Way, Ste. A
Youngsville, NC 27596
(800) 867-7512
www.sightron.com

MAGNIFICATION: 3-9X
OBJECTIVE DIAMETER: 42mm
EYE RELIEF: 4.1" (3X), 3.9" (9X)
CLICK VALUE: 1/4"
TUBE DIAMETER: 1
WEIGHT: 13.4 ounces
OVERALL LENGTH: 12.64"
RETICLES: Duplex or dot
PRICE: $476.45
COPYRIGHT 2008 Publishers' Development Corporation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:OUT OF THE BOX[TM]
Author:Bodinson, Holt
Publication:Guns Magazine
Date:Apr 1, 2008
Words:840
Previous Article:The ersatz sniper: recreations of the Mosin Nagant WWII sniper are affordable and shoot well.
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