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Myth/Reality - Fact/Fiction

ZeeZee Senior MemberPosts: 24,031 Senior Member
My whole life, I’ve read and heard that the .30-30 Winchester has “taken more deer than any other cartridge” or “taken a train load of boxcars full of deer” (Jayhawker 😉). 
I’ve also heard, though to a lesser degree, the same regarding the .30-06 Springfield. 

Question is, how the heck can anyone prove/validate such a theory in this day and age?  Way back when......when there were fewer choices.......easy to fathom. 

In 2020.......125 years after creation.......how do you know?

My point........why make a statement you can’t prove?

Discuss. 😁
"To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
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Replies

  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 24,031 Senior Member
    edited July 23 #2
    Not that I am the basis for anything relating to validation. But, I’ve shot a BUNCH of deer. Possibly more than the general average on just this particular forum. Simply due to culling/depredation opportunities. Possibly. 
    I’ve used the .30-30 to take..........1 deer........that I remember. 
    Hundreds (I don’t know the total number.....I’ve long since lost track) have fallen to other cartridges. 
    I’m not the only person in the USA that culls deer these days and most shoot more deer than me in culling operations. I suspect most don’t use the .30-30 Winchester. 

    Just a thought. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,928 Senior Member
    edited July 23 #3
    The .30-30 was a the go-to cartridge for many years, back when folks were feeding their families with their rifles...so it stands to reason that it killed a lots and lots of critters. 
    Also...when I was coming up, everyone I knew (ranchers and farmers) had a .30-3O...most often squirreled away in their pickup...often one in each of their pickups...not to mention the one in the saddle scabbard on their horse

    I would say, without a doubt, that dynamic has changed and you're just as likely to find an AR as a truck gun

    I have never killed anything with a .30-30...actually, never owned one...I favor other cartridges in my lever guns...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 24,716 Senior Member
    I have a 30-30 and both my son and I have hunted with it; it has never been used to shoot anything.
    Shut up-----KAREN; OK Cynthia
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,928 Senior Member
    In it's guise as the .30 WCF...cartridge goes back to 1895....
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 24,031 Senior Member
    Jayhawker said:
    In it's guise as the .30 WCF...cartridge goes back to 1895....
    125 years. 😁

    :wikipedia:
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,051 Senior Member
    Does make one wonder.  I wounded 1 deer with an iron sighted .30-30. I've dropped dozens with a scoped .270.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    edited July 24 #8
    Rifles sold.
    Records show the count.

    Don't count out the 44wcf aka 44-40, the 38wcf aka 38-40.. Also the 45-70. Surplus ammo for 45-70 could be had cheap for along time.
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,928 Senior Member
    There were some interesting cartridges back then...like the .25-20....sort of a pip squeak, but Jim Jordan killed on of the biggest whitetail bucks in the country with one in 1914
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    A count thats likely a long ways concealed. Is how many deer fell to the family heirloom shotgun?
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 24,031 Senior Member
    Rifles sold.
    Records show the count.


    The count of what?  Rifles sold?  Game taken?
    Got any numbers?  I’d love to see the validity behind the claims.  Thanks. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    Rifles sold.

    Compiling those numbers will take more than I have at this moment. Maybe........
    I'll poke around online this weekend and see if there's numbers. Supposedly the Win 94 is the best selling rifle of all time. With 30wcf being the most popular chambering. However. The value of scepticism should never be short changed....

    Numbers of deer killed will be like smoke in a hurricane. 
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 24,031 Senior Member
    Exactly. 😁
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 5,817 Senior Member
    Interesting point!  I’m willing to bet there have been more Remington 700s sold than all 30-30s combined.  Add Winchester 70s to the mix and I’m sure bolt actions in the popular deer cartridge like 30-06, .270 and .308 faaaaaar outnumber 30-30s.
    Old West Saying: God created men, but Col. Sam Colt made them equal.

    General George Patton:  “Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.”

  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    edited July 24 #15
    Here's some serial number data.

    The last number for the Win 94 in 1894 is listed as 14579.. The last number listed for 1964 is 2797428..
    In contrast for the Win model 70.. Last number for 1935 is 19.. Last number for 1964 is 740599..

    Now this is an exclusive slice and not inclusive of the very relevant observations of GunNut. But at least its a start. The numbers of bolt actions surely must be staggering. Not to mention the post war surplus rifles used. However Win 94 manufacture continues past 1964..
  • DrawbarFlatsDrawbarFlats Posts: 776 Senior Member
    No, No, No, and NO!!! It's NOT a Thirty-Thirty. ...It's a Thutty Thutty. Lol.

    Another one is: "...but it makes a fine brush gun! Lol.
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 7,957 Senior Member
    I have absolutely no idea what cartridge is responsible for taking the most deer.  However, I have heard that this distinction goes to the 22 RF.  If you think about all the poaching that's gone on for years, it makes sense.
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 11,159 Senior Member
    I bet more have been killed by cars than by the 30-30
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 7,957 Senior Member
    I bet more have been killed by cars than by the 30-30
    This reminds me of a Ron White joke.

    If someone could invent a bullet that traveled 50 mps, had blaring horns and hi beam headlghts, deer would be jumping in front of it yelling "kill me, kill me".

    "Elusive little creatures, aren't they?"
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,928 Senior Member
    OK.....OK...So it was a broken down wagon with a scrawny old buck in the back...

    Geez...I guess the use of metaphors is a confusing thing for some folks.  :)

    I shall now slink off into a corner and sulk...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    The automobile may just be unbeatable...........
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,262 Senior Member
    No doubt .30-30 has killed a lot of stuff, but "more deer than any other cartridge"???

    Ok then.  Let's assume U.S. market only.  And we kind of have to assume post-Civil War, as prior to that, it was largely a muzzleloading world.

    All that "taming of the West" was done before the .30-30 even existed.  Same goes for A WHOLE LOT of market hunting. One must assume that the .44-40 and the .45-70 along with its "stretched"family (.45-90, .45-100, .45-110) would rank VERY high.  Also, all those pre-existing black powder cartridge guns did not suddenly stop killing deer when the .30-30 arrived.

    Then let's look at the .30-30 when it was new.  Among its contemporaries.  I see an AWESOME Eastern woods gun, and considering that the 1894 Winchester housing it was essentially built on the pistol-caliber 1892 forgings, it was an impressive performer for something so light and handy.  But west of the Mississippi?  Who's reaching for it as the first choice?  As that Eastern woods gun, it had the advantage of still being around with ammo still being produced when you couldn't really find much other lever gun ammo in quantity, HOWEVER. . .

    Then you have the flood of cheap WWI and WWII surplus bolt actions shooting spitzer rounds that outclass the performance of the .30-30 in every conceivable way, and a new generation of shooters that learned the bolt action in the service as their first weapon.  So despite the ongoing popularity with a very tenuous link to a cowboy past, we kinda have to regard the real heyday of the 1894/30-30 platform as spanning about 25-30 years.  Maybe 40-50 if you consider that folks in the Great Depression hunted with what they already had on hand.

    Who picks it now?  Really who has picked it in the last 30-40 years?  You'd probably get strange looks in many areas if you showed up hunting with one today.

    So no.  I doubt it's really a contender to any deer killing throne.



    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 5,817 Senior Member
    I agree with Big.  The 30 WCF had a strong following for a short period of time as the first successful lever action chambered in a smokeless cartridge.  But I think WW I changed that for ever when folks saw what bolt actions could do and they were available cheap.  I’d even venture to say the 30-06 is probably the cartridge that has killed most critters in this country outright.  But I have no numbers to back this up.
    Old West Saying: God created men, but Col. Sam Colt made them equal.

    General George Patton:  “Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.”

  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 23,675 Senior Member
    .303 FTW!
    No, seriously - I'm learning a LOT from this thread - thank you everyone.
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • orchidmanorchidman Senior Member Posts: 8,112 Senior Member
    Good thread Zee.

    I cant comment on what happened in the USA but I can make observations on what happened in NZ.
    Deer were introduced here between 1851 and 1901. They subsequently increased in numbers so rapidly that in 1932 all restrictions like licenses, limits etc were removed and they were regarded as pests.

    Being a 'Colonial' country and part of the British Empire, our choice of hunting rifles was limited due to our location and our ties with 'Mother England'.....and the 303 made up the bulk of our available calibers.
    When the Govt started culling operations in the 30's, the 303 was used and remained in use till the early 60's. At that point the professional cullers turned to the 222 Rem which took over from the 303 as the rifle/cal of choice.
    The 303 is credited with at least 1.4 million  and possibly up to 3 million kills during this period.

    Here is a link that makes interesting reading......


    In 1993 it was estimated that NZ had a wild deer breeding population size of approximately 250,000, from which an annual harvest of about 80,000 animals is taken.

    A case ( no pun intended) could be made that the 303 has sbeen used to shoot more deer than any other caliber I guess........but if we are talking about deer kills then the number '1080' is probably more appropriate. While 1080 poison is banned in most countries around the world, NZ uses 80% of the worlds supply as a control measure against possums, rats and deer and has done so since the 50's.....

    It is often said here that the 303 has accounted for more deer in NZ than any other cal...........and it is based on the above stats and the fact that after both World Wars, the only rifles Kiwi's could afford or had access to in large numbers were ex surplus 303 SMLE's.
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,051 Senior Member
    Don't know about worldwide total numbers, but mine are....

    1 deer wounded with a Marlin 336 in .30-30 Win.
    1 deer killed with a Rem 742 in .308 Win.
    Dozens face planted with a Browning A-Bolt II in .270 Win.

    .30-30 Win lags FAR behind on my list.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    303 British was also big in Canada. Given its very long record of military service and the far reach of British colonialism. The game its taken world wide must be incalculable.......
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 24,031 Senior Member
    Bigslug said:
    No doubt .30-30 has killed a lot of stuff, but "more deer than any other cartridge"???

    Ok then.  Let's assume U.S. market only.  And we kind of have to assume post-Civil War, as prior to that, it was largely a muzzleloading world.

    All that "taming of the West" was done before the .30-30 even existed.  Same goes for A WHOLE LOT of market hunting. One must assume that the .44-40 and the .45-70 along with its "stretched"family (.45-90, .45-100, .45-110) would rank VERY high.  Also, all those pre-existing black powder cartridge guns did not suddenly stop killing deer when the .30-30 arrived.

    Then let's look at the .30-30 when it was new.  Among its contemporaries.  I see an AWESOME Eastern woods gun, and considering that the 1894 Winchester housing it was essentially built on the pistol-caliber 1892 forgings, it was an impressive performer for something so light and handy.  But west of the Mississippi?  Who's reaching for it as the first choice?  As that Eastern woods gun, it had the advantage of still being around with ammo still being produced when you couldn't really find much other lever gun ammo in quantity, HOWEVER. . .

    Then you have the flood of cheap WWI and WWII surplus bolt actions shooting spitzer rounds that outclass the performance of the .30-30 in every conceivable way, and a new generation of shooters that learned the bolt action in the service as their first weapon.  So despite the ongoing popularity with a very tenuous link to a cowboy past, we kinda have to regard the real heyday of the 1894/30-30 platform as spanning about 25-30 years.  Maybe 40-50 if you consider that folks in the Great Depression hunted with what they already had on hand.

    Who picks it now?  Really who has picked it in the last 30-40 years?  You'd probably get strange looks in many areas if you showed up hunting with one today.

    So no.  I doubt it's really a contender to any deer killing throne.



    Yeah.  That. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,262 Senior Member
    Some economist / statistics guy could have a ball making suppositions on this.

    The 1894 Winchester had its genesis when T.G. Bennett told John Browning "We really like what you did with the 1886, but it needs to be CHEAPER".  So the 1894 was low cost compared to the '86 and the '95, but both of those were capable of shooting bigger stuff.

    And it while it was probably cheap - FOR A WINCHESTER - there was still probably a bit of an elevated price point for fit, finish, & name recognition.   Our economist / statistics guy would have to look at what the period equivalents to the 700 ADL and Savage 110 were, and what their sales figures looked like.

    Now I'm kinda wanting to learn more how the bolt action began horning in on the U.S. lever and single shot market.  The .30-40 Krag got chambered in a lot of platforms, was more capable, and would have had the benefit of bulk military manufacture lowering ammo cost.  The "wake up call" of the 7x57 in Cuba was not lost on the military, and it was probably not lost on the sportsmen either, but I'm not aware of much going on in the commercial bolt gun market until after WWI.

    That said, there WAS a push toward autoloaders in that general period - i.e. the Remington Model 8.

    Kinda wondering if most of the .30-30's popularity was due to it being the only brand of jeans on the rack at the time.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    I've read that standard 303 milsurp ball ammo was put to use in Africa and India for lack of alternatives.

    In one of my Elmer Keith books he recalls the use 30-06 milsurp ammo for elk. Same reasons.

    For people heavily engaged in long hours of hard labor just to live, economy"s paramount. Economy sometimes takes the guise of money, but time also has its place. 
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