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Location: Colorado Springs
Joined: 02/23/2009
Posts: 188
30-30 for Elk

I have some friends who are planning a Elk hunt here in Colorado.  One of them is planning on using a 30-30.  I've tried like heck to tell him not to, and even offered him my 25-06 for the hunt (loaded with 115 gr. Barnes TSX @ 3000 f.p.s.)  I'm curious what you all think of him using a 30-30.  Is this common?  I've never heard of anyone using a 30-30 for Elk.  Also, I asked him to at least buy the Hornady flex tips, but, he say's "too expensive, I'll just use Remington Core Locks"  Help me out guys, I don't want him to wound an Elk.

buckykm1's picture
Location: Vicksburg, Mi
Joined: 11/24/2010
Posts: 366

A 30-30 wouldn't be my choice for a gun, but out to 100 yards it will do the job, if he makes a good shot.


COMeatHunter's picture
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Joined: 06/01/2011
Posts: 639
Nothing wrong with a 30-30

My father used a 30-30 to bag many elk (lots of years ago now) and I too used it bag my first elk (lots of years ago too, but as many as my father!).  In fact, the largest bull my father ever killed--a huge 6x6 over by Yampa, was killed with a 30-30.  I wouldn't take a shot over 200 yards, but most of the shots I've had in my lifetime have been less than 200 yards so it probably isn't really a limitation.  I think the ammo I used as a kid was 170 gr. Winchester Super X.  Not high performance by today's standards for sure but certainly adequate for knocking down elk.

I've thought about taking the 30-30 out just for nostalgia's sake with my son on an elk hunt.  Maybe in the next couple of years.  Sure brings back a lot of great memories...

Location: Colorado
Joined: 07/13/2011
Posts: 924
I started hunting with a

I started hunting with a 30-30 in the 50's when it was more popular. I took a couple of elk with it later on. I kept my shots to 100yds max, because I wasn't sure if it had enough fpe. I always had to track to find the animal. I also only took clear lung shots. I don't trust it to bust through a shoulder.

Now you have Hornady Leverevolution ammo. It retains more energy being a spitzer bullet. I'd use it, keep shots to 150yds max, and make sure it's a safe humane shot.


Better yet. Borrow a 30-06.

elkkill06's picture
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Location: Fruita Colorado
Joined: 02/02/2009
Posts: 2069
I'd say let him hunt !

It still amazes me in this day and age the guys that still believe in all the hype. Especially all the hype on bullet types, "HOLY COW!" A 30-30 has probably killed more elk than the trusty (not so for me) 30-06 throughout the years. If he stays within his limits he will be quite fine.

And just to let you guys know I am not a fan of either ! Do they both kill elk ? YES !!!!!!!!! One more thing guys are always talking about using a bigger caliber and heavier bullet in case something goes wrong or you need to make a follow up shot at a bad angle......... Lots of elk die every year to the smallest of legal calibers.........It just boggles my mind how if most guys aren't shooting some giant magnum caliber the elk will not fall down !

Just my .02 !


Ca_Vermonster's picture
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Location: San Diego, CA
Joined: 07/27/2007
Posts: 5813
I agree Quinton.  Not just

I agree Quinton.  Not just elk, but all north american big game.  bears, whatever, a 30-30 has been the most popular cartridge for decades.  It may be getting surpased recently by bigger or more specialized rounds, but nothing has changed about the 30-30.

It's all about distance and shot placement.  As long as you do not try and shoot one at 250 yards with your that gun, it's fine.  And as for Still H. talking about how many have been wounded, I ask you how many elk have been wounded by archery hunters?  I bet you that it's more than those which were shot with a 30-30.  But, is that acceptable>

Hunt within the limits of the gun, and enjoy!!!

Location: Colorado
Joined: 07/13/2011
Posts: 924
Of course a 30-30 has killed

Of course a 30-30 has killed lots of elk. However, how many got away who were wounded? A quartering  shot with a 30-30, will always be risky.

I killed a cow this year with a muzzlloader and a round ball. I knew it's limitations, and passed up many shots before pulling the trigger. If the same thing is done with a 30-30. It's fine. It will kill, but it won't kill for every shot you see.

SGM's picture
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Location: Canon City, Colorado
Joined: 08/13/2011
Posts: 1147
If that is what he has and is

If that is what he has and is comfortable and proficient shooting it then the 30-30 will work. The 30-30 was a very common round back in the day but not so much today. Yes it will kill an elk but I would not press it past 150 yards. I like a .30 cal bullet for elk and the Remington Core Locks are more than adequate in doing the job. Basically it is the only round I use and I have never lost an animal or had poor performance using them.

numbnutz's picture
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Location: portland,oregon
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The first elk i shot was with

The first elk i shot was with a 30-30, I dropped like a ton a bricks, Its all about shot placement, You dont need the huge caliber magnums to kill and elk, you just need to be accurate with what you have. I used a 30-30 for years and never wounded an animal, the farthest a shot animal ran was 60 yrds. I've had deer run father after being shot with my 30-06. So to answer the question, Yes the 30-30 will do just fine if he stays within his limits, and no he's not crazy for using the 30-30 on elk. Heck if i still had a 30-30 I'd probably still use it. I'd take a 30-30 over a 25-06 but thats just me.

Bull Buster's picture
Location: Nebraska
Joined: 10/12/2007
Posts: 167
I don't have any research

I don't have any research but, like most of the others I would bet that alot more elk have fallen to a 30-30 than a 25-06.  That being said a hunter must know their limitations as well as their gun/ammo limitations.  I shoot a 30-06 and have killed a  pile of elk with it and (knock on wood) haven't lost one.  I spend some time on the range and I'm confident in myself and my gun to make a shot on an elk out to 400 yrds all day long.  I miss judged a down hill shot 2 years ago and killed  one at 530 and known what I know now would of never taken the shot.  I have seen guys shoot elk on you tube video at a 1000 yrds with a .308.  A buddy of mine just returned from an elk hunt in Arizona and he told me 2 guys that he was huting with took bulls.  One guy shot his at 85 yrds and the other at 72 yrds with compond bows.  They were very disapointed in my buddy since it was his first time there and they wnated him to get on but, he wouldn't take a shot past 40 yrds.  The point I'm making is know what you can and can't do with your wepon of choice.

Critter's picture
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Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4433
I'd say that if you friend

I'd say that if you friend wants to use a .30-30 and he can shoot it well out to 150 yards then tell him to bring it.  But if you or him have another more powerful rifle to bring it as a back up.  '

I have taken a few elk with pistols.  Two was with a .357 Herrett which is a .30-30 case necked up to .357 and shortened a little and fired out of a Thompson Center Contender.  One of them was a bull and the other was a cow and neither one of them knew what hit them. 

So if a pistol can do the job then the .30-30 should be just fine

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