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Buying One Rifle 30-30 or 45-70 Please Help Me Decide/Handicapped Hunter

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Buying One Rifle 30-30 or 45-70 Please Help Me Decide/Handicapped Hunter

Old 08-22-2015, 02:36 PM
  #1  
Spike
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Default Buying One Rifle 30-30 or 45-70 Please Help Me Decide/Handicapped Hunter

I know this has been debated before but mostly the answer I see is 80% of responses mention how the 30-30 has lighter recoil and the ammo is cheaper and more readily available. Well, I want to take that out of the equation, because it doesn't pertain to my situation.

I'm not worried about the money factor or the ammo availability factor. I order all my ammo and even my guns online. I don't shop at the local gun store, in fact I order everything online from groceries to truck tires. So I can order whatever ammo I need and have it delivered to my door.

Second, I'm a big guy so recoil doesn't bother me at all, nor am I a flincher.

Here is what the real problem is and why I lean towards the 45-70 but still am not sure what to do. I have a medical problem and can't walk too good. I can stand up and I can walk, but the walking takes a bit of effort and is not very pleasant.

I hunt public land here in Louisiana, some WMA's and some national forest. This will be my first year deer hunting since I was about 14 years old. I haven't hunted deer in 26 years! I have hunted squirrels and rabbits but I turned 40 this year and kind of bummed I never shot a deer. My dad took me when I was younger and I shot at 2 different deer but didn't hit them. I killed some hogs when I was younger using a 30-30 with a scope so I know it is a great gun as well.

I'll be hunting in some woods where it is thick but the couple spots I have picked out are both near a creek with lots of deer and hog sign. From the hill I'll set up on, I can see about 200 yards in a 360 degree arc, with the creek being about 125 yards down the hill below me. Both spots I will be using a ground blind with a chair inside and a shooting stick to steady the gun. I have to use an ATV to get to my areas, and to pull my deer out of the woods. I bought a small camo tarp to cover the ATV which will be parked next to the blind. I will spray the tarp down with some kind of scent or scent killer to try to mask any gas smell.

I know the 30-30 is very effective at that range but what has me thinking about the 45-70 is stopping power. I don't want to have to track a deer a long ways into the woods especially since I have to use the ATV instead of walking. I'm wondering if the 45-70 will prevent them from running further after being shot. I've seen plenty of guys saying that with proper shot placement the 30-30 can drop them in their tracks, but I keep thinking that 45-70 impact should knock a whitetail down pretty easy.

I'm a much better shot than I used to be, so I'm confident I can put the round where it needs to be.

Do you think the 45-70 would damage more meat? Someone who has shot a deer with both a 30-30 and a 45-70, can you tell me if your deer ran less after being shot with the bigger gun? Or did it really make a difference?

The Marlin guide gun in 45-70 and the 30-30, weigh close to each other in terms of overall rifle weight. Plus it will be lugged into the woods on a gun rack on the ATV, so gun weight isn't a factor. Ammo won't be either as I'll order several boxes online, so won't be relying on the local gunshop to have it in stock.

Or in my situation, do you maybe think I'm overlooking another caliber? I own a 30-06 but I have a preference for the lever guns. Plus my 06 is longer and not as compact as the lever guns.
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Old 08-22-2015, 03:28 PM
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Honestly, either one would suit your needs just fine if you are going for the Guide Gun option. If you were going with a longer barreled rifle in the .45/70 I would say go for that since it would have a bit longer range capability than the .30/30. But since you are looking at basically the same rifle just different cartridges then there really is no advantage for going for the .45/70. The little ole .30/30 has downed more big game in North America than ANYTHING else. Hands down. OOPS in the last 100 years anyway. Knock down power is simply a myth in all reality. Placement is the key to dead right there results. Bullet performance is next followed up by caliber size and muzzle velocity. For dead right there, no tracking needed results you have a few shot options. Head, Neck, High shoulder spine (my preferred shot) and SOMETIMES you will get a no tracking bang flop from just a heart shot. I honestly don't know how many big game animals I took with the little old underpowerd, can't kill nothin cuzz it's just too little .30/30 Couple hundred hog, at least 2 or 3 dozen deer, several Elk and a few Moose. With todays newer loaded ammo for .30/30 such as Hornady's Leverevolution the .30/30 has an easily reached range of 200 yards nowadays. If you go for the .45/70 you are limited to the anemic factory rounds which are severely underpowerd MUCH under the true capability of the round. If you reloaded then I would say go for it as you can seriously up your game with a .45/70 making it a true performer. But limited to factory rounds it really has no advantages over the .30/30.
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Old 08-22-2015, 03:36 PM
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Be very careful - a great number of the internet experts that will offer opinions on the 30-30 as well as the 45-70 have never shot both, or even either. Everybody has an opinion, because they're age old cartridges, but there are a lot more folks online that will offer their opinion on the matter even though the have never actually eaten game that was killed by either one.

You mentioned that you see that 80% of respondents lean towards the 30-30. That lack of actual experience is quite likely a driving force behind that imbalance - there's a nasty rumor going around that the 45-70 has terrible recoil, and of course, folks tend to favor lighter, faster rounds than big slow ones, so they give opinions without experience.

I'll cast my vote first for 45-70, and then for "flip a coin". I'd honestly rather have a 44mag levergun than a 30-30, but you didn't ask about 44mag.

Out of your two, if I could only have ONE, it'd be a 45-70. BUT... You've probably neglected the most important part... The difference in trajectory might be the most important factor for you.

Originally Posted by Phattwoohie View Post
Do you think the 45-70 would damage more meat?
No, if both are placed where they should be, the 45-70 will not damage more meat. Even if they're placed somewhere they shouldn't be, the 45-70 won't noticeably damage more meat. Shoot through both shoulders and both will get nasty on the front shoulder, the 30-30 will likely stop so it won't touch the back shoulder, but you'll be able to eat up to the hole on the far shoulder with the 45-70. Pull off a broadside double heart and lung and both will exit, and you might have a hard time telling the difference between the two.

Originally Posted by Phattwoohie View Post
Someone who has shot a deer with both a 30-30 and a 45-70, can you tell me if your deer ran less after being shot with the bigger gun? Or did it really make a difference?
I'd be prone to say there's not much difference here either, especially with factory loads from the 1895 Guide Gun vs. a longer barreled 336. As an example, I get a true 2350fps with Hornady FTX 160grn in 30-30 out of a Glenfield 30A (Marlin 336), but I lose a LOT of speed in my 1895 Guide Guns - only pushing 1795fps with the 325grn Hornady FTX 45-70. Impact kills. While it's a lot bigger bullet, it's going REALLY slow. I get a LOT of "run 20yrds and crumple" kills with the 45-70, whereas I get more "DRT" or "dropped where he stood" kills with the 30-30. Let the placement slide a few inches, and either cartridge will leave them running.

It is nice, however, to be able to count on bullet weight. If you have a quartering towards shot, to be able to be more confident in crushing the near shoulder and still penetrating to the vitals. It's not a good shot to take, but if it's the only one I get, I'd rather have the 45-70 in hand. BUT, if I'm honest, I'd take a neck shot quartering towards before I take the shoulder shot. With a quartering away shot in brush, I might want to take the "far shoulder" shot so that I know I can crush my way out - 3 legged deer with no lungs don't run as fast as 4 legged deer with no lungs.

Alternatively - the 30-30 does win for trajectory. Comparing my REAL WORLD RIFLES using Hornady factory Leverevolution ammo for both, I get as much drop at 250yrds in the 45-70 as I do at about 325yrds out of the 30-30. Either will kill with ease at those ranges, but it's REALLY a challenge to hit your target past 250yrds with factory ammo in the Marlin Guide Gun (remember, they're leaving the barrel at a paltry 1795fps!!).

So unless you're willing to dial the range in your scope, and practice a lot at range estimation, or are fantastic at estimating hold over, the 45-70 is really a 150yrds or less proposition. My drop chart is really easy to remember for the FTX:

45-70 Hornady FTX 325grn at 1795fps
150 = 5"
175 = 10"
200 = 15"
225 = 22"
250 = 30"

If you can hold over 30" at 250yrds, or you won't shoot that far, then the 45-70 would get my vote. The 30-30 will be at ~325yrds before it drops 30" below a 100yrd zero, so if you think you'll shoot farther than 200yrds, or you have trouble estimating range, the 30-30 might be the better option.
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Old 08-22-2015, 03:51 PM
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I appreciate both responses so far, lots of detailed info, which is what I was hoping for. I want to thank you for taking the time to write it out. I'm also curious about the mentioned 44 mag, as my father owns a 44 lever action he never uses. I don't know the model I can find out tonight but he's had it since I was a kid and I'm 40 now. In all those years he only took it out maybe twice to hunt with. He is a dead set 30.06 man and a bow hunter.

I might could talk him out of the 44 mag, it's in superb condition, like I said he never shot it much at all. I ain't trying to save money, but I never considered the .44 for hunting cause I guess I never saw dad use it. Plus I don't see it mentioned too much in hunter forums unless someone is talking about using a revolver chambered in it for deer.

I'd be curious as to your thoughts as to why that caliber is good or anyone else as well. I might have to go look up some ballistic charts and do some research. Does the bullet drop much out to 150 yards or so? I'm just imagining where I'll be hunting if a deer walks out it will probably be less than 150, and likely less than 100 yards.
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Old 08-22-2015, 03:59 PM
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Never used a .44mag rifle for deer. Used my .44mag handguns quite often though. With the proper ammo selection (good bullet) I would have to imagine a .44mag rifle would be a good deer rifle. With you limiting your ranges to 150 it would be a good option as long as you used a good ammo choice.
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Old 08-22-2015, 04:09 PM
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I would go for the 45-70, I have killed 4 deer and 6 hogs with one. As far as damage to meat, I have found no more damage to the meat than my .308. I have found it makes more soup in the body cavity, which is what you want. Since I bought my .45-70 guide gun my .308 has not come out of the safe. I shoot only the Lever evolution, 325 grn bullet ammo and it preforms as advertised.
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Old 08-22-2015, 09:41 PM
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I favor the 45-70, simply for the extra power. Mentioned that already.

I prefer the 44mag to the .30-30 largely because I can get about the same energy with more impact, more rounds in the rifle, and about 2/3 of the powder, or much lower factory ammo cost. Neither compare with the 45-70 for raw power, but in their class, I'd rather have the 44mag.

The 30-30 will be the easiest trajectory out of the 3 to manage for most folks. The 45-70 has the opportunity for the most raw power. The 44mag is the most economical for cost. I've killed deer over 200yrds with all 3 of them, so any of them will work.

The 35 Remington is still produced (although hard to find) in the Marlin 336, and it's a powerful deer hammer that I'd throw in the mix as well.

You may consider the 450Marlin also. As was mentioned, the factory ammo for the 45-70 is loaded rather mildly to accommodate the remaining old trapdoor rifles out there. Reloaders in the strong Marlin action can get a lot more power out of the 45-70 cartridge, but for non-reloaders, that same performance is available out of the 450Marlin.

Make mine a Marlin, and make it a 45-70.
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Old 08-23-2015, 07:19 AM
  #8  
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I have a .30-30 and a couple .45-70s. I haven't shot any deer with either but I've shot 3 black bear with the .45-70. All 3 were one shot kills and the farthest any went was about 30 yards. Not having any personal experience with the .30-30 I can't really say except it is a proven game taker.
But my nod would go to the .45-70 loaded with 300 gr bullets. You don't need the big 405 gr or bigger. I'd try to find an older Marlin 1895 and put a 1-4x scope on it and it will fit your needs perfectly.
As for "dead right there" that depends on bullet placement and the animal itself. I honestly don't think you can go wrong with either but the big boy is my favorite.
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Old 08-23-2015, 09:16 AM
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IMO, shot placement has much more to do with DRT than caliber or bullet.
If I was purposely shooting for DRT I would shoot a high shoulder shot.

Either gun you listed will work fine, between those two I personally would choose the .45/70. BUT....if it was me (and its not) I would probably opt for a different caliber all together. Maybe something along the lines of a .270, .280, .30-06 type. Something with a little flatter trajectory, plenty of speed and energy, and use a quality 140-160gr bullet.
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Old 08-23-2015, 10:06 AM
  #10  
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Go with the 45 70 and don't look back. I have shot deer looking at me center sternum at 200 yards, and the bullet exits the rump. The deer summersault and don't move. You can eat right up to the hole. You can also order heavy loads on line for the 45 70 should the need arise to stop an elephant.
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