Ask Foghorn: Henry .30-30?

Patrick asks:

Do you have opinion on the gun? I like the idea of the companies history and the fact that is made here. I’m 67 yrs old and have always used a 30-06, (Tika), but I live in the north woods of Minnesota now and never have a shot longer than 50 yards.

In case you were wondering what’s up with the sudden deluge of Ask Foghorn posts, I’m on vacation and figured I would knock as many of these out as I could while I had the time. So, starting with the oldest AF question in the bag . . .

If you’re going to buy a lever action rifle, Henry is the company to go with. Marlin used to be the “standard” lever action producer, but since their acquisition by Freedom Group, their lever action rifles took a turn for the worse in terms of quality. Now factory fresh Marlins are rarer than a fake Colt Dragoon that wasn’t pinched from a museum. Good riddance to bad rubbish, if you ask me.

Henry’s firearms are a thing of beauty. Without fail, every one of their lever action guns I have ever seen is a work of art, something that would be equally at home on the range, on a wall or in a display case. But despite their good looks, they’re still accurate shooters that get the job done.

As for the .30-30 in particular, the ballistics are nearly identical to the newer 300 AAC Blackout round I’m so fond of. The cartridge was one of the first to take advantage of smokeless powder and thanks to the crappy burn rate of those early powders, the cartridge is spec’ed to a much lower chamber pressure than modern ammunition. It’s roughly the same size as the 7.62 NATO round, but thanks to the lower pressure ceiling, it doesn’t travel nearly as fast.

For hunting at 50 yards or less, this doesn’t matter. The round will still murder a deer just as well as anything else, as proven by the nearly half century when this gun and cartridge were the most popular hunting implements in the United States. The low velocity also has the added benefit of producing less recoil than most other rounds of a similar size. That becomes a handicap past 200 yards, but until that point I don’t really see any issues in using it as a hunting round.

Personally, I’d go with the 300 AAC Blackout. Then again, that’s only because my requests to Henry to make a version of their .30-30 rifle with a threaded muzzle have (so far) fallen on deaf ears. There’s just something special about using a lever action rifle to hunt deer and if you agree, there’s no finer firearm than Henry’s offering.

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