Best .30-30 Ammo For Hunting Deer & Other Big Game

Many people still use the venerable .30-30 for hunting deer and many other species of big game with excellent results. Here are a few great brands of .30-30 ammo that should serve you well next time you hit the woods.

Though the cartridge has been around since the 1890s, the legendary .30-30 Winchester is still an excellent deer hunting cartridge. In fact, as is the case with other older cartridges like the .45-70 Government, .30-30 ammo is now even more effective for hunting many species of big game than ever due to advances in smokeless powder and bullet technology that have occurred over the last century.

Known for its manageable recoil in lightweight and easy to carry rifles and reliable performance at short to medium range, hunters all over the United States still utilize the .30-30 for deer hunting in thick conditions. The .30-30 Winchester is also a very effective rifle cartridge on other species of big game like black bear, feral hogs, and mountain lions.

Fortunately, the major ammunition manufactures like Barnes, Fiocchi, Federal Premium, Hornady, Nosler, Prvi Partizan, Remington, Sellier & Bellot, and Winchester currently offer multiple varieties of .30-30 factory loads specifically designed for hunters. For that reason, regardless of whether you’re using a Marlin 336, a Winchester Model 94, a Savage Model 99, a Thompson Center Contender handgun, or something else, there is something for everyone on the list below of the best .30-30 Winchester ammunition for hunting.

In today’s post, I’m going to show you the best .30-30 ammo for hunting and go over the pros and cons of each individual load.

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Hornady LeverRevolution

best 30-30 ammo for hunting hornady

If you’re looking to squeeze every bit of performance out of the .30-30 Winchester, then go with the Hornady Leverevolution line of ammo. Available with either a 160 grain FTX bullet or a 140 grain MonoFlex bullet (both of which have a flexible tip), this line of ammo is still safe to use in a lever action rifle with a tubular magazine, but those pointed (spitzer) bullets have a higher ballistic coefficient than traditional flat tipped or round nosed bullets.

Though it doesn’t transform the .30-30 Winchester into a long range cartridge, this load does have a flatter trajectory and better downrange performance than just about any other .30-30 Winchester ammo out there.

The MonoFlex bullets are also made of a 100% copper alloy, which also makes them a great choice if you’re a California resident and need lead free .30-30 ammo for hunting.

Before going hunting with this rifle ammo though, make sure you spend some time at the range with it to ensure it functions reliably and shoots accurately in your rifle. If it does shoot well in your hunting rifle, then this is my pick for the best 30-30 ammo for a Marlin 336, a Winchester 94 30-30, or any other lever action or bolt action rifle chambered in that cartridge with a tubular magazine.

  • Bullet Type: Hornady Flex Tip Expanding (FTX) or MonoFlex
  • Bullet Weight: 160 grains (FTX) or 140 grains (MonoFlex)
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,400 feet per second (FTX) or 2,500 feet per second (MonoFlex)


Also available at: Brownells (FTX)

Remington Core Lokt

best 30-30 ammo for hunting remington

If you’re a “meat and potatoes” kind of hunter who wants some reasonably priced and dependable 30-30 ammo for hunting deer, feral hogs, and black bear then the Core Lokt 170 grain soft point by Remington Ammunition will probably work really well for you (it’s also available in a 150 grain jacketed hollow point load which is also very good).

It’s not the latest and greatest stuff by any means, but this .30-30 rifle ammunition by Remington has been around for a long time and countless hunters have successfully used Core Lokt ammo to take just about every species of big game in North America.

  • Bullet Type: Core-Lokt Soft Point
  • Bullet Weight: 170 grains
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,200 feet per second


Also available at: Brownells

Barnes VOR-TX

best 30-30 ammo for hunting barnes

If you’re a hunter who loves Barnes bullets, then you’re in luck because Barnes also produces .30-30 Winchester ammo featuring their legendary hollow point copper Triple Shock X-Bullet. Designed for rapid expansion, high weight retention, and deep penetration, this is a wonderful load for hunters after game like feral hogs, black bear, and whitetail deer.

This is also a great hollow point bullet for those who want to hunt moose with the .30-30. It’s also 100% copper, which makes this another ideal brand of .30-30 Winchester hunting ammunition for use in states like California that that don’t permit the use of lead bullets.

  • Bullet Type: TSX Flat Nose
  • Bullet Weight: 150 grains
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,335 feet per second


Also available at: Brownells

Barnes VOR-TX ammo also made cut for my 2019 holiday gift recommendations. To see what other stuff is on the list, check out the following article:

101 Best Gifts For Hunters In 2019

Winchester Deer Season XP

best 30-30 ammo for hunting winchester deer season

If you’re planning on taking your .30-30 Winchester deer hunting, then Winchester’s Deer Season XP line of ammunition is another interesting choice. It sports a polymer tip similar to the Hornady Leverevolution, but it’s designed specifically to compete with popular deer hunting ammo like the Hornady American Whitetail, Federal Power-Shok, Federal Fusion, Remington Core-Lokt, and the Winchester Ballistic Silvertip in terms of accuracy, price, and outstanding terminal performance.

So, not only is this some very reasonably priced .30-30 ammo, but it also has a very good reputation for producing a giant wound channel and minimizing the distance deer run after being hit. In fact, this would be one of my top recommended brands of 30-30 ammo for deer hunting.

  • Bullet Type: Extreme Point
  • Bullet Weight: 150 grains
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,390 feet per second


Winchester Super X

best 30-30 ammo for hunting winchester

Similar to the Remington Core Lokt, Winchester’s Super X line of ammo is another great choice for hunters who want some reasonably priced, “no frills” .30-30 ammo. It’s not a sexy or exciting load, but it will really get the job done when hunting deer, black bear, and feral hogs. In addition to the 170 grain round nose .30-30 load pictured above, it’s also available in a 150 grain jacketed hollow point (JHP) load. Buy a box or two of these bullets, sight your rifle in at 100 yards, and it will probably serve you well as a great hunting load for years.

  • Bullet Type: Power Point
  • Bullet Weight: 170 grains
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,200 feet per second


Also available at: Brownells

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6 thoughts on “Best .30-30 Ammo For Hunting Deer & Other Big Game”

  1. It’s nice to have the option of a flatter shooting 30-30 cartridge. It’ll come in handy at 200 yards.
    The leverevolution drops a few inches less than a blunt bullet at that range.

  2. Thank you! Bought the Henry 30 30 all weather lever action. You even wrote about what type work better for that than a bolt action. Great article.

  3. I agree with your finding Leverevolution the best. There’s no argument there at all. But Second best, in my 45 years experience, is Winchester Silvertips. Accurate and lethal to well over 200 yards, they’re not as expensive as Leverevolution and basically as good in real hunting conditions.

  4. One thing to consider with the Leverevolution ammo, is that you should not leave a tubular magazine loaded over time, the flexible tip can distort. If you keep a loaded rifle (I have a remote cabin in the mountains) , you could put one in the chamber and one in the tube, or just one in the tube for safety.
    I prefer a flat nose soft point in light of the above.

    • Good precaution. I was experimenting at the range with the LeverEvolution and would only keep one in the magazine. The notion of the tips getting abuse was in the back of my mind. Figured why not play it safe. Similar notion as yours.


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