I Don’t Think So

Ron Spomer makes the case that the .300 Blackout may be to deer hunting in the 21st century what the .30-30 was in the 20th.

Granted, the numbers he shows make a pretty good argument in terms of bullet performance (in terms of drop, drift and so on), but at the end of the day, it fails to convince me — and it’s not just because of my hidebound traditionalism, nor its effect (by extension) of my old-fashioned preference for the venerable lever-action vs. my antipathy towards the semi-auto AR type.

Indeed, as Ron points out, one of the reasons for the AR’s popularity these days is that the latest generation of kids come from Army service with well-honed familiarity with the AR-15 /M4 rifle, so naturally they would gravitate towards that platform and a heavier non-5.56mm cartridge, which the .300 BLK certainly is.  In previous generations of G.I. Joes, they would have felt the same way about the Springfield 1903, the Garand and the M14.

I think, however, that the modern hunters are spoiled for choice when it comes to cartridge choice, in a way that earlier generations were not — for the latter, the .30-30 was pretty much the “fall-back” chambering because just about everyone had a lever rifle in the house already.  Whatever the .300 BLK’s performance and advantages, it isn’t the fall-back choice for hunting — but the .308 Win most certainly is.

Whatever, I’ll stick to my Winchester 94 .30-30, thank you.


  1. I’m reluctant to collect any more calibers. I already have a laundry list of calibers and the ammo to match (.22LR, .22WMR, .223, .25ACP, .30 Carbine, .30-30, .308, .30-06, .357, .380, .38 Special, .40S&W, .44 Special, .44 Magnum, .45ACP, .45LC, 5.56 Nato, 7.62x39mm, 9mm, etc.), so it’s a tough sell for me to add even one more.

    1. Same here, but I’ve wanted a 94 for most of my life and if I found one slightly used at a reasonable price I’d get on it like steenk on a monkey. And a few thousand rounds as well.

    2. Ravenwood,
      As soon as I read the first part of your sentence, I started nodding my head in agreement. I didn’t think that I had that many different calibers then I read your list and looked towards the olde ammo locker to see if you were reading my inventory.


  2. The problem these days is that it’s almost impossible to purchase a NEW lever action in 30-30. Several companies list it in their catalog, but almost no gun store actually has one available to purchase. The used Winchesters are priced in the fricking stratosphere, so good luck there. I’m hoping Ruger will finally put out a Marlin in 30-30 after the initial sales surge of the 45-70. Price it several hundred less than the Henry, please.

    I don’t hunt anymore, but the people I know that do almost to a man use bolt actions. Of course I’m an old fart and so is everyone I know, so that may not be indicative of the newer generation. Using an AR to hunt is like using a Nascar stock car to go grocery shopping, you can do it, but why?

    1. Ruger has announced that they will be adding a second assembly line to the facility making the 1895, and it will be making Marlin 336’s in .30-30.

  3. When I moved to Oklahoma over 40 years ago I was given to understand that owning a lever gun was required by state law. I looked at a Winchester 94 and Marlin 336 back when good deals could be found at gun shows. I couldn’t decide so I bought both. Over the years I’ve added a Rossi model 92 in .357 and a Henry Big Boy in .44. That brass color Henry receiver was too pretty to pass up. If I was forced to live in a gun hostile location the Rossi loaded with 158 grain semi wadcutters would be my house gun.

    Getting back to Kim’s original point, good quality properly maintained firearms will last just about forever. Great grandpa’s old .30-30 does the job as well as the aluminum and polymer toys out there today. That old gun that may have 20 rounds a year through it just isn’t going to wear out. So if I’m in the gun business how do I keep the business open? One way is to constantly create new calibers and loads and then create a demand for those new rounds. That’s merchandising and I can’t really find too much fault with it, but so much of everything is a solution in search of a problem.

    “Introducing the all new Destructo Magic in caliber .377 Thumblicker. The .377 is two feet per second faster than the old .376 and fills that important ballistic gap between 112 and 115 yards. Our .377 loads were developed by the famous ” Two winos under a bridge ballistic labs” and are guaranteed to kill all manner of four and two legged vermin 125% deader than the old .376. All of the really cool kids will be shooting the .377 this year. Don’t miss out. Available in at least three stores in the middle of the Nevada desert.

  4. Isn’t part of this move that states like Michigan which recently allowed straight walled cartridge calibers in lieu of shotgun with slugs. I would think this will continue in areas that have shotgun only restrictions, just like crossbows were originally allowed for disabled hunters but are now widely considered same as a compound bow. Both rule changes bring more hunters in and allow more animals to be taken so the states don’t have to have extermination hunts by professional hunters. Considering it is not difficult to change the upper to run subsonic 300blk through an AR frame it brings AR guys into hunting, also allowing suppressors could reduce complaints in suburban type hunting.

    1. Negatory. The .300 Blackout is still a necked cartridge.
      Youay be thinking of the .350 Legend, which is a straight wall round designed for ARs.

  5. Had a winchester 94. Did not like what you had to make the gun safe so I switch to the marlin 336. Not as Iconic but I like the gun better.

    Here we cant use 300 Blk so I am using a 350 Legends. I like it better anyway.

  6. I absolutely love the 300 Blackout. I love it so much I went and got the tax stamp to be able to build an SBR around a self-defense gun in the caliber, and it’s threaded for a suppressor too. I love the 300 Blackout so much I even bought a Savage Axis bolt action, and then bought the extractor rebuild kit to make it shootable AND a composite stock.

    However, I know what 300 Blackout is and what it isn’t. It isn’t a replacement for the 30-30 (30-06 and the .308 exist for a reason). It’s a replacement for a .357 Magnum lever action, and MAYBE a .44 Magnum lever action. I would hunt wild dogs or feral pigs with SUB-X 300 Blackout and my suppressed AR (or the Savage Axis) any day of the week and twice on Sunday, but I would NOT expect to take a deer safely with it (especially with my shooting skills….).

    If you really want to hunt deer with the AR platform, get an AR-10 with any bullet you choose. There are even a few AR-15 rounds that are just about .308 power. 300 BLK isn’t one of them.

    1. Now that I’m not at work, I’m going to make one correction: IMHO, the 300 Blackout is the spiritual successor to the 30 carbine, and replaces the .357 Magnum carbine and maybe the 44 magnum carbine for rifle cartridges. (Still no way I’d bring a .300 Blackout to a .308/30-30 fight.)

      The 30 Carbine is the first (and still one of the best) expression of the Personal Defense Weapon concept (“PDW”): a short-barreled, light carbine designed to be an effective weapon for those unable or unwilling to become combat proficient with a pistol. The M1 and M2 Carbines got put in places they didn’t belong (front lines of Korea, for example), but there’s a reason they picked up an excellent reputation for combat handiness when you didn’t need range or a .30-06. (I still love shooting M1 Carbines, and I’ve got several, but we aren’t getting any more. IMHO it’s irresponsible to the future generations to plan around an irreplaceable antique when there are better alternatives, including the AR-15 in 300 BLK and the AR-9.)

      In the perfect world, the NFA would be thrown out. We could then argue which is the best 2020s PDW: an AR-15 platform with 300 Blackout and Hornady Sub-X ammo and 7 inch to 10 inch barrel lengths, or submachine gun-based designs like MP5 firing copper hollow-point rounds. The AR-15 locked in a wall mount beside my headboard is my vote.

  7. Put me in the different strokes for different folks category as I’m the exact opposite. I’ve been looking at The CZ 527 carbine in7.62×39. I’m not interested in spray and pray. Bolt action has more proven accuracy. It has a wooden stock. Its a good round for southeastern whitetail and feral hogs. AND the AK nuts mean the manufacturers will keep making ammo. The fact I can be cuddle anti gun nuts by pointing out it fires the same round as the evil AK is an added benefit.

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