These two elder statesmen of American rifle cartridges are both over 100 years old and have been in use for generations. The .35 Remington was developed in 1906 to compete with the 30-30 Winchester at long range, but it never really caught on as a deer hunting cartridge. It’s a wildcat round that can be used interchangeably with the .35 Whelen, which was introduced in 1979 after extensive testing by Colonel Townsend Whelen.
The 30-30 Winchester is still immensely popular today for big game hunting, including elk and deer. It is used a great deal for deer in the US east of the Mississippi river, and is the official rifle cartridge of Maine. The 30-30 is also used for feral pigs and deer in Australia, as well as bear and wild boar in Europe.
Ballistics compared .35 Remington vs 30-30 Win
Many hunters, for a number of different reasons, find themselves with two bolt action rifles in their gun cabinet. One rifle may be a lever action 30-30 Win and the other may be a bolt action .35 Rem. The question then becomes which rifle to take on the hunt. It is not always about which is more accurate or which is lighter or even which rifle has “more muzzle energy” because there are so many other factors that must be considered when deciding between these two calibers.
Both the 30-30 Win and the.35 Remington have their roots in black powder cartridge design. While both rounds have been successfully adapted to modern smokeless powders, they still maintain many of the characteristics that made them so popular with hunters in the early days of hunting. The 30-30 was designed by Winchester’s John Browning (of lever action fame) around 1894 for their new lever action rifle, and was introduced to the American market in 1895. In the 1930’s the.35 Remington was developed by Remington to compete against Winchester’s 30-30, and was also introduced in 1935. By the way, John Browning also designed the.35 Remington, but he did it at Remington! These two rounds were marketed as “deer cartridges” for their ability to dispatch critters in the woods with a single shot. Both cartridges are capable of taking deer sized game with proper ammunition loaded with well placed shots.
How well does the .35 Remington shoot?
The short answer is that it shoots well. The real answer is that it depends on the rifle and load. The.35 Remington has always been considered a somewhat finicky cartridge by some shooters, but I have only seen this to be true when loading light loads in an attempt to have a “deer rifle” with a manageable recoil for novices or adult women. In a rifle with a good barrel and properly loaded it will shoot as well as any other cartridge in its class. Within its class, the.35 Remington is not an extremely popular round with hunters despite its accuracy. Many hunters are concerned with the performance of any bullet that is less than 125 grains. The .35 Remington does have less muzzle energy and will not kill as quickly or as cleanly as some of the larger rounds like the .44 magnum or even the 30-30 Win. However, it does have enough energy to punch through meat and bone and expand most 125gr bullets in ½ or ¾” at 100 yards, and will reliably kill a whitetail deer sized animal. Plenty of people who shoot the.35 Remington do so with factory loads that are loaded with near maximum charge weights of its standard 140 grain bullet.
How well does the 30-30 Winchester shoot?
The 30-30 Win is a very popular cartridge, although some would argue that it has become more of a round for nostalgia than a modern deer hunter’s choice. It has been called the “poor man’s 30-06″ because of its performance in factory loads that are much cheaper than those for the 30-06. This cartridge was designed by Winchester for their new Model 94 lever action rifle in 1895. The 30-30 shot a 130 grain bullet @ 2000 fps from the Model 94’s 24″ barrel, and would have had a muzzle energy of 1675 ft. lbs. While the old Model 94’s are still around and capable of shooting that well, newer rifles will typically see a drop of 100-200 fps in velocity. Typically, a new 30-30 Win will see a velocity of around 1800 fps from a 22” barrel. For comparison sake, the.35 Remington uses the same bullet weight, but because of its higher velocity and the faster burning powder it develops more energy at 100 yards than the 30-30 Win does at 100 yards.
Which Is More Versatile?
There is a lot to be said for versatility of the round you choose. The.35 Remington is more versatile than the 30-30 Win. It will kill a whitetail deer sized animal with proper shot placement, and it will take on larger game such as bear and moose in a pinch if necessary. The 30-30 Win, however, is not a very versatile round. It lacks the muzzle energy and bullet weight to do large game animals reliably. The 30-30 Win was designed as a hunting rifle for deer sized animals and most hunters would agree that it is more than sufficient for this purpose. Many hunters would also argue that the.35 Remington is better suited for varmints than the 30-30 Win because it has more power and will do more damage to small game such as prairie dogs or coyotes.
Which Is Best?
Both the.35 Remington and the 30-30 Win are very capable cartridges for hunting deer. The.35 Remington was designed to be a good deer cartridge and it has held that reputation for over 100 years. It has lost some ground with hunters in recent years but is still highly regarded as a good all around deer cartridge by many people who have used it. Some hunters still prefer the round because of its versatility and ability to take larger game, such as moose or bear, if necessary. The 30-30 Win has gained a lot of popularity in the past decade as a classic deer cartridge, but it is not necessarily as popular as the.35 Remington. Many people prefer the.35 Remington because it was designed for the Winchester Model 94 rifle which was and is one of the best bolt action rifles available to use with it.
The 30-30 Win and the.35 Remington are both good cartridges for deer hunting. They should be used with a proper bore gun, and each has its place in the hunters arsenal. There is no right answer here because the choice of round depends on personal preference, but I would say anybody who was seriously thinking about purchasing a rifle chambered for either cartridge would benefit from researching each one to get a better idea of what kind of performance they will be able to achieve with their new rifle.