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Questions about 14" Contender in 30/30 Login/Join 

I have been reloading for a number of years, but have never loaded 30/30. I picked up a 14" Contender barrel here on the forum and have a few questions:

1] Will an aluminum Weaver scope mount handle the recoil of the 30/30? Mine came with one already on it. I plan on putting a Bushnell 2X6 Trophy scope on it.

2] I have done some reading on the recoil and understand it is stout. What has your experience been with it.

3] I am looking for bullets that would work on deer in the 125-150 grain weight range. Got any recommendations.

4] I have 5# of Reloader 7 on the way. Got input from Sierra for some loading data. Any other recommendations for powder?

Baptist Pastor. Lover of God and Country, Chaplain, Benefactor Member NRA
Posts: 295 | Location: Atoka, TN | Registered: July 18, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post

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Have two 30/30 barrels, a super 14 with brake and a 10 inch bull.
Have not shot them much but recoil isnt bad, taken two deer with them.
My current load is a 150 grain SP under IMR 4895. Am sure your weaver base
will work. hope that helps some
Posts: 87 | Location: middle georgia | Registered: November 09, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post

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My first Contender pistol was a 10" 30-30 Win. I was expecting severe recoil the first time I shot it using factory Remington 150 gr ammo. First shot, "WOW, this thing has less felt recoil than my 44 mag Ruger Super Black Hawk" was what I said in my mind. They do have some muzzle flip but with proper grips, I like Pachmyer, it is in the class of a pussy cat to me especially with 125 gr bullets. I now have a 14" 30-30AI as my MAIN deer smoker.
It shoots sub MOA with the 125 BT at 2670 fps using IMR 4198.

The 125 gr Nosler Ballistic Tip is one AWESOME bullet out of these pistols. You should be able to run it around 2200 fps with RL7 and 2300 fps with IMR 4198 out of your 14" as the Sierra Manual list for their 125 gr bullet which in my experience is about right. I used IMR 4198 in my old 10" with the 125 Sierra bullet and it did a good job on deer out to 100 yards which is as far as I ever shot one with it.
Play with sizing of your cases. Take a fire formed case and just "part size it" using a full length size die. You can smoke the neck and shoulder of the case with a match or candle and see how much sizing you are doing. Just size the case enough, bumping the shoulder slightly, to allow you to close the action on it. This will allow it to "headspace" off the shoulder instead of the rim. Also play with seating depth. The factory barrels usually have a throat a mile long.

I use the Weaver aluminum base but I use Weaver steel rings an have never had any problems with 30-30AI or 357 Mag. It would pay you to go over the base checking to see if BLUE loctight thread locker has been used on the screws. If not do it. I have three Weaver 2.5-8x28 scopes and have never had a single problem out of them and have used them for MANY years. They are hard to beat for the money.
I think you will like your "thudy, thudy" Contender because they usually put the leaver actions rifles to shame with their accuracy.
Posts: 1118 | Location: Tennessee | Registered: December 06, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post

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The 30-30 in a 14"er is a pussycat to shoot. Recoil isn't a factor. The Weaver base is fine and I like Leupold aluminum rings, either the vertical or standard Rifleman. With the velocity loss due to the 14" barrel, lighter bullets shine, like the 125 Nosler BT as said above. Looking forward to the range report.

thumbup Rod
It's not a break, it's a brake, unless it's a break, then it's broke ;-)
Posts: 6431 | Location: Northern MN | Registered: February 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post

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My main deer gun is a 14" 30-30 that I handload for. It really is an excellent cartridge for the contender.

X3 on lighter bullets as mentioned before.

My main loads are 110gn vmax for practice and the 110gn Barnes black tipped 300BO bullet that I have chronoed at 2500fps using RL 7 with guidance from Speer data. The Barnes gives you the full weight retention of a mono bullet and minimum velocity requirements ~1400 fps. This puts the max effective range some where around 400 yards, much farther then I am willing to shoot (longest shot to date is 180 yards with excellent performance) but gives me something to strive for. They are a joy to shoot and easy on the hands. I consider them a max load, but they much easier on the hands then factory 150gn loads.
I did have problems early on with optics moving, but then I cleaned everything and bedded the mount with a bit of JB weld and it has been fine since then. The Vmax loads will group under an inch at 100 yards while the barnes are around 1.5" I did back off the max load for the barnes a little bit (2350fps) to improve the accuracy.

Barnes also makes a 120gn black tipped 300 BO bullet that I would expect you could launch at ~2300+fps with a very respectable BC and similar max effective range and minimum velocity requirement. If I didn't have a good stash of the 110gn pills around I would spend some time working up a load to see if I could tighten up the groups a bit, but I am comfortable with my current load and practice regularly out to 220 yards (100m).

I head space off the rim, but just neck size the brass using a lee collet die which lets me skip case lube completely (not advised with traditional resizing dies and the long 30-30 neck).

If I hadn't found the Barnes bullets that have such exceptionally low minimum velocity requirements, I probably would have reamed it out to an AI.
Posts: 108 | Location: Minnesota | Registered: November 10, 2016Reply With QuoteReport This Post

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You will enjoy it. I’m in the 125 gr Nosler BT boat as well, and IMR 4198, in my 15” G2 Ackley version. Recoil is not a factor. I’ve taken a mule deer, antelope and a whitetail, from 38 to 227 yards with this combo and had great results.


Posts: 1508 | Location: Mid-MO | Registered: March 30, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post


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My 13" MGM 30-30IMP shooting 125GR Nos. B-Tips the recoil I would call not much more than mild.

Dave Dolin (Dave D.)
Best Little Grip Shop in West Virginia
Crafter of Custom Hand Made TC Grips and Forearms.

Posts: 6484 | Location: West Virginia Mountains | Registered: December 12, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post

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My go to IHMSA gun is a 14"30-30. I don't consider recoil bad at all. I have ran thousands of rounds through mine. The first couple of years was all jacketed, the rest have been cast.
Actually I think the 30-30 is a some what better SP cartridge than a rifle. Accuracy is there as well.
And to think I used to turn my nose up at a 30-30 when I was a kid.

G whiz, it's a Contender or a G2, never was G1!
Posts: 2826 | Location: Kansas U.S of A | Registered: November 01, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post


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I also have a 14" 30-30. I'd say the recoil is less than a 357 mag in a full sized frame revolver. 14" is a lot of weight sitting out on the muzzle end, which helps dampen recoil substantially. Really nothing to worry about. My favorite bullets are the Sierra 150 gr, and the Sierra 125 gr. IMR 3031 and Win 748 have been good powders for me.

Big, big plus 1 on seating depth. My barrel has a *very* long throat (factory, unaltered barrel), and before I started seating my bullets long, my accuracy was terrible. Once I started seating my bullets waaaayyyyy out there, to almost touch the lands, I went from not being able to hit the ground, to having several sub-moa loads to choose from.
Posts: 754 | Location: Bismarck, ND | Registered: December 02, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post

THE Handgun Hunting Authority!

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My original .30-30 was a pleasure to shoot. Mild recoil, very accurate. THe only problem I had was limited range. I had it rechambered to .309 JDJ and that made it a 400 yd. gun. 150 BTs and Sierra Game Kings are soft and very destructive on deer size game.
Posts: 1607 | Location: eastern WV | Registered: April 21, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post


Picture of HotRodAl
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Yes the Weaver mount will work without any problems, I even use a Weaver 4 hole mount on my 460 S&W, can't tell you for sure just how many rounds I have put through it and its never failed yet, I use 3 vertical split aluminum rings.

Life Member NRA
Posts: 10313 | Location: Kenova, WV, USA | Registered: October 31, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post

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Lots of good info here! Thanks.

I have an old Contender, bought as a Hunter Package years ago in 44 Magnum ported, 12" barrel. I have a 357 magnum barrel 12" as well. In the past I have owned a 22 LR 14" match and a 223 barrel. I bought a MGM 30/30 AI but sold it as I was told the recoil and muzzle blast was disconcerting. I shoot hot loads in my 44 magnum and unless the 30/30 is a lot worse it should not be a problem.

I am always swapping an selling guns, but I have owned this Contender longer than anything else. It is over 20 years old. Trigger is great.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: weemsf,

Baptist Pastor. Lover of God and Country, Chaplain, Benefactor Member NRA
Posts: 295 | Location: Atoka, TN | Registered: July 18, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post

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Big mistake in taking someone's word that the 30-30AI was a heavy recoiling barrel. Mine is a 14" MGM Stainless and it is a tack driver and a pussycat to shoot.
Posts: 1118 | Location: Tennessee | Registered: December 06, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post

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Yes sir, I realize that now.

Baptist Pastor. Lover of God and Country, Chaplain, Benefactor Member NRA
Posts: 295 | Location: Atoka, TN | Registered: July 18, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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